Where Have You Just Been?

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Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 18 May 2013, 22:57

Liverpool for the last few days. It was my Christmas present from Sally, she booked it last autumn. We went on Thursday and came back today (Saturday). We went on the train from Colne, £19 return and had a room at the new Travel Lodge on Albert Dock, £19 again booked well in advance, both bargains by any means. Three days parking would have cost a lot more not including the diesel there and back. Most places in Liverpool are within walking distance if you have a stout pair of shoes. We travelled light with just a small rucksack each.

Thursday we went on the circular City bus tour and then to the new Liverpool Museum. We went out for a meal in the evening and then down to the replacement Cavern Club for an odd beer, there was a band playing, they were good but certainly not 60's retro, more progressive or modern rock.

Friday we took the ferry across to Birkenhead in the morning to see the German U Boat which is displayed over at the Woodside terminal. A good display, the submarine was raised from where it was sunk off the coast of Norway in 1945. It's one of the largest class of German U Boats from the Second World War and has been laser cut into 5 pieces so that you can see the various sections of the boat. It is one of only two surviving or recovered U Boats. Some sections of it were being repainted when we visited. A bonus on the ferry crossing was provided by the Queen Mary II being in port. The ferry went downstream to do a double pass of the liner, there were lots of photographers on the ferry taking pictures of the largest liner in the world. Lunch on the fourth floor of the Maritime Museum and then we worked our way down the building which houses the Slavery Museum on the 3rd floor which tells the harrowing story of how Liverpool became the largest player in the trade. The building also houses the Titanic Museum portraying the full story of that particular tragic event. The Travel lodge is almost next door to the former White Star Line building facing Albert Dock where hundreds of relatives gathered outside in 1912 when news of the sinking reached the port. Many of the crew were from Liverpool. Friday evening saw the start of a series of events marking Art and the Cultural diversity within the town. There were lots of public buildings and other venues open with various activities on offer. We went into the magnificently ornate Victorian Town Hall where there were Ladies and Gents in period dress, some giving concerts in the side rooms and others taking to the floor in the grand hall. Outside behind the Town Hall was filled with representatives from the various hotels and eating establishments from the town. A complete range of food and drinks from lots of different ethnic sources. So, food was taken on the hoof, Sally had Chinese with a mushroom and pea curry and I went for Italian with a nice Chicken and Chorizo Paella, an Italian Lager accompanied mine and Sally had wine. We called at the steak house stall and got a portion of chunky chips fried in dripping to take away with us. We wandered round various other venues and called in at the newly refurbished Library with it's five story centre atrium.

Saturday morning after checking out of the hotel we took breakfast at a small cafe and then visited the newly refitted Combined Allied Operations Western Approaches bunker which controlled all the Naval and Royal Air Force activity in the Atlantic from 1942 until the end of hostilities. It was moved to Liverpool from Southampton in 1942. The site now is only a third of the size of the original wartime deployment in the basement of the building that is set back a couple of streets from the dock. It now only occupies four levels from the original six, all are underground and have 3ft of reinforced concrete above the upper level that emerges at street level. The main operation room has been reconstructed, the original plotting maps on the wall and tables are all original. They have used furniture that was recovered from various rooms that they had been cleared to in the labyrinth of corridors. The basement level were sealed off and forgotten for years until rediscovered a few years ago. Parts of the building were knocked down after the War along with other bomb damage clearance so the site is now only about 22,000 square feet on the four accessible levels instead of the 60,000 that the command centre originally occupied. The unit was manned 24 hours a day and had sleeping areas, rudimentary cooking facilities and at any one time would be staffed by 400 personnel from The Navy, R.A.F and General Post Office the latter were the technicians that kept all the telecommunications kit running. Despite the devastating bombing of Liverpool, no-one was killed as a direct result of air raid. There is a memorial plaque on the wall in the Operations Room though to a WREN who was unfortunately killed on duty when she fell from one of the ladders while plotting on the massive wall chart of the Atlantic. Many of the smaller rooms are also populated with contemporary equipment. Commentaries can be heard in various areas around the site which describe what that particular section of the bunker was responsible for or how it operated. A fascinating site if you are interested in that kind of thing.

