Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Save the world, one IKEA at a time

Canberra has been begging IKEA to open a store in Australia's capital and on Monday, the Swedish monolith came good.

IKEA is to home furnishings what Macca's and its duplicates are to food. You know what you are going to get before you enter the store, but your anticipation levels are still high.

We happen to live about five minute's drive from where the store is sited - on a sheep paddock, but isn't all of Canberra? - and we have even put off visiting the Tempe store over the past few months, knowing that we were getting our own IKEA.

Why is this temple of soft furnishings worthy of cult status? It's not as if owning something from IKEA is rare. It's not as if anything in the store is particularly eye-catching or a must-have piece. What it offers is reasonably / cheaply priced stuff that if you choose wisely will look good in any home and be useful.

We bought towels and tea-towels, candles, Christmas wrapping paper, a strainer, a trivet and a few other bits. All are available in many other stores, but do not have the cute Swedish names.

For information: there is no mobile phone service in the store.

May I add this was the first visit to IKEA in many years where I have not bought washing-up brushes. For some reason that was always my go-to item, but I still have new brushes I bought about a year ago.

Does it matter that a new store opened down the road in a week when people have lost their lives in dreadful random attacks? No. But if you can get your stuff sorted, you're in a much better place.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Classic encounters

Miss B and I travelled to the NSW Central Coast today to celebrate my Granddad Alfred Date's 110th birthday. It's become something of an annual pilgrimage in recent years. We went to his 108th, 109th and now his 110th. We went to his 100th and I well remember attending his 80th birthday party and thinking what a great age he had achieved.

Alfred with his granddaughters and great granddaughters

Alfred was born in London but his parents George and Harriet brought their young family to Australia to escape the looming trouble in England and Europe. They arrived here in 1911, before the outbreak of WWI.

Alfred is looking pretty good for a supercentenarian and speaks with the sharp mind he has always possessed. Tomorrow the Governor-General is going to visit. I expect a card from the Queen is nice, but he has quite a few of those now.

When Alfred turned 108 he told me he wanted two more birthdays. Well he's got them and who knows what comes next. He fell over twice this week...and has a large bump on the back and front of his head to show for it, but as he told my brother, he would have left an awful lot of people in the lurch if he hadn't made it to today's party.

On the trip north, we stopped at Pheasants Nest for a refreshment break. Parked was this most amazing Rolls Royce.

1963 Rolls Royce

The lovely owner Greg was in the car, on his way to a vintage car show, and I asked him if he minded if I took a photograph.

The car has been in his family for three generations.

Greg: It is 52 years old.

Me: That's one year younger than me. Who is looking better for their age?

Greg: You are, of course.

Love a roadside encounter like this. Haha.