Posts Tagged With: code breaking

Science and Art (with a couple of Beasties too) Part the First…

… or SOMETIMES WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A NOVEL, IT’S GOOD TO GET OUT FOR A BIT, ER, PART THE FIRST

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Beasties ensuring I don’t get up to too much mischief

As one or two of you* may be aware, I have been working away from home during the week for the last 18 months, back in my old home-from-home Reading. I have friends down here so, whilst it is hard being away from the Snail and the pups, my homesickness is softened by good company (and maybe a shandy or two** from time-to-time).

My contract in the real world concluded at the end of 2019 leaving me with 6 months rental on a flat. I decided to take this opportunity to use it as a base to finish novel number 3 and start on novel number 4 and possibly even number 5. Possibly.

The thing is, I can walk to Reading railway station and be no more than about 10 minutes or so from a train to London, so it seems rude not to avail oneself of that every now and again (back in Wales, I live 20 miles from the nearest station that only has trains that go north).

To London, then, with a nifty backpack filled with a reusable mug, JonBeastie and JanBeastie (see here for more beastie details). Our first port of call was the Science Museum, home at the moment to an exhibition of objects relating to Britain’s code-breaking expertise over the last century.

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Not my old typewriter, honest, but an SG41, a very rare German cipher machine that was, unlike the more famous Enigma device, unbreakable by the geniuses at Bletchley Park.  

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A 5 UCO: a British cipher machine so secret, they were all destroyed after WW2. Somewhere, an old civil servant is being shown this picture and told “You had one job to do…”

There are, of course, millions of items in the museum but I did notice these two on my way out. This is a theorbo, somewhat reminiscent of a guitar I have:

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and this item, that made me feel so old, I felt I should have been in the case with it holding a sign saying “Example of typical owner”:

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Ancient technology, apparently

I saved up and bought my one in 1980 and it still works today, using the same Casio battery that came with it. It has a liquid crystal display with sufficient digits to show how old I am and, when I get home to Wales, I am going to check that it is still on my desk.

I needed something new and artistic to stop me going and taking up residence in the case with the prototype of the Clock of the Long Now, so I and beasties headed to…

TO BE CONTINUED…

oOo

* I reckon two.

** I reckon more than two.

 

Categories: Artwork, computers, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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