Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Red Sky In The Morning

There was an intensely bright red sky this morning. You know what they always say, ' red sky at night, shepherd's delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning.' So, does that mean we are in for some severe weather? More snow? Really hard frosts? Snow drifts? Who knows. Just have to put up with it if it is really bad. 

 We drove to the Shell petrol station in Grafton Street early this morning to fill the car up with £30 worth of petrol. The sky was really beautiful and I would have gone back home and collected my Canon digital camera and gone out to take some photographs of it, but it was changing so rapidly, unfortunately, that it didn't seem worthwhile. A pity, because it would have made a great shot, or more than one shot, which I would have posted on here.

It was also cold and frosty. Not over-keen to get chilled to the bone, so sprayed the car's windscreen and windows before we drove out. Nothing worse, or for that matter, dangerous, than driving with partially misted or iced-up windows. My gloves and hat came in handy. 

Over the Christmas period I have been working on the plot line for another section of my writing project which I've been developing over the past couple of years. I had written this out in note-form several times and yesterday I transferred it to word processing. I have finished it off this morning and printed it out, two pages of it. It does seem to work and there's a fairly good story arc. Now I just have to sit down and write the piece, using the framework of the plot line as reference.

I shall revise this blog as the day goes on, so do come back to see what else I write.

11.30 a.m.

I've been into Milton Keynes Central Shopping Centre. It's turned out to be quite a bright and sunny day, so it's pleasant driving in and parking and then walking into the shopping centre. It was around 9.15 when I eventually got there. I wanted to buy new swimming shorts and I'd seen some in Marks and Spencer when I visited the other day. I thought £10 was a reasonable price to pay and they're a rather pleasant red-colour. Supposed to be quick drying. Not sure how they can be any different to any other swimwear. I suppose it's because they're made of polyester or something. We'll be going to Nuffield this evening once Carol gets in from work, so I'll wear them then. The old ones I have been wearing are beginning to get a bit tatty which is why I wanted new ones. We bought them from Very when we went to Chloe and Steve's wedding in August 2013 and we were staying at a holiday centre in Ilfracombe where there was a swimming pool. We then joined D.W. Health when we came back after the holiday.

I then walked along the shopping mall and went into Boots. I wanted to buy a G.T.N. spray because the one I have has more or less finished. I have one on order, through the repeat prescription, but, to avoid an angina attack when we go swimming I wanted one to put in my bag and use before going into the pool this evening. I was amazed by how much cheaper this one was compared to when I bought a spare a few months ago. It was a little over £3 compared to around £7 elsewhere. I shall be going back to buy this medication from Boots again in future.

On the way along the shopping centre I arrived at Middleton Hall, the large open space near John Lewis. This is where the annual Christmas display is held and also other events such as trade shows, exhibitions and so on. There is currently a really interesting exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the building of Milton Keynes. A number of large maps, one being of the area that became the city in around the middle of the 19th century and another which shows archaeological finds. Also, models of buildings, such as the Civic Centre and others to show how bridges would be constructed and fit into the landscape.

It's Carol's birthday in March, and as a treat we were planning to go and see the musical 'Funny Girl' which is on the week of her birthday. I had hoped to buy two tickets for the Saturday matinee. I walked all the way to the theatre (Milton Keynes Theatre. You would think they could have come up with a more exciting name, would you not? Even the new theatre in Aylesbury is called the 'Waterside Theatre.'), quite a good hike along the shopping centre and then over the road near Campbell Park. The theatre was dark, no sign of life. The box office wasn't open, but then I saw that it didn't open until 10.00 a.m. I only had ten minutes or so to wait. Once I got inside, I went to the next available ticket person. I asked for two tickets for the matinee I wanted to book for, but was told that that performance was fully booked. Then the girl looked and saw that they had two returns, right up in 'The Gods,' the top-most tier of seating. I was then shocked to learn that these tickets were £45 each. That meant that the two seats would be £90. Far more than I'd intended paying and also, being in that position in the auditorium, having a really poor view of the stage. When we've been to see shows before we've usually had seats in the middle tier of seating, where you get a relatively good view of the stage. We'd been to see 'Guys and Dolls' a few years ago and sat in the top-most tier of seats and it had really poor visibility of the stage, which is why I didn't want to pay so much for rather inferior seating. I'm afraid we'll have to find something else to do that week, as, frankly I don't want to pay over-the-top prices for an out-of-town touring production of a show. It's around the same price of a West End show, which is all well and good, but my opinion is it's just a way of making a profit out of provincial audiences.

I walked back towards Marks and Spencer's and went into Waterstones. Why is it they dropped the apostrophe off their name? It makes me laugh when you think that as they are a book shop, you'd think they'd attempt to have such things as spelling and punctuation, particularly of their company name, written correctly. Anyway, there was a book on offer for half price which I wanted to check out. I shalln't say any more, just in case Carol is reading this, as I got it as a birthday present. It means I will have to hide it away somewhere so she can't see it. My sock drawer for example. I was also looking for Alan Bennet's Diaries, not literally, I mean, published. The latest selection has gone on sale in hardback, called 'Getting On, Getting On,' I want the earlier selection. I want to read the latest selection, but not having read his earlier jottings, it would be a good idea to read the earlier one's before proceeding to the latest. I wasn't sure where to look. It wouldn't be in the fiction section, so I went upstairs. The more academic books. No staff around. Nobody up there to ask, so I went downstairs and asked at the central pay desk. The young girl had a look on the computer. I said I had seen 'The Lady In The Van' which is a film based on Alan Bennet's relationship with an elderly lady, called Miss Shepherd, who came to live in his driveway, in an ancient yellow van. If you haven't seen it, you should. It stars the amazing Dame Maggie Smith. In a portrayal of a character very far removed from the character she plays in "Downton Abbey." Anyway, I didn't seem to elicit any sort of anything from this Waterstones employee, except to tell me the biography section upstairs had any books by Mr Bennett. The newer book was on display on the tables downstairs, but, as I say, it wasn't the actual book I was after, and anyway, I would wait for it to be released in paperback before I purchased it. So, armed with the information I was given I returned upstairs and there, in the biography section (even though, in actual fact, the book is autobiography) was one of Alan Bennett's books entitled "Untold Stories." I returned downstairs with the book and went to pay at the cash desk. The young woman was as distant and far away as it was possible. I do attempt to converse with shop staff, but she wasn't going to respond, unfortunately. I do think Waterstones should at least employ people who have some sort of conversational ability, or is it just, what with social media such as Facebook and Twitter, people don't need to actual converse anymore. Pity, because usually when I go into Waterstones, I get some sort of response when I try to speak to their staff. Some sort of interest in what they are selling, which isn't a great deal to ask, surely. I know that times are hard, or so we keep being told, but why are there so few staff in that shop? They've given it a facelift and there are actually two branches in Milton Keynes. The shops are much more bright and modern, not so dark and dingy as they used to be. It's a pity that the branch in Midsummer Place got rid of the Costa coffee shop upstairs. It has been replaced by what would appear to be Waterstone's own coffee shop, but last time Carol went in there for coffee we weren't exactly over-impressed. It's on the ground floor, which is probably better. I think the idea is that you choose your books and then take them to the coffee shop to browse through as you sip your latte or cappuccino. 
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