A Beetley Easter

It was very quiet here over the Easter weekend. The weather didn’t help of course. Other than a few sunny periods yesterday afternoon, it was cold and grey. As we are not remotely religious, we didn’t have to attend any church services, and there was no local Easter Fair, or similar community activity that appealed. This left us with a fairly normal weekend, especially as Julie had to work on Saturday anyway, breaking up the days off that might have made a trip somewhere worthwhile. We did have an Easter Sunday meal of roast duck, something we don’t have that often. There was also the consumption of some hot cross buns; but like most things in the UK, that tradition is spoiled by them being available more or less all-year round these days.

Walking Ollie as usual, I noticed the absence of our regular companions. Some had travelled abroad for an Easter break, others were visiting family, or entertaining guests themselves. There were new people to discover, and more importantly for Ollie, some new dogs to meet. They were visitors, coming to the area to see family or friends, and directed to the Meadows, or Hoe Rough, as a good place to take their dogs. Some were caught out by the stubborn mud, not dressed for the occasion, stepping awkwardly around the deep ruts, and avoiding the standing water. Their dogs rushed up excitedly to Ollie, then scampered off again, too overwhelmed by their new surroundings to bother to play. I exchanged pleasantries, and carried on trudging. Yesterday, I was hit in the eye by a flying insect, one of the first of the season. In all of the countless square miles of Norfolk available to it, the thing managed to impact my eye at speed, and felt like a tiny bullet. It has been watering constantly ever since, and feels bruised to the touch. If only I could have such ‘luck’ with lottery tickets.

Returning home like a wounded Nelson, I resolved to do something useful with the rest of the day, and foolishly decided to clean the oven. Or should I say ovens, as it is an electric double-oven affair. It works very well, with a fan assisting the cooking, ensuring an even spread of heat. Unfortunately, this also means that it bakes on any unwanted splashes or deposits, and the job of cleaning the thing has to be tackled like a military operation. The removable racks are first soaked in biological washing powder. I bought a special plastic tray for this purpose, itself the size of a small paddling pool. As the trays and racks are soaking for up to four hours in near-boiling water, a spray oven cleaning foam is applied inside. This stuff is so caustic, gloves are essential, and woe betide that you inhale during spraying, unless you are wearing a suitable gas-mask. After covering the kitchen tiles with newspaper to catch any spills or leaks, you retire and wait. Sounds easy? Believe me, the hard bit is yet to come.

When enough time had elapsed, I walked with heavy step into the kitchen, to face my oven demons. I arranged a selection of abrasive and non-abrasive pads on the worktop, alongside a fresh roll of kitchen towel, and some extra paper. Working from the top down, I cleaned the extractor fan unit with a spray cleaner, and the glass shield with something suitable too. Despite the fact the the whole thing looked quite clean and tidy, and there are normally only two of us to cook for, it never ceases to amaze me how much sticky grime can be removed. The flat hob is the easiest of course. A dedicated cleaning paste is applied, then buffed off. Job done. If only the rest was as simple. Before tackling the inside of the ovens, I removed to the sink, and began to get the racks and grill-pan out of soak. Even with the action of the washing powder softening the weeks of carbon deposits, they still need a hearty scrub. I used a wire ball, the sort usually used on metal pans, and after almost an hour, they were all rinsed and gleaming on the side. I was putting off the inevitable though.

Are you still there? Still awake?

Kneeling on stone tiles is not something I like to do at my age, to be honest. The drop-down oven doors add eighteen inches to the reach required to get right inside these ovens, so you are at a stretch before you even begin. The first task is to scoop out the now greasy and stained foam cleaner residue. This means a lot of paper, and being very careful of spills and splashes. Then the cleaning pads have to come into play, applied with enough force to get the stuff off, but not so much that you will scratch the inside. Additional bursts of spray cleaner have to be applied to the most stubborn spots as you go, and constant rinsing of the pads is essential. The small top oven completed, I take a break before facing the lower one, as it is twice the size. This is also the fan-assisted oven, and it seems to mock me with the intensity of its burned-on grime. I change to a new pad, and attack it like someone who hates it. (As in a way, I do) Just this one space takes almost an hour, and two more pads, before it is eventually acceptable.

