What's new (is this a blog?)
This page began as an explanation of how I came to write articles on bellringing (which are on All Saints Wokingham tower website) for the non-ringing people of Wokingham, but then and now to include lots of other things as well. (See list of other articles .)
Christmas is coming – A reminder of how busy it can be for ringers – ringing for six services in 20 hours. Read more.
Wokingham Remembers – The Wokigham Paper published a series of six articles about the history of ringing in Wokingham, based on the research for my book 'Living Heritage'. Read more.
A busy time – Getting back to normal after the screen installation, tower tours for Heritage Open Days and the centenary of the death of one of our ringers in World War I. Read more.
At long last! – Installation of the glass screen to separate the ringers from noise & heat, after many years. Read more.
Royalties – Nice to know that the book on Bells & Bellringing that I wrote for Shire Books is selling well – My first batch of royalties has just arrived.
Taking bellringing to the people – Local ringers hired a mobile belfry and took it to the Hurst Show. Read more.
Birthday bells and ‘candles’ – Ringing for the Queen's 90th birthday, and how ringers linked '90' into their ringing. Read more.
Decisions, decisions – The 8th of my series of articles explaining what the Decisions on methods and peals are all about has been published in The Ringing World.. See articles.
Hitting the bookshops – Shire Books, that well known publisher of good value, informative books on a wide range of interesting topics has published Bells and Bellringing, which I wrote to help bring the fascinating world of ringing to a wider section of the public. See more.
Ringing beyond All Saints – Read more.
New Year ringing – Read more.
A special year for ringers – FirstPeal2015 – How the worldwide ringing community rose to the challenge of getting 300 ringers through their first peal to mark the 300th anniversary of the first recorded peal. Read more.
Heating system behaviour – A large infrequently used building like a church behaves differently from a normal house. This analysis is based on measurements at different times of year, as well as some theoretical calculations. Download the paper.
A very different All Saints – Contrasting the tiny church and congregation at All Saints Inveraray (with a massive bell tower) with the much bigger, vibrant parish of All Saints Wokingham. Read more.
Changing times – Explaining the problem of ringers not being able to hear the bells, and not being able to ring so much as a results. Read more.
Bellringers worldwide in Hull – A busy weekend including being part of a radio broadcast and attending an international meeting. Read more
Special public ringing – Explaining the origins of ringing for public events, which predates ringing for church services by several centuries. Read more.
A ringing opportunity – Subtle recruitment! Read more.
The rise of brickwork – When I began this website in 2007 it was mainly about ringing, as a mirror of my tower's website , but for added interest I included pages on other things that interested me. Over the years they have grown, and some have become significant resources in their own right, notably my pages on brickwork. See how it now dominates visits to the website .
Ringers in the news – Hitting the headlines – in two successive weeks – the final two to appear in print! Read more .
Special ringing and some explanation – At All Saints church we rang a peal on All Saints Day. An opportunity to explain what a peal is and about the naming of ringing methods. Read more .
The passing of someone who was a link to our history – Mary Cole's father appears in the earliest picture of ringers here. She was part of the revival of ringing after World War II. We marked her passing. Read more .
A ringing colleague moving on – One of the nice things about being a ringer is that almost wherever you move there is a band to join – ready-made friends. Siân joined us when she moved here and now she has moved on. Read more .
Remedial work on doomed path – Some much needed on the deteriorating paths south of Wokingham, but will spreading stones on top of deep mud be successful? Sadly the paths are doomed by the Council's plans to build a road and houses through the area. See pictures.
Audibility of the bells – People occasionally complain about the sound of bellringing, but this complaint was about not hearing them. This article explained the long history of balancing the needs of those near and far from the tower. Read more .
Ringing glossary – Ever since I wrote The Tower Handbook I had the intention to put the material on line. It's been a long time, and it's only a small part of the book, but I finally put the glossary (containing some 850 ringing terms) online here .
Tower changes – Another AGM but one at which our newest recruit took a tower officer. Read more .
Fabian Stedman – How we marked the 300th anniversary of the death of 'The Father of Change Ringing'. Read more .
Tower visitors – Only a bunch of youngsters but they certainly livened up our regular practice. Read more .
Learning to ring at All Saints – Encouraging recruits. Read more .
Another chairmanship – It was flattering – but more work – to be asked to take on the chairmanship of the PR Committee (as well as the Biographies Committee ) of the Central Council. But I believe better public awareness of bellringing is important. Without exception the reaction when people discover the skill, the heritage and the community behind English style bellringing they are fascinated. See my ringing page .
More car park woes – Two angry letters in the press show that the problem of the Denmark Street car park was only partly solved when the Council chose to implement only one of my recommendations for improvement. Read more .
