8 ways to deal with air pollution – Delhi dilemmas

Posted January 26, 2017 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Delhi is the world’s most polluted city. I think. London however has been shaping up nicely this January in its bid to reach toxic gold. Here’s my attempt to unpick the ridiculous suggestions mooted in a bid to help us all ‘beat London smog”. In case there is ANY doubt this is a parody. Words from Nicola Baird  (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs). 

These doors at Senate House are the very ones that inspired George Orwell's famous Room 101 scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four. My room 101 doesn't have rats.

These doors at Senate House are the very ones that inspired George Orwell’s famous Room 101 scene in Nineteen Eighty-Four. My room 101 doesn’t have rats.

1 READ THE EVENING STANDARD

Now lots of the ES is super sensible and covers the London Air Pollution saga well. It’s where I heard about London having breached its annual toxic limit by the fifth day of January 2017. But it also runs daft stories like A breath of fresh air: here’s 6 ways to clean up your act and beat London’s toxic air from two of its regular feature writers – Susannah Butter and Phoebe Luckhurst. This piece is shameful because it wasn’t tongue in cheek. The ladies suggest  “REN’s flash defence anti-pollution spray creates a viscous layer that noxious chemicals will struggle to penetrate. It smells great too.”

Why does the news so often seem like an April Food at the moment: shouldn’t Butter and Phoebe be warning us that buying this stuff would be £24 badly spent? I remember writing an exposé about the Solomon Islands trying to flog tropical rainforest oxygen back in the 1990s… Now I think the islanders had it right, Londoners are so daft they’d have sniffed up bottles of this and passed them round their Uber. PM10s are not going to be watered down by an imaginary body spray.

2 YOU NEED A FACEMASK & POLLUTION MONITORS

On the #airpollution stream on Insta there is plenty of smogporn (if that’s a thing yet), but also  brands who view air pollution as an opportunity– such as koolmask, hypeingham and metro-mask. There’s even a bedside alarm LaMetricTime which displays CO2 levels allowing you to watch the levels rising…

Got to admire capitalism because everything is an opportunity. Those masks aren’t going to help London tackle air pollution are they?

3 EAT WELL

Yup – eating avocado (vitamin D) and almonds (vitamin E) gives your body all the nutrients you need to fight toxic air pollution.  

I’ve read this. It must be right. It also gives zero thought whatsoever to how those pops of goodness arrived here (air freighted) or what damage avocado and super-thirsty almond plantations are doing where they are grown.

Written by me in 1998.

Written by me in 1998.

4 “GET IN THE CAR” & DRIVE TO SCHOOL

That was the advice from at least one school nurse to asthma sufferers. 

One of my daughters has had a tricky time with asthma and we’ve met a large number of asthma nurses. Some are great, but very few understood the big picture or factored in what it meant to be a child who likes to use their legs and eyes in the big outdoors…

It makes sense, because there are still a huge number of families who drive their kids to school, refusing to accept that their journey is not necessary. It’s still an aspirational desire to drive.

I’ve had a car in the past and of course it’ll be used it if it’s temptingly parked outside and you’re running late… but get rid of the car and you’ll always walk, or scooter, or bike to school which teaches your kids good habits (and burns off breakfast). If rates can justifably skyrocket (and i wish they wouldn’t if it kills independent stores) then so too can road taxes or the cost of the right to drive in a city in a diesel powered car. (I should add that I’m not that impressed by private petrol or electric vehicles either)

5 SAY NO TO LETTING THE KIDS PLAY OUTSIDE

When environmental health officials are tricked (surely?) into saying it’s dangerous for kids to use the school playground be wary of following their advice.

Already most kids stay indoors far too much despite the indoor air pollutants from cooking, furniture, sprays and cleaning products create a toxic soup. They can’t be independent from a young age because of the dangers from cars knocking them over (not stranger danger). City kids need to know as much as possible about nature even if it is just jumping the weeds in the pavement cracks, pulling at last year’s hollyhocks languishing in the tree pits or hearing the blackbird singing on that house’s old TV aerial. Having a glimpse of even this diminished nature is what may help the kids figure out that life outdoors ought to be one of opportunity, not threat.

Front garden - there's a bird in the apple tree.

Front garden – there’s a bird
in the apple tree.

6 DEALING WITH SUBSIDENCE

My poor Victorian home is subsiding. The only way insurers deal with this is waging war on anything green around the foundations, and so the buddleia and jasmine have to go.

