Photo of the Month

Well this unBritish weather has me all confused.  Too hot to be outside, way too nice to be inside.  So I’ve had to get all clever about it and so have been sitting in my office all day watching a webcam which I’ve pointed at my missus getting meithered by the midges in the garden.   And if I get close enough to the screen I’m sure I must be getting one of my 5-a-day of vitamin D.

But if you’re not actually enjoying this fine summer weather then you are either a chocolate digestive or a polar bear turned left at Svalbard instead of right.

Anyway, not quite summer, but 10th September 1988, Chalmington, Dorset actually – but this completely fabulous photo gave me a rush of late summer.  I can’t actually think of any boxes that this picture doesn’t tick.  With more than a shade of Eric Ravilious about it, Chris Atkins says it is still one of his favourites and that it gives him a great sense of peace whenever he looks at it.  Plus it was chosen by the National Trust as one of 5 best views of this country to go in their magazine.  Thanks for sharing it to this particularly appreciative audience Chris.


A line of power poles disappearing into the haze near Chalmington, Dorset

High Voltage Dioramas

Let me start with apologies.  A power surge in our particular valley destroyed just two things last week:  #1; my broadband router, and #2; the bit in the exchange where my particular wire plugs into whatever apparatus they have in there.  Everything and everyone else for miles around was completely unscathed.  So if you're waiting for a reply from me for anything do please carry on waiting as this has nothing at all to do with my tardiness - that's just sloth on my part.  This apology is for Mrs TPAS for using some choice and military strength vocabulary as the internet singularly failed to let me listen to the final hours of the football league relegation dramas.  My life revolves around relegation dogfights and then ultimately the relegation itself.

So, back to matters of appreciation.  Regular readers of this sage prose will know of my affinity towards dioramas.  Not so very long ago I commissioned a spectacular 3 armed miniature telegraph pole for my mantlepiece from member #0654, Paul Kirkup.  To this day, it still has pride of place among my Reddest Rhubarb, Curliest Runner Bean and other trophies.

Anyway, another Paul, Paul Rees, a diorama modeller of some spectacularity sent me the fantastic photos you see below of a 33kv termination pole, an L6 400kv tower (pylon to you) and a 33kv substation.  These just blew me away in the level of detail.  Paul says the 33kv pole is modelled on one that can be found at Port Lane substation outside Winchester. Quite brilliant. Thanks for sharing them with us.

If these are for a competition Paul, I suspect some silverware will be making it to your mantlepiece too.  Not fruit and veg related trophies alas, but you can't have everything.

This week in telegraph pole land

My week started when Charlie from out of the internet blue wrote to me.   I was a little confused by his punctuation but ultimately he told me that I am the best, that God blesses me, and that I should keep preaching the pole gospel.  He signed it with thanks from friends in Los Angeles.  Goodness me !  Alright then Charlie, thank you.  I will.

There were the usual letters with questions about telegraph poles:  how high, how long, how big a gap between etc.  Then there was another question about a fault that had been reported to a phone line in Yorkshire – to which my answer is always “Yep, we’re right on to it”.  And I would expect no less gittish an answer had I rang the Keighley Valley & Worth Steam Railway and asked them if there is a buffet trolley on the 9:30 Arriva Trains service from Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury.  Maybe the distinction between appreciation society and directory inquiries is not so clear cut as I imagined.

Then, of course, there was that brilliant video John Brunsden sent us – see our facebook presence for that particular gem.

And finally, a succint email from Jamie, also from the internet, who asks “Do you accept members from Australia?”  Do boys play football in the park I thought to myself.  We accept anything from anyone from anywhere (at any time)  is probably the best way to answer that question.  Anyway, Jamie sent us the lovely power pole photo you see below together with the caption “High Wycombe, Perth, Western Australia”.  Well, High Wycombe is in Buckinghamshire actually Jamie, so you got that wrong.  And High Wycombe, being in British Buckinghamshire, almost never experiences blue skies like that.  So someone’s got their lines crossed I think.  Speaking of crossed-lines – I counted no fewer than 30 parallelograms created from those bisecting power lines.  So well done me.

Skye Poles

MartYn Fielder (#0486H) claims never to have seen the Telegraph Pole related blockbuster “The Pole Liner”.  We find this a little difficult to believe, but just to ensure this status quo becomes mutatis mutandis*1 here is a link to see this cinematic masterpiece for free, in your own home completely surrounded by your own odours. <Watch The Pole Liner>.  Anyway MartYn also apologises for his non-correspondence for the last 3 years, but he hopes his submission of the 6 photos you see below will go some way to correcting things.  We’ll give it a go…

He also pointed us in the direction of the “Dull Men’s Club” for reasons we cannot yet fathom.  We are familiar with said organisation, but it seems, they not with us.  Also, MartYn filled us in on his recent potted history.  He left Senegal, moved to Paris, got Married and went on honeymoon to the Isle*2 of Skye.  This is not a permutation of events achieved by anyone ever, either before or since. It was during the honeymoon on Skye that he spotted these “Jolly looking poles with extra pokey bits” with the Cuillin Hills in the background during Skye’s annual sunny day of 2015.  He couldn’t choose between the pics*3 so he sent them all.  Anyway, he asks what are the pokey bits?  Well, MartYn your nomenclature is bang on the nail.  The correct telegraphpoleological term for these raised insulators on stalks is indeed “Pokey Bits”. So that’s that cleared up then.


