Ringing, 8 May 2023

We were three tonight – Jane, Andrew, Randy. We have been practicing Kent, and so attempted to ring Kent Minor tonight. Randy on the trebles, Jane on 3/4, Andrew on the tenors. Normally Maggie is ringing the trebles, so this was a switch for Randy.

After a few false starts, we were able to get through three of the five leads, and do so fairly consistently. So we decided to start at the end of the third lead (which has a nice rollup of 165432 on a handstroke). And after a few attempts we were able to get from that point to the end.

Kent is a strange method, because it sounds like a jumble just before it comes around to rounds, and so getting to the end of the method can be quite a surprise for those who are new to ringing it. We discovered that tonight. It also has a funny thing happen just before and after the lead end, in which the bells in the third and fourth positions make places for two changes, which also feels very odd to ringers used to Plain Bob.

Once we had both halves down fairly well, we just needed to put them together. So starting from the beginning, we rang. And again, it took one or more attempts, but we were able to finally ring Kent Minor with this band! It felt like a real accomplishment.

Afterwards, we talked about the coronation that took place this past weekend. Jane had watched it (had recorded it and watched it later, due to the time zone difference, and to allow skipping some of the pre-show crowd chatter). There is a lot of history in the coronation, in case you didn’t watch it. Pieces of regalia that are more than 1000 years old!

Ringing, 8 May 2023

Ringing, 27 March 2023

We were four tonight, and rang a lot of Major. We are learning Kent. For the past few weeks we have had only three people, and so have practiced Kent Minor some. Today was the first time we tried Kent Major (at least, the first time with this band). We had Maggie on the trebles, Jane on 3/4, Andrew on 5,6 and Randy on the tenors.

Jane was doing a great job teaching us, and had even printed out sheets for each of us with our blue lines. We didn’t use them while ringing (of course!!), but they were nice to have. Yes, there is software that shows that for each pair, but it was nice not having to dig around, turn on phones, make sure you’re looking at the right pair, etc. Just look at your sheet.

We went lead by lead, trying to figure it out. There were a lot of stumbles, and we would pick it up somewhere in the middle of a lead, or at the beginning of a lead, or something. After an hour or so, we were able to fairly confidently ring two leads, and get most of the way through the third. We called that a result.

So, to celebrate, we decided to ring a touch of Plain Bob Major. We switched bells (well, Andrew and Randy swapped pairs), and went to it. Randy had been away for a few weeks, and after concentrating on Kent had a bit of a struggle to remember what he was doing on 5/6, and after two failed attempts we decided to ring a short touch. But a silent one – Jane would ring a Single at the end of the method so we would do it all again with the 3/4 pair swapped, and then ring another Single to come round after two plain courses. And this was successful. Not only that, but we were able to ring at a fair clip. It sounded and felt very nice!

Next week – a longer touch of Plain Bob, and then back to Kent!

Ringing, 27 March 2023

Ringing, 6 March 2023

Yesterday (Sunday, 5 March) we rang some prelude and communion changes at San Dieguito United Methodist Church (where Andrew is the children’s choir director). We have been talking to the music director for a while about doing this, and yesterday was the day. There were 4 of us (Maggie on the trebles, Jane on 3/4, Randy on 5/6, and Andrew on the tenors). We had a 5 minute countdown for the prelude, and just rang a plain course of Plain Bob major, and some call changes when we finished to round out the time. We then rang some larger, more sonorous bells for communion, again ringing a plain course of Plain Bob major. We had some comments about our ringing, as most of the (~200 member) congregation had never heard change ringing. And we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and isn’t that the point?

We were 3 today, so rang a bit of minor. Andrew, Maggie, and Randy gathered. We have been working on a quarter peal of Bob Major, called by Andrew, with a very specific composition (calling bobs at wrong, home, and wrong, three times). Since we only had the three of us, we decided to practice that composition on minor. We had a single false start, but then were able to ring to the end on the second attempt! We were thrilled at the accomplishment, and especially Andrew who made all the calls in all the right places. Maggie rang the trebles, Randy rang 3/4, and Andrew rang the tenors.

With that under our belts, we decided to work on St. Clements College Bob, by passing our bells to the left (so Randy on the trebles, Andrew on 3/4, and Maggie on the tenors). We haven’t rung this in a while, and we struggled a bit. But after a few attempts, we were able to ring a plain course. By this time we had been ringing for more than an hour, and decided to reconvene next week.

Ringing, 6 March 2023

Ringing, 14 November 2022

We were four today; Andrew, Jane, Maggie, and Randy. I haven’t posted in a while, and while we have been learning a lot of things, we hadn’t rung a plain course of Bob Major lately. We tried last week, and struggled! We did get it on the third or fourth attempt. So this week we decided to ring a plain course of Bob Major.

