• Simon Linford
    305
    My latest blog has just been published here:

    https://cccbr.org.uk/2023/02/16/presidents-blog-75/

    1000 words covering

    - Arrangements for Ipswich Council meeting
    - Progress with getting ringing specific safeguarding training
    - Further work on strategic plan
    - Looking forward to briefing Yellowyoyo
    - ChatGPT on the benefits of change ringing
    - Ringing 720s
  • John Harrison
    359
    Interesting example of AI mindlessly assembling a mix of mostly tru facts in a rather boring way. It slightly overstated the meditative aspects but didn't say anything downright wrong, ulike when I asked it about splicing!
    ---------
    Any tips on splicing bellropes
    Splicing a bell rope involves joining two ropes together to create a longer rope or to repair a damaged rope. Here are some tips for splicing a bell rope:
    _1._Start by preparing the ends of the ropes by unraveling the strands and flattening them out.
    _2._To splice the ropes together, you will need to create a "tucking" pattern by alternating between tucking the strands of one rope under and over the strands of the other rope.
    _3._Use a marlinspike, a pointed tool used for splicing, to tuck the strands in place. Alternatively, you can use a screwdriver or a similar tool.
    _4._Once you have completed the tucking pattern, you can use a hammer or a mallet to gently tap the splice to help secure the strands in place.
    _5._Finally, use a whipping twine to tie a few tight wraps around the splice to hold everything in place.
    It's a good idea to practice splicing on a scrap piece of rope before attempting it on a bell rope, as splicing can be a challenging task that requires patience and precision.
    How much taper?
    When splicing a bell rope, it's important to maintain a consistent taper, or slope, along the length of the splice. The taper helps to evenly distribute the load along the splice and helps to prevent the splice from becoming too bulky or uneven.
    The amount of taper will depend on the specific requirements of the bell rope and the type of splice you are using. In general, a taper of about 1:10 is a good starting point. This means that for every 1 inch of rope, the splice should taper down by about 1/10 of an inch.
    It's a good idea to measure the taper using a ruler or calipers as you work to ensure that the splice is consistent and even. You may need to adjust the taper slightly based on the specific characteristics of the ropes you are splicing and the type of splice you are using.
    Really?
    Yes, it's important to maintain a consistent taper when splicing a bell rope in order to evenly distribute the load along the splice and to prevent the splice from becoming too bulky or uneven. The specific taper required will depend on the specific requirements of the bell rope and the type of splice being used. A taper of about 1:10 (1 inch of rope for every 1/10 of an inch of taper) is a good starting point, but it may be necessary to adjust the taper slightly based on the specific characteristics of the ropes being spliced and the type of splice being used. It's a good idea to measure the taper using a ruler or calipers as you work to ensure that the splice is consistent and even.
    What about synthetic top ends?
    Synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, can be used to create the top end of a bell rope, which is the portion of the rope that is held by the bellringer. Synthetic materials are often preferred for bell ropes because they are strong, durable, and resistant to abrasion, moisture, and UV light.
    To create a synthetic top end for a bell rope, you will need to splice the synthetic material to the natural fiber portion of the rope using a splicing technique called a long splice. This involves joining the two ropes together by unraveling the strands and interweaving them together to create a seamless, continuous rope.
    It's important to maintain a consistent taper along the length of the splice in order to evenly distribute the load and prevent the splice from becoming too bulky or uneven. The specific taper required will depend on the specific requirements of the bell rope and the type of splice being used. A taper of about 1:10 (1 inch of rope for every 1/10 of an inch of taper) is a good starting point, but it may be necessary to adjust the taper slightly based on the specific characteristics of the ropes being spliced and the type of splice being used. It's a good idea to measure the taper using a ruler or calipers as you work to ensure that the splice is consistent and even.
    --------
  • J Martin Rushton
    99
    I was taught (grief, well over half a century ago!) to roll the splice underfoot to and fro. It will bed down the strands into a cylindrical shape, not the knobbly one splicing creates. Ensure that the deck and your shoe are clean, you do not want to integrate small stones into the slice, they will chew the rope.

