Jim Duffy: Does Queen do Ikea, or does she prefer a Mustang?

The Queen has been  busy during her stay at Holyrood this week, what with inspecting the troops, handing out honours, hosting garden parties and welcoming prime ministers and first ministers. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The Queen has been busy during her stay at Holyrood this week, what with inspecting the troops, handing out honours, hosting garden parties and welcoming prime ministers and first ministers. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Self-assembly furniture and meeting Her Majesty, but, unfortunately, no fast cars – just one week in the life of Jim Duffy

It’s been one of those interesting weeks, where there has been a real juxtaposition in realities in my life.

I woke up on Monday and decided I wanted a Ford Mustang. I wanted the 2.8 litre model in red with some fancy add-ons.

I even went so far as searching for local Edinburgh garages that would allow me to whet my appetite for this car. I drive a nice BMW jeep type thing just now and it’s a great car.

But, for some reason, I just wanted a Ford Mustang. But, alas it was not to be as my beloved informed me that we were going to Ikea to buy chairs and lights.

So, off we trotted in my “mundane” BMW to the land of Swedish meatballs, big yellow bags and small wooden pencils.

I always like my annual trip to Ikea. It fills me full of wonder and excitement at the thought of building goofy, minimalist furniture. We were there early and as anticipated, the restaurant was pretty full: mums with toddlers having a morning out and a cheap breakfast.

I noted that they were now offering a child’s vegetarian breakfast. I’m sure kids just love that!

We headed to the chairs section, but to get there one has to follow what can only be described as a version of the Yellow Brick Road. It winds around a landscape of rooms that sit off it.

Each room has been created to show off the furniture in a dramatic and dynamic style. I just loved the scents.

In one room there was a fake fireplace with fire crackling noises coming from a speaker and the smell of peaty wood in the atmosphere. Very clever stuff.

How things have moved on at Ikea.

Chairs now bought we headed home past the Mustang garage… While Ikea the shop has moved on, the fun and calamity of actually building the furniture has not. We had bought a modern floor standing lamp and two dining chairs.

Building the lamp was interesting. I could have done with a couple of top performing Mensa members to help me take the 2-D drawing and translate this into the myriad of components that were lying on the floor in front of me. After a couple of goes, I overcame and low and behold, we had a lamp. And it looks great. Next up were the dining chairs.

On opening the large cardboard boxes, I immediately failed to recognise anything that remotely looked anything like a chair. I thought I may need another coffee and duly demanded one from Lucy-Rose, who had taken me to Ikea and not the Ford Mustang garage. I didn’t want to appear petulant, but what the hell, it was me that had the mess on the floor that had to be compiled into a dining chair. Coffee down my throat, I started. Well, I started on the floor.

Then I moved it all up to the dining table top. Then I went back to the floor. Then I took my fleece top off as I was getting a bit hot under the collar. Then it all magically happened – I had built a chair – and it also looked the business.

Now I could take the rest of the day off. Well actually, I could not as I had to prepare to meet the Queen the next day… I told you it was a crazy week!

The next day was fabulous. It was just one of those moments in time. I was lucky enough along with many others to grab a gong and spend the day at the palace.

As I walked out the house past my newly built lamp and chairs, I was feeling well chuffed. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was just as you would expect it to be. Lots of Royal police kicking about together with soldiers on guard in ceremonial dress, Royal Equerries’ looking busy, a royal orchestra, lots of fancy hats and dresses and of course – the main event – Her Majesty. But, what would I chat about with her?

I had seen the pictures of celebrities and sports people receiving their awards and chatting to her. I’d need to come up with something meaningful.

As we all moved through from room to room getting closer to the Queen and the investiture, I could feel everyone getting excited, emotional and a general sense of appreciation of the occasion. Then it was my turn. I watched the other two recipients in front of me: small bow of the head, walk forward to the dais, engage Her Majesty, receive the medal and have a brief chat.

Nae bother… And it was at that moment, Ikea popped into my head. As I walked forward I wondered if Her Majesty had ever had to go through the process of building Ikea furniture.

Of course, I’m never going to tell you what we talked about. That’s between her and me…. But, as we spoke, I had this niggling voice in the back of my head saying: ask her is she’s ever built a floor standing lamp with six bulbs?

Yep, a very interesting week full of quiet satisfaction. The thrill of managing to complete the construction of three pieces of Ikea furniture mixed with the donning my kilt and popping in to see HRH. Not a week I will forget anytime soon…

Now where is that Ford Mustang brochure?