The time came around once again to quit the world of the day job for a short time to venture out with the delightful NUSCR family for our annual dinner celebrations.
This year, me now being the slightly less lively full-time working adult (now closer to 30 than 20 for the first time, urgh), I couldn’t break free from my hectic journalism work to get up to the city on Friday for the pre-tour sesh, so I’m afraid this report will lack the details of that often joyous night.
I can only imagine everyone had a nice chilled out evening with limited alcohol consumption, as they were probably very determined to be at their best ringing potential for the tour. Probably.
Anyhow, an early start on Saturday led us to our first tower, Leicester Cathedral, a great set of bells which was a grab for me and many others. In true society fashion, our first bout of call changes saw a "NUSCR call change” done by our tour organizer Dan Meyer, who called nearly all the band to switch around at once, resulting in some spectacular crashing. But you can never fault ambition!
Next, we left the city centre and headed out to Mountsorrel for a stab at St Peter’s, a church that was very neatly tucked away in the centre of the village. Various methods were rung successfully, with a steady trickle of ringers departing early to get the first pint in at our lunch pub, this year being The Waterside Inn, and we were probably one of the biggest parties they’d ever had in at once.
It took a while, but everyone, thankfully, go their food and fuel. As we sunk a few more pints waiting for the right time to depart for the next tour, our top-notch president Roger Lawson was called in to action to save the day for the Langton family, who critically needed access to the baby changing facilities.
Sadly, the pub had lost the keys for this room, so Roger leapt into action to help the staff crack through the sophisticated locking mechanism to break in. Put simply; Roger got down! The final tower of the day was Quorn where we were all welcomed, even those who were not vegetarian. After some excellent ringing - and churchyard ball games where NUSCR children were joined by a very sociable cat – the race back to Nottingham to get suited, booted and heeled for the dinner was on.
At this point, I was reliably informed certain committee members took this journey time to quickly reboot themselves with an in-car nap. Kids these days – just no stamina in them at all. Several of the more efficient dressers managed to make it to The Roundhouse to get a few pre-drinks down before we all congregated on the 11th floor of the Park Plaza hotel, where food, fine wine and frivolities began in earnest.
After lots of laughing and alcohol, it was time for speeches, first off; grand master Ed. He did a cracking job, considering he faced a blizzard of sugar and sweetener packets from all sides and the usual amount of heckling from a certain Matthew Jones. Secretary Chloe also held her ground, recounting how very sociable the society had been this year with a great batch of new freshers joining the family.
Our guest speaker Laura Turner, of Sheffield and MUGCR, gave a swift and sweet speech about how much fun ringing societies still have every year, and no matter how many giraffes get stolen, the banter will never die.
All of these were interspersed with many, many utterly terrible jokes from Roger, which I imagine will have led some members to contemplate throwing themselves out of the window, despite being on the 11th floor.
With all speeches concluded and all thanks issued, the ceilidh commenced, which I have to say was carried out in a perfectly calm and orderly fashion.
Cue much sweat, but thankfully no blood and tears. Everyone left thoroughly warn out but intact, with the new recruits successfully trained.
The next morning, battered and hungover, many ringers made it to Beeston and All Saints for morning ringing, before making our way to the Roebuck for the classic hangover breakfast. The peal band began slightly later than scheduled, due to delayed food service and ringers (rightly) not daring to ring a whole peal on an empty stomach. Nevertheless, they were ultimately successful with a good ring of Yorkshire Major, which sounded wonderful when walking by.
Many thanks to this year’s committee who despite several organizational setbacks, delivered a hugely enjoyable dinner with generous servings of NUSCR family banter and love. Quite an achievement to pull off the year after a 60th anniversary!
Report by Ellis Whitehouse