This page is a survival guide for wives and partners of vintage TV collectors. It also applies in the most part to the loved ones of followers of other related hobbies. DILYS TAYLOR tells you how to survive...

And now, especially for Dave Hughes, who we met at Blackpool.. click on Dilys's picture for a better view!

It has been brought to my attention that war has been declared on a number of 405 Alivers by their insensitive womenfolk. Indeed, I hear that a number of members have even been deserted by intransigent wives, partners and girl-friends, who steadfastly refuse to share their enthusiasm for mains droppers, line output transformers and the like. This is an intolerable situation, not least because it casts a bad light on those of us who love our eccentric men. So if you're a 405 Aliver with a recalcitrant lady in her life, print out this webpage, leave it lying around and hopefully she'll read what follows and mend her ways...
Being a 405 Aliver's wife is a constant challenge. Anyone can make Moussaka a la Greque in a nice tidy kitchen; to make it on a kitchen table which is already full with a stripped TV set, its parts and panels spread out and neatly labelled; bits that have blown up, bits that are going to blow up, valves, technical manuals, screwdrivers, soldering irons and, of course, the four screws from the back, takes considerably more imagination. The only thing to do is to just get on with it; and if a few interesting metallic bits surface in the finished dish, the minerals in them will probably do your dinner guests more good than harm, and it'll also be a great conversation starter, so DON'T WORRY!
Then there are the many and varied skills you'll have to acquire - decorating, DIY, car maintenance and gardening to name but a few; it'll be up to you to undertake all these tasks and, in time, you'll become expert in them all. But think how impressive they'll look on your CV and, who knows, they might even open up previously undreamed of career opportunities.
Housework presents its own challenge, of course. Dusting and polishing fifty-odd vintage radios and thirty-odd TV sets can be a time consuming and, some might say a time wasting exercise, but you can turn it to your advantage. Treat it as a labour of love - as a way of showing your 405 Alive man that you know he's mad but you love him anyway - and you'll gain his undying respect and admiration, and that will make you feel really good. If you polish to music, it won't be a chore at all, but a pleasure. I reccommend 'Test Card Classics' as the perfect accompaniment, especially 'Royal Daffodil' and 'Chelsea Chick'.
A word of caution though; beware when doing the hoovering. Resistors, plus all those other little fiddly bits, and vacuum cleaner motors are not the happiest of bedfellows. But, the chances are that your man will be able to mend the hoover if you do have a disaster, so again, DON'T WORRY! By the way, you'll have to learn by experience which products you'll need to keep a supply of at all times: air freshener, so that when those bits that smell like rotten cabbage when they blow up finally explode, you can mask the smell; and copious amounts of disinfectant, for when he brings home the contents of a skip, are two obvious examples.
The real problem with 405 Alivers, unlike train spotters or stamp collectors, is the space their obsession takes up. You may find that your current home is no longer large enough to house his hobby and to engage in even the most primitive of life styles. There is only one solution: MOVE HOUSE, preferably to one which is so large it will take him years to fill, and with lots of sheds, double garages, lofts, attics and similar out of the way areas, where he can indulge himself to his heart's content and leave you free to watch junk on Cable TV.
Despite your accomplishments in the DIY field, NEVER even consider trying to build an extension to your present home; this will almost certainly end up in your having to engage a builder to help you and the ensuing temptations of having fit young men playing around with your brickwork and making all sorts of suggestions to you will probably end in tears, so don't even think about it!
One attractive possibility of being a 405 Alive wife is the prospect of travel as you accompany your man on collection/delivery runs all over the country. So far, I have been to Birmingham, Bristol, Huddersfield, Leeds, Doncaster, Bedford, Swindon and Accrington. Criccieth in North Wales was a delight, but why don't people in Torquay or Brighton or the Lake District ever have TV sets worth having? In my opinion, people in NICE places should be encouraged to join in the TV swapping business, so that we wives can have some really good trips!
Finally, one thing to understand and to hold on to about 405 Alive Man is that he demonstrates daily that he possesses the most noble qualities; tenderness, devotion, gentleness, courage, determination, steadfastness, loyalty, consideration and thoughtfulness. Admire his patience as he caresses a TV set to coax it into working for him; share his concern for the set that is sick; listen as he talks to it as if it were an old and trusted friend; and as you watch him lavishing all this love on what, to you, is just a heap of scratched bakelite and dusty old spare parts, don't fight him - accept that this is not just a hobby; it's a sacred trust; share in the pleasures and the success; sympathise with the problems; and soon you'll discover that deep-down, in his eyes, YOU are the most beautifiul set of all!


Dilys Taylor is the wife of 405 Alive member and this website's author, Steve Pendlebury. By night, she works as a Senior Gaming Inspector in a Bolton Casino; by day, as well as looking after Steve's vast family of vintage Radio and TV sets, she writes and presents talks on Local History.


This article first appeared in the Third Quarter 1997, Issue 35, of the collectors magazine '405 Alive' , and is rebroadcast here with kind permission.

The Editor would also like to point out that he cannot fix (or sell!) hoovers but he knows a man who can!