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169. Enigma code cocktail experience

We walked down an unassuming staircase in a Chelsea restaurant into The Bletchley and were immediately transported back in time. The small room was buzzing with espionage activity that we were keen to immediately be a part of.


With Matthew Wilkinson

Matthew is Project Manager at Our Mobile Health and was stuck working with me on our Devices and Apps tried and tested list for around a year. Our weekly catchup calls were a high point of my week because Matthew is not only really good at his job but he's a good laugh and didn't let me stress about the small things, the sign of a good Project Manager.


Putting on the supplied military jackets we were handed a mission card and asked whether we wanted our challenges to be easy, medium or hard. We went for easy thinking it would give us a nice gentle evening. We also handed over our code names; Agent Pinky and Agent Brain.

Our first challenge came and we nailed it, successfully cracking a safety deposit box code to reveal small vials and atomisers. By spraying some into our mouths and sniffing others we selected our favourites and called them through to the control switchboard using a machine on the wall. They then worked us up a cocktail based on this.

Our second mission came in and was a bit more complex and involved maps. In faffing with the Enigma machine and trying to decipher what we needed to do I dropped the instruction card down the back of the sofa we were sat on which definitely didn't help matters. After bashfully asking for a new card we read it through for the 5th or 6th time and immediately regretted the glasses of wine we'd had prior to coming. This was going to be hard and it was the easy version.

Somehow, we're not sure completely how we managed to, we stumbled across the right answer and progressed to the next challenge, a personality quiz leading to a personalised cocktail.

Our final task was to see whether we would be accepted into code cracking training. Let's just say any thoughts we had about being good at crosswords faded within about 2 minutes of being given the sheet. This was seriously hard.

  I feel like I'm a fairly intelligent-ish person and I really struggled but struggling made me giggle and I had a real laugh at the event. There are points where I couldn't see I was laughing so much. I haven't laughed like that in a long time. The experience was great fun. The team really got into character and the props were fantastic and suitably difficult to use. I think perhaps we can strike espionage off the 'cool jobs I could be doing' list for definite now though.

Get your tickets here.

[I think this should be our team name!]


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