Jane was on the trebles, Maggie on 3/4, Randy on 5/6, and Andrew on the tenors. And we nailed it, thankfully. So we decided to try a touch.

For the touch, Maggie and Jane swapped bells. Andrew called the touch. It was something simple and we got through it fairly easily. Except that somehow the 2 and the 5 swapped positions. And so it didn’t come round at the end, sadly. But it still sounded nice, and we had fun.

After chatting a bit about other ringing we had done, we decided to ring a triples method. We had never rung anything on 7 bells, or if we have it has been a long time. For those who don’t know, ringing triples is actually rung on 8 bells, but the tenor never changes position, so effectively you are ringing 7 bells. This was fun, and we struggled to get a full plain course (all of 2 * 7 * 5 = 70 changes), but we did finish a plain course after three or four attempts.

From that point, Jane decided that we should try to ring a plain course of Grandshire triples, a method that she detests, mostly because her father (may he rest in peace) thought it was overdone and so didn’t like ringing it. But she explained the method to us, and off we went. This is an interesting method, because you treat the trebles as a single unit; they are always coursing, and when you get to the end of a lead, the bell in thirds place needs to make thirds. And since it is a triples method, the tenor is always in the eighth position. Again, we struggled with this method some, but got it right on the third or fourth attempt. And with that, we called it a night.

Ringing, 14 November 2022

Ringing, 6 June 2022

There were three of us tonight, Maggie, Jane, and Randy.

We started with St. Clements College Bob, with Randy on the trebles, Maggie on 3/4, and Jane on the tenors. After the third try, we were able to ring a plain course in that configuration. We rang that just to remind ourselves, since we hadn’t rung minor in a while.

Next we moved to splicing Little Bob and Plain Bob, starting with a plain course of Little Bob. After ringing that a couple of times, Jane decided that she and Maggie should switch bells, and so we had Randy on the trebles, Jane on 3/4, and Maggie on the tenors. We rang Little Bob again, and then started splicing Little and Plain Bob. We were ringing different touches of that, and never quite getting them, until we did! And it felt good. We rang a couple of different touches of that splice, with a lot of laughter when we got it wrong (mostly due to, “What method are we ringing now?!?!?!?”).

All in all, a very enjoyable evening of ringing handbells.

Ringing, 6 June 2022

Ringing, 2 May 2022

We had a special visitor tonight! While waiting for Andrew, a small dog came into the house! That caused a bit of a ruckus while we called the owner and left a message, all while looking on the street to see if someone was out looking for a lost dog. At one point, I let go of the dog, and she took off down the street. About 15 minutes later, I got a call. The owner was returning my call, saying that while he was finding a leash to come to the house, Betty had appeared safe and sound. So it all worked out, thankfully.

Anyway, after all the excitement, we were three tonight. Andrew, Jane, and Randy. We decided to start with a touch of St. Clements College Bob, which Jane called from 5/6, while Randy rang the trebles and Andrew rang 3/4. We succeeded on the first attempt, at a fairly good pace! When asked, Jane said that it was a 120 length touch, so not a quarter peal by any stretch, but fun nonetheless.

After that, we decided to ring some Original, and spent a good half hour ringing and crashing and ringing some more. We seem to be getting better, and miraculously at one point during our ringing, we came back to rounds! We can’t guarantee that the method was true. But it was fun to get to a clean stopping point.

Jane then decided that we needed some lessons, and so we talked for another 30 minutes about coursing order, and how bobs and singled in different places affect that order. We talked about bobs at home, at wrong, at middle, and at between (the latter two mostly when ringing 8 or more bells). It was a good discussion, and I feel that I learned something. Though we only spent a few minutes putting that into practice, by Andrew calling a quick touch (wrong, wrong, wrong) and then Randy calling a quick touch (the same). The caller rang 5/6, and the others rang other bells, and I’m not sure I could say who rang what at this point.

We closed with a fast plain course of bob minor, and it went beautifully the second time. I don’t want to talk about the first attempt. 🙂

Andrew brought some avocados from his tree, and we split them between us. So I will be happily enjoying avocados for the next week or so. Yum!

Ringing, 2 May 2022

Ringing, 25 April 2022

We were four tonight! Andrew, Jane, Randy, and we had a guest. Jane’s sister Sue is visiting from the UK, and though she hasn’t rung much recently, she is an experienced ringer. As such, we could ring some major.

We started with a plain course of Plain Bob Major, with Randy on the trebles, Andrew on 3/4, Jane on 5/6, and Sue on the tenors. With a little work, we were able to ring that plain course.

We then tried Little Bob Major, with the same bells. This is one that Sue had never rung in hand, and struggled. So after a few failed attempts, we decided to drop down to minor.