It’s impossible for me to denude the bricks while my head is swirling with toxic London fog scenes and the sweet inner-city robin cheerily sings when it sees me heading towards its corner of the buddleia brandishing a bow saw.

7 SETTLE DOWN WITH NETFLIX

Watching The Crown on Netflix ought to cancel out visions of toxic smog… but no, in episode 4, in December 1952 there are a dreadful three days which flood hospitals and ultimately kill as many as 12,000 people during the Great Smog of London

Churchill is hopeless at coping with this, writing it off as British weather, an “act of God”. At least Sadiq Khan seems to be looking at our problem head on. Now he’s got to show the sort of leadership that no one has yet dared to do against the car lobby, and in particular diesel vehicles. Couldn’t we just do something radical like shake up the whole way Londoners move around for a trial phase and see if it made a difference?

8 SPOILING MY MARATHON TRAINING

Of course I’m not training to run the marathon, but I’ve heard the moans. Toxic air wrecks “Marathontraining plans” so the runners have to head to the indoor gym and cycle on stationary bikes and indoor running tracks, rather than plod pavements.

Wouldn’t it be great if the generation obsessed by bucket lists and meeting personal challenges could start working together to force politicians to make London’s air cleaner – and by default other cities cleaner as well? Because if they did within a year no one would ever have to cancel their training run.

THE END
So where does that get us? Nine ways to clean up your act, or nine opportunities to speak up?  The only good seems to be that at last air pollution in London – and the impact cars, traffic (and airports) have on it – is at last being talked about by everybody, even if the messages aren’t always clear. Next step is action. Please.

7 ways to stop a tantrum

Posted January 19, 2017 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

Tags: , , ,

What can you do to when your child has a tantrum? For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Reward good behaviour, ignore the bad. Here's the famous thumbs up in Trafalgar Square by David Shrigley to remind you of that maxim. (c) homemade kids

Reward good behaviour, ignore the bad. Here’s the famous thumbs up in Trafalgar Square by David Shrigley to remind you of that maxim. (c) homemade kids

My daughters are definitely too old to be having tantrums – they are 15 and 18. But recently I spent a couple of nights in a house with two primary school aged children and realised how much I’d forgotten about negotiating with little kids. How do you get them to go to bed? How do you get them to get up? How do you get them to get dressed? Or eat breakfast? And how do you do all that so you can arrive at their classroom without being late?

Anyone who manages this, regularly, even if not every day deserves a medal. Or should be volunteering to sort out Theresa May’s Brexit problems.

Tips and tricks
But when you are in the midst of dealing with little kids then there are some techniques that can help make life a little less tricky.

Your child has switched from super happy to impossible. They are lying on the pavement refusing to move… What next:

  1. Try asking them to get up… (only once. It might work)
  2. Avoid raising the stakes. Pinch yourself to prevent this happening. If you end up saying “if you don’t get up I’ll never buy you sweets again,” they’ll know there is NO way you are going to keep your threat. If you are like me you tend to use threats that were things you were actually looking forward to doing, like going to the park or feeding a friend’s pet rabbit.
  3. Never threaten because this is a toddler tantrum. You need to rethink fast…
  4. Try humour. I can’t carry you because “I’ve got a bone in my leg” is baffling and funny (for a young child). Will it work?
  5. Try distraction. Look there’s (name a friend) let’s go and see what’s in their lunch box/book bag/ whatever springs to mind.
  6. Try better distraction. “Oh my word, there goes a blue unicorn down the high street…”
  7. Deal with it. OK nothing has worked. Your tot is definitely embarassing you. Don’t worry, everyone who has a had a child has been in this situation. And so they should. Either wait until s/he’s bored or exhausted by this behaviour and then without making it into a big deal walk on. The school door is waiting.
Tantrums don't last - but reacting the wrong way to them can make managing small children much harder. (c) homemade kids

Tantrums don’t last – but reacting the wrong way to them can make managing small children much harder. (c) homemade kids

On reflection
Figure out what might be the problem. It won’t be obvious – maybe it’s just that your child is tired, hungry or doesn’t want to be parted from you. In our family we used this phrase “Are you struggling with your big girl self?” far too much (and just occasionally I even wheel it out now). The kids grew to hate it, but I think it helped them recognise when their emotions were taking over.

If it’s simply that your child has no power and wants attention then aim to do more rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad. It may seem impossible, but every fight lost is going to make the next stress point slightly harder.

Good luck, do you have any tips or tantrum stories?

