Wednesday 20 May 2009

Of flies and fans

It has to get worse before it gets better. Very true, whoever you are who said that, you miserable sod. It's been pretty bad this morning.

I am being a proper housewife today, in pinny and the Right Mood. I have unearthed the steam cleaner (thank you, mother who loved a cleaning gadget or appliance) from the loft, to tackle the hated extractor fan over the hob. It's set into the chimney, and is less than accessible unless you have an unfeasibly bendy neck and tentacle-like arms and fingers. It's also a masterpiece of bad design, full of twiddly bits just waiting to trap grease and dirt, and the cover is hinged, so that it doesn't come off for cleaning but falls downwards, releasing nasty things that have collected inside - dead flies, mostly. I knew this already, learning from a most unpleasant experience of some years ago, and now cover the entire area with an old sheet, but it's still the sort of job you would prefer someone else to do, and pay them handsomely for it. Unfortunately, Margery, who is completely unsqueamish, is taking her aged mother for a scan today, and couldn't come to do it for me - no, I mean help me with it.

Elbow grease, hot water, Cif and the steam cleaner did the job eventually, although I doubt if Environmental Health would give me ten out of ten for it - there are limits to how long I'm prepared to lean into a cloud of steam and vapourised grease with my head at an unnatural angle and my rubber gloves dripping gunge up my sleeves. Everything that sits at the back of the hob has been scrubbed or is in the dishwasher, and the tiles have regained their original colour (porridge, sadly; well, it was hard to find neutral tiles in the '80s). Perhaps I won't cook for a week or so, to allow time for admiring the results of my labours. The kitchen walls are bare, the surfaces almost cleared. The sitting room is full of china and my beloved collection of Everhot chrome tea and coffee pots.

Next to be tackled are the very long once-white slatted blinds; they will soak in a bathful of warm water with bio washing powder, as nothing else will remove evidence of months of neglect.
Blinds are a necessary evil, as the kitchen is overlooked by students smoking out of their bedroom windows, and sometimes I feel exposed as a slob, still in dressing gown at lunchtime; after all, this could erode my authority when I tell them off sternly for kicking rugby balls into my back yard. Later, I'll persuade Laurel and Hardy to move the dresser, so that I can clean behind it.

When my kitchen was new, I used to get up before the family on Sunday mornings and do this sort of cleaning, so that it never got to be this bad. Unimaginable now. And they didn't notice anyway.
Lesley came in yesterday and observed that after all the tedious preparation required, the actual painting is the best bit. She may be right, but that extractor fan ordeal has earned me a day off tomorrow, to read with my feet up, while Wally, Millie and Radio 2 get on with it. Maybe I'll buy a copy of Good Housekeeping magazine.


judy in ky said...

Hi Rachel! You have described your extractor fan ordeal in such evocative detail that I think I have to go wash my hair now!
Congratulations to you for tackling and finishing that job. If I were you, I would think about not cooking for quite a while!

Veronica said...

Oh yes, dont cook. Perfect excuse for takeaways or to dine at restaurants.

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