Bletchley Park

Whilst away at half term we also visited Bletchley Park, home of the code-breakers of world war 2. A fascinating place and somewhere I’ve always wanted to see, Oscar wasn’t keen until we got there and then was intrigued with lots of code cracking and solving puzzles.

It was quite a small house and grounds with ‘huts’ that up to 10,000 people lived and worked in during the war. It was a top-secret facility and even the locals didn’t know exactly what it was being used for but would have noticed the amount of people coming and going especially at shift change time.

When people where recruited they had to sign the official secrets act and were warned that divulging information even to family would lead to prison, they have had stories of children discovering parents not only worked there but could speak and translate many different languages.

Most of the first recruits came from Oxford and Cambridge universities but by the beginning of the war 75% were women recruited from the Women’s Services (WRNS, ATS, WAAF)

It was amazing to see the Enigma machine and to play with a replica to understand how it worked and just how complicated it really was. The most famous code breakers were Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Bill Tutte, who built the Bombe the machine that eventually broke the Enigma code.

The film Imitation game was the story of Alan Turing and the making of the Bombe and Bletchley Park.

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Harry Potter revisited

We had a few days away at half term and took the opportunity to revisit the Harry Potter Studio tour since they’ve added lots of new areas since our last visit and it didn’t disappoint.

We spent around 6 hours wandering, reading and exploring the studios where the Harry Potter films were made over 10 years. It’s a fascinating place, especially seeing the attention to detail that has gone into making all the props, costumes, tapestries, paintings, even the books are fully printed inside just in case they were caught on camera during a scene.

The forbidden forest and creatures are all new since our last visit and it was good fun walking through the mists unsure of what or who we may encounter.

We even got to see the Hogwarts express this time, that wasn’t there on our last visit. They even had costumes and props from the fantastic beasts film (which was partly filmed in Liverpool)

Since our visit Oscar has started listening to the audio books thanks to the library.

 

Where have we been ?

We’ve had a few adventures so far this year. We started the year with a visit to Chillfactore snow park in Manchester. We had a snowboarding lesson, which Oscar loved and did really well but I couldn’t stay upright (I have enough issues on flat, dry land) then we had an hour of free play on the luge, downhill tubing and sledging. It was freezing when we arrived and I was gad we had wrapped up warm but within a few minutes both us were sweating and had to remove a layer or two. I was a little expensive but as a special treat and a day to remember it was worth it, we laughed a lot.

As usual in school at winter time plenty of bugs meant both us spent sometime in bed feeling dreadful and as a result of Oscar missing a few days of school he missed a lesson he had been looking forward to for weeks, cooking a pineapple upside down cake. So we made one at home, it was a great success and both Oscar and Grandpa loved it.

We had a very busy week away at half term, but I’ll do a separate post about that. Then before we knew it Light Night had arrived again, the yearly arts event in Liverpool when galleries, museums and many other buildings are opened up to the public for arts events, it’s good fun and we get to do and try lots of new things and see inside buildings that are closed to the public. I took the ‘proper’ camera out with us this year and Oscar took some really good photo’s (I took the top 2 on the left and bottom right)

I have also started knitting again, keeping it simple as some new baby boys (not mine) are arriving soon so pram blankets for the autumn/winter time are in progress.

Lastly we had a night out at the Liverpool Echo arena to watch the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, what a fantastic night. We laughed, danced, sang, cheered and at the end got to meet the players. We will be returning to see them again and would recommend it to everyone, even if you don’t know anything about basketball. A really good show and amazing skills.

 

An enjoyable start to the year, things are about to change but hopefully it will be better for us in the long term. More to follow…

 

Allotment update June 2018

It’s been a little while since my last post but the weather at the beginning of the year meant that not very much happened. Thankfully since April the weather has been hot and dry meaning finally we could get things planted outside and get the plot organised and sorted out.

Here’s how it looked earlier in the year ….

After a good few days sorting out and several trips to the tip it looked much better, especially the greenhouse and shed.

Next it was time to start organising the beds and planting. I started all my seedlings at home, but the weather this year decided to do strange things. From snow in March to blazing temperatures in April/May. I had dug over and covered a few beds so managed to get them planted up with red and white onions, shallots, garlic, potatoes, peas and beans. I lost a couple of beans to pigeons (I assume)  and the fox decided to dig up both patches of garlic I planted (both times) so I gave up on that.

Whilst waiting for seedlings to be ready to plant out we got started on the ‘wildlife’ area and installed a couple of ponds and fixed up a couple of new gates.

Thanks to the previous owner we’ve had tons of rhubarb, and made lots of people very happy, including trading with other allotment holders.

Now I have a few more beds dug over and planted with courgettes, pumpkins, butternut squash, pak choi, turnips, beetroot, sweetcorn, radish, broccoli and sprouts. I already had a very well established plum and pear tree and have added some gooseberry bushes and red and black currants. In the greenhouse I have beef tomatoes and cherry tomatoes on one side and sweet and hot chilli peppers on the other. Everything has grown well so far.

I still have about a quarter of the plot to finish but I’ve managed to get all the wood I need to build the new beds later in the year, ready for the new growing season.

A good start, and the harvesting has begun …

 

Here’s to the next six months of growing. Any tips or advise are always welcomed.