Nostalgia ain’t what it was

Yesterday, I made another visit to Bletchley Park.

This time, Amelia came along too. “I doubt you’ll be interested”, I said, but she assured me that she would.

The very first thing she was interested in was the cafeteria. “I’m hungry”, she said, the moment we arrived and she clapped eyes on the scones and Danish pastries. So we stopped – before we’d even started – and had something to eat and drink.

The first place we visited was the National Radio Centre. Although I’d been there just a couple of weeks ago, I felt it worth another visit.  Excitedly, I showed her some radio sets of old and explained the transition from valves to transistors.
Enthusiastically, I demonstrated how amateur radio satellites are used.


Outside, as we walked to Hut 11a to see the Bombe exhibition, she said “You loved it in that radio room, didn’t you? You’re such a nerd!”

I took it as a compliment.

After 11a and 11, we went to Hut 8, which was where Alan Turing did much of his work. The photo above is of his ‘office’. I was struck by the starkness of it.  At work, we are given ergonomically designed, comfy chairs to sit on and are advised to get up and take a break for ten minutes every hour.  Turing’s office chair is a far cry from what we have today and I’m sure he spent hour upon hour sitting at his desk, without a break. I’m also willing to bet that he didn’t complain about it once! Different breed, back then.

Amelia was getting really bored by now and as I dragged her over to Hut 6, she started complaining of being hungry again. “Tough” I said, as I pushed her through the old wooden door.  Again, many of the offices had been recreated, to look as they would have done in the 1940’s and suddenly something caught Amelia’s interest. It was a telephone; an old fashioned telephone, in black bakelite, with a rotary dial. “Do you know what that is?” I asked. She nodded, “Of course I do”, she said, “It’s a telephone.”

“Do you know how to use it?” This time she shook her head and so I showed her how to put your finger into the correct hole and then pull the dial round until it hit the finger-stop.  She said that she’d seen people doing this on the telly, but hadn’t actually understood how doing that was dialing a number, until now.

I suddenly felt very old.

Time caught up with us and so we left the hut, picked Harry up from his maths class and headed home.

She tells me that she doesn’t want to come back with me next week.

I’m glad.



  1. Jules

    How to win the hearts of your offspring! I can’t wait until the day I come to read this blog and Amelia has met a “Cuckoo” Yes, I listened to your advice on comedy and am several episodes in.
    I also went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last night and now the line, “You treacherous piss-flap,” will be my insult of the week. Thank you for your guidance, Masher; at least one of us takes you seriously 😉

    • Masher

      Good girl! You know it makes sense.
      BoRap was so good, wasn’t it? That’ll definitely be a Blu-Ray job, when it comes out.

  2. Alan

    Not having been to a cinema for about 50 years after reading this article
    I will certainly watch out for the poor mans version of the Blue Ray disc to hit the shops. This will be another one for my collection of Queen vids & albums.
    The only reason Mr Masher does not want to take Amelia again is that he had to dig deep into the cash chasm to feed her.

    • Masher

      Squeezing such a full life into a two-hour film isn’t easy, so I think they can be forgiven for cutting out bits, here and there, and for “adjusting” the timelines to get as much of the pertinent stuff in as possible. Yes, he developed AIDS, but I doubt many people would want to watch his decline and subsequent death, on film.
      It may have a few shortcomings, but I would defy any Queen fan to not enjoy it immensely.

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