Going way back to the 1980′s, in 1983 my Dad was made redundant from his engineering job at Jones & Shipman, on Narborough Road South. He’d been there for about 10 years, so came away with a fairly decent redundancy payment.
As my Mum had started to become ill about 5 years before that and was steadily getting worse, he decided to stay at home to look after her. Someone, I can’t remember who, gave him a two channel CB walkie-talkie which sort of rekindled an interest in radio broadcasting. I say rekindled, as his own Dad had been a Radio Amateur back in the 1950′s & 60′s. Call sign G3IUR.
Right from the start my Dad adopted the handle (CB name) “Superfly” after the name of one of his radio controlled model aircraft.
At first the signal on the walkie-talkie was fairly weak, however he did at first manage to speak to a lady who lived in nearby Rowley Fields, who was his first “copy” (communication). I can’t remember for the life of me her handle nor her “personal” (first name), but we did eventually meet her when she came round to see us.
From then on, my Dad used a car mobile antenna hooked up to the walkie-talkie. This was mounted onto an old metal biscuit tin with aluminium ground planes, the idea being to get the most out of the mobile antenna from indoors. It worked up to a point!
With his some of his redundancy money, he saw a deal for a Harrier CB set with mobile whip antenna in the local newspaper, so bought that. This was his very first “base station”. With the stronger signal and using the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) meter to calibrate his mobile antenna being used indoors, my Dad was taking (copying) with people further afield in the Leicester area. Before long these people became faces, when we met them coming over for a cup of tea and a chat. Some great friendships were made and through these new friends, my Dad acquired materials such as scaffold poles to start building an outdoor antenna in the garden much to the bemusement of local neighbours.
There was no looking back after that.
More importantly, their generosity helped us through some very lean times. I will never forget that.
From memory, I have compiled a short list of regular CB’ers my Dad both spoke to and met. A photo of some of his QSL cards has helped, but I have to admit that since the mid 80′s my memory is a bit hazy:
- Axeman (Albert Knight) – Braunstone.
- Calypso Lady (Sue) – Can’t remember where she was based, but she drove (appropriately enough) a Ford Capri Calypso. The constant joke was that she wore “sprout bags” (fishnet stockings).
- Drifter (Ken) – Kirby Muxloe.
- ESOP - Blaby – Can’t remember his name, but he worked as a security guard at British Shoe.
- Gipsy Cream (Beryl O’Brien) – New Parks / Braunstone.
- Gordon Bennett - Nottingham.
- Harry (Paul Mackley) – Braunstone.
- Lucyfer or Lucifer (Lucy) – Leicester Forest East.
- Manila (Mike) – Narborough.
- Noggin (Nigel Jordan) – Braunstone.
- PETRO – No idea where he was based.
- Toitoise – Pete & Barry – Hinckley (But often mobile to Lincoln & Nottingham).
If anyone recognises themselves or knows any of the above, I would love to hear from you. I lost touch with the majority little by little following my Dad’s death, me starting full-time work and my eventual move to France.
Back in the mid to late 80′s in Leicester, my Dad made a good number of friends on the CBRadio. They became such a close knit band that on a couple of consecutive years they organised some days out in a rented minibus to such places as Skeggy or Great Yarmouth.
Here’s a photo of the merry bunch leaving on such an outing with my Dad Superfly G7CGD – Remembering Vic Nelson of Braunstone, Leicester.) standing holding a carrier bag next to the rear doors.
Standing with him is a bloke who was in the Fire Service at the time. Can’t remember his name. In the back I can just about see Ken who lived in Kirby Muxloe. He ran a shop there until a stroke forced him to retire. We saw him fairly regularly and despite being paralysed down one side, he was always out and about in his adapted car. Someone else who was probably in the back was Albert Knight (Axeman) who lived in Braunstone. First on Woodshawe Rise, then later down near The Braunstone pub. Sitting in the passenger seat is Lucy (Lucyfer) who lived down Kings Drive way in LFE.
Thats about all I can remember of those in the photo. Are they still around 27 years on? Who knows?
On the way back from the décheterie, we called in to La Poste in Mennecy, to try and sort out a very long running dispute with our Mobile subscription.
We’ve left it to hang since 2010 when we started with Simplicime (who have since been taken over by La Poste). They gave us a total run around, communication with the Simplicime customer service was a total disaster, not helped by the fact none of our calls to them were recorded in their records and them sending us the wrong mobile phone TWICE!
Since then we did use the SIM card in another mobile we were given, but then accidentally locked it.
We’re not brilliantly keen on using mobile phones, that and the fact our daughter was born in between and my hospital stay after that, made us put the whole affair on the back burner.
La Poste were not that helpful this morning… after us explaining the ins and outs of our problems with Simplicime to the bewildered sales assistant, she told us to phone customer services.
So in effect the La Poste branches can actually do very little for existing mobile customers.
Wind is a whipping up outside and yet another storm is rolling in… probably the 10th we’ve had this Summer so far (seems like it). We had about 5 alone while we were on holiday in the Jura the week before last, and a good few since.
As a last minute thought I’ve propped up some wooden slats about a metre long along the bottom of our house where it meets the terrace. There is a 1cm gap about 1 metre long there.
When we last had a storm a few days ago, the rain was so heavy and violent that it ended up going down the gap down through the wall and flooding our basement.
So those wooden slats are my feeble attempt to deflect the rain water away from the gap until we can buy some expanding foam to fill up the space.
Today, I cooked some "Weight Watchers" chips for me and Emma at lunchtime… Old habits are hard to break, so I also did us a buttered slice of Harry’s white bread each. Its a done thing in England, so you can do a chip butty (chip sandwich) with a smattering of HP *sauce.
This I explained to 2 year old Emma, she even managed to say "chip butty" just right. So I made my butty, then she said "me want chip" pointing to the bread.
So there I was, a proud bloke from Leicester watching his half-French half-English daughter being initiated into a very English institution… and long may that last…!
* = Optional.
Before the holiday.
At the beginning of last month, we made a trip to Brantôme with friends for a one week stay in the Périgord.
This also marked the beginning of Rémy’s teeth starting to wobble… we had lots of explaining to do. The week before the holiday and in the first week in Brantôme he lost two teeth.
His grown up teeth have been shooting through since then – at the back of where the milk teeth were. In fact overlapping behind a third milk tooth.
Hope there’ll be room for ‘em all!
During the holiday
So who comes to get your kids teeth at night? Le petit souris? Or the Tooth Fairy? We’ve decided to say both… Which means Rémy does well out of the arrangement.
After a gap of over 5 years, over Easter I brought my scooter out of the garage. It hasn’t been used since before my son was born and has hibernated ever since.
Sad really… but being a home Dad has meant that I’ve just not got around to using it and was even considering selling the poor thing at one point.
Instead here it is, still looking pretty good but needing a battery charge (or a new one) at least… Tyres seem OK, but I wonder if the fuel will still be alright in the tank or will it have sludged up?
My son’s eyes lit up when he saw it, after having a go on the pillion of my BIL’s mini 125cc bike. I’ve tried to break the news to him that my scooter will be somewhat slower.
My daughter seems captivated too…
Photos taken 31/03/13