Thursday, 29 May 2014

ENIGMA, Woodland Steps and Course & Sea

"ENIGMA" :- Yes, you can see my reflection (along with the tripod) in the glass but to be honest that's rather missing the point as it's the odd looking equipment that's on the other side of the glass that enthralled and fascinated me. This is a real bona fide "Enigma" machine from WWII. In fact according to their website Bletchley Park (in Milton Keynes, England) has "The largest and most comprehensive public display of Enigma machines in the world". The design of these machines looks old and clunky but don't be fooled by how they look. They were cleverly created to create ciphers, to jumble up letters through a series of cogs and plug in cables. In fact the "Enigma" machine was so good at the job it was designed for the chances of deciphering it were 158,000,000,000,000,000,000:1 (that's a 158 million, million, million to one!!). "Enigma" was reset and had its settings changed at midnight every single day just to complicate things even more and compound the difficulties of cracking it. What's even more staggering is that under a huge veil of secrecy Bletchley Park gathered together a vast number of people (including Alan Turing who was an English mathematician and pioneer of computer science) and managed to break the cipher, not just once but on a daily basis allowing them to read all the encrypted messages. They achieved this by creating a computer known as the "Bombe" which was an electro-mechanical machine, developed during WWII by Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman. The "Bombe" helped them by eliminating possible settings and pointing out those that were more likely thus saving an immense amount of time and effort ... and in turn saved many thousands of lives too. It has been written that the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years.

"Woodland Steps" :- At the far end of Devil's Dyke (on the edge of Brighton), way down in the lowest part you'll come across these steps set into the steep bank. The steps make it easier to negotiate the vast rise but do not alleviate the stress, strain or shortness of breath that one suffers whilst trying to reach the top. I did not see a single soul on this path as I was the only one stupid enough to walk up it. Needless to say once I reached the summit I could no longer stand, nor breath or cool down!

"Course & Sea" :- This was shot on the (sadly) disused miniature golf course in the village of Rottingdean near Brighton on the south coast of England. I have fond memories of trying to play a round here when I was a child and returned a few times in my 20's to see if I'd improved any (which I hadn't). It had been a feature of the Sussex coast for my entre life and would often see people enjoying an afternoon up on the course whilst taking in the sea view but then suddenly and without much warning its lease ran out and was closed to the public in September 2012. Just to put a further halt to anyone using it for their own entertainment the councl turned up and filled the golf holes in with concrete! So now it stands empty and souless. No laughter or the odd "Thwack" to be heard. The view is stll breathtaking but there's simply nobody there to enjoy it with anymore.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill