Thinking allowed

Calling Bob Minor: a different composition

Thanks to Tim Rose’s website here is a composition for a quarter of Bob Minor that looks to be rather easier to call than the one I considered before. Tim does a pretty good job of describing the composition, but for the sake of completeness and to aid my own understanding I’ll put it all in my own words.

As in the previous composition, this quarter consists of a 720 followed by a 540, making 1260 changes in total.

First we look at a plain course of Bob Minor. The lead ends (when the treble leads at backstroke) look like this:

135264 (3 make 2nd’s, 5 3-4 up, 2 3-4 down, 6 5-6 up, 4 5-6 down)
156342 (5 make 2nd’s, 6 3-4 up, 3 3-4 down, 4 5-6 up, 2 5-6 down)
164523 (6 make 2nd’s, 4 3-4 up, 5 3-4 down, 2 5-6 up, 3 5-6 down)
142635 (4 make 2nd’s, 2 3-4 up, 6 3-4 down, 3 5-6 up, 5 5-6 down)
123456 (2 make 2nd’s, 3 3-4 up, 4 3-4 down, 5 5-6 up, 6 5-6 down)

This gives us 60 changes in a plain course, but if we call a bob just before it comes back to rounds the last row becomes
142356 bob (4 runs in, 2 runs out, 3 makes the bob, 5 dodges 5-6 up, 6 5-6 down)

If we do this three times, then the lead ends at each of the bobs are:

142356 bob
134256 bob
123456 bob

These bobs are each called when the tenor is in the ‘home’ position, i.e. dodging 5-6 down. Now we have a touch of three courses or 180 changes.

We can extend each of these courses (each ending with the bob at ‘home’) by inserting some extra calls that don’t affect the course end. We can do this by adding in a different fairly simple touch of four calls, that turns each 60 into a 240. Each call is made when the tenor is dodging 5-6 up, i.e. at ‘wrong’. The four calls are bob, single, bob, single. The tenor, dodging in 5-6 up at each call, is unaffected by any of them, and after these four calls the touch comes back to rounds.

We can write out the lead ends starting from rounds thus:

123564 bob ‘wrong’; 5 makes the bob
136245 plain: tenor dodges 3-4 up
164352 plain: tenor makes 2nd’s
145623 plain: tenor dodges 3-4 down
152436 plain: tenor dodges 5-6 down ‘home’

125364 single ‘wrong’; 5 makes the single

132564 bob ‘wrong’; 5 makes the bob

135264 single ‘wrong’; 5 makes the single

After 240 changes this comes back to rounds, but if a bob is called just before that, then it changes the last row to
142356 bob ‘home’; 5 and 6 unaffected

This is just what the simple touch (3 ‘home’s) did, and similarly, ringing this three times will then come back into rounds at 3 × 240 changes, i.e. after 720 changes so we have rung the first 720 of the quarter peal, an extent on 6 bells, or every possible combination.

The lead ends after each 240 are:
142356 bob ‘home’
134256 bob ‘home’
123456 bob ‘home’ rounds
These are exactly the same course ends as we got with the simple “three homes” 180 touch.

We can continue to ring this pattern a further two times and then we shall have rung another 480 changes, each ending like this:
142356 bob ‘home’
134256 bob ‘home’

That makes 720 + 480 changes, or 1200. We need another 60 changes to reach 1260 for the quarter peal, and we need to get back to rounds. And that’s exactly what our simple “three homes” touch does — its last course of 60 changes turns 134256 into 123456 with just one bob at the very end. See the lead ends for that simple touch at the start of this article. So we ring the last 60 of that 180, omitting the bob-single-bob-single at ‘wrong’ that we used to extend the 60 into a 240.

The quarter peal becomes:
bob ‘wrong’, single ‘wrong’, bob ‘wrong’, single ‘wrong’, bob ‘home’ — repeat 5 times in total
bob ‘home’.

Or to spell it out in more detail:

bob, plain, plain, plain, plain;
single, plain, plain, plain, plain;
bob, plain, plain, plain, plain;
single, plain, plain, plain, bob;
repeat all the above 5 times in total, then finish with
plain, plain, plain, plain, bob.

Several other features make this easy for the learning band:

  • The tenor rings plain courses throughout, unaffected by the calls which always occur when it is in 5-6 up or 5-6 down.
  • The 5 makes 3rd’s at every single; no other bell needs to worry about making the single; this is very helpful if not all the band are fully confident about singles
  • The 5 also makes 4th’s at every bob at ‘wrong’, and dodges 5-6 up with the tenor at every bob at ‘home’
  • Otherwise the calls permute the 2, 3, and 4. In each 240 one of them will be unaffected, dodging 5-6 down with the tenor at every call: in the first 240 this is the 4, in the second the 3 and in the third the 2. The fourth is the same as the first, so the 4 is unaffected, and the fifth is the same as the second, so the 3 is.
  • When there is a bob at ‘home’ at the end of each 240, it comes one lead earlier than a bob or single would otherwise have been called
  • And then the bob at ‘wrong’ is the very next lead.


