I live in South East London, Peckham (the posh part) with my other half, Thomas a German Doctor and our 2 cats called Gloria and Gaynor. We have a lovely flat, but for my job the kitchen is ridiculously small, to be honest, it’s the size of an en-suite. However we now have an AGA City60 called Angus. And he’s beautiful.
I used to live in Clapham, opposite the Common in a rented room before falling for said German Dr. As time progressed the decision was made to leave leafy SW4 and start a new life in SE15. Peckham daunted me, however I have grown to love it, an eclectic melting pot known as the ‘new Shoreditch’, which by chance is less than 10 minutes away on the new London Overground.
Dr Thomas did not want an AGA. He made this very clear. When AGA told me a 60cm (size of a standard cooker) was coming out soon I was ecstatic. Dr Thomas said “no”.
Doctor is not always right, especially when it comes to domestic matters and I did say that stranger things have happened in Peckham recently; there is a bar on-top of a multi-story carpark in the summer and Peckham has become posh. Fact. I’m not one for accepting the world ‘no’ easily, so I invited our Psychologist Vegetarian Socalist friend over to help persuade Dr Thomas, the result was simple. Socialist Vegetarian Psychologist took my side and poor Thomas gave in. Thomas was only concerned about the electric bill. AGA cookers have come along way since the days of oil tanks, flues through the ceiling and certainly have long said goodbye to solid fuel.
With Dr Thomas on the ward in Hospital doing his rounds and exactly 10 years to the day that I did my first ever AGA demonstration, (Christmas dinner on the AGA to be precise) our AGA arrived in our home. I’ve wanted one for years – I’ve flown from London to Beijing to San Francisco up to Toronto and down to Virginia with AGA, not to mention across Europe too. I’ve written 4 World award winning cookery books on how to use an AGA, presented countless AGA demonstrations to audiences and presented many videos on AGA. Not to mention how I’ve run around London looking to see how the AGA can cook global food in the World in One City or the summer of 2011 when I had an AGA in a van and drove it the length and breath of the UK attending every food show I could find. How I always wanted one, but our flat was too small. I grew up with an AGA in my family farm house, but always cursed the Belling we had in Peckham every time I had to cook. It was so slow compared to AGA, pans took forever took boil, food was too dry, and as for oven cleaning – just don’t go there.
Our AGA came from AGA London, right in the heart of the City, Spital Square to be exact. Made by hand in Shropshire, Ian and the team in the AGA Shop took our order of a black Traditional AGA City60 with timer. In no time at all Angus the AGA was installed, up and running. Simply, the Belling was pulled out, the new AGA City60 wheeled in (yes it has wheels), wired into the mains, given a polish and turned on. There are wooden steps in our flat to get to the kitchen, the AGA installation team arrived with a ramp and carefully installed Angus with no issues. 2 Hours later he was up and running and the next morning waking up with Angus on felt like a completely different flat. Our flat felt like a family home. There is something about how cast iron heats with a moist radiant heat that a radiator can not produce.
In true “Only Fools and Horses” tradition, a branch of TIT (Trotters Independant Traders) must have nipped past as said Belling was taken out of the flat. Del Boy was from Peckham and within seconds it had disappeared off the side of the street and I can only assume is now adoring a flat somewhere in Nelson Mandela Towers. You think I’m joking? There is a yellow Robin Reliant that does drive around Peckham saying Trotters Independant Traders on the side. Recycling at it’s best. However AGA do like to take old cookers away and make them into new AGA cookers in their foundry in Shropshire. The same foundry the Industrial Revolution started in.
So, keep reading, over the following episodes I will be telling you more about our life in Peckham with Angus our AGA (and the German Dr), how Gloria and Gaynor react to Angus as well as answering many questions such as is the flat too hot in summer? what the electricity bill is like, do I need new saucepans? why temperatures are not required and how everything (yes everything including German delacicies for Dr Tom) cook perfectly with Angus the AGA.
The Psychologist Vegetarian Socialist friend came to visit over New Year, Doctor Thomas admitted how Angus was “lovely” and how food tastes far better when Angus cooks it compared to the old fan oven.
Why Angus? Why not? He’s part of our gay family now, he’s the heart of our home, he has a personality and as every AGA owner I have ever met seems to call theirs either AGAtha or Aggie. Our AGA is male, so Angus.