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Well, it’s about time

We got a new telephone pole today. This may not sound exciting to you – and, in fact, it is not exciting – but once or twice a year for as long as we’ve lived here, a British Telecom engineer has stood in our drive, stared at our pole, sucked his teeth and said, “that thing will have to go.” And then left.

Today, it finally went. That’s because the guy who turned up today wasn’t a BT engineer, he was an independent contractor who wouldn’t get paid if the pole wasn’t replaced.

So up he goes in his cherry-picker and a hellacious and unpredicted thunderboomer turns up. You can see it sneaking in from the left. Lightning, tropical rain, the works. Dude sailed right through and put up the damn pole. Hurrah for the independent contractor!

There. Exciting.

Reminds me – when I was a kid I lived in a town so small there was no obvious place for the young’uns to hang out. So they picked an electric pole near the town square and hung out there. They called it The Pole as in, “I’ll meet you at The Pole after school.” They had t-shirts made and everything.

This was after my time, sadly, so I don’t have a The Pole t-shirt. But I do have a new pole!


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 19, 2021, 7:52 pm

Her Stoaliness’s mention of poles reminds me that twice a year we journey into a part of Sussex where the mains 240v electricity supply comes via metal poles by the side of the road. Yes, that’s right, metal. Iron by the look of it. They seem to have barbed wire wrapped around the basses, to deter little darlings from clambering up them and I’m sure they have nice big ceramic insulators so that they don’t glow in the dark but, all the same, I can’t see how what seemed a sensible engineering answer to a problem back in the 1920s or ’30s (or whenever it was they were installed) is still considered safe today.

Stings a bit, that 240v.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: July 19, 2021, 8:01 pm

We had “The Field” out behind my house. It was actually just an empty lot that was exceptionally deep with only one tree in it. We played football and just generally made nuisance of ourselves.

No T-shirt, either.

Comment from p2
Time: July 19, 2021, 8:44 pm

Good to see BT maintaining its sterling image as “The finest telecommunications system in the world.” (from their adverts back in the 80’s & 90’s)

Comment from Mitch
Time: July 19, 2021, 10:38 pm

Young’uns don’t hang out at all anymore seemingly. A couple years ago I went back to my old neighborhood from the 70’s – not a single child was out playing. It was Spring Break so no school. I went to our old bike trail near the woods – gone. It was spooky how dead the neighborhood seemed. The Internet is eating our children.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: July 19, 2021, 11:04 pm

We have a “stander” next to my mother’s bed to assist her in getting in and out.

I dubbed it “Uncle Stosh”. Because it’s a Pole. (rimshot)

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: July 20, 2021, 1:11 am

We had “the fence”.

which was really nicer than “the underground fort” because there was no carbon monoxide at the fence 🙂

Comment from cantharkmycry
Time: July 20, 2021, 1:03 pm

Mitch: The entire 40 years I’ve lived in my current home (city neighborhood, neither upscale nor low-income) there have been groups of children who regularly played outside–largely in the street because, unfortunately, the front yards are small and sloped. The houses they are associated with, and therefore the particular areas of their most active play, have differed over the years as folks moved in and out, and as one set of children aged and was replaced by a younger cohort, but they’ve always been there. It’s entirely possible that the homes in your old neighborhood are still largely inhabited by the folks who lived in them when you did (that was certainly true of my old neighborhood until a couple of decades ago), who have not added children to the household as they aged.
Yes, I’m sure the kids around where I live use the internet, at least as assiduously as (other children) used TV when I was growing up. But they still play outdoors.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: July 20, 2021, 1:21 pm

One bright Sunday morning years back when Mrs. Vegetable and I lived in Tokyo, while having a lazy breakfast/brunch in our tiny high-rise apartment, an old Cat Stevens song came on. Some of the lyrics go,

Well I think it’s fine, building jumbo planes
Or taking a ride on a cosmic train
Switch on summer from a slot machine
Yes, get what you want to if you want
Cause you can get anything
I know we’ve come a long way
We’re changing day to day
But tell me, where do the children play?

Well you’ve cracked the sky, scrapers fill the air
But will you keep on building higher
‘Til there’s no more room up there?
Will you make us laugh, will you make us cry?
Will you tell us when to live, will you tell us when to die?
I know we’ve come a long way
We’re changing day to day
But tell me, where do the children play?

Looking out at the Endless City which is Tokyo, this really resonated with me.

“Exactly!“ I said to Mrs, who was reading her newspaper. “Where DO the children play?”. The concrete and asphalt stretched on forever out side our little balcony window.

She barely glanced up at me from her paper. “Nintendo“, she said and went back to reading.


Comment from BJM
Time: July 20, 2021, 6:19 pm

I spent my yute in a small Central Valley town where kids roamed free…we’d leave home in the morning with a PB&J sandwich and carrot sticks. In the summer we met at the Drop…an irrigation canal junction sluice gates with wide sandy banks next to a small shady municipal park that was the town’s teens and kids local “beach” and picnic spot. We spent our summer riding bikes and innertubes around the network of canals.

A funny story, Napa chef Michael Chiarello was raised on a dairy farm in the next burg down the Highway, and when he broke into San Francisco TV with his first cooking show they did a local-guy-makes-good-back-to-the-farm bio. He was telling the film crew, city guys, about growing up in the Valley’s abundance and about their “beach”. So he takes them to the canal sluice near his family home. He was thrilled, they were very puzzled.

Canal banks were also major teen snogging venues…but we never did that…no, sir.

All of that is long gone, canals cemented or covered over, chain link fenced off, running very fast, not even wild ducks brave the current.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: July 20, 2021, 7:14 pm


that’s the British version of tobogganing, right?


Comment from Steve
Time: July 21, 2021, 3:55 pm

“… I do have a new pole.”

And who else among us can say THAT?

Happy New Pole Day to Sweasel and Uncle B.

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