Steve Coleman discusses this QP composition (and the earlier one) in his Bob Caller’s Companion (which along with his other ringing books is available here). He suggests the other one is the simpler. He also makes a couple of interesting observations. First is to call the 540 before rather than after the 720, and to call the 60 at the start of the 540 rather than at the end. The advantage of this is that the 60 is a complete plain course, starting from rounds and just as it’s about to come back to rounds there’s a bob, and then the sequence of five 240s begins. So the variation in the composition is at the start — and if anything goes wrong you can start again, with a only a few minutes wasted. If this is done, then after that first bob it’s the 3 that is unaffected in the first 240, then the 2, then 4, 3, and 2 respectively. The composition comes back to rounds with the bob at ‘home’ at the very end of the fifth 240.

Coleman also notes that this block of W-SW-W-SW-H can be used for a QP of Bob Major. Instead of there being 240 changes in each part (12 changes in each lead, 4×5=20 leads in each part), in Major there are 448 (16 changes per lead, 4×7=28 leads per part), and so ringing it three times is 1344 changes, at which point it comes back to rounds without anything else needed and that will suffice for a QP. In Major, 6, 7 and 8 are all unaffected by all the bobs and singles, ringing plain courses throughout. The 5 front bells do all the same work as they do in Minor, with the addition of hunting to 8th place and back, and dodging 7-8 down and up.


Calling Bob Minor

It’s a long time since I have written anything here, but I want to call a quarter peal, and Bob Minor is a plausible method. So I’d better work out how to do it.

This is based on a piece that appeared in Ringing World in 2008, of which I have a copy. But this is reconstructed from memory as part of my usual trick of trying to learn something new.

A quarter peal of Minor is 1260: a peal on seven bells or fewer is 5040 changes, which is the extent on seven bells, i.e. the maximum number of different changes which is 7! or 7×6×5×4×3×2. And a quarter of 5040 is 1260. (A peal on eight or more bells is 5000 changes.)

The basis of this quarter peal is a common touch of Bob Minor that I have called a number of times, which is to call bobs when the tenor is dodging 5-6 down and up (known as ‘home’ and ‘wrong’ respectively). If you call this twice then it comes back to rounds after 10 leads, which is 120 changes. The pattern of lead ends is: bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; and repeat bob, plain, plain, plain, bob. The three plain leads are when the tenor is among the front bells, dodging 3-4 down, making 2nds and dodging 3-4 up. Incidentally, this touch can be extended into a 240 by calling a single at any one of the lead ends, completing the 120, which now doesn’t come round, and then repeating the exact same pattern of calls at the lead end, including the single, and it will now come round at the end of the 240. I’ve called this a few times, and tried to call it a few more!

So we take this 120 of ‘bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, bob’, and omit the last bob. Instead of coming round this permutes the order of bells 2, 3 and 4. Instead of running in at a bob, the 2 dodges 3-4 down, becoming the 4th-place bell. Instead of running out, the 3 makes 2nd place, becoming the 2nd-place bell; and instead of making the bob, the 4 dodges 3-4 up, becoming the 3rd-place bell. So at the end of this part, after 120 changes, the order of the bells is:


Repeat this, and, after 240 changes, the order will be

And again, after 360 changes:

But instead of letting this come round, we call a single, which swaps the 3 and 4:

And now we can repeat that 360 to make a 720. At the end of the next three 120s with the matching single at the end, the order will be:

720 changes is the extent on six bells, all the possible ways of arranging the six bells, i.e. 6! or 6×5×4×3×2 = 720.

The 720 consists of:
wrong, home, wrong, (plain at home)
wrong, home, wrong, (plain at home)
wrong, home, wrong, single at home
and repeat once more.

bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, plain;
bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, plain;
bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, single
and repeat once more.

To get up to 1260 we need to add another touch of 540.

Let’s go back to that basic block of 60 changes wrong-home-wrong-home. The lead ends look like this:

The next lead would look like this if it were a plain lead:
but we call a bob instead (at ‘wrong’) so, the 3 runs out, the 2 runs in and the 5 makes the bob:
123564 (after 12 changes)
Then there are 3 plain leads:
136245 (after 24 changes)
164352 (after 36 changes)
145623 (after 48 changes)

Then there’s a bob (a ‘home’), so we get
145236 (after 60 changes)

Repeat this, with a single at the end instead of a bob:
145362 (bob here ‘wrong’)
132456 (single here ‘at home’ after 120 changes)

And ring a plain course with a single at the end:
125364 (no bob ‘wrong’)
134256 (single ‘at home’ after 180 changes)

So in 180 changes we have gone from

If we repeat this 180 two more times we get:

142356 (360 changes)
123456 (rounds after 540 changes)

To summarize, the 540 is:
wrong, home,
wrong, single at home
(plain at wrong), single at home
and repeat twice more.

