It’s amazing the number of enquiries we get about telegraph poles. The latest being from Caroline Walker from Decentchapsmusic in Nottinghamshire. She asks :
“We have a TP in the corner of our front garden, under which is the only place where we can park our beloved bandwagon….unfortunately 4000 birds like to perch on top of said TP and go about their daily business which lands directly on the windscreen, bonnet, roof and door. Is there a large ‘tray’ that can be positioned under our feathered friends, or perhaps an ‘Eagle’ perched on top of the TP to persuade the little twitters to go elsewhere. Any useful advice would be much appreciated!!”
I have been known to stand on a box in a street corner shouting down an upturned traffic cone in order to dispense my useful advice. So without further ado…
Starlings are birds that like to fly in flocks that are exact multiples of 100 which explains why there are precisely 4,000 of them. If you had said 3,978 or 4,017 then I would have to suggest some other type of bird like ospreys or Ibis or something.
According to my calculations though, each bird must only be the size of a grain of rice in order for 4,000 of them to perch atop a pole which has a horizontal perching area of only about 100 sq inches. Unless of course you were looser in your description and the birds were actually spread out along the wire. We’ll never know.
Anyway, other than warning you to beware of damage caused by jumpers landing on your passing bandwagon, the answer to your question is a resounding “Yes”!
In anticipation of our sage advice (now duly given) Caroline became the latest member to join our wonderful society and share with us the joy of telegraph poles. Anyway Caroline, our large membership dept is presently away on telegraph pole related business and will be back to post you out your member pack next Tuesday. Meanwhile, here is a little picture of a certificate to whet your appetite.
> There are a lot of high winds around our part of rural altitudinous Wales. And the very latest one proved too much for this particular telegraph pole. Alas, this pole forms part of the long chain between my house and the coal-fired exchange down at Maerdy. So although the wire never actually broke, all my telephone calls and internet dalliances now take a slight detour as they leave our house – a deviation of about 15ft vertically.
And this has had some odd effects :
* I mis-dialled the doctors surgery only yesterday morning – getting through to the coal yard in Corwen instead. And they closed down 8 years ago.
* This morning I had an email off someone I hadn’t heard off in years, nay ever.
* On Wednesday, I answered the phone as ex-newsreader Moira Stewart.
I spent an hour on the phone to BT – again, owing to the detour was in fact 1 hour and 3 minutes – to report the issue. Reading between the lines of that conversation though I got the distinct impression that they didn’t, in fact, “share my concern” quite as much as they said they did.
So… The pole remain there at its jaunty angle of 68 degrees to the perpendicular and will probably remain so until the day the BT van man eventually passes this lonely way again on his (her) way to mangle mine or someone else’s connection. Just don’t be surprised where your emails might end up in the meantime!
The world’s first ever telegraph pole restoration project.
You may recognise this telegraph pole. Yes, it’s the one that lives across the road from our fields. And the very one which forms part of our iconic logo. And it’s also one that I’ve admired for many years… Until recently.
I’m always alerted to a BT techie in the area by the sudden loss of what passes for broadband around here. (If we all concentrate very hard and think pure thoughts, we can get speeds of up to 200Kbps) …
We might just have filled the vacant position of Honourary Technical Manager – another email, this time from a gentleman by the name of Keith S*****.
I believe I am possibly the last living former Poles Inspector. I worked for the post office and inspected hundreds of thousands of poles in the raw state in forests all over the UK and in Finland.
My initials KS are stamped on the base of hundreds of thousands of telegraph poles in situ now.
I also supervised the pressure creosoting of poles at various depots in the UK. There is nothing I do not know about Telegraph Poles!
I also did a spell of inspecting electricity board poles for about 6 months in the early 70’s so can advise on that aspect of poles also.
Give me the initials from the butt of a Post Office pole and I will tell you the name of the man who inspected it and accepted it on the Queen’s behalf – they all have one or two crowns stamped on the butt. One crown for a ‘light’ two crowns for a’ medium’ and three crowns for a ‘stout ‘to denote her majesty’s ownership.”
Welcome to The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society, Keith
*Keith’s real name obscured for obscure reasons of national security.
Dear fellow enthusiasts,
The following appeal for information landed on our doorstep today (metaphorically speaking):
“I have a few questions for you guys out there and would appreciate any help. There our 2 poles on our private land.
Are we entitled to “rent” for them? (I know it is probably a paltry sum they are carrying electric overhead cables)
And what is the lifespan of them? I presume that the little oblong plate with the number 63 followed by 1124 would probably mean 1963. So at over 45 years old is that too old? and they would require replacing?
thanks for your help
Well Paul, let me start by saying that I am considerably over 45 years old and yes, I am much too old and I do indeed need replacing.
Meanwhile, we have two telegraph poles on our fields also, and we get an annual payment of £28 (wayleave) for the pair. Please search for “telegraph pole wayleave” on the internet, and also have a look at the following page :
However, as for your remaining questions, we have some veteran telegraph pole connoisseurs on this site and I’m sure one of them could answer how long your poles might be expected to last and whether the 63 really does mean it’s been in the ground since 1963.
Please click here and tell us if you can help Paul.
A closer look at John Penny’s marauding Yaffles…
Regular and favoured correspondent, John Penny (member #0307) from Sherborne in Dorset sent us this picture of the DP outside his house being attacked by woodpeckers.
Some facts about John Penny :
As of 25th August 2009, he has spent 40 years climbing telegraph poles.
He is writing the third in a trilogy of four books. This one entitled “Telegraph Poles I have known and loved”. In his own words…
“The first book being ‘Great Poles I Have Climbed’ featuring the infamous ‘DP3’ in Wine Street Yeovil, sadly only a shadow of its former self since having a goodly portion lopped off – this was a three-part spliced pole of some 85 feet, and an ‘extra stout’! I also lament the passing of the DP behind Yeovil Hospital, which was a 65 foot stout. R.I.P.”
John’s first attempt to email us this photo resulted in his disk drive slot being gummed up with photo paper.
He has since submitted further telegraph pole related pictures (coming soon).
Finally, on Google earth, you can see his red Peugeot Estate on his drive – I know, I’ve looked.
More to come from John.
Click the photo to enlarge.
Glitzy Heights Indeed!
In an award ceremony which took place during London’s morning rush-hour one day last July – a foreign student handed out a free copy of Shortlist Magazine to a colleague of mine.
And so it came to pass that The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society was listed 3rd in said magazine’s Top 10 list of things that have an appreciation society.
That’s it. Job almost done. The painters have taken all their empty tins away and removed the dust-sheets and so here we are at the all-new joomla powered Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society website.
This format allows for much easier updating. Apologies to all my correspondents over the last couple of years, but now I can., much later than promised) get around to posting all your stuff up online (soon).
Meanwhile, my paid work front has largely followed the contours of the recession – ergo I will have more time to devote to my whimsy. Please look forward to some sister websites getting an overhaul soon too.
Meanwhile, keep spotting in telepole land.
Our Japan correspondent (Hâf) immediately spotted the aesthetics in this tangled urban skyscape and snapped January’s pole of the month somewhere in a downtown Tokyo. It’s also particularly pleasing owing to the blue sky. I’ve heard of blue skies, but coming from Wales, don’t remember ever having seen one.
There’s everything going on up on that pole.