It seems to be more than a month since my last blog, so what have I been doing? Plenty of online ringing in Ringing Room with the Five o'Clock Club, occasional visits to the Friday evening Handbell Stadium practice, Tuesday evening sessions in Ringing Room with the Glasgow tower bell band, and Wednesday evenings ringing handbells in Ringing Room with our student, Caroline - Tina has been writing about that project.
Here's a summary of the ups and downs of the Five o'Clock Club since my last report, which was a quarter of Stedman Caters on 17th September (my birthday, as it happened, although we didn't footnote it).
- 21st September: Bristol Royal, lost.
- 23rd September: Stedman Cinques, downgraded to Stedman Triples because of internet problems, scored (conducted by Alban Forster).
- 28th September: Bristol Royal, scored (and I conducted, from the tenors).
- 29th September: Cambridge Maximus, downgraded to Cambridge Royal because of internet problems, scored (and I conducted, from the trebles, unusually for me).
- 1st October: Stedman Cinques, lost.
- 5th October: Bristol Royal, scored (and I conducted, from 3-4 this time).
- 6th October: Cambridge Maximus, lost.
- 8th October: Stedman Cinques, lost.
- 13th October: Cambridge Maximus, scored (helped by David Brown conducting).
- 15th October: Bristol Royal, scored (David Brown conducted and I rang the trebles).
- 19th October: Cambridge Maximus, lost.
- 22nd October: Lincolnshire Maximus, lost.
- 27th October: Littleport Little Surprise Royal, lost very frustratingly after several courses of very good ringing - severe internet delay and from my point of view, all the bells just stopped ringing. I volunteered for the trebles again.
- 29th October: Lincolnshire Maximus, lost.
- 1st November (today): Lincolnshire Maximus, scored (I conducted).
That brings us up to date: 7 successes from 15 attempts. Not too bad when attempting challenging handbell quarters.
Somehow I think of quarters with and without David Brown in different categories. We tried Cambridge Max a couple of times with me conducting, and then scored with David conducting - but I would still like to ring it without him to see if we can do it. Similarly we tried Lincolnshire Max a couple of times with me conducting, then slotted in an extra attempt today with me still conducting but David in the band, and scored. I can do all the structural conducting - dodge above, hunt below, start the 5-pull dodges and so on - but what amazes me is the way that when we're in a muddle, David calmly tells people which place bells they are. Similarly in the Bristol Royal, in a situation where I would be saying "point at backstroke" and hoping for the best, David will say something like "8th does point 3rds next backstroke". He's really very good.
We've got another attempt for Lincolnshire Max on Tuesday, with the original band without David, so let's see what happens. I hope that today's success will have given us some extra practice and a bit more confidence.
What about compositions?
For Bristol Royal, we've rung a couple with a snap start, so that 5-6 are coursing, and the calling sW W sW W so that 5-6 stay coursing throughout and 3-4 ring the 3-4 and coursing positions. I think we've also rung one with a standard start and the calling sH H sH H, which is the same idea for 3-4 but with 5-6 in their home position throughout.
For Cambridge and Lincolnshire Maximus there are two compositions. One is W H W sH and the other is sW sH sW H. Both of them come round at the snap after the following wrong position. I think the calling with more singles is easier, because 5-6 just ring the 5-6 and 3-4 positions and 3-4 just ring the 3-4 and coursing positions. In the calling with more bobs, 5-6 also ring some 9-10 position and 3-4 also ring some 5-6 position. So all the attempts I've called have been sW sH sW H, but when David Brown called the successful Cambridge, he called W H W sH. He was on 5-6 and obviously didn't mind which positions he would go into, and I rang 3-4 and coped with all the positions.
For Stedman Cinques, Alban Forster has been conducting. If and when we score, I will see whether I can write anything about the composition. I think it's just an ordinary composition, rather than the handbell-friendly type of Stedman Caters composition that I wrote about last month. We've got another attempt on Thursday this week, so I will report on that later.