The Methods Committee met at Winchester on Sunday 2nd October. As it was the first meeting of the triennium we had some new members, and following the recent trend of electing previous troublemakers we were prepared for an interesting meeting. Unfortunately one of our new members was double-booked, and saw the christening of Alfie Pipe as more pressing than our deliberations.
Tony Smith was confirmed as Chairman, and we shall miss his guidance if, as expected, he is elected as President of the Council, and stands down from the Committee. Despite the suggestion that he could be replaced by a Java applet, he does a lot of work behind the scenes, as evidenced by the thick file of recent correspondence handed round at each meeting: not as thick as usual this time, since electronic communications had already been distributed by email, but as a result containing a larger proportion from Geoff Dodd.
We decided to recommence the practice of reporting on our meetings in the RW. There were no volunteers.
The strictly core business according to our terms of reference, of advising on matters relating to the CC Decisions, was soon dealt with. Recent questions on the acceptability of different types of call in record lengths were seen to be the province of the Records Committee: we don’t feel that adding restrictions to the Decisions themselves is the answer, but would urge the RC to keep records of performances in standard methods that would satisfy the purists, e.g. the longest with standard calls, only at the lead end, or with only two types of call.
The bulk of the meeting was taken up with our greater mission: to make available information on methods to a wide audience, in the formats it requires. We received reports on our activities in this direction:
Our website (http://www.methods.org.uk) - a comprehensive collection of all rung methods, but also a growing collection of archive material: CC minutes now going back to 1933 should provide a feast of entertainment.
The XML specification for method collections: this gave rise to such questions as What is A falseness? How should place notation be specified? and What fields should be provided to record venues of performances? We are close to agreement on the schema, but a document describing its use is still required.
An update to the educational paper on the Decision on Extension: a prerequisite is one on the Decision on Methods, and we felt our absent colleague would love to do this.
A new Doubles collection: this will be the first MC publication in colour, and include diagrams produced using the excellent facilities in Martin Bright’s Ringing Class Library.
The RW Diary: we had received a request for input to this, but not in time to produce firm ideas for next year. We feel that some methods could usefully be replaced, and while some warrant continuous inclusion we would have some pages changing each year, or rotating over a few years. If you have any suggestions, please contact the Chairman.
Finally under AOB, an item of great delight to Old Bailey: conclusive evidence that the method known as Sowerby Delight Major was Woodbine all along. History will now be rewritten. Thanks to Tony and Tessa Smith for their hospitality.
The Ringing World, October 28, 2005, pages 1050 to 1051