Last week's Project Pickled Egg article discussed the methods from the Standard 8 that are not being included in Simon Linford's proposed new surprise major repertoire. These are Lincolnshire, Rutland and Pudsey. What do we think about this decision, from the handbell perspective?
We have always found Lincolnshire to be a good next step after Yorkshire, and it always seems easier than Cambridge when it comes to quarters and peals. On Wednesday I went to Edinburgh to ring a peal of Lincolnshire with Nick, Jenny and Peter. We did well, especially considering that it was a new combination of people. A point in Lincolnshire's favour is that Lincolnshire Royal is arguably easier than Cambridge, and certainly easier than Yorkshire. Maybe we should try Lincolnshire Maximus instead of Cambridge, next time we manage to organise everyone for a 12-bell project.
Simon Linford suggests Turramurra as a method worth trying. It has some similarities to Lincolnshire but is considered more musical. We'll give it a go some time and report back.
My only comment on Pudsey is that it's somewhat inverse to Yorkshire in terms of which lead is easy for the tenors. Yorkshire Major has the characteristic "tumbling places" in the first and last leads of the course, where the tenors run through each other's places twice. In Pudsey this happens in the middle lead of the course, when the tenors are 6th and 8th place bells. In Royal it's the other way around: Pudsey has tumbling places in the first and last leads, and Yorkshire has them in the middle lead.
We rang a peal of Pudsey with Mike and Ian, and I must confess that we rang it purely because it's in the Standard 8. We also rang a peal of Rutland for the same reason. I don't particularly have anything against Rutland, but I can see the argument that it doesn't add anything in terms of techniques or structures to learn.
Our current project with the Albany Quadrant band is a peal of the Nottingham 8 (London, Bristol, Cambridge, Superlative, Cornwall, Lessness, Cassiobury and Glasgow), which we are going to attempt next Saturday. For practice, on Monday this week we tried a quarter of spliced Cornwall, Lessness, Cassiobury and Superlative. It showed us that we're a bit rusty on Cornwall and Cassiobury, and of course Lessness is new; for added distraction, we were ringing on the heavy back 8 (size 19) of Adam's bells. Lessness has featured in Project Pickled Egg discussions, so I'll write about that another time if it's included.
The PPE discussion has included the question of how to get people to stop ringing the Standard 8 so much and instead try the new set of methods. Don Morrison has commented that in the North American Guild there has already been progress towards different methods, with Cornwall starting to replace Cambridge as a first surprise major method. I think the Scottish Association has some similarities with the North American Guild: we have relatively few towers, with quite a geographical spread (although on a far smaller scale), and a relatively small but committed and enthusiastic membership. The proportion of our members who come out for association events is very high in comparison with a typical large association in England. Anyway, what all this means is that fewer people need to be convinced to try a different set of methods. I'm the SACR ringing master, so if I don't want to ring Rutland at association meetings, that's in my power! We have already had Cornwall as a special method at a couple of meetings, and last month I ran a 10-bell method-learning workshop based on extensions of Cornwall.
At practice night in Glasgow, when we can manage it, we tend to ring a touch of 8-spliced (standard 8) as a treat for the more experienced ringers. There always has to be some brushing up on Pudsey, so it wouldn't take much to change the set of methods. We've got as far as putting the lines for Cornwall, Lessness and Turramurra on the whiteboard in the ringing chamber. Let's see what we can do with a combined assault on both handbells and tower bells.