Changing of the guard

I am delighted that other ringers are stepping forward to take over the functions I’ve been performing, so that when I move in about a month the band will continue to flourish and progress.

  • Jody is taking over this blog, and started posting with yesterday’s practice.
  • Bobbie has taken over managing the attendance dudle and wrangling attendance for each ringing session, ensuring we have enough ringers, someone to run the ringing, someone to watch over ringers’ safety, and someone to unlock and relock the tower.  (For some reason the Miami band has not and still is not electing officers, instead preferring to wing it week by week.)
  • Jim has taken over managing the mailing list.
  • Nancy and Carroll are prepared and enthusiastic to take over the steeplekeeping, though by chance neither of them is in Miami at present and won’t be for possibly several months.
  • Anne has acted as ringing master for at least one session, and did so well by all reports.  Several other ringers have expressed a willingness to do so as well.

It will be bittersweet to leave the Miami ringers, even though I look forward to the future, but at least I can feel the tower is in good hands.

Practice · 2013Jul23Tu

Practice was slow to start, but with Rob in town we gave it a hearty go and rang up and down a few times in peal.  It’s not as easy and Jody thought!  Once Ken arrived we moved on to Plain Hunt on 5 until comfortable and then tried switching bells.  This proved to be more of a challenge.  However, ringing down in peal to end the session sounded pretty good!

Service ringing · 2013Jul21Su

Seven ringers:  Anne, Jim, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Rob, Thomas.  We raised 1234567.

  • Anne, Rob, and Thomas raised 123 in peal.  We stayed in rounds all the way up, with a handful of near-clashes but none in which the bells were audibly out of sequence.
  • Anne, Marguerite, Rob, and Thomas then raised 4567 in peal.  The sequence was often out of rounds but there were often three of the four bells in sequence.
  • Plain Hunt on Four on the front four.  When the fifth ringer arrived, we rang Plain Hunt on Four with tenor behind.  We kept working until the pattern was clean, then rang many leads in succession.
  • The remaining two ringers arrived in a clump and we rearranged ourselves for Plain Bob on Four with three covers.  Again, we worked until the pattern was fairly clean then rang several plain courses in succession.
  • Plain Hunt on Six with Rob standing behind Anne to offer suggestions if needed.  This was to have been our service touch but for some reason did not jell.  We stood the bells and Anne sat out to bandage her hands.
  • Call Changes on six bells, with Rob calling from the 6.  He called the band into Queens, made a few more calls, then back into rounds so we could ring down in peal.  Jim rang down his bell as quickly as possible rather than in peal, then quickly rang the 7 down in time to chime with the rest.

We need to have a practice in which we ring up and down in peal several times, so that ringers improve at it.

Practice · 2013Jul16Tu

Anne was in charge and sent the following account.  Seven ringers rang and one observed.

Lynn, Judy, Marg, Jody, Ken, and Anne in attendance. Rob joined us for final 10 minutes.  Bobbie attended the entire session but did not ring as she had injured her shoulder at home.

Majority of the session was spent ringing Rounds to give Lynn ample practice time as she is new to ringing with the band.  As striking improved, Judy called simple Call Changes.
The latter part of the session was spent practicing Plain Hunt on 5 with Lynn tenoring behind on the 6. Marg called “go” and “that’s all.” Then Lynn sat out and the band rang plain hunt on 5 with no tenor behind. When Rob joined us, the band rang Plain Hunt on 6.
At 7:30 the band rang down in peal.

Service ringing · 2013Jul14Su

Eight ringers:  Anne, Barbara, Eoin, Jim, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Thomas.  We raised all eight.

