At this point I decided to re-visit Kent Treble Bob Minor, hoping to use it to improve the skill of rapidly and reliably knowing my bells’ places. I had never previously succeeded in getting the Kent Places secure but other than these, Kent is plain hunt patterns with dodges as in Plain Bob. My observations on Kent were:
- Each pair has two plain hunting patterns at any one time, depending on the position of the treble. You switch patterns at an unfamiliar time as working bells do not dodge in 1-2 but do at the back.
- The Slow work has a rhythm to it. While the slow bell leads the other hunts and while it's making seconds the other dodges. I had learned to do this on 1-2 years ago. Funnily enough, when I first rang 5-6 I struggled when the 5th was in the slow, and concluded that only my left hand had ever rung the slow work before!
- If I am honest, Kent places just feel unnatural, and this is probably because they’re “wrong places”. One of the pair grinds to a halt in its hunting at a backstroke and stays put for the handstroke too. As it does so, its partner catches up a blow towards it. The first bell then moves on to the next place and the other steps back. The first one then stays put again and the second catches up, regaining their original relative positions. It simply doesn’t “flow”.
Although the discipline of trying to get Kent right was useful in itself, it didn’t help in progressing as I was still essentially ringing by plain hunt patterns. I needed another way to address being able to reliably see my bells’ places and respond to them. I recalled an earlier exercise done with Peter Church & a fellow novice a few times – that of making 4ths in response to the treble being in 2-3 without considering what the method’s line* looked like. This had seemed a straightforward idea, but proved quite hard in execution; it clearly offered glimmers of light. I suddenly wondered if place notation, if not a tool to ultimately use on its own for handbell ringing, might offer a way through my barrier.
* Single Court Bob Minor