Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Angelina and Midi-Me get in a huge fight.

Ikea has served us well.  When I was overdue mummy-on-the-edge-to-be I would visit for mid-winter waddles, wending my way through the room sets and ending up in the marketplace, hoping the pretty colours of the plastic fantastic would motivate Mini-Me to finally peek out from under my bulging poloneck.

After she did, I binged on star lamps, toy hammocks and fairy bed nets – the poorly-put-together result of poring over storage porn in the freshly printed catalogue. This in itself was a treat to be stretched out over at least 3 tea-time sittings whilst Mini-Me was absorbed in the Sing and Sign video or Dora the Explorer.  Oh, I pined to no-one in particular, when will my house look like a cool, happy Swedish hideaway, full of tea-hued children and finger paintings strung on the kitchen walls and potted rubber trees and recycling neatly stacked in plastic, lidded containers and rugs the colour of nature?

Reader, it never happened.

There was one milky-tea-hued child and increasing amounts of stuff. Everywhere. Much of it the colour of dirt.

Over a decade later and we find ourselves back in that hallowed blue hangar. I am on a mission to find white pillar candles to plonk inside these pretty lanterns we have hired for our wedding.  After research on the interweb, I have ascertained that the ones in Ikea are cheaper even than Tesco! Mr Angelina has trusted much of the wedding planning to me and I know he is secretly worried I will source most of what’s needed from Lidl and Poundland. He’s more the Selfridges type. The yang to my yin, if you will.

In this blue paradise. Midi-Me likes looking at the roomsets and I am reminiscing about how I would bring her here when she was Mini and let her explore all the cupboards and corners and then let her watch in horror as I became increasingly trapped like a fly in a spiders web in the Marketplace, weighing up the pros and cons of unnecessary household paraphernalia and finally paralysed by indecision over whether to fill my yellow bag with klipthorps or udenblabs.

Suddenly, “Ow!” she shoots accusingly  (serious exaggeration, it was barely a tap…)
“Why did you do that?” I pointed to the name of the weapon, a 50p cutlery tray: SMÄCKER. I was just following instructions.

So I get the candles and we make our way to the tills. What? On a Wednesday, the queues are this long? Yeah, they are.  I begin to wish I had ordered from Tesco. I send Midi-Me to another line in case it goes faster. It doesn’t. We each inch slowly forward. I make my best humble smiley face and ask the people in front if they mind if I go ahead of them, being that I’ve just got a few packets of candles, and a set of bamboo chopping boards (and something else that I can’t remember which is probably currently languishing in the kitchen SMÄCKER by now) and I’m late to meet my soon-to-be-mother-in-law for the first time.  Kindly they accede. I shout Midi-Me’s name 3 times increasingly loudly in the vague direction of where she’s standing because she’s not answering her phone (why would she?) I don’t care that it’s embarrassing.  I have become my parents.

We wait a further ten minutes and then joy, it is our turn! But no. The guy at the till tells us to wait because in front of us have appeared returning customers who left a whole trolley-full of things behind because the guy forgot to zap them through the till. It’s hot. It’s tense. The stink of impending conflict pervades the air. The people behind us (formerly in front) are getting cross with the people in front of us (formerly not there). The people in front of us get angry with the people behind us. The people behind us get even crosser and louder and swearier with the people in front of us. The people in front get yet louder and crosser and swearier. There are arms swiping and flailing around us. We are actually and literally IN the middle of a huge fight and it’s not between the two of us! We are the sweet incongruous filling in a sweary, shouty angry sandwich. Like Nutella on a jalapeno nacho, we couldn’t be more out of place. Midi-Me and I stand there cowering uncomfortably until it is over, when we pay for our bits and run, run, run to the car, safely unsmäcked and drive the heck away from Neasden.

More at and and twitter @appleina.

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