October 20, 2017

Bristol Surprise Major: the plain course and bobs

Armed with a continuous blue line, as described in the previous post, we can write this more compactly as a single lead:

12345678
21436587
12346857
21438675
24136857
42316587
24135678
42315768
24351786
23457168
32541786
35247168
53427618
35246781
32547618
23456781
24365871
42638517
46235871
64328517
46238157
42631875
24368157
23461875
32416857
23146587
32415678
23145768
21347586
12435768
21345678
12436587
14263857

We can also write out what happens when “bob” is called. The front two bells are unaffected, and run in and out as in a plain course to become the 2nd and 3rd place bells. The bell in 4th place, which would have run out to 5th and become the 5th place bell, instead makes the 4th-place bob and becomes the 4th place bell. The bells above 4th place each dodge back one place, which brings them back to their starting positions, so that they simply repeat the same lead as they have just done. Like this:

23145768
21347586
12435768
21345678 bob
12436587
14235678

The bob permutes the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place bells. If called at the end of each of the first three leads this will bring the touch back to rounds — three leads of Bristol.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 1:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 11, 2017

learning Bristol Surprise Major

It’s been a long time since I wrote here about learning a Surprise Major method. In the intervening period I’ve learnt to ring six such methods: Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Superlative, Rutland and Pudsey. These are six of the so-called “Standard Eight” Surprise Major methods, and in many ways they are quite similar to each other — Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Superlative and Rutland are all the same as Cambridge when you are above the treble, and Pudsey is the same as Cambridge when you are below the treble. The other two SM methods in this Eight are Bristol and London and they are different from the others, and from each other. Several times I have sat down to learn Bristol, but not got very far. Time to put that right.

So I’ve spent an hour or so looking at the “blue line” for Bristol, as well as a couple of guides. From it I can see that:

  • Bristol is a double method, so that once you have learnt a quarter of it you should know all of it
  • There are basically three or four pieces of work that you need to learn in that quarter; I call these:
    • the “frontwork”, though you also do this at the back
    • “Stedman” and “fishtails”
    • “lightning work”

I’ll look at each of these in turn.

First we’ll look at fishtails. These are single blows where you reverse direction after each blow, so on the front it might be: lead, 2nd, lead, 2nd, lead:

x
-x
x
-x
x

Next, the frontwork. Bell 2’s work consists of doing half the frontwork one way, and then mirroring it to do it the other way:

  • dodge 1-2 down with the treble
  • lead right
  • fishtails
  • lead wrong
  • out to point 4ths
  • lead right

and then do the same thing in the opposite direction:

  • out to point 4ths
  • lead wrong
  • fishtails
  • lead right
  • dodge 1-2 up with the treble

(And then, instead of making 2nd place over the treble, go out to 3rd place and become the 3rds place bell.)

Then there’s “Stedman”. This is like a whole turn in Stedman: lead two blows, point 2nd, lead two blows. As in Stedman, one of the pairs of leading will be right (i.e. handstroke followed by backstroke), and one will be wrong (i.e. backstroke followed by handstroke). But in Bristol this doesn’t just occur on the front. It’s also done in 4ths — 4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 4th. And because Bristol is a double method it appears at the back (8th, 8th, 7th, 8th, 8th) and in 5th place (5th, 5th, 6th, 5th, 5th). Each of these pieces of work occur twice, once with the first two blows right and the last two wrong, and once with the first two wrong and the last two right.

Armed with this information we can write out what bell 3 does:

  • dodge 3-4 up
  • 4th place
  • dodge 3-4 down with the treble
  • an extra blow in 3rd place
  • Stedman on the front
  • out to 4th place
  • Stedman in 4th place (4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 4th)
  • plain hunt down to …
  • fishtails on the front (2nd, lead, 2nd, lead, 2nd and out)
  • dodge 3-4 up
  • out to 5th and become 5ths place bell

We’re nearly there, and all that remains to do is to look at the “lightning work”:

  • hunt out to the back
  • one blow only at the back, then turn around and
  • hunt down with
  • two blows in 5th place
  • two blows in 4th place
  • down to the lead
  • one blow only in the lead, then turn around and
  • hunt up to 6th place

This path crosses the treble as it does the places in 4th and 5th:

--x-----
---x----
----x---
-----x--
------x-
-------x
------x-
-----x--
----x---
---1x---
---x1---
---x----
--x-----
-x------
x-------
-x------
--x-----
---x----
----x---
-----x--

That crossing point is also one of the pivot points of the method, i.e. the point where you move from doing things on the front to doing things on the back, or where the blue line rotates through 180 degrees.

Bell 5 begins with the lightning work as described above (the first three blows in the diagram are of course the last three blows of bell 3’s work).

After this point we repeat the work already described, but as places from the back, rather than places from the front. This enables us to write out a complete plain course, as is shown in the full article.

Starting on bell 2:

21------ dodge 1-2 down with treble
12------
21------ lead right
2-1-----
-2-1---- fishtails in 1-2
2-1-----
-2-1----
2---1--- lead wrong
2----1--
-2--1---
--2--1--
---2--1- point 4ths
--2----1
-2----1-
2------1 lead right
2------1
-2----1-
--2----1
---2--1- point 4ths
--2--1--
-2--1---
2----1-- lead wrong
2---1---
-2-1---- fishtails in 1-2-1
2-1-----
-2-1----
2-1----- lead right
21------
12------ dodge 1-2 up with treble
21------
12------
1-2----- out to 3rd place

and become the 3rds place bell

-1-2---- dodge 3-4 up
1-2-----
-1-2---- 4ths place and
--12----
--21---- dodge 3-4 down with treble
--12----
--21----
--2-1--- extra blow in 3rd place
-2---1--
2---1--- stedman on the front
2----1--
-2----1-
2------1
2-----1-
-2-----1
--2----1
---2--1- stedman in 4ths
---2---1
--2---1-
---2-1--
---21---
--2--1--
-2--1---
2--1---- fishtails in 1-2-1
-21-----
2--1----
-21-----
-12----- pass the treble
1--2---- dodge 3-4 up
-12-----
1--2----
1---2--- out to 5th place

and become the 5ths place bell

-1---2-- start "lightning work"
1-----2-
-1-----2
--1---2-
---1-2--
--1-2---
---12--- 5ths and 4ths around the treble:
---21--- this is a "pivot point" in the method
---2-1--
--2-1---
-2---1--
2-----1-
-2-----1
--2---1-
---2---1
----2--1 dodge 5-6 up
-----21-
----2--1
-----21-
-----12- pass the treble
----1--2 fishtails in 8-7-8
-----12-
----1--2
---1--2-
--1--2--
---12--- stedman in 5ths
--1-2---
-1---2--
1---2---
-1--2---
1----2--
1-----2-

and become the 7ths place bell

-1-----2 stedman at the back
1------2
-1----2-
--1----2
---1---2
--1---2-
---1-2--
----12-- extra blow in 6th place
----21--
----12-- dodge 5-6 down with the treble
----21--
----2-1- 5th place, and
-----2-1
----2-1- dodge 5-6 up
-----2-1
87654321 dodge 7-8 up with the treble
------12
------21
------12 and lie right
-----1-2
----1-2- fishtails in 7-8-7
-----1-2
----1-2-
---1---2 lie wrong
--1----2
---1--2-
--1--2--
-1--2--- point 5ths
1----2--
-1----2-
1------2 lie right
1------2

and become the 8ths place bell

-1----2-
1----2--
-1--2--- point 5ths
--1--2--
---1--2-
--1----2 lie wrong
---1---2
----1-2- fishtails in 7-8-7
-----1-2
----1-2-
-----1-2 lie right
------12
------21 and dodge 7-8 down with the treble
------12
------21
-----2-1
----2-1-
-----2-1 dodge 5-6 down
----2-1-
----21-- 5ths place
----12-- and dodge 5-6 up with the treble
----21--
----12--
---1-2-- extra blow in 6th place
--1---2-
---1---2 stedman at the back
--1----2
-1----2-
1------2
-1-----2
1-----2-
1----2--

and become the 6ths place bell

-1--2--- stedman in 5ths
1---2---
-1---2--
--1-2---
---12---
--1--2--
---1--2-
----1--2 fishtails at the back
-----12-
----1--2
-----12-
-----21- pass the treble
----2--1
-----21- dodge 5-6 down
----2--1 start (reverse) "lightning work"
---2---1
--2---1-
-2-----1
2-----1-
-2---1--
--2-1---
---2-1-- 4ths and 5ths around the treble
---21--- (another "pivot point" in the method)
---12---
--1-2---
---1-2--
--1---2-
-1-----2
1-----2-
-1---2--
1---2---
1--2----

and become the 4ths place bell

-12-----
1--2---- dodge 3-4 down
-12-----
-21----- pass the treble
2--1---- fishtails on the front
-21-----
2--1----
-2--1---
--2--1--
---21--- stedman in 4ths
---2-1--
--2---1-
---2---1
---2--1-
--2----1
-2-----1
2-----1- stedman on the front
2------1
-2----1-
2----1--
2---1---
-2---1--
--2-1---
--21---- extra blow in 3rds
--12----
--21---- dodge 3-4 up with the treble
--12----
-1-2---- 4ths place, and
1-2-----
-1-2---- dodge 3-4 down
1-2-----
12------

and become the 2nds place bell (which is rounds).

