Yesterday was the Scottish Handbell Day, a high point in the calendar at 1 Albany Quadrant. It was the best one yet, and everyone went away happy. We had 18 people, and by lowering our sights a little instead of forcing everyone to ring on 12, we managed to score 10 quarters from 15 attempts. These included two first quarters in hand, a first on 8 in hand, enough Surprise Major to stretch everyone, and - a first for one of our handbell days - a quarter of Kent Maximus. Disappointingly, we didn't succeed in ringing our son Thomas's first quarter, although he did ring almost a quarter peal length in total over two attempts, which is by far the most he has rung in a single session. So we need a bit more practice with him, but we'll get there sooner or later.
It was very satisfying to get the Kent Maximus, but we still find it difficult. I think working up to ringing on higher numbers needs a pyramid. To make progress on 10, you need five good 8-bell ringers, and to make progress on 12 you need six good 10-bell ringers. Any five of our Kent Maximus band could have rung a quarter of Cambridge or Yorkshire Royal, but it still feels as if there's quite a barrier to cross before we can get beyond Plain Bob or Kent Maximus. We need to get the 12-bell rhythm better embedded in our brains. Tina commented that one second I was telling the band to speed up and the next second to slow down...but the first was when bells were holding up towards the end of the change, and the second was when bells were leading before the previous change had finished (this of course is a direct consequence of the first problem...). Anyway, like with everything else, we just need more practice.