    The rolling underfoot is also recommended if splicing wire, not something we normally have to do.

    If the splice has to pass through a pulley, you may need to do a long splice which is slightly harder and not quite as strong. It does however retain the rope's thickness. Generally though, if the sally can go there a short splice will pass.
  • John de Overa
    366
    my "favourite" bit of bellrope splicing was having to splice a right-hand laid top end onto a left-land laid bottom end... :scream:

    ih5rn6y5euqq1yg2.jpg
  • J Martin Rushton
    99
    I don't think I'd even trust a bend to attach left-hand and right-hand laid. When they came under tension didn't they tend to mutually unravel? I won't allow plaited lines to be attached to laid lines for that very reason on board. It's easy to say that "this line is only for light duties" until there is a problem and someone grabs hold of it.
  • John de Overa
    366
    I was concerned about that but no, they didn't. And it was only a temporary expedient to keep the bell going until we got new bellropes.
  • J Martin Rushton
    99
    Fairy 'nuff. Coming from a nautical environment I may have rather a stricter attitude.

    Just worth a mention: for tail ends it may well be better to use two interlocked eye-splices. I've seen that done on a 30cwt bell and the flexibility meant that it remained easy to ring for (IIRC) several years.
  • John de Overa
    366
    If this was a nautical environment, rotten old hemp ropes would be going straight in the skip :wink:
  • John Harrison
    359
    And if it were a rock climbiung environment we would want the nice sprngy nylon that the brainless AI said could be used for top ends. Not sure in what environment we would be using calipers to measure the taper though.
  • John de Overa
    366
    Indeed. I was a participant in the last AI "revolution". I think "Deja Vu" best sums it up...
  • Gerald Wilson
    10
    The interesting thing about the ChatGPT piece on bell ringing is that it doesn’t mention the c-word. I note that that the introduction to Simon’s radio interview couldn’t resist using it.
  • Mary Jones
    1
    I was struck that, of all the possible benefits of change ringing, the role of the bells in calling people to worship and announcing the presence of the church in the community was ignored. Given that ChatGPT mines existing information on the internet, that suggests that we are coyly hiding what for many ringers is their primary purpose for ringing. It might be sociable, good for toning the arms, mentally stimulating, a means to celebrate local and national events etc. but have we really moved so far away from the original purpose that bells were hung in church towers that ChatGPT did not come across mention of ringing as a service to the church? Has that connection gone or are we too embarrassed to mention it?
  • Tristan Lockheart
    109
    ringing as a service to the church? Has that connection gone or are we too embarrassed to mention it?Mary Jones

    Christianity, or more specifically, the church, is an increasingly unattractive, or even toxic, brand. Only a portion of the UK population are suitable to be change ringers. A smaller part of that portion are Christians. We cannot survive on Christians alone. The number of Christians continue to decline in the UK, and the traditional CofE who have most of the bells is declining faster. Evangelical churches which are growing in popularity range from indifferent to outright hostile towards bellringing.

    At Freshers Fairs when recruiting for my university ringing society, when asked what Change Ringing is about, we answer “We ring church bells” followed by a quick “it’s a secular activity and you don’t have to be a Christian” when you see their interest plummet upon the mention of the word “church”. In simple terms, ringing as a service doesn’t sell, even to members of the Christian Union. Christians and many non-Christians will understand the religious aspect of ringing because we do it in churches and we ring for services. However, mentions of religion put others off. Therefore, omitting overt mentions of religion and service would appear to be the best overall strategy.
  • Phillip George
    65
    It might be sociable, good for toning the arms, mentally stimulating, a means to celebrate local and national events etc. but have we really moved so far away from the original purpose that bells were hung in church towers that ChatGPT did not come across mention of ringing as a service to the church? Has that connection gone or are we too embarrassed to mention it?Mary Jones

