The Tales of Flashover House – The Challenge

A letter arrived addressed to all at Flashover House. To avoid long delays while the residents fumbled in their cardigans for their reading glasses, Matron elected to read it herself.


 

Dear Radio Hams,

    I am writing on behalf of that superior residence half a mile down the road from you known as Tumbleweed Towers. As I expect you are aware, we are all retired cactus fanciers, and, as we lovingly tend our window boxes, we are frequently entertained by the spectacle of you people tottering and staggering along the road on your way to the post office to draw your pensions. It is obvious to us that this hobby of yours is sapping your strength and we doubt very much whether any of you would have the energy to knock the whiskers off a goosegog. This being the case, we have no hesitation in challenging you to a tug-of-war at the local church fete in two weeks’ time.

We will bring along a spare piece of rope because when we have finished with you, you might want to hang yourselves.

Yours with prickles on, Spike the Cactus King.


 

“The cheeky devils. Who do they think they are?” rumbled Rees Morgan. “Put the letter in the bin.” “I don’t think we should do that” said Angus”

“I look upon this letter as a cry for help. It can’t be very nice for them to see us making friends all over the world when all they have for companionship is a cactus. Let’s face it, the only time you get pleasure from a cactus is when it goes up your trouser leg”.

“I think we should send a nice letter accepting the challenge.”

“I agree” said Matron. “It is obvious that these people haven’t heard about your secret weapon.”

What’s that?” chorused the hams. “Why me, of course” laughed Matron, showing them a previously unseen glimpse of her biceps. “With me on the end of the rope you won’t be going anywhere!”

So Angus wrote a letter to Spike at Tumbleweed Towers accepting the challenge and saying what a good thing it would be to bring the two houses closer together and cement the friendships in a common cause. The other hams thought he was laying it on a bit thick and the word “traitor” was being muttered from somewhere at the back. Then, to cap it all he suggested that the two teams should meet at Mrs. Goodbody’s refreshment tent an hour before the event for a good-will cup of tea which he would be pleased to organise and pay for. lt was at this point that the hams began to suspect that Angus was up to something. Generosity was not his natural trait and it was well known that he operated a one-way sporran.

The day of the fete was sunny and warm. The usual side-shows were provided and there were many sporting events. The local post office entered a team in the relay race but they didn’t do very well. Signing in a book every time the baton changed hands was very time consuming. There were numerous attractions for the fun seeker. You could toss tennis balls into a dented bucket, have your fortune told by Madam Zola who was really Miss Clutterbuck from the sweet shop draped in an old horse blanket and, if you wanted to be beside yourself with joy, for the modest sum of 10p you could throw a wet sponge at the Curate.

Meanwhile things were hotting up at the refreshment tent where Angus was acting as the jovial host in charge of the tea urn. The cactus fanciers had never known such lavish treatment. Second and even third cups were consumed with reckless abandon. Finally the guests departed to prepare for the big event.

The Vicar’s voice came over the speakers. “Will the two tug-of-war teams please assemble on the main lawn.’’The hams and Matron went and stood by the rope but of the opposition there was not a sign. They waited for about 15 minutes during which the announcement was repeated several times but to no avail. The Vicar then declared Flashover House the winners by default. All the hams were perplexed except Angus who was having a little smile to himself. G2 turned to him “OK Angus, what have you been up to?”

“Well”, said Angus, “You must never underestimate the native guile of the highland race, or for that matter, the medicinal properties of Epsom salts.”

“Do you mean to say that you gave all those people Epsom salts?” said G2 “No, not all of them,” said Angus “ The ones who asked for a cold drink had Andrews liver salts!”

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