Cambridge Maximus: the 5-6 position

For completeness, here are the leads of the 5-6 position, although I'm starting to doubt whether there is much insight to be gained from going through this exercise for anything other than coursing and 3-4. First, here are the leads that involve an exceptional place bell.

Four of the remaining leads have a pattern with overlapping Cambridge places, but further apart than the overlapping Cambridge places in the 3-4 position. A feature of this pattern is that both bells make internal places simultaneously, which is unusual and can feel a little odd to ring. Also, below the treble there is some work in the 5-6 hunting position, which gives some "opposites" work on the front six.

Finally, the symmetrical lead has some work in the 3-4 position below the treble.

Cambridge Maximus: the 7-8 position

The leads of the 7-8 position can be classified similarly to those of the 9-10 position. First, the six leads that combine an exceptional place bell with a normal place bell.


The symmetrical lead has two sets of 9-10 places, finishing and starting at the half lead.

Two other leads have 9-10 places and 3-4 places starting or finishing simultaneously.

Finally, two leads have some coursing below the treble.

Cambridge Maximus: the 9-10 position

In a previous article, quite a long time ago now, I classified the place bells of Cambridge Maximus as "normal" (containing a set of places) and "exceptional" (2nd, 3rd and 5th place bells). The idea is that if both of your bells are ringing normal place bells, then there is a pattern that depends on which position you are in (coursing, 3-4 etc) but is somewhat independent of which lead you are ringing within that position. If one of your bells is ringing an exceptional place bell, then you don't have the benefit of a standard pattern, but it doesn't matter too much because the exceptional place bells are well known and have simple regular work of their own. Ringing two exceptional place bells, which happens in the 3-4 and coursing positions, is also relatively straightforward.

We had a handbell day yesterday (more about that later) and before it we had a Friday evening Cambridge Maximus practice. That's prompted me to finish discussing the positions, as I only looked at coursing and 3-4 previously.

The 9-10 position can't ring two exceptional place bells simultaneously, so there are 6 leads that combine an exceptional place bell with a normal place bell. Here they are.

The remaining leads fall into a further two groups. Three of them have some coursing below the treble.

Finally, the first and last leads of the course are less regular.

Grappling with the Bristol family

This week we have been on our annual "Hulliday", a holiday with a group of ringing friends. It was a smaller group than usual, and there was a bit more ringing, with two afternoon mini-outings for the benefit of the youngsters. We have also done a lot of handbell ringing: some plain hunting and Plain Bob Minor; some Cambridge Minor; some Stedman Triples; and intensive Bristol.

Early in the week, the idea came up of trying to ring a course of Bristol Maximus. It has usually been rung on previous Hullidays, including a peal attempt last year, but this year's band was less experienced with only two people who have rung a peal of it on handbells. We worked on it nearly every evening, and by yesterday we managed to get to the end of a plain course, although the last lead wasn't completely convincing. Today we sat down to ring earlier, with high hopes of mastering it, but it was not to be...we seemed to be doing much worse than before. That's the way it goes sometimes. We all made good progress though, and Tina and I enjoyed trying something that we can't do during the rest of the year.

One evening, after firing out the Bristol Maximus, we rang a course of Bristol Royal. It was ever so much easier! It made me feel that we could have a chance of ringing it at home when we can get five people together, perhaps after we have managed to ring our peal of London Royal.

We also rang an excellent peal of Bristol Major, which was extremely satisfying. I called David Maynard's composition again, and with the band we had, I was able to ring the tenors, which always enables me to ring slightly better. That makes seven handbell peals this year, with no losses, which is almost unbelievable.

We're back!

It's a while since we've written a blog, and a while since we've rung anything to write about. This is partly because of the usual summer disruption, and partly because of losing a couple of quarters. However, yesterday we got back in business with a quarter of spliced Jersey, Cassiobury and Cray. Yes, that is a strange combination of methods - we are practising for something, and all will be revealed in due course. We deliberately rang a tricky composition: a cyclic 7-part with lots of bobs. We found it quite difficult, especially Cray.

What I find hard about Cray is ringing the long places simultaneously in 3-4 and 5-6; one bell dodging while the other makes a place, alternately through half a lead. In the end I have decided to ring it by place notation, stepping carefully through the sequence of places as we work through the lead. It works, but it means I can't think about anything else during a lead of Cray.

It was the 100th quarter together for me, Tina, Jonathan and Angela - that includes some of Royal and Maximus. The 100th quarter with just the four of us will be a future landmark. That's nearly 10 years of ringing together, which have taken us from Angela's first handbell quarter up to peals of 23-spliced and Horton's Four. Here's to many future challenges!


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