5 things everyone can learn from I Daniel Blake

Posted November 14, 2016 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

I Daniel Blake is a courageous film by the veteran social commentator Ken Loach. It follows the lives of two unlucky benefit claimers – Daniel and Katie – in the north east of England. It’s Newcastle that he uses so the screen is filled with Geordie accents, white faces and northern poverty.  If he’d picked on Tottenham it’d have been a very different set of faces – predominantly black and brown – but all would be facing the exact same problems. How to cope when you’ve got no money.

I loved the film, and recommend everyone sees it (it’s a 12A because there’s a little bit of swearing). The more income you have, the more important it is that you go – that’s why Jeremy Corbyn suggested that Theresa May went to see it.

Here are some things that could be learnt from I Daniel Blake.

  1. In I Daniel Blake, Daniel just presses bubblewrap against a sunny window as insulation. I found you had to sellotape it. I'll let you know if it works.

    In I Daniel Blake, Daniel just presses bubblewrap against a sunny window as insulation. I found you had to sellotape it. I’ll let you know if it works.

    Britain is cold Coping without money in the summer is tough and impossible. But in the winter you need electricity and maybe gas to have light and heat. If you use it then the bills can tip you into debt. If you don’t you are just ground down by the cold.  Daniel shows his friend Katie how to insulate windows with bubble wrap to trap any sunshine (I’m not sure it works, but i’ve had a go on one of my windows). He also uses four candles and two terracotta pots to build a little indoor woodburner.

    When you use a supermarket look out for foodbank collection points. At some Morrisons and Waitrose on a saturday there are often food sweeps where you buy from a list - to help people who are hungry and unable to shop.

    When you use a supermarket look out for foodbank collection points. At some Morrisons and Waitrose on a saturday there are often food sweeps where you buy from a list – to help people who are hungry and unable to shop.

  2. Foodbanks are essential. In an ideal world food banks wouldn’t exist. But right now is not ideal especially when an individual or family with little money has to make a big unexpected expenditure – maybe to visit a sick family member, or because they are sick, or because they have been “sanctioned” or their benefits have changed and money is delayed. The Trussel Trust organises foodbanks throughout Britain, for many they are lifesavers. Please donate a tin or two when you next can.
  3. It’s hard being a woman. I’d never really grasped this before, but if you have no money then you can’t afford san pro. In the film Katie ends up in big trouble because of this – and though the foodbanks offer loo roll they don’t offer Bodyform, Allways or any other sanitary towels. A friend who lived through a seige in the 1980s told me how humiliating it was running out of shampoo, soap and tampax. Poverty isn’t a war, but how embarrassing it can make life. Maybe donating some san pro to foodbanks could be a start.
  4. Couscous is great fast food.  The thing about couscous is that it cooks so fast (compared to potatoes), is quite a cheap grain to buy (compared to rice) and fills you up just as well as bread. It can be very tasty, although that takes other ingredients. I’ve used it camping for all these reasons – but lots of people are using it because they have to. Donate couscous to the foodbank.
  5. Being homeless is even worse than being stuck in the Catch 22 of waiting for the call from the decision maker. There’s no safety net when you are homeless (i’ve no idea how A Street Cat Called Bob turns into a positive film!). Generally i don’t give money to homeless people – but if you haven’t got any food on you to hand out maybe giving a bit of cash is the right thing to do.
  6. Using spray paint is fun. And it’s hard to stop writing the message, so make sure you’ve got enough wall before you start.

See comments about the film in the Guardian.

How to prevent tensions between school & home

Posted November 3, 2016 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

Tags: , , , ,

What can you do to help students getting ready for exams? For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Some of the families in our babysitting circle back at a 2009 get-together.

Some of the families in our babysitting circle back at a 2009 get-together. Plenty of these children are now dealing with exams at school – and even university!

As the Year 11s start getting deeper into their revision schedules – for some that will be pre-Xmas mocks, and others January testing – tension between home and school can start to appear. It will definitely help if you, your child and the school have worked any difficulties out in advance. It will also be useful if you’ve been to the scheduled parent evenings over your child’s school career so you have a realistic idea about how they are getting on. The point is to make progress!

Everyone’s situation is so very different – and exam results, to a certain extent, matter a great deal. But it probably helps if parents remember that most 15-16 year olds doing GCSEs in 2017 need us less on their backs over trivial misdemeanours at the moment (like tidying rooms, helping with housework, etc). The kids have got enough to do and worry about, rather than adding a full on family fight to their stress levels.

