The Tales of Flashover House – The Outing

There was bustle and excitement at Flashover House. Shoes were being cleaned, people were climbing into respectable clothes, and those with hair were combing it. This was the day when, with Matron at the helm of the Flashover House mini-bus, the hams were making their annual pilgrimage to the rally.

Prunes and second cups of tea had been deleted from the breakfast menu to minimise the need for stops en route, and at 8am sharp, they were on their way.

Soon the mini-bus was screaming along the highway. This was not because of excessive speed. Matron always refused to acknowledge the existence of the fourth gear, and 45mph in third produced a sound akin to the tearing of calico. Things were going nicely then, suddenly, thump, thump, thump, a puncture.

“It’s the nearside rear” came the voice of authority from the G4 who had once read a motoring magazine while sheltering from the rain in W.H. Smiths.

Matron pulled on to the grass verge to review the situation. The hams immediately started to recite a catalogue of ailments, ranging from water on the knee to the galloping twinges, which would preclude them from taking part in the wheel-changing exercise. Clearly assistance had to be sought.

“Let’s all hide in the ditch” said one, “While Matron stands by the mini-bus looking all frail and helpless.” This suggestion didn’t really get off the drawing-board, because, at 20 stones, looking frail and helpless isn’t the sort of thing that Matron does best.

“Perhaps if she pulls her skirt up above her knee, someone might stop” said the senior G2 who should have known better.

“No,” said Rees Morgan. “That would only frighten the lorry drivers.”

“Shall I send out a call on 2 metres?” enquired a G7 from somewhere at the back.

There was a short silence of the type which only happens when you know you are in the presence of genius. Never underestimate the power of radio. Within minutes, the hams were joined by:

A coachload of assorted boy scouts.
A colliery brass-band.
The committee of the Boiler-makers’ Union.

Some sisters of mercy from near Wolverhampton, The champion baton-twirlers of Mid Glamorgan, A trio of Moroccan acrobats, and a mobile chip-shop. All expressing a desire to help.

With the police helicopter hovering overhead, the Chairman of the boilermakers undertook the changing of the wheel, while the remainder of the multitude acted as consultants. The task finished, there were farewells and declarations of undying friendship as they pursued their separate journeys.

Inside the mini-bus, Big Angus, to whom pessimism was somewhat of an art-form, was the first to speak: “We are going to be late. We will miss all the barrrgains.”

“That reminds me” said Matron. “If you are going to buy any bargains, make them small ones. We still have one of last year’s bargains back at the home. It stops us opening the door of the coal-shed.”

An hour later they arrived at the rally. The ancient ones poured out of the mini-bus, and these same men who were unable to even contemplate changing a wheel an hour and a half ago, were leaping and frolicking across the car-park in the general direction of Eldorado.

“Back at four o’clock.” shouted Matron, but she was wasting her time. They were through the turnstiles in a flash.

Inside, they all went their separate ways but, no doubt, they were all thinking back to happier days when indiscreet purchases had to be smuggled past vigilant wives. When, with fifty pounds in his pocket, a man was monarch of all he surveyed. These days with fifty pounds all you are doing is wasting the salesman’s time.

At 4pm. most of them assembled back at the mini-bus, their pockets bulging with coax plugs and other items they would never ever use, but, as with all coach parties, there were two absentees. Matron thumped the steering wheel in exasperation. She needed this like Yasser Arafat needs a table-cloth. The two defaulters were Weasel and the senior G2 so a search party consisting of two of the more nimble G4s was sent back into the hall to bring them to heel.

They were immediately aware of a sort of commotion going on over the far side. As they approached, they saw Weasel in the middle of an angry crowd, brandishing a vertical antenna of fearsome proportions. A first aider was removing the topmost element from the right nostril of a passer-by, while, down at the earthy end, a youthful G7 was using language which would have had him banned from every repeater in the realm. Mind you, he did have some justification. One of the radials, which had more than its share of rough bits, was unravelling his new pullover.

The two G4s whisked Weasel and his contraption away before the mob got out of hand, and dragged him back to the others. Matron was grudgingly strapping the thing to the roof-rack, when G2 arrived looking very ashamed. Apparently he had attended a lecture all about sun-spots and had overslept. Soon they were homeward bound, tired but happy, but presently they heard the sound they had been dreading. Rees Morgan was clearing his throat, signifying that he was about to sing. When you have had a tiring day, the last thing you want to do is to get involved with the problems confronting the Men of Harlech, so the non music-lovers closed their eyes and resorted to slumber. An hour or so later, when Matron turned the mini-bus into the drive of Flashover House, the only sounds to be heard were the soft snores of contented men.

Return to the index of Vital Spark articles.

G3MGQ’s Month on the Air

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Vital Spark Archive

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Used Ham Radio Equipment

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UK repeaters

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GB3EB 2m in Uckfield- Active
MB6EB 2m DStar Node in Eastbourne - Active
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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