30 May 2013

A Canon and a Clock Weight

Like many a photographer, I generally like to have a camera close to hand as much as possible.
Which means my Canon G11 is usually in the car, 'just in case'.  Tonight it came in useful again.

* * * * * * *

This is the (large and VERY heavy) clock weight which broke free from the clock at the top of the church tower in which I was ringing bells tonight.

It crashed through the base of the clock casing, broke three planks, fell two floors in between six ringing bells without hitting any of them (almost a miracle!), and then caught the rope of the five, which I happened to be ringing at the time.  A large length of rope was pulled through my hands, which meant the bell began to 'ring down', and I got smacked in the face with the extra rope!  Fortunately the rope was not pulled right out of my hands, and another quick reacting ringer caught the sally and we thus avoided breaking a stay, and the bell was rung down while the crashing from above subsided.

A lot happens very quickly in bell ringing when things go wrong.  Even while something was obviously breaking above us, and I was struggling to regain control of my bell, we were all trying to work out what on earth was happening.  

As I knew I hadn't done anything 'odd' or stupid, but also knew that the something which had gone wrong had clearly involved my bell, I thought something on the bell had failed.  My home tower has a bell which has twice lost it's counter weight so I thought that might have happened tonight.  It wasn't until someone went up to investigate that we discovered what had really happened.

We were very lucky indeed that no-one was injured, and none of the bells or their fixings were damaged. It was interesting (for me at least!) to be able to grab a record shot of the offending item.  It adds something to this latest addition to my personal collection of bellringing stories!

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