(Big debate this morning - train or bikes? The boys were immediate and unanimous in their answer - BIKES.)
So we headed off and up to Bletchley Park. A nice ride this morning, although Sherlock was wriggling about - like having an eel behind me on the bike.
Once we were there, an in, Sherlock obviously wanted to DO everything, while Mycroft wanted to know what was going on, and when.
So off we strolled, having been kitted out with little ...well, earphones and screens, that fit in your pocket, you know? To the main house, to find out which talks and things we could go and see/walk around with.
Well...the boys decided we needed to do a walking tour, then a talk about the Enigma machine, then a talk about The Bombe... so we did.
The walking tour was very interesting. Amazing to think of all those people, not even knowing what each other did, let alone telling anyone outside what was happening in there! The poor guys who were getting abuse for not being in uniform, as if they weren't 'doing their bit' and unable to defend themselves... the people who arrived single, and left married...still without knowing what their new spouse did! The people who arrived married...and left married to someone different!
And the pressure...the thought that so many lives were in your hands, when they were only 18, 19 years old. Amazing.
Anyway, after that we got coffee (this is a bit of a theme...) and then headed for the first talk. It was in the ballroom - very impressive.
It was...very interesting. I do sort of understand it...sort of. Clever machine.
Then I got another coffee... and we went to the talk about The Bombe. Same old guy... well, I was lost. I mean, really really early on, when we were still on the 'simple' part, I was completely lost...I'm still lost. If you find me, do tell me where I am.
I mean, I can tell it was completely amazing, what they did. I just...don't quite understand how they got there. Mycroft tried to explain, but...well, maybe I should do some reading on it. Mycroft went and spoke to the guy afterwards, and thanked him for his very informative talk.
|A corner of ballroom.|
Then I got another coffee... and we went to explore some bits of the site, with our little devices.
Once it started raining we headed back indoors, to the museum-y bit, and saw the recreation of the Bombe. Which was amazing. I mean, amazing they've recreated it, but also amazing to think it was every made in the first place.
The man told us a little about it, then ran it.
That's the front...sort of. All those little circles turn around, the top row of each 3 turn fast, the middle row slower, the bottom row slower still. It...well, it works out bits of the code, and how to crack it...but you'll have to read this to try and understand, not ask me!!
And they had to crack the code...cypher... every single day. Madness, madness to think they thought they could ever do it! 158,000,000,000 combinations! I'd just have started learning German...
Anyway, yes, and then, at the end of the war, they all went their own ways, and never spoke of it. Many of them even when they were told they could...they didn't want to, for different reasons. So only a few people have ever really shared their stories.
Absolutely amazing. They're building a whole new visitor centre, to open this summer. As our tickets last a year, we shall go back!