For the last 35 years I have lived in Milton Keynes – and I’ve loved it.
I went to school in Newport Pagnell, my parents lived here, and my family (at least on my Dad’s side) has a long history here.
For years I would tell people where I was from and they would look confused, before asking where that was. ‘About an hour or so North of London’ was usually the easiest way to describe it, as otherwise people would be even more puzzled.
It’s one of those places that seems to get a bad rep, but for no apparent reason – usually from those who don’t live here.
For example, those who say it’s all concrete and roundabouts haven’t found one of the many green spaces, parks and lakes. We have some wonderful places for walks – such as Willen Lake, Caldecote Lake, Campbell Park and Furzton Lake to name just a few. We’ve also got Bow Brickhill woods, Woburn Abbey and Linford Woods for even more exploring.
As we have two young children these reasons mean even more, as it means we can share the beauty of nature with them so easily. The amount of times we’ve taken Rupert and Emilia on a walk to one of these places ‘just to get out’ is amazing, and it means they can get some fresh air – and we do to.
I’ve grown up here too so I’ve seen some amazing developments, but before the days of Starship Robots, autonomous car testing and the homes of major head offices, I used to go ‘up city’ on the bus with my friends, go to The Point to watch a film and then go and buy a tape from HMV of the latest single.
There was no ‘new bit’ (Midsummer Place), no Xscape (for a while) and certainly no electric scooters. Even there, in that short list you can see the range of development that’s taken place in the last 20 years or so.
For children there are so many parks and adventures to be had and we have people like The Outdoors Mum who writes about and reviews all of these places so that we, as parents, can take our children knowing that the parks etc are age appropriate.
In terms of the independent and food scene, we have so many hidden treasures that I’ve been lucky enough to try. And a lot of that is down to not only a thriving community of foodies, but a lovely lady who runs it – Sophie Hale – who works under the name Sophie Etc.
I know there are a lot of people who do some amazing things for the community and I’m sorry I couldn’t list them all, I would have literally written about three or four times as much.
I know other people will read this and think there town/city is better, that they moved away from Milton Keynes because they hated it or that they just plain don’t agree with my points – and that’s ok. Will I always live here? I don’t know. Will it always be home? Most definitely.