Handbell Stadium and Ringing Room

Submitted by Simon on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 13:28

On Sunday evening we had another unsuccessful attempt at the quarter in Handbell Stadium. In the first attempt, one of my bells got stuck when the computer stopped recognising the motion sensor. In the second attempt, which lasted well over half way, we were hit by a big increase in internet delays (at my end again, I think) and we didn't survive the disruption to the rhythm. Maybe my internet is worse than other people's. Handbell Stadium constantly displays the measured delay to each participant, and mine seemed to be not only higher, but also much more variable, sometimes becoming ten times higher than the others.

Yesterday evening the Glasgow handbell band tried Ringing Room. We started with rounds on 10, which was very encouraging because we hardly noticed any delay. Then we tried three leads of Kent Royal, in which we started to notice delays. At the second attempt we got it round. It takes some determination to get through the patches where the delays build up, but we survived a couple of incidents. After that we rang half a course of Cambridge Royal, again at the second attempt, which was pretty good considering that we haven't rung anything on handbells for two months.

Recently a band including some of our friends from Oxford rang a quarter of Bristol Royal on Ringing Room. Now that we've tried surprise royal ourselves, their quarter seems even more impressive.

I still have mixed feelings about the online ringing I have tried. It's much less enjoyable than real ringing, because of having to fight against the delays and lag. However, it has reassured us that we have not completely forgotten how to ring, and I think we will be able to use it for some useful practice. We've arranged to ring again next week, and try some Lincolnshire Royal, which is what we were going to ring when our last real session was cancelled because of the onset of the lockdown.

The other aspect of it that I like is getting together with my ringing friends to actually do an activity, rather than just chat. We've had some Zoom quizzes with the tower bell band, which are good too, but ringing is even better. On balance I think it's worth persevering with Ringing Room (we can't use Handbell Stadium as a band because not everyone has motion controllers).