So, the last course of 2018 has just finished and its all go here at The Old Kennels to grab every moment of maintenance time!

By 6pm after the last course the oven was in bits, we have a real passion for repairing and maintaining what we have. We always try and buy the best quality appliances we can afford, that might mean buying second hand to fit our budget, but we select for energy efficiency, and importantly longevity and ease of maintenance.

Its our Smeg ovens 21st birthday this year, its now a little like Triggers broom, as I think we have replaced most parts over the years, but Servast are wonderful and have never told me there isn’t a replacement part … yet (fingers crossed). The oven is stainless and cleans up like a dream, the model was well ahead of its time, its still energy efficient, the doors are triple glazed and there is nothing to set it apart from todays models. Parts are reasonable and Youtube is a virtual diagnostic and mending manual. It breaks my heart to see people buying new appliances that are often cheaply made and not designed to last, when the niggles on their old appliance might just be maintenance issues.

Tonight its new hinges on the oven door and a lovely new seal round the oven, and a real deep clean for all those hard to reach places like between the sheets of glass on the door. I’m not an electrician and I don’t suggest you should do the gas and electrics, but its easy to diagnose a problem, order the parts and ask a sparky to fit them or chat to someone at your local Repair Cafe. Much easier and cheaper than buying a new oven.

When a mouse nested in a cosy little polystyrene tray in the bottom of our dishwasher (which is designed to float up in the event of a water leak preventing your house flooding – gosh we learn so much about the workings of things along the way!) I was told the parts were discontinued. So for £10 on ebay we got an identical dishwasher which is kept in the shed for parts. Its given us another 5 years already.

Maybe it was too much Bagpuss when I was young, but fixing something is just a lovely feeling!