Food and Drink

Pylon of the Month - February 2023


The fact that this is February's Pylon of the Month rather than January's is because of a mixture of procrastination and busyness. That and the fact that having @pylonofthemonth Twitter provided a daily pylon fix so that the withdrawal symptoms weren't quite powerful enough to galvanise me into action. This pylon comes courtesy of a colleague at work and was taken a day or so after a lovely conversation where he learnt about my interest in electricity transmission infrastructure. It was a cold snap in the UK and with another one upon us as I write this, it seemed like a good idea to juxtapose pylons and frost. There is clearly something aesthetically pleasing about the idea because both Shutterstock (Hoar Frost Pylons) and Alamy (Electricity pylons covered in snow) have plenty of images to choose from! These particular pylons are near Sandford Lock south of Oxford which is notable for having the deepest fall of all the locks on the Thames at 2.69 metres. It's also close to the infamous Sandford Lasher, the scene of a number of tragic drownings. According to this article from Dark Oxford, one of them (Michael Llewelyn Davies in 1921), was the inspiration for Peter Pan. You could visit the pylon (as my colleague did) en route to the newly opened and fantastic Proof Social Bakehouse on a nearby industrial estate. 

One of the great things about writing this blog is the serendipitous discoveries I make whilst researching the articles. This month, I stumbled across a short story by L P Hartley, best known his 1953 novel The Go-Between which has the famous opening line - "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there". His much less well known short story, "The Pylon" is a rather strange tale.  A quote from near the beginning:

 The pylon, then, had served him as a symbol of angelic strength. But in other moods it stood for something different, this grey-white skeleton. In meaner moods, rebellious moods, destructive moods, he had but to look at it to realize how remote it was from everything that grew, that took its nourishment from the earth and was conditioned by this common limitation. It was self-sufficient, it owed nothing to anyone. The pylon stood four-square upon the ground, but did not draw its sustenance from the ground. It was apart from Nature; the wind might blow on it, the rain might beat on it, the snow might fall on it, frost might bite it, drought might try to parch it, but it was immune, proof against the elements: even lightning could not touch it, for was it not itself in league with lightning?

You can read the full story in this online poetry magazine or by getting your hands on a copy of the Collected Macabre Stories published in 2001. There are undoubtedly hidden psychological depths to the story that I might discuss with a literary expert at some point, but I'll leave you this month with another short quote. I shall bear it in mind whenever I read a story about the removal of a pylon from the landscape.

But whereas their grievance against the pylon had been vocal for many years, their gratitude for its departure was comparatively short-lived. They would still say, ‘How marvellous without the pylon!’ but they didn’t really feel it, and after a month or two they didn’t even say it, taking their deliverance for granted, just as when an aching tooth is pulled out, one soon ceases to bless the painless cavity.


Pylon of the Month January 2019


January's Pylon of the Month comes from a fan of the website who was driving through Scotland when a perfect pylon moment occurred.  The email that came with the photo captures that moment perfectly:

Scotland, Tuesday, 1st January 2019, New Year’s Day, driving home from Wester Ross to East Lothian southwards down the A9 (mercifully quiet). It was early afternoon, on a stretch of that great road that is wonderfully rugged and remote, just before the turn off for Dalwhinnie. The giant pylons which run along above the A9 seem to add to the drama of the landscape, but at this moment, the sunlight caught the cables, and lit them like strands of gossamer. It was like a mystical fairground on those hills. Fortunately, Lay-by 90 cropped up and I was able to draw off and get out to capture them before the moment moved on and the spectacle was gone.

The email continued with sentiments that pylon fans everywhere will endorse:

You either love these giants, or hate them. Personally, I think they enhance the sheer rugged grandeur of this landscape. They stride along above the road; they are all giant, but there are the really tall ones, but also the shorter ones; ones with all legs the same height, others with two short legs, fitting into the uneven terrain. An amazing feat of engineering. 

Pylon fans who want to check them out will also be able to visit the famous Dalwhinnie distillery for a wee dram or two of their 'Winter's Gold' - An indulgent, honeyed Dalwhinnie that is comforting, rich and sweet, with notes of heather and peat and a spicy warmth. Who could ask for anything more at this time of year? On that thought, I'll leave it there for now.  As always, @pylonofthemonth on Twitter has more regular pylon action for those who can't wait until February.

Pylon of the Month - September 2017


The usual 'too much to do and not enough time to do it' at the start of a new academic year almost made September another month without a pylon.  Then the picture above popped up on @pylonofthmonth with 'Contender for September' as the byline.  That spurred me into action (well sort of - it's now over a week since then but better late than never!) and so here we are.

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Amongst all the other pylon pictures that appear on Twitter, it was the contrast between the white ceramic insulators and the dark sky that caught my eye.  You can even buy these ceramic discs as garden ornaments although they brown rather than white.  The green field then adds another colour to the composition that appeals to my aesthetic sense.  The pylon can be found in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire and a bit of investigation reveals that Mountsorrel is a rather lovely village on the River Soar south of Loughborough.  According to Wikipedia, the unusual name of the village also has an interesting provenance

Whilst the origin of the name 'Mountsorrel' is still not understood fully, it is thought that the English nobility of the time named Mountsorrel after Montsoreau, a village in France close to Fontevrault, where Henry II was buried. The name Mountsorrel is of Norman-French origin and is thought to have developed due to the close likeness of Montsoreau and Mountsorrel – both settlements sit on rivers, the Loire and the Soar respectively, and are overshadowed by surrounding hills.

