Yesterday we had a Cambridge Maximus practice session, with our usual band plus Nick and Jenny. This was not too long after our previous session, in October, so we were optimistic that we might be able to make some good progress. In the past we have found the second half of the course more difficult than the first half, so this time we decided to start by practising the second half a couple of times. We did this by starting with a lead of Bastow, then changing to Cambridge, which was at the beginning of the symmetrical lead.
After succeeding with the second half, we tried a whole course. It took several attempts, but we managed it in the end. In comparison with some of our previous experiences with 12-bell ringing, we are making progress in several ways:
- We are ringing fairly slowly, but in general we are managing to keep a consistent rhythm without grinding to a halt.
- We now have very few instances of bells lagging at the back of the change, or bells leading too quickly and crashing onto the previous change.
- We are all ringing the same pairs each time, to develop familiarity with the patterns.
- I hope Angela won't mind me saying that she seems to have made a big advance, and is now becoming the kind of reliable trebles ringer that we always depend on when ringing on 8 - this is a huge help.
- I'm ringing the tenors, because that way I make very few mistakes and this helps with the rhythm.
In my usual optimistic way, I had thought that we might try a quarter yesterday, but we're not quite there yet. I had assumed that I would call three homes for a quarter, which makes 3-4 ring two courses of coursing as well as the plain course in the 3-4 position. However, I am now thinking that it might be better to call two singles middle and then two singles wrong. That keeps 3-4 fixed, and gives 5-6 two courses of the 3-4 position as well as the plain course in the 5-6 position. The advantage of that would be that we think the 3-4 position is one of the easiest, perhaps even easier than coursing, and certainly easier than 5-6.
It would be possible to ring a quarter with everyone in their home positions, by using singles at home to swap 3-4 and half-lead singles to swap 9-10 or 7-8, or perhaps using a 1256 single to swap 5-6. But I think that would feel a little bit like cheating.
If we can get together again not too far into the new year, then I hope we can make another step forward.