Is 1 hour and 10 minutes long enough to visit Ik*a?

December 9, 2016



The short answer is no – especially if you don’t have anyone helping you – but let’s start by pronouncing things properly. If you go back to the shop’s nordic roots, the name should be pronounced “i-kay-uh” (with the i sound as in igloo) and not as us Aussies tend to say “eye-key-uh.”
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I would like to share with you my visit to a retail prison.

It was a cold and rainy night. I thought it would be best to visit after work because there would be less people. This was certainly true, but I faced some other difficulties: finding all the items on my prepared list, deciding whether the items met my standards of quality, resisting unnecessary purchases, completing the circuit before close, getting back to my car and escaping the carpark.

I piled my plastic containers and half-size bookshelf into the trolley, paid and wheeled myself out to be met by steel barriers- no trolleys past this point. I wheeled out to the pick-up area and asked the last teenage staff on deck how I could get to Lower Ground Green.
“I can look after your trolley for you while you get your car”…
“But don’t you close at 9pm?”
“Oh yeah. You’ll have to get back here by 9pm”
“Well it’s 8:55 so I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
“You can’t take the ikea trolley out.”
Fenced in. Trapped. Would I sleep on this loading dock? Or would the boy be kind?

“You can use that” he said pointing to the small Coles trolley standing in the rain. The trolley for unorganised single people. The trolley allowed into the carpark.
I transferred my purchases into the smaller, wet trolley – playing a special balancing game. The teenager had to “buzz” me out of the carrells – a privilege saved for wheelchairs and prams. I moved carefully toward the carpark lift – no access to Lower Ground.
Ok then what? A long ramp. I rolled down and checked for another lift- no access to Lower Ground. Ok then what? A long ramp. I rolled down and checked for another lift- nothing – but a crash. One of my plastic containers fell onto the concrete and cracked.

No lift or ramp in sight. I went back into the shopping centre towards the travelator. A sign: “No trolleys -please use lift” (with vague arrow)..But where is the lift? I started to sweat. I finally found it and I found my car, but where was my parking ticket? The one I thought I put in the small pocket in my backpack. I was thirsty. The ticket finally appeared – creased. I managed to get free parking, but was it worth it? My plastic was cracked.

In a tizz. Drink bottle, wallet, parking ticket, receipt, phone, strewn across the passenger seat. I accelerated out of the boom gates. I had escaped the labyrinth, but the night was not yet over. The orange petrol light came on.

I will leave you know to ponder the most perplexing riddle of my visit – why does the green pear-shaped lamp cost $24.99 whilst the exact same version in white costs only $9.99?



How to leave the house in 40 minutes

August 25, 2016


Like a good recipe, the key is to prepare the basics the night before.
This includes:

  • selecting your clothes, socks and shoes and placing them in the lounge room;
  • packing your work bag with your wallet, keys & transport ticket at the top;
  • putting your non-refridgerated snacks in a lunch box.

Now let’s begin Version 1.
Put alarm on for 6:50am. Press sleep for 10 minutes. Loll about for 5 minutes. Get up.

7:07 Go to the toilet. (Number 1s).

7:10 Prepare breakfast and make a coffee at the same time. Save moments by swiftly doling out oats whilst the coffee machine warms up. The key at this point is to leave the toaster out of the morning equation. Drink the coffee whilst checking the news and ptv alerts on phone. Set aside breakfast for journey.

7:33 Jump up saying “Shit, shit, shit,  I’m going to be late.” Put your coffee cup in the sink, fill it with water. Leap towards the bathroom and jump in the shower.

7:39 Dry yourself, brush teeth, get dressed, run towards your shoes. Call out to partner/ animal/imaginary friend for help collecting some important item that you forgot along the way: eg. underpants, towel or lunch from fridge.

7:47 Leave the house jogging towards the train with breakfast in take-away-container.

Version 2
Put alarm on for 6:50am. Press sleep for 10 minutes. DON’T loll about for 5 minutes- use the extra time to do a bog. Follow the remaining instructions as per Version 1.