Also indicated in this diagram is the point, half way through the course where backward rounds are rung. As a double method, each change is the reverse of one other change, including rounds — normal, descending rounds occuring as the very last change, of course.

Another important point to note and remember is the order of place bells: 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 6, 4 and back to 2. This is the same as Rutland, but different from the other Surprise Major methods looked at so far (Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Superlative and Pudsey), which follow the order 2, 6, 7, 3, 4, 8, 5 and back to 2.

Also worth noting is where the treble is passed. Most obviously this is when dodging with the treble:

  • in 1-2 down and up at the beginning and end of the frontwork on the 2nd place bell
  • in 3-4 up and down a few blows before or after those 1-2 dodges
  • in 7-8 up and down at the beginning and end of the corresponding backwork, and
  • in 5-6 down and up a few blows before or after those 7-8 dodges

The treble is also passed in the non-dodging positions of 2-3, 4-5 and 6-7 up and down:

  • 4-5 — in the middle of the lightning work when passing from the two blows in 5ths to the two blows in 4ths (as 5th place bell), or vice versa (as 6th place bell)
  • 2-3 and 6-7 — either end of the two sets of lightning work, between the lightning work and the fishtails before and after.
Posted by Simon Kershaw at 4:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2017

Julie McDonnell Triples

Close watchers of the ringing ‘scene’ — or of Songs of Praise — will be aware that there is currently a significant fundraising exercise underway, raising millions of pounds to fight leukemia — by ringing bells.

The campaign was begun by Julie McDonnell, herself a survivor and sufferer from the disease, and also a ringer. She set up a campaign called Strike Back Against Blood Cancer and persuaded some generous sponsors to donate money to the campaign whenever a quarter peal of the new method (or methods) is rung. The new method is fittingly called “Julie McDonnell” and exists for various numbers of bells.

Last night at another tower’s practice the tower captain said she’d like to ring a quarter peal of Julie McDonnell Triples at some point, and pointed to a blue line of the method drawn on the tower whiteboard. After we had looked at it for a few minutes some of us had a go at ringing a plain course, which we did susccessfully at the first attempt.

It’s a fairly simple method, with “frontwork” done by the 4 and the 2, and “backwork” done by the other bells; and 3-4 dodges to transition between “frontwork” and “backwork”

Starting on the 4 do the “frontwork” dodge 1-2 down, lead, make 2nds; dodge 1-2 down lead, make seconds, becoming the 2. Having made 2nds and become the 2, it’s lead, dodge 1-2 up, make 2nds, lead, dodge 1-2 up and out, dodging 3-4 up and becoming the 3. Or to summarize the “frontwork” slightly differently: (dodge 3-4 down), dodge down, lead, 2nds, dodge down, lead, 2nds, lead, dodge up, 2nds, lead, dodge up; (and dodge 3-4 up).

The “backwork” starting from the 3 is: lie, make 3rds, lie, make 3rds, lie, make 5ths, lie make 3rds, lie, make 3rds, lie, dodge 3-4 down becoming the 4. Or, taking the lying and all the intervening plain hunting as implicit: 3rds, 3rds, 5ths, 3rds, 3rds.

The starts are:
2: in the middle of the frontwork
3: at the start of the backwork
4: at the start of the frontwork
5: has just made 5ths in the middle of the backwork; lie, 3rds, lie, become the 6
6: has nearly finished the backwork, so down to 3rds, lie, then dodge 3-4 down
7: has just done the first lot of 3rds; so lie one blow in 7ths, then 3rds, then 5ths

Bobs are the same as plain bob:
About to make 2nds: run out and become the 3 so begin the backwork
About to dodge 3-4 down: run in and become the 2, so lead and do the second half of the frontwork
About to dodge 3-4 up: make 4ths place and become the 4, so turn round and entirely repeat the frontwork.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 2:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2009

Lincolnshire and Superlative

Over the last few weeks I’ve been learning two new Surprise Major methods: Lincolnshire and Superlative.

Lincolnshire was learnt first, and afer a gap of several weeks when I was unable to make Wednesday night’s practice, I finally got a chance to ring it. Naturally, we didn’t get to the end of the plain course the first time I tried — but I was still quite pleased as it hadn’t failed because of me. We tried again a little later and managed the whole plain course.

With Lincolnshire successfully rung we were challenged to learn Superlative. There’s a group of about five of us at this practice who are all learning these methods together. Fortunately there are enough other more experienced ringers (as well as others less experienced) who can already ring these methods so that we can try with just two or three learners at a time. With all five it would probably be impossible!

Having been set Superlative a couple of weeks ago we had several goes at it last week. I was reasonably confident of having learnt the blue line and the place bells — but as usual we failed first time. Another go and we failed again. Last night a few more tries, and on the second of these we managed to get through a plain course of Superlative Surprise Major. I managed to keep my place, even pretty much remembering where each place bell starts and ends right up until the last few strokes: ringing the 6 meant that in the last lead I was 2nd place bell, and having done the front work I dodged 3/4 up when another ringer called to me, ‘With me,’ and that was sufficient to make me wonder where I was meant to be, rather than just doing it! After a pull or two I realized that I should now be doing 5-6 places up, so I hung around in 5-6 trying to work out just where I should be. This was enough to get us to the end of the plain course, since the 2nd place bell stays in 5-6 until the lead end.

Try harder next time, but not bad, I guess.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 8:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 15, 2007

towards spliced Surprise

Recently another tower in the area has held a monthly practice for budding Surprise ringers. We’ve been practising Cambridge and Yorkshire with the intention of eventually ringing them spliced together, but we’re not quite at that stage yet. Those attending have included a suitable mix of expert and novice Surprise ringers — it would be next to impossible with all novices!

A necessary step in splicing these methods is to learn what each place bell does, and which place bell it becomes afterwards. Fortunately the order in which place bell succeeds place bell is the same in both Cambridge and Yorkshire: 2, 6, 7, 3, 4, 8, 5, and back to 2. In addition the work of the 3rd place bell is identical in both methods, and most of the others start and finish with similar bits of work. As usual in ringing, what has to be done is to memorize completely these pieces of work so that they can be instantly recalled and interchanged, so in an attempt to do so I have set down here, from memory, what each bell has to do in each method.



