The Tales of Flashover House – The Festive Season

“I am thinking about Christmas” said Matron.

“Good idea.” said Weasel. “I would like a new linear amplifier”

“You can put me down for a three-band vertical and the latest call-book.” joined in Angus.

“All I want in my stocking is a naughty Jill Dando crayoning book” said Rees Morgan.

“No you idiots, I am not thinking about presents. I am trying to work out the festive arrangements.” laughed Matron,” and I have decided to invite the ladies from the Slipstitch Home For Decaying Gentlewomen to join us again for the day.”

“But they are all man-hunters” complained G2.

“No they are not” said Matron, “They are just normal fun-loving girls”

“Oh yes, they are fun-loving girls all right.” said a junior G4,  “Especially that Lolita Bagshaw. Boy, does she like fun? When they were here last time, someone suggested that we played sardines and I finished up trapped in the coal-cellar with her.”

“What happened way down iii that anthracite is something I have been trying to forget ever since. They say that her husband was the only person ever to die from terminal postman’s knock.”

“I can remember that night very well.” said Angus. “I spent three hours in the church”

“How nice.” said Matron, “and how very touching that you should spend part of your Christmas in QSO with your maker.”

“II wasn’t quite like that.’ said Angus. “I was actually crouched under the pews seeking sanctuary”

Matron tried to re-assure them. “Remember they will be a year older now and perhaps they will have quietened down a little.”

It seemed that there was little the hams could do but wait and hope.

Sharp at 11am on Christmas morning, from the direction of the gate, came the Sound of aluminium striking wood and, when the door was opened, the first impression was that The Ada Unsworth Zimmer and Walking Stick Formation Team had arrived in force.

G2 stood by the door, paid the taxi, and did a mental roll-call.

Clara the Clutcher
Mavis the Man-trap
Gwendolyn the Gusher
Cynthia the Snogger
Vera the Vamp
Buxom Brenda
Ticklish Tessa
Grace the Giggler
Freda the Foghorn, and the dreaded Lolita Bagshaw.

Yes, they were all there.

Matron was seating the guests in a nice circle ii the lounge when there was a sudden imperious cry from Freda the Fog-horn.

“Young man!!!”

None of the hams heeded this as they didn’t consider any of them fitted the description so, Freda turned the wick up and gave it another go.


Weasel decided that he couldn’t ignore this second call mainly because it was delivered straight into his right ear.

“Will you nip down the road to Slipstitch House. I have left my reading glasses on the sideboard and I won’t be able to read the mottoes’ on the crackers.”

Weasel set out on his halt-mile journey and about thirty minutes later he returned breathless and without the glasses.

“Ah there you are” said Freda “It’s OK, they were in my handbag all the time silly me.”

Weasel’s reply was lost in the general hubbub, which was probably just as well.

At about this time, Vera the Vamp decided it was about time for her to bowl her googly.

“Would one of you lovely men like to come and cut my toe-nails.”

There was a chilly silence broken only by a scuffling noise as the more experienced hams made for the high ground but, there was no such luck for the young 60 year old G4 who was not versed in the ways of women. He was well within the range of the sweeping eyelashes and this caused him to go into spontaneous oscillation as Vera the vamp produced the scissors.

This was not the end of the matter for the young press-ganged chiropodist however, as most of the ladies thought it was such a good idea that a queue was beginning to form. He had endured some pretty awful Christmases in his time but this one looked like being the worst ever.

“I know what,” said Matron, trying to get things moving. “I will put some music on. Some of you might fancy a little dance,”

“It was dancing what did for my second husband Hoskins” said Buxom Brenda , “Mind you, it was partly his own fault. He should have known that you can’t do the military two-step with a wooden leg. We gave him a lovely funeral though, so he couldn’t complain.”

That put paid to the dancing idea once and for all. Mercifully at that moment, the dinner gong sounded and they all tiled into the dining room.

