Underwater eavesdropping

After a lovely walk around Crondall followed by a delicious bowl of Brazilian fish, I settled down in my office for the latest WFA webinar. This week it was about British Signals Intelligence in the Trenches and had two presenters: Jim Beach and Jock Bruce.

Originally we were going to walk around Frensham Little Pond but the traffic in South Street was horrendous. Because Longbridge is STILL closed, we had no choice but to go to Crondall instead. Not that that’s a problem. Not at all.

Actually, I quite like Crondall. It’s big and open and not hilly. The path is wide and regular, and there’s no hills. Given the time of year, there’s not even a lot of pollen left so Mirinda can breathe easy.

And we can also check on the progress of The Shed.

Of course, we now can’t see anything inside but the surround has been completely concreted and there’s a new flight of outside stairs leading up to the small mezzanine area inside. It will be interesting to see what they’re going to do with the approach to The Shed given it’s presently just hard core and dirt. It’s also on rather a steep climb.

Given the reo in the photo, I can only assume it will also be concreted.

Then, back home, I started to listen to Jim Beach talk about the art of spying on the enemy during WWI. Except my laptop had other ideas.

First up, as Jim started talking, my screen responded by flickering like a mad thing. It was impossible to see anything, so I rebooted. By the time I returned, Jim had almost completed his segment. The flickering had stopped though, which was good.

I then listened to some amazing statistics from Jock who took us through how they had found out how many intelligence operatives there were in the British Army. It was not easy, but they managed to find quite a few. It seems that Jock is a Genealogical Genius.

Eventually it was time for questions. These were helpful in filling in some information I’d missed from Jim’s bit. I also heard that the French accidentally discovered that they could eavesdrop on telephone conversations via water. I don’t know how but there you go.

I was happily listening to questions followed by answers when, suddenly, my laptop decided to go all blue and then switch itself off. I was seriously not happy. This time, when I’d returned, it was all over.

I guess I’m going to have to read the two articles they wrote to learn more.

Today, this happened

In 1701, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, the Dutch Republic and Britain signed the Treaty of the Hague renewing the 1689 Grand Alliance. Its provisions included securing the Dutch Barrier in the Spanish Netherlands, the Protestant succession in England and Scotland and an independent Spain. This was as a result of the death of the childless King Charles II of Spain and kicked off another load of bloodshed in Europe.

To my way of thinking, it was yet another way of killing the poor for the sake of the wealthy. It’s a recurrent motif throughout history that some rich and powerful person has a falling out with some other rich and powerful person, so they send thousands of poor people to go and fight each other. Lots and lots of deaths later and the two rich and powerful individuals kiss and make up. Until the next time.

This particular waste of human life was called The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) and involves many convoluted twists and turns with, through and around a multitude of pouting, preening and postulating prigs.

I think there’s a lot to be said for people fighting their own fights rather than calling on a bunch of peasants to pointlessly die for them. But maybe that’s just me.

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