Monday, 27 January 2014

vol 12 - Gas oven

How not to make mistakes

Vol 12 - Gas oven

This is a proper mistake, no seriously it is, it could have been so much worse but, as it was, it was bad enough. 

When I was a medium sized kid we lived in a shop.  Oh the pain when I was wrenched, completely unannounced from my lovely drowsy semi-rural miniature town with cousins, grass, gooseberries and equally drowsy playmates to the vast concrete sprawling metropolis that is Warrington,  my heart moreover bleeding the day my father filled in the last two-by-one precious square of dirt left in our yard.  I was a sentimental sort.

I reckon I’d got to about nearly eleven by now and being fully conversant with art of counting out change, was sometimes left to serve the menagerie of customers who couldn’t afford the bus fare to Tesco.

On this particular Tuesday afternoon, it was Mrs Sumner, who lived a couple of doors away.  Mrs Sumner was seriously old, I’m pretty sure she’s no longer with us but I wouldn’t risk a fiver on it.  Her son, Sonny (honest)  was in his seventies and still lived at home with his mum presumably because his semblance to Steptoe disinclined the local beauties to take him on.
So, the bell went and, eyes to the skies, I tore myself away from Junior Showtime to see to Mrs Sumner clad in nylon nightgown, floral overall and furry boots for all the world looking like the granny off Beverly Hillbillies.

“I need to get something for our Sonny’s tea,” she explained.

Mmmm interesting, I thought, spotting an opportunity to enlighten Mrs Sumner (bloody hell, did I ever stop) and bring her right up to speed with 1970’s revolutionary cuisine.

“What about one of these new TV dinners – maybe a Bird's Eye Roast Beef Dinner?”

“Ooooh I don’t know.” She frowned I think, it was hard to tell, “Is it complicated?”

“Nah, you just pull the cardboard off the top and stick it in the oven for half an hour.  Shazam done!”

“Will it do in the gas oven?”

“Course.” (No blue sky thinking from me for at least three decades to come)

Mrs Sumner was sold and, parting with seventeen and a half pee, left me once again to Junior Showtime. 

After five minutes the bell interrupted Lena Zavaroni in a very fetching yellow frock, and I joined in growling tunefully Ma, he’s makin’ eyes at me …  as I trotted back to the shop to find Mrs Sumner again waiting.


“Box of cook’s matches.” She said, the transaction  complete, and wandered amiably out.


I had barely parked my bum before the bell sounded urgently this time amid a commotion and I rushed to the scene. 

Mrs Sumner minus eyebrows, minus hair, panting, still clutching the open box of cook’s matches …