Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our Ikea Adventure

Sixty-something years ago, a group of bright young minds, including the great Alan Turing went to Bletchley, to perform complex mathematical equations in order to crack Nazi military codes and eventually defeat the forces of tyranny. It was perhaps an ill-fitting tribute that this weekend, [...] and I went to the Ikea in Bletchley, to perform complex mathematical equations in order to buy a new kitchen, taking the 2.5% reduction in VAT into account.

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,´╝ęguess 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!
It was such a busy couple of days that on Monday night I was wound up like a spring and couldn't sleep. So I watched an episode of Spooks (daft spy thing) on BBC iPlayer. I then dreamt about espionage being conducted in Ikea; secret codes written on those shopping-lists, spies hiding in the wardrobes, the boxes in the warehouse really having missiles in them.

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.


The Goldfish said...

I knew this would happen sooner or later, but I think I just clicked the wrong button on my Moderating Comments page...

If it fails to appear, Mary said

I'm thinking of designing a special badge or certificate amounting to "Our Relationship Survived Ikea".

Steve has a masterplan that next time we go through the store on his motorbike, thus solving the problem of transport, parking, in-store wheelchairs and slow-moving families in one fell swoop.

Sorry Mary for deleting your comment. I feel a complete prune.

Mary said...

It's okay, I understand completely that you don't love me any more.


The Goldfish said...

See, I managed that time! I think I shall try taking off Moderation for a bit, as the Spam probably seems to have abated. I hope that's the only comment I've done that too.

The only point at which AJ and I exchanged harsh words at Ikea was when he leant on the handles of my wheelchair. Which is a cardinal sin, I think you'll agree.

seahorse said...

Cardinal son still doesn't get that if he runs in front of my scooter I will run him over.

He does look cool when on his skateboard tailgating (?) on the back though, and it raises some laughs. And it's the only time I ever feel young on a Shoprider. And it clears the way like nothing else can.

New kitchen??? You are great tenants! If she's paying, you are great negotiators!

MeganH said...

What a fun post!
Talked recently to a friend that had been to Ikea. She's healthy, and she was still trying to recover ....

I have plans to go there next year - apparently they have high backed cane chairs that would be great for snuggling down in, in the garden (also get the garden next year)

Anonymous said...

Even we have IKEA's but not for a couple of hours away~. It sure sounds like you are doing well!

Jess said...

Milton Keynes is very roundabouty. I've been through there! But Ive never been to the Bletchley Ikea. Been to Thurrock Ikea, but never Bletchley. Though I'm betting it was exactly the same. :D Hurrah for new plates and bowls! And plush woodlice! I would have caved on a plush woodlouse.

Your hotel adventuring reminds me of how, the last time we stayed in a Travelodge (down in Portsmouth, in that case), I got woken at 2:00 am by an odd, deliberate slapping sound coming from next door, a noise like a whip cracking. And then a girl shrieking "Ouch!" Followed by giggling.

Good heavens, said I to myself, and went back to sleep.

Lady Bracknell said...

Not-really-all-that-interesting fact of the day: did you know that every roundabout in the Concrete Cowpat (as I am entitled to call it, having lived right smack bang in the centre of it for far too many years) is very slightly different? (Paving, planting, etc...)

Cabbies can navigate by these differences in the fog.


D Phoenix said...

I guess Ikea is *the* cool crip place to be: I went there Monday night. Ours is only 30 minutes away, so it's not bad. I used one of their wheelchairs and my partner pushed me along. I did sit like a lemon for a little bit, but I was fairly helpful with balancing items across the arm rests and under my chin. We were replacing some of the flood damaged items, so we had quite the collection. Still didn't get a damn kitchen table yet. How hard can it be? Anyway, we only had a couple of bitchy moments and, after going through the check-out, rewarded ourselves with "Ikeafood" as it is called (she had hot dogs and I had a soft icecream cone). We made it out of there in an hour and a half. It would have been quicker if the cashier in our line up didn't ave to wait 10 minutes for a manager to come over and fix her 35 cent overcharge on one item for the people in front of us. Oh, people, just let it go!

Then we returned to the exciting, spy-filled hotel we have been living in for two months. Hotels have lost their excitement for me!

The Goldfish said...

Seahorse - Wow, mustn't tell AJ about the skateboard thing, he'll get ideas.

And yes, the Landlady is paying if we (or AJ) do the work. The old one isn't complete delapidated, but it is on its way. We are very lucky with our landlady really.

Elmsley Roae - They do have a lot of funky chairs, I hope you find what you are looking for.

Starlife - Thank you. :-)

Jess I imagine they are much the same, although the Thurrock one is next to Lakeside Shopping Centre, which is one of the inner circles of hell which became accidentally dislodged (well, it was a scary place last time I went, but that was many years ago).

Lady B - Well, you learn something new everyday. A friend suggested that drivers resident in Milton Keynes have trouble with their tires wearing down on one side because of all the roundabouts. Don't know if that can be true.

Domino, we had a hard time tracking a suitable kitchen table down, but found one at the local dump (um, I'm sure you'll call that place something different - place where people put rubbish, stuff to be recycled, bits and pieces they don't want any more).

Yeah, I can imagine the novelty of hotels would wear off in those circumstances...

FridaWrites said...

Check this out:

No more bending/reaching/straining for odd objects--because the whole drawer pulls out! I've been drooling over this one for a while.

Katie said...

I hate IKEA.

That is all.

Robbiegirl said...

We went to Ikea a couple of weeks ago, and I had to be actually physically restrained so I could get past the cuddly toy section without buying a plushie woodlouse.

It's not that I'm a cuddly toy geek or anything, it's just that it was a cuddly WOODLOUSE! I wanted it because I'd never seen one before, plus woodlice are awesome. I have two Ikea rats for the same reason.

I did manage to get to the checkout before somehow acquiring two mice and a bag of assorted sea creature finger puppets.

Is it wrong to want children solely because toys are so cool? ;)