the lovely sea­son of Easter

-- April 20th, 2014 --
easter egg dyes

Here I sit on a wet, windy Easter after­noon, rather rev­el­ling for once in the sight of my rain­swept gar­den, enjoy­ing the quiet of a spring Sunday.

We’ve had unheard-of stretches of sunny days this lovely April, arous­ing in the aver­age Lon­doner the con­flict­ing emo­tions of tremen­dous grat­i­tude and a super­sti­tious fear that sun in Eng­land is lim­ited and we may have been using it up with rather too much aban­don.  The Eng­lish are trained to look upon every dry moment with amaze­ment, lest April be all the sum­mer we get and the “real” sum­mer is a washout.

But today, gar­den­ers every­where are cel­e­brat­ing the damp, watch­ing the blue­bells lift their faces to drink.  Just last week, this was the scene in our sunny gar­den, such a beau­ti­ful sight that even shy, fright­ened Keechie ven­tured out to smell the blossoms.

Even more so than sun­shine, this Easter sea­son, I have been grate­ful  to be peace­fully at home and NOT con­tem­plat­ing a house move.  Would you believe that in 2008, 2011 and 2013 our East­ers were ALL char­ac­terised by just such an upheaval!  It made me tired last night, just to read about my own life.  I feel very appre­cia­tive to be spend­ing this par­tic­u­lar fes­tive time doing noth­ing more chal­leng­ing than a lit­tle light bell-ringing, a lit­tle marathon cook­ing, a lot of egg-dyeing.

Yes, my ring­ing life was adven­tur­ous last week!  After a months-long, £250,000 ren­o­va­tion cam­paign, the lovely ten bells of All Saints, Ful­ham, reopened for busi­ness on Sat­ur­day.  What a stun­ning tower, dat­ing back to 1445.

And we Barnes ringers loy­ally crossed the river (I on my trusty bike across Put­ney Bridge) to help inau­gu­rate them in style.  Eddie proudly intro­duced us to refur­bished tower, and we rang the bells, cast in 1652, and now given brand-new hang­ings and ropes.

Ten bells!  At Barnes, of course, we have eight lovely bells, and we often ring on only six of them.  Ten bells is an expo­nen­tially more com­plex task.  Just think: you have to be able to keep your place in a sequence of ten “bongs,” and you must cru­cially be able to hold up your bell and wait that extra mil­lisec­ond or two while two bells more than you’re used to have a chance to ring before you.  Trisha and Michael joined in the usual cama­raderie of rounds and call changes.

How odd it was to ring with entirely brand-new ropes and sal­lies!  Lit­tle bits of hemp, plas­ter, and the dust of the ages flew around our heads.  But we had a beau­ti­ful time,…