Recently we took a short family trip to the UK, it was time for our daughter to spend quality grand parent time, and see a couple of friends and attend a family event.
England, the rolling green hills, lush fields, friendly “bobbies” (Police) and fish chips – also the land of my birth!
Or perhaps less romantically…. Expensive, cold, grey and rainy. But did it rain the whole time or did the sun come out, and what sort of shots do you get visiting your childhood town with grown up eyes?
My parents live in a twon called Milton Keynes, you’ve probably heard of it…? You may almost certainly have heard jokes about it.
The concrete jungle, the land of roundabouts (traffic islands) and the concrete cows!
We moved to Milton Keynes when I was 10, at this time in history, hair was big – pop was techno, and the sun always shined on TV!!
I cannot imagine a more contrasting place to Porto (where I live now), Porto is ancient and organic, Milton Keynes is designed and structured.
It did rain. A lot. It was cold.
But on the final day, the sun came out, the temperature went up, and there was time to visit somewhere I loved as a kid!
Willen Lake, is a man made lagoon with space for fishing and water sports. It’s surrounded by large fields and parks with a emphasis on bird watching.
It also features a fake stone circle to give the impression of mystery!
Despite being about as natural as leaving the tap running in your garden, I do have to say the end result is rather beautiful. What might have occurred naturally, has been facsimiled rather well in my opinion. It’s certainly a beautiful spot!
There’s a big and continuous drive to encourage wildlife to flourish in Milton Keynes. To find ways to allow nature and modern man to harmonise. Sincerely, bravo.
Many parts of the park are deliberately not gardened or trimmed. This is to allow animals a semblance of their own reality whilst being amongst ours. This is the view from the waterfowl watching spot.
The roads of Milton Keynes are set back from the pathways and dedicated cycle ways. Where there is a conflict of pathway, it’s the road that must take an alternative path.
So Milton Keynes…
The city built by modern planners, with a grid system road network and artificial greenery.
It’s no Porto, it’s no London. It’s quite soulless, it’s a little contrived…
But it’s easy to navigate, there’s plenty of green spaces and it’s very safe to cycle in.
It’s actually nicely done, it may not have soul, but it was designed with heart, there’s great ideas put to good use in this town, and I do think some of the disparaging comments the town gets are a little obtuse.
I’m back there again soon (in fact I’m typing this at Porto airport, so very soon!) and although I’ll miss Porto (and my daughter, my immediate family aren’t coming this time); I’m quite looking forward to the visit, maybe I’ll get chance to document some more areas that I have fond childhood memories of?
I don’t think you should forget your roots, even if they’re the butt of some jokes!