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.
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.
T hese pictures were meant to go on the site 2 years ago (almost to the day). Then we had that problem with the back-boiler. And the car failed the MOT, and then the cat needed worming, and they just sort of slipped down the back of the sofa - until today that is, when I retrieved them, all covered in cat hairs and with a half-chewed fruit gum stuck to the back.
These antiquities are from the collection of John Penny - member #0307 - yes; that John Penny. The author of a four-book trilogy comprising the two books: "Telegraph Poles I have known and loved" and "Great Poles I have climbed". The latter, featuring the tale of the infamous DP3 in Wine Street, Yeovil. Now sadly a shadow of its former self having had a goodly portion lopped off the top.
John has spent an entire working life swinging around the tops of DPs in his native Dorset. And now spends his days gazing out at the Peugeot estate car on his drive.
A facsimile of the one on the right now adorns our letter box.
My wife has kept an old Cray supercomputer in the back parlour for years. We've always used it to air clothes on and dry boots. And it's a favourite place for the cat to sleep as it hums away performing its 1012 floating point operations per second. Anyway, The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society membership database has been growing quite steadily and we decided we would use the old Cray to do some statistical analyis of our members. What we found was quite startling. Look at this membership distribution graph :
A modest cluster of TPAS members in Wales and Devon as we might expect. Similarly a slightly higher frequency of memberhip in the south east which also comprises London so not out of the ordinary. But the enormous spike of members per million per capita in Cambridgeshire completely flabbered our ghast. If this were a scientific data-set then this would be more than statistically significant - it might be considered definite proof of something. But what? Luckily our data resolution is such that we can drill-down into the data to analyse on a town by town basis. See Fig 2.
The graph showed a fairly even distribution across all the towns and villages according to their respective population. But then look what happens at Peterborough. What is it about this low-lying fenland town that compels so many of its citizens to appreciate telegraph poles enough to join the only society in the whole world dedicated to appreciating them?
Could it be the far-reaching fenland vistas allows Peterburgers uncluttered perpectives as telegraph poles disappear off in to the distance? Who knows? But maybe we should consider holding the next Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society Annual Conference in Peterborough.