The people that my daughter and her boyfriend bought their house from were a lovely couple with a little girl the same age as my Addy. They left a good luck card to wish as much happiness in their new home as they themselves had had and a tin of Roses chocolates (which has proved invaluable to restore flagging energy levels during the process of redecorating and preparing to move in).
I went around this morning to help out for a few hours. Liberty was cleaning the paintwork in the living room ready to gloss so I busied myself in the freshly painted kitchen, packing away the decorating equipment we had been using and giving everything a good clean. It was all coming together beautifully and I was hopeful that we would have a finished room to show off to Liberty's boyfriend (who is still having trouble visualising how lovely it is all going to be).
Then I came to the oven.
The oven was a brushed steel De Longhi built in appliance that didn't appear to be very old. It is a total mystery to me how it could possibly have got into the state that it was inside.
In all the time that Liberty had spent in the house, she had never opened the oven. This is what we found when we did.
My photograph doesn't really capture the full horror of it all. The heavy, rank smell of old grease was stomach churning.
Liberty went to Morrisons in search of propriety oven cleaner - the stronger the better. She returned with Mr Muscle and Oven Pride (and some cheese pasties and muffins to sustain us through what was likely to be a long day).
I got to work on the inside with Mr Muscle while Liberty put the grease and carbon encrusted racks and grill in the bag supplied and added the Oven Pride magic chemical. This needs to be left overnight so I don't know yet how effective it will be but I was impressed that it made an instant impact, turning the clear liquid black and tarry like the images used to put people off smoking.
I struggled to make much impact at all. The very edges of the oven wiped clean easily to reveal bright, shiny metal that seemed to confirm our suspicion that this was not an old appliance. The thick, carbonised deposits on the glass door and inside the body of the oven were barely touched despite repeated applications of the Mr Muscle spray (which served mostly to burn my nasal linings and little else).
It was dark before I left. I scrubbed until my hands were sore. I attacked it with a steam cleaner. I even took to scraping at it with a wallpaper scraper. I made a small amount of progress but I am a long way off being able to show before and after photographs.
Searching the internet has given me the idea to use baking soda mixed to a paste with water which is applied to the filth and left to soften it. I want to find a plastic scraper which will do the job without damaging the oven surface and I want to make that oven gleam!
I will make that oven gleam!!
It did occur to me that I haven't paid a great deal of attention to the state of cleanliness of my own oven recently. I checked when I got home. I was very happy with what I found.