Thinking allowed

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:



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.

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