Thinking allowed

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.


calling Bob Doubles

Two little bits of progress to record, to do with calling touches of Bob Doubles.

A couple of weeks ago I called a 120 of Bob Doubles from the treble. When you do this you only have the basic framework of ringing to help you know where you have got to. You cannot call a 120 by simply calling ‘Bob’ whenever you are doing four blows behind, or by calling bobs at ‘in’, ‘out’ and ‘make’, because you never do any of these things. Instead what I did was to count leads. I decided in advance that I wanted the 2 to be unaffected, so I called a bob just as I rang a backstroke in 2nd place at the end of the second lead. Then I counted 3 more leads and called a bob again (at my backstroke in 2nd place); then 3 more leads and another bob, and finally when taking the 2 from the lead, call ‘that’s all’ as the bells come into rounds.

The difficulty with this is the two lots of counting that must be done: counting your own place, and counting the number of leads. It is all too easy to forget how many leads have been rung by confusing the two lots of numbers.

Then at last night’s practice I called a 120 of Bob Doubles while ringing the tenor cover. Here, there is even less framwework to help you as you are ringing in sixth place at every blow. Instead, you have to watch another bell. I chose to count the place of bell 2, and to call a 120 which affected that bell (make, in, and out), and then as it was about to make 2nds place the bells come into rounds. In order to do this you have to be able to continue ringing the cover bell whilst watching and counting what some other bell is doing. Ringing the cover bell (to doubles, at least) has become an almost totally automatic or sub-conscious process: my eyes and hands can get on with doing this while I follow another bell and call the 120. It’s nice to have reached this state: it’s not so long ago that ringing the cover bell itself was hard and not always accurate!