New ringers class · 2012Nov27Tu

Carroll worked on:

  • Good ringing form:  relaxing her left-hand grip on the tail so it rests in the fork of her thumb and crosses the sally during each handstroke, and fast complete follow-throughs after each stroke.
  • Relaxing.  Like every new ringer she is putting too much strength into every movement and then having to resist in the opposite direction.  She is working on relaxing, using the exact amount of oomph needed for every motion, and becoming more sensitive to where the bell is and what it’s doing.
  • Setting.  Carroll reached several milestones:  she set at hand immediately after setting at back, and set at back immediately after setting at hand, and set at hand three times running.
  • Raising and lowering.  She raised the 4 today but did not feel ready for lowering.

Carroll is nearly ready to begin ringing with the band!

Lynn worked on:

  • Raising.  She raised the 2 with help.  Her form is pretty good and she needs to raise at each class in order to strengthen her ringing muscles.
  • Ringing both strokes together.  She is working on ringing backstrokes with occasional handstrokes;  today she reached the level of ringing three handstrokes in succession (plus backstrokes) with one handstroke by the teacher, over and over.

Service ringing and Christmas photo · 2012Nov18Su

Christmas card photo day:  Barbara oversaw it with a friend taking the photograph, Judy brought a Santa hat that was placed on the statue of St Francis, and Pamela brought festive ribbons for everyone.  Left to right:  Marguerite, Barbara, Eoin, Jim, Pamela, Thomas, Jody, Judy, Anne.

Eight ringers today:  Anne, Barbara, Eoin, Jim, Jody, Marguerite, Pamela, Thomas.  Judy came for the photograph but did not ring.  We raised all eight bells.

We rang Rounds with various allocations of ringers to bells.  We tried a few Call Changes but it was more than the band could handle without falling apart.  We rang down more or less in peal.

Road closings for half-marathon Nov18Su

The Miami Beach “Latin Music” Half-Marathon will close roads and disrupt traffic Sunday morning.  Course map is below;  click it to jump to the full-size map on their web site.

It appears that the best approaches to the Cathedral will be:

  1. From South Beach:  across the Venetian Causeway for sure, and probably across I-395 (MacArthur Causeway).
  2. From everywhere else:  approach on I-195 heading east, take the Biscayne Blvd exit, and follow Biscayne Blvd south to the Cathedral.

Based on past experience they will probably block off the right lane of I-195 westbound (Julia Tuttle Causeway);  one lane of the exit onto Biscayne might be open, or the entire exit may be closed.

The first wave of runners will start at 6:45am in South Beach, with slower waves starting later.  The fastest runners will have long finished by 9:00am, but runners are being allowed 4 hours (!) to finish, so my estimate is that miles 7-13 of the course (2nd Ave NE, 13th St NE, and MacArthur Causeway) will still be closed at 9:00am and the approaches to the Cathedral across them from the west and south will be blocked.  You may be able to approach from the north and cross the course around Biscayne Blvd and I-195 by 9:00am, but this is not definite.

Early Practice / Practice · 2012Nov14We

Three ringers for Early Practice:  Anne, Nancy, Thomas.  We raised 12345.

  • Ringing to a count.  With only three ringers, we rang at a five-bell pace leaving silence for two more bells.  I called out a steady repeated “1-2-3-4-5-1-2-3-4-5-6” (with “6” for the handstroke pause), and each ringer was charged with striking as close to the number of their place as possible.  It takes practice but is an extremely useful skill.
  • Rounds and Call Changes.  The call changes moved each ringer into leads and each ringer to the back over each course of ringing.  I kept the count going except when calling a change.  Whoever was in leads was on the spot to get their bell to strike at “1”, and any deviation was obvious.  The bells in 2nds and 3rds were not as obvious when they deviated, but the expectation of striking on the correct beat was still there.  We stood the bells every so often and rotated one to the right, circulating the rightmost ringer around to the back.

Five ringers for Practice:  Anne, Jody, Judy, Nancy, Thomas.  We arranged the ringers to separate the new ringers with senior ringers.

  • Rounds and Call Changes.  Our goal was to get from rounds (12345) to back rounds (54321), which we eventually did, and then back into rounds again, which we didn’t due to a combination of irregular striking, confusion about call changes, and confusion about the transition from following a bell, when both are on the same stroke, to leading off a bell, when the bell in leads is on the opposite stroke from the bell at the back.