We came home on the 13.57 from Lime Street changing at Preston, all in all a busy, very interesting and nice few days, weather kept fine although overcast with a few breaks in the cloud.
Ian

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Stanley » 19 May 2013, 04:44

That sounds like a good weekend. Always liked Liverpool, even my long waits for the docks were full of incident.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 19 May 2013, 19:26

Just finished off the weekend at the second day of the 40's weekend at Haworth. We took youngest granddaughter Isla who's now three and a half. Myself and Sally were in 1940's dress so we took Isla in an original 1940's dress and matching pants, 70 odd year old elastic getting a bit weak in those though! A nice 1940's style coat with attached evacuees label, beret, little suitcase, gas mask and teddy completed the "must have a photo of that little girl" look. Met up with a few mates that we haven't seen for a while with not going to the regular monthly meetings of the WR28 re-enactment group. It was nice to see them.

The sun came out and for the first time in a lot of years of attending, one of the BBMF Spitfires was in attendance complete with invasion markings. He did a number of passes over the town before heading off over Ingrow. The flypast was booked for both days but cancelled yesterday. Up in the top car park there was a static Merlin on display which was run up a few times with a short propeller during the afternoon. Makes you realise what a squadron would sound like revving up ready to go. While we had Isla, our daughter Carla and partner did some hedge tidying in the garden down in Silsden, when Isla had had enough of the crowds in Haworth we headed back for tea at Carla's, Jack and his girlfriend came for tea too so it was all the family together, we ate out in the garden which was the first time we have been able to do that this year.

So all in all, full on since Thursday, I'm ready for a sit down now!
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Moh » 21 May 2013, 12:43

Just back from three weeks in our static caravan at Middleton - lovely and relaxing, plenty of sitting outside in the sun topping up the tan! The weather there is much better than here, we can look inland over the fields & Lancaster and see all the black clouds.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Stanley » 22 May 2013, 04:06

Your absence was noted Moh! Glad you had a good rest and good weather. We're doing well as regards dry weather during the day but it will be nice when it warms up properly.....
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Wendyf » 22 May 2013, 07:11

Sounds good Moh, is this a new venture, or have you had the static van for a while?
Ian, we are booked in at the same Travelodge for a night in August when we go to see Neil Young at the O2 Arena. We did the same when we went to the O2 before and it was lovely walking up the river side from the hotel. We hope to spend the afternoon having a look around the docks so we might visit the Maritime museum.

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 22 May 2013, 07:32

Nice restaurant on the top floor Wendy, then you can work your way down. We really enjoyed our break. Liverpool has a lot to see and it's pushing itself to showcase the huge range of stuff on offer. Half term next week and we have Ruby we were going to go back on the train on the Bank Holiday as there are dozens of ships in harbour and loads of activities as they will be commemorating the Battle of the Atlantic and the role that Liverpool played. Sally has checked the price of the rail tickets though and it will cost us £78.00 each just to get there bit of a difference from the £19.00 we paid last week! I have ruled out driving as it will be manic during the week. We already know you can't get a room in Liverpool for that week, all hotels are fully booked for the event. So might have to give it a miss. Checking out other options though.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Moh » 22 May 2013, 12:31

No we have not had it long Wendy, we have sold our tourer it was getting a bit hard work and the weather last year did not help.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by rossylass » 24 May 2013, 09:24

Was interested to read Pan Biker's Liverpool tale. I travelled there on Tuesday aboard the steam tug "Kerne" which celebrated her centenary this year and was on her way to an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the North Atlantic. We sailed from Acton Bridge via the Weaver Navigation and the Manchester Ship Canal, a magical journey with fantastic views of Liverpool from the Mersey estuary. She is now in Canning Dock in very good company with some lovely old boats. There were some very interesting characters on board including Martin from Earby, who has a couple of boats and runs trips along the Leeds Liverpool Canal from Foulridge. Fred Dibnah's son Roger came as a guest, but hardly emerged from the engine room apart from going to see a marine engine he was interested in when we stopped at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum. Like father like son, although Roger is a quiet version.

