Catherine’s parents were down for the weekend, within literally minutes of their arrival, the rather awful sliding door wardrobe had been demolished from the back bedroom, as had the nasty carpet (which coincidentally had been in the house for 21 years – we found a receipt for it). And that was just Friday afternoon.
You’d think coming all the way down from Manchester for the weekend, they’d like to see the sights, but instead volunteered to drive us to Ikea.
For the nine months of so we have lived in our house, it’s been a bit ramshackle. I’d redecorated one of the bedrooms (ironically now kitted out with huge chunks of furniture from my old bedroom in Manchester – but it’s nice solid pine and looks great) and that was about it.
The living room in contrast had a good paint job, but a mishmash of furniture. The TV area was an awful mix of different random tables, styles, colours and cables. The bookcases were cheap crap from Argos, and were warped and cracked. The coffee table too small. It needed replacing so first thing on Saturday morning, the bookcases were emptied and transported, along with the remnants of the wardrobe (large, wide sliding doors and all), to the tip. And then, for some replacements.
The only really suitable (and nice) TV thing in Ikea was birch – we needed something long to fit in with the layout of the room – so that meant the new bookcases would be in birch, and what the hell, so should the coffee table.
So we trundled round, picking the rights bits, stopped for some lunch and went to the warehouse to collect.
Got the Oppli (150cm long TV/media bench thing) and a Lack (90cm coffee table) but ARGH! No birch Billy bookcases in either of the two sizes we needed! Yes Ikea Croydon were out of stock.
Arse. The one weekend when we have access to a car (and a large one at that) and Ikea Croydon had run out of Birch Billys.
Which is why we drove home. I started putting together the TV bench and the Lack, Catherine’s dad went upstairs to add some extra plug sockets to the back bedroom whilst Catherine and her mum headed off for the M25 to drive to Ikea Thurrock where Apparently they had plenty of Billy in birch.
TV bench looked grand when I’d got it all sorted out – the myriad of electrical equipment was hidden away and a nice plant/lamp/plate arrangement added on top.
Coffee table looked great too until it was pointed out that there was a chip in the Birch veneer on top… If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t notice – it was the right colour and everything. It was obviously a problem during manufacturer. With a sigh, I knew it had to go back.
Whilst Catherine and her mum were driving back on their three and a half hour trip, Nell the dog got a walk, and I sat feeling a bit fed up. But eventually Billys arrived, the table explained and Catherine and her dad set off for Ikea Croydon again to get a replacement, whilst I sorted out the bookcases. As they hadn’t had any extra shelves at Thurrock, Catherine planned to get some at Croydon as well.
The first two bookcases were fine and are now sat resplendent in their homes. And then I opened the third. Bamm. A huge chunk of wood with quite noticable lack of veneer on it – chipboard showing through nicely. Unfortunatly said piece was not a shelf, but part of the base and highly noticeable. I sighed again and told Catherine the delightful news.
Perhaps for the best, a fourth trip to Ikea was not planned – after all, Croydon had no birch bookcases – instead we got a curry, collapsed and finally watched Doctor Who several hours late. But in a corner of my almost neat living room, is a pile of Billy pieces waiting till next weekend when we can make trip four… And that will be three trips too many.
Next time round we’ll be going by tram and taking just one piece of wood. There’s obviously no way we can carry a 2m tall bookcase back without a car. But maybe then I can look at the living room and be happy, as finally it will all come together.
Just as long as Ikea has some in stock this time… I’m not sure Catherine could cope with a fifth visit in the space of a week.