*1 The opposite of Status Quo.  Showaddywaddy perform a similar function.
*2 As a nerd, I take issue with describing Skye as an island seeing as it now has a bridge.
*3 Neither could I

Christmas Poles in Florida

Regular and high-powered*1 contributor to the depth of telegraphic wisdom that makes up these society pages – is our old friend Carter Wall (#0487H).  Carter tells us she has decamped to Florida for her Yuletide felicitations – and if I had not got a grip of myself and not finally got around to posting this now it would have seemed hopelessly anachronistic.  As it is, 1st Jan is still officially Crimbo.  Anyway…

We have decamped to sunny Florida for the holidays, and got here in time to catch the town’s very home-made Christmas parade, which features everything from the high school marching band to the local dentist dressed as Santa, driving his Corvette. My hands down favorite in the parade, and I am sure that of any other TPASers*2 in the crowd, was the local electric utility’s float, which featured two telegraph poles, complete with hardware.  First time I’ve seen a pole with fairy lights! Merry Christmas to you all!

A Utility pole themed carnival float at Christmas in Florida

Cater signed off with “Sent from my mobile – please pardon any typos”.  Well of course I will – I’m not the sort to hold grudges. Typos, you are forgiven.
*1 Did you see what I did there? Oh goodness me, I’m just so sharp!
*2 Yes, this definitely would be a favourite.

Reconductoring pole in Phillack

A power pole in the village of Phillack, Cornwall awaiting reconductoringLadies and Gentlemen, meine damen und herren. I would like to declare, unashamedly, in this public forum that this is the first time I have ever used the word “reconductoring”. What a beautiful word it is, and I can’t believe I’ve had to wait until now to use it. Special thanks to #0597 Michael Donnithorne for giving me the opportunity when he sent in the photo you see at right with the following description.

A power pole in the village of Phillack, Hayle, Cornwall long overdue for replacement, now waiting to be re-conductored.

I am in your debt, Sir. 


Deer Pylons.

B eing pylons, and made of steel, arguably a bit “off-topic” for us…
  But, we, as appreciators of fine telegraph poles, are often indebted to Lord Commander of the Northern Poles (with Oak Leaves) Kev Currie for his deliberations on said upright wire-supporting ubiquitary. Well, he’s written to us as follows:

These are the new “Scottish” Telegraph Pylons being trialled up here in Lord Commander of the Northern poles (with oak Leaves) territory. It is thought that these new style poles might blend in better with the scenery. I was passed this photo by a secret agent who does not wish to be named, but my immediate thoughts are that it may (just like the fabled Z Poles ) be a hoax! but in this day and age where anything goes! it may actually be a real photo! Either way your members can keep their eyes peeled and see if they can spot more of the new pylons.
You ever humble servant

A pylon shaped like a deer in scotland

Rubber boots essential

A line of electricity poles crossing a tidal pool in Cornwall
Time to address the inbalance in GPO vs Power poles pictured on this site.

Society Member #0597, Michael Donnithorne sent us this picture of some poles carrying high voltage (HV) electricity across Carnsew tidal pool in Hayle, Cornwall.  The twin pole carries two circuits, an 11KV and a 33KV.

I must also apologise to Michael – For I’ve had to crop the beautifully composed photograph that he sent in such that it best suits the space I have available on this page allowing sufficient room for me to ramble on by way of apologising for making said crop.




Poles from across the Pond

They know a thing or two about poles over there in the US.  Our Massacchusettian correspondent, Carter Wall (0487H), has sent us a couple of photos.  Carter, you may remember, works as an electrical contractor in Boston – which is something of a dream job for her – being an avid pole fan and all that.  With a particular penchant for “daughter-poles” like the first picture here, wherein an old pole is strapped to a new one thus obviating the need to transfer all the gubbins*1 over.  See her previous submission on this subject right here.

A row of electrical poles

Massachusetts, USA

She says:

BTW, here we call them telephone poles even though many of them are owned by the electric company.  Don’t ask me why.  There are a lot of insulator collectors here but very few who, as your society does, venerate the poles themselves. Good Job!

Her second picture is of some new solar generation interconnection poles, wherein she adds: “Aren’t these beautiful? They just went into operation in February.”

It’s hard to disagree.  And they put me in mind of that Bee Gees song – you know the one… “And the lights all went down in Massachusetts”

Carter also wins the award for the most interesting TPAS member’s address for 2013 – She lives at  No. 16 Rattlesnake Gutter Road.  You couldn’t make it up.


*1 Gubbins, [n] [informal] British plural of doohickey. More than one thingamabob.

Power to the West Riding

A powerful power pole above Keighley

Regular communicant, Adrian Trainsett Esq. has been in touch with this society once more.  He has kindly submitted for our delectation a brace of photos of some new power transmission poles that have been fitted atop a hill near Keighley in the West Riding of Yorkieshire.  He tells us :

Apparently, these are for carrying the thicker form of telegraphy, that used for illuminating the inside of dwellings et cetera. Although why people just cannot use gas for their lighting needs is beyond my reasoning.
I trust they are of your approval.
May I also convey the greetings of the season to yourself and to all the hundreds of your staff at the TPAS.

Firstly, the pictures do meet our approval. However, picture 2 was so similar to picture 1 that I had no choice but to omit it from these pages and instead use it to line the bottom of our hamster’s cage*1

Secondly I am in agreement that Acetylene was a perfectly acceptable power source for lighting.  The words “change for change’s sake” spring to mind.

Thirdly, yes, you may convey season’s greetings to our myriad staff.  I will call a staff meeting this evening and distribute as fairly as I can your kind greetings.  Rest assured, Sir, that they are/will be reciprocated.

Finally, I just want to draw our readership’s attention to the mightily moody sky they have over there in Yorkshire. Puts me in mind of a woman I once knew!

 *1 Hamster is called Vladimir

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