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Stage 2: From "Base Camp" to "K2"

Double Bob Treble Bob Cambridge Surprise London Surprise

London Surprise Minor

The method structure


London Surprise incorporates the maximum amount of reverse hunting (bells lead back and hand) that is possible in a treble dodging minor method. Reverse hunting is shown in blue. There is reverse hunting between 3rd and 6ths when the treble is dodging in 1-2, and reverse hunting between 1st and 4th places when the treble is dodging in 5-6.

The transition between forward and backward work generates some interesting artefacts such as fishtails in 5-6 and Stedman whole turns with an accompanying point lead.

London Surprise

Section by section:

Treble dodging in 1-2, places are made back and hand in 3rds and 6ths, bells 3 and 6 making the first places, and bells 4 and 5 setting off in the “wrong” direction.

14-12-36 this section is “right way round” and the transition causes bell no 3 in this first lead to make a fish tail and leave 6ths without making a place.

14-14 The transition back into backward hunting generates the Stedman whole turn for 5ths place bell (symmetrical), which also makes 3rds at the half lead.

Ringing two bells to London Surprise Minor

The exercise suggested for Cambridge Surprise, of working along the place notation and thinking how this affects the pairs of bells translates perfectly to London Surprise.

The difficulties in London Surprise stem from:

  • leading wrong and hunting wrong
  • there is no comfort zone of the familiar plain hunting patterns
  • the perpetual switching between forward and backward hunting
  • e.g. fishtails and coat hangers feel "unnatural" on handbells
  • the sheer amount of mental effort to cater for the places
  • -36- seems disproportionately easier than 36-36
  • The dots make it relentless: 14.36-36.12.36-36.14 and 36.14-14.36.14-14.36

It seems that ringing purely by the grid structure (or place notation) is too mentally demanding to be sustainable and a more comprehensive visual approach is needed. Our suggestion is to use both grid structure and double blue lines as aids to ringing London.

Our real life experience of learning London fits exactly with the learning process at all levels of ringing, which is:

  1. you learn
  2. you ring what you have learned
  3. then you see things that you didn't know you needed to learn

Then you learn more and go back in at step 1:

So we memorised the double blue lines for the three pairs, rang them and learned:

  • Simultaneous places are re-assuring
  • Be ready to do stuff that feels wrong
  • Learn the "nudge points", the points where a pair of bells strike in adjacent places but, unlike right place methods, do not cross afterwards
  • Learn the transitions between right and wrong
  • The double place bells are not the saviour you think they will be, at least, not to start with.
  • York and Cunecastre are not much help in getting into wrong place methods.


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Ringing 1-2

Ringing 1-2 in London Surprise Minor

London Surprise Minor 1-2 Pair

In the above grid and double lines the treble is picked out in red, forward hunting is in black and backward hunting is in blue. Points to note:

  • In the first half lead, where the treble hunts from lead to 3rds place, 3rds place bell hunts from 4ths to 6ths in parallel with the treble, i.e. 2 bells apart.
  • The "fishtails" of 3rds place bell are essentially a right place scissors dodge approached from the wrong way hunting mentioned above.
  • In the first half lead, where 2nds place bell hunts from lead to 3rds place, the treble hunts from 4ths to 6ths in parallel with the 2nds place bell, i.e. 2 bells apart.
  • The above two statements are reversed in the second half of the lead.
  • The transition between right place ringing and wrong place, at lead, takes place after the point lead of 2nds place bell / also after the point 2nds of the Stedman Whole turn (5ths place bell).
  • 6ths place bell and 3rds place bell then lead (wrong) whilst 5ths place bell hunts to make 3rds and return to lead (wrong).
  • The point lead of 4ths place bell / point 2nds of 5ths place bell then marks the return to right place ringing at lead.

Ringing 3-4

Ringing 3-4 in London Surprise Minor

Suggested approach.

  • Become thoroughly familiar with the grid structure, the place bell order, and the single blue line. Analyse the interaction of the single line with the treble for right and wrong places. It is probably time efficient to ring 1-2 on the simulator before tackling 3-4.
  • Memorise the double place bells shown in the diagrams:
    3-4 5-2, 5-2 6-3, 6-3 4-5, 4-5 2-6, 2-6 3-4
    before learning anything else for 3-4 . NB.

Use the double place bells as "staging points", they are written out below for the starting pair each time.

London Surprise Minor 3-4 Pair

It is the switching between backward hunting and forward hunting that makes London both delightful and difficult. Here are a few points for ringing 3-4.

  • When the treble is dodging in 1-2 or 5-6, the places in the 36X36 or 14X14 elements are made wrong (back and hand).
  • When the treble is hunting into or out of 3-4, the places 14 or 36 are made right (hand and back).
  • When the treble is dodging in 3-4, all of the bells ring the standard surprise minor structure X12X; however, the bell that leads is the 5ths place bell, (the pivot bell) and the lead is the right place component of the stedman whole turn.
  • For 2-6 pair, leaving the fishtails can be tricky, count 2 handstrokes in 6ths, cross in 5-6, 4ths&6ths at hand, 3rds etc.
  • The pair starting from 3rds and 6ths places cross at the half lead, hence symmetrical, and become 4ths and 5ths place bells.

Ringing 5-6

Ringing 5-6 in London Surprise Minor

The double place bells are delightful in that they are adjacent pairs in the single place bell repeating sequence: 2-3-5-6-4-2
Use the double place bells as "staging points", they are written out below for the starting pair each time.

London Surprise Minor 5-6 Pair
  • The pair starting from 2nds and 4ths places cross at the half lead, hence symmetrical, becoming 2nds and 3rds place bells.