Thinking allowed

calling Bob Minor, and other progress

I finally got to call a touch of Bob Minor last night. Every fourth week a group of oth­er ringers attends our prac­tice, and this extra exper­i­ence is just what a novice caller needs! With a less exper­i­enced ringer on 2, able to ring a plain course but not com­fort­able with bobs, I was able to ring the 5 and call a 120 – home and wrong with 2 as the obser­va­tion bell; or from my own point of view, out, out, wrong, make. And it all worked. No one got ter­ribly lost, and I remembered when to call the bobs, and was even able to tell anoth­er ringer to make the bob and then to dodge 5–6 down with the 2, and then to dodge 5–6 up with me.

Else­where, I went to a Fri­day prac­tice at ten-bell St Neots a week or so ago. I had rung there once before, at a dis­trict meet­ing, and went this time because I had a friend stay­ing overnight and he’s a ringer. We watched them ring a course of Glas­gow on 8 – way bey­ond my cap­ab­il­it­ies! But I did get to ring Grand­sire Caters (i.e. on 9 bells with a ten­or cov­er) and did not dis­grace myself. My ropesight could just about man­age with the extra bells, and I am just about com­fort­able enough with Grand­sire to man­age being affected by the bobs and singles.

Still not had anoth­er chance to ring Cam­bridge Major though. 


calling other touches

I’ve been call­ing Bob Doubles for some time now, and have become reas­on­ably com­pet­ent at it, espe­cially if the oth­er ringers are com­pet­ent too. But my own band is not always as good as that, and so I have found myself try­ing to see what oth­er bells are doing or should be doing, so that I can try to put them right. One of the side effects of this is that, if you are not care­ful, you start ringing what the bell you are think­ing of is doing, rather than what you should be doing! That’s almost guar­an­teed to ruin a touch that you are try­ing to call. Still, it is good prac­tice to be able to observe anoth­er ringer, and obvi­ously help­ful to a band if I can help anoth­er ringer com­plete a touch.

I have also been think­ing about learn­ing to call oth­er touches. At our own tower on a Sunday morn­ing we mostly get to ring Bob Doubles, but we are almost at the stage of hav­ing enough Plain Bob ringers to be able to ring Bob Minor, and it might be help­ful to be able to call touches of that.

In Bob Minor, the vari­ations from plain hunt­ing are: dodge 3–4 down, 5–6 down, 5–6 up, 3–4 up, and make 2nds. A bob is like a bob in Doubles: run out, run in, or make the bob. If you make the bob, then next time you dodge 5–6 down and carry on from there (where­as in Doubles you would do four blows behind next time, but of course that doesn’t occur in Minor). If you are dodging 5–6 down or 5–6 up then you are unaf­fected by a bob.

In Bob Doubles there are four call­ing pos­i­tions. i.e. places at which you can call a bob:

  • ‘out’ when you run out, rather than mak­ing 2nds place
  • ‘in’ when you run in, rather than dodging 3–4 down
  • ‘make’ or ‘bob’ when you make the bob, rather than dodging 3–4 up
  • ‘home’ when you are mak­ing four blows at the back, and you are unaffected

In Bob Minor there are five call­ing pos­i­tions: ‘out’, ‘in’ and ‘make’ are the same as in Doubles. The two new ones are:

  • ‘home’ when you are about to dodge 5–6 down, and are unaffected
  • ‘wrong’ when you are about to dodge 5–6 up, and are unaffected

A simple touch in Bob Minor is to call bobs when you are dodging 5–6 down or 5–6 up and are there­fore unaf­fected. If you do this four times, then it should come back to rounds at the appro­pri­ate point. If you are ringing the 6, then this means call­ing the fol­low­ing: wrong, home, wrong, home (and imme­di­ately that is rounds after the last bob). On 2, 3, 4 or 5 it is: home, wrong, home, wrong (which on the 5 is rounds imme­di­ately after the last bob, but on 2, 3 or 4 there are more leads before get­ting back to rounds). The dif­fer­ence is because on the 6 you reach the 5–6 up dodging pos­i­tion before the 5–6 down, where­as on the oth­er bells you reach 5–6 down first.

That’s all very well if you are going to be the bell unaf­fected by the bobs. But in a band which has only just reached the num­ber of ringers to try Bob Minor rather than Bob Doubles, it is bet­ter for the most inex­per­i­enced ringer to be the one who is unaf­fected by the bobs, rather than the caller. This ringer is quite likely to be ringing bell 2, so we need to call this touch (home, wrong, home, wrong) from the point of view of bell 2, whichever bell the caller is ringing; i.e., we must make bell 2 the obser­va­tion bell.

We can do this by watch­ing bell 2 and call­ing a bob whenev­er it is about to dodge 5–6 down or 5–6 up; but it is prob­ably easi­er for the novice caller to work out in advance when this ought to occur and remem­ber what their own pos­i­tion is at the cor­res­pond­ing point.

So, this is the order of work that bell 2 will do:

  1. dodge 3–4 down
  2. dodge 5–6 down
  3. dodge 5–6 up
  4. dodge 3–4 up
  5. make seconds
    and repeat.

So we need to call a bob at the end of the second lead, and the end of the third lead, and then again at the end of the sev­enth lead and the end of the eighth lead.

Now we need to work out what our own bell will be doing. Sup­pose we are ringing bell 5. Then we will do the fol­low­ing work:

  1. dodge 3–4 up
  2. BOB: run out (rather than mak­ing seconds)
  3. BOB: run out (rather than mak­ing seconds)
  4. make seconds
  5. dodge 3–4 down
  6. dodge 5–6 down
  7. BOB: dodge 5–6 up (unaf­fected)
  8. BOB: make the bob (rather than dodge 3–4 up)
  9. dodge 5–6 down
  10. dodge 5–6 up (which is rounds)

What you have to remem­ber is the touch: out, out, wrong, make.

There is one fur­ther issue that comes to mind — when to actu­ally say the word ‘bob’. This should be done at the back­stroke lead before the treble leads, a whole pull’s notice of the dodge itself. For an out bob, this is when you are ringing the back­stroke as you lead, and for make it is as you ring a back­stroke in 3rd place (or just frac­tion­ally before). But for home it needs to be called at the back­stroke lead before your own back­stroke in 6th place, which is imme­di­ately after you have rung your pre­vi­ous blow, the hand­stroke in 6th place. For the wrong bob, the call should be between your hand­stroke in 4th place and the back­stroke in 5th place — a little earli­er rather than later, since that is when the bell which will run out is mak­ing its back­stroke lead.

That’s enough to keep us busy for a while I think, espe­cially if the caller is try­ing to ensure that anoth­er bell is in the right place. On that top­ic, more anon.