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Monday, January 16, 2017

Further Little Niggles

A further blog post about those annoyances that make life difficult or impossible and, without them, things would go just that bit better. Not just niggles, but also meanderings and whitterings. I shall publish this as it is, but add to it as the day goes on, so if you read this at 8.00 a.m. it is not going to be the same by the end of the day as I intend adding to it as the day progresses.

How about parking machines? I'm talking about those ticket machines which are set up, mainly by local authorities, which you are supposed to use when you go into town and want to park your car. They generally take One Pound coins and you put them into the slot provided and then, a couple of seconds later, they fall out the slot where your change comes out. Oh, on second thoughts, they don't give change, or, at least, those in and around the Milton Keynes Central Shopping Centre. Why is this? It seems a bit of a cheat, they would charge you if you didn't have a ticket in the first place, or you arrive back at your parked vehicle, having spent a small fortune in the shops, laden with packages. Is it your fault that your time was taken up in a queue in a certain store? Some old dear at the check-out, counting out her cash, a mountain of 1p and 2p pieces? Or people who can't find their debit or credit card, or some such similar hold-up? If you know you will need these items, why not have them handy, so there isn't a hold-up at the checkout? And, while we're on the subject of checkouts, if you use a self-service checkout, why do you have to have that awful voice which keeps telling you that there's an 'unexpected item in bagging area,' or having you every flaw shouted at you so the entire supermarket can hear. I don 't mind using the machines, but why have a voice, usually sounding like a grumpy old aunty shouting at you for misbehaving. Or mechanical voices in general. Another is in lifts. Who are they for? 'Doors opening' and 'doors closing,' Are they for the benefit of those with poor eyesight, the visually impaired (not supposed to say 'blind' as it's not 'Politically Correct.') Surely if you had a visual impairment, your hearing would be better than if you had sight, you would know well enough when the doors in a lift open or close. you would sense when this happens. You would feel the lift moving. it's just because THEY CAN put a mechanical voice in a list that there is one. And, a further thought, who records the voices in the first place? It's the same when you top up your mobile, the irritating female who is supposed to guide you through the operation. Is it some out of work Equity member who couldn't get a job working on EastEnders or who failed her audition for the R.S.C. or National Theatre. What a job! Standing in a recording studio and just saying 'doors opening' or 'doors closing,' how many 'takes' did they do to get the right inflection? Angry, pleased, frustrated?  You can only imagine. Why not do different voices for all of these? Or actors who work on radio shows such as 'The Archers.'

Why are the traffic lights in Milton Keynes so slow to change? There are several sets in and around the centre, along Witan Gate near Sainsbury's. You can drive along Witan Gate and then stop at each set. Surely they could be set so as to allow you to keep moving and not have to stop at the next set. Or is that too easy? The ones near Sainsbury's take far too long to change. There's no reason as the traffic along Witan Gate is generally not too busy. I usually go to Sainsbury's by going along Saxon Street (which is the main route from where we live in Eaglestone.) and then turn at the traffic lights near Debenhams and along Avebury Boulevard. The set of lights near Debenham's take an inordinately long time to change. Is it to allow busses time to come out from the stopping place they have near The Point? There has to be so reason. Surely no traffic lights should be set to hold up traffic for more than 20 seconds at the most. Just another little niggle.

I've been into the centre of Milton Keynes this morning. To go to the Central Shopping Centre. I manage to park in the surface carpark near The Point. Incidentally, why has this ironic Milton Keynes building been left to rot? The multiplex cinema complex behind is left empty. It looks in a really bad state. This was the first multiplex complex in this country. I know things move on, and we have a brand new cinema complex near the MK Stadium, but it seems scandalous that The Point, that pyramid-shaped construction which is a sort of symbol of Milton Keynes, along with the concrete cows, is at the point of no return. It looks scruffy and rusty. There used to be a nightclub inside it and when it was lit up you could see it for miles away, particularly when I lived in Bedford I drove over to Milton Keynes in my car at night, you could see it quite clearly on the hill from the road when you drove in from the Stagsden/Chichley/Newport Pagnall road.

A lot of black crows hanging around in the carpark. I've seen them several times when I park in that carpark. Quite creepy. They perch in trees as you cross the road into the shopping centre. It makes me think of the Alfred Hitchcock film 'The Birds.' Carol says she sees  similar birds hanging around the Academy and doesn't like walking past them. They are actually quite harmless, but being black and having that sort of gothic look, as well as long beaks that look as if they might give you a nasty peck, I can see why she doesn't like them. A sort of cliche used in movies and television dramas, suggest death, foreboding and so on. A sort of Hammer movie cliche I suppose. Short-hand for death and destruction. 
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