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Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Wet Weekend and New Glasses

On Saturday the weather was wet, which meant the outing we had planned was abandoned. No good wandering around outside getting soaked. So we hit on visiting the Milton Keynes Central Shopping Centre. We always make a visit in the run-up to Christmas because there is always a display of some sort in the Middleton Hall. We parked in the multi-storey near Debenham's and walked down through the store. We looked in the men's department and there are some items of clothing I have seen which I would like. Carol is attempting to find some sort of bag for work, large enough to carry around books and marking. She wants something strong enough and with several compartments. We looked in Debenham's luggage department but there didn't appear to be anything suitable. We walked through Midsummer Place and browsed briefly in Waterstone's. There are so many books which we both would like, but still, nice to be able to browse. Then we went into the main shopping centre. It was virtually empty of shoppers at 9 a.m. Not all the stores are open at that hour. We walked down one side of the shopping centre and eventually reached the open area between John Lewis and Next, which is called Middleton Hall. This is the area which is used for a variety of events, including the annual Christmas display. Over the years they've had themes. One year it was pirates and Peter Pan and there was a large ship complete with mast and sails, with a model of Peter Pan standing at the top. A great deal of time and effort had obviously gone into creating this display. They have always had a wishing well into which you can throw coins and the money collected goes to a local charity. Father Christmas has a grotto, which your children can visit, but you have to pay. A small railway, chugging around a circular track. Again, you have to book and pay in advance to ride on this. Also, a carousel and a couple of rows of booths or wooden kiosks selling a range of craft items. But I'm afraid the Christmas display is a real disappointment. No doubt the company who creates this has had it's budget cut drastically, and a lot of the animated characters look decidedly second hand a somewhat tatty. The white domes which have coloured lights inside were used last year. Nothing particularly to recommend it I'm afraid. This year's efforts has to be the poorist yet. So if you have to visit, don't be disappointed. It's just not very good. I know it for children, but they might at least put in a bit of effort.

We then went into Pret A Manger which has a branch nearby and had lattes and cookies. Quite a pleasant environment, but by the time we got there the crowds were building up and by the time we walked out the whole place was heaving. Carol pointed out how miserable everyone looked. Nobody seemed to be talking to one another. Most were on mobile phones, more interested in them that speaking to a living human being. People were queuing to buy coffees. Lots had shopping. No doubt Christmas shopping.

We next went into John Lewis. You walk through and the way it's laid out, you can't avoid looking at the products on display. It used to be laid out so it was a direct route, but not anymore. We needed to use the toilets, and, compared with the public toilets further along inside the shopping centre, the John Lewis toilets are a good deal cleaner and more pleasant. On the way we saw a display with a television which was showing the John Lewis Christmas television commercial, about 'Buster The Dog' bouncing on a trampoline. There was a display next to this, of merchandise which ties in with the commercial, mugs and soft toys and amongst it all a 'Buster' toy which you throw or bounce and it makes a noise, similar to the red Comic Relief 'noise' ball which our Yorkshire Terrier, Alfie, loves so much. It is on it's last legs, it's laughing sound mechanics is coming to an end. So I would come back into the shopping centre to buy later in the week.

Lewis's have a great selection of decorations of all shapes and sizes. We had a browse and by the time we'd finished we decided we'd seen enough and so walked back through the shopping centre and ending up back at the multi-storey carpark near Debenham's.

I returned to SpecSavers to collect my new glasses on Wednesday morning, a week after they'd been ordered. I was somewhat annoyed to find that instead of making up one pair each of reading glasses and one pair of distance vision glasses they'd made up two pairs of reading glasses. I know it was a mistake on behalf of the lady who dealt with the order, but it was still annoying. She apologised and said that she'd get the laboratory to re-do the order and make up the distance glasses and they'd be ready for collection today. It would mean we driving into the centre again and parking and having to walk through to the shopping centre this morning. Which I did. But, yesterday morning, when I got home and tried to read with the new glasses I found that they were not good for reading the laptop screen.  Really straining my eyes and leading to a headache as a result. They were no better than the off-the-shelf reading glasses which I bought in Boot's around 10 years ago and have been using ever since, perfectly successfully. On returning to SpecSavers this morning I'm now told I'll need to have my eyes tested again, which is really annoying as I imagined the original test would have shown up a different lens strength for close reading. I will get this done in the New Year as I don't really want it done before Christmas.
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