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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

I don’t think you need me to tell you that we went to bed that evening with heavy hearts. The true meaning of returning to Flat Pack Store From Hell was, I think, lost on He Who Only… who had only experienced it on New Years Eve, when the world and it’s chavvy husband and children were away vandalising a golf course, or whatever it is that these burberry people do on public holidays. As we camped out in our bedroom, lying on a mattress on the floor that was towered over by a bedframe with no Hamar to call its own, I (like Carrie Bradshaw before me) “couldn’t help but wonder” what would happen the following day. Would this be the end of what was once a beautiful relationship?

The next morning seemed like the right one for traipsing back out to Zone Three hell, and London transport, bless its heart, did everything in its power to block our route – cancelling trains, closing stations, delaying tubes and moving bus stops. In the end, we walked pretty much from where we live to the huge superstore, desperately trying to affect cheerfulness so that the other didn’t hurl themselves face first into Hackney marshes and try to drown in the frosty muck. In order to keep our spirits high, we set ourselves unreasonable challenges, like getting to the store before the free mini-bus that moves the proles from the main train station to the store. Astonishingly, thanks to the bank holiday traffic, we managed to beat the bus by quite a wide margin (approx 40 seconds) which seemed to help keep He Who Only… from noticing the sheer volume of shiny tracksuited, tiny ponytailed, screeching child dragging locals that were thronging their way around the store in order to find the elusive sale items.

We dashed through the complicated store lay out, completely shunning the show floor and running through the market place like things possessed, working out that if we kept heading for walls and walking at a 90 degree angle from the allocated pathways, we could get across the entire floor in about 40 seconds (plus time added for every overweight howling scumbag clutching soft furnishing we had to somehow avoid). We rugby tackled a little man in a yellow jumper, pinning him to the ground and demanding the location of the Hamar. We dashed to the aisle, found the Hamar, and then stared at the shelves in an intensity not before experienced to be sure we weren’t missing any more pieces. We picked up the two packages we needed, sprinted for the finish line, paid for our products (I didn’t buy the discount lights that kept yelling BUY ME! BUY ME! at me from the cardboard boxes surrounding the queues) and we were out the door in less than 7 minutes. SEVEN MINUTES IN AND OUT. I DARE YOU TO BEAT THAT.

A further nightmare journey home, which tempted us both to draft up some kind of suicide pact to put us out of our misery, and we were back on the floor, screwing those screws (no pun or euphemism intended) and close to tears as everything continued to appear to not fit. The little shoots that grow out of the Hamar refused to link up with the sides of the bedframe, no matter how often we looked at the instructions and compared them with the reality. The screws wouldn’t fit, the metal wouldn’t bend, the entire thing was a disaster, and we were going to go and live in a bin, that was all there was to it.

In the end, though, with some creative metal work thanks to the genius mind that is He Who Only…, we made a bed, and we lay in it. A bed in which neither of us, at least for the first night, felt remotely secure.

I’m not even going to talk about what happened when we tried to make the chest of drawers. That, quite frankly, is still a matter for our team of therapists. I’m only grateful that there is a law in this country that bans the use of handguns on furniture.

All I can say is: kids – don’t do it. The money that you save on the purchase of planks and nails and screws and allen keys is not worth the suffering, the lost hours of sleep, the tears, the tantrums and the crucifixion re-enactments in which you tack your nearest and dearest to the back of the Billy bookcase by their wrists and ankles. Just say No.


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