We certainly overcame tremendous odds, such as lack of sleep, van-no-brum-brum and cold heavy rain which meant that, once we got going, we had to drive all the way there with the windows open so that the windscreen didn't steam up. And the Sat-Nav which didn't know that Milton Keynes existed (perhaps she just hates going to Ikea).
However, fate smiled on us in a number of ways. Highlights included:
- Since it was so far to travel (for us) and we had so much to do, we planned to stay overnight in Milton Keynes. On a Sunday night, if you book in advance, you can get a room – including complimentary teabag – for £30. It was by happy coincidence that the new VAT rates came in on Monday, so we were able to save our landlady about £30 on the kitchen. So our stopover paid for itself in a roundabout way (there are a lot of roundabouts in Milton Keynes).
- Staying in a hotel is still a terribly exciting thing for me which I get to do about once every three or four years. I think hotels are terribly exciting places where all sorts of weird and wonderful things go on in close proximity. I could barely sleep for thinking about all the illicit affairs, murders and mafia dealings taking place in the rooms around us.
- We bought new plates and bowls! Since I break everything I touch, we've been needing some more for ages - if anyone came round to eat, we had to take it in turns. And they are very nice, as plates and bowls go. Cobalt blue,Ｉguess you'd call them.
- For the first time ever, I was able to go round Ikea under my own steam (uh, it's a very old-fashioned coal-fired wheelchair). It was much better. I could look at all the things I wanted without having to give directions or answer the question, “What do you want to look at that for?” and I could fondle the soft-furnishings to my heart's delight.
- I could also participate in the warehouse bit – every other time I've been, I've had to be parked somewhere and sit like a lemon for half an hour. Then there's always been this difficulty of how to get both myself and a trolley of stuff out through the checkout. But as my powerchair goes pretty fast, I could go and collect things for [...] and he could be the lemon. I did have to stand up on tip-toes for some of them, but I waited until nobody was looking.
- I almost ran over a hedgehog! It was a cuddly hedgehog, but it still would have gone squish. Fortunately I stopped just in time and was able to return it safely to the little girl who had dropped it.
- I managed to resist the temptation of a great number of toys I might have bought for Alexander, thus maintaining my record; two and a half years of auntihood and I haven't bought him any toys (although I've made him lots). It took some effort though; they had plush woodlice!
Yesterday I could sleep and did a great deal. I attempted to wash up and woke up with my head in the sink, still clutching the sponge.
Coincidentally, Mary went to Ikea this weekend (although a different one - otherwise we might have met unexpectedly and ripped a hole in the space-time continuum) and Sara lost her Ikea virginity last month.