YOU get a lot of funny jobs when you are out on the bimble, and a lot of funny suggestions.
If I had a cigar for every time some punter said “Why don't you park up and we'll sort the fare out another way?” I'd be a rich man by now, rich in experience anyhow.
You say no to most of them - and especially if it's the pension run, but it can get a bit iffy at times. Which is why I sometimes like to take Tony on the box.
Tony is my cousin. OCD, panic attacks, you name it, so he needs calming down. He stayed in the house for three years once, but he just got claustrophobic.
You'd hardly know he was there when he comes on the rank. He just sits there most of the time, texting people. Usually his legal team about his compo claim, which has been going on years.
But what our kid does best is come in really handy if something needs humping, and I entirely mean in the heavy gear department.
Is he coming too?” she snapped, looking at him as if he'd just crawled from under a stone. A lot of women react that way. I told her he was no trouble, but I could sense that today might be a tourettes day
And so it proved to be last week, when a wait-and-return came through on the set, to go up to Ikea.
Happy days, you might think. But I have been on incapacity benefit for 15 years and I could feel my stress levels going. It could only mean a load of flatpack so I was straight round to his mam's and dragged him out.
We turned up at this corpy house in Richard Kelly Drive and the woman said she was going to get some laminate for her conservatory. “Not f***ing laminate,” Tony muttered, right out of the blue.
“Is he coming too?” she snapped, looking at him as if he'd just crawled from under a stone. A lot of women react that way. I told her he was no trouble, but I could sense that today might be a tourettes day.
Have you ever been to IKEA? They think of everything. Ball pool for kiddies to play in and even a big caffe. The Family Restaurant.
So I knew where I was going the minute we got in there. “Come 'ead,” I said, turning to Tony. But he'd got off.
He's always doing this and I found him, 15 minutes later, in office chairs, swivelling round really fast on one called Klappe.
He fancied a load of meatballs, and said he would go Dutch. I told him it was Swedish in here (I was panting with exhaustion), so we joined the queue, but only after he'd gone whizzing through the shop on the chair, effing and blinding and laughing.
It's a bit weird the IKEA cafeteria. For a start you don't know where to queue, whether you are at the back or the front, and people were getting their cakes ( and eating them, in my case) before their main meals.
The drinks cups are at the tills and the coffee and hot chocolate are around the corner with the condiment packets, away from the knives and forks which are back at the tills. In fact they didn't have any knives left. Probably just as well, I thought looking at Tony. They could learn a lot from Sandbach services, he said, where he once pulled (he tells me for the umpteenth time).
But nobody in their right mind would bring a woman here on a promise, not unless they wanted a house full of scented candles, wicker boxes and tealights for their trouble.
I got the fish and chips (£4.25). “Eeeyye,” said a pleasant serving lass, “Do you want peas with that?” She was just my type, a bit jolly, and I stared into her eyes, as green as the peas.
“Eeeyye, will you be wanting bread and butter?” I would.
Tony got his meatballs (£3.50). They do them in three sizes: Ladies portion, gents portion and Fat Git portion. He got the tart's size, and we eventually found a seat.
I have to say, it's not unpleasant in here with free tea and coffee refills (75p) and we had a cracking view of the Fairway over in section F of the car park. All these big birch tables and chairs and the lampshades that you actually sit at have price tags dangling from them, and they even tell you where you can find them in the shop. “Do they sell a bin called 'Git' in here?” sneered Tony in between mouthfuls of garlic bread which is so hard they could call “Kardboord” if they were flogging it in the shop.
Now I have scoffed fish and chips at some of the finest establishments in the land. The Magpie cafe in Whitby being the best. This, it gives me no pleasure to report, gave me no pleasure. The fish was cod or coley, I dunno, it wasn't specific, and the breaded coating was heavy and thick and stodgy. It's not the fault of the staff. All the gear comes in frozen and is cooked to a formula at IKEAs nationwide, globalwide for all I know. The peas were the colour of pond life and the chips were tasteless frites from a freezer bag. You would probably like it though.
The meatballs were better. Ten in number and had something lashed on the side called lingonberry sauce which the Scands enjoy. Looked and tasted like cranberry to me, mind. They also chucked a load of pale gravy on them. It looked awful but tasted great and me and Tone both burped contentedly all the way back up the M62.
The cakes? Fabulous. A really nice almondy tart for just 75p, and a passion fruit thing (£1.75) with a big mint heart on, which was as pretty, soft and moist as I imagined my last date, Pauline, to be, when last we met at Bistro Pierre.
“Oh yeah. How the f*** did you get on with her?” blurted the Tourettes Kid.
So I told him exactly what had happened.
|| The Family Restaurant
Gemini Retail Park
0845 355 1140