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Tom Caxton



Seasonal Mishaps

1. The Lost Turkey

One year we finished early as usual on Christmas Eve and Tom had to collect a turkey on his way home. He had his in-laws staying for the Christmas which did not entirely meet with his approval.

On the way home he stopped for a beer. He then made several further stops, after collecting the turkey. Realizing he was pissed, i.e. he could hardly stand, he decided to do the next few pubs on foot. Late in the evening he arrived home.

His relatives were already there and he was severely nagged for being in the state he was.

His wife asked him where the turkey was, to which he replied "In the car boot" before lapsing into unconsciousness.

Early next morning Tom was awakened by a very irate wife. Not only could she not find the turkey, she could not find the car! Tom had no idea where he'd left it.

He had to pay a taxi driver to tour every car park in Portsmouth until he found it. This made Christmas dinner about five hours late much to the upset of his wife and her parents. He was still getting nagged on the subject at Easter.

2. The Cigar Lighter

Whilst searching through a junk box in Radar Shop I came rediscovered the flash tester that had been used with the Pig's Ear. This produced about 200,000 volts and was used for testing the insulation on transformers, reactors and pulse forming networks.

When powered up with 28VDC you could get a really spectacular spark from this thing. It was decided to construct a 'Jacob's Ladder' to add to our Christmas decorations and novelties. (Others included the wearing of miniature neon tubes around out collars. These would light up from the radiation when running an interrogator-responser)

The Jacob's Ladder was duly constructed and comprised of two welding rods about 30cm long standing vertically from holes drilled about 4cm apart in a block of Tufnol. The rods were bent so as to be about 6cm or so apart at the top. When powered up from the flash tester sparks would run up the rods forming the rungs of the ladder. There was a push button on the DC circuit to activate the device.

It became the custom during the few days leading up to Christmas to use this thing as an electric cigar lighter. We took even greater delight in this as it terrified most visitors to the area, many of whom retreated to what they considered a same distance of two metres or more.

On the fateful day a few guys from the fire crew had come in to replenish our CO2 supply for the draught lager. They accepted our offer of a seasonal beverage and cigar. One of the guys said, "anyone got a light?" as he raised his cigar to his mouth. I pressed on the button to the flash tester and he retreated smartly as it loudly crackled into life. He declined to avail himself of the facility and asked to see someone else try it.

My cigar had gone out. Stupidly forgetting that one of the combustion products of tobacco is water I pressed the button and leant towards the 'lighter'. My recollection at this point is a little hazy but I reportedly managed a complete reverse somersault as I flew three meters backwards and came crashing to the floor in the next room. I felt as though I had been kicked in the teeth by a mule! As I was helped to my feet the fire crew were running rapidly from the workshop saying we were all stark raving mad.

I did use the 'lighter' again but only with a new cigar. For re-lights I stuck to more conventional means.

3. Christmas Lights


4. Shooting


5. Drinking Contest




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