… were my thoughts as a keen novice ringer. I had been observing older ringers, once very competent, who had been stuck teaching beginners for so long that they had forgotten how to ring anything remotely complicated. “I won’t let that happen to me”, I determined.
Ten years on, trailing a long string of support roles behind me, I noticed that I was like THAT.
Action was needed – but how to fit in the ringing when there was maintenance, minutes, learners, open days and more to be attended to? “Learning the Ropes +” came to the rescue. With a book to fill in, there was sufficient motivation to find time to revise and ring methods. That’s very sad, but I genuinely do support the principle of continuing learning for everyone, whatever stage they are at.
I was horrified to realise how few methods I habitually ring now. Fortunately, I have not grown old without growing cunning, so I can now also realise how few methods there actually are. They really are nearly all plain hunt or treble bob in fancy frocks.
Except Stedman, of course. Our Ringing Education Centre at Stretham had put on a Stedman course recently, so there was a chance to support an attendee in his first quarter of Stedman. We went to a 5-bell tower, Horningsea (5,8-3- 1), where I rang my first quarter peal many years ago. Uncovered Doubles is my favourite type of ringing – I detest the boring and dominating sound of a covering tenor.
Shortly after, we rang another quarter peal of Stedman, at Stretham, for another course attendee, but I determined not to count this for LtR+ Doubles Level, in case people thought I could only ring Stedman. Yes, I DO know that Stedman encompasses all that life has to offer, but … . Interestingly this quarter peal had a completely different calling scheme from the first one. When I complimented the conductor on keeping it right, he looked baffled and said “Well, it was only Doubles”. Oh dear, I shall never be a conductor.
The evidence seems to support that statement. Since embarking on LtR+, I have failed to call two quarter peals. Both failures were mostly my fault. I say to myself that I just need more practice, but it is so embarrassing to let people down in this way.
So the first levels I got were 10 Bells, and First Peal, simultaneously. The name is misleading, because it is not my first peal, just my first since embarking on LtR+. I’m afraid I have more or less given up ringing peals, because they take up too much time, but when I was asked to fill in I thought of the tick in the box and said yes. Actually I enjoyed the peal, chiefly because of the collective determination of the band to get through it on the tricky bells at Soham (10,21cwt).
I have been promised another go at calling Norwich Surprise Minor, which is very kind of the organiser, and this time I will try not to mix up seconds and fourths place bell. I still think seconds place bell would be more interesting if you made fourths at the end, though!