At practice sessions people are often invited to suggest what to ring next. This means that the inexperienced always enjoy the chance to ring something at their level, but similarly, the more advanced can also make a request for something appropriate to them, and if there are sufficient ringers to attempt the more ambitious request, then that will also be attempted. What is true in the physical tower is also true in the virtual tower, but even more so because in the Ringing Room one is not limited to the actual number of physical bells hanging upstairs in the belfry. If one wants to experiment and ring more bells than one would normally have access to, then go ahead and try. There are no local citizens to be affronted by the resulting jangle, and the worst that can happen is that the ringing fires up and one has to accept that perhaps one is not ready for such ambition quite yet.
I am aware that with certain bands where other inexperienced ringers are experimenting alongside me, if I ask for lots of bells there is a hesitation and a “perhaps later” from whoever is organising the ringing. I am not sure why, but a request for royal (10 bells) or maximus (12 bells) seems to go down like a lead balloon. People don’t seem to want to try it, which is disappointing because the virtual world is probably the only place where I will ever ring maximus, so it would be foolish to miss the opportunity. But sometimes I am ringing with people who are all much better than me, and last night we tried 10 bells – not just plain hunting, but then again not that more ambitious than plain hunting. I am not mad. Little Bob seemed a manageable proposition. It turned out to be enjoyable, except on the odd occasion when someone rushed their lead and threw the rhythm out. We got through tolerably well and even navigated a few bobs.
Today I thought to try some more bells on my own and plumped for Kent, because I like Kent, and, much to my delight, found it much easier if you increase the numbers. I was a bit apprehensive as to how I would do the slow work and know when to stop so took the 2 bell to get it over with. Miraculously, the pattern popped out as clear as clear can be – follow the evens up and the odds down and there is the treble obligingly waiting to take you off the lead. No need to keep a tally on my left hand as to how many times I had led. The hard work was done for me.
The benefit of lots of bells is once you get into bobbing along, you can enjoy a decent run before that awkward moment when you have to turn round at the back and reverse back down. That’s the bit where it is easy to have a lapse in concentration and think “now, should I be going up or down?” I recommend that every one has a try, because you may find that you prefer the larger numbers and learn more about the pattern of certain methods when they are extended.
I wonder what Kent on 14 is like? Time to try, perhaps?
( I tried – it is difficult! Once you get into 2 syllable counting, all bets are off. More practice is needed. 22 bells was even worse but perhaps trying to ring 2 at once was over-optimistic and the peal speed was silly. But you never know until you try.)