Pole of the Month – March 2019

What’s this – Pole of the month two months in succession? We are grateful, not to mention gladdened, always, to receive missives from the East Dorset Branch of T.P.A.S. and this time even more so as they have provided us with this splendiferous p.o.t.m. I shall leave you in the delightful company of East Dorset Chair, Willie Montgomery Stack for the rest of this post to describe this serendipitous chance-upon.

“Esteemed Sir,

Can a post be a pole? And might this one be the last surviving example of its type? 

During the Spring half term outing of the TPAS East Dorset branch last week, our members stumbled across a truly remarkable edifice which we would like to bring to your attention. Approaching a road junction a stone’s throw from Coverham Abbey in North Yorkshire, our members glimpsed with delight a proud array of cross arms and insulators. Naturally we all leapt from the tour bus to take a closer look but it was several seconds before we realised that, while it meets the TPAS’s strict criteria of being wooden and sticky-uppy, the thing is distinctly unpole-like in one respect. Rather than being rounded (part of the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a pole), it is SQUARE in section, resembling a railway signal post rather than a telegraph pole. It is a distribution pole (DP 2) for the tiny Coverdale telephone exchange and was clearly stuck there by the GPO, although no further identifying marks can be seen upon it. 

Our excitement knew no bounds at its discovery. Mrs Pringle was heard to remark that she’d never been so grateful for Tena Lady. And we are all agreed we haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else. 

Have any other members ever chanced upon such a thing, and might you be willing to consider it as a candidate for Pole of the Month, if not the decade?

Faithfully yours,
Willie Montgomery Stack”

The Famous Leaning Poles of Gleneely

July, as is usual for the time year, and The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society closes its extensive office complex and our entire HQ staff buggers off on holiday.  For this trip we chose Ireland again and whilst there took the opportunity to visit the famous Leaning Poles of Gleneely.   That Ireland has had a troubled political history is a well established fact.  That the Irish choose their political leaders according to which way a run of telegraph poles leans is less well known.

These simple telephone poles first started their movements some time around the proclamation of Irish independence in 1916 but their association with political bias remained largely unnoticed until around the time of the first constitution in 1937.  Their movement back and forth was assumed to be due to prevailing winds and the weak structure of the soil locally.

The leaning poles of Gleneely swing to the west
The poles forecasting the rise of Bertie Ahern in 1992

The poles can be found on the R238 between Gleneely and Culdaff in Co. Donegal. They were planted perfectly perpendicular but by the mid 1930s they were most definitely leaning in a westerly direction – coinciding with the election of Éamon de Valera of the Fianna Fáil party to the position of Taoiseach*1.  The poles leaned this way until over the course of five nights in 1948 they changed direction and swung over to lean eastwards once more.  This was just prior to the election of John Costello of FIne Gael where both he and the poles remained for the next three years.

These six poles have swung east and west ever since and the switch is always complete at least a whole week before the elections take place.  There was a seventh poll-predicting pole but one reverted to its original upright position following the resignation of Charles Haughey in 1992 has not moved an inch since.

With Leo Varadkar (Fine Gael) incumbent in office, the poles, for now, lean towards the east.  All Irish eyes are watching for even the tiniest change in direction.

*1 literally translates as “Man*2 with biggest desk”
*2 Mrs TPAS says this should say Person otherwise I’m a sexist.

Dull Men’s Pole

I recently attended an evening hosted by the Dull Men’s Club which turned out to be anything but dull.  Our host for this conviviality was the wryly enthusiastic assistant vice-president of D.M.C. Grover Click – who doubles as founder of the Park Bench Appreciation Society.  Wine, beer and cashew nuts were consumed as we heard talks and presentations from luminaries of the world of esoterics.  One of whom was Richard Gottfried, who together with his wife Emily are Crazy Golf champions (possibly) of the World.  And they are on a mission to locate, play and document every crazy golf course on the planet – to date, more than 700 courses and counting.  Now, I’ve sat through scores of presentations over the years but rarely so engaging and educating as this.

Anyway, on a search of crazy golf courses in Cumbria, and in particular around Barrow in Furness, Richard stopped off at the Hatherthwaite & Lakeside heritage steam railway – as you do – where he spotted this fine pole across the platform at Hatherthwaite station.  “Is it of interest to you?” he asks. As If !

One final synchronistic fact.  Turns out 21st September is not only Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day, but it is also Miniature Golf Day too.  Would you Adam & Eve?

