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.