"The bells, the bells…"

I wanna tell you a story…

Once upon a time there was a blogger called ‘Small Town Man’ who was a mate of mine. Small Town Man wanted to write a blog, so I set it up for him but then he got attacked by some people who frequent another blog  that champions free speech but where I’m not allowed to comment – you know who you are.

So Small Town Man quit blogging. Which was a shame. Such a shame that I’m going to carry on the tradition over here – and here’s a story that he’d have loved…

News this week from Smalltown, Hertfordshire that’s there’s a bit of a ding dong going on in the sleepy little village of Ashwell. Seems the poor old church at Ashwell has had a bit of a hard time and needed some repairs, so they were forced to shut the church bells down for 16 months while repairs were carried out. Oh, how silence rained supreme over the village! But we can’t have that, can we?

So they turned the bells back on and a right ding-a-ling broke out because they were going 24 hours a day and pissing off people who quite liked to sleep at night. How very uncommunity minded of them!

Complaints were made to the Ashwell National Front council who felt honour bound to investigate. Apparently the bells constitute a health hazard due to ‘sleep disturbance’, so it was suggested that they be turned off between 11pm and 7am which, you might think, was a reasonable compromise – but then you don’t live in Smalltown!

The Gestapo villagers were having none of it. “They’re a part of village life, and if people don’t like the bells then they shouldn’t come and live here. They’re welcome to move elsewhere!” Another suggested that it was all because of “these bloody incomers”.

The fact is, of course, that is there’s one thing Smalltown people don’t like then it’s change. Any change. It’s been suggested that the bells be quietened and there are men from Elf and Safety running around with decibel metres checking they don’t exceed the permitted levels. One villager said “It’s bloody silly! They should just bugger off and let us get on with it!”

Oh dear! However as a bit of light relief, I suggest the people of Ashwell remember that classic performance of Arthur Mullard portraying Quasimodo…

“The bells! The bells! Those bleedin’ bells is gettin’ on my wick!”


8 responses to “"The bells, the bells…"

  1. Ummm. Presumably, once the bells were switched back on again after the repairs had been carried out, they were not sounded more often than previously? If that is the case then I suppose the good people of Ashwell were quite happy with the noise from the bells before the repair work was undertaken? Which suggests to me that it is indeed the case that the complaints are coming from folk who have moved to the village over the last 16 months, in other words, relative newcomers. If all of this is correct then I would side with those that argue that the church bells are an intrinsic part of village life, and only to be expected. As for the claim that they were going 24 hours a day, I take it that they were not ringing out peals, but merely sounding the hourly and quarterly chimes?

    This story reminds me of some people who moved out into the sticks and complained to the local farmer that the cows and sheep were making too much noise mooing and bleating.

    Certain noises go with the territory. In towns and cities there will be noise from traffic, trains and late night revellers. In the country there will be noise from things like church bells and farm animals. I really can't see what the problem is.

  2. I see where you're coming from. Beats me why they can't just turn them off at night tho' which would seem a reasonable compromise, but then Smalltown doesn't do compromise!

    I once stayed in a hotel in St Wolfgang, Austria right on the village square next to the church. Those bells were a damned nuisance – every 15 minutes 24 hours a day. You really were constantly woken up. This made me realise thatI should never buy a house near a church and in fact didn't buy one when I moved here for precisely that reason.

    Outsiders? Well, I was sick and tired when I arrived here of constantly being told “You're not from round here then?” One guy told me I should go back to the housing estate across the bypass – which would have been difficult because I never lived there in the first place!

    Makes me laugh when I watch “Escape to the Country” at all those people who “want to be part of the local village community” because they will never accept you in a month of Sundays…

    Shame about Small Town Man but I gather he's reading this blog so let's hope he's happy that I've kept it going.

  3. The bells are a good theme for the retired locals to go into battle with each other to see which comittee/group has the most power and influence….there will be a lot of recently retired rich execuitve types in what seems like a sleepy retirement village who suddenly find themselves standing next to the village idiot in the local post office queue and feel depressed that their previous life has vanished and are desperate to make an attempt to be important and respected again and get back into the cut and thrust of backstabbing and nastiness they revelled in during their careers.

    I have seen it all before in a lovely broadland village which had a lot of young retirement types that woud take on any battle, uneven roads/boundaries/private roads/boat moorings …fucking anything, I think they had a different committee/club meeting for every week of the year…the infighting and backstabbing between the old money landowning types who had gained status over decades and the new money just retired porsche drivers was a constant battle….well to be honest it was like the Middle East conflict…they never knew who were their friends or enemies most of the time.

    Bells….nothing to do with anything in my opinion…..I bet there has been a full scale ruck over wether dogs even on leads are allowed on the village green.


  4. As an atheist, I have to ask, why doesn't the church's god please both sides? I mean to say, if the none existent sky pixie can raise the dead etc.. Surely it can please both sides… Oh, hang on..

  5. You're spot on, Rickie. It's exactly like that around here – lots of big fish in lots of tiny ponds.

  6. Reminds me when a wealthy 'town' couple bought a place with a plot of land next to a working farm. After a week they asked the local farmer if he could stop his cocks crowing at 6.00 in the morning. The farmer's reply is not recorded.

  7. Cuntybollocks

    Really enjoying the blog.😃

    I live in a reasonably sized village, not small, not to big.
    We had some folk move here from town and not only did they moan about a locals cock crowing early, they also complained about, other various farm noise AND the smell and how loud the dawn chorus was and how it ‘disturbed and upset them’.
    So affronted by the countrysides aroma and daily tunes, not only did they complain to the village quarterly rag, but the local daily rag too AND went on local radio (the outlaws told me, I’m not old enough for ‘that’ station just yet).
    They got a such tremendous response from both villagers and towns folk, I think they’d wish they kept there gobs shut.

    • The obvious question is “If you dislike the countryside so much, why the fuck did you move here in the first place?!?”

      Mind you , it’s normal for Norfolk…