Youngest has agreed to some mother/daughter time but it’s not any of my suggestions - the Caravaggios at the gallery or Planet of the Apes 3. Nope, it’s a trip to IKEA to buy her what she calls a make up table and I call a homework desk.
“This time we’re paying someone to put it together,” I say.
“We managed with my wardrobe,” she says, which is a big fat lie. Flat pack assembly is her idea of a bonding weekend, no matter that if her wardrobe is ever moved it’ll morph back into a pile of planks and there are carefully positioned artworks covering where I screwed right through the wood.
“Right,” she says as we arrive, “You can only look at what we’ve come for, buy it, then out.” “Bedroom stuff, follow me.” And we’re off.
No one told me it was Fascist Republic Day. I’m sure there’s a book burning we could have been at.
“Look there’s a world map,” I say, as she rushes me along. “I need a new one of those for the kitchen wall.”
“And there’s a computer shelf…”
“…and I always stroke the rugs.”
And on we sweep. “No. No. No. No.”
“A toilet seat? We really need that.”
“Oh, OK,” she relents.
A minute to choose, and it’s in my bag. Ah yes, the bag. A big rustly one that has appeared on my shoulder.
“Where did you get that?” she says.
“And what’s that in it?”
“A picture frame,“ I say. “Must have already been in there. Lucky because it’s exactly the size we need.”
“Pathetic. You’re like a child,” she says. “Now come on.”
I snigger and consider throwing myself onto a display bed for a bounce but she’s off again and before I know it we’re at the car and she’s loading a huge box into the boot as I watch, hugging my toilet seat.
“Right,” she says. “Let’s go.” Which is when I remember I haven’t booked the assembly service. I head back in store - alone.
I wonder if I can make it as far as the plant display while I’m here…