Sunday, 13 November 2011

The bells, the bells

Just when I think there is not much for me to write about if ever I did get round to doing the autobiography, two things happen.

After a nice Sunday lunch of local hoggett, we sit down on the expansive Champagne-Charlie sofas and hear the Remembrance Sunday bells ringing outside.

'You have to come outside and listen to these,' I say. 'They're half muffled.'

Mr Champagne-Charlie comes out like a shot but his wife, Bubble, and Pelly Sheepwash take a little persuading, until Mr Grigg explains how for years he has been going up in the bell tower, fastening the little leather mufflers to the clappers on the bells each Remembrance Sunday.

In deference to his annual bravery, they come out with me to listen. The bells peal in rounds, clittery-clattery loud and then a perfect muffled echo. The bells are yelling to each other and whispering back. It is a conversation worth listening to.

And then the ringers get into a sequence called Whittington: 'Turn again Whittington, turn again Whittington...' and the muffled peal echoes its response from another century ago. It is a wonderful sound, and one that connects the listener to hundreds of years gone by.

And when we go back into the house, I walk backwards to the roaring fire in the woodburner, my skirts held high to warm my bottom. I become my favourite aunt who made a habit of making an entrance in cape and swirling dress and then backing up the fire to heat up her best asset. God bless you, Auntie Marj.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. Your Aunt Marj must have been a character.
    I've never heard muffled bells - didn't even know how this was accomplished.

  2. Why are the bells muffled on Remembrance Sunday in particular? Is this a local or national phenomenom?

  3. I think it's a national traditon to have them half muffled for Remembrance Sunday. It's very ghostly and mournful sound. I think they are also half muffled for some funerals, but very rarely fully muffled, only for the death of a sovereign.

  4. Hello Maddie, I really enjoy your blog and that's why I've nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award. Please check out my blog for details. Congratulations! Barbara

  5. Your writing is always so beautiful. It beckons people to slow down; to see the world as you do; to appreciate life.


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