    Could it be possible that for the majority of ringers "calling people to worship" (I hate that term) is not their raison de etre? They enjoy ringing for all the reasons you mention, which includes Sunday service ringing, and many do so at several churches each Sunday, but go about it modestly as part of their enjoyment in ringing. I am a champion for announcing the presence of the church in my community but I am ringing to mainly not practising Anglicans although I know that the sound of the bells brings comfort to many parishioners.
    We are always ringing to the service of the church whatever the occasion, not just for services, because we do so with the church's permission, and people can't avoid hearing the bells, so I don't think service ringing needs to be singled out. Fee advertising!!!
    Having said that, we do expect our ringers to ring on Sundays, but let's admit it, we ring because we enjoy it. The reason for things exisiting changes with time. If ringing for service was our main purpose there would be precious little ringing!
  • John de Overa
    366
    have we really moved so far away from the original purposeMary Jones

    You could make a good case that we are moving back closer to the original purpose because if you go back beyond the Victorian era, in many places bells were rung primarily for secular purposes. "Bells are just for services" was very much an Oxford Movement thing.

    https://funwithbells.com/gareth-davies/
  • John Harrison
    359
    have we really moved so far away from the original purpose that bells were hung in church towersMary Jones

    Why do people keep referring to this? Until the Victorian clergy decided to take over ringing in the late 19th century ringing as we know it was a secular pastime, separate from church worship.
  • John Harrison
    359
    Evangelical churches which are growing in popularity range from indifferent to outright hostile towards bellringingTristan Lockheart

    Like the Puritans 500 years ago maybe?
  • Alan C
    86
    Christianity, or more specifically, the church, is an increasingly unattractive, or even toxic, brand.Tristan Lockheart

    Not the most inclusive turn of phrase I've heard used. I thought church bell ringing was for those with a faith as well as those without.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    109
    Not the most inclusive turn of phrase I've heard used. I thought church bell ringing was for those with a faith as well as those without.Alan C

    It's a turn of phrase which did not originate from me. It is a sentiment expressed to me by clergy and lay-preachers in the CofE. My post above did not advocate the exclusion of Christians; it was in response to Mary asking whether we were too embarrassed to mention the link to the church and was in the context of recruitment. Do you think that most of the general population would consider a church/religious connection to be positive and something that attracts them to ringing?
  • Alan C
    86
    Do you think that most of the general population would consider a church/religious connection to be positive and something that attracts them to ringing?Tristan Lockheart

    Given that the vast majority of bells hang in church towers, it seems to me that most people would suspect there is some connection between church bell ringing and the church (of England). Trying to pretend otherwise might be seen as being a bit shifty.

    There seems to be a need to define church bell ringing as either a secular activity or a religious one. It's my understanding that neither is exclusively the case, it is both.
  • John Harrison
    359
    Do you think that most of the general population would consider a church/religious connection to be positive and something that attracts them to ringing?Tristan Lockheart

    No. A few would, and they are probably church goers. For the majority I suspect it would depend on what they thought the connection was. To use some analogies:
    Our churchyard is maintained by volunteers, notably by 'The Friends of Al Saints Churchyard'. I don't know the numbers but I believe they include many who are not in the congregation but see the churchyard (which is quite large) as a community asset worth supporting.
    Many music societies give concerts in churches (because they are suitable buildings) and many of their audiences are not Christians but are happy to go despite it being in a church.
    Most of them are also quite happy to listen to religious music like requiems or masses in a concert without feeling they are endorsing the words being sung.
    Millions of people listen to or watch the service of Nine Lessons & Carols on Christmas Eve, who would not otherwise attend a church service.
    Many people will visit a historic church to admire the architecture, the stained glass or the flowers, in the same way they might visit a National Trust property.
    In all these cases the participan't connection is with a cultural, artistic or historical artefact that happens to be associated with the church, not with religion itself, and not as an active participant in worship or as a declaration of faith.
    Ringing can be seen in a similar light. Like music it is an artistic and cultural activity that can be appreciated in its own right as well as being used as an adjunct of the church.
    Seen in that neutral light I suspect a majority would not rule out being associated with ringing just because most bells are in churches.
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