On Monday we were down to four with the Albany Quadrant band, and the initial idea was to ring a quarter of Superlative at Peter's request. Angela then raised the idea of ringing something for the 73rd anniversary of the NHS. How to get a composition of 1273? It's an easy length for Grandsire Triples, but we're not practised at ringing it on handbells, and in any case we still wanted to ring Superlative.
1248 is a whole number of leads of surprise major, so that leaves 25 changes. That's one more than a lead of surprise minor, which led me to think of a backstroke start (i.e. ringing an extra lead end at the beginning) followed by a lead of a little surprise major method with the treble hunting to 6th place.
I then remembered Roger Bailey, a long time ago, telling me about a method called Cunning Little Vixen Little Surprise Major. It's Kent Minor with 7th and 8th place bells dodging at the back for the whole lead, and then a 18 lead end so that the tenors hunt to 6th and 8th place bells. So my plan was to ring a backstroke start followed by a lead of Cunning Little Vixen, then change to Superlative.
But what should be rung at the very first lead end, immediately on the backstroke start? Ringing a normal Cunning Little Vixen lead end, with 18 place notation, would start like this:
12345678 13254768 31527486
and then the tenors are coursing the wrong way round, which is a nuisance. So it's better to ring some kind of non-standard single that includes the tenors lying still. The simplest possibility of that kind is to ring the place notation 1278, like this:
12345678 12436578 21435687 12346578
and the coursing order is 64235, which is easy to work with.
At the end of the first lead the tenors become 6th and 8th place bells, so we change to Superlative at the middle lead. Then it's 4 leads to the course end, and another 5 courses gives 39 leads of Superlative in total, which is 1248, just as we wanted. Perfect.
Finally we just need a calling for the block of Superlative, which can be sW sM sW to put 5-6 back the right way, followed by 5 homes called - - s - -.
So that's what we rang on Monday, but I have to confess we were a little rusty on Superlative and it was a bit of a struggle until the last two courses. Maybe next year we'll ring Grandsire Triples...
On Thursday we got the seven Simons together again and rang our quarter of Little Bob 14. It was pretty reasonable once we got into it. We decided to stick to 12 or fewer in the future though, so the next plan is to try Cambridge Maximus.
Today (Friday) we rang another quarter of Fermanagh with the Five O'Clock Club, because Jeff missed out last week. We rang it well apart from one rough lead, and I felt I had mastered the frontwork better than last time.