“Raymondos” – an exercise in writing dialogue – Arvon non-fiction course 2017 at Totleigh Barton

“Raymondo’s” – original version

My nan was great fun to be around. When my brother and sister were small she used to pretend that they were top hairdressers in their salon called “Raymondos” she would get all of her hairdressing accoutrements out of the cupboard and Sarah and Stephen would do her hair for hours on end. Or so it seemed. I would be sitting on the sofa watching and chatting and reading a book. Probably something by Enid Blyton.

Nan had loads of hairdressing paraphernalia: grips, clips, Vitapointe cream (which I can smell now as I write about it), curlers, pins, brushes, combs, setting lotion and papers. I must have joined in too sometimes as I can remember putting Vitapointe on my nan’s hair and then brushing her hair with a bristle brush. It makes me smile to think of those times.


“Raymondo’s” – dialogue version

I was at my nan’s flat with my brother and sister, Sarah and Stephen who were around 5 years old, playing hairdresser’s with my nan.

“Now Raymondo, I’d like a shampoo and set. Please give me a lovely hairstyle, I’m off to a ball tonight in my best frock and I want to look beautiful.”

“Yes, nannie. I’ve got the brush, I’m going to brush your hair and make you look lovely.”

“Now Cynthia, can you please help Raymondo with the setting lotion and papers”

“Yes nannie. Raymondo here you are.”

Sarah picks up the packet of papers and the setting lotion ready to pass them to Stephen.

“Can I have the lotion please Cynthia” Stephen said with a giggle, delighted to be calling his twin sister by a made up name.

“Here you are Raymondo” Sarah replied and handed over the lotion, accidentally squirting some of it over nannie’s dress.

“Oh no! Raymondo, Cynthia, you are such naughty hairdressers!”

I looked up from the sofa and we all burst into laughter.


Many thanks to Arvon Totleigh Barton, Lois Pryce and Sukhdev Sandhu for a wonderful week.


Exciting career opportunities for #womenintech – #bigdata #datascience #cybersecurity – WeAreTechWomen #video interview with me


From 2003 to 2017 – Saving Bletchley Park, the Women of Station X, Stephen Fry, the Imitation Game and the Duchess of Cambridge #Bpark

I often get asked about Bletchley Park and my connection with it. Here are a few links that give an overview of my 14 year fascination and involvement.


Finding out about the women who worked there is how I first got interested in Bletchley Park in 2003, I got funding for an oral history project “The Women of Station X” to record the memories of the women who worked there:



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then I found out that Bletchley Park might have to close so I started a campaign to save it. The whole story is captured in my book:


US Amazon – Saving Bletchley Park


UK Amazon – Saving Bletchley Park




and some of the highlights on my blog from 2008, read from the bottom up to get an overview of how my campaign started and what we did including getting Stephen Fry involved:
Here’s my old school 2008 blog: http://savingbletchleypark.org/


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I spoke about my life and the campaign last December at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA



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It’s been so wonderful to see the recognition of Bletchley Park growing over the years since the campaign started with books like Andrew Hodges – Alan Turing: The Enigma getting recognition and films being made like The Imitation Game starring great Hollywood actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.


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Also who could forget the visit of the Duchess of Cambridge to Bletchley Park whose grandmother and great aunt worked at Bletchley Park.


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Have a look at these links and then comment below if you have any questions, or @ me on Twitter @Dr_Black, I’d love to hear from you 🙂





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I won the Digital Agenda Editor’s award for outstanding contribution to technology for good #tech4good #digitalimpact 

I was deeply honoured and absolutely delighted to win the special Editor’s Impact award at the Digital Agenda  Impact awards last week for my ” outstanding contribution to technology for good”. 

It was an amazing afternoon full of great catchups with friends in the tech for good space and interesting and exciting conversations with so many incredible social entrepreneurs 😍👍🎉 

Amazing walk in Tenerife- El Teide view 

Spent a fabulous and exhausting day climbing up to 9000 feet today in Tenerife. It was really hard going for quite a bit of the uphill walk, but well worth it when we saw the view of volcano El Teide. Our guide was Andy Tenerife Walker who picked us up from where we are staying, took us on the walk with about 8 other walkers, and brought us back again. The walk we did was the Wow Factor walk. Can’t wait to come back and do some more…

Middle Age Angst, a self imposed writing class or New Year’s Resolution? You Decide #300words

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I seem to have made one this year. I’m going to write something every day, a blogpost a day even, just for the hell of it. And also to improve my writing. But what if I write drivel every day and my writing doesn’t improve? Well then I will laugh at myself and say that it was just an experiment, I wasn’t really trying or other such bullshit. I don’t want to look like a complete idiot.

I’m going to post a photo every day to complement my blog post, and I’m going to (really? this sounds a bit scary) talk about my innermost thoughts rather than the day to day stuff. I have no idea yet what that might be.

I’ve had an “interesting” life so far. The “hard” (it’s all relative) life of my early teens through my twenties has morphed into an “easy” (it’s all…) life now. I no longer go to sleep hungry nearly every night or worry about being murdered. I’m having a ball!

I’m going to pose a question every day too. (Can you tell I’m making this up as I go along?) Today’s question is:

“Why has our oldest cat Elsie suddenly started pissing up the dining room curtains every day?”

It doesn’t make sense.

I’m also going to restrict the word count to three hundred words per day. Setting boundaries on your work forces you to think harder about what you are doing. I read that somewhere once. 300 words also gives me a #hashtag 🙂 and I do love a good #hashtag. I wonder if that smiley face counts as a word?

Well that was easy, today’s post is finished, see you tomorrow… does “…” count as a word?

I don’t know.



XMAS PRESENT IDEA!! A personally dedicated copy of Saving Bletchley Park

Live in or near London and want a personally dedicated copy of Saving Bletchley Park for a loved one for Christmas?
Order Saving Bletchley Park here now for delivery tomorrow:
You should receive it tomorrow – Thursday
Bring it along on Friday lunchtime at 1pm to the Royal Festival Hall Cafe, on London/s South Bank and I’ll dedicate it for you 🙂
Please let me know here that you are coming here:
See you on Friday!!!
Merry Christmas!!!

Suffrage science at Bletchley Park on Ada Lovelace Day #adalovelaceday 

It was such an honour to give the speech today at the #suffragescience event at Bletchley Park 😍👍🎉 so many incredible women who have achieved so much in maths and computing getting fabulous awards for their work ❤️👍😀
It was such a delight to wear my favourite #javascript dress 👗 today on my favourite #AdaLovelaceDay day at my favourite place #bletchleypark with my favourite people #womenintech and talk about my life, overcoming challenges, getting an education in difficult circumstances, setting up #BCSWomen and how that led me to campaign to save Bletchley Park and now #techmums 👍😍🎉🎉🎉🎉