Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


Don’t Try This at Home

A cautionary caustic tale

I’m no domestic goddess, and on this blog over the years I’ve brought you my domestic highs




and disasters


But this is a tale of a more serious  (and wordy) nature.

If you were to ask me what my epitaph of choice would be I’d jokingly say ‘Life is too short for a clean and tidy kitchen’ a jibe at the fact I can always find more interesting things to do than house work (Mr UHDD would tell you his would be ‘It’s not a big job, it won’t take long’ a reference to the fact every DIY job takes far longer  and is more complex than  he originally anticipated). So there is a mystery as to why, and irony in the outcome, that I decided to clean the electric oven one evening last week.

I used Mr Muscle oven cleaner, I donned heavy weight household gloves, kept my glasses on, so I could see both what I was doing and offer myself some eye protection; I thought I was being rather sensible and cautious. But it went awry, because of the thick and rather loose fitting gloves, I didn’t realise I hadn’t got my finger in the notch in the top of the nozzle on the spray can, so instead of spraying in the back of the oven as I intended, it squirted off the side of the oven, a little of the spray mist blew back at me and caught my breath, when I say caught my breath, it was like a thump in the chest, it winded me but only briefly.

( And if  you’ve found this post by searching for ‘Mr Muscle, I Can’t breath’ dial 999 Now it is all you need to know).

I thought to myself ‘ My, my what noxious stuff this is, I wouldn’t want to get a lung full’ I coughed and spluttered a bit then carried on with the job.

By bed time (day one) my throat was a bit sore, like I was starting with a cold or something. It was about the same the next morning (day two)  but it got worse as the day went on and strange as it seems now, it wasn’t actually till late that night that I wondered if there was a connection between my symptoms and the incident with Mr Muscle. By then it was very painful  just to swallow, getting water down was difficult and food was out of the question. Day three my mouth started to blister; off down to the Dr’s surgery I did go. where there was agreement I had burnt my mouth and throat; I was given self care advice and a ‘prescription’ for   ice-cream and told to not hesitate to get back to them if I felt worse.

Day four I slept most of the day and when I wasn’t asleep I had a vile headache, day five I still felt wretched although my throat was slightly less painful. Back to the Dr’s where I was declared ‘systemically unwell’ and given some rather punchy antibiotics. There was some debate about if I need to go off to Accident and Emergency, but it was decided I was ‘sensible enough’ to know if my condition was deteriorating (I did think if I was that sensible, I wouldn’t have got a mouthful of the stuff in the first place). Day six was the turning point and I started to feel a little better and can report I’m on the mend.


So what have I learnt from this painful tale? Reading the label on the tin of Mr Muscle again, I now note it says one should wear face protection, in a straw poll of friends and colleagues tell me they, like me,  know of no one who would put a face mask on to clean the oven


And if the manufactures put such an image on the can, what would it do to sales I wonder? One thing is for sure I can design a better/safer can nozzle for them. As for cleaning the oven in the future? It can have elbow grease or stay as it is (although my inbox is full of messages from friends with phone numbers for  ‘men that clean ovens’) life is too short.