Monday, June 28, 2004

Le weekend

What? Visiting my sister

Where? Milton Keynes

Why? She and her partner have just bought a new house. Oh, do you mean why Milton Keynes? Well, you'd have to ask her that...

How? By the medium of the horseless carriage

When? Depart Saturday am, return Sunday pm

Whither? Don't try and be clever...

Whence? Look, I've warned you already!

That's enough of that nonsense. Firstly, you may note that I'm blogging of an evening. Not content with leaving me to my own devices this weekend, the Big Fella is also off gallivanting tonight for the Year 11 (that's 5th form in "old money") end of term "Riverboat Cruise" (cue: "Riverboat Cruise? In my day, you had a slap round the chops and a school blouse/shirt covered in the biro-scrawled nonsense of your so-called friends - and that's if you were *lucky*!!!"). Mine is not to reason why, mine is simply to mention it in passing in my blog - so don't start on me, alright?

So, this weekend, I went to Milton Keynes. Yes, one of the few places in the country where the directions to someone's abode could (and did - with no exaggeration) contain the phrase: "at the 12th roundabout...."

It's a funny old place, Keynes (we're not on first name terms yet...). I know of nowhere in this country quite like it. I do like the idea of experimenting with town planning and house building, trying new ideas, but there's something rather sterile about the long, straight, ordered "boulevards" lined with the large modern edifices, bowing to the god of materialism. It's the quaintness, the shambolism, the cobbled-together-ness which makes England the quirky place it so clearly is. Which is why Keynes is just a little, well, odd... but ever one to stay resolutely on the fence: horses for courses - I'm sure some people love it. And there's a TK Maxx, so it can't be all bad...

The journey back down to London, though, was a sharp reminder of how certain parts of the country exist in a kind of shambles just on the very edge of chaos. Ingredients: the M25, the North Circular, the Blackwall Tunnel - with a pinch of torrential rain. Stew for 3 hours in a metal container and you'll end up with a very flustered Witho - with a pressing need for a pee!

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