We did it!

A week after the previous attempts, we got together again and succeeded.

Scottish Association
1 Albany Quadrant
Sunday, 11 October 2015 in 2h40 (15C)
5152 Spliced Surprise Major (23m)

224 each Ashtead, Bristol, Cambridge, Cassiobury, Cornwall, Cray, Double Dublin, Glasgow, Ipswich, Jersey, Lincolnshire, Lindum, London, Preston, Pudsey, Rutland, Superlative, Tavistock, Uxbridge, Watford, Wembley, Whalley, Yorkshire; 160 c.o.m.; a.t.w.
Composed by Norman Smith
1–2 Angela H Deakin
3–4 Tina R Stoecklin
5–6 Jonathan S Frye
7–8 Simon J Gay (C)
First of 23-spliced: 1-2.
First of 23-spliced in hand: 3-4, 5-6.
First of 23-spliced as conductor.
23rd peal in the house.
A belated (due to failure last weekend) celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first performance of this composition on handbells (2nd October 1985).

Perhaps propelled by the conglomeration of footnotes, the peal quickly went to the most-liked position on BellBoard - hurray!

So that's a completed project, and actually a very short one in comparison with 41 Spliced Surprise Minor, 8 Spliced Surprise Major, and Kent Maximus.

Some further thoughts:

  • It's very difficult!
  • It wasn't perfect, of course, but most of it was good accurate ringing. There were a couple of rough leads but enough of us always knew where we were and, crucially, where we were in the lead, to be able to help the others back into place.
  • Considering the difficulty we had in getting to grips with 8-spliced a couple of years ago, we have done well to learn all 23 methods to a high enough standard, just in the last few months. I hope this shows a general improvement in handbell ringing ability that will help with future projects.
  • It seems impossible to explain why mistakes occur. A momentary lapse in concentration, or a hesitation somewhere, can mean that suddenly we have missed a dodge or drifted through a place, even in a place bell that has never previously been a problem.
  • I found it harder than the 41 Surprise Minor, even though the composition is much easier. I ring minor in a more structural way, pretty much by the place notation or grid, but I can't do that reliably for major.

One of the congratulatory comments on Tina's Facebook asked the inevitable "What's next?" Well, it's back to Horton's Four; we haven't rung the split tenors section yet, but I hope that our 23-spliced adventures have made me better at non-coursing positions. Probably we will try to ring a really good quarter of each method individually before we go back to practising spliced. Also we're going for 8-spliced royal in the tower in December, so we might need a break for method and composition revision for that.

But the immediate "what's next" is that we're not ringing handbells again this week; instead, Jonathan and Angela suggested going out for dinner to the children's choice of restaurant, to reward them for all their patience during our many attempts. You might think this would mean resigning ourselves to somewhere like McDonald's, but no - they have chosen a proper Italian restaurant that we went to last year for a friend's 50th birthday. So that should be a nice evening out for all of us.