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Den's Journal

Stories by a short, fat bastard

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Day 9
Today's Travels in red.

Had an extremely light breakfast (2 slices of toast with marmalade) and headed off to Bletchley, arriving there about an hour later after an easy drive through moderate traffic. I parked the Zafira and we headed off to Bletchley Park. The museum is full of war-time artifacts, and concentrates on signaling, codes and code breaking. They have on display Lorenz encoders, 3 rotor Enigmas, 4 rotor Enigmas, and many things besides.

On display is a working version of the Bombe, the first decoder. They have also built a working copy of Colossus.

Everyone knows of Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turin, and Admiral Grace Hopper. Hardly anyone knows who Tommy Flowers is. This is sad, because he built the hardware Turin needed. Mr Flowers needs Geek Fame.

Lunch was a steak & ale pie, and then we headed off. I took a worng-ish turn and we drove through the centre of Milton Keynes. That is an ugly town centre. Concrete and glass cubes, and car parks. It's worse than Civic in Canberra.

And so, eventually, we ended up at the Blisworth Tunnel, a 3km long tunnel that takes the Grand Union Canal from Blisworth to Stoke Bruerne, and the Waterways Museum at the top of a flight of locks. It's all rather good.

And then back to Offord Darcy for tea.
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The only thing I know about Milton Keynes is the concrete cows that were featured in one of Charlie Stross' Laundry novels. I take it that was pretty much it.

Concrete cows are great, but surely you also heard of the roundabouts? We have a lot of them! :)

Gorbachov once said that he'd ordered the USSR's nukes re-targeted away from Milton Keynes... because it had enough problems already.

You were round my way. :)

The town centre is ugly especially because of the car parks - I personally think the original shopping centre is actually pretty nice (that's one of the 'concrete and glass cubes'; it's now a listed building, which is great, mainly because it pisses off the owners), but the newer parts are horrible, and basically the whole way through is just car park car park car park, so yes it looks really bad.

Outside of the centre, most of the estates (especially the newer ones) are also very ugly, consisting of boring Barratt-style homes in boringly predictable patterns. I live in one. If there's an interesting building, you can guarantee it'll be a school, because all the houses are horrible and even industry these days is pretty dull.

But we do have a large amount of open space (parks, small woodland, artificial lakes) too, which is nice. Oh, and the canal, of course. (The river too.)

I saw the Cheese Boat when I was at Stoke Bruerne, but didn't buy any cheese. :) I think we ate cake in the café of the museum, though. I need to go to Bletchley Park again sometime - I've been, but that was probably more than five years ago...

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