Today I've been ringing All Saints' bells half-muffled for a funeral. I'm very sorry for those saying goodbye to a loved one so close to Christmas when everyone else seems to be partying and celebrating, so I was glad to be able to show respect for them by ringing. With 400 years of tradition behind English change-ringing, there is a real sense of marking the seasons, celebrations, joys and tragedies of life.
On Christmas morning the bells will be ringing in celebration, but today, half muffled, they sounded solomn and dignified. The marking of the passing of someone much loved. Yet although subdued by the muffles the sound was not the mournful clang of a bell tolling, but rather the simply rung eight bell musical acknowledgement of a life lived, and the legacy left behind among family and friends.