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:


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.


SHAUNA:  Crikey.

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.

Sexy little Corsa

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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33 thoughts on “Oven!

  1. I’d go for cooking edamame in heavily salted boiling water on the stove top. That should do the trick!

    Maybe the oven is where Oven was conceived? If that’s the case I could quite possibly have kids called Blackberry Bush, AMP Alley and Datsun 120Y.

  2. The POW! you describe sounds like the food equivalent of chemical “sublimation”. In the case of food, it goes from raw to burnt – never actually passing through the ‘cooked’ stage…a process I seem to repeat each time I cook.

    As for ‘Oven’, I was convinced that my scottish cousin’s son was named ‘Corner’ for the first 6 months of his life – I was totally perplexed as to the reasoning behind the name but accepted it as a cultural (ie. Chav) thing. Then I finally saw it written down; Conner. Gotta love that accent.

    Then there was the time I was working in John Lewis and had a gentleman insisting that I show him where the ‘cotton reels’ were. No, not next to sewing needles…as he explained: ‘Yeh know, for hengin yer cottons in the windae on…’

    Hmmm…starting to ramble a little so will finish off with a quick little paragraph about how much I love your blogs…being the original beast I am.

    As an Aussie who lived in Endinburgh for a couple of years and has only recently managed to stop thinking of a family bar as a quick snack, I find your blogs very entertaining and, well, relevant. I miss the Scottish culture so love reading your observations on it and I recently found your other blog just in time for my ‘oh-my-god-I-have-to-stop-turning-into-jabba-the-hut’ moment. I actually found your WNP blog on the net by typing in a search into google for ‘red tulip bunnies tesco’ – you are result number 3!

    🙂 Anna

  3. As someone who once worked with someone called Edge*, I can believe anything.

    *To begin with I thought he’d said “H”, like the guy from Steps, and confused him considerably by asking him what it was short for.

  4. Oh that’s a hard call. I’d be likely to go for moving away from those neighbours…but do they provide entertainment value? Because if they do, maybe it’s worth staying and getting the new oven…

  5. Heehooheehaa! I can’t work out which is funnier: the fact that both Grandma and Mama Skank want to do ‘Oven’, the fact that Oven’s ‘hot’, or the fact that he’s called Oven at all!

    Concerning muffins – you should’ve bundled them in tins and served them up anyway. I invited a friend over for high tea months ago, served her burnt rockcake scones (we were talking and forgot about them, hence the burnt and rockcakedness), of which she politely ate two. Afterwards, one of my bloke flat mates scavenged the remainders from a bag I had put beside the rubbish bin, slathered them in jam and cream, and called them top nosh. Diff’rent strokes …

  6. Erm. I have to admit to watching almost a whole series of Red Cap wondering why some military (Scottish?) chick was called ‘Madonna’. Actually [blushes] it’s McDonagh – and I never really felt the same about it after I realised. I thought she was so brave, being in the army while at the same time having a pop star name.

    But regardless of this, I would be driven to savage deeds if I had to live near the Skanks, regardless of the sexy Oven. You have the measure of your craptacular appliances, and can…um…reheat your forgotten tea in a saucpan and… OK…I have to admit that you may have to just forgo your Nigellaism for a time… Buy you can practice your pout while you save to escape?

  7. Get a new kickass microwave, you can take it with you when you move, so it’s not a lost investment. Also, look out for school refurbishing their hom economics departments, my parents got a nice little (slightly smaller than normal) oven for 20 quid when the local school redid their student kitchens.

  8. We had the ‘screaming argument followed by the screaming sex making up afterwards’ folk living next door and it is amusing up to a point. It is disconcerting to go to the bathroom and hear the neighbours having sex in the bath.

    Re-reading that, I mean they were having sex in THEIR bath, not our bath. That would not be disconcerting, that would border on the really rather alarming.

    However we did move away and I assure you that is the best thing to do. Skanks next door and psychopath below us meant it was all go in our house.

    In a ‘clean the blood off the walls’ way. Seriously.

    As for oven or microwave, you do know about ‘Freecycle’ don’t you? You might be able to at least get one in better nick than your own.

    Skanks are only amusing when telling stories ABOUT them, actually living near them messes with the karma…

  9. I think “Nigella” is a strange name. I understand it’s the feminine form of “Nigel,” but that’s not a common name here. So it always seems a bit like “Chuckina” or “Ralphette” to me.

  10. Get the oven (appliance) because its wonderful fun to cook in a new oven (appliance)! If you move, you’ll just get another weirdo neighbor… unless you move to the middle of the woods with NO neighbors.

