The Tower Handbook
Most ringing books are about one topic, or group of topics, but here we try to say something about more or less everything to do with ringing. We can't go into so much detail, but we suggest some references. You can dip in and read most of it in small portions. We hope the structure will help you find your way around, but it is not there to constrain your reading.
You don't have to. Read what you want when convenient or when you have a question. Trying to read it in one go would probably give you mental indigestion. It is designed for browsing. Read a little in all those spare odd minutes in the tower before ringing, or while sitting out between touches.
We can't guarantee it, especially in specialist areas like bell archaeology or bell founding. The Handbook focuses mainly on the practical questions of everyday tower life, questions of recruiting, ringing and training, questions of maintenance and management, and much more. Try it and see.
If you are inexperienced, there will be some things you find difficult at first. We have covered topics for all sorts of ringers with many different interests. Don't worry if you don't understand everything (or if you never need to look at some advanced areas). There should be plenty to interest you anyway. Over the years you may have new interests and find new things to explore.
The glossary defines over 650 words and phrases connected with ringing. Even so, we had to draw the line somewhere, and we have consciously missed out some specialist or historical terms. But we have tried to include all words you might hear in the tower. If we have missed some you think we should have included, then we would like to know. (See section 1i below)
Many questions don't have easy answers. Most books avoid them or only give you one answer. In the spirit of saying something about everything, we have included controversial questions, or those with no simple clear-cut answers. We have tried to take account of different viewpoints. We offer our best advice, suggesting ways you can tackle the questions in your local context. We guarantee nothing, but hope it is more helpful than avoiding the questions.
There are three ways you can find information on a particular topic. You can identify a likely area in the contents list, you can scan section 16 which lists every question or you can look for the topic in the index. For example, to find out about simulators, you could look in the section 6 'useful things to have', you could look in sections 11.10 and 11.11 on teaching rhythm and listening (for advice on how to use one), or you could look for 'simulator' in the index. You will also find a reference to the CC booklet on 'Simulators and Teaching'.
If you don't know which section to look in, look for likely terms in the index and it will point you to the main sections where they are mentioned. If a term is not in the index, look it up in the glossary. The definition may give you some useful key words to help you find a reference to it.
Yes. We expect there will be some changes over the years, and when that happens, we would like to respond to your comments and suggestions. There is a comments form supplied with the Handbook. Please use it to send any comments, any information or any suggestion for how the Handbook could be improved. Send your comments to the address given for the Central Council Education Committee in The Ringing World Diary.
Three things will happen. We will acknowledge your contribution (and send you another comment form to replace the one you have used, in case you want to tell us about another good idea). Second, we will take account of your suggestions when considering updating the Handbook (but you won't know this is happening). Third, if there are enough changes, then when there is a convenient opportunity like a reprint we will update the Handbook and you will see the revised version on sale.
In the Handbook, we have tried to use correct terminology and to be consistent. In a number of cases, we had to choose one term over another to avoid cumbersome alternatives. So for example, we have used the term 'association' generically to describe ringing bodies outside the tower, whether their titles include the word 'guild', 'society', 'association' or none of these. Likewise, we have used 'priest' (for 'vicar' or 'rector'), 'white board' (for 'white board' or 'blackboard'), 'band' (not 'tower') when referring to the group of ringers. We have tried to mix 'he' and 'she' in reasonable measure.
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