We put these two touches together, the extent of 720 and the touch of 540 and that’s 1260 changes, which is a quarter peal. I think I’ve understood it now — committing it to memory is the next task. Then trying it out, and also ensuring that those ringing 2, 3 and 4 can cope with the singles.

(Acknowledgements to Ringing World, 23 May 2008, article by Simon Linford.)


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’.


more Stedman

Since that first success at calling a simple touch of Stedman Triples, I have called several more touches. The next touch to learn, after the initial 2 Qs is Q & S twice (or S & Q twice, depending which bell you are ringing).

An S call, is a pair of bobs, the first called when you are dodging 4-5 down and about to go in slow, and the second called 6 blows later (at the handstroke lead of the first whole turn). This contrasts with a Q call which is a pair of bobs called as you are about to go in quick, and at the handstroke in 2nds place after leading.

Stedman has a couple of other places to call pairs of bobs that leave you unaffected by the call. Each of these pairs occurs during the slow work, and they are labelled ‘H’ and ‘L’.

H is a pair of bobs called either side of the first half turn. L is a pair of bobs called during the last whole turn.

Of course, it is also possible to call bobs in 6-7 up and down, and in 4-5 up. But in this piece we will look at the bobs called during the slow work. And we will look at the way that the Stedman frontwork is constructed.

Stedman frontwork, we recall, consists of alternate ‘sixes’ of forward hunting and backward hunting. When learning Stedman we worked these sixes out then recast them into the traditional Stedman chunks of work — first whole turn, first half turn, second half turn, last whole turn. But it can also be helpful to ring it as alternate sixes of forward and backward hunting. This helps to keep the sixes distinct, and to remember which is a quick six and which a slow six (which helps you tell another bell how to come in, quick or slow, if necessary). In addition, calls of ‘bob’ (or ‘single’) are made at the penultimate stroke of each six, so remembering where the sixes are helps you know when to call the bobs, without having to overlay them on the whole and half turn structure.

x slow six = backward hunting, so lie in 3rd place
xand lead at backstroke and handstroke

xquick six = forward hunting, so lead at hand and back
x lie in 3rd place, back and hand

xslow six = backward hunting
x lie in 3rd place, hand and back

xquick six = forward hunting
x lie in 3rd place, back and hand
xlead at hand and back

xslow six = backward hunting
xlead at back and hand
x lie in 3rd place, hand and back


Calling Stedman Triples

Stedman Triples is a method for which I have a particular affection. When I began to ring it was almost the first method to which I rang the tenor behind — the double dodging of bells in 6-7 making it easier than many methods to see which bells to ring over. And a couple of years later, in 2004, I began to learn to ring an inside bell.

Now I can generally ring touches of Stedman Triples, coping with bobs (even odd bobs) and (usually) remembering all the details of the slow work.

Last week at practice at Hemingford Grey I called a touch of Grandsire Triples, and checking this touch afterwards in Coleman, I read on into the next chapter, about calling Stedman Triples. There I discovered that actually it was quite easy to call a simple touch. And so tonight when the tower captain suggested a touch of Stedman I asked if I could call it. Choosing the 6, I intended to call ‘Two Qs’, that is, to call two pairs of bobs — each pair consisting of a bob just before going in quick and then in second place after leading. So off we went, and I called the first bob a whole pull too early, and shortly thereafter asked for rounds. Off we went ago and this time I got the first two bobs right, ran through the rest of the course and called the third bob, and then it began to go wrong. The two bells in 6-7 apparently didn’t hear the call of ‘bob’, and with them awry I landed on the front and went a bit wrong too. Rounds again. Enough for that attempt, so we stood and rang something else.

Later we had another go. This time we got to the fourth bob, and on past there until I went in slow and there clearly weren’t enough bells on the front! Rounds again, and then try once more: dodge with the 7, then double dodge with the treble, ‘bob’, in quick, ‘bob’, out quick, double dodge up to the back and down again, in slow, out slow, double dodge up to the back and down again, ‘bob’, in quick, ‘bob’, out quick, double dodge up to the back and down once again, in and out slow (nearly there now), double dodge up to the back (we’re going to make it), dodge 6-7 down, and ‘that’s all’ — we’ve done it, and I have successfully called a touch of Stedman Triples. Yay! A real sense of achievement, and smiles all round.


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!


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.


calling ‘bob’

I had another go at calling a touch of bob doubles on Monday. I’ve now got to the point where I can remember the sequence of calls (e.g. ‘out’, ‘make’, ‘in’ to leave bell 2 unaffected), and I know pretty much when to make each call but actually making the calls in just the right place is a bit trickier. Time to look at this in a little more detail, perhaps.

