They’re about to dig up the road

Another quota photo, because: another busy day. I may have time later to do something for here, but don’t want to have to be bothering about this.


Again, photoed quite recently. Well, this year. And very near to where I live. I recall having to put down two big bags of shopping, and to dig out my camera from underneath shopped items, to immortalise this scene. When you see the photo, photo it, now. Leave it until later and, first, you won’t come back later, and second, it you do, it will probably be gone. In this case, dug up. That’s the photo-rule to have been following here.

The other relevant photo-rule is: If someone sees you doing this and thinks you’re a weirdo, this does not matter. You either care about your photos looking good, or about yourself looking good at all times. Pick one.

What it is is marks on a road, prior to some digging, digging which was still not, when last I looked, completed. My guess is that the symbols refer to pipes, but what do I know?

In its small way, this photo reminds me of something a war correspondent once said about D-Day, which he was at and was reporting on. He said something like: “I didn’t know what the plan was, but I had the strong sense that events were unfolding in accordance with that plan.” I don’t know what the plan was for all the digging that subsequently happened, but there clearly was a plan, and the digging was surely done in accordance with it.

Also (ISIBAISIA), I like photoing things that look like Modern Art but which are not Modern Art. I think this is partly because if reality itself mimics Modern Art on a regular basis, that means that deliberately creating Modern Art is unnecessary, and Modern Artists are not nearly as important contributors to the ongoing march of civilisation as they like to think that they are. Without them, there would still be plenty of Modern-Art-like stuff around for people who like that sort of thing to be looking at.

There you go. Not bad for a mere quota post. And it only took about ten minutes.

2 thoughts on “They’re about to dig up the road”

  1. This BBC article claims to explain these markings:

    If it is correct, then green means “communications” (cable television, CCTV, etc.), blue means “water” and red means “electricity”. Your photo shows orange markings rather than red, but the fact that they are marked “HV’s” clearly indicates that they mean high voltage power lines. The number of dots indicates how many of them there are.

    However, there are many private and public bodies that could potentially be making these “dig here but not there” marks. So, there are probably a lot of private codes that are only known to the people who are meant to use them, and also several regional dialects in which certain symbols and colour schemes have been accepted as the convention in a certain geographical area but are not recognised elsewhere.

    There’s probably a serious academic study to be made here of how a visual “lingua franca” arises and evolves due to practical necessity and then disappears without a trace because all the people who understood it only knew it as a short-term practical expedient that didn’t need to be documented.

  2. AndrewZ

    Thank you for this. Fascinating. I didn’t know these signs were so varied and uncoordinated. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, so long as the people who need to understand any particular signs do understand.)

    And I agree, there’s an academic opening here, because this is evidence concerning when a potential bigger and shared language ISN’T getting established.

    I guess if contractors became a bit less local, and more varied, then a more coordinated language of signs, of the sort the rest of us could also learn about and understand, might catch on. To avoid costly cock-ups.

    I’ll try to keep my eyes open and camera clicking for more of this sort of stuff.

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