Robert Duncan and his boss have a few days at their Spanish retreat…

Cathy on balconySo the secret is out – we have a bolt hole of our very own in sun soaked Murcia. And talking of bolt holes, that is precisely what I was involved with most of the time. Not for me (apparently) sitting around in the sun and drinking the sort of gin and tonics that the Spaniards serve in bowls. No, we were on our way in a v small car to IKEA where you buy lots of flat pack things with bolt holes. (so that’s what he meant).

Sunday morning at 4am, and we are on our way along deserted roads to Gatwick. Flight fine. Rental car collected from Firefly for only €8 for three days, plus petrol. Apartment all cleaned to perfection by superstars Mel and Jayne (or Mel and Kim as I call them because I’m so hilarious). Long long long list produced for visits to supermarket, Chinese discount store (hundreds of them in Spain, and brilliant) and… IKEA. Gulp.

Alfresco dinner in the lovely Sucina town square, where in the summer we joined the merry throng for their festival, and I bought the T-shirt, not realising that if I wear it under a jacket it says I love Suc.

Up early for a quick breakfast and the journey to the only address we had – IKEA Murcia. Now considering that Murcia is (a) forty minutes away and (b) a very large town, this wasn’t enough information – and the v small car obviously didn’t have sat-nav. So you know what? You know what? I opened Google Maps on my iPhone, entered IKEA Murcia and a voice came on saying ‘turn left in 300 yards. Proceed for 2 miles. Take third exit at roundabout….’ And we were there. Technology. Honestly.

I should have spotted the warning signs when my gorgeousness chose the largest wheely basket. We followed the arrows, as every IKEA fan knows well, and bought more nicknacks than you could throw a stick at. (Sorry about that last sentence). In no particular order I will announce the things that will go on to dance next week, and more importantly, be sent home: Wine glasses. Picture frames. Colander. Kitchen roll holder. Cushions. Handy candle holders. Bottle opener. Can opener. Storage boxes. Cuddly toy. (A new and cleaner version of Jamie’s existing panda. Named Panda rather than what I suggested – Monium. Think about it…)

Oh yes. Errrr… two flat pack kitchen cabinets. Now the phrase flat pack is something that is an anathema to me. We got home all right, and it was made pretty clear pretty quickly that going out to dinner wasn’t on the cards until I’d built at least one of the flat packs from hell.

And so we reach the crux of this searching article. I unwrapped all the pieces, carefully separated all the nuts and bolts (to fit the bolt holes, for those who haven’t got the joke yet) and laid everything out ready. Cathy is a very considerate person, which is about .05% of why I love her, and brought in some coffee accompanied by gentle music on her iPod. Soon the outer frame of the cabinet existed, and I attached the back, wondering at the absolute perfection of the IKEA product. Anyone who is old enough to remember MFI and their scruffy drilling, missing pieces and burred holes, will be amazed by how this Swedish genius has got his act together. Or had – I don’t know. All I know is that, in spite of the fact the names he chose for his products were all on account of his dyslexia, Fahrt for instance (probably some sort of shelf) he managed to get totally amazing products at totally amazing prices.

You can tell by the up mood of that last paragraph that I succeeded with honours, and the result is standing proudly in our new kitchen. As I was (oh please…)

Dinner was earned and we had wonderful garlic prawns and an exceptional spaghetti carbonara at the gorgeous Hacienda, which is actually on our golf course site. Gin and tonics were in evidence and, if we hadn’t missed our boys a bit, life looked perfect.

I’ve gone on too much, so I will gloss over the last day, with its visit to the outdoor furniture place (wicker. maroon cushions) the truly brilliant tapas lunch overlooking a deserted town and a glassy misty sunlit sea, and a forty minute walk we took without leaving the Hacinda Requelme site.

Airport. Drive home from Gatwick at 11.30 Tuesday night. Home. Jamie woke up to greet us and fell asleep again with a smile on his face. We had those too. Good times.

Thanks IKEA for not being MFI. x