CambridgeYorkshire
2nd place bell
  • second half of the frontwork
  • dodge 3-4 up
  • double and single dodge at the back
  • dodge 5-6 down
  • treble bob down and up
  • triple dodge 5-6 up
  • double and single dodge at the back
  • dodge 5-6 down

and become 6th place bell

3rd place bell:
  • dodge 5-6 up
  • backwork
  • dodge 5-6 down
  • dodge 3-4 down (at the start of 3-4 places down)
and become 4th place bell

4th place bell:
  • finish 3-4 places down (after first dodge)
  • treble bob at the front
  • treble bob at the back
  • finish 3-4 places down (after first dodge)
  • lead and dodge
  • 3-4 places up
  • treble bob at the back
and become 8th place bell

5th place bell:
  • single and double dodge at the back
  • dodge 3-4 down
  • first half of the frontwork
  • make seconds over the treble
  • single and double dodge at the back
  • triple dodge 5-6 down
  • treble bob down to the front
  • dodge up with the treble and make 2nds place
and become the 2nd place bell

6th place bell:
  • straight down to the front
  • treble bob up
  • 5-6 places up
  • dodge 7-8 up
  • straight down to the front
  • second half of the frontwork
  • 5-6 places up
  • dodge 7-8 up
and become 7th place bell

7th place bell:
  • lie at the back
  • dodge 7-8 down
  • straight down to the front
  • treble bob at the front
  • 3-4 places up
  • lie at the back
  • dodge 7-8 down
  • 3-4 places down
  • dodge and lead
  • 3-4 places up
and become the 3rd place bell

8th place bell:
  • 5-6 places down
  • treble bob down (incl dodge and lead)
  • dodge 5-6 up
  • 5-6 places down
  • first half of the frontwork
  • dodge 5-6 up
and become the 5th place bell.
Posted by Simon Kershaw at 1:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 1, 2007

learning Yorkshire Surprise Major

Homework time again. This time we’ve been told to learn Yorkshire (Yorkshire Surprise Major) for next week. It’s been a while since I set out to learn a new method – perhaps it’s becoming easier. We shall see.

Yorkshire is similar in parts to Cambridge (the method, not the geography, that is). Whereas Cambridge contains ‘Cambridge places’, Yorkshire has a shorter form ‘Yorkshire places’ or ‘short places’ of dodge, make places, dodge (whereas in Cambridge it is: dodge, make places, dodge, make places, dodge). Places are made in 3-4 and in 5-6 up and down. Here for example is how you ring Yorkshire places in 3-4
up:

-x------
--x----- Yorkshire 3-4 places up
---x----
--x-----
---x----
---x----
--x-----
--x-----
---x----
--x-----
---x----
----x--- and carry on up

The backwork is identical to that in Cambridge – and indeed, Yorkshire is identical to Cambridge if you are above the treble. This means that whenever you pass above the treble you do whatever you would have done in Cambridge if you had passed the treble at that point, and this continues until you pass below the treble. Now if only I could ring Cambridge by the treble this might be some help!

Yorkshire also includes the frontwork of Cambridge, but it is split into two separate halves, and you don’t get to dodge or make seconds over the treble in either half.

First thing is to try and remember the order of work, which looks like this, assuming we are ringing the 2.

dodge down with the treble
treble bob up
triple-dodge in 5-6 up
2 & 1 at the back (double dodge 7-8 up, lie, single dodge 7-8 down)
dodge 5-6 down

straight down to the lead
second half of frontwork (dodge down, lead, make 2nds, dodge down, dodge up)
straight up

Yorkshire places in 5-6 up
treble bob at the back (dodge 7-8 up, lie, dodge 7-8 down)
Yorkshire places 3-4 down
dodge and lead
Yorkshire places 3-4 up

dodge 5-6 up
backwork
dodge 5-6 down

Yorkshire places 3-4 down
lead and dodge
Yorkshire places 3-4 up
treble bob at the back
Yorkshire places 5-6 down

first half of the frontwork (dodge down, dodge up, make 2nds, lead, dodge up)

dodge 5-6 up
1 & 2 at the back
triple-dodge 5-6 down
treble bob down to the lead
dodge 1-2 up with the treble
make 2nds place

Armed with this information we can write out a plain course of Yorkshire, here given for the 3 …

1-3-----
1-3-----

-1-3---- 3: backwork, as in Cambridge
1---3---
-1---3--
--1-3---
---1-3--
--1---3-
---1---3
----1-3-
-----1-3
----1-3-
-----1-3
------13
------31
------13
------31
------31
------13
------31
------13
-----1-3
----1-3-
-----1-3
----1-3-
---1---3
--1---3-
---1-3--
--1-3---
-1---3--
1---3--- 3: end of backwork & 5-6 down dodge
-1-3---- Yorkshire places down -- until you pass the treble
1-3----- (dodge, place, place, dodge)
1--3---- (become 4ths place bell)

-13----- 3rds place
1-3-----
-1-3---- 4ths place
--13----
--31---- & dodge with the treble
--13----
--31---- 3: pass the treble here -- stop ringing Cambridge!
-3--1---
3----1-- lead and dodge
3---1---
-3---1--
3-----1-
-3-----1
--3---1- Yorkshire 3-4 places up
---3---1
--3----1
---3--1-
---3---1
--3---1-
--3--1--
---31---
--3--1--
---31---
---13--- and pass the treble -- treble bob at the back
--1--3--
---1--3-
--1----3
-1----3-
1------3
-1-----3
1-----3-
1------3 (become 8ths place bell)

-1----3-
1----3-- Yorkshire places 5-6 down
-1--3---
--1--3--
---13---
--1-3---
---1-3--
----13--
----31--
----13--
----31-- and pass below the treble
---3--1- 'first half of frontwork'
--3----1
-3----1-
3------1
-3-----1
3-----1-
3------1
-3----1-
3----1--
-3--1---
-3---1--
3---1---
3--1----
-31-----
3--1----
-31----- pass above the treble
-13----- dodge 5-6 and 1 & 2 at the back
1--3----
-1--3---
1----3--
1---3--- (become 5ths place bell)

-1---3--
1-----3-
-1-----3
--1---3-
---1---3
--1----3
---1--3-
----1--3
-----13-
----1--3
-----13-
-----31- pass below the treble
----3--1 triple dodge 5-6 down
-----31-
----3--1
-----3-1
----3-1-
-----3-1
----3-1-
---3-1-- dodge 3-4 down
--3-1---
---3-1--
--3-1---
-3-1---- dodge 1-2 down
3-1-----
-3-1----
3-1-----
31------ dodge 1-2 up with the treble
13------
31------
13------ make 2nds place
13------ (become 2nds place bell)

31------ dodge down with the treble
13------
31------
3-1----- dodge up
-3-1----
3-1-----
-3-1----
--3-1--- dodge 3-4 up
---3-1--
--3-1---
---3-1--
----3-1- triple dodge 5-6 up
-----3-1
----3-1-
-----3-1
----3--1
-----31-
----3--1
-----31-
-----13- pass above the treble; 2 & 1 at the back
----1--3
-----13-
----1--3
---1--3-
--1----3
---1---3
--1---3-
-1-----3
1-----3-
-1---3--
1---3---
1----3-- (become 6ths place bell)

-1--3---
1--3----
-13----- pass below the treble
-31-----
3--1---- '2nd half of the frontwork'
-31-----
3--1----
3---1---
-3---1--
-3--1---
3----1--
-3----1-
3------1
3-----1-
-3-----1
3------1
-3----1-
--3----1
---3--1-
----31-- pass above the treble -- Yorkshire places 5-6 up
----13--
----31--
----13--
---1-3--
--1-3---
---13---
--1--3--
-1--3---
1----3--
-1----3- treble bob at the back
1------3
1-----3- (become 7ths place bell)

-1-----3
1------3
-1----3-
--1----3
---1--3-
--1--3--
---13---
---31--- Yorkshire places 3-4 down
--3--1--
---31---
--3--1--
--3---1-
---3---1
---3--1-
--3----1
---3---1
--3---1-
-3-----1 dodge and lead
3-----1-
-3---1--
3---1---
3----1--
-3--1---
--31---- Yorkshire places 3-4 up
--13----
--31----
--13----
-1-3----
1-3-----
-13-----
1--3----
1-3----- (become 3rds place bell)
Posted by Simon Kershaw at 9:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 6, 2006

Cambridge Major

Finally a Wednesday night practice at which there were enough experienced ringers to try Cambridge Major, with a reasonable expectation that we could manage it. In fact there were even enough for one of them to stand behind and give guidance - not for me but for someone else who was not too sure about Cambridge.

So we set off, with me ringing the 3 — dodge 5-6 up, backwork, 5-6 down, 3-4 places down, and on we went, and eventually I got to 5-6 places up, dodge up and down and the back, down to the front, dodge down and up, and just about to start 3-4 places up, when the conductor, a visitor from another tower, called ‘go rounds’. I wasn’t sure what had gone wrong, and we were within about a dozen strokes of the end. How frustrating!

