I could never have made a career in campanology.
As a teenager I sang in a church choir which would perform two concerts a year. As I lived in the flats next door to the church on Balham High Road, my task was to call on the 600+ flats to sell tickets.
I didn’t know, in the mid-70s, that so many different doorbell chimes existed.
The task of selling tickets to hear Handel’s Messiah or Mendelssohn’s Elijah was hard (the residents were more likely to listen to “Chirpy, chirpy, cheep, cheep” than Chopin, “Ernie” than Elgar or “Shang a lang” than Shostakovich).
We thought we’d have more luck with people whose door chimes played a sophisticated tune, sadly they had the sound because they liked the tune in a cigar advert!
The most worrying noise was the bark of a clearly dangerous dog. Either the dog behind the door had trained at Wandsworth Prison or had three heads, and therefore guarding the gates of Hell (I was in my mid-twenties before I realised that Hell wasn’t on the fifth floor of my block of flats).
Many doors had spy-holes and the chances of the door being opened to a long-haired git in a cassock and surplice was never going to happen unless the Archbishop of Canterbury had moved county.
However, the most disturbing thing for a shockingly naive teenager, was the sound of “My ding-a-ling” playing as Mrs Robinson, the siren of the third floor, opened her door. I could have died and gone to Heaven – bit like Elijah!