Joining Oxford to Kent

There is a “new” party trick at the tower. One particular gentleman enjoys splicing Oxford Treble Bob and Kent Treble Bob.  Apparently it was all the rage back in the 1960s and his Ringing World diary of methods dates from this era. I think of it as the Viennetta of methods – of it’s time, but quite yummy nonetheless. It is fun to watch as the grown-ups get their heads round something unfamiliar.

Last night we attempted the same trick on handbells, and attempted is the correct expression because I had little idea of how to manage such a manoeuvre. For once I was not on my trebles.  If I had been, things would have been easier. I was not on the tenors either. I was on 5-6, well out of my comfort zone for either method in a major mode. Just hanging on in there and the conductor says “Oxford”.  Crash, bang. The 5-6, from making Kent places, throw themselves in to a different pattern in a random fashion. They had warned me that it would be half leads of this and half leads of that, and in my ignorance I assumed the call would be made at the half lead but it came a little later. I was semi-geared up but out of step. My attempt to move to Oxford was pure guess work.  Bad guesswork.  A little transatlantic explanation was provided and we tried again.

This time my “making-places-hand” behaved admirably and made some Oxford places at the correct time but my other hand had no idea what was required and crashed about in a disorderly fashion, still attempting to ring Kent. The dodges were the wrong way round which meant that I was coming down, not going up. The Oxford call should have turned me to face the other way, but only my left hand had understood the message. I had one foot in Oxford and the other remained in Kent. I had to admit that I had no idea what I was doing. More transatlantic advice was offered, but I had to get off to a wine tasting so the attempt was abandoned. Perhaps next week?

I have since been sent the composition and it is not  too scary once you study it on paper. But I think I need to learn what to do whilst I feel safe on the trebles and then try to translate it inside, because it is a bit much to take on board all in one go for one of my inexperience.  It was not much more than a year ago, on it being suggested that we rang 3 leads of Kent, that I was innocently asking – “but how many leads of Kent minor are there?”

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