September 2015

Progress with 23-spliced

We've been practising hard and we have now rung all of the parts two or three at a time. Well, OK, when we rang parts 1, 2 and 3 we weren't in quite the right order at the end, but we rang most of it. Now it's a question of putting them all together.

Our basic level of ringing the methods is very good, but all of us occasionally make a serious mistake, and if someone else gets drawn into it then it's a disaster. I find it takes me so much concentration to ring the methods that I can't keep a coursing order in mind, so conducting is limited to the structural and occasionally local varieties. In fact I decided a while ago that the best thing I can do is try to ring the methods as accurately as possible, and I stopped trying to think about coursing orders.

On Thursday we set out to ring parts 4, 5, 6 and 7; we've rung them before, two at a time, but we wanted to build up our peal stamina. We started with a lead of Rutland to get to the beginning of part 4, and we rang part 4 very well indeed. In part 5 something happened in the Glasgow and/or Tavistock, as I recall, which are 9 or 10 leads into the part, and we broke down. The funny thing is that although Tavistock is traditionally found tricky, we have been managing it alright up to now, but this week it started causing problems.

We started again with the aim of ringing parts 5, 6 and 7, by replacing the whole of part 4 with a lead of Yorkshire. This time we got through to the end, although there was a very rough lead of Preston somewhere along the way.

I don't think I've set out the composition in any of the previous posts, so here it is with some commentary.

Yorkshire bob easy method to start the part
Uxbridge need to get the double dodges in the right place on the front
Cornwall usually OK; out of step dodging in the first 4 and last 4 places
Double Dublin can be tricky, especially 2nd/8th and 2nd/7th place bells
Bristol a short rest before the next tricky method 
Whalley bob important to start and finish the lead cleanly
Watford take care with the starts
London ideally another little rest
Tavistock needs concentration to get a clean change into...
Glasgow also needs concentration but we've rung it a lot now
Cambridge hurray! an easy lead but don't mess it up
Cassiobury bob can be tricky as the place bell order is unfamiliar
Lindum Rutland-ish but remember the Superlative starts
Superlative standard method to gather energy for...
Wembley bob another one with Pudsey starts and 4-pull dodges
Rutland bob the last rest before the final course
Jersey Pudsey starts and 4-pull dodges again; take care on the front
Preston Glasgow above, easy below, but take care at the end of the lead
Ipswich remember it's Cambridge above the treble!
Cray static and stable but being in 3-4 and 5-6 places simultaneously can be tricky
Ashtead Pudsey starts and 4-pull dodges yet again
Lincolnshire should be straightforward
Pudsey bob take care for a clean finish to the part, then clear the mind to start again

"Clear the mind to start again" is important. I also find it's necessary to consciously reset myself after any trips, to focus on what's coming up instead of what I've just done. It's a kind of meditation, really.

So, after all the practice, on Friday we're going for the peal. As I mentioned before, it will be the 30th anniversary of the first handbell peal of 23-spliced, which was rung by Paul Mounsey, David Brown, John Peverett and John Hughes-D'Aeth. It would be lovely to mark the anniversary, but if we don't get it first time, we've got a reserve attempt on the following Sunday morning.

And I almost forgot: Saturday is the Scottish Handbell Day, so it's going to be another of our crazy handbell weekends (sorry, children).