Susan Hall, Old Brampton, Derbyshire
“Which bell do I follow?” is often asked during Called Changes. This is probably because conventional calling focuses on bell number, but variations of Called Changes can be rung to shift the focus from which bell to follow to developing the skills required for Plain Hunt and methods: bell control, place awareness, counting, rhythm, listening and ropesight. They can involve ringers of all abilities, add interest and great fun to your ringing, and can sound great too. Here are some quirky ideas:
Call by ringer’s name instead of bell number: At Christmas, inject some fun with silly seasonal nicknames, resulting in hilarious calls such as ‘Baubles to Rudolf’.
Call by place instead of bell number: All the ringers need to know which place they are in! Use listening skills to work that out and ropesight to find who they are following.
Facing outwards from the rope circle: This should encourage ringers to count and listen to their striking and place. Initially try just one or two facing outwards at a time, then more of the band as confidence increases.
‘Dodgy call changes’: At each call, the pair of bells affected dodge into place, i.e. they swap over at handstroke, swap back to the original change at backstroke, then swap again at handstroke (into where they would be if it was a normal Called Change) and remain in that place.
Rounds & Crosses: From Rounds, call pairs of bells to swap and call that row ‘Crosses’. Alternately call Rounds and Crosses at intervals, then speed up the calling frequency to places (swapping every whole pull). Finally ring Crosses at handstroke and Rounds at backstroke so that everyone is dodging.
‘Judging call changes’: When sitting out, listen to the striking and suggest how it can be improved.
‘Rhubarb call changes’: Each ringer in turn calls out one change. The only rule is that they do not call the reverse of the previous call.
‘Morden call changes’: Each ringer in turn calls themselves from lead out to the back.
Pull off in a different row: Each ringer draws a card numbered 1 to n (or n-1 if you want to keep the tenor at the back) where n is the number of bells. The number drawn is the place that they ring in when they pull-off. Challenge a ringer to call it back into Rounds.
‘Quirky call changes’ are inclusive, useful and fun, and can be used in any tower to great effect.