There are times in our lives when we have to make sacrifices. Sometimes they are big sacrifices and sometimes they are small ones. Quite often those we make sacrifices for do not appreciate that we even went out of our way, never mind made a sacrifice to help them out. I am quite obviously not talking about goat, altar and big knife here. What I am talking about is when your mother-in law telephones you in the middle of your favourite TV show or the big match to say her broomstick won't start or she has run out of eye of newt and needs to go shopping.
Quite often I find that when I do make a sacrifice and go out of my way to help someone I end up regretting that even bothered in the first place, something always seems to go pear shaped. Like helping a neighbour whose car would not start then belting my head on his bonnet, grazing my knuckles and flattening the battery in my own car or buying pickled eye of newt when it should have been fresh and getting turned in to a frog. Only occasionally do I actually feel a warm glow and that I did a good deed.
Saturday morning was a bit of a sacrifice for me, to start with I got up too early. When I am working I get up at 5.30am and when I am off work I get up at 7am on a weekday. Working shifts means I do not get too many weekends off and so when possible I like to get a lie in, but it was not to be. I needed to get my fifteen year old daughter Caroline down to the Mold and District Radio Club for the first session of the Foundation course. The sacrifice was bigger than I expected.
As a mad keen SOTA chaser I knew I would miss some points and I made a point of not looking at the 'Alerts' page before I left so as not to feel miserable about it. It was a good job I did not look because the last Belgium summit I need, ON/ON-021 Plantis De Mesnil, was activated by Luc ON6DSL assisted by his XYL Annemie. Video here. Normal people would say "So what? It will be done again." and that is true but to a true Summits on the Air addict like me it is almost painful to see it slip through my fingers. In retrospect I should have fired up one of the rigs in the club shack or put a 40m antenna on the car but I did not think of it at the time.
It was painful getting up early and painful letting an important (to me) activation get away but this time it was worth it. I was very pleased when Caroline said she wanted to do the Foundation course and when Adam also said he wanted to do it I had a big smile on my face, but Caroline really made me feel the proud father at that first session. She has just done her physics exams and so was on the ball with ohm's law and electronic circuits. I had felt it might be too much for her with her very important school examinations, but she seemed to enjoy herself and held her own in the company of the other much older foundation candidates. I came home with a warm glow, that's my girl!
Adam was not able to make that session as he was away on a romantic weekend with his girlfriend but I have few worries about him, one day after getting the foundation course manual he managed 100% in some on line mock exam questions. Adam lives about a mile from us so it would be most useful if he gets his novice licence as we could communicate on any band with no more than hand-held rigs with rubber duck antennas.
I am looking forward to having two new amateurs in the family and I can only hope that my other children follow their example and help to keep the hobby alive. Lets hope that the hobby is still around for our grandchildren to enjoy the way we and in some cases our parents and grandparents have. Now who is going to do that Belguim summit for me?