As I mentioned in this previous post, my oven is a thing of horror. I have been trying not to think too hard about it because it makes me nauseous (actually, most things make me nauseous just now). So when the man from Cleaning Gift Vouchers rang up, I was ridiculously excited to make a booking for the following week. The man was very pleasant and answered all my questions. He explained that he would park nearby and bring his tray of equipment into the house, and he thought the job would take about an hour and a half, and asked me to give him a half-hour window on the start time (presumably to allow for our notorious traffic).
Annoyingly, Cleaning Gift Vouchers changed this booking twice before the big day arrived (they were polite and flexible on both occasions, it must be said). But arrive it did, and more or less at the allotted time, the oven cleaner arrived.
He asked for hot water and access to the sink, but apart from that he was totally self-sufficient, right down to a torch (the bulb in my oven has gone, it seems). He stripped the oven down, taking off the doors and the door seals. He removed all the shelves and the racks they hang on. These are things that I would not have known how to do -- but I asked him how the racks come out and went back in, and he very kindly showed me.
Then he set to work -- and it really was work, proper scrubbing and elbow grease, rather than stinky chemicals. He took a good long time over it, nearly two hours lying and kneeling on the floor.
He asked me to take a look to make sure I was happy with the work (I was -- it looked and smelled so much better) before he put the shelves back. And then he started on the doors. He used a scraper to remove a good couple of tablespoons of crispy grease. It looked like satisfying work, but not a task I would relish and I was very glad to have someone else do it.
At the end of the job, he tidied up and took his equipment and all the rubbish away. I thought he was respectful and polite and I could see that he was working hard and efficiently.
My oven is now gleaming both inside and out and I can't wait to use it: I bet it'll be more efficient, and I'll be able to smell the food I'm actually cooking, not the roasts of Sunday's past. If someone gave me this as a present, I would be very pleased.