Instead of using the car to take Carol to work at Milton Keynes Academy in the morning and because the weather is so much better at the moment, we have been walking over. It's only a ten-minute walk and in actual fact far quicker than taking the car, because it could take longer to de-ice the car and get it warm and then merely a two-minute drive. Then, driving back home, the traffic could be heavy after 7.30. You get those drivers who don't care that it's actually a 40 m.p.h. zone along Saxon Street. There used to be a 'slow down' sign fixed to the footbridge, one of those digital displays which shows your speed and then, when you're going the correct speed, a smiley face. I think a good deal more effective than speed cameras, which are used mostly to raise money and some people slow down when they approach them and then speed up once they are past.
We have begun taking Alfie with us. He's always eager to go out for a walk, and makes a good deal of noise when he realises he's likely to go out. Carol has her lanyard with her pass on a hook in the kitchen, next to where Alfie's lead is kept, and as soon as Carol picked up her lanyard this morning (which is, incidentally, the same colour blue as Alfie's lead.) he started barking and getting excited. Carol put on Alfie's harness, as it's better than fixing his lead to his collar, which he wears all the time, but Alfie was getting more and more excited at the prospect of going out for a walk. Once on, we went outside and all the neighbourhood could hear his yaps and barks, echoing throughout the estate.
You have to keep your wits about you as you walk Alfie along the Redway as some unpleasant individual has thought it necessary to smash some bottles as you approach the Academy gates, so I have to pick Alfie up as I don't want him getting any bits of glass in his feet. The bit of glass are strewn all along the patch and the tiniest pieces are the one's that are likely to do the most harm and very difficult to see, although most of the bits glitter in the sunlight. He hurt a paw a few weeks ago and has been limping about, and we're still not sure what caused this. Perhaps he tweaked a muscle or caught a nail when out for a walk, but it doesn't seem to be troubling him too much. Yesterday , as I walked back home from the Academy, two children from the school wanted to talk to Alfie when I had picked him up. I think a lot of the children who go there know that Alfie is Carol and my dog. He seems to have built up something of a fan club.
All along the Redway, from where the footbridge over Saxon Street, up as far as the path which approaches the Academy, it's strewn with litter. I'm shocked that it's so dirty. It's crisp packets, plastic drinks bottles and all manner of litter. I'm shocked if it's thrown there by the school children who use the path as they walk to and from school. The worst part is where staff members of the Academy come out to smoke. As it's illegal to smoke cigarettes within the school grounds, those who do smoke have to go outside the school grounds, and we often see people standing outside on the Redway, smoking their cigarettes. But I object strongly to the fact that they throw their cigarette ends on the ground, adding to a larger and larger collection. It looks really nasty. The same can be said to happen at other places, most notably near our doctor's surgery, Ashfield Medical Centre in Beanhill. I don't expect it's just the surgery staff who drop their cigarette ends on the ground (at the side of the building, as you walk round from the carpark at the back of the building.) as there's also a dentist surgery and Cox and Robinson's chemist shop in the same cluster of businesses near the Ashfield Medical Centre. If people must smoke they should at least dispose of their cigarette ends in some sort of bin as it's surely not good for the environment as well as looking really untidy and unpleasant.
As for the litter near the Academy, I have seen Council workmen picking up the litter on a couple of occasions, but I imagine, what with budget cuts, there won't be so much of this sort of work going on. It just annoys me that people think it's fine to throw their litter on the ground and not just take it home with them to dispose of it sensibly.