Sunday, November 29, 2015

Just Another Weekend?

On Friday, after Carol finished work, we went into the Milton Keynes Central Shopping Centre. We had a need to break our rather ordinary routine and get out of the house. We parked in Debenham's multi-storey car park and we had a good idea that it would be easy to park there. We met a queue of cars going into the town centre, most likely because it was Black Friday, which would mean a lot of shops would have pre-Christmas bargains. It seems that everyone has to go totally mad whenever there is any chance of a bargain but we were just keen to get out. We walked through Debenhams and the place was seething with shoppers. We went out into Midsummer Place and ended up in Waterston's and it was in the middle of being revamped which seemed amazing considering it was so close to Christmas. I don't think the shop has been modernised in all the time I have been coming to Milton Keynes. It will be a good deal brighter and modern once the work is completed. There used to be a Costa coffee shop upstairs as well as a Paperchase concession on the ground floor, both gone, so no doubt these were taken out due to the store being under new ownership. We did spend some time browsing and I have some ideas for book I would like to buy. Both Carol and I have done our Christmas present lists which makes it easier for us to buy each other presents. I am going to buy myself a new digital camera in the New Year, a Canon, which I have seen in Jessop's, the camera shop in the shopping centre, but may wait until then because it is bound to be a good deal cheaper in the January sales. I don't mind buying the camera in Jessops as the staff are very helpful and it was one of the businesses which very nearly collapsed when the economy was in a nose-dive and was rescued by one of the 'Dragon's', Peter Jones. If you've never seen the BBC2 show "Dragon's Den" no doubt you won't know who I mean, but anyone who rescues a good business from financial collapse and manages to turn it round to become a profitable business earns not only my total respect but my loyal custom. I can't wait to get the new camera and it will be a sort of joint retirement/birthday and Christmas present to myself!

The main shopping centre was seething with shoppers. I don't think I have seen it so busy, even in the build-up to Christmas. We went into W.H. Smith as Carol wanted a folder for work. We then decided we needed a break, with a coffee and something to eat. We had intended going into Costa near John Lewis but then went to Pret A Manger. There is a lot of choice regarding places to get a drink and something to eat and we've been to Cafe Nero which is the opposite side of Middleton Hall, where the Christmas display is currently on. We were surprised when we went to get our drinks in Pret A Manger when the young man on the till said it was free. We had hot chocolate and mince pies which were very good. A shock to get something without having to pay, but apparently, according to Carol, they are expected to give away some food and drink free to customers. No doubt a sort of 'good will' gesture or something. I can't imagine many businesses doing that sort of thing.

We did have a cursory glance at the Christmas display, but to be totally honest it is a real disappointment. I don't know what it is, but it's certainly not the best effort. The usual little train they have every year is there, but the whole thing lacks any sort of imagination. A load of snow, a few mechanical penguins and Father Christmas doesn't make for a particularly entertaining experience, but I suppose as it's aimed at very little chidren, that's all that matters, but in past years they've had a theme, such as 'Peter Pan', 'Pirates ' or 'Pantomime.' Don't ask me what the theme of this year's extravaganza is as it doesn't appear to have one and it's a shame you have to pay to see most of it. So, as a result, we didn't bother, unfortunately.

Our outing ended with us going home towards Eaglestone and going to the fish and chip shop as we usually do on a Friday evening. You really can't beat the fish and chips from the Brothers Fish Bar in Eaglestone.

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