I decided to risk a quick visit to Ikea during half-term last week to buy Alex a little light to go next to his bed.
I'd looked at a few funky lights on the internet but decided a cheap plastic one would probably be the best bet, so that any knocks or accidents wouldn't matter. Ispotted one in the Ikea catalogue for £4.99 and, proud that I'd saved myself £20, headed along the A40 to go and buy it. I took my mum with me (who only needed to replace a dinner plate) and my sister (who only needed to buy napkins).
Had we been our other halves, with what is known in our house as a 'man-shop', we'd have gone in to Ikea, picked up a plate, a pack of napkins and a bedside light and left after 20 minutes, having spent no more than £10.
But not us - we perused the top floor for an hour, filled a small trolley, stopped for lunch for an hour, wandered around the ground floor for an hour, filled a giant yellow bag and had a wee.
Everything I picked up was an absolute bargain - nothing over £5 - and yet, somehow, I managed to spend more than £50. It is the Ikea mystery! I've just looked at my receipt to try to work out what I bought and how I spent so much, but the mystery remains - can anyone decipher a receipt when everything has weird names like 'onska' or 'bagis'!
Up the wall
Alex has never been one for climbing trees but he'd heard our friend Bobby talking about the climbing wall at Brunel University's Uxbridge campus and he was desperate to go.
No one in their right mind would challenge Bobby (a top-notch roofer) to scale a wall, as you'd always get beaten - whether you are wearing all the kit or not! But Alex was not fazed and after Bobby hoisted him into the harness and showed him what to do, he scrambled straight up the wall. He didn't quite get the hang of abseiling back down but enjoyed being dangled back to earth.
What a great way to while away a few hours on a rainy day for the grand sum of £2.80! Membership is £5 for the year (members can sign in two guests) and under-18s can shimmy up for just £2.80.
Visit www.brunel.ac.uk for more details about the climbing wall.
You can also get a rock climbing course completely free of charge. Hillingdon Adult Education run Family Learning Courses that last for four weeks at the climbing wall at Brunel.
Other courses coming up include a junior art club, creative embroidery, Easter activities, an introduction to PowerPoint and Spanish. Free Family Learning Courses take place all over Hillingdon both during the week and at weekends and holidays. [25cf] There's a great selection on offer - find out more at www.hae-acl.ac.uk.
Another free course is Dads and Lads and Football Stats, run by Hillingdon Adult Education in conjunction with Hayes and Yeading United Football Club. It's for dads and their sons to do maths and football activities together.
What a great idea! It is aimed at children aged between seven and 10 and takes place on Saturdays or late on Wednesdays during March and April.
I'm also reliably informed that, despite its title, female fans are also more than welcome!
To find out more, call Barbara French on 020 8569 1638.