Definitely NOT cooking with gas...

>> Thursday, 22 April 2010

We had a new oven delivered yesterday (yes, even in Moscow such things do exist). This was not through capriciousness on my part ('must have shiny new things around me...') but because of the fact that our previous one, being a) elderly and b) generally crap was not working properly. Of the four hotplates on top - for yes, it was that abomination, an electric oven - only one produced any real heat, which meant that cooking anything other than pasta with a stir-in sauce was a bit of a challenge. And whilst I do like a stir-in sauce, we have been here nearly four months, so...

In any case, a few weeks ago I threw my toys out of the pram and told Husband that given the extortionate rent we are paying for our house (subtext; given the fact that I am FORTY THREE YEARS OLD and TOO OLD TO BE COOKING WITH A CRAP OVEN), he should sort the situation out. Knowing what was good for him - and being heartily sick of pasta with stir-in sauce - he negotiated with the managers of our house and hey presto, new oven. (Well, hey presto and a little something extra, anyway).

'Yes, Mr Potty, you will have a new oven by the end of the month' he was told. 'We will send over some model specifications for your wife to choose from.' I would love to say at this point that what we anticipated was a joint decision for the two of us, but let's be honest, we all know that this one was going to be down to me, so I waited eagerly for the pamphlets to be delivered. And what turned up? One. One poxy spec. For the updated version of the same model we already had. (Welcome to Russia).

In any case, I was just desperate to be able to ditch the Sacla, so I dutifully said yes and yesterday, the oven arrived - along with 2 workmen to fit it. Only two? Lo, how the mighty have fallen. I suspect this dramatic fall in numbers (remember how it took 5 workmen to replace our washing machine?) may have more to do with a conspicuous lack of tips on our part than with any efficiency drive on the part of our compound management, but still.

And, seeing as improvement in my command of Russian since their last visit is negligible (must do my homework), here is my imagined translation of what the workmen were saying this time...

Workman #1: "Right. Give me a hand with this, will you? We just need to slide the old one out and..."

Workman #2: "I can see their shipment finally arrived from England. Nice coffee machine. Think we can sneak in a Nespresso when her back is turned?"

Workman #1: "Maybe later. Right now, I need you to pass me the instruction manual. OK, right, first turn off the fuse. Know where that is?"

Workman #2: "Yep. I'll go do that and be back in a mo..."

10 minutes pass. Much puffing and panting and wheezing from Workman #1 in the kitchen. Then...

Workman #1: ~"Sergei! Sergei! Where the fuck are you? I've been trying to unplug this dam thing for 10 minutes now and you're - well, what are you doing?"

Workman #2: "Keep your hair on comrade. I was just checking out the Dyson under the stairs. Seems in a reasonably good state of repair but they really need to wash out the filter..."

Workman #1: "How many times? Don't - call - me - COMRADE! Pass me the wire stripper, will you? And take your head out of that cupboard!"

Workman #2: "Can you believe she's brought a handmixer without any paddles with her? These westerners, really. How can she hope to make any decent cake without a proper mixer? Not that she needs to, mind. Put a bit of weight on since our last visit, don't you think? I bet you any money you like there'll be a wii-fit in residence by the next time we get called out."

Workman #1: "Wire-strippers. Now, please."

Workman #2: "In a minute. She's got her head stuck in that laptop again, so I'm just popping outside for a fag break. Can you switch that Nespresso machine on whilst you're over there...?"


Muddling Along Mummy 22 April 2010 at 20:10  

Fantastic !

These are like the conversations I imagine our rabbits have about us ....

planb 22 April 2010 at 21:24  

I love your Russian workmen! How long before they have their own series on the beeb?

Nora Ibsen 22 April 2010 at 21:57  

If you're at all good looking, I bet they're saying other things than that.

Calif Lorna 22 April 2010 at 22:03  

Did you really pack a hand mixer without paddles? That's marvelous!

sharon 23 April 2010 at 04:18  

Just love those translations ;-)Hope the new oven works properly. Our son had a new oven (ditto cheapo electric update of the previous relic) supplied by his landlord recently and tells us he can now bring a pot to the boil in a mere 12 minutes on any of the four hotplates. Obviously not a large pot but it is a minor improvement.

You really should buy a new hand mixer next time you go home. This is not an extravagance as the spare can be packed away for student use in later years.

Iota 23 April 2010 at 05:08  

So you know the Russian for 'wire-strippers', huh? Are you sure you're not getting confused? Are you sure he wasn't saying "when she's not looking after the kids, I bet she has a part-time job as one of those exotic strippers"?

Iota 23 April 2010 at 05:09  

My hand-mixer recently died, so I disposed of it. And the paddles. Shame. I could have posted them to you.

Belgravia wife - sort of 23 April 2010 at 06:05  

I think there is a 'Carry On' sketch know the wii fit makes sense - turns out I'm strangely good at boxing and I get to see my 6'5' husband doing the hula hoop. Bon appetit xx

Potty Mummy 23 April 2010 at 08:23  

MAM, I'ld like to hear what the rabbits have to say...

PlanB, as soon as the Beeb offer me the right money...

Nora, you've clearly never visited Russia - female eye candy far better looking than me abounds!

Lorna, obviously I didn't. My husband did...

Sharon, the new oven actually works brilliantly (but I still prefer gas hobs...). And the handmixer problem has been sorted; thank god for relatives who hoard things.

Iota, your'e assuming that any part of this conversation was real. It wasn't - not only is my Russian really dreadful but they speak with an accent, so who knows what they were on about?

BW, the hula hoop? Right. Am off to Amazon - the thought of Husband doing something like that is just too good to pass up...

vegemitevix 23 April 2010 at 13:21  

This is really funny! Could you pop it into the Friday Funny haha linkup over on mine please? I'm trying to lighten the tone of Fridays by delivering some of the best funny posts on the blogs each week. It's only in its second week -

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy 23 April 2010 at 20:56  

Love the Russian workmen. They are a breed apart. I loathe electric ovens too. Virtually kissed my gas hobs on our return!

Potty Mummy 25 April 2010 at 17:54  

Vix - it's done, and thanks for asking me!

Brit, I think I will be similarly grateful to my gas hobs whenever it is that we get home. Although I have to say, there really has been a vast improvement with the new oven...

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