Martin told me a tale which reminded me of ronge and white iron. Cargoes of sugar were taken up the Leeds Liverpool by barge and it was so damp on the canal that it was a solid block by the time it arrived. It was dealt by weight and much heavier when it arrived than when it was when loaded and the bargee would hive off the surplus and sell it.

We had visited Liverpool on the Saturday too. That time with Henry who is five. We took him on the ferry to Spaceport expecting to see the Wallace and Grommit exhibition, but it had finished and replaced by a Dr Who one. Poor Henry was terrified by people dressed as Cyberman, Daleks and even Pudsey Bear (who must have been seven feet tall). He couldn't wait to get out! We took him to see the submarine, which he loved, especially the model where you could raise and sink the submarine. Rescued by a boat!

I love Liverpool. I seemed to gravitate towards Liverpuddlian men in my youth. I lived with one for many years and had the pleasure of meeting all sorts of mad, spunky and very funny scousers. They had nicknames for lots of the pubs and people. I remember being told loads of ones they had for dockers. I can't remember them all, but there was one called "Olympic Flame"....he never went out of the hut to do any work.

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Stanley » 25 May 2013, 05:12

Rossy, I envy you! I love tugs, especially steam driven ones. I love Liverpool as well. Apart from the time I spent waiting to get my loads to the ships for loading, I had many mates in the army from Birkenhead, Wallasey and the 'Pool. You're right, they had their own sense of humour and I enjoyed them. I've loaded cattle from Ireland at the Birkenhead lairage where they kept them as they came off the boat and once my army life and wagon driving collided when I was in a long queue for a boat. I was parked on Scotland Road and went onto the dock to the 'wet canteen' for a meat pie and a beer. I was accosted by a bloke who was a foreman stevedore and it was one of my old mates from the Cheshires, we had served in Berlin together. When he found out I was out at the end of the queue he took my notes and the keys, popped off somewhere and then came back and we had a couple of beers. About half an hour later my empty wagon pulled up outside the canteen and I was presented with my signed notes! It's not what you know, it's who you know!
Mind you, there was a seamy side to the docks, your sugar story reminded me of a day when we got word that someone had pinched two Massey-Ferguson tractors as they waited to be loaded for export. I always said that if the dock gates had been wide enough they'd have pinched the ships!
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 26 May 2013, 08:13

We have Ruby for the week so we went up to Malham Safari yesterday. Met up with daughter and the other two grandchildren Isla and Finlay. We all set off round the village looking for pirates, exotic animals and gold coins! Lot's of other stuff to do. Morris men and ladies holding up the traffic when dancing in the street, the leader "baiting" the waiting cars with his handkerchiefs and jingle stick as they waited in line. At one point he announced to the waiting cars before a dance started "This is a traditional local dance from around the Derbyshire area, it only lasts 45 minutes!" Glorious sunshine all day. We found all the pirates and counted as many coins as we could and have posted our entries for the prizes offered. A good duck race as well but we didn't manage to win that out of the 350 or so that were entered. Archery, crossbows and air rifles in one of the fields for the bigger kids (and lots of adults). All the kids paddling in the beck. Tea and buns at the Safari Cafe in the village hall and Ice Creams of course. All in all a very good family day out organised by the local school, (the children made all the animal and pirate figures), should have raised a bob or two for their coffers.

We are going on another adventure today - ships involved..
Ian

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Stanley » 27 May 2013, 04:39

Gand-daughter Laura went to Chipping Show yesterday, no report of how she liked it, her first country show.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 02 Jun 2013, 17:23

Earby and back through the fields. Been to the thank you do for NIcola Jayne Haines fund-raising expedition to Machu Picchu in Peru. She has raised over £7,000 for her efforts. It was down at Earby Cricket Club so we decided to walk down. Went via the marina, up Bob Preston's, over to Kayfields then down into Earby by the Rec. When I was first apprenticed in Earby before I got my first motorbike. I often used to walk home if I missed the bus after work. The ECN buses were only on the hour so 35 minutes across four or five fields was a better option when you were hungry. Not walked it for 40 odd years. It's not changed from what I can remember.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Bruff » 05 Jun 2013, 14:33

Probably been answered on here sometime in the midst of time, but why is 'Bob Preston' called Bob Preston? And why King Hill, down from Letcliffe to the New Road (and the 'New Road' amuses my wife given it's not been a 'new road' for many a year now. That's Barlick, I tell her.....)?