First, let’s write out the first lead end of Bob Doubles, for a plain course, and then, next to it, what happens if a bob is called.

(plain) | (bob)

12345 | 12345

21435 | 21435
24153 | 24153
42513 | 42513
45231 | 45231
54321 | 54321
53412 | 53412
35142 | 35142
31524 | 31524 ‘bob!’ — called at backstroke before treble leads
13254 | 13254
13524 | 12354 3 runs out, 2 runs in, 5 makes the bob, 4 unaffected

31254 | 21534
32145 | 25143
23415 | 52413
24351 | 54231
42531 | 45321

The bob should be called, I think, at the backstroke before the treble leads, giving a whole pull’s notice of the bob. This means it is called when the treble is in 2nd place before leading.

Since it is not easy (not for me anyway) to always see when the treble is in 2nd place, we analyse where each of the other bells is at this point.

We can see from the above diagram that, that when the treble is in 2nd place, the other bells are as follows:

  • the bell that would have made 2nds place (but runs out), leads (backstroke),
  • the bell that would have dodged 3/4 up (but makes the bob) is in 3rd place
  • the bell that would have dodged 3/4 down (but runs in) is in 4th place
  • the bell that rings 4 blows behind (and is unaffected) makes its first blow at the back

In theory the call should be made with the leading bell, that is, when the bell that would make 2nds place makes its backstroke lead. If you are ringing that bell then the timing is easy, but if you are ringing one of the others then you need to make the call just before you pull your rope. This is more especially true for the bells at the back. Remember that each of these calls is made at backstroke.


another touch of bob doubles

Since first trying to call a touch of Bob Doubles back in August I have not had much opportunity to try this again.

Yesterday I had another go, or rather, several goes.

First time we had someone still learning Plain Bob on bell 2. She can just about ring a plain course reasonably well, and so it was suggested that I call a touch with bell 2 unaffected. This means that a bob is called just as bell 2 is ringing long 5ths (four blows in 5th place). As I was ringing bell 5, I knew that this meant that the first bob should be called as I was about to make 2nds, i.e. at the second lead end (starting on bell 5, at the first lead end you dodge 3-4 up with bell 2). You have to call a bob just before the treble leads, which when you are about to make 2nds is as you lead. I managed this, and then carried on ringing trying to work out when I should next call ‘bob’.

The cycle of ‘bob’ calls for Plain Bob is: In, Out, Make. So I had to work out that the bob I had just called was ‘Out’ (because instead of making 2nds I had run out to the back), and therefore the next bob should be ‘Make’, and then I had to work out what this meant — a bob which causes you to make 4ths place and you do that instead of dodging 3-4 up — and whilst trying to work this out I had to keep plain hunting, and keep dodging, remembering which dodge came next and doing it.

And all this was too much to remember, too much to get my brain around, and I eventually missed a dodge and couldn’t work out how to get back into sync. Oh well.

Later I had another go, this time with an experienced ringer on bell 2 — in fact with more experienced ringers on each of the ‘inside’ bells, and I called another touch, this time ‘three Homes’, meaning that you call a bob each time you are ringing 4 blows behind, so that the caller is unaffected by the bobs. This is what I had called back in the summer, and I just about managed to call it right, though I forgot to call ‘that’s all’ at the end. This call comes a stroke or so after the last bob, when you are ringing bell 5 and calling three Homes.

Then we had another go at calling a touch with bell 2 unaffected. This time, of course, I was less taken by surprise, and had a better idea of what it was I was supposed to be doing. Still far from perfect, and occasionally not quite getting the calls of ‘bob’ in early enough, but getting better.

Just for the record, this is what should happen…

Starting on bell 5, ring an extra handstroke in 5th place and plain hunt down to the lead, then dodge 3-4 up, up to the back, plain hunt down to the lead again, and at the backstroke lead call ‘bob’. Then instead of making 2nds, plain hunt out to the back (an ‘out’ bob call) and down again, make 2nds and lead again. Hunt to the back and dodge 3-4 down, lead, hunt to the back and make long 5ths (four blows in 5th place). Hunt down to the lead, and back out, and as you ring in 2nd place call ‘bob’. Instead of dodging 3-4 up, make the bob (4ths place) (a ‘make’ bob call) and hunt down to the lead, then out to the back and make long 5ths again. Down to the lead and then dodge 3-4 up, up to the back, and plain hunt down to the lead again. Make 2nds, lead again, and hunt to the back, and as you ring the second blow in 5th place you need to have called ‘bob’ again, and instead of dodging 3-4 down run in to the lead (an ‘in’ bob call). Up to the back again, then dodge 3-4 down. Lead, hunt up to the back, and after 2 blows at the back call ‘that’s all’.