I’m not old enough to remember the Great Train Robbery of 1963, but I am old enough to remember the time when the Sex Pistols recorded a couple of songs with Ronnie Biggs, by then the most famous of the robbers.
As with most Britons alive today, there hasn’t been a change of the UK’s Sovereign in my lifetime. Not any more. I don’t follow that branch of the entertainment industry known as ‘The Royals’ and I have no particular affection for its various actors.
On the face of it, Milton Keynes is a model of rational town planning, built from scratch fifty years ago on twenty-two thousand acres of farmland. Laid out in a North American (or if you prefer, a Roman) grid pattern, it was intend to relieve housing demand in London and embody a new mode of twentieth-century urbanism.
We all know that precept about an Englishman’s home being his castle, but as the quotation from Sir Edward Coke makes clear, a home is meant for repose as well as defence. Within the walls of the castle, the Englishman or Englishwoman’s garden may be a little Eden, a little Sissinghurst, or even a little Versailles.