It is always refreshing to experience a new teacher, as everyone has their pet “things” that they like to correct in new students. I am a stickler for pen top lids. If a child replaces the correct lid on the correct pen and clicks it tightly to make sure that it is secure, then they are my kind of child. If a child is sloppy in the matter of felt tips, then they will not be so lax after an hour in my company. I also like chairs to be carried correctly with legs pointing down, so as to avoid accidents.
So what would Friday’s teacher, kindly standing in for the missing factotum, have a “thing” about?
It turns out that his “thing” is not looking at the rope. I have been advised before by a bystander that it is not necessary to check that the rope is still there all the time, but no-one else has ever really mentioned it. But on Friday, apparently, we were ALL guilty of “rope staring”, which is not surprising. We were an assorted group of people who have only been learning for about a year, and we do like to know that the rope is still there. Of course we know that it is still there, because we believe that we have executed a lovely straight pull as taught by our teachers, so where else could it be than right under our noses? But it is good to check, just in case. Most of us have missed a sally in the not too distant past, so we are acutely aware of the consequences of losing the rope.
Since we were mucking about on the training bells and could not do much harm, even if our pulls were not exactly as straight as intended, we practised not looking whilst ringing rounds. Given that I was standing next to the “man-who-pays-a-lot-of- attention-to-rope-gazing” there was no way I could get away with drifting my eyes back to the sally as I stretched out my hands to catch it. Every time that I forgot myself, he shook his head and made it clear that I was not a model pupil. It is so easy to pick up bad habits and so hard to break them. I think some horse blinkers might be required.
So now there is one more thing to think about. Positive pull to start, arms all the way down/all the way up, mind the gap, point thumbs down, elbows in, keep in time, who are you following? who is following you? who are they following? don’t sway, keep feet on the floor, don’t look up, don’t look at the rope…..
It is not easy , is it?
(and he did not mention my flappy right hand once. Which either means that it is cured or that it is too herculean a task to take on during one session)