The X-File (No.11) - November 1996

Peal reports from the November issues of the RW provided the X-file offices with an unexpectedly large workload. With the summerís peal tours out of the way, my cynical co-investigator, "Scruffy", and I were looking forward to a quiet month or two lazing in the garden of method reviewing. To our surprise, however, we were greeted with a bumper late-harvest of methods, with a disproportionate number yielding in the Royal department. Yet another example, then, of the Paranormal Activity which we cannot hope to explain .........

The weeds are around our ears, but hereís this monthís selection of exquisite autumnal blooms :




Rung at




Qomolangma Feng



Burton Latimer


R Dennis







I North


Maoile Lunndaidh





D C Brown







J P Loveless







J B Keeler


Ayres End





B F L Groves







J A Ainsworth


Sgurr AíChaorachain





D C Brown


Qomolangma Feng Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.36.4x4. lh 18

With good old Bristol above the treble, you're never going to go too far wrong music-wise. Below the treble looks much like Bristol as well, up until the 67 cross section where a series of contiguous places in 12 and 34 butt-in. These hold a coursing quadruplet on the front across the half-lead, giving 2 8765s and 8756s in the 2nd lead of the course, in addition to 2 8765s in other leads. 4ths place calls give a (falseness) clean 3-lead course, so plenty of music should be squeezed in despite the annoying D falseness.

Coverdale Surprise Major : 3x56.4x2x36x4x5.36x6.3 lh 12

A brief spell of wrong hunting sends 6ths and 8ths place bells to the back for a five-pull fishtail, lasting until the treble arrives. The bells that meet in 56 do a place and then a fishtail themselves, the result being a plain course containing 5 6578s and 3 5678s. Meanwhile, the front work is much less static and promises plenty whilst only actually producing 3 5678s. Unfortunately, a king-size list of false course heads will prove preclusive in the search for a really musical peal-length.

Maoile Lunndaidh Surprise Royal : x5x4.5x2.3x34x5x6x7x6x7 lh 10

Having marched alphabetically around the East Anglian Fens, the Cambridgeshire handbell band has moved onto Munro-bagging, this time on 10 bells [N.B. Ed - please donít add anything about them scaling new heights .....]. Maoile Lunndaidh is a typically well-constructed and musical production which is right-place once the treble is above 34. A Zanussi start gives us all the necessary music at the back, and the rest is ostensibly treble-bobbing. The 6 bells on the front rotate to give 2 567890s at the 4th half-lead, and several 0987s appear in other leads. This is fairly straightforward stuff for an experienced handbell band, but would be good on tower bells too.

Otterbourne Surprise Royal : x34x4x2x3.2x4.5.6x6.7.6x6.7 lh 10

Starting x34x4x2x is another, albeit sledgehammer, way of guaranteeing 8 567890s in the plain course, and combined this with a 10ths place lead-head at least means that they don't all occur within 15 rows. Here this has been combined with wrong plain-hunting on 6 on the front, which gives the expected 567890 and 2 098765s in the 4th lead. Both simple and, once again, good for it.

Oldborough Delight Royal : 3x3.4x2x1x34x5x4x2367x6x7 lh 12

Just for a change, a method with London above the treble, but an a-group one rather than f-group. The front-work is wholly right-place and once again we've got 567890s (2 of them). There's also time to fit in 4 7890s and an 8790 off the front, although a slight blemish is the rather messy 123670 place notation as the treble moves through 89. The lead-head order also makes it difficult to extract the best of the combination-roll-ups from a London-style method, but if this isn't your prime concern, Oldborough is well worth a second outing.

Ayres End Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x6x27x38.4x4.5.6x6.5 lh 12

Whilst not really achieving the musical standard required for a review, Ayres End is worthy of a mention for a little bit of innovation. It's Cambridge above the treble - so nothing new there - but the frontwork includes a bit of 5-bell hunting which gives a 67890 and a 57890 (in addition to a couple of 7890s). Doing odd-bell things in even-bell methods is tricky, but this theme could be developed to its logical conclusion with a bit of thought. Or perhaps I've missed somebody doing it already?

Exeenda Delight Royal : x3x4x2x3.4x34.1.56x56.1.78x78.9 lh 12

I liked the Major version of this, and I'm not surprised by the fact that I like the extension even more. The solid and wholesome York start and the neat below-work, with, as Alan Ainsworth pointed out, the staircase effect in 2nds place bell (4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, 8ths, 7ths, 8ths) combine superbly to make a method that is both interesting to ring and highly musical. The 6 098765s and 2 098756s mean that all 24 of each are available in 3 56 and 3 65 courses, along, of course, with their counterparts at the back. This is surely a top contender for Best b-group right-place-above Royal method.

Sgurr A'Chaorachain Surprise Royal : x5x4.5x2.3x34x5.6x6.7x6x7 lh 10

Another Munro, and with the same work above the treble as Maoile Lunndaidh. The treble-bobbing on the front has been replaced here with Bristol-style points around the half-lead with dodges as the treble lies behind. These features, as well as producing the expected rollups (4 098765s), make the whole method very reminiscent of Zanussi on 12. All in all, Iím looking forward to these Munro methods appearing in some peals of spliced - plenty of amusement while the conductor gets his tongue around the names, but hopefully without the disastrous effects that Zanussi usually precipitates ........

Time for an early bath .......

This file is now closed.


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