Later in the evening we had another go. This time I chose to ring the 2, just for a bit of variation  — start by dodging down with the treble in the middle of the frontwork, and then 3-4 up, double dodge up at the back and single dodge down, 5-6 down, 1-2 up, 3-4 up, places 5-6 up. And in the middle of 5-6 places up I got lost, wondering whether I had dodged with the treble or not. So I meandered up to the back, and hung around there a bit, and then wandered down to the front and dodge around there, and just about put myself right. Then 3-4 places up, and dodging with the treble in the middle confirmed that I was now in the right place <phew>.

So on to the backwork (bracketted by dodges up and down in 5-6), 3-4 places down, treble bob at the front, then at the back, places 5-6 down, dodge 3-4 down, 1-2 down, dodge 5-6 up, single and double dodges at the back, <nearly there now, just keep going>, 3-4 down, onto the frontwork, and here we are dodging with the treble, <steady> and <c’mon conductor> ‘that’s all’. Yes.

As usual, there’s a lot that I could do better — better striking, better dodging, better ropesight, especially in 5-6. And, especially, not getting lost! But on the whole I was quite pleased with myself.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 8:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2006

Ringing Cambridge Major

It’s four weeks since I started trying to learn Cambridge Surprise Major. I reckon I have the ‘blue line’ fairly well memorized — in theory. But putting it into practice is not so easy.

In the first place, actually getting enough others who can ring Cambridge Major is itself quite hard. Of the four practices since I began, at two of them there have not been enough experienced ringers to even try Cambridge Major. At the other two it has just about been possible to find 6 other ringers capable of Cambridge plus one who can treble bob on the treble.

But on each of these two occasions we have managed to get about half way through a plain course before it goes horribly wrong. The annoying thing from my perspective is that this has not been my fault, but mistakes by other ringers. Both times, I have been ringing bell 2, the first time with another ringer standing behind me, and each time, as I was completing the backwork some of those ringing in front of me have got mixed up. Sigh. I’m not blaming them — it’s a reasonably hard method after all. But it is frustrating when I am trying to learn the method myself.

Next week is Ash Wednesday, so it’ll be another couple of weeks before I can try again.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 3:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 27, 2006

Cambridge Major

It’s quite a while since I began to learn Cambridge Minor, and my teacher asks me each week whether I have looked at Cambridge Major. I keep replying (truthfully) that I haven’t had any time. So this week he had me ring Cambridge Major with another ringer standing behind me and telling me what to do. This is not ideal, but it works tolerably well, since the extensions from Cambridge Minor are not too complicated — it’s just a question of knowing when to do them. Later in the practice we did the same thing again. Neither time did we quite complete a plain course, and that was partly because I managed to lose my place. Not having the big picture of the method, so to speak, does make it harder to ring.

However, having done this, and having briefly glanced at the blue line and Coleman a couple of times, it began to impress the method in my head, and I found that as I drove home from the practice I could just about remember and/or reconstruct the method. So now I am at that state of learning a new method: when over and over again, at the interstices of routine, I find myself reciting the different pieces of work involved — when stuck in a traffic jam, or brushing my teeth, or sitting in a not-too-exciting meeting. This is an important part of learning a new method — committing the pieces of work to memory, so that they can be recalled without effort when ringing it.

Previously I have also committed to memory the actual position at each pull. This time, I have not (yet) tried to do so, partly because just remembering the order of work is sufficiently complicated without adding anything else, and partly because the difficult bits of work (frontwork, backwork, and Cambridge places up and down) are essentially identical to those of Cambridge Minor, and therefore already reasonably well known. The differences are the obvious ones when ringing on 8, rather than 6, bells — the backwork is done on 7 and 8, not 5 and 6; and places up and down must be rung in 5-6 as well as in 3-4.

So, from memory, this is the order of work in a plain course of Cambridge Major:

frontwork
dodge 3-4 up

dodge 2-and-1 at the back
dodge 5-6 down

lead and dodge
dodge 3-4 up

5-6 places up
treble bob at the back

treble bob at the front
3-4 places up

dodge 5-6 up
backwork
dodge 5-6 down

3-4 places down
treble bob at the front

treble bob at the back
5-6 places down

dodge 3-4 down
dodge and lead

dodge 5-6 up
dodge 1-and-2 at the back

dodge 3-4 down
frontwork

And we can use this information to construct a nice table showing a single lead end of Cambridge Surprise Major. This table is constructed by selecting a bell, e.g. the 2, and tracing its course through a lead. The 2 begins in the middle of the frontwork (having just made 2nds over the treble, so to speak), just as in Cambridge Minor. At the end of the lead the 2 ends up in 6th place, and so we continue by tracing the work from the top again as bell 6. At the end of the lead bell 6 becomes the 7th place bell and we continue from the top, becoming successively the 3rd place bell, 4th place bell, 8th place bell, and finally the 5th place bell, which ends by making 2nds over the treble in the middle of the frontwork, which is where, as the 2nd place bell, we started.

12345678

21436587
12463857
21648375
26143857
62418375
62148735
26417853
62471835
26748153
27641835
72468153
27648513
72465831
74256813
47528631
74256831
47528613
45782631
54876213
45786123
54871632
58476123
85741632
58714623
85176432
85716342
58173624
51876342
15783624
51738264
15372846
15738264

No doubt I shall find myself continually repeating the order of work over the next week or so, and we shall see next week whether I have learnt it well enough to ring a plain course.

Not that that’s the only difficulty with ringing Cambridge Major. Another problem I found last week was ropesight, especially when dodging in 5-6. It’s not easy to see 4 or 5 bells below you at this point. Hopefully, this too is something that will improve with practise.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2005

Simon's Tip for Stedman

I’ve been ringing Stedman for about a year now, and can generally keep my place — even in touches of Triples. I was quite pleased with myself last night because I was able to put right another ringer. I had dodged 6-7 up with him, and then when I started to dodge 6-7 down he was still hanging around in 6-7. ‘4-5 down now, M,’ I called, and then a dodge or so later, since I thought he still wasn’t sure where he was, ‘Down to the front, now.’ I had to phrase it that way because I had no idea whether he should have gone in quick or slow. But at least it kept the ringing going, and we managed to complete the touch.

That got me thinking, however, about how to know whether to go in quick or slow in Stedman, a perennial problem for Stedman ringers. Steve Coleman calls it Stedman’s Greatest Problem, and offers a number of tips for remembering or working out whether, after you have dodged 4-5 down, you should go in as a slow bell or a quick bell.

One of the suggested tips is to use your feet, moving one foot forward if you go out quick, and then when you are about to go in, looking at your feet and remembering that this foot (or is it the other foot?) means something or other. And if a bob is called you have to remember to swap which foot is forward.

But if you are going to put another bell right then you want to know whether each six is a quick six or a slow six, not just the one where you go down to the front three. What you need to do, then, is to keep track of each six as you ring, or at least as you double-dodge your way to the back and down again.

My first idea was that as you do each double dodge you think, as a background thought: ‘this is a quick six’ or ‘this is a slow six’. But it can be quite hard to keep this in mind — you need to keep it rather nearer the front than the back.

So, this is what I came up with, though I haven’t had a chance to put it into practice yet. I don’t claim any great originality for it, but it seems to me to be sufficiently simple to cope with all cases, and with as many bobs as may be called.

All it entails is that as you count your place when double-dodging up to the back and down again, you append to each position the word ‘quick or ‘slow’. The same word will apply throughout the six blows of a double dodge, and when you move to the next double dodge you swap to the other word.

So, if you have gone out slow, then you would count:

4th quick, 5th quick; 4th quick, 5th quick; 4th quick, 5th quick;
and then
6th slow, 7th slow; 6th slow, 7th slow; 6th slow, 7th slow;
7th quick, 6th quick; 7th quick, 6th quick; 7th quick, 6th quick;
5th slow, 4th slow; 5th slow, 4th slow; 5th slow, 4th slow;
and so go in quick.

If a bob (or a single) is called then you simply move onto the next six:

6th slow, 7th slow; 6th slow, 7th slow; ‘BOB!’ 6th slow, 7th slow;
6th quick, 7th quick; 6th quick, 7th quick; 6th quick, 7th quick;
7th slow, 6th slow; 7th slow, 6th slow; 7th slow, 6th slow;

and you have automatically kept track of what’s going on.

And not only have you kept track so that you will know what to do when you arrive at the front, but you also at any stage know whether a bell going in should go in quick or slow too. So you have more chance of being able to put them right.

