Thursday, September 13, 2007


I'm feeling less than twinkly at the moment, on account of spong.

We had a new oven delivered a week ago. This is, certainly, something to be pleased - if not exactly twinkly - about.

After more than 15 years using an oven with no functioning timer; increasingly inefficient seals; ever more unreliable thermometer; fractious, stubborn, needing-to-be-coaxed and finally completely unresponsive grill it is certainly satisfying to have a fully functional, efficient oven. With glass windows which CAN BE SEEN THROUGH and which WONT FALL OUT at the slightest tremor.

I may not quite be feeling like one of those 1960's housewives from the adverts, my marriage and home now complete and twinklyperfect, but i am quite pleased.

I couldn't quite believe how easy it was to remove this manky old piece of crap from its hole in the wall and unplug it, ready for our new arrival.

I was, however, completely gobsmacked by the quantity and the disgustingly greasy quality of the spong which had accumulated in the hole from whence it came.

Had I been sufficiently composed to take pictures, I would have been too ashamed to post them here.

The oven had occupied ALL of the space, with its front edge/surround fitting over the edge of the hole.
How could such obnoxious spong find its way in there? And so much of it?

I now know why it is important for mice to be able to compress their soft little bones to fit through gaps scant millimeters wide. It is because no gap is too small or narrow to accommodate interesting and potentially nutritious spong.

In fact, I'm sure I saw a suspiciously tailed shadow scurrying across the kitchen floor that very night, before I retired to my cool clean-sheeted bed.

Tonight, a week later exactly, I tried to throw something away in our kitchen bin. Not only was the bin full, but the compressed nature of its contents suggested that considerable force had been applied to make space for more rubbish, no doubt to avoid the torture of the 5 meters trudge to the wheelie bin.

I had to invert the whole lot into a large black bin liner - whilst trying not to breathe in through my nose - discovering, in the process, another secret spong repository of equally unphotographable proportions. Not as unspeakably awful as bath-plughole spong, but in the same league of horror.

The last few days have also been full of accumulated messes and unexpected mistakes and problems at work, which I am having to sort through and clean up.

These haven't been disgustingly greasy or - so far - intractable.

They have been bloody annoying.

Changes have appeared in timetables and rooming arrangements which have no apparent explanation and bear no relationship to any other relevant sources of information. Planned events have disappeared from the schedule - other events have inexplicably taken their place.

These complications, which are taking up too much time which might otherwise be spent happily blogging, can - at least metaphorically - be described as spong I think.

Messy, annoying, time-consuming, sometimes unpleasant and/or sticky and of mysterious origins. Likely to re-appear at any time, as soon as the corners are clear and twinkly-clean and you've turned your back.

Our new oven and kitchen bin are now both sparklingly clean and freshly fragrant. But I keep feeling the need to go and scrub my fingernails.

And no, in case you were wondering, this isn't quite the end of my holiday photos.

Yes, there is a link.

Not only was our lovely french holiday home spotlessly free of disgusting spong, but the skies were also free of car-fumes and light pollution.

We could see the Milky Way so clearly that it felt as if we were bathing in its luminous beauty, and one night we lined up the sun loungers and lay for quite a while doing just that, breathing in the warm night air, spotting twinkly satellites far far overhead and marvelling at shooting stars.

I did make quite a few wishes.
None of them related to spong.


tut-tut said...

wooo, yes, that moment when the stove comes away from its secure home. Truly blech. But you can now cook away, all twinkly and sparkly.

did you take that top photo? where was it?

la bellina mammina said...

The top pic is hilarious.
I wouldn't wanna know what creatures might be lurking behind MY oven....ewww!
I'm gonna start pinching the word 'spong' from you;-)

Anonymous said...

I know the Joseph girls have contributed to your oven spong, many a sausage and chicken drumstick have we consumed chez vous..
spong spong spong spong spong spong spong spong, spongicle spong spongicle spong!

Ex-Shammickite said...

Ahah! Graffiti to live by.
But one cannot twinkle constantly, there are bound to be some dark untwinklified moments, but I try to keep them at a minimum.
New oven? How divine. I'm green with envy.
And spong? Wallowing in it here.