    We followed the same sequence of calls, initially very slowly, then gradually more quickly until a call was made at every other pull (every four strokes):

    1. “4 to 5” (12354)
    2. “3 to 5” (12534)
    3. “2 to 5” (15234)
    4. “1 to 5” (51234)  bringing the 5 into leads
    5. “3 to 4” (51243)
    6. “2 to 4” (51423)
    7. “1 to 4” (54123)  bringing the 4 into 2nds
    8. “2 to 3” (54132)
    9. “1 to 3” (54312)  bringing the 3 into 2nds
    10. “1 to 2” (54321)  bringing the 2 into 4ths and the band into Back Rounds

    Throughout the first 10 calls, the only bells that led were the treble and the 5, and with steady ringers on both those bells the band was able to stay coherent.

    The intent was then to return to rounds, though by a different path.  This path would have brought every bell into leads briefly, and was more than we could manage.

    1. “5 to 4” (45321)
    2. “5 to 3” (43521)
    3. “5 to 2” (43251)
    4. “5 to 1” (43215)  bringing the 5 into 5ths
    5. “4 to 3” (34215)
    6. “4 to 2” (32415)
    7. “4 to 1” (32145) bringing the 4 into 4ths
    8. “3 to 2” (23145)
    9. “3 to 1” (21345) bringing the 3 into 3rds
    10. “2 to 1” (12345) bringing the 2 into 2nds and the band into Rounds
  • Rang down approximately in peal.

Renovation downstairs

Workmen have been wiring up the electrical panels in the tower’s downstairs room, and moving the internal walls to get a larger doorway.

Portions of the old walls were taken out.

The end of the old plenum was concreted over at floor level, the wall behind the ducts was cut back and the light switch moved, and a new angled wall was put in place.

New whipping for the 4’s rope

The last whipping on the 4’s rope came off yesterday.  We carefully rang the bell down.  This morning I put a new whipping on in its place so the bell would be ringable at tonight’s practice.

The whipping that came off appeared to be the inner of the two whippings put on at the factory.  I had noticed that a couple of these looked a bit loose, but figured the manufacturers knew what they were doing;  but apparently not in this case.

I twisted the strands back into an approximation of their original twist and tightness, and put on a replacement whipping.  It’s not possible to get the strands at the end of a rope back into their original twist and tightness, of course, but it was better than nothing.  In case this whipping comes off too, I put on a third whipping further in, so that in an emergency the rope can be retucked between the second and third whippings.

I looked at the other loose factory whipping, on the 6’s rope.  These are tied off with a large lumpy knot for some reason, and this knot can work out of the strands and come loose.  I tightened it as best I could and worked it back away from the end and out of the way.

New ringers class · 2012Nov13Tu

Carroll worked on raising, setting, and good form.  She rings both strokes together reliably but with an awkward, difficult motion, and usually takes four strokes at least between sets.

  • She worked on holding the tail lightly in the crook of her left thumb, rather than gripping it tightly in her left hand fingers.  This is a challenge of long standing for Carroll, neglected while we focused on getting both strokes going together, and it will probably take long determined effort to root out the bad habit.
  • In the service of a fast followthrough and wrist flick, she has developed the habit of locking her wrists in line and her forearms together during her backstroke.  She needs to break this habit and develop a smoother, more flexible motion in order to be able to set the bell whenever she wishes.

Lynn worked on combining the two strokes.  She can ring every other handstroke, but when she tries to ring every handstroke the accumulated small problems at each stroke make the bell ring down.

  • Lynn raised a bell for the first time.  She will need to work on speeding up her followthrough enough to raise the bell past the horizontal;  it’s not quite there yet.
  • Lynn is developing a nice close rope motion, but still occasionally throws out.

During the class the whipping at the end of the 4’s rope came off, so we moved to the 2.  Carroll and I both noticed an odd vibration in the 2’s rope at the top of each stroke, so we adjourned class and climbed up to the bell chamber to look for loose nuts on the 2’s wheel or any other possible cause.  The two bolts where the spokes meet on each side of the wheel were loose, as is common in Miami where the humidity goes so far up and down, but that didn’t seem enough of a cause.  We tightened them anyway just in case.

Rain awning torn by falling debris

The rain awning was torn last week by falling debris from the rusting galvanized gutter in the bell chamber.  The damage was first noticed before service ringing on Sunday.  The debris in question was the large hanging piece, about 8″ square, that had been dangling over the 2 and 3 since at least last November when I brought lights in to examine the state of the bells.  The tears ranged up to 2″ in length.

Carroll and I lowered the awning and carefully removed the fallen piece, which was so rusted that it broke into pieces as we touched it.  We also removed the rusted flakes, chips, and dust that had accumulated in the low spot of the awning.  We then made temporary patches of all the tears using duct tape and raised the awning back up.

The rusting galvanized gutter has to be taken down, or it will come down piece by piece.  Not all of the pieces will be as small as this one.