Saturday, 12 October 2019

What's happened to bells?

There's a large Primary School not too far down the road from where we live. (That is what they call an elementary school here in the UK.)  During term time our days are punctuated with the sound of children at play. Its a happy sound really.  It was the same down South.  There was a Primary School at the bottom of the hill, and we could hear the children at play all the day through.  

It is a lovely sound and reminds me of when I was at school. 

I was sitting here yesterday and all of a sudden I thought to myself  . . .  where is the school bell?  I often hear a whistle being blown, but I never hear a bell, and then I got quite nostalgic thinking about my childhood and bells  . . .  I had a childhood quite punctuated with the sounds of bells ringing  . . . 

At school it was a bell that told us that it was time to line up and get ready to go in as our day was about to begin.  Girls in one line, boys in another and by classes. Each class had their own entry door. Girls went in first and boys second.  It happened at the beginning of the morning, after recess, after lunch, etc,   If I recall correctly it was the Principle of the school who had charge of the main bell and who would ring it and I believe that there was a bell rung at the end of the day as well.  

There were bells for fire drills and all sorts.  We knew from where we were and the time of the day what was going on and what we needed to do. A prolonged bell ringing during class time always meant a fire drill and we were to assemble out of doors.

Bells meant instant order from chaos.  

There was also a bell in each classroom. Each teacher had their own bell on their desks, and these sounded different than the main school bell. The teacher would ring them to get our attention, or call us to order in the class. It was not quite as loud as the main bell.


A more ornate bell was the Hotel/motel front desk bell. A way to call a clerk in from a back office if nobody was manning the desk and announce your arrival.  Also a way for the Hotel staff to call someone to take your cases up to your room. These were a bit more ornate than the ones our teachers had on their desks.  

Some shops had them as well, like the Chemists or drugstore.  


Farms had dinner bells.  A bell that the farm wife would use to tell her husband and everyone else that dinner was about ready and it was time to wash up. My first husband came from a farming family and they had a dinner bell outside the back door next to the kitchen and I remember my mother in law using it.  I have a dinner bell on our garden shed.  It works properly, but I never use it. It is just for decoration.   

Our family cat had a bell on its collar.  I am not sure why, as it was not an outdoor cat.  Bells on cats alert birds to their presence and in so doing keep them a bit safer from the resident feline.


Cows and sheep had bells, and the bull certainly had a bell.  You still hear cowbells when you are in some European countries.  I am thinking of Austria and Germany in particular, but I haven't travelled much in the other countries. It is quite a pleasant sound, the sound of cowbells  . . .  

They had bells in big houses so that the people who owned them could get the attention of staff working for them. You see them in the Servant's Hall on the show Downton Abbey and when I worked at the manor there was one in the downstairs hall there as well, although it was just for show.  I wonder how the servant's knew which bell they were to answer unless they were actually looking at the row of bells when they rung?  Did each bell have its own sound?  Or was someone assigned to watch the bells?  I wonder   . . . 


Churches had bells and they still do in a lot of churches in the villages around about here in the UK.  Even the cathedral in Chester has bells. They ring out at 12 noon and I suppose they ring on Sunday mornings. I'm not sure as I am always at my own church in Wales and we don't have bells.  We used to have a buzzer bell to mark the end of Sunday school . . .  a five minute warning intended to let the teacher know it was time to wind it up so that we could go on to Relief Society or Priesthood.  The village church when I worked at the Manor used to ring its bells every morning at 9 and again at noon. I would hear them as I walked down to work of a morning. It was a really pleasant sound.  And I remember the bells of our church we went to when I was a child ringing on Sunday mornings. I love the sound of church bells.   

Which reminds me of a joke my Uncle Harold once told about a bell ringer. 

A church's bell ringer passed away so they posted the position in the local paper and a man came in with no arms wanting the job. The clergy weren't sure he could do it, but he convinced them to let him try it. They climbed the bell tower and the guy ran toward the bell and hit it with his head. They gave him the job. The next day he went to ring the bell, tripped, bounced off the bell and fell to the sidewalk below.

Two guys were walking past. One asked, "Do you know this guy?" The second guy responded, "No, but his face rings a bell."

The next day, the dead bell ringer's twin brother comes in for the again vacant bell ringer position. He also has no arms. They lead him up to the bell tower, he runs at the bell, trips and falls to the sidewalk below.

The same two guys walk by. The first asks, "Do you know him?" The second guy responds, "No, but he's a dead ringer for the guy we saw yesterday."

Yuk yuk yuk! *big groan*

Our Douglas is quite musical and when he was a teenager he played in the Bell Choir at church.  It was very serious business.  They wore white gloves and everything.  I did so love to listen to them play.  It was quite enjoyable!  


Another lovely sound is that of sleigh bells.  "Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?"  How very wonderful  . . .  the sounds of the runners of the sleigh whistling through the snow as the horses tinkle ahead.  