To see the pylon from the place where the picture was taken, you need to head to the Mountsorrel & Rothley Community Heritage Centre.  Having seen the pylon, there is plenty to keep you busy at this location including the Mountsorrel Railway, the Nunckley Trail and Granite's Coffee Shop to name but three.  Leicestershire is one of the parts of the UK that I've visited least often and so an excursion to Mountsorrel might just give me the excuse I need.  

Pylon of the Month - June 2017

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The month of May passed by without a pylon and so summer is now here rather than 'icumen in'.  This month's pylon, however, is looking back to a day in the Alps earlier in the year when a fan of the website took time out to take this picture of a mountain pylon.  The angle of the transmission lines leaving the pylon is pretty impressive, but sadly for pylon fans everywhere I couldn't find any technical details of maximum permissible angles or the engineering challenges of building pylons in mountainous areas.

 The email by which the picture arrived was pithy and to the point:

At Plan des Queux near Pointe de Daillant in French Alps. Height: 2150m. 

It also showed evidence that this pylon fan had been willing to go the extra mile (metaphorically if not literally):

Accessed on foot.

I couldn't track down the exact location on a map, but a quick look into electricity in the French Alps led to a story that I found impossible to ignore.  

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So if you're a pylon fan and a cheese connoisseur on a skiing holiday next year then surely you won't be able to resist popping to Albertville.  If you do and there pylons on view please do send me a picture!



Pylon of the Month - February 2014


There will always be a place on Pylon of the Month for the snatched pylon pictures taken through the window of a moving vehicle, but this month's pylon is most definitely one of the most artistic to have featured on the blog.  With the metallic sky in the background and the contrast with the brown of the landscape, it really does reach new dramatic and artistic heights.  It was taken by a fan of the website and if it catches your eye then you can see the picture with a bit about the back story here and another photograph in the sequence is here.  The pylon is to be found in the Corbières in southern France, near the village of Fabrezan and I think it is the first French pylon to feature on Pylon of the Month.  So I'm pleased to be doing my bit for the entente cordiale one hundred years after the start of the of the First World War.  If you are thinking of heading to the area then as well as pylon spotting, you will surely be aware that this area is famous for its wine.  In fact, one of the favourite red wines in the Pylon of the Month household, Chateau Sainte Eulalie is from very close to this pylon and we visited it a few years ago whilst on holiday near Carcassonne.  We buy it through the Wine Society (which I can't recommend highly enough) and according to their website:

Château Sainte Eulalie is an outstanding estate run by a young and enthusiastic couple, Laurent and Isabelle Coustal. The domaine was first established in the earlier part of the 20th century, but it has been since this dynamic pair took over in 1996 that it has gained its excellent status.

As always, it is amazing where a pylon picture will take you and I'll leave it there as I head back to a warm fire for a glass of red wine.


As this is my first French pylon, I thought that I would try an experiment and get Google to translate this post into French.  I'm not expecting a great result but if any French readers want to offer a better translation then I will be happy to improve it.

Il y aura toujours une place sur pylône du mois pour les photos des pylônes arrachés de pylônes prises à la volée par la fenêtre d'un véhicule en mouvement , mais le pylône de ce mois est très certainement l'un des plus artistique ont présenté sur le blog . Avec le ciel métallique en arrière-plan le contraste avec le brun du paysage qu'il fait vraiment atteindre de nouveaux sommets dramatiques . Elle a été prise par un fan du site et si elle attire votre attention , vous pouvez voir l'image avec un peu de l'arrière histoire ici . Le pylône se trouve dans les Corbières dans le sud de la France, près du village de Fabrezan et je pense qu'il est le premier pylône français à figurer sur pylône du mois . Je suis donc heureux de faire ma part pour l'entente cordiale 100 ans après le début de la de la Première Guerre mondiale . Si vous envisagez de partir pour la région, puis ainsi que pylône taches la chasse aux pylônes, vous serez sûrement au courant que cette région est célèbre pour son vin . En fait , l'un des vins rouges préférés dans le pylône du ménage mois , le Château Sainte Eulalie est de très près à ce pylône et nous avons visité il ya quelques années en vacances près de Carcassonne . Nous achetons par la Wine Society (que je ne peux pas recommander assez fortement ) et en fonction de leur site :

Château Sainte Eulalie est un exceptionnel domaine dirigé par un jeune et enthousiaste couple, Laurent et Isabelle Coustal . Le domaine a été créé dans la première partie du 20ème siècle , mais il a été depuis cette paire dynamique a repris en 1996 qu'il a acquis son excellent état ​​.

Comme toujours , il est étonnant où une image de pylône vous prendre et je vais le laisser là que je me dirige vers un feu chaleureux pour un verre de vin rouge .