  • Raised the front three in peal (Anne, Marguerite, Thomas), which went quite well, in clear rounds much of the way up.  Of course the light bells are easier to control, but still it’s good to hear the continued improvement.
  • Barbara and Eoin arrived during the first raising, so next we raised the back five in peal.  Fortunately raising in peal always sounds festive and joyous, even if the rounds aren’t there throughout.  We had a few points at which three or more bells were striking together, which is to be avoided.  We persevere and will improve with time.
  • We rang Rounds for the rest of the session, in part because Barbara and Eoin have not been ringing much in recent weeks and a session of just rounds helped them get back in, but also because the band still does not get enough practice on all eight bell.  Realistically, Rounds is the most this band could manage successfully today.  We rang Rounds and Rotate, putting nearly everyone on nearly every bell at some point.  Marguerite requested to skip the 7 and 8 and we ran out of time to rotate all the way around, but most of the band rang six of the bells.
  • For our service touch, Thomas allocated ringers to bells and we rang our best Rounds.  The band kept clearly in rounds throughout, with only a few bells out of place occasionally, and occasionally the striking was clear and even.  It was a creditable performance.
  • Without pause (except Marguerite who stood her bell to take out the knot) we rang down in peal.  We need to work on this.  The tenor in particular came down far too fast, and overall we were far out of rounds much of the way down.  However, we will improve.

Loose rope class · 2013Jul13Sa

This was the third loose rope class.  Three ringers:  Bobbie, Jody, and Thomas (instructing).  The three of us lifted all but the treble’s rope into the intermediate chamber and half-sheepshanked them out of the way, and safed the ringing chamber with tarps and by moving everything out of the corner by the treble.

As in the first two classes (2013May25Sa and 2013May29We) we divided the work into four increasingly risky stages:

  1. Approaching the ringer from about a 120° angle and getting permission to help (“Do You Need Help?”).
  2. Reaching in and helping on specific strokes (“I’m Helping with This Stroke”), being sure not to inadvertently cue the ringer to give you the rope.
  3. Taking the rope from a ringer in serious trouble (“Give Me the Rope!”).
  4. Getting a loose rope back under control.

The goal of each stage is to try to keep the situation from moving into the next stage.  The ideal outcome is that the helpful ringer calms the ringer in trouble and if necessary gives just enough help for them to get themselves out of trouble.  If it is necessary to reach in, one should remember that the first priority is calming the motion of the rope, so a hard pull is only indicated if the bell has rung dangerously low.  As in the first two classes, each stage (except the fourth) had both interaction skills (looking into the ringer’s eyes, speaking concisely and clearly) and rope skills (reaching in, vertical pulls with clean release at the bottom, taking a definite grip of the rope and taking control of it, and moving in and corralling a loose rope).  Jody noted that the right time for many of the actions in the class is when the rope “stalls” or stops rising.  By the end of the class we were taking ropes cleanly from each other, and dropping the rope on one stroke, picking it up on the next or second-next stroke, then after a few firm strokes to get the bell under control taking the rope cleanly and starting again on the next stroke.

We put everything back in order after the class was over.

At this point six ringers have taken the class:  Anne, Bobbie, Carroll, Jody, Judy, and Nancy.

Practice · 2013Jul09Tu

Eight ringers:  Bobbie, Jim, Jody, Judy, Ken, Marguerite, Thomas, and visitor Niall.  Most of the band was quite late so after the first few we raised bells only as ringers arrived.

This was Bobbie’s first time ringing rounds.

  • Raised a few at the front in peal.
  • Rounds on the front five, then six, then eight as ringers arrived, with Bobbie on the 4.  We gave Bobbie a break from time to time while we worked on Plain Hunt.  Though she seemed mortified by her ringing, everyone else agreed she was doing quite well for the first time.  At this stage, every stroke that’s in the right place should be treated as an accomplishment.
  • Plain Hunt on Six.  Most of the band did not leave consistent handstroke pauses when leading.  The striking was uneven and some ringers got out of sequence.
  • Plain Hunt on Six with tenor behind, on 2345678.
  • Rang the back seven down in peal, then the treble down alone.

New ringers class · 2013Jul09Tu

Jorge · Focus is on getting both strokes serenely together.  Jorge has an excellent backstroke and a good handstroke, but as with many learners they deteriorate under the pressure of combining them.  Points to work on:

  • Soft motion at the top of each stroke;  let the bell rise.
  • Fast, deep followthrough for both strokes, especially the handstroke.
  • Faster pickup after the release.
  • Left hand line angled toward the floor for the handstroke followthrough.