Thursday 7 April 2011

The bells!

Our last day in Perth and it started with a ringing in the ears: at the Bell Tower, down on the waterfront, there are 16 bells, twelve of them from St Martin's in the Fields in London, which are not only regularly rung by a company of enthusiastic ringers, but also by much less accomplished tourists under the stern (not to say bossy) instruction of Laura. She's an older English lady of the type who brooks no nonsense: when this Brazilian woman said that actually, she spoke Portuguese, not Spanish, it was clear Laura thought she was being wilfully perverse.

She was rather scathing too about our efforts as we found that it's much harder than you would think: who knew that you could pull on the rope and make the bell swing round, yet not make a sound? It's all in the check, we discovered, when we got on to the 370kg one. That's when you let the rope with its fuzzy striped handle (the 'sally' - but I got no points for knowing that already) go almost all the way up, and then hold tight. It's awfully good for the stomach muscles: Laura was a slight little thing, probably from bossing the biggest bell, the 1480kg tenor.

Then we drove to the airport via a circuit around the Swan Valley, stopping off at the Margaret River Chocolate Company to undo whatever good work we may have done on the ropes with a chocolate macadamia nut cluster.

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