Right, it’s not everyday that we plug a service or product on here. In fact, it’s never happened before. So here goes and with good reason.
Previously, you could have described your life as complete if you were a member of this venerable society, and had also read our magnificent book Telegraph Pole Appreciation for Beginners (Key Stages 1-4). I’m sorry to say the goalposts have moved a little insomuch that to declare life completeness now you must also have read the August 2018 issue of British Railway Modelling Magazine. Always a recommended tome anyway, but this particular issue features an article by doyen of dioramas and TPAS society member #0654 and is published in a magazine edited by member #0834 no less. And starting on page 80 is an article called “Improve your Telegraph Poles”. Come on, what more does a life need for proper completefaction?
For a lesser publication we would have recommended that you just block the aisle in Smiths and read it there and then whilst completely ignoring those squeezing past grumbling “you’re supposed to buy the bloody thing you know!”. Definitely NOT this time – get it bought. (just £4.75 with free DVD for goodness’ sake)
#0654: Paul Kirkup
#0834: Andy McVittie
Regular contributor and vertical wooden structure enthusiast and climber, John Brunsden sent us this amazing picture this week:
“Following on from the lovely Dorset photo on the TPAS website… Only last weekend my friend Nath, who dabbles in house clearances*1 as well as other things (a sort of ‘Lovejoy’ character) presented me with this artwork. Even the wife who usually mocks my telegraph pole interest, said she quite liked it !
Well that’s her Christmas present*2 sorted then 😉”
The artist name appears to be “Sana”, was painted in 1996 but I can’t tell from here (Wales) whether it’s original or a print. Either way, it must be worth at least a million quid. It’s quite beautiful.
*1 Jez Palmer from my year at school is presently serving 2 years for a touch of nocturnal house clearancing!
*2 If Mrs B doesn’t want this, my wife would love it (to give to me)
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?
Minigolf consultancy: http://gottfriedmarketing.co.uk/minigolf-consultancy
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.
MY LIFE IS NOW COMPLETE… Here, for your telegraphic delectation, the ultimate in home automata – a robot telegraph pole. Kindly brought into existence by London-based, Gloucestershire-born, artist Simon Handy www.simonhandy.com (and footage from Lottie O’Leary’s mobile phone).
Simon, we salute you.
Esteemed member #0654 is Paul Kirkup. He knows a thing or two about telegraph poles. Little ones, model ones, diorama-sized ones. He made the 10 inch model that now adorns our mantelpiece - next to the photo of my bank manager.
Anyway, now that the weather is better, Paul ventured outside to show us some of the things that adorn his curtilage He has a passion for the old London Midland Region of British Railways and this is reflected by the station and platform he has built in his garden. Painted red and cream of course. And what does a station need but a telegraph pole. So...
..."I bought the longest wooden pole I could find and fitted it with a cross arm and two spindles and insulators. As I am also interested in old forms of lighting, I added a suitable light fitting which switches on at dusk and goes off at midnight. There are no wires to the pole - yet - but planning is underway and two-way communication between the house and station should be achieved using a pair of field telephones, Army, type F."
Paul also sent us a photo of the remnant of a crossarm unearthed whilst rummaging in the undergrowth at Craigellachie station...
..."Now mounted on a stub pole which will eventually form part of the station communications network mentioned above. The position I found the relic in, just beyond the end of the station platform, means that it must have been mounted on the pole adjacent to the signal box, a photo of which I found in a book. It is rather nice to be able to see a photo of something now preserved for posterity, or at least as long as I am around to look after it, following which my nearest and dearest will probably chuck it in a skip!"
Paul's cakebox diorama came to the attention of the Editor of British Railway Modelling magazine, who commissioned him to write and illustrate some railway modelling projects for the mag. The second of these articles concerns the authentic modelling of telegraph poles. Paul tells us he feels that most modellers simply plant model poles straight out of the box, without much thought as to their authenticity. This has to change. I feel a campaign coming on.
A sudden letter of underwhelmment*1 this week from Jenny Tailyour recently returned from a journey of unenlightenment:
Given the legendary ferocity of their thirsts, your membership may be interested in a discovery made during an otherwise disappointing tour of the Scottish lowlands. Attached are photographs of unspectacular poles at Coldstream and North Berwick. The third photograph, however, represents a consummation devoutly to be wished by any lover of those two pillars of civilised society: telegraph poles and alcohol. Yes, finally, a telegraph pole you can actually drink. This bottle of Bush Telegraph comes from the Antipodes yet was found resting on the shelves of an out-of-the-way 'offie' in East Lothian.
It is now empty.
*1 Underwhelmment really should be a word.
Congratulations to Aaron Bailey who finally gets a credit for Pole of the Month. He was recently disqualified during a previous attempt at this prestigious award due to having submitted photos of dead poles. This time however – poor quality photograph notwithstanding – he bagged a winner:
“After a recent visit to that place where it always rains, North Wales, (Llanberis actually) I also saw that rare blue thing you have also spotted whilst looking skywards for tall, wooden sticky up things. See pictures. This pretty standard BT pole comes complete with its own self seeded Rowan tree growing out the top.
So not only is it tall, wooden and sticky up it’s also going to keep going up as it grows and gets taller! So how about that from a Telegraph Poler’s Brain!”
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.