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After two days touring Bletchley Park and the Computing Museum (both of which I shall write about at greater length in another post), we left Milton Keynes yesterday and headed back north up the M1 to Birmingham, where we had a truly spectacular dinner and evening out with [ profile] jenova_red and [ profile] edwards.

Now getting packed up to drive towards are starting point in Manchester, where we shall return our car and spend our last remaining evening in Britain before flying home tomorrow.
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Day 12 of our holiday finds us in the southeast town of Milton Keynes. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 900 miles we've travelled in Britain so far. We're here for no reason at all other than to pay homage tomorrow to Bletchley Park, where during the Second World War a team of mathematicians and computer scientists, including the legendary Alan Turing, laboured in secrecy to decipher the German Enigma. This single feat, more than any other, served to break the back of the Nazi war effort because, with fewer troops and in most cases inferior weaponry, they relied overwhelmingly on the element of surprise for their operational successes. Lacking secure communications, this advantage was severely compromised.

So, we celebrate this band of geeks who won the war for our side. But, being geeks ourselves, we're mostly here to check out their lab space and drool over their cool toys.

Which is good, because otherwise, Milton Keynes has got to be the most drop-dead boring location in Great Britain.
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250 miles and half a day later, here we are in York. (It would have taken much less time and less driving, but Scotland has basically one road that goes to England, and it was out being mended.)

York appears to have what I would describe as an overwhelmingly pub-based economy. Walking in Stonegate this evening, I counted within a distance of a hundred paces no fewer than fifteen pubs. It may have been more; in spots they are so densely packed together as to make difficult a precise reckoning of their number. If you should ever find yourself missing a pub, you should travel to York immediately; there is a very good chance you will turn it up there.

Unfortunately, most of the pubs I saw were in the business of selling "fayre". I do not, under any circumstances at all, eat fayre; it makes me extremely ill. We did manage to find one place that did us a very respectable plate of sausages however.
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The Scots sure know how to party. There was a wedding in our hotel last night until after 1am, and at breakfast this morning the staff were still cleaning bits of it off the walls. I'm a bit sad to be leaving, truth be told.

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Aug. 16th, 2009 09:06 am
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Apparently, blueberry muffins are a distinctively American treat.

A taste of AmericaHave a nice day!


Aug. 15th, 2009 08:14 pm
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There are some cities you visit once and think, "Yeah, I could live here." That's how I felt the moment I stepped off the platform of Queen Street station and ventured into that curious mixture of Gilded Age and postmodern architecture. Their tube system is called the Clockwork Orange (because it's orange and goes round in a circle), which gives you a clue as to the local sense of humour. It's also by far the friendliest city we've been in, in a long time. Every time we were attempting to go someplace (or find a bus to take us someplace) a helpful stranger would appear to untangle us.

Many thanks to the lovely [ profile] vorvolaka for leading us on a mini-tour about the city before a delicious luncheon at Brodie's restaurant, where I got to experience a right and proper haggis for the first time, as well as for some very excellent
conversation. Good times, indeed!
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Made it to Carlisle, where we're spending the night in a pub after seeing Hadrian's wall in the rain, as everyone should. Visited/were ejected from Carlisle Cathedral. Also, made a wrong turn on our return journey from the wall and ended up briefly at some clandestine military site (it was either that or a very strange farm without crops or animals but plenty of video surveillance). All in all, a fun day! Off to Kirkcaldy tomorrow.


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June 2010

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