Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog


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[This entry refers to a day trip taken in March 2009. As requested, I will be going back and blogging the trips I only posted vlogs about January – April.]

Tim and I made plans to visit friends of mine who live near Oxford. We were going to go to their house for dinner,and then spend the following day exploring Oxford. Unfortunately, my friends ran into a family emergency and had to cancel on us. Since we already had the hotel booked, Tim and I decided to go anyway, figuring on finding something to do!

Our trip started with a ride on the Great Central Railway. Again, Tim knows way more about this than I do, but it’s a really great preserved steam line located partway between Lincoln and Oxford. We spent a few hours there, rode the train (and ate on the train), and explored the grounds and engine shed. Tim decided he’d like to volunteer with this group (and he has. This past May he spent a week working on signalling), and I decided that someday when I have a visa that permits volunteering, it might be fun to work on, too.

After that, we were off to Oxford and our hotel. Fortunately for us, the hotel was adjacent to a Little Chef, and provided us with both a decent breakfast and some travel brochures. We started dividing the pile into things we each wanted to see, things we both wanted to see, and things to hold off on for a later date.

Surprisingly, we both picked a visit to Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park is a large estate that was turned into a secret decoding facility during WWII. Today, it is several museums in one, including a spy museum, toy museum, and of course, the Enigma machine itself. You also can tour the manor house and the garage, where they actively restore WWII vehicles.

Many of the huts are still undergoing renovation, but we were able to get to the main areas and even got to see the Enigma machine in action! Bletchley Park is also the home to the National Museum of Computing. We were unable to gain access to the full museum due to some kind of electrical problem (all the lights were out and it was dark!) But they had set up some temporary exhibits with some of the large computers in an adjacent building.

Still, we both had an incredible time exploring the place and learning about WWII. I surprised myself in the gift shop by purchasing several books about war rationing, cooking for victory, and the children’s evacuation of London. Unfortunately, I left these books at Tim’s house on my bookshelf there so I can’t give you the exact titles.

It was definitely worth the trip out, though I don’t think we’d have discovered it if it wasn’t for a brochure at Little Chef!

Shell of a submarine. Tim thinks it might have been from a movie, since it was made from Plywood.

The Enigma Machine

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