Mark said...

Hi Lettuce,

I love the word, have an idea what it is but have never heard it before, is it a local word or one that you have made up.
My Mum had a word for when you had something on your face, it was chickaferdy,(not sure if spelt right). That was another one , you had no idea what it was but you knew what it meant....

Cheers Mark

Akelamalu said...

Spong describes 'it' perfectly!

Should there be a picture when I click on that 'link'?

Z said...

A husband has his uses. One of them is to empty the bin. I don't like to think what is down the sides and back of my cooker though.

Pod said...

but didn't you know?
when you wis upon a star the spong comes through......

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so happy you didn't post pics of the spong, and I'm so happy you DID post the stargazing pic.

You are SO funny! Excellent post. The world is a mess, isn't it? Turn your back for a minute (or ... well ... a few years) and when you turn back again, what was once twinkly has turned grimy and disgusting. It happens to me all the time!

And, btw, I just took the trash out just now - it was similarly compacted. Ewwww.

herhimnbryn said...

Ooh, Spong great word! Thankyou for forwarning me...hopefully our oven comes out next year. I shall be on Spong alert.

lettuce said...

TT yes, i took it near Spitalfields/Liverpool St. - best graffiti spot in london i've found so far. (i'll be putting more on flickr)

bella please use it as much as you can.

anon - would that be spong spong spong and chips? and i thought there was something familiar about the oven spong....

ES - first new oven ever. wonder how long it will be this clean...:O/

mark chickaferdy is also a great word! more on the etymology of "spong" here

Ake - maybe between us we can get the word in the dictionaries? its not a link, but if you wait a bit there should be a comment...

really Z? hmmm, mine must be dysfunctional

at last pod, i know why i am so beleaguered by spong. Too much wishing.
There is no hope for me

Reya we know, don't we, what the outcome will be when we push the contents of the bin down just a little bit more.... we just can't help ourselves!!

hhb i recommend marigolds, kitchen roll, bleach, dishcloths and plenty of hot hot soapy water. yuck

Akelamalu said...

Ah I see it now! :)

Pod said...

then of course there's the NGs

(sorry for all my typos)

oops, not supposed to say sorry am i?

botty smacky?

kimy said...

eeK! spong indeed...thanks for providing the link for background on this terrific word.... I think I will start singing the spong song "spong, spong, spong, spong...seeing the fam starts throwing things at me when I sing the spam song maybe they will like it better????

Gary said...

Oh yes, spong can take many forms but I have begun to think of spong now in a 'stop and smell the roses' kind of way. It seems spong in its many incarnations forces us to slow down the pace of our lives and breathe. Even if it is only for a moment.

How is that for a positive spin on this whole shabang? I figured I'd give it a shot. You buying?

Bud said...

This made me laugh so much. It's cheered me up after being off all week with no voice - yes still! I remember once when we lived in a flat, a man was sent to fix our fridge and the man pulled out the fridge and I was truly horrified by what was behind there. I actually thought the man was going to refuse to fix it, especially when we discovered a dead mouse. Urgh! I quickly shoved him out of the way (the man, not the mouse) and got down on my hands and knees and cleaned it up before I allowed him to go anywhere near. It was really bad. Five minutes after he went, the fridge blew up! Lol. I think it was registering its own disgust.

Thankyou for making me laugh so much Lettie,

lettuce said...

its a good trick Akellu, one of my fave blogger things at the mo

of course pod, NGs.
lets just hope they don't also evolve those squidgy bones, there wd be no stopping them

kimy i think your family need better training! does work pretty well with spong though... in fact, i think the original derivation of the word was something Pythonesque

Gary. Nah.

(nice try tho)

Bud you made me laugh too! I can't think about what might be behind our fridge. Not that its blown up so far. Oh No! about your voice!! hope you're better soon. xxxx

John Eaton said...

Twinkle on, Lettie.

John :)

Dumdad said...

Spong? That's a new one to me but I shall not hesitate in using it in the future. But I don't think I'll peep behind my cooker...

lettuce said...

do my best john.

please do propagate it in la belle france dd.

Pod said...

i wouldn't put anything past them!

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