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Things to do in Buckinghamshire

Amazing, fun things to do in Buckinghamshire, days out in and around Buckinghamshire to help keep you and your whole family entertained for hours! Family days out and great places for kids to go in Buckinghamshire.

Boot Camp – What Was I Thinking?

When we signed up for a boot camp weekend, did we have 'The X Factor' in mind - celebrities, make up, sparkles and champagne?

Maybe, but the setting of Aylestone Park when it was minus 1 degrees and muddy couldn’t have been further from our dream of a good time!

First Things First...

Still, we were there and if not raring to go -or at least prepared to have a go! That is, until two ‘fitties’ appeared in Lycra and sinews!  There were five of us altogether along with Rob our boot camp commander. I was easily the oldest and least fit.

First things first. Rob called it a warm up and warm up we did - surprisingly quickly! Next, we were off on a 15 to 1 circuit. My comfort zone is whiteboards and lists, so I was lulled into a false sense of security when the whiteboard came out with the list of 15 to 1 different types of exercises. All appeared to be reasonably easy like the ‘get ups’. All you have to do, is get up (again and again and again). With the two fitties off like greased lightning and Emma and Sam not far behind them, I embarked on the challenge. Rob was brilliant, when he saw me struggle, he adapted the exercise. When I skipped bits he turned a blind eye and when I came to a shuddering stop he helped me finish with dignity.

Suddenly, it was mid morning break! Sitting in the car, getting our breath back and refuelling, Emma and I could barely speak. We did manage to convince ourselves we were having a good time though despite being covered in mud.

Boot Camp - What Was I Thinking? First Things First...
Boot Camp - What Was I Thinking? Running - No Thanks...

Running - No Thanks!

I won’t go into huge detail about the individual exercises we did but I will say that at the beginning, when we had a quick chat with Rob about what why we’d signed up and what we wanted to get out of the weekend, I had mentioned in passing that I didn’t do running! Incredibly - and down to his coaching and encouragement, I found myself not only running on the Sunday morning but enjoying it. Not only did I run on the flat, but uphill as well! (I don’t think I mentioned that Aylestone Park is on the side of Aylestone Hill.)

By the time we’d finished the two days, Emma and I were not only proud of ourselves but proud of each other too and vaguely talked about doing it again! Oh and I learnt that Tabata is not something to eat but the fastest, most effective exercise routine I’ve ever encountered. I wouldn’t mind giving it another go some time! Yep, definitely a different way to spend a weekend in January!

Outdoor Gym

The last thing I would have guessed would be a magnet for us on holiday was the gym on the beach. But, standing on a piece of equipment under a blue sky, exercising and gazing at the sea seemed briefly like a little bit of paradise!

Even when not on holiday, it is easy to go to a local outdoor gym. There are hundreds of local council-funded outdoor gyms that are free-to-use all year round as councils hope it will encourage a healthier community. Some are in beautiful settings too. Many of our Treasure Trails go past them.

Boot Camp - What Was I Thinking? Outdoor Gym

Have you tried an outdoor gym? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook.

15th March 2019

Posted In: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Manchester, Merseyside, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Scotland, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Things to do, Tyne and Wear, Wales, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire

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Codes and Ciphers – Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination

What's the difference between a code and a cipher? I don't know - what is the difference between a code and a cipher? Actually I do know after a great day out at Bletchley Park!

The Puzzles

There are lots of things to see and do at Bletchley Park.

So much more than a museum, there are puzzles to solve everywhere.

We started our day by trying to pick up a signal on an old radio and my friend really got into it. We decoded some morse code and left each other encrypted messages through a virtual interactive enigma machine.

At the end of our tour around Bletchley we popped into the gift shop. I couldn't resist buying a book of logic puzzles. 

Codes and Ciphers - Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination - The Puzzles
Codes and Ciphers - Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination - The Machines

The Machines

We learnt all about the German Enigma machine. An amazingly clever invention.

It was mathematicians in Poland who started the process of cracking its codes. When the threat from Germany became stronger, the Poles shared their knowledge with British intelligence, probably saving us at least 6 months. There are three memorials to the Polish at Bletchley.

They also helped us see that not only did we need to recruit classicist scholars and linguists but that mathematicians would be our secret weapon. 

We learnt about Colossus, the world’s first electronic digital computer. We also learnt the difference between Enigma and the British equivalent Typex. The Typex was able to encrypt its own letters which the Enigma couldn’t, making it far more difficult to crack than the Enigma! Fascinating stuff.

The People

Alan Turing was probably the most famous of the characters that populated Bletchley Park.

But there were so many fascinating stories of individuals. Lots of the exhibits have quotes from people about their time at Bletchley. They kept quiet about what they did until 1975, so for some it must have been quite a relief.

There was an eclectic mix of people working there. Debs rubbed shoulders with squaddies and rank and status was largely ignored.

It sounds like an incredibly unique experience to work there.

Codes and Ciphers - Bletchley Park, the Ultimate Destination - The People

So, I’d recommend any would be spies, to go there and experience Bletchley for themselves. Or take the easier option and play spies on the nearest Spy Mission to Bletchley at Buckingham.   Oh, and the difference between a code and a cipher is a code replaces whole words with symbols while ciphers replace individual letters with other letters or symbols! 

21st June 2017

Posted In: Buckinghamshire, Things to do

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