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PostmanPete » 05 Jun 2013, 17:14

Bruff wrote:and the 'New Road' amuses my wife given it's not been a 'new road' for many a year now.
It's a bit like people calling West Craven High "The modern school" (which is situated on 'New Road' as it happens.....!)
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 05 Jun 2013, 17:37

It was the Modern School when I went there :laugh5:
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Stanley » 06 Jun 2013, 03:53

New Road is actually Kelbrook New Road, an accurate description when built in the 1920s. I think 'Modern School' comes from the fact it was originally Barnoldswick Secondary Modern School. I imagine 'Bob Preston' was originally owned by Bob Preston and there has been a family called King in Salterforth from at least the 17th century.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by PanBiker » 31 Mar 2014, 21:01

Bletchley Park for the Weekend. Our weekend away was my Christmas present from Sally. Fantastic weekend submerged in the story of the closest guarded secret of WWII. We stayed at Bletchley Park B&B which was situated just outside the perimeter fence of what now remains of the original Bletchley Park site.

The story of the site and how it came to be used for the codebreaking and deciphering operations of WWII is quite fascinating in its own right. Contrary to the belief of some that the nation was sleeping or I'll prepared for the outbreak of war with Germany, the Bletchley story tells a different tale.

Captain Ridley's Shooting Party

The Bletchley site fitted the bill for the positioning of the facilities on a number of key issues. Captain Ridleys brief had been to find a site that was effectively hidden in plain view. It had to have good transport and communication links and have room to expanded facilities if the need should arise. Bletchley now sits on the periphery of the relative new town of Milton Keynes to the west of the M1 and on the other side of the motorway is Newport Pagnell both with their respective dual carriageway ring roads. None of these conurbations or roads existed when the good Captain visited with his "shooting party". Old Bletchley as it was then was a rural backwater with what was a redundant country pile on its doorstep. The small town sits mid way between the academic centres of Oxford and Cambridge it had rail links to both as well as directly into London. The railway station is within 300 yards of the front gate. The main telephone network high capacity grid cable between London and Birmingham ran underground less than a mile from the site so could be tapped into to give national telephone connectivity. It was ideal for purpose and duly acquired for the impending task

By 1944 at the height of operations from Bletchley, the codebreakers working from the site numbered 7000 on a daily basis. only a handful of key maintenance personnel lived on the site, everyone else commuted in. Key personnel involved in the decryption process were billeted within 20 miles or so of the site and used the rail network, buses or cycled in to work in the 24/7/365 operation in three 8 hour shifts. The network was expanded to a number of satellite sites, over 20,000 people were involved on a daily basis across all the sites. In 1944 they were deciphering and processing up to 17,000 messages per day.

The entrance fee of £15 to the site gives you a pass which is valid for 12 months, quite useful as you cannot comprehend or take in all the information available in single visit. After a weekend immersed in the technology of the time, I now have a much better comprehension of the process used to crack the Enigma cypher. I now have a grounding in the techniques used by the "cribsters" to create the menu's for the Bombe machine to work on and a better understanding of the process that that particular machine uses to work through the possible permutations of the various Enigmas cypher types.

I have pulled a few Wiki pages with relevant information of the technology covered at Bletchley.

Cryptographers

Enigma Machine

Bombe

After WWII the Government Code and Cypher School morphed into GCHQ and moved to one of the satellite sites used during the war, eventually to be relocated into purpose built headquarters in Cheltenham where they still reside. From time to time they issue challenges to the staff at Bletchley by way of Enigma enciphered messages of increasing complexity issued since the Bletchley Trust was established. No longer intercepted by listening stations but sent to them via Twitter. The current score between the two sites is Bletchley 17, GCHQ 0. Fastest decryption to date is less than an hour with an average stop and sign off of two and half hours. They still have the knowledge and the kit to meet the challenge.