What Every Parent Needs to Know by Toby Young & Miranda Thomas (Penguin, £14.99)

What Every Parent Needs to Know by Toby Young & Miranda Thomas contains all that you used to need to know. Now you just need to be kind and boost your child’s mental and physical wellbeing. (Penguin, £14.99)

Assuming everything else is OK (attendance, learning, revision schedules, homework) then teaching your child how to relax properly, and eat well – both by your example – should surely be the top priorities right now, eg,

  • Going to bed at sensible times (and thus getting up at a sensible time)
  • Being encouraged to do some sport or spend time outside even if it’s just kicking leaves or chatting
  • Getting together some healthy snacks (nuts, sunflower seeds, crackers, cheese, fruit most things on sale at Itsu)

It will also help if you can listen to and/or support what the school says needs to be done.

Here’s hoping you have a real positive partnership with your child and their school. Because it’s going to make the next few months of GCSE countdown much easier.

3 tips on running an autumn craft event for kids

Posted October 17, 2016 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

Tags: , , , ,

Now that I have teenagers it’s easy to forget how much attention and imagination you need to entertain and educate younger children – here are a few tips gleaned from the Apple Day where I helped run an activity at our nearby nature park. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Apple Day activities at Gillespie Park have to be all about apples. I ran an apple bobbing stall and a nature pendant stall which got kids to decorate air dryed clay with leaves, sticks and seeds.

Apple Day activities at Gillespie Park have to be all about apples. I ran an apple bobbing stall and a nature pendant stall which got kids to decorate air dryed clay with leaves, sticks and seeds.

I love seeing kids getting dirty, but parents increasingly don’t. It’s a shame to hear an adult telling a child not to go in puddles or touch a plant in case they get dirty. My daughters definitely looked scruffy but they were allowed to explore properly. I generally dressed my kids in leggings or trousers as dresses are so restricting. That’s because you are much more likely to do spontaneous cartwheels, play football, climb trees, pick blackberries, face nettles or even kneel down to study something on tarmac/gravel if you are not wearing a dress. But at a public event kids are often quite smartly dressed up. Here’s how to help the children have fun without causing too many parents to get upset about their child’s outfit.

The Morrismen dancers turned up and invited everyone to join in. I have to admit that I abandoned my stall for a dance waving handkerchiefs. If you don't have fun at these big events you don't want to do them when you're asked next time.

The Morrismen dancers turned up and invited everyone to join in. I have to admit that I abandoned my stall for a dance waving handkerchiefs. If you don’t have fun at these big events you don’t want to do them when you’re asked next time.

1 BE PREPARED
This is the third year I’ve run children’s events at Gillespie Park Apple Day – an event which attracts a lot of young children (year 3 to babes in arms) and a few older ones. For some reason I always seem to find it hard to rope in a glamorous assistant so it makes sense to be prepared. And that means you might need:

  • A gazebo if it rains. This was essential as I was running a air-drying clay activity and rain would spoil the pendants. During the storm I also moved the apple bobbing under the tent. All of the apple day attendees were rewarded by a fine rainbow when the rain began to stop.
  • A bucket for hand washing (drying clay feels horrible), soap in a hand-pump and a couple of towels. I organised for someone to lend me three towels, and brought the final dry one out for the last hour. By the end of the day they were going to need some serious washing!
  • First aid knowledge... I refresh mine bi-annually. It’s always worth teaching basic first aid to children and teenagers can start learning it properly through the Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance training courses.
Making a nature pendant or nature medal.

Making a nature pendant or nature medal – an activity which suits all ages and skills and fitted in with the all-things-apple theme.

2 EXPECT CROWDS
It’s easy to show one child how to make a clay pendant. Ideally I try and show a group of three plus. It’s really nice when later in the day you see kids who’ve enjoyed the activity coming back and explaining to their friends or even cousins what to do. They do teaching with such pride!  To make it easy for anyone who will have to explain what to do to someone else, break down the task into stages so you can demonstrate with ones you’ve made earlier. That way visual learners and active learners can get down to the task while you re-explain to the ones that like words more. I had a round ball of clay; a flattened pendant with a hole in it and a finished item (which I failed to photograph, sorry).

Adapting the pendant idea from a circle or oval to leaf shape - and then pressing the shape of the leaf into it was suggested by an experienced Woodcraft Folk member.

Adapting the pendant idea from a circle or oval to leaf shape – and then pressing the shape of the silver birch leaf into it was suggested by an experienced Woodcraft Folk member.

