scribbles tagged ‘electricity’

living in her debris

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

wendy: Dad? There’s too much Margret Thatcher everywhere. To try and keep my spirits up I’ve been listening to Tony Benn interviews. How are you?

Dad: He was active in the electricity industry you know, if it wasn’t for Tony Benn Britain wouldn’t have a nuclear power industry.

Dad still wouldn’t tell me which way he votes, or voted, rather we compared fundamental beliefs and values. Unsurprisingly, our beliefs are very similar, so I don’t need to know which way he votes if what we want is fundamentally the same. I love Dad, he has such a strong and grounded perspective on things.

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fence post inspections

Friday, April 20th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Thomas conducts his perfunctory fence post inspecition duties without so much as an hurumpfff
Didcot power station

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land lines

Friday, October 7th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

The telephone pole’s spider silk lightly clings to the nearby houses

Burder street telephone lines

I wonder how long this will last when a substantial swathe of people find it easier to get connected and  manage thier bills using a “Pay as you go” mobile phone – no connection charge, no deposit if you have no credit history….

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cloud making

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 | tags: ,  |

This autumn the dragons that live in the caverns beneath the cloud making machines are taking a long, deep, extra Indian summer snooze before they start hailing winter by breathing steam, clouds, into the cold air

Let’s hear it for the sleeping dragons below the cloud making machines, whisper “Hip Hip…..Hoorah…..”  and let the sleeping dragons lie

Ratcliffe on Soar cooling towersRatcliffe-on-Soar dragons breathing tubes for making clouds



Light summer cloud creation Willington hinting at a few light clouds before dusk




Didcot cloud towers - 3 weather witchesDidcot towers basking in the noon-day sunshine.

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Mysteron movements

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 | tags:  |

Mysteron sighting on a sunny September day outside the Ratcliffe-on-Soar cloud-making facilities. This photograph has not been editted or tampered with in any way. Those lights were genuinely there. I ducked for cover then stocked up on emergency supplies of tea and twiglets

The misterons

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Pylon passion

Monday, August 9th, 2010 | tags: , , , ,  |

 OMD sang Electricity

OMD quickly earned a favoured position in my teenage heart when I first heard Electricity. This song reminds me of home, of warmth and comfort. Most of all reminds me of Dad getting excited about Pylons, happily ethusing.  His excitement is contagious.

Dad started work for an electricity supply company in the early 1950’s.  Exciting times for an Engineer specialising in supplying electricity to the UK.  Building infrastructure, planning routes to lay cables and overhead lines. Dad is still passionate about the details of the tools of his trade.  He has photograph albums dedicated to Pylons.

He’s recently returned from a trip to China. He treated us to the holiday photo’s on the family TV. Amongst the photographs of temples, rivers, mountains, village streets were numerous photographs of pylons. 

Whenever I see a Pylon, transformer, dam, or insulator I think fondly of Dad.  How his face lights up and he starts talking about what’s interesting about this particular thing, its age, its construction process, its location or ability to withstand high winds.

Not only is his excitment contagious,

I now find myself taking photographs of Pylons whenever I go on holiday.

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grab and twist a knob

Thursday, July 15th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

There is an old polygraph in a store room at work.

I find myself wandering into the room to flick the switches, turn the knobs, read the dials. I am attracted to the clinks and clicks, the feeling of pushing and twisting, the golds, blacks,r eds and silvers and the number scales.  Its like a giant Fisher-Price toy for adults where the pleasure is in playing with the controls rather than actually using it for its intended purpose. 

Everyone suffering from a ridiculously serious job should have their own polygraph to play with during tea breaks.  Once or twice people have caught me playing the polygraph.  Thier reaction is not one of amusement or horror, normally their faces light-up they comment on how beautiful the machine is as they wander over hyponotised and hands out as they grab and twist a knob.

Lets play!

grab and twist a knob
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Friday, June 1st, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

my father once mentioned that he has second sight.   Apparently  it runs in our family

“How do you know?” …he did not  reply with…

‘how do you not know?’   …or question his  role as my biological father…

He told me a story of how, as a teenager, he shook hands with a girl and foresaw her death.   This had disturbed him so much that he avoided using his second sight,   except, of course, in his job  for divining.

