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Published: January 17th 2016
For whom the bell tolls?
I love the nights when they are balmy and you can hear the crickets cricketing in the bush, but last night I gave in to the air conditioning. I don’t usually like air conditioning on overnight if I can help it, but trying to sleep in over 30 degrees heat was just not happening.
We all met up in the kitchen to a breakfast of fresh fruit and toast, I think we all looked a bit exhausted from the heat, but we have touristy things to do so after breakfast, tidying up, getting washed and dressed we all piled into both cars and headed to the train station.
Yes the train station today, not that we are going on a big journey we just figured it would be a bit of fun to head into the city on the train. There are two benefits here, we have two vehicles and parking may be difficult because it is still holiday time and that also means paying 2 lots of parking fees and parking in the city is expensive at the best of times and Transperth is a pretty good public transport system and the
prices are not too bad either.
We parked at Murdoch, at $2 per day parking it is a bargain and off we set toward the platform and await the next train to the city.
Hopping off at Esplanade, our first destination of the day was the Bell Tower which is in easy walking distance along the Esplanade, down Barrack Street into Barrack Square, you can’t miss it, a huge glass and copper building that leads up to a point in the sky, well it does if you look at it from underneath anyway. It is 82.5 metres high.
The Bell Tower, or the Swan Bell Tower specially built to home the Swan Bells, a set of 18 bells twelve of which are the historic bells from St Martin in the Fields church in London. six other bells were cast in more recent times by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The St Martin in the fields bells were donated to Western Australia as part of the 1988 Australian Bicentenary celebrations.
I am not going to go into all the boring technical stuff, it is on good old Wikipedia if you would really like to know.
Several photographs later we finally made our way to the desk to pay our entry fees and head up the tower. You can take the lift or you can take the stairs, we decided to take the stairs and as we climbed higher and higher I just paid attention to what was ahead of me and without looking out of the window to see how high we were getting.
Eventually we reach the fourth floor, when I say eventually it probably took less than five minutes and we were in the room where there was a lady demonstrating bell ringing. In no time at all she beckoned the six of us in and instructed us to sit down while she talked to the small crowd that was already in there. Then all the guys were called to the floor and dutifully John, Andy and Jim were standing there holding a bell ringing rope and being told how to pull the rope.
Seriously there is a knack to it and you have to do it right otherwise you end up just like the bell ringers in a particular advert that has been on tv recently, you are not meant
to leave the floor and let your legs dangle while you still hold the rope.
Next thing I knew it was the ladies turn, so amongst the other ladies in the room Hilary, Dawn and myself chose a rope and awaited further instruction.
We watched this lady, a volunteer, with keen interest, she was very good to make sure that we were all involved and managed everyone in the room with no problem at all, even the kids were told to come up and have a go, some had to be assisted with their parents as they would not have managed to pull the rope, let alone being able to hold onto it without leaving the ground. At one stage Hilary had to step in to help a young girl which brought a smile to the little girls face.
I don’t know how long we were in there but it was a fair while having bell ringing lessons, by now quite a crowd had gathered but this volunteer controlled the room and had everyone interested as she continued to explain the details of how the bells came to be here in Perth, I cannot think that there
was anything she did not know.
She asked if anyone knew any Bell Ringers in England, I put my hand up because a good friend of ours, rings bells in Nether Wallop ( I am pretty sure it’s Nether Wallop anyway), this lady handed me a book and asked me to look it up (I have put up a photo of the book), I find Nether Wallop and the lady soon tells me that the bells at St Andrews are the same as the number 13 bell here at the bell tower in F# which was cast in 1725 with a weight of 728 kgs.
We headed off toward the next level which contained the bells we could wander right around the floor and look through the glass to see the bells. On again, this time in the lift, we got right to the top and we came out onto the platform we were outside and found another volunteer waiting to answer any questions that we may have had. I think there were a few from Dawn and Jim so they were soon engaged in conversation.
I busied myself taking photographs and noticed Hilary, John and Andy
out on the platform looking toward the City, I thought I would be brave and do the same thing, so I actually ventured out, not looking down, I could see a friends apartment from here on St Georges Terrace, they have a stunning view from their apartment. Elizabeth Quay is well under construction below us, I think it was meant to be ready by christmas but it was delayed.
Lunchtime was beckoning and we had already decided to head over to the Lucky Shag for lunch, it was a bit later than anticipated and was fairly well crowded it was hard to find a seat. It was too hot and no shady spots available outside we would have burnt very quickly and fortunately a table became available in the cool air conditioned bar.
After lunch we grabbed the Blue Cat, which is Perth’s free bus service, we may have mentioned before that there are 4 free Cats, Red, Blue, Green and yellow, they follow the same route at very frequent intervals throughout the day.
The object was just to have a short tour of the city, but while we were on the bus I could see a
few eyes lilting, the heat of the day was catching up. We had a short walk up to the city, Andy needed the camera shop, so the deal was that the boys would go one way and we would go another. Lets just say we did a little bit of shopping and followed the boys home a couple of hours later.
Back at home, we were too late for a swim but just got on with getting the dinner ready, we sat outside and barbecued.
Another long hot day, but very enjoyable and we were pleased to be with our friends John, Hilary, Dawn and Jim.
The House was again exceptionally hot, the heat in the bedrooms was over 30 degrees again so air conditioning on once again.
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