January 21, 2011

The three-four to bob major


I rang the 3-4 to bob major!  YESSSSSSSSSSS.  It was not, I admit, a thing of absolute beauty and grace, and we broke down more than once and had to start over . . . but we did it.  And we did it more than once!   So it’s real.  So I can say . . . I almost ring 3-4 to bob major on handbells.  Sometimes I ring the 3-4 to bob major.  I can probably ring the bob major 3-4 if everyone else is in the right place.*

         I was sure, when I started letting people in tonight,** that it was all going to go Terribly Wrong.  I haven’t had nearly enough time*** to practise the last couple of days, and Tuesday night was not encouraging.  And Colin, who is usually on the 3-4, did not immediately take to the trebles†, which meant that the treble itself was not always flawlessly in the right place.††

         But we did it!  We did it!  I did it!  Long live Pooka!  This is really all about my iPhone!†††

         We had an unusually long and chatty tea break however because my brains were melting.‡  And somehow the conversation turned to cats.  One of Niall’s few shortcomings is that he is Not An Animal Person, but both Colin and Fernanda are card-carrying‡‡ cat people.‡‡‡  And so, for anyone else whose education has been sadly lacking, here is what I think is the original video of the gremlin who did terrible things to the homeowner’s water bill . . . . http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&sugexp=evnsp&xhr=t&q=cat+flushing+toilet&cp=8&pf=p&sclient=psy&aq=0&aqi=&aql=t&oq=cat+flush&pbx=1&fp=975ed894378411e6

 * * *

* This is one of my rants.  My two pet peeves:  really good ringers who can’t be bothered putting in time teaching beginners.  And so-frelling-called advanced ringers who are only as good as the ringers around them can frelling carry them.  This is a lot of where my small but fervent obsession about becoming both kinds of ringer, tower and hand, solid enough for other people to bounce off of, arises from.  I’d rather be good at Grandsire doubles than carried through Bristol Royal.^  In the first place I remember—painfully—the MONTHS Niall and Esme put into teaching me bob minor on handbells—I was sure I’d never crack it—I’m not at all sure why the frell I stuck with it, I was so clearly hopeless—probably chiefly because the other two just assumed  that I was keeping on.  At the end of every meeting we got out our diaries and made a date for our next.  I Was Helpless in Their Toils.  And toil it certainly was.  Gah.  But . . . I’ve told you this before . . . you remember this kind of thing.  You remember how much work it is.  It makes you rather frantically (a) willing to put up with grinding it into someone else and (b) anxious to give some of it back.  I like being the wheel horse.^^

^ Like I could even be carried through Bristol Royal.  This would be like someone who can just about get the saddle on the right way around going for a gallop round in the Grand National.

^^ GAAAAH.  I was trying to find a link for wheel horse.  And they’re all about tractors.  I even dared Google’s ‘advanced search’ and forbade pages containing ‘tractors’ . . . AND NOTHING CHANGED.  THEY WERE STILL ALL ABOUT TRACTORS.  There’s one feeble little dictionary definition, about a person who’s a hard worker.  Feh.  Research on the net is unbelievably hit or miss.  This is why we have LIBRARIES.+

         Long before the internet, and long before tractors, the wheel horse or horses were the ones harnessed to the thing to be pulled—the carriage or the plough or whatever.  The rest of the team were harnessed, serially, to the wheel horses.  A good wheel horse was essential.  You could get away with a little nonsense from the rest of the team.  But what you do went or fell over, depending on your wheel horse.  A good wheel horse is the ultimate in steady, patient grind.  A good wheel horse is gold

+ I don’t know if anyone outside the UK is aware that the old rope ends and washing machine lint we presently call a government are trying to close nearly 400 libraries in this ex-great country?  Dear gods.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jan/13/library-campaigners-demand-public-inquiry-closures  



As far as I’m concerned, libraries are a basic necessity.  Food, shelter, clothing and libraries.  So much for Ugly Nick Frelling Clegg, so-called leader of the so-called Lib Dems.  That the Tories are humourless ratbags with computer chips, and balance sheets weighted for management, where most people have hearts, is no surprise.

         I’m not political.  I’m just enraged.

** No, no!  Go away!  I’m not here!  Barking?  What barking?  I don’t hear any barking. . . . [Darkness!  Sssssh!  Chaos!  Stop leaping over the gate!  There’s no one there!  I mean, we’re not here!] 

*** Time?  TIME??? 

† Although bless his bifurcated little ringer’s brain, he’ll give anything a good shot 

†† Okay, here’s the bit that only crazies who find other people’s obsessions interesting will want to read.  The thing about the treble in most basic methods is that when it leads—when it’s the first in your row of, in this case, eight, bells, all going bing—is when things happen.   You can just trundle on doing what you’re doing—and what you’re doing can vary extremely depending on what pair you’re on^—until the treble leads.  Which is your cue to Do Something Else.  A lot of us need that cue.  So if the treble isn’t in the right place. . . . 

