By standing tradition the weekend began in the Imperial - where better to begin the return of an Annual Dinner Weekend in person!
Saturday morning involved a trip to the 8 bell tower of Newton St Cyres. It was at this moment that the later named "Gnathan", the ECG gnome, made an appearance and was swiped within 5 minutes or so (I found out the hard way that Gnathan must not leave my hand in order to be safe). A range of call changes and methods were rung whilst at Newton St Cyres including call changes, Grandsire and Stedman Triples, and Double Norwich at the request of Nathan (the ringer, not the gnome).
Naturally we then headed to our next pub of choice for a spot of lunch. Around 30 of us sampled the excellent beer and food at the Beer Engine which gave us a couple of hours to socialise before heading over to Exeter St Thomas. St Thomas is also an 8 bell tower and the ladder into the ringing room gave a new challenge to band swap overs!
Once everyone had arrived at the Exeter Brewery, the Saturday evening began with the ECG meeting and elections where both Tom Hinks and Steph Hills were re-elected into their roles of President and General Secretary. Then came the arrival of the Pies which ranged from the classic Steak and Ale to a very tasty Cheddar and Leek. Following the meal were the speeches, the daffodil toast, a handbell touch of Bungle's Little Surprise Royal and a talk from this year's guest speaker Hayley Young. Hayley is a brewing consultant which seemed very appropriate for the annual dinner in the Exeter Brewery!
It was at this point an hour or two later that Gnathan suffered a nasty accident. In attempting to prove the theory that Gnathan is indestructible it was revealed that he in fact isn't. Other evening shenanigans involved a Thomas the tank engine dance from Timmah and picklebacks for David, Nathan and Jonathan, although they (the picklebacks) were short-lived since the barman used up the last of the Jameson whisky on the first round!
Sunday morning began with service ringing at St David's and St Mark's for the early birds and later at Heavitree for those who were in a fit state! For those wondering about Gnathan, he made it to St David's in a semi-fixed state but then made a hasty exit with Peter and even went horse riding. Following service ringing, or simply getting out of bed, many of us gathered in Boston Tea Party for breakfast followed by St George's Meeting House for lunch. To finish the weekend we then headed to the Cathedral for a final hour and a half of ringing. The final touch was 70 changes of Spliced Maximus (involving some Bastow Little Bob) to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Overall it was a great weekend, wonderfully organised and it's only 51 weeks until the next one!
P.s. Gnathan is now safely back in St David's but he's been demoted to the damaged step.
Emily Watts President