Monday, 20 October 2008

A fresh new city

Milton Keynes is one of those places that you either love or hate. There seems to be no middle ground in people's perceptions. I'm one who finds the city attractive and lively. I don't get confused by the grid system of thoroughfares. I like the way that each suburb is a small community, and how the pedestrian and cycle paths keep to their own system of routes and away from the main roads. I find the central shopping area a pleasure to walk round, and I have long wanted to stay a night in the centre of the city. Last Friday night I did just that, booking into the Holiday Inn on Saxon Way at just after 3.00 p.m.

The room was light and pleasant, with a good view across the boulevard, and once again the hotel had a swimming pool, this time in the basement. Having taken a preliminary stroll around the Shopping Centre I returned to the hotel for a swim, and then in the early evening went out to find a meal. I headed first of all for Pizza Express, but found nothing on the menu that encouraged me to go in. I then walked to Wagamama, but as the place was heaving with customers, moved on - the Miso soup would have to wait for another day. Pizzaland was the third option, and although it also was busy, there were some free tables, and I dined cheaply and well - potato wedges to start, and a dish of tomato and mozzarella mezzaluna pasta as a main course, washed down with a small bottle of red wine.

The following morning I had another swim before making a coffee in my room and then checking out. Before heading home I stopped off at the Ikea store and wandered happily around, spending a bit more than I anticipated on church raffle prizes and Christmas gifts, as well as items for my own use and consumption. Nearing Cambridge I found a garage with petrol at just under £1 per litre, and so I refuelled there.

So concluded my week away. As I lounged on the sofa in my sitting room the next day, it was a pleasure to know that in a week's time I would still be off-duty for another couple of days. It's been an thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing time so far.


  1. Joking aside, I think Milton Keynes has always had a bad press, although I have never been there. Definitely worth exploring...

  2. And I always thought that Milton Keynes was a person.

  3. SR, I wish I had enough money to hire you (or someone) to drive me around the countryside in the north of England. I've traveled around in the south a good bit, but not in the north. I'd want to stop at every old church we passed, especially the small churches, so you see that a tour group would not really work for me.

    I know that your travels were not in the north, but that's where I'd want to go, and your account of your travels reminded me of that desire.

  4. Grandmere - I'd be happy to drive you round - no charge, but then there'd be the cost of petrol, overnight stops etc. You'd better start saving!

    I did my teacher training in the north of England - first year at Hexham, and then years 2 and 3 at Ponteland, near Newcastle. I got to see quite a bit of it, especially as my teaching practices were all over in Cumbria, two on the coast - Maryport and Workington, and one in the hills near Penrith, in the village of Skelton. I had some great walks out into the fells from there, and it's left me with a fondness for Cumbria and The Lakes.

    There's a BBC series called "Wainwright's Walks" that follows all the man's routes up the Lakeland hills - it always makes me want to get my walking boots on whenever I see an episode.

  5. Well, then, I shall do just that. Just wait and see.

  6. Grandmere - If you'd like to read more about how I travel, then search out a copy of "Never Look Back: Tramping to Rocamadour" (ISBN: 0952384108) There's a second-hand one in Experienced Books, CA, or new from Amazon ( - or direct from the author .... ME! (Cheaper from me as well!)

    Sales pitch ends.