Project Pickled Egg - Part 8

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Dustbin Week

After the publication of the last article, I was asked on Facebook whether this was still a consultation or just the delivery of my opinion. Well it is a bit of both, which is why I am asking questions as I go along, and now have a large network of people who have or are giving feedback. That may be particularly important in Dustbin Week, as I am now going to suggest three methods from the current Standard 8 which will not make the cut in Project Pickled Egg.

Time for a quick reminder of what we are trying to do. The object of Project Pickled Egg is to find a set of core methods that help ringers learn to ring Surprise Major in a progressive way. At the same time the methods should also form satisfying groups to be rung together – these are not ‘training methods’ to be cast aside once a stage is reached (with the possible exception of Kent as mentioned last week).

Earlier I introduced some criteria for the selection of a method to go in this new core group. These were:

● It should be musical in the plain course (and there has been some debate about the definition of musical)

● It should introduce a useful new skill, technique or concept, and hence be progressive

● It should not have limiting falseness (which restricts composers)

● Some familiarity is helpful (as a learner needs to be supported by people who know the methods)

I could continue these articles without ever mentioning Lincolnshire, Pudsey and Rutland. I am after all looking for a selection of methods which meet an objective and fulfil the above criteria. There are thousands of methods that don’t work. Eggybread for instance may never be rung again. However the exclusion of three regularly rung members of the Standard 8 deserves some explanation before moving on.

You could possibly argue for Pudsey if you were feeling generous. Pudsey is the only one of these three that anyone ever demonstrates fondness for, although “I actually quite like Pudsey” is a bit like “I actually quite like cold pizza.” Pudsey starts are quite common in other methods, but there are better methods with Pudsey starts if that’s the only reason for having it. But it doesn’t really move you forward enough to warrant inclusion; it is not compelling.

You could also argue for Rutland on the basis that it is another Cambridge above method but with a different lead end order to Cambridge and Yorkshire. Introducing a different lead end order enables you to ring shorter and more interesting touches of spliced, which also serve to emphasise the importance of knowing place bells. If your band is not ready to tackle this sort of spliced as well as learning a different above work, Rutland could help.

Just to explain a little more about the spliced. Rutland is what is known as an F group method, one where the lead end order is 2357864 (all the different lead end orders you can have are denoted by a letter). A three-lead touch can be obtained by calling two leads of an F group method and one of a Cambridge lead end order method (B group), e.g. Rutland Superlative Rutland (contains Queens!). Five leads can be obtained by ringing four leads of B group methods, and one of F group, e.g. CYSCR.

Rutland might therefore be ‘a means to an end’ which could be replaced with something better. You could for instance ring Cornwall with a 2nds place lead end (actually called Falmouth) to achieve a ‘Pickled Egg compliant’ five lead touch, or assume that I might be about to introduce Lessness, and learn that instead…

So what of poor old Lincolnshire? Although I have found it within myself not to be rude about Pudsey, and even to offer a glimmer of hope to Rutland, I am going to show no clemency to Lincolnshire. I will however offer an alternative. One for the ‘try also’ section is Turramurra, which is very similar to Lincolnshire but better. It is still Cambridge above the treble, the same lead end order (B), has that five-pull dodge on the front in 7ths and 4ths place bells, but generates some 5678s off the front in the plain course. Some people who wish to remain nameless swear by it! Falseness may preclude it from the peal ringing repertoire but it is a very good course and quarter peal choice, and that makes up a lot of ringing.

So for all those who have been asking me for the last couple of months “Are you going to exclude Lincolnshire, Pudsey and Rutland”, or even “I assume you are…” – yes I am. If you are setting out learning Surprise Major, these three methods do not take you any further forward compared with other methods you might learn. They’re not bad methods, they are not going to poison you, but they do not add enough value, interest or variety to make it into Project Pickled Egg. They joined the Standard 8 for reasons which are unclear, they have had very good innings, and it is about time they retired.