Last Bletchley for now

Ah the final night.

What a marvelous bunch of people. There we all are at Dilly’s desk, trying to look like we hadn’t had a ton of wine and gotten out of costume before someone said “we need a cast photo”. Then redressing and the usual juggling between patience and light. Ah yes the tired smile of somebody who doesn’t really give a fuck about the photo but they’re in it. We all know it. Yay! *Click* Whew.

Look at them though. What a good bunch. You know how I never mention people’s names? I would love to go from left to right and gush about these humans. But I forgot to ask permission. And I try to avoid writing without permission just because humans are configured differently about where their boundaries lie. I had a photographer once who asked me to credit them and then literally lost his shit when I did (positively). I try to be careful and delicate. But these people in that photo: they’re my jam. Oh heck I like them. Unusual humans. Great big brains attached to overdeveloped kindness muscles. I am utterly thrilled to be their collective friend. Some of them have found their light already. Others will in time. Bonkers kind new running mates.

This evening was just hilarious as a last show. Multiple school age children, and through them I learnt that the syllabus hasn’t changed since I was at school. Surely they were only eleven, but when Dilly started shifting into Latin, they immediately knew that Caecilius spends all his time in the bloody horto. They brought huge fun to our last show, by having no filter and enjoying the fact they could interject and it will be incorporated. Almost the perfect young audience – they were always on topic and they were gobby as fuck. Dilly got a science lesson about the effects of smoking. It didn’t stop him. He tried to tell them the t pipe wasn’t lit. It didn’t bother them. He risked giving his end letter to one of the young women who had lectured him. It felt like she had been trying to prolong my life. It was sweet.

We had an entire birthday party in the cottage at the start. Bletchley fans, it seems. One of them almost refused to come as she was Polish and didn’t want to witness another British story where the fact that the Poles broke enigma before the war is not included. We own that fact in the show. It’s brilliant. A postage worker in Poland deconstructed and reconstructed an enigma machine in transit. Quick work, and had it not been done it is very possible that the major actions that were made possible by enigma decryption (such as DDay) would have failed. Cryptography is a powerful art. The Italian fleet was sunk at Matapan by the grace of God and Mavis Lever, who worked out that a lazy cryptographer sent a dummy message through enigma by spamming the letter “L”. Enigma cannot come back to itself. She had 400 characters none of which were L. Hence the most likely solution was that the whole message was LLLLLLLLL. Coming first thing in the morning it allowed the team to set the rotors correctly for that day, and locate the Italian fleet.

I’ll miss this show. Delights the lot of them. But it’s late now. Bedtime. Happy post show winefaced Al. Zzz

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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