Before retirement my father was responsible for the  overhead and underground lines of a  regional Electricity group  before Thatcher sold them all  off.   Dad used his divining skills to pinpoint the location of underground electricity lines or other obstacles  such as sewers when directing digging for repairs etc.   Dad kept his divining rods in the house.   As a child (5yrs, 1968) I would test him at the weekends.   A fun game.    The test involved him using his rods to find a single  tuppeny bit hidden under reams of    used computer paper I had liberally strewn across the  living room floor.    Dad used his divining rods to find the coin.   I watched him intently to make sure he wasn’t feeling the coin with his feet through the paper or using some other cunning strategy.

Dad  normally found the coin

then giggled

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Sunday, December 17th, 2006 | tags: , , , , ,  |

For a  photo-story of the Wendy House, 24hr Power outage, click this picture of my reading a book by candle-power:

The Wendy House was lucky,   only 24 hs without electricity and a gas-fire for warmth.   The Seattle PI reports that more than 1 million Washingston State residents lost power. The all to frequent sound of siren’s passing the Wendy House re-inforced the risks associated with a suddent lack of traditional power sources.   The smell of woodsmoke, prevalent in the air, took on an ominous tone.   Did it  herald a burning home?

Memories of my childhood:  

January 1974,   11yrs old, the UK was suffering from a power crisis.   The Conservative government under Prime Minister Edward Heath introduced a ‘3 day week’ to conserve power.   At that time the UK’s main source of electrical power was the National Coal industry,   electricity from coal.   The country was suffering from extreme inflation.   To try and curtail inflation the government introduced wage-capping.   The Miners were not happy about their wage cap.   The Miners union introduced a ‘work to rule’,   they only followed the detail of the job description nothing above and beyond.   This severely curtailed coal production and reduced the power available to the country.   Unable to negotiate a solution with the Coal Miners representative,   the Union, the government introduced a 3 day week.   Power was only available on 3 consecutive days in a week.

To  an 11yr old this  is exciting and  fun.   4 days a week where the evenings were by candle-light and no hot-water for bathing.   As a family we would play cards by candle-light. It was like camping inside home.    We wore several layers of woolly jumpers and fingerless gloves indoors.   We used a camping gas stove to brew tea and make the occassional hot meal.  

After the Heath Conservative government was replaced by  Harold Wilson’s  Labour government the normal working week returned.   Wilson was a working-class boy who excelled in English the educational system.   A Yorkshire boy,   like Wallace, with a quick wit.   The last great intellectual Prime Minister that lead Britain.   The last true Labour Prime Minister.   With some impressive political thinkers in his cabinet such as  Tony Benn  and my personal favourites Denis Healey and Micheal Foot.

The exploitation of  oil  from the North Sea helped Britain to avoid severe economic disaster,   and assured that Scotland would not gain independence before its natural resources ran out.   That would be approximately…. ….now.   Britain is begining to face a renewed energy crisis and despite a thrashing by Thatcher the National Union of Miners is still a voice at the lobbying table.   The fancy new Labour party, Blair’s government, is being criticised for its lack of long term planning.

In my ‘retirement’ I  want to live in, or below,  a Windmill, to  be self-sufficient then sell extra power back to the country in  an emergent decentralised power system.  

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power outage

Thursday, July 20th, 2006 | tags: ,  |

to the Wendy House:   7.15am thru 9.10am

In the UK called a ‘power cut’ or a ‘power failure’

Everything went off accept my cell-phone,   my laptop and one of the 25 local wireless networks.   At 7.15am I turned on my laptop,   found the  the local power providers number and called.   They were really on top of it.   They knew my address and told me the outage was caused by an ‘animal getting caught in the lines” they didnt tell me if the animal survived,   they did  predict power would be restored by 9am.   Good prediction.


  • how do I open my garage door without the remote control working?   I got to stand outside and chat to the neighbors,   none of them knew.   We found a torch and worked it out (not intuitive).
  • No TEA!   disaster!
  • No internet (the modem needs electricity),   wait,   there’s one unsecure wireless network available… …internet!   I got to discover how long Darling’s battery would last,   it lasted for the duration of the outage,   HOORAY!
  • A chorus of smoke alarms persistently peeped,   the fluffballs were not impressed.

After everything came back on,   I checked the appliances that use gas and they’ve all got pilot lights and working,   impressive.   I had anticipated having to manually restart these using complex button pressing combinations.   Aren’t modern homes wonderful!


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