Whether this works in practice remains to be seen. One possible difficulty is the tongue-twisting nature of some of these phrases. But you don’t actually have to say them aloud or particularly accurately — just good enough not to get lost. Stay tuned!

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2005

finally ringing Cambridge Surprise

So finally, some two months after it was suggested that I go away and learn Cambridge Surprise Minor, my chance to try ringing it arrives.

After several months away, my ringing teacher is now back, and Wednesday practices at Hemingford Grey (which we sometimes struggled to maintain in his absence) are once again more complex evenings.

Tonight I walked into the ringing chamber: there were 6 other ringers, about to ring Bob Doubles for someone still learning the method. ‘Right, we’ll ring Bob Minor instead,’ the captain said, and proceeded to call a touch. I was slightly taken by surprise at the first lead end, because I had been expecting a plain course, when he called a Bob. Another ringer arrived, and with eight present we rang a touch of Grandsire Triples. This went quite well, but somewhere along the line the captain and I swapped places, presumably when we were dodging and he was telling me what to do.

Then, after some other ringing, ‘We’ll ring a touch of Kent next.’ Hasty revision of what happens at a bob in Kent. If you’re coming out of the slow or going into the slow you are unaffected; if you are just making 3rds & 4ths up for the second time, then immediately add 4ths and 3rds (so you make 4 blows in 4ths) — this is places down the first time. And if you are at the back then add another double dodge in the place where you are already dodging. I rang bell 4, so made an extra blow in 4th place and 2 in 3rds — 4ths & 3rds down the first time. Then at the next lead end: ‘Bob!’. I was just making places down the second time, so I was unaffected and went into the slow work at the front. And as I came out of the slow, dodging with the treble, another bob was called, and again I was unaffected, making places up. So we carried on, making places up the second time, and then ‘Bob!’, so just about to immediately do places down, but instead ‘That’s all!’ and we had rung three leads of Kent.

Again after a bit more ringing, we turned to Cambridge. I offered to ring the treble, and then added ‘I’d like to have a go ringing inside afterwards’. And so it came to my turn to try Cambridge Surprise. I chose to ring the 3, and the treble was rung by someone just learning to treble bob. We set off: I did the backwork, and Cambridge places down, dodged in 1-2, up to the back, dodge 5-6 up and double-dodge 5-6 down, and down to the frontwork. And as I made 2nds in the middle of the frontwork, it was clear that something had gone wrong, and the treble was lost, and ‘rounds’ was called. We tried again, this time putting an experienced ringer on the treble, and the person who had been standing behind the treble came and stood behind me, but we went wrong even quicker this time. Again it hadn’t been my fault, and we tried again. Backwork, places down, dodge and lead, one and two at the back, frontwork (concentrate, concentrate), two and one at the back, lead and dodge, places up (is he going to call a bob?!), ‘That’s all!’. We had made it, and I had rung Cambridge Surprise Minor at essentially the first attempt.

My minder made two comments: that clearly, I had learnt the method; and that it was a good job I had not missed the sally or I would surely have broken the stay. This was a comment on the brute force with which I had been ringing and controlling the rope. And it was true, I had been pulling hard and checking the rope at slmost every stroke in order to keep my place. I can remember that when I first learnt to ring I would use this brute force technique to ring the tenor, but it’s not something I have done much since acquiring better bell control. Must try and do better next time.

All in all a pretty action-packed practice night.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 9:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

Three leads of Kent

Last Saturday was the monthly bellringers’ district meeting. I’ve not been to one of these before (though I had intended to go to last month’s), but this time it was at Bluntisham, whose bells have only just been rehung so that they can be rung and only a couple of miles down the road. Bluntisham is where Dorothy L Sayers spent her childhood, and where her father, the Revd Henry Sayers, was Rector a century ago. It was here that she watched an earlier restoration of the Bluntisham bells, though not one that enabled them to be rung. Perhaps this stuck in her memory when she came to write her masterpiece, The Nine Tailors. In that book, Lord Peter Wimsey, superhero, takes part in a 9 hour peal of Kent Treble Bob Major. And so Kent was to be the ‘special method’ at this meeting. And as I have had a couple of attempts at ringing Kent I thought that I would have another go.

The bells have been hung lower in the tower than before, in order to reduce the strains in the tower, and ringing is from the ground floor. When I arrive, the bells have just been rung up and are ringing merrily. Inside the church they seem very loud — you’d want to wear ear plugs if you were ringing a peal. A lot of people have gathered for the meeting, from some of the new beginners trying to form a band for the Bluntisham tower, through to experienced ringers. Some people have come from around the country to ring these ‘new’ bells — very few people will have rung them before — from Worcestershire and other far-flung places. That’s a day trip to spend half an hour ringing at Bluntisham before it’s time to head home!

The ringing alternates between Kent and other methods, such as a touch of Bob Major, and simpler ringing, including rounds and call changes. I stand around, listening and watching (and talking to other ringers as I am trying to arrange a band to ring on Wednesday). Eventually, the leader looks at me and says, ‘You haven’t rung yet, what do you want to try?’ ‘I’d like to have a go at Kent,’ I reply. ‘In theory I can ring it.’

So we ring ‘three leads of Kent’, a shortened form of Kent in which a bob is called at each lead end so that it comes back to rounds after just three leads. I had never rung bobs in Kent, but I had done my homework before going to the meeting. Once again I chose to ring on bell 6, which with hindsight was perhaps not the most interesting bell to ring. At each lead end a bob was called and instead of making Kent places down (4ths then 3rds) I did an extra two dodges in 5-6 down. If I had chosen the 4, then at the first lead end I would have been unaffected by the bob and would have gone into the slow (making 2nds place over each of the other bells in turn), and at the second lead end I would have come out of the slow and, again unaffected by the bob, made 3rds and 4ths up, and then at the the third lead end made 3rds and 4ths up again (which is rounds).

I quickly found that the ropes were rather long, and I had to move my hands further up the rope, so that I had perhaps 15 inches of the tail end below my hands. This is not ideal, as I kept getting smacked in the face by it, and I could still have done with taking in a bit more. If I had known this before I started then I could have tied a knot in the rope, or tucked the tail end up on my little finger. But as it was it reduced my control over the bell.

I think the best that could be said was that I didn’t get lost, that I knew exactly what I was meant to be doing, and that I didn’t need the instructions from the expert ringers around me — ‘lead now’, ‘dodge with me now’, and so on, helpful though such comments are. But I clearly need to concentrate on my striking: that is, on making the bell sound in exactly the right place. Although I didn’t get lost in this method, that doesn’t mean that I was placing my bell just where it should be, and I could tell this from my own hands, and with my ears, listening to the bells as they rung. The other ringers were, of course, much too polite to tell me how bad my ringing was.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 9:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 19, 2005

Surprise, surprise — putting it all together

So, we have looked (first here and then here) at the main sections of a plain course of Cambridge Surprise Minor. Now we have to stitch those bits together. This is how it works. We will consider bell 2, which starts in the middle of the front work, as if it had just made 2nd place over the treble. We continue with:

  • the second half of the front work
  • plain hunt towards the back
  • double dodge in 5-6 up, two blows behind, one dodge in 5-6 down (‘two and one’)
  • plain hunt down towards the front
  • lead full and dodge in 1-2 up
  • Cambridge places in 3-4 up, followed by…
  • the back work, and then…
  • Cambridge places in 3-4 down
  • dodge in 1-2 down and lead full
  • plain hunt towards the back
  • dodge in 5-6 up, two blows behind, double dodge in 5-6 down (‘one and two’)
  • plain hunt towards the lead
  • and begin the front work

The tricky bits here are remembering the extra dodges at the front and back, and the order in which they come.

We can now do two things. We can trace out the entire plain course of a single bell. Or we can write out a single lead end for all six bells. In fact these are equivalent things, as we shall see in a moment, and the single lead end is a more compact format.

