Felt a distinct uptick in mood over the recent days. Some niggling anxieties as well as just my brain’s own internal chemistry had fogged things up for a time.

Had a fairly average Tuesday morning, and watched bands of rain blow in, lashing the roofs and the road. Out the kitchen window I saw the sparrows – now christened ‘spuggies’ in this household, thanks to a Country Diary column from earlier in the year – frantically devouring the food I hang for them in the lime tree. Their movement is quite delightful to watch, at times bolshy and argumentative and at others stoic, anxious or playful. A real mix.

A run at lunchtime to reset the mind, and I took myself down to the sea where I found waves lashing the beach as they have been so often recently with these southerly winds. It was some way off high tide, and at the weakest point in the cycle, but the wind did its best to make up for it.

The waves formed quite a way off, and the sea seemed to churn as it moved. On the beach, clumps of foam, large and small, as far as the eye could see, and looking distinctly like fresh snow. The violence of the waves smashing the pebbles had turned the sea spray into froth – a crema to this strange brew.

On my running route I added another sighting of an early cable TV duct to my map. I collect these Rediffusion-branded slabs, and when plotted on a map they are beginning to reveal a ghost network showing where the lines once ran. This was a very early cable service, first just radio, then TV, supplying homes in this town and a few others with entertainment where the hilly terrain meant traditional antennas and masts couldn’t reach everyone.

Later I ran past a team of workers laying new fibre optic cable for faster internet connections. There seem to be two, maybe three competing companies all laying fibre, with some way off being able to provide a service on it. I found it briefly interesting that this new cable-laying does not capture my interest in the same way as it does to trace the old Rediffusion coax runs.

I reason that this is because with Rediffusion it was an impossibly simple premise – some twisted pairs of wires blasting predetermined stations down the line to the receiver. You’d select the channel you want with a switch box on the wall, and the wires coming in from the street carried these channels as a direct connection to your home. It seems akin to having a selection of mini water pipes running to every home, carrying lemonade in one, milk in the other, and so on.

But with fibre? Well that can carry anything. And I have no idea how it works. And so there’s nothing for me to grasp, and consequently it does not hold my interest in nearly the same way.

2 thoughts on “fifteenvember

  1. Hi Paul,

    We still have a Rediffusion box attached to our house. The history of the service supposedly dates back to the 20s when a guy in Hull (where I am) got fed up with the weak radio signals caused by our unfortunate geography (low, flat, surrounded by hills). They had their head office down on Beverley Road.

    I’ll be painting the back of the house next year and so it’ll probably come down – but an interesting bit of tech history!


    1. No way! Very cool. I am tempted to ask on a forum if any locals still have the selector switch in their house that they’re renovating and want rid of. I think it’d be quite a cool object to put a new use to.

      Thanks for the note mate!

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