May 2018

A curious new method

A year or two ago, the Central Council decisions (often known as "rules") were amended to allow the naming of methods that are false in the plain course. The issue came up in relation to methods used in peals of cyclic spliced maximus, where the methods were designed to produce musical changes in a cyclic composition, with no intention of ever ringing a plain course. The argument for changing the decisions was that we should only be interested in the truth of a performance that is actually rung, not the truth of a course of an individual method.

This week my eye was caught by a handbell quarter that took advantage of the new decisions to name "Plain Treble Bob Minor". It's Plain Bob Minor but with treble bob hunting instead of plain hunting. A plain course is false, but the standard calling gives a 1440 in which every row occurs twice. It could be an interesting way of practising treble bob hunting, so I will keep it in mind next time we have learners at that stage.

The method is not only false in the plain course, it's false within a lead. The only way to name the major version would be to ring a double extent!

A small and successful handbell day

On Saturday we had the Scottish Handbell Day, unusually on a bank holiday weekend because of a diary mix-up. Perhaps because of the holiday, we had fewer people than usual: just two or three groups in each session.

In the morning, we included two of our tower-bell learners from Glasgow, who hadn't tried handbells before. They both made progress with the plain hunting positions, and we got Dorothy involved too.

The rest of the day was devoted to Plain Bob and Kent. I had been worried that we didn't have enough experienced ringers, and when planning the programme I was more conservative than usual. As things turned out, the new participants - Susannah and Phyllida, who have been ringing regularly with Ian and Barbara Bell in Edinburgh - were confident with Plain Bob Minor and were able to progress to Plain Bob Major and Kent Minor. We rang four quarters altogether: one of Kent Minor and three of Plain Bob Major.

After dinner we had the obligatory attempt at Plain Hunting on 16, taking advantage of the fact that Adam's bells are still in our living room. Plain Hunting on 16 was too difficult, of course, but we had more success with a method that Jonathan suggested. The trebles course up in the same way as in Plain Hunting, and every other pair waits until the treble passes them and then starts to course after all the smaller bells. The result is that everyone is coursing, which makes it much easier to keep to a rhythm and count the places.

Finally, we rang some Plain Hunting on 10 with Susannah, Phyllida and Al, and then rang a course of Plain Bob Royal with each of then in turn.

So, in the end, everyone rang a quarter, and all of the less experienced people were able to try something new. Success all round.