On Monday we had an expedition to Angela's house, for the first time in more than a year, and rang a quarter of Bristol Royal. This was very satisfying - although we rang a quarter with Nick a couple of years ago, after several attempts, we had not previously practised it with Peter. There were a couple of false starts, but once we got through the first course, each subsequent course was better.
Bristol Royal has even more landmarks than Bristol Major, because of the wrong dodges (highlighted in the diagram, as well as the points). I've rung a few quarters of Bristol Royal and Maximus in Ringing Room during the last year, and noted that David Brown especially was using them as anchor points to announce. They come in pairs, above the treble and below the treble, just before and just after the treble's dodge in 5-6. So the instructions "dodge above" and "dodge below" are useful, just as they are in the Cambridge-above methods - it's just a question of getting used to when to announce them if necessary.
I called the quarter from 7-8 and found it quite a reasonable pair for conducting. Very often one bell is above the treble and the other below, which means that usually when a set of points or a set of wrong dodges comes up, one bell or the other is involved in it. This removes the difficulty of timing the announcement of a piece of work that I'm not doing myself. Adding the half leads and lead ends to the point blows and wrong dodges means that on average there's a landmark every four changes in Bristol Royal. I don't mean to give the impression that the band had to be talked through the quarter, and I make an effort to only announce landmarks when mistakes are happening, but it's really useful to have them available.
The composition was four homes, single bob single bob. I prefer ringing it that way rather than bob single bob single, because it gives 3-4 two courses in the 3-4 position followed by two courses in the coursing position. 5-6 are fixed, so for once Jonathan had a slightly easier ride, although the 5-6 position itself is not so easy. The only defect of calling four homes is that the fixed bells never ring the last lead of the course, which is the symmetrical lead. An alternative would be to ring 8th place bobs, again with four calls on 2-3-4, but that increases the length from 1280 to 1440.
We're meeting again in two weeks' time, and we'll ring another quarter of Bristol, this time with a calling based on wrong and home twice. I think I have mentioned before that it's easier to call it with singles rather than bobs, because then 3-4 are fixed and 5-6 only ring the 5-6 and 3-4 positions. After that I would like to start exploring some of the other methods I've been writing about, such as Remus, Fermanagh and Sgurr A'Chaorachain.
As well as the satisfaction of scoring the quarter with our band, I was pleased that I could see much more of what was going on than in the previous quarter with a similar band. I was much more secure in the method myself, because of all the Ringing Room practice, and the extra landmarks helped me to progress stably through the work.
Overall, a good accomplishment for all of us.