I thought that people may be interested in the story behind the silent and unconducted quarter of Bob Doubles rung at Woughton on the Green (Bucks) on Sunday 31st August. A few months previously we discussed the idea of ringing a silent and unconducted quarter peal. One ringer had always wanted to have a go at this, but been unable to find anyone else to participate. I said I would see if I could arrange something. Serendipitously, Paul Crumbleholme from Wavendon also started to ask my advice on calling a quarter peal of Bob Doubles. His initial plan was to call someone else observation throughout. I explained that whilst that was perfectly valid, it wasn’t the easy option it appeared, as it was easy to lose count of how many extents you’d rung. It occurred to me that conducting practice for Paul could be combined with a silent and unconducted quarter.
It was still proving difficult to find people willing to take part, and Paul’s Daughter Hannah, a relatively inexperienced ringer, agreed to ring the treble. Richard Booth, another experienced Marsworth ringer agreed to take part on condition that he rang the tenor! We had an initial try at an unconducted 120 during a normal Woughton practice, which was an unmitigated disaster!
However once the In Out Make acronym was explained and the work going on for each bell drawn out for the four possible 120s , it became clearer and a silent 120 was rung. We set up a quarter peal attempt at Marsworth and agreed that the observation bells would be 2345234 523 starting with a 60 with Paul on the 4th making the bob three times. After two false starts, it transpired that Brian (the ringer on the third bell) had gone straight into the first 120 with the 2 unaffected and you can get quite a long way through without realising this!
A restart got us all the way to the first extent with the 5th observation where despite my Marcel Marceau impression on the 5th it fell apart. I was very cheerful about this however as I felt that everyone had exceeded my expectations in terms of how far we would get, and I had a sneaking suspicion that it was me who’d fired it out. It transpired that Paul had become confused with rounds coming up whilst he was making the bob as he’d been using his dodge with Brian (on the third) as his cue to start the next extent. Feeling it was now well within everyone’s grasp, we arranged another date at Woughton on the Green.
This time at Woughton we all set off confidently and sailed through the 60 and all four extents no problem. Second time around in the 7th extent there was a hiccough which unsettled people and the by now infamous 5th bell observation 8th extent got off to a rocky start and deteriorated. The extent didn’t come round cleanly and nobody was able to conjure a facial expression for “that’s the end of the extent, start again!” Not everyone started the next extent and it fell apart at the next bob with 2nd observation. So close! We arranged another date and Brian decided that he felt he was the weak link. We all protested but he replaced himself with Peter Tribble, an experienced ringer in our local band.
The band now felt the silent unconducted quarter was becoming a bit of an albatross. We met again at Woughton for our third attempt. This had a brief crash at the first lead end when Peter forgot to run out on the third “He was waiting for the bob…, oops” but the next change was clean and we continued with the 60 and then the 120s one by one. All clean, with no mistakes. A crash in the 6th extent when someone forgets to run in, immediately fixed by the next change We got to the 8th extent (5th observation) my heart pounding but we sailed through that and into the 9th, 2nd observation, uncharted territory, and the final extent with the 3rd observation. Would everyone remember to stop? Everyone stopped, two more rows of rounds and we stood, all without a word spoken and no miming at all, so it really was silent and unconducted. Fantastic.
Then I discovered to my amazement and growing horror that this was Hannah’s first ever quarter!
Ringing a first quarter on the treble is achievement enough but also to have to count extents and remember to stop, amazing. Even more news! It was Paul’s first ever quarter inside! By now I was feeling very humble and chastened for pushing everyone through this, It wasn’t helped when Peter confessed that although the theory was fine he’d never called a quarter of Bob Doubles either.
The band were as follows:
1. Hannah Crombleholme
2. Rose Nightingale
3. Peter Tribble
4. Paul Crombleholme
5. Simon J O Head
6. Richard Booth
Rung Silent and Unconducted.
1st QP: Hannah Crombleholme. 1st QP inside: Paul Crombleholme.
My thanks to everyone involved. How many other ringers can claim their first quarter or first inside was Silent and Unconducted?
Article Submitted by Simon J O Head (Woughton on the Green)