This is what the lead looks like:

123456

214365
124635
216453
261435
624153
621435
264153
624513
265431
256413
524631
256431
524613
542631
456213
546123
451632
456123
541632
514623
156432
516342
153624
156342

At the end of each lead what we have done is to change the order of the bells, and they then do the work that the bell in that place did in the just-finished lead. For example, if we trace bell 2 through a single lead, then it will end up in 6th place, and that means that what it does next is whatever bell 6 did in that lead end. It has become the 6ths place bell. So we can continue tracing the path of this bell by following the 6 through the lead end. We can do the same for each place bell, noting where it starts, and which place bell it becomes:

2, or rather seconds place bell: second half of frontwork, dodge ‘two and one’ at the back; become sixths place bell

sixths place bell: down to front, lead and dodge; places up; become thirds place bell

thirds place bell: straight up to the back and do back work, dodge 3-4 down; become fourths place bell

fourths place bell: make 3rds place at start of places down; dodge and lead; up to back and dodge 5-6 up (start of ‘one and two’); become fifths place bell

fifths place bell: two blows behind and double dodge 5-6 down (end of ‘one and two’); down to lead and begin frontwork; make 2nds over the treble to become the seconds place bell

One other point is perhaps worth noting. In Kent Treble Bob, we always dodged and made places with the same bell in each dodging position (except when the treble was there) — in Kent when you are making 3rds and 4ths up (Kent places) another bell is making 3rd and 4ths down at the same time. But in Cambridge Surprise, the dodges and places are made with a different bell each time — and only one bell is making (Cambridge) places at any one time. It’s a much more complicated dance, all together.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 5:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2005

Surprise, surprise (continued)

In learning the blue line for Cambridge Surprise Minor we have looked first at what happens when you make ‘Cambridge places’. Next we will look at the back work and the front work. (The warning given before still applies: if you are reading this and trying to learn Cambridge, then don’t assume that the instructions here are right. I am doing this from memory as part of my own learning process.)

The back work in Cambridge is like this:

double dodge 5-6 up, lie behind, dodge 5-6 down with the treble, make 5th place (below the treble), dodge 5-6 up with the treble, lie behind, double dodge 5-6 down.

And we can draw this in diagrammatic form, like this:

-1-x--
1---x- double dodge 5-6 up
-1---x
--1-x-
---1-x
--1-x-
---1-x two blows at the back
----1x and dodge 5-6 down with the treble
----x1
----1x
----x1 make 5th place below the treble
----x1
----1x and dodge 5-6 up with the treble
----x1
----1x two blows at the back
---1-x
--1-x- and double dodge 5-6 down
---1-x
--1-x-
-1---x
1---x-
-1-x-- and continue

Next, we come to the front work, which is something like this:

dodge 1-2 down, lead full, dodge 1-2 up, make 2nd place, lead full, dodge 1-2 up with the treble, make 2nd place over the treble, dodge 1-2 down with the treble, lead full, make 2nd place, dodge 1-2 down, lead full, dodge 1-2 up, and continue.

Got that? Perhaps a diagram will help:

--x--1
-x--1- start with a dodge 1-2 down
x----1
-x---1
x---1- lead
x----1
-x--1- and dodge 1-2 up
x--1--
-x1--- make 2nd place
-x-1--
x-1--- lead again
x1----
1x---- dodge 1-2 up with the treble
x1----
1x---- make 2nd place over the treble
1x----
x1---- dodge 1-2 down with the treble
1x----
x1---- and lead agan
x-1---
-x-1-- make 2nd place again
-x1---
x--1-- dodge 1-2 down
-x--1-
x----1 lead
x---1-
-x---1 dodge 1-2 up
x----1
-x--1-
--x--1 and onward

Now we have each of the components of Cambridge Surprise Minor. We just have to put them together, along with a few more dodges and some plain hunting.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 9:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Surprise, surprise

I went yesterday to practice at Hemingford Grey. Although the tower captain there is away on an extended holiday, this is still a weekly gathering of more experienced ringers. At the end of the practice I was asked, ‘What method are you learning at the moment?’ Hmm, I thought, ‘Nothing really, busy running practices and teaching some beginners.’ Back came the suggestion ‘You could start having a look at Cambridge.’

So, I had a quick look at Cambridge Surprise Minor in Steve Coleman to see what is involved. I also glanced at Cambridge Surprise major, and quickly decided that I’d concentrate on Minor for now. If the Hemingford captain were around he’d probably throw me into the deep end with Major (as he threw me into Stedman Triples and Kent Treble Bob Major without first trying Doubles and Minor).

Anyway, after reading what Coleman has to say on the subject, the next step is to commit this to memory, and part of that process is to regurgitate it here. (Warning: if you are reading this and trying to learn Cambridge, then don’t assume that the instructions here are right. I am doing this from memory as part of my own learning process.)

We can divide a plain course of Cambridge into several pieces of work: the front work, the back work, and the places, which combined with a couple of other dodges, and some pieces of plain hunt, make up the method.

Coleman calls the places the most difficult bit, but they looked fairly easy to remember to me (though perhaps not so easy to remember when ringing, of course). Places are made in 3-4 up and in 3-4 down. Cambridge places in 3-4 up work as follows:

dodge 3-4 up, make 4ths place, make 3rds place, dodge 3-4 up, make 4ths place, make 3rds place, dodge 3-4 up

That’s it. Cambridge places down are the exact opposite of this:

dodge 3-4 down, make 3rds place, make 4ths place, dodge 3-4 down, make 3rds place, make 4ths place, dodge 3-4 down

If I remember correctly, then the dodge in the middle of the places work is made with the treble.

So, we can build a skeleton diagram of this, showing the treble and the bell making places.

First, Cambridge places up:

-x---1
--x-1- dodge 3-4 up
---x-1
--x--1
---x1- make 4ths place
---x-1
--x-1- make 3rds place
--x1--
--1x-- dodge 3-4 up with the treble
--x1--
--1x-- make 4ths place
-1-x--
1-x--- make 3rds place
-1x---
1--x-- dodge 3-4 up
1-x---
-1-x--
1---x- and continue

And secondly, Cambridge places down:

1---x-
-1-x-- dodge 3-4 down
1-x---
1--x--
-1x--- make 3rds place
1-x---
-1-x-- make 4ths place
--1x--
--x1-- dodge 3-4 down with the treble
--1x--
--x1-- make 3rds place
--x-1-
---x-1 make 4ths place
---x1-
--x--1 dodge 3-4 down
---x-1
--x-1-
-x---1 and continue

That’s enough for now. Next we’ll look at the front work and the back work, and then we’ll put it all together.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 15, 2005

Grandsire Caters

This afternoon saw the Annual Meeting of the Huntingdon District of the Ely Diocesan Association. Last year we hosted this at our own tower in St Ives. This year it was the turn of St Neots, which has a 10-bell tower. As I have never rung at a 10-bell tower before this was something of a challenge. And a tenor bell of some 29cwt — ours is a mere 12cwt, so the bells are considerably heavier than I am used to. The tower at St Neots is large and spacious, certainly compared with the few other towers I’ve been in. Here is a comfortable ringing chamber, 30 feet or so up the tower, with plenty of space for the 10 ropes to fall nicely in a large circle, and room around the ringers to sit or stand.

Soon after I arrived the ringing master called for a plain course of Bob Royal — that’s on all ten bells — and I decided to stand behind one of the ringers (bell 7) and see what it was like.

Then some call changes were rung, and I had a go at this, partly to get a feel for the bells, but even so I managed to make a few mistakes. Sigh. I sat down, not entirely impressed with myself.

Next the ringing master called for a touch of Grandsire Caters — that’s 9 bells, and a tenor cover. I stayed in my seat, but was eventually persuaded to ring bell 7, with an experienced ringer standing alongside me. Now in theory I can ring a touch of Grandsire Triples, and Caters is ‘only’ a couple more dodging places in 8-9 up and down. The bobs and singles are the same as for Triples. And then there’s the extra two ropes — counting my place up to ninth place was one thing, but could I see what was happening amidst all those ropes?

So, starting on 7, I dodged with 6 and then up to the back — easy because it is over 8 and 9. Down to the lead is still okay because the bells are still just plain hunting (so every other bell: up the even numbers and down the odds). Then as I came off the lead a Bob was called. ‘You’re in the hunt now,’ said the friendly voice at my side; ‘Thanks,’ I thought gratefully, vaguely aware of the fact. (Hindsight is a wonderful thing: I started by dodging 6-7 up, so I knew my next dodge would be 4-5 up; I should have also considered that a bob at that point would mean making 3rds place and going into the hunt; I should not have been surprised, but somehow I had not thought about what to do at a bob — let alone the inevitable single.)

