The Young family are grateful to Stephen Graham, compiler of Goodworth Clatford’s challenging Christmas Quiz. At £1 – proceeds to go towards church funds - the quiz held the attention of more people of all ages for the longest period of time at the least cost, without provoking a fight or even an argument. Sadly, the pooled wisdom of the Young tribe was unable to answer all the questions, and a partial response, stained with gravy from the turkey and brandy butter from the Christmas pudding, has been posted back to the author for marking.
At the other end of the spectrum, the most expensive Christmas gift with the lowest return, so far, has been the digital radio.
Listeners to Classic FM, whose numbers were increased over Christmas by refugees fleeing from Radio 3’s All Bach week, will have heard French and Saunders advertising digital radio. For those aficionados who continued to listen to the Bach, Dawn French runs a radio shop stocked with analogue radios, which she tries to sell to Jennifer Saunders, who wants to buy a new digital radio. This, the listener is told, will usher in a new dawn of audiological delights.
What neither Dawn nor Jennifer mention is that the digital signal doesn’t reach every household.
I engaged in some inconclusive correspondence with the BBC on this subject last year; they asserted that SP11 0RQ should receive a digital signal. Our portable Roberts DAB radio, who lives at this address, thought otherwise. The only way to resolve the argument was to ask the BBC down to listen to our radio. A van emblazoned with the BBC logo arrived on Christmas Eve, and an engineer emerged from it, holding a portable radio, and wearing headphones. He walked up and down the village, twiddling knobs. This caused some consternation as the residents assumed he was the man from licence evasion.
I spoke to him and he asserted that he was getting a good signal. But his radio looked as if he had built it himself and standing in the middle of the road was an inconvenient place to do ones listening. Invited into our home and to listen to our digital radio, he was forced to concede that our reception was poor. He said we were on the fringe of both Hannington and Winchester transmitters and there were no plans to build a new one. No, they couldn’t turn up the juice on the present ones; nor would he sell me his radio whose ears were sensitive enough to pick up the necessary signals.
For Christmas, the wife got a new non-portable DAB radio; this is also deaf and Stan, the aerial man, is shortly to pay a visit to give it a cochlear implant.
In the meantime, we are trying to locate Dawn French’s radio shop, to stock up with much derided and very cheap analogue radios.