Addiction

Addiction
 /əˈdɪkʃ(ə)n/
noun

Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. We’re all familiar with the image of the park-bench wino supping from the brown bag containing turpentine, or the nicotine addicts huddled in windblown corner of a public space or even the terrible affliction that is addiction to peanut M&Ms – Incredibly, my wife once witnessed a yellow M&M roll all the way down the aisle of the 101 service to Oswestry (via St. Martins & Chirk) through all the spilt pop, spittle and shoe poo debris only to be picked up and eaten without a thought by an addict at the back. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if I got dysentry.

And so it is with Hops. Anyone who knows me will know of my affinity for hoppy-as-hell IPAs. Sometimes with ale so bitter as to turn my face inside-out. My ability to combine, chemically, with pale ale is such that it ought to be taught at schools. And it doesn’t have to be in beer either. Picture #2 below is a hop plant I grew up my very own telegraph pole. Crush those drying flowers in your hand and sniff – your life will never be your own again. This is called the “Hop Scratch” apparently, and I have it bad. Once we had cut it down for the garlands supposedly for decoration, my wife (again) caught me rolling in it on our dining room floor like a cat in the catnip.

Anyway, I was reminded of all this by an email received this week from Alan Pink who sent us picture #1 of a hop-infested pole in Kent, on the corner by Thanington church on the outskirts of Canterbury). He wonders if we might be interested… As if?

Pole tubes

Alan Barton from Yahoo wrote to us.  “Good afternoon” he says – well, maybe it was when he wrote it but there was nothing good about the afternoon when I received it.  Anyway, “Could you please tell me what the small steel tube fixed into the ground at the base of the telegraph pole, and often with a black plastic covering the end above ground, is use for?”

This all puts me in mind of an extended and entertaining emailic conversation I had with Bedfordshire-based engineer in permanent magnets, Martin Cummins, some years ago.  He, by his own words is a nosy sort and wanted to know what are these similar, but more  rectangular devices that are attached to the base of telegraph poles.  Between us we guessed so far that they may be a means of delivering creosote preservative to the pole base.  Or a means of checking just how deep the pole is planted.  Or indeed a mini reverse periscope to have a look at the bottom of the pole, just because you can. The possibility that it may be some sort of anti-rotation device – which fits with our previously discussed notions of telegraph pole alignment – was also discussed.  Then Mr Cummins had a letter back from BT at the time saying that they actually had no idea what they are for.  Not a flipping clue.

If this is the case, I can only imagine pole-erection crews working through their checklist thus:

1 Park lorry.
2 Have a brew.
3 Check out the form in the Racing News.
4 Put the bloody pole up.
5 Fit the little black tubey thing.
6 Not forgetting the cap.
7 Don’t ask.

Well now we are asking ???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finials III and the dentist from hell.

Ray Newman would have sent us these fine pictures of Telegraph Pole Finials much sooner, only he tells us he has been the victim of a dental extraction which went terribly wrong. For Ray’s dentist had got things completely back to front – instead of taking Ray’s teeth out – he accidentally fitted a handful of teeth IN to Ray’s already full mouth. So the poor chap has been walking the streets of Bishopstone, Herne Bay smiling and beaming at everyone, in a desperate attempt to use up this excess in superfluous dental accoutrements.

Anyway, he’s nearly back to a regular grin now, thankfully, and has been taking the time to look skywards at telegraph pole adornments: Herewith two pictures of a pole with Owl shaped finial – presumably, together with the bird spikes intended to ward off birds – with limited success if picture #1 is anything to go by. Ray has also come up against the age old telegraph pole appreciators’ exposure problem: photographing them against a bright sky – a problem he seems almost to have overcome by the third picture which shows a handsome wooden finial.

Many thanks Ray. Do keep smiling 🙂

Telephone pole with an owl finial on top Telephone pole with an owl finial on top Telephone pole with an ordinary finial on top