Post Christmas Projects

Now that the new year has arrived, SWMBO has written a list for completion before Christmas 2007. It is shorter and simpler than I expected:
"Clean, Sweep, and Organise all that bloody crap you’ve accumulated out in the new office/shed (shoffice)".

Ok, I got started on this yesterday afternoon. After trawling through paperwork for over an hour, shredding anything that looked remotely important, guess what I found? My BBQ! Any previous attention to cleaning the office disappeared in a heart-beat and I had a new goal…

This contraption has neither seen the light of day nor been cleaned since 2003. SWMBO bought it for me as a Christmas present – in 2000 I think. Not sure. Actually, it could be a lot worse : I’ve had coffee cups that have grown a green fur jacket inside. Not a pretty site.

Every iron plate had penicillin cultures that probably cure the common cold several times over. The furry growths were white, and the size of tea-cup saucers, baring fangs and claws, striking out anything that came near, and not releasing their grasp on the iron hot-plate.

After spending half an hour attacking it with flame, hot water, lemon juice, and every cleaning product SWMBO had ever purchased, I gave up. The furry growths released themselves almost immediately but the toffeed-oil would not let go. I considered heating it up after SWMBO had rung with advice: Cover with salt and heat up, the oil will evaporate. Never heard that one before, and was prepared to try it.

But my in-built human programming persuaded me not to light a fire without another human present. I may be a month away from my 38th birthday, but I still fear making life-threatening decisions without someone else to video it for Funniest Home Videos catch me before I burn down the family home. Or worse yet, kill a pet cat. You see, I am not much of a handy man.

For those of you who believe you have a better story, here is the current state of my BBQ.

  • THE BURNERS → (that should be called cookers. Even if they do burn, why give a man nothing to look forward to?) were removed, then washed and scrubbed of black onion bits. The only smell I could possibly find similar would be the inside back leg of a camel after trekking across the Sahara Dessert for three months. Not that I know this, only that I imagine it to be so.
  • THE BASE PLATE → upon which the absorbent gravel lies has been scraped of what could only be known as Gravel Toffee. The oil had congealed to a consistency not far different from thick caramel toffee. You know the sweet stuff that stick to the top of your jaw and it takes a month of Sunday’s to remove it with your fingers, but not before three teeth have rotted away from the incredible sugar content. So I attacked it with a paint-stripper. Wow. All gone. The paint-stripper was thrown away also.
  • THE IRON PAN → was hung from a hook in the pergola. This has a thin lining of what could only be black axle grease. Maybe we cooked onions but failed to remove the remaining juices. Sigh. This is where SWMBO suggests putting salt all over the iron plates, lighting the gas, and burning it off. This will surely be done whilst SWMBO is here to laugh at me watch me try not to burn down the house.
  • IRON GRATE PLATES. → They too have the residue of whatever we cooked on them last. I cannot fathom what it was, other than it was a meat product of some sort. When I first opened the lid of the BBQ, I thought I had stumbled upon a horrendous Miami CSI crime scene, or maybe a paegen burning ritual of live goats. The black bits of meat that hung through the grates had no form, nor any resemblance to anything living, dead, or zombiefied. (zombiefied cuisine – that’s for the search engines!) All I can say is – at least they cleaned off easily enough.
  • BBQ EXTERIOR → In the words of that cleaning lady in the Pro Hart adverts: "Oh, what a mess!". With orange and white growth everywhere, including inside the heat-dials, plus the remnants of spiders-egg sacs hanging down inside the lid, this was going to prove to be another angle of attack that would require further though.

The BBQ has been left for another day. Maybe even tomorrow. Since ‘Today’ is already ‘Tomorrow’ – and is the first day back at work for 2007 – it may never get done. Maybe I should ignore the possibility that the Gas Bottle may be empty…

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