Mid-December. Holywood Exchange. Remember the phenomenal traffic jams that clogged up the Sydenham Bypass arterial route from early morning until bedtime. People camped out.
Well, it was in the imagination of a certain retail outlet, the traffic police and the media as they prepared us for the opening of Ikea at Holywood Exchange.
The opening ceremony was a reasonably modest affair, although thousands of people did visit the store stretched out across the first day of trading. Even I squeezed in briefly on the first night on the way home from grabbing some now-forgotten essential item from Sainsburys.
To celebrate their first birthday, Ikea Belfast are hosting a party on Saturday 13 December. There will be “face painters, balloon modellers and a jolly jester” ... and for the children, a Santa and elves in a grotto (£5 for a photo and a present).
If you come “dressed up in Swedish style” (perhaps a big chef’s hat?), they’ll give you a gift card, and there’s a £10 voucher waiting for you if it’s your birthday too.
And it’ll be a good opportunity to check out the Harvey Norman (and Next Home?) stores that have recently opened up next door. Just watch out for the traffic … the tail backs at Knocknagoney on the way home could be crazy if Tesco haven’t finished their construction work by then!