^ Which is why handbells are so appalling.  In the tower, all the ‘inside’ bells do the same thing.  They just start at different places in the pattern.  In handbells, since you’re ringing two bells, the shape of what your two bells is doing is different from any other pair—because each of your two bells is starting at a different place in the pattern.  You get that, right?

‡ And, when I can’t sleep, I put my hand out and fumble around on the shelf next to my bed^, pick up Pooka and ring some handbells.  I am a sick, sick, sick puppy. 

^ Which is mostly full of books.  Now including a few on digital photography.  Ahem. 

 ‡‡ Geeky obsessive bit, Part Two.  The actual pattern that the trebles ring—which is to say the treble and the two, and the two is an inside bell (see above)—is nasty.  It’s every bit as nasty as either of the middle pairs^.  But you have a unique, crucial advantage if you’re ringing the treble:  that you have that crucial cue of the treble leading in your own hand.  It’s not one more thing you have to keep track of, which it is for the other bells.  It’s one more thing too frelling many, I can tell you, from the 3-4. 

         Ringing a new pair is always a trifle challenging.  But ringing your first inside pair to a major method . . . total brain melt.  Total. 

 ^ The 3-4 or the 5-6.  I don’t yet know if the tenors—which means the 7-8 for major, and the 5-6 for minor, which has only one inside pair—are always a bit easier.  The tenors for the plain bob methods are easier, which is all I know about.  So far.  Niall is already muttering about Kent and Cambridge.  Sob.  

‡‡ ‘I am the slave of [cat’s name here].  Please be nice to me.  [Cat] would miss me if I didn’t come home with tuna.’ 

‡‡‡  katinseattle wrote:

Quote:  When the groups shifted I said ‘I can’t move.  There’s a cat in my lap.’

Quote:  . . . not a cat person.

**falls down laughing**

Ha, ha, very funny, ha ha.  I’m not a cat person.  But I am an instant and total sucker for anything warm, furry and friendly—as previously demonstrated.  I fought frantically against the hellkitten, didn’t I?  I didn’t keep asking when Phineas was going away again?  I didn’t take any photos of kitten antics?  Noooooooooo.  I’ve lived with and been friends with cats, and if the ME were the really vicious kind that precluded hurtling, I’d probably have cats rather than dogs.  But . . . all things being equal, I’d rather have something that didn’t walk on my kitchen counters.

         I’m also a sucker for beauty.  And the Orientals tend to be eye candy, like most sighthounds.  Well, to my eye.

Diane in MN wrote:

Quote:  Aaron wrote:  ‘I have heard two explanations for this. [The way many domestic animals pursue the human that expresses no interest in them.] The first is that animals mark their territory and a person who is already marked by another animal is less attractive than a person who, being standoffish, has avoided being so marked. The second is that animals find many of the human “approach” mannerisms threatening and therefore prefer people that are not trying to approach them. I am moderately allergic to cats and I certainly have encountered my share of inexplicably affectionate cats but I don’t know that I find either explanation convincing.’

I don’t find them convincing, either. All the dogs I know are very enthusiastic about investigating someone whose clothes etc. smell like dogs–or any other interesting critter, for that matter. And confident and socialized dogs, in my experience, don’t feel threatened by the usual human attempts to engage their interest. These explanations sound like they come from from a behaviorist’s lab notes, not from someone that’s lived with animals. I think dogs do it because they like to tease, they like to play games, and they like to win: they can do all three by annoying and getting a reaction from someone that doesn’t want them around. I haven’t lived with kitties for decades so will not speculate about their motives, although I suspect that a cat-centered worldview has something to do with it.

I want to add a word for simple outgoingness—which Chaos in particular has in bucketloads—and curiosity.  Chaos certainly likes playing games, but he’s also just friendly.  Oooh!  Person!  Pet me!  I’m probably a bit simple-minded myself^ but I don’t see Chaos’ initial overtures as being anything but overtures.  Later on he’ll get around to games and hierarchies and what he can get away with, but that first impulse is just, ooooh!  New thing!  STIMULUS!

         And curiosity.  Hey, half the human stories out there are based on everyone else instantly being intensely curious about the stand-offish one.  If it’s a romance, everyone else instantly has the hots for the stand-offish one.  For a well-socialised domestic animal who of course has every right to believe it’s the centre of the universe, why wouldn’t it be curious about some mere human who isn’t falling into line? 

And yes, I’ve had Narknon and Fourpaws flourished at me before as demonstrations that I know one end of a cat from the other.  Sure.  As I say, I’ve lived with them.  Fourpaws was based on a specific cat belonging to a friend.  I like warm furry things.  I’m still a dog person.  But I wouldn’t throw a cat out of bed on a cold night.

 ^ I have the notoriously training-resistant sighthounds, don’t I?


Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.