The boy said to me that I should never clean the oven - rather to let him do it because it's such a dirty job (almost as dirty as cleaning poo-covered knickers, back in TLM's toilet training days? I don't think so).
So I let him. Only I never saw him do it. So last weekend I cast a layer of baking soda over the floor of the oven and covered it with a generous sprinkling of vinegar. Then I sprayed a mixture of baking soda and vinegar onto the sides and top of the oven, where the element was.
The next day I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to wipe the grime and grit (and bits of broken and baked gasket (the rubber bit which seals the heat in when you close the door).
The sides and ceiling were another story, and I had a go at scrubbing the element - just for a minute or so to remove the unidentifiable black protuberances.
The oven racks were much easier, requiring only a metal scrub and a bit of elbow grease.
So, not a great job but it definitely looked less like a stone age barbeque pit.
Later on that evening...you know that joke about a derelict old house so ramshackle that the only thing keeping it from total collapse was the termites inside, holding hands?
Yeah, the oven has stopped working. (And if I'd known this was gonna happen I could've saved myself a lot of cleaning effort!)