A fully operational replica of Colossus, the worlds first semi programmable electronic computer which was developed to crack the 12 ring Lorenz teletype cypher machines used by German High Command is housed in the National Computer Centre which is also sited on part of the original Bletchley Park site but is administered by a separate trust. Access to see the Tunney machine (predecessor to Colossus) and Colossus itself is housed in one half of the Computer Centre. Everything else relating to computers and software development is in the other half, they have examples of just about every hardware device ever produced. £5 to access the whole site but only £2 or so if you just want to see Colossus working.

Colossus Computer

There is currently a bit of a disagreement between the two trusts about the direction of development on the site. Bletchley has been designated a National Heritage site and has attracted a considerable amount of National Lottery funding to secure and develop the facilities. By June they will have two more of the original huts repopulated with contemporary kit which will be accessible to view as if the personnel had just left to attend a meeting. Some of the areas that had previously inherited 1960's and 70's buildings when the site was owned by the Post Office and then BT as a training centre are being redeveloped and put back to how they were in the 1940's, mainly landscaping and putting the tennis courts back that used to be there.

It's interesting to learn that one of the original dictates from the first Director of the codebreakers was that the view in front of "The House" (as it was always referred to by those who worked on the site) should not be built on. The house sits in quite a tranquil setting with a lake and lawns in front. The DG was adamant that this should be preserved for the welfare of the workers on their breaks, somewhere they could retreat to to get their heads back in order during intense sessions. Often referred to by veterans of the site that this aspect was one of the best things they looked forward to between sessions of working under such high pressure.

The RSGB National Radio Centre is also based on the site. I visited that on Sunday morning before we left for home. All in all a fantastic weekend. Geeky if you like that kind of thing (which I do), recommended for anyone who has an interest but you do need at least a weekend to appreciate what is there. I think I may well go back down on the train at some point within the next 12 months, I'll take my lad Jack with me, he will really enjoy it.
Ian

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Stanley » 01 Apr 2014, 03:59

Worth looking at ROOM 40 for code-breaking in WW1. Funny thing was that at first, the Admiralty (Under Winston Churchill) didn't believe what the analysts were telling them. Perhaps this made it easier for him to support the work at Bletchley in WW2.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Moh » 01 Apr 2014, 13:58

Just back from 2 weeks at the caravan at Middleton, near Morecambe. Hubby has been busy building a decked verandah - we just need the sun now so we can enjoy sitting on it.
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Sunray10 » 03 Apr 2014, 22:08

I have been over to Barlick today and visited my favourite cafe - the one on the square! The well-known Mr Mitchell came in to the cafe after finishing his long stint on his market stall. One or two other familiar faces popped in for refreshments. Also browsed around the Pendle Hospice charity shop run by friendly ladies. :grin:

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Wendyf » 12 Apr 2014, 07:41

We went to see Elbow in Leeds last night at the new First Direct Arena. Elbow are not my cup of tea but Col likes them and it was a good performance. The Arena was very easy to get to with multi storey parking a short walk away, but the place itself is huge, industrial and a bit scary. The signing for the seats was poor with loads of people (including us) settling into the wrong seats. (right row number, right seat number but wrong block).
Heading back to the car park we were wondering how we would find our way onto the right road but there were Otley/Skipton signs within the car park and we went on an exciting trip up to the top and down again bridging the main road on the way and popped out straight onto the the road home!

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Gloria » 12 Apr 2014, 08:01

Now now Wendy---not poor signing----age :surprised: :laugh5:
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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Wendyf » 12 Apr 2014, 08:05

Age & vertigo! :grin:

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Re: Where Have You Just Been?

Post by Tardis » 28 Apr 2014, 15:04

RAF Cosford Museum:

http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/cosford/

Fabulous place

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