Matron had pulled out all the stops and the table looked magnificent. She was particularly pleased with the crackers which she had spotted in the supermarket at half price. It turned out though that they were part of a consignment destined for export arid the jokes and mottoes were all in Norwegian. That made them ever, funnier.

“The hams and their guests tucked in very well and the ladies declared an amnesty on their diets. When the final empty plates had been pushed aside and the all entered the lounge in a mellow mood. The room was warm and welcoming.

A few snowflakes were drifting past the window and settling on the antennas and, somewhere in the mid distance they could hear the Sound of Silent Night as the Vicar and his choristers went on their annual round.

The glasses were charged and Angus took to his feet. I give you a toast. To all our lady guests, to Matron who looks after us all so well, to all the members of HERC and their families, and to all our friends in far-off places, and please God, make Weasel behave himself in 1998.”

Return to the index of Vital Spark articles.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

Prepared by the clubs RSGB trainer, G3MGQ, you will find the latest DX contests including the ones to shoot for as well as ones to give a wide berth. Why not download the latest edition of Month on the Air and enjoy your DX just that little bit more.

Become a member of HERC

Join the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.

Why not join one of the largest and most established Radio clubs in the South East of England? Very low joining cost, and free for a year to new licencees.

Vital Spark Archive

Vital Spark newsletter articles

Take a look through a large selection of articles written by club members over the years which have been published in the monthly Vital Spark newsletter .

Used Ham Radio Equipment

View HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list..

Every four weeks, HERC's Used Ham Radio Equipment for sale list is updated on the site. Bookmark the gear for sale page to re-visit easily and take advantage of the used equipment on sale through the club.

Club Photographs

HERC Image Galleries.

Here is the official HERC photograph archive which contains multiple image galleries spanning several decades since the club was formed many years ago. Enjoy the images!

UK Amateur Radio Repeaters

UK repeaters

Click button above for full list, or a local repeater callsign below for info.

GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
MB6RY Wires-X DigiGate in Broad Oak - Active
GB3HE 70cm in Hastings - Active
GB7HE 70cm DStar in Hastings - Coming soon
GB3ZX 70cm in Eastbourne - Low Power
GB3JT 23cm ATV in Hastings - NoV cleared
GB7RY 70cm X-Wires Repeater Rye - Active
GB7ES Eastbourne - DSTAR Rpt. - Active
GB3ES 2m in Hastings - Active

For a complete list of repeaters, head over to
the UK Amateur Radio repeaters list.

Popular pages

Get your amateur radio licence - Find out more about amateur radio licence training.
Month on the Air - G3MGQ's popular monthly DX contest/expedition list.
Wilf Gaye Memorial Cup - The clubs annual operating event in the memory of Wilf Gaye M0GYE.
St. Richard's College Buildathon/STEM/ARISS - HERC attends St. Richard's Catholic College for their various events surrounding the Tim Peake ARISS contact.
G3BDQ - John Hey's Rare QSL Cards.
Sussex Electronics Radio Fair - SERF Sussex Electronics Radio Fair 2016.
Vital Spark - A selection of articles re-published from the Vital Spark.
RSGB News - Find out how to get RSGB news on your mobile or PC.
Experimenters Corner - A selection of Proteus projects by Bob Gornal (G7DME)
BBADL - Bath Based Distance Learning Course.
Conquest Hospital Radio - Presented by HERC member Antony (G4CUS).
Radio Rallies 2016 - An up to date list of radio rallies scheduled for 2016.
Club QSL Cards - A selection of QSL cards the club has received over the years.
Other Newsletters - Excellent newsletters and magazines from other clubs.
TX Factor episodes - Take a look at the TX Factors YouTube videos.
John Taplin - A bio of the late John Taplin.

Amateur Radio Resources

Other Radio Clubs & RAYNET

BSARS - Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society

RAYNET - The Hastings and Rother RAYNET Group.

HERC members sites

Sigord - Gordon Sweet
Hastings Radio Comms - Andrew Haas-Campbell
Hoofbags - Liz Costa