152. Far from the madding crowd…

As I remember her telling it, LovelyColleague thought she’d take the chance to pick up some bits for their new home. In particular, she fancied getting a few scented candles. So it was that she and hubby found themselves queuing for the midnight opening of the new IKEA.

They soon realised that this was no ordinary queue. Drawn by adverts for extreme, time-limited discounts in one of the poorest parts of London, a crowd of football-match proportions was gathering around them. LovelyColleague decided that she actually wasn’t that fussed about scented candles, but by then it was impossible to move, let alone leave the queue.

Things became chaotic when the doors opened and the crowds surged forward. The staff couldn’t cope with the numbers: people were crushed, knocked to the ground, punched. Some collapsed with heat exhaustion; some half dozen were hospitalised. And amid the chaos, LovelyColleague wondering if her epitaph were to be “I just wanted some scented candles”.

As we get ready for The London Waste Authority’s Compost Giveaway on Sunday morning, I remember the Great Ikea Riot of 2005 with some foreboding. If others are as keen as I am to improve the quality of their garden soil, we could be in for a bumpy ride. There may already be crowds chanting “What do we want? Friable soil! When do we want it? In time for planting the sweet peas!” I put an extra shovel into the car, just in case things turn nasty.

We roll up to the car-park in Ally Pally and see that there are a fair few people already gathered around a rapidly diminishing heap of compost. I hurry across with my spade and bags… and people budge up to make space. My neighbour gives top tips on effective sack – filling.   Two others share thoughts on the best way of working the compost into the soil.

“Don’t dig it in,” says one chap. “Let the worms do the work – digging is so twentieth century.” Around me, people are congenially lending each other wheelbarrows and shovels, and laughing as the heat from the heap steams up our specs.

When the car can hold no more, we drive home; windows wide open to disperse the heat and the smell.

We empty the sacks to create our own mini-heap next to the greenhouse, waiting to be dispersed. Then we have coffee and muse on a successful morning. Mind you, the smell from the compost has thoroughly permeated our clothing, and could become unpleasant if you let it. If only we had some scented candles…

***

Parkinson’s Awareness Week seemed to be pretty successful, with a fair few people letting me know about inspiring items they’d caught in the media. If you haven’t already seen it, this letter appeared in Monday’s Guardian. I’m sure you will agree that it’s a letter of enormous variety and nuance, and written by a writer of such … Well, anyway.

***

Faith completed the London Marathon in 3 hours 55 minutes, making over £2K for PUK.  Respect!

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3 responses

  1. Respect to Jelly and Faith!

  2. Young Lochinvar | Reply

    Is this a different LovelyColleague from the one you’ve previously mentioned? I’m seeing double!

    1. I have many lovely colleagues.

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