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!