Sue Le Feuvre originally posted this news in the Guild Facebook Group. Read on for more on Mars Bars and Simulators…
The Week Began on June 24th
Today was the first morning of activities week for Elizabeth College students. Today we had 5 boys; two who’ve been ringing for a couple of years, one who had a couple of handling lessons already and two complete beginners.
Good progress made by all; the beginners can now ring with minimal intervention, the improver has improved his handling and practised rounds on the simulator. The other two practised plain hunt on the simulator in preparation for the district striking competition in Jersey in September.
Day 2 – Motivation by chocolate
We had another very successful morning. Another new recruit this morning who was handling with very little intervention by lunchtime. The other three who started recently were making first attempts at the Mars Bar Challenge (setting at 20 consecutive hand and back strokes), though so far they’re only reaching about 4 or 5 so time to stock up on the chocolate bars…
All 4 newbies had a go at ringing rounds on a single bell with the simulator and also rounds on 5 with real ringers. A little help from “Sir” was needed but they made a really good start.
The 2 experienced boys practised plain hunting the treble to Bob Doubles on the simulator. They are twins so plenty of rivalry and competition there.
The idea is that all the boys ring for the school service at the church on Thursday morning and I think they’ll make an excellent job of it.
Well done everyone!
Day Three – How many times can you stand your bell?
Amazing what boys will do to get their hands on a Mars Bar. As soon as “Sir” mapped out the plans for the morning Peter put a box in place and looked hopefully around for an adjudicator to count how many times he could stand the bell. And the others weren’t far behind him. None of them made it to 20 yet but getting around 9 or 10 is very good going for anyone’s third morning of ringing.
The plan for the twins was to practise plain hunt on 5 on the simulator but to Grandsire rather than Plain Bob. We had more helpers today so we were also able to ring more rounds with the beginners and Grandsire for the twins. So that the novices were separated we pulled off in Queens or Tittums rather than rounds. The boys did very well though some of the adults took some convincing about the order they were supposed to be ringing in…
I booked my flight to the Bradfield Course before going to the tower so thought I better revise my calling so I don’t have to admit that I couldn’t call a 120. Very clever not to tell us at this stage what group we’re helping in so I have to revise the lot. This morning was of course Grandsire for each of the twins. And a very proficient performance from both of them. You’d never know it was their first attempt at plain hunt to Grandsire for the first time today. They better be careful; Duncan has challenged himself to ring 30 peals this year. At this rate they won’t be offered first QPs on the treble but first peals.
Day 4 – Focus on using the Simulator
Just three adults with the six boys this morning so the plan was to use the simulator more. The twins started off ringing the treble to St Simon’s which they found to be much more of a challenge.
Meanwhile Peter’s sole aim in life was the Mars Bar Challenge. After a couple of trial pulls to get the feel he looked determined and started in earnest. As he passed ten and then fifteen I was really feeling nervous for him but no need. Twenty stands in a row and a round of applause. It turns out he doesn’t like Mars Bars so traded his in for some chocolates from the tin. Amazing progress for someone who hadn’t touched a bell rope until last week. His challenge then was to pull less hard so the bell wasn’t always right at the balance.
We spent much of the rest of the morning with the simulator; two learners ringing rounds with simulator filling in. Then one at a time the learners rang rounds and then call changes with adults and the twins on the other bells. Jake had a go at calling changes which worked well until he gave the perfect demonstration of why the tenor normally stays at the back in call changes.
All in all it looks as if their service ringing tomorrow will be very respectable.
Then finally some ringing up and down. I’m relieved that they all very quickly learned to take coils because if anything is going to get my arms crossed over its having to ring the handstroke and control the tail end.
The final day – Ringing for the Service
The culmination of an amazing week and today we were focused on ringing open for service. A lot of ringing up and down was involved since we had to ring the bells down, put ties on, ring up again, practise the performance, ring down again, remove the ties and ring up again! Happily there were plenty of boys more than willing to show off their newly learned skills though for some reason they wouldn’t go near the tenors.
The practice went well so after a can of coke for energy we were ready for open ringing.
We began with call changes in which our four new ringers rang in turn. Jake called the changes; and different calls each time. Then plain hunt on five which included the twins.
When another ringer arrived to tell us he had heard us ringing as he walked through town and was so impressed he just had to come and tell us, we decided to end with two bursts of rounds on eight with two beginners in each time.
Pretty impressive for four boys who have only been ringing a week.
There are special practices arranged for them throughout the summer until the regular Elizabeth College Tuesday practices resume in the autumn. And of course they will be welcome at any of the tower practices.