 

Web: http://hamandeggerfiles.blogspot.co.uk
Minigolf consultancy: http://gottfriedmarketing.co.uk/minigolf-consultancy

Cruel Cuts

This post has rather jumped our highly regulated in-house publication queue due to its intense ambrosial delectability.

These photos were sent in to us by Telegraph Pole top-tabler, member #666 Dave Bennett who was on his way to deliver some artwork to the National Truss at Avebury when he spotted this at Great Wishford, Wiltshire. No I’ve never heard of it either.

Evidently this pole has been neglected for decades – long enough for a good covering of ivy to grow – maybe due to cruel funding cuts. The essential pole info had been covered so the ivy has been chopped off ( much in the manner of the good old ‘basin-cut’ haircuts I suffered in the ’50’s – more cruel cuts!) but funds didn’t extend to trimming the rest of the pole thus leaving it in this caterpillar-like state. They’ll need a tree surgeon to climb this one.

Thanks Dave, that is a corker.

Now I also know this for a fact – Dave’s girlfriend Sally’s mate Trudy gave her husband a copy of Telegraph Pole Appreciation for Beginners (Key Stages 1-4) for Christmas and he said it was “the best Christmas present ever”.  Just saying…

Most Leaniest Pole & Thinnest Pole competition(s)

John Brunsden (#0469H) has an advantage over we mere mortal telegraph pole appreciators insomuch as he is a professional ascender and mender of said grounded perpendicular appendages. And we’re always extremely grateful for his updates from the field.  Accepting that he gets first pick of the most somethingest of all telegraph poles and is finely tuned to looking at them anyway, there is still plenty of scope for the rest of us to pick up the gauntlet he has hereby thrown down to us.  Namely, his entries to most leaning pole, and also thinnest pole (at just 3″ diameter).  Anyway, here’s what he had to say.

Had to go and look at a leaning pole in a garden this afternoon (photo enclosed) and thought this could be the start of “the pole with the most degrees of lean” competition?
Anyway, on the way there, I passed these lovely 3 in a row, 1942, tiny 18ft “extra” light poles, which they say were probably put up by land girls back in the day! Sadly all were “D” poles, so I guess not long for this world…
I duly submit pole 1 of these as my entry to “the thinnest pole” competition !
Happy Christmas
John

And a happy November first, then Christmas, to you too John 😉

Meanwhile, whilst we’ve never had a thinnest pole before, we have had a couple of leaners – namely <here> and <here>.  The latter of which was my own.  Oh, and does <this one> count?

{rapidgallery}nov2016{/rapidgallery}

michael donnithorne's missusSTOP PRESS

Not to be outleaned, Mike Donnithorne (#0597) sent us this picture of her indoors – not only sprouting leaves but as a delightful foreground to some sort* of leaning pole. This, from the mists of time, somewhere near Banbury he thinks. 

* Looks like the sail off a boat to me. Click to enlarge.

 

Charming rural customs

Mover and shaker in US power poles and long time friend to this society, Carter Wall, has written with this every day tale of country folk. 

Well, I have moved to the country since we last spoke, happily living on a dirt road with no mobile service, no cable television – we are very remote.  But we DO have phone and electric service, which means we have poles, of course.  We also have our Beloved Town Eccentrics, who have Charming Rural Customs.  One of my neighbors, who is well known in the area for his courageous resistance to government oppression, which includes refusing to make use of the town dump or pay for his utilities, has thriftily re-purposed the pole outside his house – see picture – and yes, the phone works.)

But could it just be that you’ve discovered the rural residence of New York’s most effectual, most tip-top, Top Cat?

A telephone attached to a telegraph pole in rural USA.

A Tall Pole

Since the demise of his 1938 LPTB Trolley Bus poles*1, Nude bee-keeper Geoff Hood has switched his considerable affections to telegraph poles.  He tells us that he found this 1950 GPO extra-high pole with two crossbars feeding into some houses in deepest London N3.  “Just thought it worthy of appreciating” he says.  I agree Geoff.  And since these pictures arrived into the not-inconsiderable mail system here at TPAS towers, I have endeavoured to appreciate them at every opportunity.  I managed an hour before the Archers came on the wireless this evening, then I did another 10 mins after my bath.  And I’ll try and get another few minutes appreciating in before I go to bed.  I’ve asked my wife to have a go too when she gets a minute.  But she said she’s still busy appreciating one of them that John Brunsden sent in February.  Blimey, it’s all go here !

IMG 1926IMG 1928
IMG 1929IMG 1931 IMG 1933

*1 See here.

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