Ring Those Bells.

This week’s Friday LBC topic has been suggested by Lin who has already written the post well in advance. Her take on the subject is very different from what mine will be, due primarily to cultural differences.


My earliest recollection of ringing those bells was of ringing a bell attached to the handlebar of a tricycle. As I grew up larger bells with different tones came into play just as small bicycle replaced the tricycle and larger bicycles kept pace with my growth. Our mother would wait eagrely for the sound of those bicycle bells to announce our return from school, Boy Scout meets etc and since those days, there were so few automobiles around that the bells really were useful but now I don’t remember having heard one in the last fifteen years or so.

Ernest Hemingway too came into my life at a later stage with his For Whom The Bell Tolls, but, I don’t think that this post should go anywhere near it.

In India, the phrase is used in many contexts and different meanings can be attributed depending on each context.

For instance, in Tamil, when we say, “He rings his bell”, we mean that he is boasting. In Hindi when we say “His bell has rung”, it would indicate that either he is in some deep trouble or that he is dead.

There are also other sayings like when we want to say that the school bell has rung to indicate that the neighbourhood school has begun its classes and it would also indicate a time.

ice cream van

Other uses are common with the West, like when the ice cream vendor comes along ringing his bell or other vendors do too. Each has a distinct tone and regular customers immediately recognise who has come with what.

You would have seen how different my post is from Lin’s and I hope that Shackman’s take will be totally different too.

21 thoughts on “Ring Those Bells.”

  1. Not to mention the old days when a bell was attached to a string tied to the corpse and strung up to the surface in case the corpse wasn’t dead but in a coma.

    I recall the angelus bell of my childhood rung every day at noon and at 6.00pm. I guess 6 a.m. and midnight God was asleep.

    wisewebwoman recently posted..A Story

  2. Here instead of saying, “He rings his bell,” we say, “He toots his own horn.”

    We didn’t have an ice cream truck where we were, but we did have plenty of ice cream. 🙂
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Modern Problems

    1. We have two ice cream parlours just across the road from us. One even makes home deliveries. Sadly, the mobile ice cream vendors don’t come around our locality any more.

  3. i haven’t seen bells on bicycles in years!
    but your memories of those matched my own. i can hear it even now! a sweet sound.

  4. I enjoyed Lin’s post on this as well. My first thought of someone having their bell rung is similar to Lin’s (aka boxing). I also have fond memories of the bells on bikes; I loved the one I had as a child. The boy next door has a horn – not a bell – on his bike. It is wonderful fun (for us) to hear that honk honk honk as he squeaks it riding around. I get the feeling his Mom occasionally hides it…

  5. “Ring those bells” immediately reminds me of the days when I was canvassing for the Labour Party and I would be going up and down one street after another ringing people’s bells and asking them which party they supported. Quite exciting because I never knew what the response might be – anything from “Oh yes, I’ve always voted Labour” to “Bugger off, I never vote, they’re all just feathering their own nest.”
    nick recently posted..All steamed up

    1. Another activity that I should have covered in my post – door to door salesmen! I was one for a while. Your experience as a canvasser however sounds more interesting.

  6. well both you and Lin have certainly touched “bells” in vastly different ways…

    btw ice cream vans here usually play Greenselves as their tune to bring you out to buy their wares…

    1. Ice cream vans have more or less disappeared here but some street side vendors still bring home made ice cream in somewhat similar to the picture on my post tricycles for sales from their regular spots.

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