Thinking allowed

Kent Treble Bob Major

A few weeks ago, as part of an on-line dis­cus­sion of Dorothy L Sayer’s Nine Tail­ors, I sat down and taught myself Kent Treble Bob (and Oxford Treble Bob for good meas­ure, though that doesn’t appear in the book). On Wed­nes­day I finally got a chance to try this out, at prac­tice at Hem­ing­ford Grey. We set out to ring a plain course of Kent Treble Bob Major. I chose to ring bell 6 (because I reckoned that bell 6 or bell 4 would be easi­est to keep my place — see below), but there were a num­ber of com­plic­a­tions. First, the ringer of the treble had nev­er done any treble bob hunt­ing before, but she did have an exper­i­enced ringer stand­ing behind her to help; secondly, at least two of the oth­er ringers were not entirely com­fort­able with Kent.

Why did I choose bell 6? Because, at the start, after dodging with bell 5, bell 6 next dodges in 3–4 down with the treble, and this means that next two times you find your­self in 3–4 down you have to make places (4ths then 3rds) rather than dodging, and after this second time you imme­di­ately dodge with the treble in 1–2 and go ‘into the slow’. All the bells have to do this, but 4 goes straight into the slow from the start, and 6 next time; the oth­er bells have to wait longer for this to hap­pen — more time for a begin­ner to miss this import­ant work.

So, off we went, and I was pleased that I man­aged to keep my place through­out, and so did the treble. One of the oth­er ringers was a bit wobbly, but what really threw us was that the con­duct­or — nat­ur­ally try­ing to keep track of what these inex­per­i­enced ringers were doing — him­self went wrong, telling me, for example, to dodge with him in 5–6 when I was in the slow (but I was sure I was right and ignored him). Still, we man­aged some 5 or so leads of a plain course (which would be 7 leads in total, I think). Dur­ing those 5 leads I had done all my ‘hard’ work — mak­ing places down, doing the slow work at the front, mak­ing places up — and was into the ‘ordin­ary’ work — dodging in 3–4, 5–6, and 7–8 up and down. We imme­di­ately had anoth­er go at a plain course, but — for the same reas­ons — this was less suc­cess­ful than the first.

So I was quite pleased with myself: I had rung most of a plain course of Kent Treble Bob Major, and it wasn’t my fault that it had gone wrong!

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