We decided to ring a touch of St. Clements College Bob, with Andrew calling. So he was on the tenors, Randy on the trebles, and Jane on 3/4. It was a short touch, 180 in length, with bobs called at home thrice. We must confess that we didn’t actually get through the entire touch in a single attempt, but after crashing after the first bob, we decided to start just at that bob. It took a few more attempts, but we were able to ring to the end from that point. We call that a qualified success!

We tried some Original Bob, with Sue on the trebles, Randy on 3/4, Jane on 5/6, and Andrew on the tenors. This was beyond our abilities at 8:30 in the evening, and so we gave up after just 4 attempts.

We finished with another plain course of Plain Bob Major, but this time Sue was on the trebles, Randy on 3/4, Jane on 5/6, and Andrew on the tenors. It wasn’t the ugliest version of bob major we had ever rung, but it was certainly in the top 10! For a method that we actually got all the way through. If nothing else, we all enjoyed ourselves.

If you are ever in San Diego and want to ring with us, please drop a line and we will provide details.

Ringing, 25 April 2022

Ringing, 18 April 2022

We were three tonight, with a guest coming who had never rung bells before. Whenever that happens, Jane requires them to ring rounds and plain hunt, and tonight was no exception. Nia was able to ring the tenors to plain bob minor after just a few minutes of training (and a bit of help). But then she had had enough, and we let her excuse herself.

So Jane, Maggie, and Randy rang a bit of minor. Jane hurt her elbow playing too much drum, so we were all mixed up in our positions, with Jane ringing the trebles, Maggie ringing 3/4, and Randy ringing the tenors. Jane and Randy were in positions that they were not used to ringing, and so St. Clements College Bob was a struggle. We finally got it (which after last week’s performance was surprising). But were only able to ring a plain course.

We then decided to do something unusual, which we had done a few weeks back. “Original” is a method that is just plain hunting, but allows bobs be placed at any location (not just the lead end!). So you could ring 654321 and then 645312 because a bob had been called. At first, we were each calling bobs in turn, but then Jane decided on something different and had Maggie and Randy ringing minimus on 3/4 and the tenors, with Jane ringing the tenors at the back. It was goofy, and a nice break from the struggle.

We finished with a fast plain course of Plain Bob minor, and called it a night.

Ringing, 18 April 2022

Ringing, 11 April 2022

We were just three tonight, Andrew, Maggie, and Randy. So we rang minor. For the entire night, Randy was on the trebles, Maggie on 3/4, and Andrew on the tenors.

Normally Jane conducts us, but we had so much luck with Andrew conducting the quarter peal last time that he conducted tonight. We started with a touch of St. Clements College Bob, and struggled a bit. We rang the plain course just fine on the second attempt. But then we added a bob at the home position, and promptly crashed. We thought about how that bob would change things, and so tried again, but this time starting right at the bob. It took us a couple of attempts, but we eventually were able to ring from that point to the end, ringing a 180 touch of St Clements College Bob Minor. It really felt like an accomplishment!

So, with just a few minutes left in our rehearsal time, we decided to ring a plain course of Plain Bob Minor, but then Andrew convinced us to let him call some bobs. And so we rang a 180 course of Plain Bob Minor, with Andrew conducting. And did it correctly on the first attempt.

It was a good night, indeed!

Ringing, 11 April 2022

Ringing, 28 March 2022

We rang a quarter peal tonight! And better, it was a first for Andrew conducting a quarter peal!

Let me back up. For the past few weeks, Jane has been teaching Andrew how to conduct longer length compositions, mostly by talking about “Bobs at Home and bobs at Wrong”. I am not going to explain all that (I barely understand it myself). But I just wanted to say that Andrew has been working on this.

So tonight we were three – Andrew, Jane, and Randy. Randy was on the trebles, Jane on 3/4, and Andrew on the tenors. Jane announces that Andrew is going to conduct a longer length composition by ringing (let me see if I get this right) “Wrong, home, wrong, three times, single, and do it all again”. This will result in a 720 Bob Minor. If all goes well, we will do it all again, resulting in a 1440 Bob Minor, more than enough for a quarter peal. As Andrew is a new conductor, this was easier than trying to learn a 540 Bob Minor to append to the 720.

So we started, and crashed very early on (essentially at the second Bob). There was some discussion, and we started again. This time things went fairly smoothly (some bobbles, but we recovered from each). After 720 changes, we came round, and Randy paused until Jane said, “Continue!”. So we did. The second 720 was a bit rougher than the first, especially at the beginning. But after 45 minutes we had rung the complete 720 Bob Minor twice, for a quarter peal. Andrew’s first. Recorded for posterity here.

We finished with a simple plain course of St. Clements College Bob (same bells as the quarter). Wow, that goes fast when you have just spent 45 minutes ringing a quarter peal! But it was fun to remember that we could ring that.

And to repeat (because it bears repeating): We rang a quarter peal tonight!

Ringing, 28 March 2022