Whilst we are on the subject of hygge and all things Scandinavian we might as well stay there for a bit longer and go to Ikea.
Fed up with asking for clothes storage to miraculously appear, and 'things' various for teenage bedrooms, we took it upon ourselves to sort it and we had a lovely time...double 'Swedish Style' chest of drawers, matching blanket box and bedside cabinet, shoe store...oh yes let's throw in some of those lamps...and shades...and that mirror would be nice on the landing and we clearly need these bowls because they are only 50p, why wouldn't you. Fleecy blankets, duvet covers (so reasonable) things for the bathroom, hanging racks, pin boards for children's bedrooms. I mean once you break the barriers of restraint in Ikea you can just go on and on buying things you didn't know you needed..
It was only as we laboured down to the car park that it dawned on us we might not get all this in the car, even though it was a Shogun, hardly a Fiat Panda in terms of storage space. As it was I think Offspringette got in, I packed it around her and she nursed half of it on her lap all the way back home from Bristol.
It was late when we got home so we left it in a heap until the next day and how well I remember that Sunday of the flat-pack assembly, which of course was Bookhound's job. We'd been out and done the hard work after all. That was the day he declared that the word 'Ikea', if stretched out a bit and screamed at volume was in fact a Swedish suicide cry, and he uttered it many many times that day.
There's always one piece left over isn't there, and then you realise something's back to front, or upside-down. The third drawer on the right of the chest of drawers still has to be kicked shut seventeen years later because the runner didn't go in properly and then wouldn't come out, and two knobs fell off within a month and were lost...apart from which it it still doing its stuff, much to our surprise and Bookhound's predictions of woe and waste of money.
I realise, truthfully, that for a man who worked in the land of bespoke, hand-made kitchens this flat-pack thing was all anathema and against his religion. There were comments about knots in the wood and poor joints and bowing and ...and...
So it all came as quite a surprise when a few weeks ago, finding ourselves in the locality late one afternoon, Bookhound himself suggested that we went to Ikea.
We did actually need some angle-poise lamps so I was up for it, plus there is something strangely alluring about the meatballs at Ikea. I doubt I'd eat meatballs anywhere else, but halfway round this Swedish emporium at 6pm they seem like ambrosia.
Ikea is apparently very carefully laid out to guide you round in one direction, so how we ended up going backwards and against the general late-night flow is anyone's guess. It might have been subliminally intentional to escape the loud family with the loud children and the loud granny...because this is the other thing, you get trapped with the same people, or it might have been because I was having a great time listening to Phil and unwittingly following him for the entertainment value.
Phil was Mr Reluctant Ikea...
'You don't think I've gone to all that trouble only to have the f***ing wires showing down the wall do you?'
...and Mrs Phil was getting exasperated...
'I don't know why you've come if you're going to be like that.'
And nothing was right for poor Phil. There he was in every department dashing Mrs Phil's hopes, I can only imagine the scene on the way home in their car.
It was of course all an example to Bookhound of how not to behave in Ikea, and truth be told he kept up appearances and was on his best behaviour. Those little mock-up rooms are lovely to start with, and the complete one-bedroom apartment and the books on the shelves that make no sense but look nice, but the novelty soon wears off and you have another fifty to by-pass, then we got to lighting and realised that the angle-poise lamps weren't up to the standard of seventeen years ago and I had to agree.
'Let's go somewhere else and buy a proper one,' seemed to describe everything we looked at thereafter.
It was all downhill for both of us after that except we still had to traverse the merchant's hall, with all its cheap-as-chips temptations. In the end we got away light...six mugs, four bowls and some glasses. Nothing flat-pack about any of it, no miserable day of construction and screaming, and actually the plain white mugs are so nice we wish we'd bought more so here's hoping they still stock them in seventeen year's time (deo volente etc) for our next visit.
Any other Ikea-nistas or Ikea-refusniks out there...