These much ignored pieces of rural and urban furniture finally have a website of their own.
This is not the site to visit for technical information pertaining to telegraph poles. You'll find nothing about 10KVa transformers, digital telephone networking or even so much as a single volt.
This is a website celebrating the glorious everyday mundanitude of these simple silent sentinels the world over.
|from the simple...||through the interesting...||to the hieroglyphics||and the alluring|
|click the thumbnails above to view the gallerys.||more poles...|
We don't care what the wires contain either. They all carry electricity in some way be it the sparky stuff which boils your kettle, or the thinner stuff with your voice in it when you're on the phone.
As has so often happened in the past, a rare event or ghostly apparition has been captured on film whilst the photographer's attention was on the intended subject.
In this case, I was taking pictures of ye olde telegraphe poles along the B5105. It was only much later when processing it for inclusion on this very website that I noticed the bizarre patch of blue lower right.
I felt sure my photograph had inadvertently captured a small piece of blue sky - that fabled phenomena which occurs when the rain stops and the clouds part or thin sufficiently such that an observer may see the sky behind.
My wife wasn't convinced. And I needed to know so contacted Simon Keeling at Weatherweb.net. He examined my image in the minutest detail and with some of the most cutting-edge forensic photographic equipment. He also re-examined the weathercasts for the day in question and re-ran the meteorological models using all the sophisticated computing power at his disposal.
His answer was clear and unambiguous. "The photograph was taken in August. In Wales." he said. "Your camera's knackered!".
I have now bought myself a Samsung ES71.
Expedition 2011 - Tiree, The Hebrides, Scotia
A week last saturday morning, the entire administration staff of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society boarded the society Smart CarTM and set course for the north. Destination, first Oban, then the good ship M.V. Clansman for a 4 hour bucking and swaying across to the isle of Tiree. Yes, we cleverly timed our jaunt to coincide with the fag-end of hurricane Katia thrashing its way up the west side of Britain.
Oh how we chuckled at the dictionary entry for Tiree which lists it as the sunniest place in the UK as we huddled by the wet sticks in the fireplace with the cottage roof rattling above our heads and the angry sea foam splashing against the windows.
But we did find the odd gap in the tempest to enjoy this delightful island. Herewith a list of adjectives and descriptions for you to conjure with : flat, peaceful, windy, sandy beaches, blue, interesting houses, lapwings, kite-surfers, fantastic views, seals, dramatic, peaceful - oh did I already say peaceful?
Anyway, every holiday is a busman's and a bit of telegraph pole spotting always on the cards. The flat vistas, particularly the central part of the island they call "the Reef" allows photos like that on the left; distribution poles disappearing off into perspective infinity (almost). It was this kind of scene that first attracted me to the aesthetics of poles in my weird boyhood.
The other picture, taken through globs of rain on the lens shows Tiree's tiredest telegraph pole which clearly isn't long for this world. Closer examination revealed its "do not resuscitate" notice. We spoke in hushed tones in its presence.
A while ago, regular correspondent and telegraph pole connsoisseur, Jake wrote in. He had read our post about hieroglyphics and wondered what might the green metallic plate embossed with a letter 'C' indicate?
I know I'd seen one somewhere and it's taken me until now to remember where it was. There were two adjacent poles with these plates, 9A & 10A, where else, but along the B5105.
Anyway, my relationship with telegraph poles has always been one of aesthetic appreciation and a slightly creepy anorak sort of admiration. I've never actually worked with them or amongst them. And the only poles I ever climbed were the 100KVA pylons my dad used to send me up every time he got his kite stuck. And that happened a lot. Why he always made me wait until it rained to retrieve them I'll never understand.
So I rely on my army of enthusiastic contacts. And they always come up trumps when it comes to telegraph pole facts. Here's what the amazing Sean K from Hotmail had to say :
New poles do not need "testing for the first 12 years and thereafter require testing by a "pole tester" every 10 years.
In this case the tester has assessed the pole and found that it is not planted deep enough and so the green "C" means shallow climbable.
For what it's worth, I nearly got run over by a maroon coloured Land Rover Discovery while I was taking this photograph.
Caroline is a name which has cropped up a lot this week. I booked my holiday cottage with Caroline on Tiree. Caroline answered the phone when I rang the bank to ask about squeezing a bit more from a moribund overdraft. It was Caroline who sold me this week's losing lottery ticket at the Spar. And another Caroline wrote to me about recording sound created by weather events whistling through long lengths of wire.
I'll leave to students of C.G. Jung the synchronicity of all these Carolines. However I did tell the latter one that telegraph wires have slack built into them and so are unlikely to resonate into any kind of intonation worth recording. I suggested that she might be better off heading to the high moorlands to capture the sound of taut, rusted, sheep fencing which I know to hum from my extensive hill-walking. I also pointed her in the direction of the amazing singing forest gate of Black Mixen at OS grid ref SO 201 644 and which sings like a kettle when the wind is right.
But then some further research turned up Jarbas Agnelli. Like many before him, Jarbas' inspiration came from the way birds sitting on telegraph wires seemed to resemble so many musical notes on staves. So, long story short, he converted them to a music score. The result of which can be seen and heard in the video on the left.
Not quite the humming telephone wires Caroline #4 was hoping for, but a pleasant diversion nonetheless.