Still, plain hunting is nice and easy, except that it’s on 10 bells, well 9 bells, because the tenor is just covering. Oh, and the treble is always the last bell when you’re in the hunt in Grandsire, so I only had to worry about 8 bells. And in fact that’s only 7 other bells. But with all these ropes, that’s still quite hard to see, certainly when you’ve not done it before. It was a bit like ringing Major for the first time — then I could see my place when I was in 2nd or 3rd, and when I was in 7th or 6th, and somewhere in the middle was 4th and 5th. Here, however, I could see my place when I was in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and when I was in 9th, 8th, 7th. And somewhere in the middle was 5th place and 6th. So ring at about the right place and hope for the best! ‘Bob!’ came the call and I double-dodged 4-5 down, coming out of the hunt. Now carry on plain hunting, and remember that you have to dodge 6-7 down next time.

I don’t remember the exact details of the touch, but there were a number of other bobs, which had me, for example, double-dodging in 8-9 up. And there was another call of ‘Single!’ Help, what do I do at a single?! Another friendly word from my minder put me right, and the touch continued and eventually completed.

Everyone seemed to think I’d done quite well, although perhaps they were just being polite. For myself, I thought I did just about tolerably, and it was an interesting experience: my ropesight was pretty good, just about good enough to cope with ringing Caters (though probably not good enough to ring Royal); my striking and handling could be improved, especially when ringing these heavy bells, somewhat heavier than I am used to; and I need to commit Grandsire to memory just a little better — I really shouldn’t have been caught out going into the hunt, and I ought to remember about singles and what to do at one.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 8:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 22, 2004

a touch of Kent Treble Bob

Oh dear! I have been discovered! My ringing teacher said to me at Monday’s practice, ‘I was looking at your website…’. I shall have to be careful what I write!

His revenge was to tell me to learn a touch of Kent Treble Bob, the ‘blue line’ of which I learnt a few months ago, and I have had one attempt at ringing a plain course.

When ‘Bob’ is called, the treble is, of course, unaffected, and so are the two bells which are going into, or coming out of, the slow.

The bells which are dodging in 5-6 and above make two extra dodges — three dodges in all, rather than one.

One bell makes the bob: the bell which is making 3rds and 4ths places up the second time. It makes 3rds and 4ths up, and then immediately rings 4ths and 3rds down, and goes straight down to the lead. It has become the bell making 3rds and 4ths down the first time, so it will make 3rds and 4ths down again next time, and then go back into the slow.

The bells which triple dodge at the back continue in their treble bob course. Each of them is delayed in making 3rds and 4ths down by one lead end (because the bell which made the bob has pushed itself in, instead).

Remember that you know you will have to make 3rds and 4ths down for the first time in the next lead end — because you dodge 3-4 down with the treble. So you ‘just’ have to notice when you are dodging with the treble in that position.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 7:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2004

'oranges and lemons'

... say the bells of St Clement's.

But ringing St Clement's Major is another matter. There we were, ringing rounds, and about to ring a touch of something, when the conductor (on bell 7) turned to me (bell 6) and said, 'We'll ring St Clement's' and then proceeded to explain(!) 'It's the reverse dodging order of Bob Major. And you make reverse 3rds. And you do some dodging at the front.' Or something like that.

So off we went, and starting from 6th place I hunted down to 3rd, made 3rds place and back up to the back, 2 blows at the back and then down towards the front, dodging 3-4 down on the way, and then start dodging at the front. Bell 4 seemed quite happy to be dodging with me, but the conductor at this point decided something had gone wrong and called rounds. But, even assuming that I had not already gone wrong, I don't think there was any way that I could have managed to complete the plain course. A little homework is necessary...

The basic idea of St Clement's College Bob Major (to give it its full name) is that:

1. the treble always plain hunts;
2. between each time the treble leads two other bells dodge in 1-2, one dodging 1-2 down, and the other dodging 1-2 up;
3. the other bells plain hunt from 3rd place to the back and down again (because 2 bells are dodging in 1-2, so the lowest the others can go is 3rd place); and
4. when the treble leads, one of the other bells (the one that was dodging 1-2 down) makes 2nd place (and then leads and dodges 1-2 up), and the other bells each dodge. As noted above, the dodges are the same as in Plain Bob, but occur in the reverse order -- dodge 3-4 up, 5-6 up, 7-8 up, 7-8 down, 5-6 down, 3-4 down, make 2nds.

So we can sketch a plain course, noting the treble and the course of bell 6 (since that was what I was trying to ring):

12345678 // start as 6th place bell

-1--6--- // hunt down to 3rd place
--16----
--61----
--6-1---
---6-1--
----6-1-
-----6-1
------61
------16
-----1-6
----1-6-
---1-6--
--1-6---
-1-6----
1-6-----
1--6---- // dodge 3-4 down, becoming the 4th place bell

-16-----
-61----- // down into 1-2, dodge 1-2 down ...
6--1----
-6--1---
6----1--
-6----1-
6------1
-6-----1
6-----1-
-6---1--
6---1---
-6-1----
6-1----- // after 5 dodges, the treble approaches ...
61------ // ... lead full ...
16------ // ... and make 2nds place
16------ // now you are the 2nd place bell

61------ // start by leading full
6-1-----
-6-1---- // and dodge 1-2 up ...
6---1---
-6---1--
6-----1-
-6-----1
6------1
-6----1-
6----1--
-6--1---
6--1----
-61----- // after 5 dodges, the treble approaches ...
-16----- // ... start plain hunting on the back 6 ...
1--6----
1-6----- // dodging 3-4 up; now you are the 3rds place bell

-1-6---- // hunt out to the back
--1-6---
---1-6--
----1-6-
-----1-6
------16
------61
-----6-1
----6-1-
---6-1--
--6-1--- // plain hunting on the back 6, so make 3rds
--61----
--16----
-1--6---
1----6--
1---6--- // dodge 5-6 up; now you are the 5ths place bell

-1---6--
--1---6-
---1---6
----1--6
-----16-
-----61-
----6--1
---6---1
--6---1- // make 3rds
--6--1--
---61---
---16---
--1--6--
-1----6-
1------6
1-----6- // dodge 7-8 up; now you are the 7th place bell

-1-----6 // 2 blows at the back ...
--1----6
---1--6- // ... and hunt down to 3rd place
----16--
----61--
---6--1-
--6----1 // make 3rds
--6----1
---6--1-
----61--
----16--
---1--6-
--1----6 // 2 blows at the back
-1-----6
1-----6-
1------6 // dodge 7-8 down; now you are the 8th place bell

-1----6- // hunt down to 3rds
--1--6--
---16---
---61---
--6--1--
--6---1-
---6---1
----6--1
-----61-
-----16-
----1--6 // 2 blows at the back
---1---6
--1---6-
-1---6--
1---6--- // 'That's all!'
1----6-- // dodge 5-6 down; now you are the 6th place bell -- rounds

Alternatively we can write out a single lead:

12345678

21436587
24163857
42618375
24681735
42867153
24876513
42785631
24758361
42573816
24537186
42351768
24315678
42136587
41263857
14628375
14263857

Now, as always, all I have to do is remember this 'blue line'. Oh, and ring it, of course.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

Kent Treble Bob Major

A few weeks ago, as part of an on-line discussion of Dorothy L Sayer’s Nine Tailors, I sat down and taught myself Kent Treble Bob (and Oxford Treble Bob for good measure, though that doesn’t appear in the book). On Wednesday I finally got a chance to try this out, at practice at Hemingford Grey. We set out to ring a plain course of Kent Treble Bob Major. I chose to ring bell 6 (because I reckoned that bell 6 or bell 4 would be easiest to keep my place — see below), but there were a number of complications. First, the ringer of the treble had never done any treble bob hunting before, but she did have an experienced ringer standing behind her to help; secondly, at least two of the other ringers were not entirely comfortable with Kent.

Why did I choose bell 6? Because, at the start, after dodging with bell 5, bell 6 next dodges in 3-4 down with the treble, and this means that next two times you find yourself in 3-4 down you have to make places (4ths then 3rds) rather than dodging, and after this second time you immediately dodge with the treble in 1-2 and go ‘into the slow’. All the bells have to do this, but 4 goes straight into the slow from the start, and 6 next time; the other bells have to wait longer for this to happen — more time for a beginner to miss this important work.