  11. Hey Shauny, I have the same oven conundrum AND ‘interesting’ neighbours, who are closely related to a well-known-Melbourne-gangster-who-recently-
    skipped-the-country-on-a-million-dollars-bail. How’s that for a freaky cross-hemisphere coincidence? Luckily the neighbours are generally very nice although they do have some scary family visitors in very expensive cars with buckets of gold jewellry to go with their designer tracky-daks. BUT the oven in our new house is cactus. Things rise, fall flat, burn and come out like lead at a dizzying pace, practically while we’re still in the pre-heat the oven phase of the recipe. The oven is driving me nuts but then my neighbours don’t sound as annoying as yours. I think if I were you I’d move! I’d prefer living next to the track-dak mafia than the skanks anyday!

  12. Your material’s gold no matter where you live, Shauna. I vote new oven! Actual oven, not that fella. Though he might be able to generate enough heat to cook anything you give him … um … no, wait, something about that … not right.

  13. wow ..the skanks…. yep seen a few… they’re not REAL skanks tho unless they’ve progressed to ASBO skanks… thats the badge of honour… hehe

    and if i was ‘oven’ (im guessing its his surname) and they were shouting theyd like to ‘do’ me be getting my nikes on…

    No dont move ..if you go into isolation you won’t have ‘food’ for writing in your blog. We all love the shauny wit and viewpoints on life… dont change…. and dont move unless they progress to violent skanks.. and some do

    hmm what if they both ‘did’ oven and both got pregnant.. oh i’m confused now… what are they gonna say at the dole when asked who the dad is?

    mind you in my old place there was quite a few ‘skanks’ and a lot of absent fathers … kids were in the minority if they had a ‘dad’ ..well ate least one that lived with them…

    and i love watching little britains ‘vicky pollard’

    shes definite skank material…

  14. I had the same problem with my oven, so the landlord (yay, decent landlords!) sent over a repair guy and all he did was replace the thermostat. Now it works great, although I was really hoping it wasn’t that simple so I could get a new one. Mine is over 20 years old and ugly yellow/gold. Puke.

    “you’re fucken hot, Oven”. Hee!

  15. A banker friend of mine once asked a customer for his name to complete a form, and the very tall, muscular and dark-skinned gentleman replied “Hard Chocolate”. My friend blinked, but managed to keep a straight face…. The guy’s name actually turned out to be Howard Shockley – or some such thing.

    For God’s sake, get some new kitchen appliances! Those muffins are tragic. I always want to cry when my baking efforts turn out badly. 🙁

    By the way, Nigella is a plant – common name ‘love in a mist’. Pretty blue flowers.

  16. ahh you guys rule. i just wish you could hear the accent of these chicks. it’s great. nice and baritoney from all those cigarettes. UVUHN. Hey UVUHHN. UVVVUHHN. Might have to get G to do a wee podcast impression for you all.

  17. Well, in Australia when you move you leave the oven behind, and the get the oven left in the new place. Is it the same in Scotland? Because then you be rid of the skanks and the oven!

  18. I asked my own little piece of scottish heaven this and his opinion was:
    Ewan or Euan? (prononouced the same)

    I think you should do a podcast!

  19. hahaha!!! I just pray that they don’t have access to a computer–imagine if they read this blog! But then again… from how you’ve described them the chances of them being able to read are slim. 😛
    And as for the name Oven–could it be some weird Welsh name?

    Keep it up Shauna

  20. Shauna – he says, repeating himself again – repeating himself again – surely this is a case for your Amazon wishlist to rise phoenix-like out of the muffin ashes?

    They sell microwaves now and some of them cost the same as a DVD anyway (they can’t be worse than what you’ve got!).

    Oh! The technical specs: “35 Minute dual speed timer” – what? It can make time run at different speeds?! Call H G Wells.

    Scott F 🙂

  21. Just realised I took a call at wrok the other day from a gentleman called Ove

    Maybe him and Oven are cousins or summat?

  22. My architect daughter once visited a newly built shopping centre with a glass roof which had a big hole in it. This was due to someone chucking a microwave oven out of the window in the nearby high-rise flats.

    Just thought I’d add to the oven theme. Very funny post as usual.

    Oven – I’d think it’s a nickname. The Scottish Skankish variety tend to go for these. Though I did see a birth announcement in the Scotsman once in which a Mr and Mrs Ball told the world about the birth of their daughter… Crystal.

  23. I love it when you quote Scots skanks verbatim. I could never capture it properly in writing when I lived there, but somehow you always manage – and it always makes me laugh.

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