Tag Archives: Milton Keynes

Update on life

I haven’t been able to blog since the move (no landline yet and internet at work is severely restricted) so while I’m at a friend’s house, here’s an update on life.

I successfully made the move to MK just over three weeks ago now. My house is lovely and I’m just about sorted now; just awaiting the arrival of my new sofa in a fortnight, and need to buy one or two more small bits of furniture. It’s been good on the whole to have my own place, but also quite lonely sometimes to come home after work to an empty house. I think I’m getting used to that, but do find it hard, especially as TractorGirl and I, with all that her life has involved recently, haven’t seen each other for a while. I do miss her loads.

Work has been going well. My first couple of days were a bit dull until my computer log-on got sorted out, but soon after, things got quite busy. Along with my boss, I am taking over a load of mathematical modelling work from someone who is leaving for a job with less of a daily commute, and so my first three weeks have been the handover period and trying to get to grips with where things currently stand. It’s been a little daunting to say the least, but I now have more of an idea what’s going on. It’s a nice place to work; I’ve had one or two jokes made about my ties, but all light-hearted (and it’s nice to stand out in an office dominated by men in open-neck shirts in various dull pastel shades…) and think that given time, I’ll fit in well. Quite out of the blue, the other day I was offered a job in Durham (a little too late, alas) but I’m pretty sure I’ll stay put.

Milton Keynes itself is an odd place. I live about a twenty-five minute walk from work along the redways (which are quite confusing when one is not used to them) but there are no local shops in the village, so getting food in involves wandering into town. I’ve joined an amateur drama group, an astronomy club, found a bible study and hopefully some LGBT stuff to fill my time, and am using the weekends when I don’t get to see TractorGirl to explore the region around MK. So far, this has involved trips to London (and a wonderful concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields) and Bath (for a GCN gathering), and in a month’s time I’m off to Brighton for some shopping

Finding a church has been rather harder going. I went to my local parish church and it was like Monty Python-meets-Alpha! It was without a doubt the oddest place I’ve tried in a while. The parishioners I’ve spoken to are friendly enough, but after a comedy moment (involving jumping back and shrieking) when, after a discussion over tea with Mrs Vicar, I decided I needed to be honest, with where the conversation had gone, about my sexuality (I swear some people think lesbianism is a disease they can catch!) I think it might not be the easiest place to settle. Besides, I can’t be doing with being bombarded with over-simplistic evangelical cliches and vapid songs. Christ the Cornerstone in the centre of MK seems a better bet, so I will have to get used to getting up slightly earlier on a Sunday.

Overall, my first few weeks of ‘real adulthood’ have gone well, but been hard in various ways (I haven’t mentioned the whole trouble I’ve had getting a bank account (a condition of employment) because it makes my blood boil). I miss TractorGirl, but am beginning to settle in.

Milton Keynes

Last week, I went on a trip to Milton Keynes with TractorGirl to find a house ready for starting work in September. I can’t say I was in the best of moods when I arrived, and grim weather never makes a place look inviting, but my first impression of MK was of a thoroughly miserable collection of car parks and concrete monstrosities. It seemed to consist of car park after car park after miserable bloody car park, and some of the worst examples of 1960s breezeblock I have ever seen.

The imfamous concrete cows of Milton Keynes

The first place I went to look at was in the Hub, a fancy new development surrounding the restaurant district (MK is designed in blocks, ‘districts’) with nice, shiny glass buildings. The flat was a studio flat, but even by the standards of those, it was tiny. It was very pretty, but little bigger than a shoebox! I can see that it would be perfect for someone coming to the UK from abroad to work for six months with only a couple of suitcases and the clothes they were standing up in, but it wasn’t much good for a TOH!

The second place was a nice two bedroom place in the ‘much sort-after’ area of Bradwell Common. I seriously considered that, as it was in a good location relative to work and shops, but I only realised that on a second look, as by that part of the day I’d be dragged through more car parks than I could take, and just needed a coffee.

The next day, I saw a total dump of a flat with rising damp, cracks in the walls and lots of broken stuff. How can they get away with asking £550pcm for a health hazard? Later that day, I saw a nice one-bedroom flat with everything I needed despite the ‘granny’ decor, but thanks to a useless estate agent (avoid Anglo-American Lettings, they make bad customer service into an art form!) I got beaten to it, as he wouldn’t let me do the paperwork, and wasn’t even going to tell me it had gone, despite promising to phone.

This necessitated a second trip down south on Tuesday, and the realisation that furnishing a flat would open up so many more options. The result is that I will now be living in a very, very nice and brand new house that is well within my budget, rather than paying over the odds for an average place, so the bad agent did me a favour in a way.

In the sunshine, even MK didn’t seem too bad, and having discovered that the shopping centre has my favourite three shops in, that the theatre has some really good stuff (and a Friends group that I will enjoy), that there is an ecumenical church where my being an Anglican-Methodist mixture would be seen as perfectly normal and that I could afford to join a really nice gym and work on losing my belly (of which I am sick of the sight) made me feel much better. It seems to have great places to go eating and drinking, and there is an amateur dramatics group I can join that doesn’t do musicals, which is the reason I’ve never done that before.

All in all, it was a worthwhile few days. The other noteworthy thing was the B&B we stayed in. The owner was a very lovely, camp eccentric called Shaun who went out of his way to be helpful. I think he likes looking after people and solving all their problems, and as TractorGirl noted in her post, has the kind of lack of awareness of personal space one usually expects from church ladies, meaning several enthusiastic hugs. If you can deal with that, I would really recommend it as a place to stay should you ever find yourself in MK.