Woman cradles dog in arms whilst swinging in swing

August 5, 2014


I was walking through Fitzroy with Melon* last week and we needed to stop and rest. I saw a small park ahead and suggested that this could be a good resting place. As we approached, I saw an elderly lady cradling a poodle in her arms. The poodle had its hair tied up in a red ribbon. The lady was sitting on the playground swing, gently rocking her dog back and forth. I quickly motioned towards a park bench with a direct view of the swinging poodle. We sat down. To my dismay, our view was blocked by a mother and her children playing on the tan bark. I got agitated, I needed to observe more of the special rocking dog scene. I craned my neck as the lady (and poodle) alighted from the swing. She carried the poodle towards us.

“Your dog’s not walking today?” I politely inquired.
“I love this dog. I carry this dog. I look after this dog. You want to know why?” she replied.
“Oh yes,” said I.
“I’ll tell you why – this dog saved my life.”

I cannot be sure how the dog saved the owner’s life, as we did not converse much further. She placed the dog down on the footpath. It looked bewildered, calm and very still – as if remembering how to use its legs and paws again. The lady then attached a leash and coaxed the dog into walking – slowly – away.


*name has been changed to protect identity


Words that bother me

January 24, 2014

It was not my intention to start the year with a sad-sack blog post, but I have a bee in my bonnet about something that a radio show host said. He was talking about a big Melbourne music festival…
“There’s going to be a bunch of great bands at the festival,” he said.

I didn’t enjoy the way in which this array of bands was described as a bunch. It’s a bit forced-casual, a bit hip and perhaps a bit grammatically incorrect.*

To me the word bunch implies a group of items which are joined together by a natural fibre, such as a vine or branch. For example:
“Please pass me that bunch of juicy grapes,” or
“A bunch of bananas is too much for my current dietary requirements, I will break one off and purchase it as a single entity.”

In closing, I have suggested some alternative phrases for the radio host:
“In my opinion, there will be a plethora of great bands at the festival,” or
“There will be a veritable treasure trove of musical talent at the festival.”


2013 – the year that was.

January 4, 2014

I no doubt experienced a plethora of life’s highs and lows in 2013, most of which have been overlooked in favour of reporting on bargains. Yes, bargains. Coming from a pedigree of bargain-hunters, I find it most enjoyable to share my experiences with others. (After I have called and discussed it at great length with my mother first, of course.)



This 5kg bucket of Australian-made, phosphate-free, strongly-perfumed laundry powder was snapped up from a local asian supermarket for $5. Or less. I can’t even recall the exact price, my memory is overshadowed by the pleasure of scooping the baby blue powder into the washing machine receptacle whilst sneezing. We have never smelled cleaner and this now familiar fragrance will certainly stay with us for for the next year, or two.

Mangoes and avocados

Mango & Avo

One Thursday evening in December, I found myself at the local (big-name) supermarket just on 6pm. I normally wouldn’t get there this early and was surprised to see a fruit and vegetable trolley wheeled out near the entrance. An employee was calling out “Fill a bag for $3.” Remembering my experiences from Forges in the 80s, I squeezed my way into prime position and eyed the produce – which included some slightly bruised (but mostly just ripe) tomatoes, mangoes and avocados. I came away with 9 mangoes and 3 avocados for $3. I was very pleased with myself and called my mother to report back. After praising me she casually asked “Why didn’t you get another bag?”

Code brown alert.

September 27, 2013

A toddler dropped his dacks and left some poos on the library floor carpet. No one saw it so it could have dropped out of the end of his trousers. Mother picked it up and threw it in the toilet. Then a staff member scattered the special vomit sand over the affected area and put out a warning cone. Apparently the poos were rock hard so the impact was not too severe.

The smallest roundabout in Melbourne?

June 28, 2013


This could be the smallest roundabout in Melbourne. The extruded circular centre-piece is only about 1m in diameter, yet there are two generous traffic lanes which pass around it. I think the unusual configuration is influenced by the requirement for buses to easily move around this area. This picture was taken in Deer Park. Related post: Round car-park.  Related fact: roundabouts are also known as “traffic circles” in countries other than Australia.