Monday 26 March 2018

Bletchley Park and Stowe

I've just got back home after a trip to an area of England I don't know at all well - that part where Buckinghamshire meets Northamptonshire and Hertfordshire. The purpose of my trip was to visit the CWA's St Albans chapter. Regional chapters are, in some ways, the heart of the CWA, and I've been trying to visit some of them when time permits. This time I was very fortunate to enjoy the hospitality of chapter convenor Leo McNeir and his wife Cassandra, and the lunch meeting of the chapter (actually held in Tring, rather than St Albans) proved most enjoyable.

Because it's a long journey, and because for once in this rather drab winter the weather was good on Friday and Sunday, I decided to make the most of the trip by fitting in some sightseeing. Although I've done quite a bit of overseas travelling in recent years, I feel that we tend to under-estimate some of the tourist sights in Britain, and the two places I visited would be stand-outs on any itinerary anywhere.

Stowe is a magnificent National Trust property, with beautiful walks and all kinds of intriguing and amusing architectural gems in the park, ranging from a grotto to a Gothic temple. I'm working on a story idea which features a country house with interesting grounds, and the setting was quite inspirational.

The same was true, but in a totally different way, of Bletchley Park. I've seen The Imitation Game, and read Enigma, but seeing the huts where the codebreakers used to work was something quite special. It's a place with lots to see - you could easily spend a full day there. I was impressed, and again I came away with an idea for a story, tentatively entitled "The Sound of Secrecy".


AparecidaProtectUs said...

Lovely photos. Seeing them makes me wish I had gone someplace different on my last trip to the UK, last October, other than London again. Looks like I can't attach a photo but on a walking tour of Little Venice, a home where Alan Turing once lived was pointed out, one of those homes with the "blue plaque" indicating the history or fame of the person who once lived there.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Tonya. Yes, for all London's treasures, I always recommend visitors to the UK to try the rest of the country. Little Venice is a fascinating area, and the setting for Margery Allingham's Death of a Ghost.

AparecidaProtectUs said...

Apropos of nothing in this topic, I suddenly wondered if you have ever read the historical mystery novel, An Instance of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears. I remember finding it utterly unique and hoped in vain he'd write a sequel or something similar. I'm leaving this here so I don't distract from your other book topics.

Martin Edwards said...

My terrible confession, Tonya, is that I have a copy of the book, but haven't actually read it as yet. I keep being distracted by shorter novels!