(a purely factual account)
The Central Council Methods Committee held its October meeting in Winchester, at the kind invitation of Tony and Tessa Smith. For once, there seemed to be no contentious methods or method names to discuss and we were free to concentrate on our two main agenda items - publications and differential methods.
On the publications side, Julian Morgan had brought along the latest prototype of the new "4-way" table of treble dodging methods. Readers may remember the old 4-way table dating from the 1960's that included 147 "regular" Surprise, Delight and Treble Bob minor methods. The method names were laid out in a table where there was one column for each type of work below the treble, and one column for each type of work above, so you could, for example, read from the table that Rossendale Surprise is Norwich above and London below.
Since the old table was published, tastes have broadened somewhat and methods with places made in 5-6 away from the half-lead are considered acceptable, as are methods with non plain-bob lead ends. The new table will include all 2400 methods from the treble dodging minor methods collection, including those not yet rung or named. It is more of a challenge to fit the new table onto a single piece of paper, but Julian has produced a layout that gets all the methods onto a single A0-sized sheet of paper, and still has the method names legible. Roger Bailey and Julian Morgan have also made progress on the mechanics of the typesetting and production process and we hope to have a table ready to sell some time next year.
Our second publication topic was the popular collection of Rung Surprise, Delight and Treble Bob methods. The committee has taken over responsibility for producing this publication and we considered possible changes to its format. After some discussion we decided that it would improve the usability of the collection if method falseness were to be included in the body of the book alongside the method place notation, rather than being included in a separate table at the end. On the other hand, additional historical information (such as date of first handbell peal) might be better placed in an index.
The last item we discussed was our proposed amendment of the CC decisions, to recognise Differential Methods. A "differential" method is, loosely speaking, one where you have two or more different blue lines, with distinct groups of working bells ringing each blue line. In contrast in a traditional method there is one set of working bells all ringing one blue line, with a number of hunt bells (zero in the case of principles). The idea is simple enough, and after some discussion we now have a form of words which describes them precisely, without accidentally reclassifying all the traditional methods and principles as differentials.
The Ringing World, January 1/8, 1999, page 9