After our problems with beds last autumn, we opt for the easy solution and go to IKEA to get some furniture. This time I cannot order it online because we need to try out the armchairs. We are both very choosy when it comes to sitting comfortably. The closest IKEA store is in Milton Keynes, 80 km from Cambridge if you don't get lost. I manage map-reading nicely all the way, but when it comes to IKEA's own driving instructions through a hundred and fifty seven roundabouts, they are not too precise. But we only have to turn round two or three times.
It feels really weird to enter a bit of Sweden in the middle of England. Exactly the same displays, the same product names, familiar and safe. The store itself is a bit different, but the concept the same: you must walk through all departments and pick up loads of things you don't really need. After we have agreed on the armchairs, I let Staffan sit in the cafeteria while I gather a cartful. (How many divorces haven't started at IKEA!). For lunch, we eat meatballs with lingonberry sauce, something we never ever eat otherwise. Then we collect our large stuff, and a young man recommens us to get an IKEA discount card. I used to have one many years ago. We check out and order home delivery. The young lady at the counter asks: "Are you aware of the costs?" Nice consideration. There is hardly another way of taking home a sofa bed, a desk and two armchairs. Well, people do own trucks. I don't think Staffan and I look like truck-owners.
Outside the check-out there is a food store. Irresistable, yet Staffan and I have different temptations to resist: mine is cloudberry jam.
Happy and exhausted, we drive back to Cambridge and Old School Lane, where brand new floors meet us in the living room and the dining room. I put a Swedish-designed toilet paper holder in the bathroom and feel at home.