The IKEA Experience

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As part of our regular dose of ‘retail therapy’, we headed over to IKEA in Bletchley today. Trish and Sean joined us, with a view to them getting some ideas for Sean’s new place in Burton Latimer – and maybe bag a bargain!

I can’t remember the last time we shopped here, but judging by the crowds flocking in the same direction as us (as well as the already 99%-full car-park) – it was as popular as ever!

Covid-19 ‘arrangements’ meant the crowd aspect was somewhat amplified as we joined an ever-growing snake-of-a-queue as the minutes ticked down to opening time at 11. I guess we only queued for about 15 minutes, but it felt longer due to the regimented enter/don’t enter traffic-light system (literally, but minus the orange one!) above the door and not helped by the hand-sanitising dispenser suffering a goo-slow (see what I did there?) just 1 minute into the doors opening! 😕. It was going to be a real test for social-distancing, but at least masks were clearly in use.

Safely sanitised by a helpful member of their cleaning-squad, we began our exploration of Planet-IKEA. In the time between our previous visit (1837???) and today, I’d completely forgotten two things about Sweden’s favourite DIY destination: one specific to Bletchley and one more general. First, this particular IKEA is simply massive – and I do mean massive! (311,077 sq ft – 0.03 km² – since you asked). The shopping area went on and on (and on!). Second, the prices! There are low prices and then there are IKEA prices! It’s a bit of a cliché I know, but I really don’t know how they do it for the money! Especially, some wooden furniture, where if you built it yourself (you wouldn’t let ME make you anything in wood – just saying!) the cost of the screws alone would exceed the price of the price being charged here! Amazing!! 👍

You name it, they had it – in all the colours in all the sizes. Two hours later, we were on our way out – each of us with our bagged bargain or two (or three… or five!) 😉

An amazing experience! 👍👍👍👍 And if the queue was long when we arrived, you should have seen it as we left – at least an hour of traffic-light-watching before these poor souls were going to be able to get in 🤔

Easy PC!

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The Waiting Area at Trumpington’s Park ‘n’ Ride

Off to Cambridge today to meet up with Sally B. We’re on a mission to seek out a replacement Laptop to replace ‘Isla‘ (who has enjoyed a great innings since February 2015, but it’s time to retire her!) 😮

First stop was to be John Lewis who had some cracking good deals and where we’d narrowed it down to just three models. But first we had to get to Cambridge.

These days, wisdom suggests that it’s foolish to try and drive into the city-centre (was it ever????!!!!), and so we both headed for Trumpington Park and Ride. A lot has changed there since I last visited; for a start, parking is now completely free (for 18 hours), but on the downside, they were ‘improving’ the layout, so there were far fewer spaces than usual, whilst a family of diggers and dump-trucks did what they do best! Cue a few laps circling the site before bagging a space.

Sal arrived just after 11 and we were soon on our £3 journey into the City.

One of the benefits of going ‘old school’ – actually visiting a shop! – meant Sal could try out the feel of the keyboards, and that helped narrow down the options even further! 😁 By 11.30 we’d reviewed our shortlist – and rejected them all! 😛 Instead a trusty Dell tempting us with £100 off the price, became the ultimate prize!

Dell i5, 4Gb RAM, 1Tb 15.6 inch screen

A real beauty! 😊 … and all for less than £500!

With our bargain bagged, it was off to Brown’s of Cambridge for a celebratory Lunch.

Impressive Menu!
Great (Meat) Balls of Fire!
Yummy Fish Pie!

Two Courses, 90 minutes and a hell of a lot of catching-up later, we walked back the bus-stop and were soon back to our cars.

We both headed for the M11, where one of us headed south, the other northwards – and straight into the (now-daily) congestion due to the massive expansion of the A14). I’m sure it’ll be impressive when it’s completed, but at the moment, it’s a real pain every time I need to use the M11/A14.