Thank you kindly for your muffin stump advice! It's definitely our shitty old oven. You can whack in a tray of chips for an hour and they'll just lay there, all pale and indifferent. So you say to yourself, Okay, I'll give them five more minutes, then POW! They've turned into cremains. The oven is almost as rubbish as the microwave, which takes six minutes to reheat a small bowl of soup.
I'm in denial that these appliances need replacing. I reason that if I glare at them long enough, they will feel the heat of my rage and transfer that to the uncooked food.
Speaking of ovens, we have some neighbours that can only be described as skanks. There are four generations of them: Grandma Skank, Mama Skank, Teen Mama Skank and Baby Skank. They all have bleached blonde hair and orange complexions courtesy of The Tan Stand and they each drive a Vauxhall Corsa. Actually I am exaggerating because Baby Skank doesn't have hair or a Corsa; it would be unfair to pigeonhole someone at such a tender age.
Anyway, they all live in a flat on the second floor and they always have incredibly important and urgent business to do in their Vauxhall Corsas. They get in the car, crank up some pounding techno, drive away with a squeal of tiny tyres, then return in five minutes. This process is repeated about thirty-seven times a day.
Sometimes the Skank Family have gentleman callers. They drive Corsas too. We are often privvy to their conversations. It's kind of hard avoid, when the blokes don't even bother getting out of the car or switching off the engine or turning down the stereo. They just pull up underneath the Skank Dwelling and roll down the window. Then the Skanks lean out of their window and they shout sweet nothings to each other over the booming bass. It's just like the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.
The other day I was watching a bowl of frozen edamame circulate in the microwave to no avail when I was rudely interrupted by the stereo throb of a hatchback in the car park. And then came the siren call of the Skank:
MAMA SKANK: OVEN! Hey OVEN!
SHAUNA: Did she say Oven?
GARETH: I think she did say Oven.
[We move to the window and twitch the blinds]
SHAUNA: What kind of a name is Oven?
GARETH: Maybe she said Owen.
MAMA SKANK: HEY OVEN! OVENNNNN!
OVEN: Arriiiiiiiiiiiiiight doll.
MAMA SKANK: Oven! You're fucken hot, Oven.
GRANDMA SKANK: I'd totally do you, OVEN!
MAMA SKANK: I'd totally do you tae, Oven!
GRANDMA SKANK: Aye only if I can watch, but. OVEN!
So… do we fork out for a new oven and microwave that will enable food to be cooked correctly OR do we save the money so we can afford move far, far away from our annoying neighbours who have lovers called OVEN! This is the conundrum we wrestle with daily.