Life can be tough at times and it is during those times we need friends. I would like to thank those friends and say "thank you amateur radio" for those friends.
I decided a while back to put my radio activities on hold while I got my retirement plan up and running. My retirement plan consisted of getting a holiday let business off the ground. Following on later by some straight lettings. Stage one took longer than expected and for the better part of two years I worked harder than I think I ever have in my life getting the first two properties finished and ready to let. Things were looking good, but my own home and my antennas had become very neglected.
The plan was to now concentrate on getting my own place to the same standard as my lets and to replace the coaxes on all my antennas. I only managed to mow the grass once last year, but the problems started in the later part of 2012. Without going in to details, for the last 18 months I feel like I have been living in a war zone. It has been one long ordeal of hospital visits and funerals. We have said goodbye to friends, work colleagues and family alike. Maybe it is a sign I am getting older but one week there were three funerals and another two at the same time in different places.
Amongst the fallen is my mother and that of my mother in law who both succumbed to the ravages of cancer. The endless hospital visits, the hassle of sorting out beds in homes and the fights to get them even the medication they had been prescribed is very wearing. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Macmillan nurses and the hospice at Nightingale House in Wrexham were marvellous and were there to fight our corner against the belligerence and officialdom that prevented us getting what was entitled and prescribed.
So it is a long while since I seriously had the time to do any radio. My only antenna still working due to wind damage, neighbours severing feeders while changing fence panels and water ingress in to coax that is past its sell by date is 70cm. One out of ten radios stacked in the shack is still monitoring GB3CR and lucky for me it is. It is the guys and gals on the repeater who have kept a little normality in my chaotic life of late, they have made me laugh, given me sympathy and kept my company on the drive to and from work. Above all they have listened when I needed to talk and said the things I needed to hear when I needed to hear them.
One thing stands out in my memory and that is that one day when I was particularly upset. I put a call out on the radio and it was answered by someone I had never spoken to before. No one else was around but this guy must have been listening to previous conversations I had been having and realised I needed company. He asked if I was okay and I said I was pretty low and told him why. He came back with exactly the words I needed to hear and I suddenly felt 100% better. The message was from the heart and built on similar painful experiences. Where else other than on amateur radio could a fellow hear that sort of thing from a compete stranger?
I really hope the next year is much more pain free and I can get back in to radio and Summits on the Air in particular.
My two holiday lets are Llamedos Holiday Cottage on the great Orme in Llandudno (a SOTA summit) and Tir Nani Ogg in Towyn near Rhyl. The website for Llamedos is here http://www.llamedoscottage.co.uk/ Tir Nani Ogg's website is a 'work in progress' due to the events described above. Please like our cottages on Facebook too - Llamedos , Tir Nani Ogg