It is three o’clock in the afternoon, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. For the first time in five months after the coldest, bitterest, most unforgiving dark winter ever in the world I am sitting outside, looking at greenery whilst the sun shines on my face and warms my bones whilst I sip a pleasant drink.
I feel relaxed for the first time in forever. The beer garden – a fifteen minute walk away from my house (long enough to qualify as ‘a walk’, not too long to be ‘a chore’) contains a couple of young girls (three, maybe four) who make a big thing of smiling at me and then being ‘shy’ whenever I glance at them which amuses their respective mothers no end and who then smile at me benignly.
I finish my drink and return home to the dinner I had left on a low heat in the oven. The house is spotless after my ‘it’s spring!’ efforts and smells mildly and not unpleasantly of Zorflora and home-cooking. I turn the oven off. My washing and ironing is done and I have attended to my ‘personal grooming’. I feel o.k.
One hour previously.
This is shit, I think to myself. I’ve done all my fucking chores, figured-out how to copy rental dvds from the garage, the place is spotless and I just want to get out in the fucking sun ‘cos I feel like Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison. I just want to feel the sun on my face and I’m tied to this fucking cooker.
I glare with resentment at my captor. The casserole will take at least another hour. Blonde Colleague better fucking appreciate it for her lunch tomorrow after all the fuss she made last time she tasted it.
An hour. Christ. It’s not worth chancing it with a gas cooker though. There could be a supply surge, the gas could blow out and if the central heating kicks in or I unwittingly flick a light switch or light a cigarette when I get back in I'm done for.
Outside birds are singing, for what seems like the first time since last year. I can hear children playing in the distance. I want to go out.
I check the progress of my dinner, and am greeted by the reassuring hum of the fan when I open the door of the oven. All is well.
They’re brilliant, fan ovens, I think to myself. Even temperature, so much quicker.
I think a bit more.
A fan oven? Which wouldn’t work too well with a gas flame. An oven that, thinking about it, I’ve never had to light.
The hob is gas. The oven has ALWAYS been electric.
I start pulling my coat on. At this point, I would round on someone – anyone- and say-
“Why didn’t you tell me it was an electric oven? We could have gone out AN HOUR AGO! It’s perfectly safe! IDIOT!”
But there’s only me.