3 TAKE TIME TO PRAISE WHAT NEEDS PRAISING
When you are working with 30 plus children – there were about 200 trying the Apple Day activity between 12-4pm, you soon notice the kids who think in a non-classroom manner. It was really noticeable that children who go to Brownies/Scouts like to follow lists so they can tick off tasks and earn their badges. The ones who go to Woodcraft Folk, even very young children, are skilled at using nature to inspire their art and can also tie knots. As lots of children are quite shy to have a go their parents will step in. This seems a shame, so I try to let the kids make their own art by suggesting their mum/dad does their own pendant. It seems to work and it’s nice for the kids to see that you don’t have to stop being artistic when you leave school.

Over to you
Hope these tips help encourage you to run your own local park or street party event with kids’ activities. Let me know what games work well for Autumn/Winter/Outdoor activities.

 

 

Finding ways to bond with teenagers @ Ikea

Posted October 10, 2016 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

Tags: , ,

Sharing a few ideas for bonding with a teenage daughter, and hoping you’ll share them too, especially as this trip involved Ikea. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Meatballs at Ikea.

Meatballs at Ikea.

A few weeks back I realised I had one daughter in Paris (that’s where she lives), another was out shopping in London. My husband was at football and I was with the dog in the woods. On paper we are a family with little in common. But it is fun – and pays dividends – to try and do something special with individual children. And as they get older, this definitely gets more important. I was given this tip by a friend who has two older daughters and an older son; plus step children. I’m pretty certain my friend meant take your growing kids out for an adult-sort of treat, like coffee, or breakfast or a special meal. Now I have experience with an 18year old and a 15 year old I think that sometimes the treat should be something very particular. And it may not be something you’d normally do.

Changing rooms
The house has changed since my oldest daughter moved out for her gap year working in Paris. It’s a lot quieter… but it’s also a chance for my 15 year old to flourish without having to define herself by her older sister all the time. First move has been to change Nell’s room around (with her agreement). Her wooden bunks were freecycled (quite sad) but it was good to know they will be reused in a third home. To make that room feel more grown up it needed a double duvet, duvet cover and something else – rug, cushion, whatever.

In theory I could have found something from the piles of material I have at home. But given that I suspect Nell will have this duvet for a long time (she’s been sleeping under a single duvet cover that I used at boarding school in the 1970s!), it seems like a better gift to find a new design that she likes and belonged to her from the start… For that we had to go to Ikea via tube and bus.

Ikea is my idea of hell. Admittedly quite a nice sort of hell with FSC-certified timber, pleasant staff, a good temperature and clean toilets.

However it is a temple of consumerism and the sheer choice, plus bargain value prices, make it very easy for me to end up buying much more than I want (never mind need).  Luckily Nell is a better shopper than her mum – honed by a lack of pocket money, a lifetime of environmental messaging and a jealous respect for babysitting earnings. As a result she is very reluctant to buy anything, even if I am paying.

20161008_141614

Turning Swedish in Ikea.

In the end we got slightly lost and spent at least half an hour going round the showrooms of make believe bedrooms and kitchens. I think Nell was entranced by the choice, and the newness of everything. We recovered by standing in the queue for the restaurant. I’d been told the Swedish meatballs are good value and taste just like Swedish meatballs so Nell’s plan was to try that. I’m not used to queues – they definitely take me back to horrible school days. But as Nell pointed out she is at school, and she always has to queue for lunch.  We didn’t break into song but it was quite fun chatting about what things might taste like, and of course a novelty that everything was Swedish-themed.

And thus I learnt quite a few things from my daughter including a dose of patience, and respect for what she has to put up with in order to get a daily hot lunch.

Then we tried Ikea shopping again via the market place. I do love the clever wording Ikea uses… “market” sounds so much more fun than following a wiggly shopping corridor to the exit. We managed to load our yellow shopping bag carefully and so only reached the till with just a duvet, duvet cover, a furry rug and a Swedish brand of crisps.

Over to you
And I think we had fun… It was certainly lovely to see Nell’s pleasure with the new bedroom decor.

Is it worth going to Bletchley Park?

Posted October 6, 2016 by nicola baird blogs
Categories: parenting

Tags: , , , , ,

A friend took her primary school aged kids round Bletchley Park, a place I’ve been meaning to visit since reading The Secret Life of Bletchley Park in my book group and then watching The Imitation Game with my teenagers. But will it make a good day out?  For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Utter junk becomes an arty dalek cage.