So, off we went, and I was pleased that I managed to keep my place throughout, and so did the treble. One of the other ringers was a bit wobbly, but what really threw us was that the conductor — naturally trying to keep track of what these inexperienced ringers were doing — himself went wrong, telling me, for example, to dodge with him in 5-6 when I was in the slow (but I was sure I was right and ignored him). Still, we managed some 5 or so leads of a plain course (which would be 7 leads in total, I think). During those 5 leads I had done all my ‘hard’ work — making places down, doing the slow work at the front, making places up — and was into the ‘ordinary’ work — dodging in 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 up and down. We immediately had another go at a plain course, but — for the same reasons — this was less successful than the first.

So I was quite pleased with myself: I had rung most of a plain course of Kent Treble Bob Major, and it wasn’t my fault that it had gone wrong!

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 9:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

bobs in Grandsire

I need to get my head around bobs in Grandsire Triples.

In Grandsire, the treble always plain hunts, and in a plain course one other bell plain hunts after it — bell 2 when starting from rounds. This other bell is said to be ‘in the hunt’. At a bob this bell leaves the hunt and joins the other bells in hunting and dodging, and one of the other bells joins the hunt in its place. How does this work?

If we are ringing bell 3, then starting from rounds we ring one blow at handstroke in third place and then hunt down to the lead, up to the back, and down again. Then we dodge in 4-5 down. The plain course continues with dodges in 6-7 down, 6-7 up, and 4-5 up. Then we make 3rds place, which brings us back to rounds.

When a bob is called the dodges are changed in the following way: the bell making 3rds place is unaffected and each of the other bells skips the dodge it would have done and instead double dodges the next dodge, so to speak. This has the following effect:

  • if we were going to make 3rds, then make 3rds as normal (‘last thirds’)
  • if we were going to dodge 4-5 down, then instead double-dodge 6-7 down
  • if we were going to dodge 6-7 down, then instead double-dodge 6-7 up
  • if we were going to dodge 6-7 up, then instead double-dodge 4-5 up

but:

  • if we were going to dodge 4-5 up, then instead make 3rds place (‘first 3rds’) and join the hunt

and conversely

  • if we were in the hunt, then instead double-dodge 4-5 down, leaving the hunt.

In this bob, two bells each make 3rds place — first the bell which would have dodged 4-5 up, but which makes 3rds and goes into the hunt. This bell makes ‘first 3rds’ at the bob. Secondly, the bell which was going to make 3rds anyway — it does so and continues in the normal way, unaffected by the bob. This bell makes ‘last 3rds’ at the bob.

When set down in this way it is fairly easy to remember. All that has to be done is to remember this in the heat of the moment: that is, know which dodge you are about to do next, and consider in advance what you must do if a bob happens to be called. There, touches of Grandsire Triples made easy! Except that we have not yet considered the question of calls of ‘Single!’.

Footnote (24 August 2004): A further point about bobs in Grandsire Triples, is that when a bob is called you double-dodge in the place you are in at the moment of the call (unless you were going to dodge 4-5 up, in which case you make 3rds and go into the hunt).

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)

Stedman and Grandsire

Had a few more attempts at ringing Stedman at Hemingford Grey last night. We rang a couple of plain courses of doubles: first time I rang bell number 2, and afterwards I tried number 3. Both times I got it right. Later in the evening — after more ringers had turned up — we rang triples. I rang bell 4, and started off making a mess of things. I was immediately put right by the conductor (‘lead now!’), and from then on I was okay. I realized at the time that I had probably gone wrong in exactly the same way as I had done the very first time I had tried to ring Stedman. But I could not see at all what I was doing wrong.

Later, when driving home, I worked out what I had probably done on both occasions. Bell number 4 starts by dodging once with 5 (i.e., from ringing in 4th place at rounds, you ring one blow in 5th, one blow in 4th, and then ‘go in slow’, that is, two blows in 3rd place and down to the lead). I had forgotten to do the dodge with 5, instead trying to go in slow immediately with the two blows in 3rd place. Obviously something to remember — not just ‘go in slow’, but ‘dodge 4/5 down’ first.

We also tried to ring a touch of Grandsire Triples, with me ringing bell 6. In a plain course of Grandsire Triples there are dodges in 4/5 up, 6/7 up, 6/7 down, 4/5 down, and then make 3rds. But I haven’t got the hang of bobs in this method yet. Ringing 6 the first dodge is in 6/7 up, but a bob called before this means do a double-dodge in 4/5 up; another bob was called as I was about to make 3rd — which is unaffected by the call. We did this a couple of times, then a bob was called in some other position, and I was somewhat lost. We struggled to the finishing post which was by then in sight. More work needed to understand bobs in Grandsire…

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2004

ringing Stedman

After some hints at last Wednesday’s practice at Hemingford Grey, I have spent a while getting to grips with Stedman, a method (or rather a principle) devised in the 1670s. A couple of things helped me. First, when I began to learn to ring, Stedman was the first method that I learnt to ring a cover bell to, and one of the things I did was to learn the pattern in which pairs of bells come to the back. In a notebook I had sketched this out, writing out a plain course of the last two bells — the first time I had done this. The second help was that I spent an hour each way on the train to London, and decided to use it to work out the full plain course for Stedman Doubles. Turning to the back of the notebook I had with me I found my notes of 18 months earlier which I had entirely forgotten about.

Stedman is based on the two orders in which you can arrange six bells. There are only six ways you can arrange six bells, and in ringing there are only two ways of arranging these six different changes, since a bell can only exchange places with its nearest neighbour (or stay in the same place). These two ways can be considered as: ‘forward hunting’ in which the bell in first place hunts to third place, and then down to the front again; and ‘backward hunting’ where the bell in third place hunts down to the front, leads, and hunts back up to third place again. Stedman consists of each of these ‘sixes’ performed alternately. At the end of each ‘six’ the bell in third place moves out of the front three into fourth place, and the bell which was in fourth place moves down to take its place. And during each ‘six’ the bells in fourth and fifth places dodge with each other.

Armed with this information, you can then work out a plain course of Stedman Doubles, or indeed Triples.

12345
21354
23145
——-
32415
23451
24315
42351
43215
34251
——-
43521
45312
54321
53412
35421
34512
——-
43152
34125
31452
13425
14352
41325
——-
14235
12453
21435
24153
42135
41253
——-
14523
41532
45123
54132
51423
15432
——-
51342
53124
35142
31524
13542
15324
——-
51234
15243
12534
21543
25134
52143
——-
25413
24531
42513
45231
54213
52431
——-
25341
52314
53241
35214
32541
23514
——-
32154
31245
13254
12345

Then came the moment of truth, this Wednesday. ‘Did you have a look at Stedman?’ I am asked. ‘Right, we’ll ring Stedman Triples.’ So we rang Stedman Triples — and I made a complete hash of it. Very annoying, having put some effort into thoroughly learning the ‘blue line’, and knowing exactly what I was supposed to be doing — but actually trying to remember that and ring at the same time was too much. Later in the practice we had another go, with me again ringing bell number 4. This time — I got it right, and we rang a plain course of Stedman Triples without me going wrong. I guess my striking could have been better, but I never lost my place, knew what I should be doing, and was always more or less in the right place. Phew! Now to do it a lot better.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 4:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2004

singles

For quite a while now practice has involved ringing touches of bob doubles, minor, triples, and even bob major, in which the conductor has called various bobs. So it came as something of a surprise tonight when a ‘single’ was called a short way into a touch of bob triples. Of course, I had no idea what to do, and as I was (or should have been) affected by the call, since I would otherwise have been dodging 3/4 up, the whole thing went wrong. Oh well, that’s what practice nights are for.

So we had another go, after it was explained what I should be doing: if dodging 3/4 up then instead make fourth’s place, hunt to the front, and next time dodge 5/6 down; and if dodging 3/4 down then make third’s place, hunt to the back and next time make second’s place. In other words, the bells that would otherwise be dodging 3/4 up and 3/4 down effectively swap places. And it worked! We got through the touch without further errors, a single being called twice with me affected. Phew!

So in theory I can now ring any touch of Plain Bob. We shall see.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)