Five ringers: Anne, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Thomas. We raised 12345.
Most of the band arrived late, so Anne and Thomas talked about how to learn to call changes using To Queens and Back as the example, and how to make use of the coursing order to ring Plain Hunt without a tenor behind. A key point is that while the follow sequence and which bells you lead off of can both be obtained from the coursing circle, the rules for doing so are completely separate and you have to put one on hold while you use the other.
Consider Plain Hunt on Six, for which the coursing circle runs 2-4-6-5-3-1-2-4-6-5-3-1-…. When ringing the 4, one is over the 3 in rounds and then continues 1-2-… once hunting begins. You can’t follow yourself, so instead you skip yourself (4) in the coursing order and keep going; this occurs when one is in leads, in which case one substitutes “lead lead” for oneself, and at the back, in which case one simply charges ahead. Since the 4 starts in (odd bells start out, even bells start in), the first time the 4 skips itself in the coursing circle will be when in leads, and the next time will be at the back. So the 4, ringing over the 3 in rounds, then will ring over the 1, over the 2, lead, lead, then ring over the 6, 5, 3, 1, 2, skip itself at the back, 6, 5, 3, and then repeat.
One can figure out who one leads off of by examining the coursing circle, but it’s cognitively much more challenging than just following the coursing sequence, so I recommend just looking it up on the chart on the wall. The rule is that on an even number of bells, for which there will be a bell opposite yours in the coursing circle, you lead off of the bell before it in the coursing circle and then that bell; on an odd number of bells, for which there will be no bell directly opposite yours in the coursing circle, you lead twice off of the bell that just precedes the empty spot opposite your bell. This has almost nothing to do with following the coursing order, and if you try to think about which bell is opposite yours in the coursing circle, you’ll probably lose track of your place as you follow around the circle, so don’t try. It seems to work best to lead by ear, as I usually do, or to await the arrival of ropesight, after which you’ll just know where to look (perhaps by having internalized the pattern of the bells).
- Anne, Marguerite, and Thomas raised 234 in peal, quite slowly so we could focus on keeping our bells synchronized. We continue to improve at this; it is a skill that requires attentive practice.
- Judy arrived as we finished raising 234. She raised the treble (1). Jody arrived a few minutes later and Thomas raised the 5.
- Plain Hunt on Four with tenor behind, at Anne’s request. We have been working intensively on Plain Hunt for several weeks now, so it is perhaps our best choice for good service ringing. We rang rounds as needed until the band’s rhythm settled down evenly, then individual leads, standing for discussion whenever Thomas noticed a problem that appeared at least twice in a row. Once everyone had worked out all misunderstandings and problems in their hunting, we rang sequences of leads, sometimes several in a row, before calling “That’s All” to go back into rounds for a bit, and sometimes continuing until someone got lost and we had to stop. We also talked about what to do when someone gets lost: a good tactic is for each ringer to carry on as best they can until time to lead, then to make sure his/her two blows in leads are accurately placed off the tenor behind. Often this will be enough to bring the band back together by the end of the lead. Once we rang 10 to 12 good leads in a row, so many that Thomas lost count. The band was sounding quite good, and a sequence of several clean leads in succession made an appropriate service touch.
- We last stood about 9:53am, at which point Marguerite kindly took out her knot so we could ring down in peal without damage to her rope. We then rang several well-struck leads of Plain Hunt on Four in succession, then rang down in peal.