It reminds me of the Christmas Sleigh Ride we planned one year when my children were small and my youngest son had not yet been born. It was on Boxing Day. My sister was there with her daughter, mom was there, all of my in-laws and their children were there.  We had planned it weeks ahead of time. 

We had no snow, so it ended  up being a waggon ride over frozen ground, but it did start to snow when we were partway through the event so that was good.  Everyone had a great time and a wonderful memory was made for us all.  Even my mother, who was not a person that enjoyed the outdoors or the cold, enjoyed it.  The kids had a great time grabbing each others hats and throwing them off the waggon, so then they would have to jump off, get their hats and chase the waggon and try to get back on. You know to this day my oldest son will tell you that is one of his favourite childhood Christmas memories! 

You know to this day (Spoiler alert) I can remember the sound of Santa Claus's bells on Christmas Eve of the year that I was finally told that there was no such thing . . .  the mind is an amazing thing, is it not? 

 "It is the fairy language. You ordinary children can never hear it, 
but if you were to hear it you would know that you had heard it once before."
~Peter Pan


To all of my Canadian family and friends, I would like to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving

Oh I do miss having a Thanksgiving over here. Its not a holiday that the British really understand. I have tried to do them in past years, but they never feel quite the same.  If we celebrate at all, we tend to do it more at the American time because turkey's etc. are much easier to find then, with it being closer to Christmas!  My sister is having our Eileen over to hers along with my dad. Eileen is really looking forward to it. Her husband has gone on a trip to Ontario with his parents.  Eileen loves to visit my sister.  I know they will have a great time.  

Eileen always loved spending time at mom's.  One of her favourite things was to help mom with the dishes afterwards because Grammy always talked to the dishes.  I loved doing the dishes with mom also  . . . oh to have those hours back  . . .

A thought to carry with you ... 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

You don't need to see
the whole staircase,
just take the first step.
~Martin Luther King 
 •。★★ 。* 。•。★★ 。* 。 

White Chocolate and Cranberry Granola Bars 

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  White Chocolate & Cranberry Granola Bars.  Delicious! 

Have a great Saturday.  I think we will be doing more clearing out today. Tina and Tony stopped by yesterday so we never got very far. I'm a bit limited anyways because of my back.  Enjoy your day and don't forget! 

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═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════

And I do too! 


  1. I love your blog about bells. So many different kinds of bells. Sleigh bells are the best, I think. What a lovely Christmas memory you made for your children. "Backward, turn backward, oh time in thy flight, make me a child again just for tonight." My mom used to say this, especially at Christmas. She enjoyed 93 Christmases. Don't overdo the clearing out, Marie. Careful of your back. Hugs, Elaine

    1. Oh my Elaine, I love that verse. How beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing it! Love you! xoxo

  2. Enjoy this day..It's a beauty of a weekend in QC for TG thank you for the wishes..
    Your bars..YUM! Will be trying yours.
    Have you tried the RICE method on your back?

    1. No, I don't know what the RICE method is Monique??? Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Happy you have nice weather for it! xoxo

  3. I do love the sound of bells and used to have a collection of them. But when I downsized, out they went along with lots of other stuff, I didn't need. Here I only have room for the necessary and not much else. Still I probably could get rid of more. It's crowded. Who knew there are so many different kinds of bells, our world would be quite different without them. Have a super Saturday!

    1. I know what you mean Pam. We are trying to downsize and it is hard. I have so many memories attached to everything! Super Sunday to you! xoxo

  4. When I was 13 or so, was in a bell choir for a time...found it most pleasurable...and have always loved going to hear them since!! Music is one thing I am very grateful for!!
    Elizabeth xoxo

    1. What fun Elizabeth! I, too, am grateful for music! xoxo

  5. Hi Marie~

    I remember the bells at school and standing in line to go back in after recess...good memories. When I was in kindergarten, I went to a Lutheran church. We said the, Lord's Prayer when we got to school, before we went out to recess and before we went home, I've never forgotten one word...and we had a bell!

    Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I love Christmas as well, but Thanksgiving is my favorite. I'm not sure who will be here this year, probably just me and Bob.

    We are so blessed to have our memories! I love thinking about the past Christmas' with my mom and dad, such good memories!

    Enjoy your Sunday as well, hope your back is feeling better. love you tons!

    Hugs and Love,

    1. Memories are the true treasures of our hearts Barb. I cherish each one of mine so very much. Love and hugs to you and Bob. Oh yes, our school days always started with the Lords Prayer. Its sad that they dont' any longer. xoxo

  6. I loved reading all about the bells. It brought back memories of bells while growing up. I loved the church bells too. We still have buzzers in our buildings that are rang between classes.
    The funny story was a cute one.
    I have an old cowbell and when we have a lot of children and grandchildren here; I have used it to get them to come up for a dinner. It's a fun relic to have.
    Sending prayers and hugs your way!

  7. What a fun way to call the family to dinner LeAnn! Love, prayers and hugs to you and Roger! xoxo


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