Thinking allowed

another touch of bob doubles

Since first try­ing to call a touch of Bob Doubles back in August I have not had much oppor­tun­ity to try this again.

Yes­ter­day I had anoth­er go, or rather, sev­er­al goes.

First time we had someone still learn­ing Plain Bob on bell 2. She can just about ring a plain course reas­on­ably well, and so it was sug­ges­ted that I call a touch with bell 2 unaf­fected. This means that a bob is called just as bell 2 is ringing long 5ths (four blows in 5th place). As I was ringing bell 5, I knew that this meant that the first bob should be called as I was about to make 2nds, i.e. at the second lead end (start­ing on bell 5, at the first lead end you dodge 3–4 up with bell 2). You have to call a bob just before the treble leads, which when you are about to make 2nds is as you lead. I man­aged this, and then car­ried on ringing try­ing to work out when I should next call ‘bob’.

The cycle of ‘bob’ calls for Plain Bob is: In, Out, Make. So I had to work out that the bob I had just called was ‘Out’ (because instead of mak­ing 2nds I had run out to the back), and there­fore the next bob should be ‘Make’, and then I had to work out what this meant — a bob which causes you to make 4ths place and you do that instead of dodging 3–4 up — and whilst try­ing to work this out I had to keep plain hunt­ing, and keep dodging, remem­ber­ing which dodge came next and doing it.

And all this was too much to remem­ber, too much to get my brain around, and I even­tu­ally missed a dodge and couldn’t work out how to get back into sync. Oh well.

Later I had anoth­er go, this time with an exper­i­enced ringer on bell 2 — in fact with more exper­i­enced ringers on each of the ‘inside’ bells, and I called anoth­er touch, this time ‘three Homes’, mean­ing that you call a bob each time you are ringing 4 blows behind, so that the caller is unaf­fected by the bobs. This is what I had called back in the sum­mer, and I just about man­aged to call it right, though I for­got to call ‘that’s all’ at the end. This call comes a stroke or so after the last bob, when you are ringing bell 5 and call­ing three Homes.

Then we had anoth­er go at call­ing a touch with bell 2 unaf­fected. This time, of course, I was less taken by sur­prise, and had a bet­ter idea of what it was I was sup­posed to be doing. Still far from per­fect, and occa­sion­ally not quite get­ting the calls of ‘bob’ in early enough, but get­ting better.

Just for the record, this is what should happen…

Start­ing on bell 5, ring an extra hand­stroke in 5th place and plain hunt down to the lead, then dodge 3–4 up, up to the back, plain hunt down to the lead again, and at the back­stroke lead call ‘bob’. Then instead of mak­ing 2nds, plain hunt out to the back (an ‘out’ bob call) and down again, make 2nds and lead again. Hunt to the back and dodge 3–4 down, lead, hunt to the back and make long 5ths (four blows in 5th place). Hunt down to the lead, and back out, and as you ring in 2nd place call ‘bob’. Instead of dodging 3–4 up, make the bob (4ths place) (a ‘make’ bob call) and hunt down to the lead, then out to the back and make long 5ths again. Down to the lead and then dodge 3–4 up, up to the back, and plain hunt down to the lead again. Make 2nds, lead again, and hunt to the back, and as you ring the second blow in 5th place you need to have called ‘bob’ again, and instead of dodging 3–4 down run in to the lead (an ‘in’ bob call). Up to the back again, then dodge 3–4 down. Lead, hunt up to the back, and after 2 blows at the back call ‘that’s all’.


'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… 



Those who can, teach...

A long time ago, when I was at school, we used to recite a trite little aph­or­ism: ‘those who can, do; those who can’t, teach’. Pre­sum­ably our inten­tion was to con­vince ourselves of our superi­or­ity over our teachers.

On Sat­urday, on a misty morn­ing, I drove across the fens to Down­ham Mar­ket, to attend a train­ing day, organ­ized by the dio­ces­an asso­ci­ation of bell­ringers. The day was about teach­ing begin­ners to handle a bell, and to take their first steps at ringing back­strokes and then handstrokes. 

Richard Par­geter, the association’s train­ing officer, first led a dozen or so would-be teach­ers through the basics of learn­ing to ring, han­di­capped only by the want of a cable to con­nect his laptop to the pro­ject­or — although this lack of a Power­point accom­pani­ment was no great han­di­cap. As well as the basics of what the begin­ner needs to learn, the teach­er must also be aware of what might go wrong, and be able to cope with poten­tial dis­asters and put right less­er mis­takes. After cof­fee we trooped over to the church, and Richard demon­strated these points with the aid of a com­plete and will­ing novice. After an hour of teach­ing her and demon­strat­ing to us this brave soul was con­fid­ent at ringing back­strokes, and able to try ringing hand­stroke and backstroke.

In the after­noon, we were ourselves let loose to super­vise some volun­teer novices and pseudo-novices. When you know how to ring, and are start­ing to teach then you real­ize how dan­ger­ous it can be for a begin­ner, and how ill-equipped you feel to cope. So I was quite pleased to stand in front of a novice and have her ring back­strokes while I rang the hand­strokes; and then to have her ring a few hand­strokes as well as back­strokes. She was quite good at this, but then I real­ized that she had no idea how to stand the bell, and I would have to do this. Les­son to be learnt — always have an exit strategy, prefer­ably before you get going.

Back to that old jibe about teach­ers. Nasty little boys that we were, we added anoth­er clause: ‘and those who can’t teach, teach teach­ers’. And that was cer­tainly not true on Sat­urday. Richard Par­geter is not only a very exper­i­enced ringer, but has taught many oth­ers to ring over a peri­od of 20 years or so. His book­let One Way to teach Bell Hand­ling, pub­lished by the Cent­ral Coun­cil, sum­mar­izes his approach to teach­ing novice ringers, and his com­ments on the­ory and prac­tice made him an excel­lent teach­er of novice teach­ers. I and oth­ers came away with know­ledge and con­fid­ence to begin to teach our own begin­ners — all in all a good day’s work.