The glass doors have to be tacked with more dexterity, and a careful rotation system, so as not to lean too heavily on the hinges, or displace the glass in the frame. By now, I am sitting on the cold floor, changing arms to combat fatigue, and sincerely wishing that I had never started. Some people get the joy of satisfaction from a job well-done. Personally, I get my satisfaction from others doing that job instead of me. By 7PM it was finally over. The racks were replaced, the ovens gleaming, and I could take a well-earned rest.

A belated Happy Easter from Beetley.

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29 thoughts on “A Beetley Easter

  1. I enjoyed your description of this very much, but not enough to tackle my own oven.

    Yet.

    Thank you for the pleasant read.

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    1. If you can get someone else to do it, then go for it! If not, don’t put it off too long, or you will be in the same boat as I was.
      Thanks for the comment and follow, both much appreciated.
      Best wishes from Norfolk. Pete.

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  2. Now that replicators have replaced the old food synthesizers (which rendered those unreliable protein resequencers obsolete), you might want to pick up a used food synthesizer on eBay. Allow up to seven light years for delivery, depending on the location of the seller and the warp factor used by the fleet of the nearest outpost of the United Federation of Planets Postal Service. Once the UFPPS vessel has arrived in Earth orbit, its transporters will lock onto your kitchen coordinates and beam down the food synthesizer, which never requires cleaning but which does carry a small risk of Tribble infestation.

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    1. My fluffy gown is ‘Merlot’ Eddy, and not white. I wouldn’t have worn that for oven cleaning, it was t-shirt and joggers mate. And the marigolds in use at the time were a ‘neutral’ yellow, never pink!
      Cheers old bean. Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joking aside Pete; as we don’t use any chemicals, we simply wipe clean after every use. Spills are dealt with before they turn to carbon rock and if it’s really bad we get the metal scourer out after a soak with bicarbonate of soda, but at worst it’s a five minute job.
        All the best, The Winkos

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  3. Pete, I hear and agree with you.. I open my oven door, and peek inside deciding it’s not time to bring in the marines to clean it. Oven cleaning has to be the worse job ever as far as smell, dangerous chemicals, and cleaning pads, paper towels, sore knees, back, neck, etc.

    The last time I cleaned mine, I promised myself to use my toaster oven more often, and my table top forced air cooking gadget. I’ve been a happy camper ever since. But, the Barbeque is mocking me for a good cleaning this spring. So, there’s no escaping the dirty duties. Loved this post as it rings as clear as a bell to anyone who’s has tackled cleaning their oven… or oven’s as in your case…

    Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura ~

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    1. Thanks Laura. I am led to believe that barbecues should be cleaned by stoking them red hot when there is nothing to be cooked on them, and letting the heat carbonise the racks. I would sooner just buy a new rack myself!
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, I usually let it burn off for a few minutes after cooking on the B.B.Q. and then use my scraper for the grills. But, I think I’ll buy new racks this year as they are old and actually beginning to peel.. Take care
        Laura

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  4. The worst job in the household chores! I loathe this too, but find that if you do it regularly it is actually easier! The stretching whilst bending is what gets me the most, I am exhausted before I am half way through the task. Arms ache, back aches, knees scream with pain. I want an eye-level oven in my next house!!

    Oh, and since my fan element died and I have to use just the normal heating elements, the oven doesn’t get anywhere near as filthy. So maybe don’t use the fan! And how DO you get the grime off at the top of the oven underneath the grill elements? I always struggle with that bit.

    Actually, Pete, if you’re not busy at the weekend, you could pop over to my house, I have an oven that would LOVE to see you 🙂

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    1. The fan in the bottom oven is automatic Jude and can’t be turned off. (It’s a Neff, and I looked in the book recently) It’s the bending and stretching that gets me too. As for the upper sections, I just have to ‘scrub blind’ and hope for the best. I doubt I ever get more than a third of it though.
      I looked up about getting a professional oven cleaner in to do it, and they want around £90 for a double oven! x

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        1. Single oven quoted at £40, and they take the doors off and ‘dip’ them apparently. They use their own van, parked outside. Still too much, when I’m at home all day. Roll on the lottery win, then it’s farewell to any cleaning for good! x

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  5. Ugh, oven cleaning, one of the nastiest & most time-consuming household tasks! Which is why I rarely use my oven for anything except casseroles or cakes, where spills, if any, are easily cleaned. I think you’re a good man!

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  6. I empathise with your comment about the grime. Most of the time I’m by myself and although I don’t use the oven very often, there’s always grime to get rid off….
    At least I can remove the glass doors now (I theoretically could before but nearly chopped my foot in two trying).

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