Blimey it’s hot. Being utterly swamped by the all-encompassing heat wave has made simple tasks such as cooking, walking and even sleeping, a chore.
I’m grappling with sweaty limbs, lacking the motivation to exercise and the thought of turning the oven on just seems like pure insanity.
I am not a sun worshiper. I am not even a sun tolerater. I am a sun hater. She hates me and I hate her (I’m assuming the Sun is a woman). She is a nasty piece of work who selectively decides who will be sun-kissed and who will be scorned.
Who will thrive in warm temperatures, and who will wilt like spinach in a pasta dish.
I am spinach.
100% spinach. I wilt, I disappear, I shrink down. I cower. I pass out (don’t ask).
And it turns out, my decision-making gets a kick up the arse too. Decisions are yet another chore in the heat, so I transform from an over-thinker to a superdecider.
When the weather gets this hot I am always looking for respite. Whether that be standing in people’s shadows, lurking in museums (The National Library has to keep the basement cool to preserve books, it is an absolute haven in the sticky capital city) and my favourite Summer pastime, retreating to heavily air-conditioned shops.
The ideal shop for this?
So, when last Sunday came and I was yet again woken by the Sun pouring in through my curtains, the proposition of a trip to IKEA from my other half sounded ideal.
There is air con by the bucket load and it takes at least 90 minutes to walk the whole thing. We can have lunch (meatballs and mash) and wait for the sun to set on one of the sofas.
So, off we went. We perused the endless twists and turns and gratefully took our time to look over the ‘tiny houses’ located within IKEA. The store was unusually quiet, with most people visiting the local parks and lidos to enjoy the weather. Fools.
After purchasing some very unneeded tea lights and cutlery, we bobbed into Bargain Corner.
If you haven’t heard of Bargain Corner, it is essentially where ex-display furniture and odds and sods are stored and marketed as bargains. Most items have between 25-70% off. There is loads of stuff in there but it is very rare to find something worth parting with your cash for.
We have been to this corner on many occasions with the hope of finding a hidden gem, with no success.
Sitting majestically in the middle of the chaos and crap was our sofa.
Our sofa, but better.
We currently have a two seater IKEA sofa in a light brown colour. It’s nice, still in perfect working order, but we have outgrown it and our new house has a classic grey and white theme in the lounge.
But there it was. Our sofa. But bigger, better…and grey.
And 40% off.
We slowly walked towards it, the attraction almost magnetic. It was so natural, it felt so,so right.
We silently sat down and looked at each other.
Are we actually going to buy this? We didn’t come in for a sofa. We didn’t come in for anything other than the cool air and processed meatballs.
I don’t know if it was the prospect of going back out into the heat so soon, but the idea of having to purchase and load up the sofa would give me at least another 30 minutes in the cool.
“Lets buy it.” I said without hesitation.
“Really?!” said Paul, with hesitation.
“Absolutely!” I replied, with moderate hesitation cleverly disguised by girlish charm.
The thing about buying an ex-display sofa is that it is already constructed. There are no boxes, no packaging, just a sofa. The team simply put some huge plastic bags over the item and put it on a trolley for you. Or in this case, precariously balance it across two trolleys. Three seater sofas are quite big, actually.
After manoeuvring the two trolleys and the sofa through the tills we headed over to the wasteland that is the section after the tills.
This desolate void offers two things: get a hot dog or get out.
We had a hotdog.
No, we didn’t sit on the carefully balanced sofa on the trolleys (apparently we would have looked bonkers, I said we would have looked very IKEA – but whatever).
We decided to hire an IKEA van to take the sofa home. It’s only £12 an hour to hire a van and would fit the sofa in one piece, which would save us having to dismantle it whilst inevitably consuming more hotdogs.
We got our code for the van, wheeled the sofa to the lifts and off we went.
By the time we had got the sofa in the van (IN THE BLISTERING HEAT) we had already lost 16 minutes.
“Shit. It’s 20 minutes to home from here. Then we need to unload it, stick it in the garage and get the van back.” Paul diligently pointed out.
I got the distinct whiff of a challenge in the air. I mean, if we were late it would just add another £12 onto the bill, but where’s the fun in that?
“We’d better get a wriggle on then!”
We smiled ecstatically at each other and jumped into the van like Cagney and Lacey.
Wait, weren’t they both women?
I’ll try again.
We jumped in like Bonnie and Clyde.
Wait, weren’t they both criminals.
I give up.
We jumped in like Sarah and Paul.
We frantically (yet carefully) drove the 13 miles to home. 37 minutes had passed.
“GO GO GO!” I shouted.
We communicated like marines, instructing each other how far to pivot the sofa and when it was clear to dismount.
“CLEAR. TO YOU. OVER. RELEASE” I instructed.
Now I look back it was probably more chuckle brothers than Navy SEALS but you get the drift.
With the sofa safely slotted into the garage we hopped back in the van, full of anticipation and hope for the remaining 23 minutes of the challenge.
The drive back was incredible.
Every traffic light was green.
Every roundabout was clear.
The roads were totally empty.
God bless everyone being in their gardens or at the park – Milton Keynes was our playground.
We pulled into the IKEA car park with a screech and slammed on the breaks.
3 minutes to spare.
“BOOM! That’s what I’m talking about bwoiiiiii!” I proclaim.
We high fived as the excitement faded. It dawned on us we would have to drive home again now in our car.
Looking back, I have to thank the Sun. if she wasn’t giving it all charlie big potatoes in the sky the roads may have been congested and impacted our journey, we wouldn’t have wanted to stay in the cool and wouldn’t have gone to Bargain Corner.
So, thankyou, Sun.
Now if you’ll excuse me, im off to relax on my sofa.
Now it is a three seater I actually fit all 5″10 of me on it.