The web pages of Stephen Penney

Sunday, 11th December, 2005
I was woken up at 6am this morning by the explosion at Hemel which scared the life out of me - for some reason I thought my flat was collapsing. I lay there, still shaken, thinking it was a clap of thunder and wondering why it had scared me so much. I heard the two further explosions which definitely sounded like thunder, and returned to sleep.

I took a photo of the smoke from St Albans Abbey this morning. I could see jets of flames shooting up, too. In the evening the flames could be clearly seen glowing in the darkness.


Thursday, 22nd September, 2005
Peal Tour

From 5th - 10th September I was away on John Ford's annual peal tour, which this year was based in Leamington Spa.

Spent the morning listening to the peal of Leatherhead, and learning methods for the rest of the tour.
In the afternoon we rang Claybrooke S Major at Claybrooke for over an hour or so before a clapper fell out.

Two peals today, the Warwickshire in the morning wasn't nearly as boring as it looked, and had lots of nice music off the front to enjoy.
The afternoon's peal of 8-spliced was stood up by request after about 45 minutes, as the ropes were too springy to achieve good striking on.

Spent the morning looking around the Heritage Motor Centre while a peal of Rutland was rung (rather them than me).
I wussed out in the peal of minor in the afternoon and rang the treble.

A fairly lazy morning started at 10.30 when we left Leamington to listen to some of the Knowle Surprise Major at Knowle. It had been miscalled shortly before we arrived, though.
After significantly more pottering around and listening to the cricket, I called a peal of London at Fillongley in the afternoon.

Another two peals for me today, but the four spliced at Monks Kirkby was lost after about an hour of good ringing. An enjoyable peal of Bristol followed in the afternoon.

A late night was followed by an early morning in order to settle up at the B&B and be in Daventry for a 9.30 start. My headache didn't stop me enjoying the peal, although I could have done without the 3 hour crawl through traffic on the way home!


Wednesday, 14th September, 2005

A couple of minor updates to the webpage - the webcam has returned, now with the slighly more interesting view from my new flat. You can click on the image to get a (slighly) larger image.
Also, in the box below it, I've added a "Visitor Log" link. This is courtesy of, which uses Google Maps to show where the visitors to this site are based.


Monday, 12th September, 2005
Lake District

From 14th August I visited the lake district for a few days with friends David and Richard. I'd got the day off work for my birthday on the 16th anyway, so rather than spend it sitting at home I thought I'd surround myself with some of the superb scenery the area has to offer.

We ascended fifteen peaks in total:

Sunday: Loughrigg
Monday: Pike of Stickle, Loft Crag, Harrison Stickle, Thunacar Knott, High Raise, Pavey Ark
Tuesday: Wetherlam, Swirl How, Great Carrs, Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag
Wednesday: Wansfell, Red Screes

I also took quite a few photos.


Tuesday, 2nd August, 2005
Welsh Colleges Summer Tour

The weather forecast showed rain, thunderstorms, and the occasional plague of locusts, so it was with no surprise that I turned up in Bishops Lydeard to find it raining heavily. I'd stopped briefly on the way at Stonehenge, paid two quid to park there and had a look around the perimeter before realising you only get your two quid back if you pay to go in and look around it. I decided I was happy to pay two quid not to have to walk around in the rain, so contented myself with the roadside view before heading off. I'm sure it was more impressive, although further away from the road, when I visited it about fifteen years ago....

Stonehenge - sort of on the way

Ross turned up just after me and we went off looking for a pub in the rain, only to find the one we were meeting people in was shut. We found one soon enough and managed to sink a couple of pints before more people turned up and we headed up the tower to ring a reasonable quarter of Somerset Surprise Major.

The hall was one of the more basic places we've stayed in - there just about room to lay down, the kitchen consisted of a spoon and there was only the one toilet. Still, after a few pints it doesn't matter where you sleep, and you get bed and breakfast for a remarkably cheap price.

There was a lot of this....

On last year's summer tour I'd found the cycling hard even though it was fairly flat, so I'd intended to get enough practice in for this year by cycling 1000 miles during the year before the tour. In typically not-getting-round-to-it style, I'd not cycled a metre in the whole year until we set off to the first tower on the Thursday morning. Although I felt pretty tired a lot of the time, I didn't do too badly, and only had to walk up the particularly steep hills. We went swimming in Taunton on the thursday evening for the chance to have a shower and relax in the pool.

... an awful lot of this....

On Friday morning the cycling was the hardest of tour, including several difficult steep hill which needed walking up. I only just arrived at the tower before lunch to have a quick ring before heading down the road to the pub. In the church yeard was a 3000 year old tree. I should have taken a photo of it, not that it looked any different from any other tree.

Tim & Kate organised a great BBQ at their house for us on the thursday night, and I was especially grateful that they let me use their shower!

The next day felt a bit longer to cycle, but was significantly flatter. It rained a lot though, so waterproofs were needed. Somehow my phone survived falling from my bike and landing in a puddle. The striking competition in the afternoon relieved the monotony of '"just another six'. We had a half harted attempt and ringing something strange, and due to this and the failure of most of the bend to set their bells, we came last. One exreme or the other, I say. The next tower provided us with tea and cake which was appreciated more than they could imagine. They seemed quite surprised that the other towers hadn't done the same!

... and a little bit of this!

Sunday morning meant getting up early to pack things away before heading our seperate ways, some of us off to Ditcheat to ring a quarter peal before heading home.


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