Remembering 1953 – With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee spread out over both two years, and the Jubilee holiday last year not being the 60th anniversary of anything, it was good that the 60th anniversary of the Coronation day itself fell on a Sunday. We rang to mark the occasion. See what I said .
Ringing For England –We responded to the call to 'Ringing For England'. This explains the movement to encourage pride in our Patron Saint and his national Day. See what I said
The power of numbers – Numbers permeate bellringing, so I explained about 'Date Touches' whose length matches the year in which they are rung. Curious? See what I said .
Invited to Yorkshire – It was a pleasure to accept an invitation to speak at the Snowdon Commemoration Lunch in York, because I have family connections with 'God's own county'. It gave me chance to talk about some of the changes and challenges facing the bell ringing community in the 21st century. See what I said .
Ringing changes ‘in hand' – One day, one house and six rooms, with over 50 ringers and lots of handbells, was the setting for 36 attempted quarter peals (performances lasting 30-40 minutes) – a layman's explanation. See the article .
Learning the Ropes – I've taught a lot of people the art and craft of ringing. Seeing them progress is always very gratifying. Sue was the most recent. See the article .
Feedback from readers – One of the nice things about giving talks is the immediate feedback from the audience. You don't get that when writing a book, but sometimes readers are so impressed that they do send feedback. Several people bought my book Living Heritage after seeing an article about it in the BAE Systems Pensioners Newsletter, and some of them wrote to thank me. Even better was an unsolicited comment from a reader of one of my Learning Curve books : fed back via a third party.
Goal achieved – Last spring, our band of ringers set ourselves a very demanding challenge, to ring 100 different methods during the year – nearly four times our normal repertoire. See the article .
Olympic ringing – In the Olympic year, ringers are naturally planning to mark the occasion. See the article .
The Future of Ringing – I attended a stimulating workshop about how to secure the future of ringing. I led the session on the potential to exploit technology – read my presentation (PDF) . If you don't know about the rich cultural heritage of English style change ringing, see this explanation .
Solar power a year on – We've been generating electricity for a year now, a good point to take stock and look at the results. See details .
Sharing our Heritage – It's always rewarding to see how interested members of the public are when they realise how much there is to ringing. On this occasion there was a 1950s twist to the story. See the article .
Moving on – Mentoring young people is rewarding, and soon they move on to new opportunities. See the article .
More visible results – There are plenty of sources of information about brick bonds, but the ones I have found on the web all seem to lack something. I decided to create my own page, with pictures. I will add more to it, but there is a lot there now. Take a look .
Gregorian Reflections – I have always admired the late Richard Gregory, who did so much to advance our understanding of perception, and whose work helped to stimulate my own interest in perception and illusions. So when I heard that the Royal Institution was holding a day of presentations and reminiscences about this remarkable man, I went along to what was a truly memorable day. His website lives on after him, and contains many of his papers. Among them is Adventures of a Maverick , an autobiographical essay written in 2000 and published the following year in Psychology in Britain: Historical Essays and Personal Reflections, See also my talk on pattern and illusion .
Visible results – I have a long-standing interest in brickwork , which provides a window into the history of our built environment, once you learn how to read it. For many years I have gathered data on the way brick size varies across the country, which is a visible legacy of the 18th & 19th century brick tax. Finally, I analysed the data. See the results .
Youthful competition – It's always good to see the next generation making its mark. The first article was about the first ever National Youth Ringing Contest, in which one of our young ringers took part. Then a few weeks later, some of our youngest ringers took part in a local ringing competition. Read about the National Youth Contest and the youthful entries in our local contest .
My Klein bottle is sagging! – It was also dusty, as I found when I took it down from the shelf. It's many years since I made it, and lots of other fun things with the ends of paper tape reels that we threw away at work. It brought back happy memories. You can see all about it, including pictures .
Mathematical music – That's a perfect description of change ringing, and I had the opportunity to talk to a group of bright young mathematicians at Park House School about the fascinating maths that underpins this unique form of music. You can see a brief overview here. See the article that I wrote for The Ringing World.
Green power – We've always tried to be efficient, to use resources and energy sparingly and to generate minimum waste. We've now taken the next logical step by putting our south facing roof to good use with PV (photo-voltaic) panels generating solar electricity. We won't be 'self sufficient' of course (for example it won't generate any power when we have our lights on at night) but over the year, I estimate that we will generate about 10% more electricity than we consume. We sell the power through Ecotricity's Microtricity scheme.
What's in a name? – We rang an interesting peal for Andy and Cara Smith's wedding blessing. All the methods we rang had names with special significance for him – an ideal opportunity to de-mystify the naming of change ringing methods. See the article .
Money for old rope – Not just a catchy title, but a good description of the value of learning to splice bell ropes. See the article.