I went to the Academy at 3.30 to fetch Carol. I waited in the reception area. When she came out, we were greeted by one girl (one of the students) who was really offensive and rude to her as we were walking to the carpark. The standard of behaviour at the school is really bad. I can't imagine speaking to a teacher like that when I was at school and getting away with it. The problem seems to me that there is no ultimate sanction, as there was when I was at school (yes, I know, it was 45 odd years ago, and things have changed.) such as a good clip round the ear or 'The Cane.' (I'm not in favour of capital punishment, but at least it was a deterrant.) No child should have to endure physical abuse of any type, but they know that they can't be punished in this way and they also have 'rights.'
We got home to discover that Daniel was going back to St Albans (his father lives there and he also has a part-time job working for a firm on Paddington Station in London called 'Upper Crust.') and he needed a lift to the station by 5.15. We took him to the station. We went into the Centre, and parked the car in Debenham's car park. It is one of those car parks where you have to drive up a circular ramp, which can be quite hairy as it's quite steep. You get to a barrier and have to open it by pressing a button which has to align with your driver's side window, so when you wind down the window you can reach the machine, press the button and then remove the ticket. This is all well and good if you can draw up near enough to the machine, but if not you have to reverse and come back at a better angle so you can actually reach the machine. Anyway, at least parking there you are right on top of the shopping centre and we walked down into Debenham's store using their escalators. and then wanted to go into the Central Shopping Centre as we were going to see the Christmas display in the Middleton Hall (just outside John Lewis's department store in the central hall in the shopping centre.) This has been a major attraction in Milton Keynes ever since the shopping centre opened in 1979 (I think it must be at least 30 years old, but I'm not too sure whether it opened in 1979 or not.) This is generally aimed at children, but there is a 'child' in us all and it is such a central part of the Christmas holiday period that we couldn't go without seeing it. I have to say it wasn't as good a recent years.
We then went to W.H. Smith as I wanted to buy a magazine which I have regularly, B.B.C. History, and I have a card which allowed 20% off all purchases. We paid (also buying some chocolate and the Christmas edition of "Radio Times" which is another tradition, you have to buy this two-weekly edition so as to see what delights we can expect on television over the holiday period.) We paid, and then Carol saw that there was a book signing going on. It was Ben Collins, who was "The Stig" on "Top Gear" on BBC2. Daniel has been undecided as to what he wants for Christmas, so Carol decided to buy this book ("The Man In The White Suit" and get the author to sign it as a present for Daniel. We have brought most of our presents from Amazon this year, and this was one present that we needed (another we have yet to buy is for my daughter, Chloe.) Anyway, it was well worth it as we also got the discount with the card I had.
We could have gone home and had our evening meal at home, but Carol thought it would be nice to have a meal out. We have been to Giraffe, a rather nice chain of restaurants, which has a branch in Milton Keynes. We weren't too impressed by their menu, so went to look at the menu at Nando's, and ended up having our meal there instead. It was really nice to spend some time together out and about and had a look in some of the shops. I notice that many have sales on, which must be a reflection of the current financial situation, as most shops don't have sales until well after Christmas. It's the same old thing at Christmas, as it has for goodness knows how many years- you go made buying your presents, all selling for top prices, and then, as soon as Christmas is over, you find that the same items are selling for well below what you paid BEFORE Christmas in the New Year sales.