As part of the Great Ikea Marathon a few weeks ago, I bought a new armchair. Usually the Ikea furniture is hard and unyielding, like the Swedes who make it. However this armchair is squashy and oversized, and comfortable to stretch out on sideways (very important). Anyway, early the other night I was on the armchair playing on the laptop, musing on what I would do. The night was young, it stretched ahead of me, I had infinite possibilities. And then I scrabbled around to find a better position and upended my bottle of Coke. And by ‘upended’, I mean I somehow turned the bottle upside down and wedged the neck down the side of the armchair, between the cushions. Like I’d planned it. It was so perfectly positioned it was hard to believe I hadn’t done it on purpose. Did I mention the armchair is white? The armchair is white.

And the funny thing is, I actually sat there for a minute, listening to the ‘gurk-gurk-gurk’ of the Coke as it poured out of the bottle into the depths of the armchair. I didn’t flounder for the bottle or race for towels. I just sat there and breathed out heavily through my nose and watched my night slip away from me. I played in my head how it would go: getting up, yanking off the cushions, mopping up the Coke, pulling the recalcitrant, wet slipcovers off the armchair, washing them, drying them, ironing them and finally, struggling to get them back on to the chair like a mutinous child who needs to have its arms forced into its winter coat. I could see it all happening. But I didn’t want it to start just yet. I wanted to think about that other night, the one where I didn’t spill an entire bottle of brown liquid down the middle of a white chair, the one where I could do whatever I wanted rather than whatever I had to. It was very depressing.

And then I floundered for the bottle and raced for towels.

But on the plus side: the armchair is fully recovered. Turns out that Ikea tucks all of the springy metal parts under a sort of water-resistant cover and should you pour Coke into the bowels of the chair, it just pools on the cover, meaning you can mop it up without sustaining internal chair damage. And you can wash the slipcovers, obviously. I knew about the slipcovers when I bought the armchair; it was just that I wasn’t planning on testing it out QUITE so soon.

(“Eh de pour de cola down de ormchair … do de do de do!”)

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