Next year’s Christmas card assembly line party

I just finished sending out the tower Christmas cards — 47 to other active towers as a gesture of solidarity and good cheer, and to our donors as a gesture of our continued appreciation and good cheer.  We thank the Washington Ringing Society for the gift of their mailing list so that we could get set up this year!

Next year we are going to have a seven+-ringer Christmas card assembly line party, right after Thanksgiving:

-1. Update the address list (two people for this prep task).
0.  Print out the four sheets of address labels;

  1. Feed each card stock sheet into the printer;
  2. Cut each printed sheet into individual cards;
  3. Stick the address label on each envelope;
  4. Stick the return address label on each envelope;
  5. Insert the card;
  6. Seal the envelope;
  7. Stick on the stamp.

With a group it will take no time, instead of just about all day for one person.  Imagine Christmas carols playing in the background, ringers laughing, eggnog waiting, and a growing stack of cards ready for the mailbox ….  Next year.

I’ve put it on the tower calendar for Saturday Dec 1.

Changes at the tower

New door chime

Next time you come to the tower, listen for the electronic “ding … dong” when you open the door.

Electrical work


The electrical work continues to progress.  The trench taking the new conduits into the tower has been filled back in, and the conduits (without cables, so far) come into the downstairs room of the tower, with their ends taped over to keep dirt out.

The second and probably the third wall boxes are standing on the floor, ready to be installed.  The second group of conduits running over the chapel has been extended over to the south wall where the second wall box will go.  The third, smaller box is for the tower circuits (I am told) and is to go on the west wall.

The electricians seem to have written the list of conduits for each box on the drywall of the north wall;  the sizes match the conduits that leave each box and go over the chapel.

Practice · 2011Dec20Tu

Five ringers present:  Jody, Ken, Marguerite, Thomas, then unexpectedly Darrah back from Pittsburgh for break, which made it a joyful evening!

After practice some of the band adjourned to a nearby pub (Cuban restaurant) to socialize.

Getting webbier


The Miami ringers are increasing their use of the Web in the tower’s operation.

  • Polls to coordinate everyone, hosted by dudle.
    1. We started with a single schedule poll on which ringers mark their commitment to come to a practice or ring for a service. This poll rolls forward constantly, with past ringing dropping off the left and upcoming ringing appearing on the right, so that it always covers the next 6 to 8 weeks.
    2. A rolling schedule poll for each series of new ringer classes.  With one instructor this works out to one poll per student;  with two instructors, one poll for each pair of students on the same schedule, and so on.
    3. A rolling schedule poll for coaching sessions.
    4. A plain poll for what each ringer wants to do at practices (current choices include Call Changes, Call Go and Stop, Dodging Practice, Placing Practice, Plain Bob, Plain Hunt, etc.)
    5. As an experiment, a plain poll keeping track of who has what book from the tower library.
  • LibraryThing hosts the tower library catalog.
  • A virtual library of online books and documents.
  • A YouTube channel for instructional videos made at the tower.
  • A Google calendar for the tower calendar.
  • A private Google group for managing the tower email list centrally.

Service ringing · 2011Dec18Su

Five ringers for service ringing today: Jim, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Thomas.  Welcome back, Jody!  We rang F-E-D-C-B (Lydian or IV).

  • Plain Bob Minimus, then when Jim arrived Plain Bob Minimus with tenor behind.
    1 Jody; 2 Judy; 3 Marguerite; 4 Thomas; 5 Jim.

    • Judy is working on exchanging glances with each ringer as they dodge.
    • Thomas needs to record the ringing to figure out if he’s calling “That’s all” consistently at the lead end, or sometimes several pulls earlier or later as it sometimes seems to others in the band.
    • Jody expressed interest in learning to ring inside.

    Some shaky courses, but several pretty solid.  We continue to improve.

  • Rob’s 36 Changes, Jim calling.  Jody moved to the 4 and Thomas to the treble.  There was time to get about halfway through.
  • Rang down in a grand cacophony, as quickly as possible.

We haven’t rung with five for a while (last time was November 20).  With five bells rather than four, it’s both easier and harder, as we ring with the bells striking closer together to fit 5 bells in rather than 4, at the speed of #5 rather than the lighter (and faster) #4:

  1. It’s easier for Plain Bob Minimus because there’s a tenor!  That helps steady everyone.
  2. It’s easier because changing places requires a smaller shift in when you ring (only about 1/5 of a stroke, rather than 1/4 of a stroke);  you don’t need to ring up so high to hunt out, and especially you don’t need to cut so far and so hard to hunt in, which puts your bell’s motion in a range that’s easier to control.  On the whole the striking usually seems more precise.
  3. It’s harder because you have to strike within a narrower time interval.  The more-precise striking helps but isn’t always enough.

It’s also harder simply because we aren’t used to it.  Let’s hope we have plenty of chance to get used to ringing with 5 and even 6 ringers in the new year!

New ringers class · 2011Dec15Th

Sixth class for new ringer Anne, who continues to progress well and is working to ring correctly without thinking about it.  Focus areas were getting the right hand right back on the tail after a handstroke, stance, and orienting the hands vertically while pulling vertically (until the wrist flip at the bottom).

Next class for Anne is Monday 2 Jan.  Barbara and Eoin’s next class is Sunday 18 Dec.