Friday, 13 December 2019
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Three Lions, a glitch and a wardrobe

By  Jul 07, 2018

“Why are both the teams wearing the same colour?” asked my wife whilst I was watching a World Cup match from Russia. “Well they aren’t but our TV seems to turn everything green,” came my rather depressed answer.

Yes, this World Cup will be unforgettable for me in many ways. I have to say that I didn’t watch many of the group games, mainly the England and Croatia games, but these final stages are much more interesting. And I have two teams to cheer. Although I did miscalculate. I thought that our two nations couldn’t meet before the final. And now it appears that they could meet in the semi-finals, although by the time you read this England could already be on a British Airways flight home.

So we are in are summer residence. And just as we were moving our TV broke down. Knowing that the football was around the corner I had to find a solution. A few calls to friends and family and my mother-in-law said “I’ve got one in the store room.” I had my reservations. Would it be black and white? Or would it even work at all?

I went to pick it up and as soon as I saw the aerial was hanging off broken and that I needed a receiver to get a picture my fear level rose. “It was fine the last time I used it,” said my mother-in-law. But I realised that the last time she actually used it could be before I was born. It was strangely heavy. One of the first flat screens that isn’t really a flat screen just a slim version of the old pregnant televisions. “Where did you get this?” I asked as I seemed an unusual shape and size. “I can’t remember now,” she answered. It was then that I found out. As I flipped the TV round I saw a small metal label “Property of Hotel Dubrovnik Palace.” Presumably she hadn’t snuck into the hotel in the winter and climbed out a window with a TV in her arms. “Oh, yes, the last time the hotel renovated they sold off some televisions,” she remembered.

With its relatively small screen and broken antenna I set it up in my summer residence. Of course no picture. A snow screen of fuzz. Digging around in our store room I found another antenna that was older than Revelin. But it worked. Or did it? One minute picture, the next frozen, then the picture again, then a snow storm. Frustrating doesn’t have enough letters to describe my mood. If I stood holding the antenna in the middle of the room, then I could get a watchable picture. Just ask my wife as she came home once watching the opening ceremony sitting on a chair in the middle of the room holding an antenna! And then I guess the wind direction changed and so did my luck… a half decent picture. We could only get Nova and HRT2 but who cares.

For a week I was watching the World Cup in peace. And then the first England game and Murphy’s Law the picture disappeared. Yes, again I sat in the middle of the room holding the antenna.

I needed a new plan because I am too tight to buy a new TV. “What I need is something metal and something big,” I thought to myself. “I need to make my own antenna,” was my conclusion. Coat hangers, saucepans and even a BBQ grill were tried but all to no avail. “Maybe if I move the TV on top of the wardrobe it will be closer the window,” said my wife. That’s it! Eureka! The portable wardrobe is basically a huge metal frame. I unplugged the old antenna and pushed the wire hard into the metal frame…. BINGO! Seeing that my invention would work I needed to upgrade it. I scratched a small piece of paint off the inside metal frame and with some cello tape fixed the antenna wire to the exposed metal of the wardrobe and the television turned from a snow screen to HD. Not only could I watch the football perfectly but I could also now pick up thirty Italian channels and Libertas TV. Had I invented the latest satellite dish? My wardrobe.

“Why is there a cable sticking out of the wardrobe now,” came the obvious question from my wife. And when she heard the explanation the follow-up question was “Will I get an electric shock if I take a pair of trousers.” The World Cup for me was back on, even if it was a little green. Yes, although I have a plethora of channels many of them are slightly green. Normally watching football it isn’t too much of a problem, unless one team wears green and then they kind of get lost in the green grass.

Watching Mexico and Saudi Arabia was a challenge. But who cares, England wear white and you can see the Croatian shirts from outer space. Glorious football all the way from Russia through a wardrobe.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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