Coast to Coast 2011: Day Three–Supplemental

It sounded like it was all going really well at the Queen Catherine – and it was until I went to bed. I had an excellent meal – they hand make their own burgers and proper chips too. It was brilliant.

I turned in early and watched a Romero zombie film before bed and became very aware of the location of my room and its proximity to the church at the back of the pub. All that separates the two is a small stretch of graveyard. The church is quite tiny, as you would expect for a small village, but it boasts a bell – well two in fact, one small and one large one.

I say “boasts”, because that’s what it does – the church tells everyone it has two bells. Not only does it ring the hour – an appropriate number of chimes for the hour in question, but it also rings the half hour – now that’s not unusual – ringing the quarters too is unusual. The Os bell rings all four quarters! It strikes twice at the quarter past – on small followed by one large chime. It rings four times at the half hour a double set of the quarter past and then it strikes six times at the quarter to – a triple of the quarter past. Then at the hour it rings the big bell for the number of the hour. That’s 12 strikes before it even gets to the hour chime.

The windows in the Queen Catherine are old – they are old wooden, single glazed sash windows – so you can hear a bird fart at 20 yards – they do nothing to suppress the sounds of the bells.

I hoped (beyond hope it turned out) that they would stop chiming at say midnight – seems reasonable? – no chance. Every time I started dropping off, the bells chimed – after a while my nerves were jingling – in the end I was waiting for the bloody chimes – pointless drifting off when you’re going to be jolted roughly back into wakefulness.

I suppose at some point I must have got some sleep – I don’t remember the 3am chime for example, but the quarter to chime was the most irritating – you may be able to ignore a double chime, but not six in a row.

Anyway – you get the idea – I was a bit unhappy!

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