We had a meal out last night. It was a sort of outing for some of Carol's colleagues from the science department where she works at Milton Keynes Academy. I know there's a new burger place called Five Guys in Midsummer Place, next to Debenham's department store. It had recently opened and we had a look at the menu when we were walking past a week or two ago. But it wasn't this one we were going to. It's in the Xcape building, underneath the ski slope, just behind the theatre. Carol finished work at just after 3.30 and came home and we changed ready to go out. I think Alfie picked up the idea that we were going out. He's as sharp as a knife, that little dog. It's amazing that he gets some sort of message in his head that we intend going out. He couldn't come with us. He'd have to stay in the house. A lot of yapping and getting excited. It was far too early to arrive at the restaurant, but we drove into the centre of Milton Keynes and found a parking space at the side of what's called the food centre, where Sainsbury's used to be, before they moved to their new store in Witan Gate. The weather had become very unsettled. It was a good deal colder and there was a strong wind blowing. There were quite a few parking spaces available, but not really close enough for us to avoid a long walk to the Xcape building. A lot of people about. It seemed especially busy for the time of day. We went into the central shopping centre as Carol wanted something from Superdrug. We were really just wasting time until 5 o'clock which is when we were due to meet up at Five Guys. We walked across towards the restaurant and found it was open but nobody from the party was there. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't what I'd call a 'restaurant' in the accepted sense. Very stripped back. More like a glorified take-away, but with an American feel. It was bright red and white tiles and paintwork. You order at the counter, at bit like at K.F.C., done on a sort of touch-screen computer terminal. You can see the staff flipping burgers and putting together the orders behind the counter. Very efficient. Then your order is put together in brown paper bags and they call your number out when it's ready for you to collect. No plates or cutlery. You get tomato ketchup and all your sides within your package. We sat at long red plastic-topped counter and sat on sort of bar stools. Drinks, or at least soft drinks, are dispensed from a sort of self-service machine. Carol was delighted that she could have a drink that was sugar-free, which was ideal, considering she is diabetic and isn't supposed to have anything with sugar in it. A wide selection of different flavours and it took some while to work out how to use this machine! You can return as many times as you like for more, if you're that way inclined. My only reservation is that the music that was playing was excessively loud which made conversation quite difficult, but I can live with it. The burger I had was very good (I'm not actually a burger sort of person, not used to eating food with my hands. Sorry, I know it's boring, but there you are.) The chips, and we got loads and loads, were perhaps the best I've ever tasted and you got a little tray of peanuts, in their shells. I don't know how they got the flavour on, because they were in their shells, a sort of mild salty taste. The rest of the gang turned up a good deal later but they seemed to enjoy the experience and it seems a good idea for them to meet up outside work like this and perhaps do this again at a later date and on a regular basis.