Organiser's Report

4 days: forwards, backwards, inside out and backwards again. Peter Harrison used this amusing and instructive underwear analogy in his presentation and seminar on learning Bristol surprise major at the ANZAB Surprise Major weekend, held in Brisbane, 8-10 December. The weekend was well attended and much appreciated by 10 of the regular Brisbane ringers and 10 visitors. Tuition was provided by experienced tutors: Christopher O'Mahony, Hugh Carwardine, Kathi Downs, Mary Symes and Peter Harrison.

The weekend was well structured, starting with general ringing on Friday night at St Andrew's South Brisbane. On Saturday and Sunday there was a series of classroom seminars delivered by our tutors in parallel to practical ringing sessions at the Cathedral. The fact that it went like clockwork is mainly thanks to Phil Goodyer's amazing spreadsheet, where he detailed to the minute where every participant should be at any given time! There was a huge amount of detail on this spreadsheet, and I overheard a few conversations where people were discussing whether it was better to print it out on A3 or A2 paper... The seminars were held in the Darnell room at the Cathedral which was ideally suited with a projector and big screen for presentations (and of course aircon!). Lynn Healy kept everybody going by providing a wonderful sandwich lunch for all on Saturday which meant we could keep ringing - and learning - until we dropped! The dinner on Saturday night was at an outdoor German Biergarten style restaurant with a great atmosphere, even if the service was a little chaotic, and we all enjoyed something a bit different from the usual pub fare! After service ringing on Sunday we headed to a food court in Brisbane CBD for coffee and brunch, building up our energy for what was to come.

The ringing and tuition was hugely beneficial to all attendees and the level of instruction was carefully planned to meet the aspirations of all participants. The more advanced ringers spent valuable rope time getting accustomed to ringing London, Bristol, and spliced surprise major and for the less experienced there were ample opportunities to consolidate treble bob hunting and Cambridge minor. Two quarter peals were scored: Cambridge minor at St Andrew's, and Bristol major at the Cathedral. The Cambridge minor was John Hadfield's first inside since 2014, and Maggi Fisher's first since moving from Sydney to the Gold Coast, and was particularly impressive given the stiflingly hot day and no aircon. The Bristol major was a notable achievement: it was a first for two of the Brisbane ringers: David Smith and Rachel Aland. As one of the participants, I have to confess it wasn't pretty and the fact that we got it at all is mainly thanks to the incredible conducting (lots of "loud talking"!) by Peter Harrison.

A second quarter of Cambridge major was attempted and was going pretty well until, one and half courses in, the rope of the 7th snapped! However this provided an opportunity for Christopher O'Mahony to give an impromptu and expertly delivered rope splicing seminar and demonstration to those present. The 30+ degree heat precluded a quarter peal attempt at St Andrew's on Sunday afternoon and instead Kathi ran a valuable general ringing session. Christopher also provided an instructive game for us where, in turn, we each drew a piece of paper from a hat which had a surprise major method and a place bell written and we had to describe the work of that bell in the following lead.

A huge thanks are due to the tutors who made this weekend pleasurable and beneficial, and to ANZAB for subsiding their airfares (with accommodation provided by the Brisbane ringers). And thanks to Phil Goodyer for his meticulous planning from a distance.

Associated quarter-peals were Bristol Surprise Major and Cambridge Surprise Minor.

Patrick Johns


three men conferring
Patrick Johns (centre) was the local organiser of the weekend,
shown here conferring with locals Harold Bartlett and David Smith.

people in tower
London Surprise Major session.
L-R: Peter Harrison, Christopher O'Mahony, Kathi Downs, Mary Symes (Ringing Master), Rachel Aland,
Patrick Johns, David Pacey, Harold Bartlett (back), David Smith, Kellie Hajek. Photo by Deryn Griffiths.

people at dinner
Saturday dinner.