Thinking allowed

Calling Plain Bob

Over the last few of weeks I have been calling simple touches of Bob Major and Bob Triples.

First was Bob Major, three weeks ago. ‘Call a touch of Bob Major’, asked the captain at Wednesday practice. ‘What do I call?’ I responded, already holding the rope of the number 6 bell. He thought for a moment and replied ‘Call a bob at the end of the first lead, and then at the end of the fourth and the fifth; and then repeat.’ Okay, I thought, can I remember that at short notice? So off we went, about to dodge 7-8 down so call ‘bob!’, then 7-8 up, 5-6 up, about to dodge 3-4 up so ‘bob!’ and make the bob, next is 5-6 down and don’t forget to call ‘bob!’ first. That’s half way, now we just have to call a similar pattern of bobs. So, ‘bob!’ at 7-8 down, then 7-8 up, 5-6 up, and now I’ve lost count of how many leads there have been — is there a bob next time or not? A nudge from another ringer and I manage to call the bob at exactly the right point, and make the bob. Then ‘bob!’ again, dodge 5-6 down and ‘That’s all’.

Afterwards, at home, I look this up, and find it is the most commonly called touch of Bob Major, which when called from the Tenor is: ‘wrong’, three ‘befores’, ‘middle’ and ‘home’, but can be rung from any bell by remembering the leads: bob, plain, plain, bob, bob; repeat.

Last night the request was similar: ‘Call a touch of Bob Triples’. Again, I have to ask what to call, and this time the reply is, ‘Call plain, bob, bob, plain, and repeat.’

I am holding the rope of number 7, and off we go. 5-6 up at the end of the first lead, then about to dodge 3-4 up, so ‘bob!’ and make the bob. Then about to dodge 5-6 down, so ‘bob!’ and dodge unaffected. Next time it’s four blows behind and I see that I am simply back at my starting position, so the calls of the second half will be exactly the same as the first half, and when we get to the four blows behind then ‘that’s all’.