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.