Ever since we moved into the croft, nearly 11 years ago now, we have lived with an ancient Rayburn Regent. Its exact age will never be known but they were made in the 50’s. It was our only form of cooking and it also heated the water to red hot temperatures.
The thing was a blessing and a curse. It ran on solid fuel and was very temperamental, and easily influenced by the weather. Windy days were a nightmare, you couldn’t get the thing hot and if you tried too hard, you ended up setting fire to the chimney.
We kept it going 24/7 and had to constantly feed it with fuel. It rewarded us with tonnes of dust, which covered everything in the kitchen. Cooking on it was a challenge, you never knew what sort of a mood it was in, and we had been known to wait over 4 hours for the kettle to boil!
In the winter the kitchen was always snug and warm but the rest of the house was freezing, heated only by the woodburning stove in the lounge, which was not lit until the evening. In summer it was stiflingly hot in the kitchen and very unpleasant to work in. Every morning it had to be emptied and at night, banked up to keep it going.
Despite all of its faults and indiosyncracies, we loved it. But it was on its last legs and so we took the difficult decision to replace it.
We chose another Rayburn as we felt that they were great workhorses, that lasted forever (almost) but decided to link the new one into the heating system so that the rest of the house could benefit from its generous warmth.
The engineers were here for two days and we had a few hiccups, some of which are yet to be sorted.
This shiny new black beast is far removed from the quaint old brown version that we knew so well and in fact the operation of it so far, is a complete mystery to us. In our minds, its first priority should be to cook the food. then heat the water and finally to warm the radaiators. It seems the Rayburn has its own agenda and as far as it’s concerned, heating the house is its number one job.
When we tried to cook our first Sunday roast in it, we ended up with hot bedrooms and a cold oven! Maybe we should have put the chicken under the duvet!!
We have a way to go yet before we manage to tame this beast.