The bells are pealing

It is Sunday, 2nd September. The sun is shining brightly, and the yachts are in full sail on the sapphire blue waters of Windermere. As I look out of the bay window, I see a bird soaring over the rooftops of houses set on the hillside below Blenheim Lodge, our bed and breakfast guesthouse.

I am standing in the bedroom called Claife Heights, on the first floor of our B&B in Bowness-on-Windermere. Over yonder is Claife Heights, the mountain range that forms a backdrop to Lake Windermere when viewed from our guesthouse. The bedroom is named after these hills, which stand sentry by the Lake, protecting the villages that have arisen around the two geographical glacial basins that comprise Windermere.

This is the view of Lake Windermere as seen from most of our bedrooms and the guest lounge. Stunning, isn’t it?

Outside, the church bells are pealing loudly and tunefully. As I tidy Claife Heights, I wonder why I am indoors rather than outdoors enjoying this glorious day. The weather bodes well for the day, and I can just imagine strolling by the Lake and watching the swans jostling for food at the lakeshore or sitting on the bench perched on The Dales Way that overlooks Old Bowness and Lake Windermere.

The bells of St Martin’s have brought back an amusing memory. We were living in Howgate at the time, and Hubby had been asked by a member of the music group to help with ringing the bells to announce Sunday service. Hubby is not musical at all, but was pleased to be asked.

Came the first Sunday that Hubby was to ring the bells, and our young sons were making us late for church with last minute ’emergencies’ as children are wont to do. When we finally made it to church, a mere mile from our cottage, it was a mad rush to the bells to starting ringing them. Frank, Hubby’s mentor, started him off, and then left him to it.

Unfortunately, Frank’s faith in Hubby’s ability to ring the bells was misplaced. As the choir members, of whom I was one, gathered together to process out into the chancel, I could hear the bells pealing for all they were worth – but not as rhythmically as I had expected to hear. Frank really needed to take over the ringing; but he was engaged in ushering people into the church and handing out hymnals and Bibles.

Poor Hubby! It was not a good place for him to be. However, everyone gave him full marks for persevering. After the service, Hubby thought to hand in his resignation after a disastrous stint on the bells. Not to be daunted, Frank recklessly decided that Hubby ought to be given a chance to redeem himself. Frank never knew that Hubby is not musical, and it never occurred to either of us to tell him, as Hubby’s lack of musicality has always been a part of him, rather like his height is a part of his physical stature.

Finally, after a few short weeks of bumbling along, Frank decided to ring the bells himself and Hubby was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The bells of St James’ began again to peal with joyous abandon, sounding loud hallelujahs as they called one and all to worship The King. Ringing now with verve and rhythm, they heralded our Sunday services where church members and visitors alike sang together with one voice to praise the Lord and beseech His mercy and care on us all. What a privilege it is when we are able to use our individual abilities and talents to proclaim His glory!

St James The Less Church, Penicuik, Scotland. (Photo courtesy of

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