Before The Makeover 1


Oven Pride deep cleaner carton captions claim: ‘Cleans first time’, ‘Unbeatable results’, and ‘No scrubbing required’. Now, this is probably true if you care to clean regularly. If you give the appliance a real bashing over Christmas and New Year, and don’t pay it any attention until it starts smoking, I can assure you that it would be unfair to hold the suppliers to account charged with misrepresentation.

Today, we continued the cleansing process Jackie had begun yesterday. She had applied the soaking solution which we now scrubbed with Brillo pads. Given the corrosive nature of this preparation, the Maintenance Department forced me to wear thick rubber gloves. Declining the pinny, I rolled up my sleeves.

Here, Jackie cleans the front surface before allowing me to photograph it.

Oven corner 1

This unshielded oven provides a good example of the impracticality of the kitchen we originally purchased. In fact, because it had never before been used it was most unusual, in that it was clean, with its paperwork inside. Designed to stand under the hobs it was in fact seated above the storage cupboards, all low on the floor. There is no storage at a higher level, except for the pull-out larder on the right. There was no case for the oven, which was not even attached to the electricity supply. When trying to obtain one we learned that these Moben kitchens were no longer available. The oven, of course, greatly reduces the limited working surface, more of which is taken up by the microwave on stilts, and the fan required by the creating Culinary Queen. Readers will not be surprised to spot an empty Hoegaarden bottle waiting to be put out for recycling.

Wine rack corner

The fitted pull-out is only 50% accessible because of the wine rack to its right. The blue-grey tiling matches neither the brickwork of the former fireplace on the right of the picture nor other, different, tiling around the sink, itself far away from the cooking area.

This evening, in this kitchen, Jackie produced flavoursome cottage pie with savoury gravy, and firm carrots. Brussels sprouts, and manges touts with which I drank more of the Malbec.



  1. I can’t quite figure out your present kitchen, even with the photos and descriptions. (That little box is the oven?) I’m sure Jackie is going to love having a new kitchen.

  2. What a different sort of kitchen. I’ve never seen one quite like it. I’ll bet your kitchen needs LOTS of cleaning with all the work Jackie gives it!!!

      1. It took me the longest time to make sense of that oven. I thought I was just being slow and was relieved to discover other readers had a similar problem.

  3. Are you telling me that that is where the Culinary Queen produces her masterpieces?

    If so then you should hang your head in shame; and grovel at her feet until such time as I tell you to arise, and under the circumstances I cannot see that happening any time in the near future! 👿

      1. Oh Jackie! I am sure it won’t take you long to get used to the new one. I hate anything new and will usually put up with all sorts of rubbish – but, a new kitchen!! – it’s going to be wonderful!

  4. I am sure next time you’ll have a lovely and well-arranged kitchen Derrick. Jackie would surely be thrilled to cook more yummy dishes for you.

    1. When I get used to it I will hopefully be able to resume a normal service re ‘yummy dishes’ but I will spend a long time studying a lot of instruction booklets I think!

  5. Wow, Jackie rocks to be producing such meals in that, shall we say impractical, kitchen? There is indeed a lovely wine rack in the background, which I’m sure enhances everything. And such shiny maroon cupboards!!! I bet Jackie has some plans. And who knows what she’ll do when there’s actual flow in that place!!!

      1. Just make sure you get the manuals!!!! There are some things I still can’t do on my stove, but I don’t need them particularly, like setting a timer for the oven. I’ve got a timer…

    1. oops – I pushed the button twice. sorry!

      Derrick – i must have missed a post – what is that header photo of a young you looking like Jesus (hair, beard, loving eyes) putting a shoe on a sprite? I love it.

  6. Happy New Year, Derrick!
    A new kitchen, how exciting (despite the work).
    Are you all doing the work or will you have help?

  7. Jackie seems to have made the most of the kitchen space offered to her. Is that all in the kitchen or is there another side? If not, then Jackie sure is the culinary chef to make good meals in the reduced equipment.

  8. My giddy aunt. My admiration for your chief cook has gone up about 20 notches. A new kitchen will be much appreciated, and well used.

  9. ooof – hat’s off to Jackie! We are also having a new kitchen very soon. It’s been sitting in boxes for the past 2 months. I know it will be worth the inevitable disruption to come. Our existing kitchen is a dream compared to what you have shown us!

  10. I see why a new kitchen is required! Well done to Jackie for coping so well with the old one! I know about house improvement projects; they have to be done when the time is right and there are always other things that suddenly have to be bought and the kitchen or new furniture or whatever has to go further down the list. I hope the fitting all goes smoothly.

  11. Jackie is nothing short of incredible to have been coping with that kitchen and producing the marvelous food that she does. Roll on the new dawn, I rather think ….

  12. Jackie will just love her new kitchen. I got to say, she produces some amazing food – I only wish (or I should say my husband only wishes!!).

  13. I like that now we have a good idea of what needs to improve (the “before”) and will be pleasantly surprised when the “after” photos are posted in awhile, Derrick.

  14. Always am wary of any oven or oven product claiming to be self cleaning. Never had much luck in all my life. Best wishes with yours.

  15. Oven cleaning? I tried it a couple of times but I think it’s over-rated and one of those jobs (like ironing handkerchiefs) that can be dispensed with. I’ve had two cookers (one for 20 years and the current one for 10) and neither of them have needed cleaning. 🙂

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