It’s hard to know how much attention Don is paying, especially when he so often lies there with his eyes closed.  Sometimes I think he has gone to sleep but if I get up leave very quietly, he is as likely as not to open his eyes and say in astonishment, “Are you leaving?  Why?”

He has been keen for me to read David’s book “The Secret Code-Breakers of Central Bureau” but I know he finds it hard to follow the thread of anything for more than a few minutes, so when he closes his eyes I keep on reading, but thinking it is only for my own benefit.

So I was very surprised when I picked up the book today and started riffling through a few pages, he said, What about that woman who was the electrical engineer?  It was a chapter I had read last week, and is probably my favourite chapter in the whole book.  The chapter is called “Mrs Mac and her Girls in Green” and it tells of Florence Violet Mackenzie in Sydney who taught herself electrical wiring from books, wanted to become an electrical engineer but in an era when girls were not given apprenticeships this was not possible, got around the rules by opening her own business and apprenticing herself, then later realised a knowledge of Morse code would be helpful for the war effort and single-handedly set up a training facility for girls, which became highly regarded.

That potted summary doesn’t do justice either to the chapter, or to the woman who should be a household word.  But it was wonderful that Don had understood enough to be impressed, and even more remarkable that he remembered it five days later.

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  1. Excellent news! As soon as our copy arrives, we will read about Mrs Mac. And will bring our copy north with us – we’re looking forward to seeing both of you soon! Love, Harriet and Bruce

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