Utter junk becomes an arty dalek cage. Notice the number of useful spy kit items, including dark glasses and moustaches.

Either everyone wants to be a spy, or Bletchley Park has a way of appealing to every generation. When I asked a lovely lady in the café which is housed just by the Mansion, in Number 4 hut, why Bletchley Park was so busy despite it being a wet Saturday her look of astonishment almost made me laugh. “This isn’t busy. You should see what it is like in the summer!” was her follow-up.

“But why is it so busy?” says me, still at a bit of a loss as to why people seem so interested in an old requisitioned house, a load of sheds and a very big computer, Colossus. “It’s the film isn’t?” was her response. “Ever since the Imitation Game there’s been a lot of people here – and loads of Americans!”

https://youtu.be/S5CjKEFb-sM

So is it Benedict Cumberbatch who’s made Bletchley Park a must visit? Or is it the extraordinary story of Alan Turing’s cracking of the Engima code? Are all these people here today mathematicians, linguists and engineers? Or did they have relatives who worked here? Or is it the fact that this place has the best audio visual tour I’ve ever seen – great quality, short snapy info and super simple to use?

Without getting hold of an exit survey I’m not going to be able to answer those questions… but a trip to Bletchley Park is brilliant with a teenager. And you could easily bring along younger children, who are so often up for anything, as well as an older relative who might remember WW2.

There’s so much about WW2 that I hadn’t realised. For starters Bletchley Park is where many women got the chance to do exciting – and secretive – work. They had to sign the Official Secrets Act, and as we now know this meant for years no one knew what had been going on in this corner of Buckinghamshire, conveniently located opposite Bletchley train station.

In July 2011 the Queen made a speech at Bletchley Park praising the workforce. In 1939 there were 200 people, but by 1944 there were 10,000 working at Bletchley – of which two-thirds were women. Clearly women got the chance to escape – often controlling – families, use their brains, feel needed, be part of the war effort and enjoy romance.

Hut 8 is where Alan Turing and his team cracked the Enigma code. Nell and I especially enjoyed seeing the desk where he would have worked, complete with an old-fashioned typewriter with a note in it saying he’d gone to lunch. The film makes it seem like so few individuals cracked Enigma, but going round Bletchley it’s clear that the combination of superbrains was what made cracking an almost impossible cypher was how it was done – and without Polish input it would have been much slower.

I was also rather taken by the use of pigeon post during WW2. In one hut there was a parachute for a pigeon. At the time there were 400 pigeon handlers in the army working 20,000 pigeons. Pigeon racing is far less popular now but a display at Bletchley Park suggested that there are around 30,000 racing pigeons in modern racing lofts.

  • http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/
  • Cost: Expensive (£16+) but if you plan to come by train download a 2 for1 entrance and show this with your train ticket to get half price entry. Tickets are valid for a year so if you live in nearby Herts or Bucks or plan to visit a few times then it’s much better value.
  • Getting there: We took an off peak train from London Euston. There are three or four trains an hour and the station is a well signposted 4 minute walk from the entrance to Bletchley Park.
  • In the gift shop: clever prezzies for clever people (eg, mugs emblazoned with the message ‘Weapons of Maths Destruction’).
  • Follow up reading: The Secret Life of Bletchley Park by Sinclar McKay

Over to you?
Where else have you found that works well for entertaining all ages?


Get Fit With Azmain

“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”

SHOTS AND SHOOTS

SHOTS AND SHOOTS

Islington Faces Blog

Everyone has a story: interviews with people who live or work in Islington

making tracks

Boredom and Adventure

mum vs mom

A parenting & lifestyle blog

Bevin Court

Community restoring the past for the future

Just Go Places

Share Travel Experience

WORD

Islington Word Festival

Art Attack

Discovering art in everything

Second-Hand Tales

Spreading the love of all things thrifted, recycled, swapped and free

This Is Monkixx

Just another WordPress.com site

Bungalow Lil and I

Mother and Daughter writers, life, books, family and the Yorkshire Dales by fleur butler and lil butler

SWEETEN IT UP!

Must have desserts for people with a sweet tooth

Keats House Poets Forum

Poetry Lives Here!

Hollywood? Bollywood? No!! this time it's all about Nolly and Ghallywood!!

I believe that everyone knows Hollywood, and that a lot of people know of or about Bollywood (Indian movie Industry), but what about Nollywood and Ghallywood? In my blog it's all gonna be about the West African specifically Ghanaian and Nigerian movie industry.

%d bloggers like this: