• Simon Linford
    I am going to post latest Blog here and hope it stimulates discussion. Very happy to debate any points I make in these.

  • A J Barnfield
    There is a lot of cultural stuff in there:
    Some method ringing bands having low regard to the quality of striking, particularly on relation the the rise and fall;
    Ringers reluctant to fork put a few quid for The Comic;
    Peal ringing in decline;
    Recognition of the disintegration of the tower-based model of organisation (I regularly ring in three different diocese and don't belong anywhere).

    The underlying challenge here is how do you change culture. Personally I have given up and just go with the flow, what little there is flowing at the mo. Of course others might well have some idea on how to bring about change in culture and behaviour. Need to get a bit of a shift on with it though. The water has almost run down the plug-hole.
  • Simon Linford
    We have definitely passed "Peak Peal" in my opinion. When you look at the demograhic profile of prolific peal ringers they are largely people who have retired in good health on pensions that enable them to travel around peal ringing. And it's a group that learned at a time when far more ringers learned to ring so there is a strong base. That's not going to happen in the future unless perhaps some form or Universal Basic Income fundamentally changes the balance between work and free time. Add onto that less of a peal ringing culture amongst younger ringers.

    Does it matter though? The majority of peals don't achieve anything other than entertaining the ringers in them (not that there is anything wrong with that). Maybe 10-20% of peals are for the purpose of advancing someone's ringing? Monitoring quarter peals is perhaps a better barometer of health.
  • A J Barnfield
    I don't ring peals but I think it matters for the quality of ringing. Looking back in old reports a lot of ringers rang relatively few peals and usually in simple methods. We seem to have lost that. Ringing lots of quarters helps, particularly on lower numbers, but I think you need peal ringing to get a proper grip of ringing, particularly on higher numbers. Using the two-course rule (you need two courses to settle in a touch) works ok for qps on eight but you are only just warming up in S Max.
    I also worry that we are now starting to lose qp ringing. I recon most quality method ringing is now being done by retired folk who have been ringing for decades.
    Because change has been so slow it tends to not get noticed. I am sure there are towers where the locals think that they are doing ok, perhaps meeting at least six on a Sunday morning and generally ringing some decent Doubles, but go back a few decades and it was perhaps a tower full with S Maj being rung, and the bells going up and down in rounds.
    As far as tower bell peal ringing goes the numbers of peals rung might be holding up but the numbers of peal ringers is now in sharp decline. Whatever you do don't look at the PealBase bar charts if you want to carry on thinking that everything is ok, particularly the numbers of first pealers on tower bells..
    I think that the decline in peal ringing has been driven by the unbalanced age demographic of learners but that seems to be a bit of a taboo, so I won't mention it.
  • John de Overa
    As a relatively older and relatively recent starter I think you are right about "Peak Peal" having being passed. I can't see myself ever ringing peals even if I could, due to time constraints - I'm still working full-time, and expect to be for most the next decade, by which time I'll be in my late 60s. Even QP opportunities are relatively scarce for me and they are long enough for my taste anyway. When I do get to ring QPs my ringing has definitely improved afterwards. But until the last month or so I'd had a 2 year gap (not by choice) so for me it was like starting over from scratch when we rang a couple of QPs of PB6 at practices, when we met short with 6 ringers.

    the most prolific peal ringers I know are exactly as you describe - they have being ringing since their youth and are now retired. I think your other observations are on the money as well. Although in the case of my home tower, it's never got beyond CCs for many decades, so I don't think the issues are entirely new.

    I was talking to one of the long-standing ringers at a practice yesterday after a touch of Oxford Minor had been rung and he mentioned that Oxford was the basis of other methods such as Sandal, Capel etc. I've taught myself to ring spliced Oxford Group on the tower sim, but I've realised I'll be unlikely to ever learn to ring them 'for real'. He carried on to say "They used to be rung around here a lot, but none of those people are ringing any more". Ringing higher numbers is obviously important, but in many areas even quality Minor ringing is becoming scarce, and if it's a struggle to find 6 people to ring methods, you are even less likely to find 8, 10 or 12.
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