A Riddle Wrapped In An Enigma

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Midday, 17th September 2016. Two guys sit in an automobile on the driveway of a semi-detached house in a Bedfordshire town. Their plan to utilise Saturday’s free time embarking on a journey back in time.

Unlike a fresh faced Marty McFly and eccentric elderly scientist Doc Brown in the movie Back to The Future, the two ‘partners in crime’ were a couple of middle aged blokes ensconced in an Audi TT, not a time travelling DeLorean.

The Audi TT, although a nice enough car, doesn’t have the capacity of time travel within its standard specification. This is only available as an optional extra. Meaning it’s owner (Alan), who is as miserly as a Yorkshireman with a welded wallet, forgoing an opportunity to transform his car as a time machine.

In a rare display of extravagance, Newcastle United fan Alan was initially tempted to splash out on the time travel optional extra. His logic being it would allow him to visit the match when his beloved team last won a domestic trophy.

However, he ditched the idea when the salesman informed him of the 60 years regression threshold, meaning he wouldn’t be able to go back that far.

The FA Cup – A domestic trophy

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Not to worry, though, this was no sci-fi journey of return to ages past, so the Audi didn’t require time travel capacity. It is merely a leisurely drive by two friends (and ex-work mates) to Bletchley Park.

This venue the scene where a team of brilliant mathematicians cracked the German Enigma cipher machines during WWII, which was recently dramatized in the movie The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Audi driver (Alan) was joined on this nostalgic venture by a Yorkshireman by birth, whose wallet isn’t welded (just heavily bound by Gaffa tape). He himself a former resident of Bedfordshire until he was banished back up north 20 years ago after carelessly using the word wassock in mixed company.

The Yorkshireman (Gary) was on this rare visit to Bedfordshire for the weekend visiting hisold friend. His exile resulting in the need for a disguise of a false beard, a priest’s bonnet and a 1980’s ‘Choose Life’ t-shirt. He looked like a big nosed Father George Michael.

While sat in the passenger seat heading towards the Buckinghamshire site of interest, Gary experienced a mixture of excited anticipation, cranial wanderings and heartburn.

Concentrating hard not to say the word wassock, he also nervously pushed his false beard to his chin which was only secured with Blu Tac, following running out of Gaffa tape when binding his wallet.

On arrival to Bletchley Park, as Gary took photographs of the grey car park pebbles, Alan took in the splendour of the site, where the covert ingenuity of a few ended WWII by around two years, according to experts in their field……. However, the field they are experts in was fictional history so I’m not sure how valid that claim is.

As Gary admired the 20mm limestone chippings underfoot, which he was convinced were quarried in the West Midlands by the West Midlands 20mm  Limestone Chippings Company, Alan embraced the ambience of his surroundings. 

He stood in awe at this situ where mathematical giants had previously tread. After all, this was the place where Hitler’s military’s covert plans, unknown to the Germans, were being deciphered surreptitiously on a daily basis by the Allies.

He was walking amongst legend, his every footstep possibly trodden by Alan Guring and his team. The Bedfordshire man may never have seen his football team win a domestic trophy, but he could now say he’d seen the scene of an accomplishment which brought forward the Allied victory in WWII.

The gods of nostalgia were looking down on him, relaying manifestations of how things looked in the early 1940’s to the Newcastle fan’s cranial database; in addition to advising him his shoelaces were undone.

After the Bedfordshire man re-fastened his shoelaces and the Yorkshireman had finished his photographic portfolio of 20mm limestone chippings shots, they joined the throng of people visiting the inside of the 1939 built Bletchley mansion.

This was followed by a tour of the outbuildings, including huts where the deciphering and associated decoding work were undertaken; along with a museum filled with informative details and machinery utilised by the military and civilian staff.

It was a fascinating travel back in time for the ex-work mates, which took the Newcastle fan back as far as 10 years before his team last won a domestic trophy, and he got to view the most intelligent machine he’d seen since meeting TV’s Metal Mickey at Fenwicks’ store in 1980’s Newcastle.

Meanwhile, the venture took the Yorkshireman into a stratosphere of stone chippings excitement levels not experienced since happening upon 10mm slate chippings at an Ambleside park in June.

This place of WWII historical importance is definitely well worth a visit. I would also recommend watching The Imitation Game, the movie that dramatises it’s extraordinary story, which earned Benedict Cumberbatch an Oscar nomination for best actor and the limestone clippings a BAFTA nomination in the Best Car Park Surfacing category.

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