August's method: Ytterbium

The next method of the month is Ytterbium. Let's have a look at it now, although I don't think we'll be able to ring it until a bit later in August.

It's a D lead end, i.e. "alternate Cambridge" place bell order. We've had this place bell order a few times - it's the same as Jovium, Dunster, Ashtead and Ipswich. The composition that we rang for Jovium should be good again, although with only 91 runs instead of 106.

1344 Ytterbium Surprise Major
Comp. Elf

I W H  2345678
--------------
- -   (3462785)
-   2  2348765
--------------
2 part.
91 4-bell runs (43f, 48b)

The method is Uxbridge (or Lessness) above the treble, but it doesn't have the full Uxbridge backwork because of different work when the treble is in 7-8. The symmetrical place bell is 5th, and it's actually the same as Ashtead.

There's some work on the front around the half lead which is reminiscent of Surfleet Surprise Minor. 4th place bell does Stedman followed by 2nd place and lead. There's a double wrong dodge in 3-4 and 5-6. Below the 3-4 dodge it's a bit like Surfleet, in the sense that there's frontwork starting or finishing with a point lead. The frontwork has an extra 2nd place and lead to fill in the space required for surprise major. Above the 5-6 dodge is a bit like Surfleet, in the sense that there's a place adjacent to passing the treble. The remaining work is a fishtail in 3-4.

I've always found it awkward to ring the places on the front and the dodges in 3-4, in Surfleet, so I expect the corresponding work in Ytterbium will also require care. Overall, though, I don't think it's any more difficult than Frodsham, so we should be able to ring a quarter.

July's method: Frodsham

Continuing with the monthly methods from the Ringing World Diary, we rang a quarter of Frodsham on 1st July. I have to say that the method isn't very far up our favourites list. It's Bristol above the treble - even more than that, it's completely Bristol until the treble gets above 6th place. On the front there's a far dodge near in 3-4 across the half lead, with an awkward 3rd place below it. There's a wrong 4-pull dodge in 1-2 across the half lead, which requires careful ringing to synchronise with other pieces of work. Overall, it's the kind of method we can ring well if we go carefully and not too fast, but it would take a lot more practice (which it's not going to get) to become really fluent.

The composition was a neat two-part by Don Morrison:

1280 Frodsham Surprise Major
Donald F. Morrison

B  H  23456
-----------
   -  42356
2  -  25634
-----------
2 part.

London and Bristol Royal

We had planned a session with Nick today, as he was going to be passing through central Scotland. It could have been a Cambridge Maximus session, but we didn't manage to find a sixth person, so we decided to work on London and Bristol Royal. We were fairly confident that we would be able to ring a quarter of London, as we have reached the halfway point of a peal a couple of times in the past - and indeed we did ring a quarter at the second attempt (I miscalled the first one). So that's our first publishable performance of London Royal. It still takes a lot of concentration, which was the problem with our peal attempts. Maximum concentration isn't sustainable for a whole peal, so it's a question of practising until we can ring the method with less concentration.

After a short break, we had a go at Bristol. We found it much harder. By practising leads again and again, and restarting at suitable points each time we fired out, we eventually rang every lead of the plain course, just not all joined together. It was a huge advance though. We've gone from never having tried it with this band (Nick and I have rung it in the distant past, but the other three haven't) to seeing that if we practise a bit more we should be able to do it.

Jonathan commented that he found London easier with people than with Abel, but he found Bristol easier with Abel. I think that's because we were all better at ringing London. If the band can basically ring the method, then ringing with the band enables one to benefit from the collective help and comments on the treble's position and so on. But if the whole band is struggling with the method, then it's much more difficult than ringing with the computer.

We're hoping to get Nick back for another session at the end of July. If we all manage to fit in some Abel practice in the meantime, we should have a good chance of ringing a clean plain course. 

Jovium Follow-Up

We rang our quarter of Jovium without difficulty. The method was quite straightforward once we got into it - and the amount of wrong-place work is tiny, just a couple of blows of wrong hunting between the fishtails.

A couple of hours before we started, I finally got around to writing out the lead ends of the composition. It was really very easy to call from 3-4. Here it is again in tabular form:

1344 Jovium Surprise Major
Comp. Elf

I W H  2345678
--------------
- -   (3462785)
-   2  2348765
--------------
2 part.

The two bobs at In are the ones that put the back bells into the 8765 position, and the Wrong goes with the three Homes as a block affecting 2,3,4. In fact the In, Wrong, In are at consecutive leads, so all you have to remember is that the first In is when 2,3,4 are together at the back (the lead end that would be 17856342 without a bob).

The idea of this composition can be adapted for many methods. For example, for Plain Bob, the two Ins are at consecutive leads, and the three bobs on 2,3,4 are all Homes. Of course you need more courses for a quarter of Plain Bob, so you can either call two Ins and six Homes, repeated, or to turn the back bells more often, call two Ins and three Homes, repeated with a single instead of a bob half-way and end.

We managed a plain course in the tower the next day, which was satisfying.

More Turramurra, and on to Jovium

This week we rang another quarter of Turramurra, so that Tina could ring it and Angela could ring inside. Jonathan called it again, but with a different composition. It went well, and the next day we rang a course of it in the tower.

June's method is Jovium, so we had a quick look at it and practised a plain course, in preparation for ringing a quarter tomorrow.

For 12-bell ringers, this is Phobos but without the wrong-place frontwork (there isn't room for it) and with a 2nd place lead end. It's a method of two halves. The backwork has the characteristic Phobos pattern of pairs of fishtails, which are seen here in 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 8th place bells. The frontwork is right-place, treble-bob based with some double dodges. A useful mnemonic seems to be moving from a dodge to a dodge and from a place to a place, which also covers the transition from the back to the 3-4 work in 7th place bell; also note that 3rds and 4ths are made when the treble is in 5-6. We managed to ring it at the second attempt, albeit rather cautiously. The fishtails take a little getting used to, as the ones at the beginning and end of the lead are at the opposite stroke from the ones in London.

According to my computer search, the quarter peal composition of up to 1344 with bobs only and tenors together, with the most 4-bell runs (front or back), is this one, credited to Best1280 (I'm not sure whose program that is) in CompLib:

1312 Jovium Surprise Major
Comp. Best1280

B W M H  23456
--------------
2     -  35642
  -   -  64352
-     -  64523
    - -  35426
  -   3  23456
--------------
98 4-bell runs (47f, 51b)

With split tenors, a nice one is the same composition that we rang for Turramurra, but it produces far more runs for Jovium (106 instead of 83).

1344 Jovium Surprise Major
Comp. Elf

I W H  2345678
--------------
- -   (3462785)
-   2  2348765
--------------
2 part.
106 4-bell runs (50f, 56b)

Note that the calling positions refer to the position of the 5th, which becomes 8th place bell at the half-way point.

I wondered whether it would be possible to use half lead bobs to get the back bells into the 8765 position within a single course, then call three homes. It is possible, with half lead bobs in the third and fifth leads, but it only adds one extra run, so the complication doesn't seem worthwhile.

I also looked into 7-part compositions. The simplest is sT sH, bringing up 13456782 as the part end, but it only has 74 runs, which is nowhere near as good as the two-part above.

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