Tom Ward by Tom Ward

Week 205 - It’s Christmas

As Noddy Holder has been shouting in every Westfield and Arndale across the country, “It’s Christmas”. At Go Free Range we’ve not been hanging up our stockings on the wall, but we have been getting into the spirit. On Monday we had our Christmas outing, to Bletchley Park to see both the where code-breakers such as Alan Turing worked during WWII, and the National Museum of Computing. The two are, of course closely linked, as the members of the “the Golf, Cheese and Chess Society” pioneered and developed early computers such as the Bombe and Colossus.

The first part of the day was spent on a tour around Bletchley Park itself, being shown and told about the various buildings and huts used during the war.

In the afternoon we were lucky enough to have one of the staff of the National Museum of Computing show us their large collection of old computing devices. The Harwell Dekatron Witch and EDSAC were impressive, but I got most pleasure from the room full of old Acorn machines. Having started programming on a BBC Model B, it was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me.

We ended the day back in London with beers at the Euston Tap, curry at Diwani Bhel Poori and a final mulled cider at the Bree Louise.

Whilst Monday was our internal celebration, Wednesday was our annual(ish) Christmas Shindig; a chance to share mulled wine and mince pies with our friends, colleagues and special guest ex-freeranger Kalv. Disregarding most of the advice we’d listened to in fire safety training earlier in the day, we overloaded our sockets with Christmas lights and sparked up a gas stove for mulled wine. We even had ‘artisnal snowflakes’, courtesy of our printer. After an anxious start watching our friends checking in to nearby pubs, the office quickly filled with people, conversation and Christmas Dubstep. I hope you all enjoyed is much as we did.

Other than Christmas stuff, we’ve had plenty of other things to talk about this week. With the new year approaching, we need to decide what our goals are for the next twelve months, and how we’re going to achieve them. James A is off to Texas again shortly, and if his girlfriend decides to extend her contract out there, there’s a good chance he’ll be spending more and more time abroad. I too am going to have different priorities as I’m expecting to be a father in May. How we balance these and other goals is going to be a challenge. We don’t have the answers yet, but we’ve been talking about them and will think more over the Christmas period.

Anyway, that’s enough waffle for now. Have a great Christmas one and all,


This week’s notes were bought to you by the Christmas Eve train between St Pancras and Nottingham.

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