Our friend Jim came round to dinner last night and persuaded us to open up the beehive oven.....it was exciting, and didn't take too long. First the bricks blocking the front of the oven came out, and then we swept out about 3 bucket-fulls of old ash and mortar. The oven is about 4 feet deep! The flue is just above the opening, and peering up we could see how it joined the chimney.
There was more, though - just infront of the oven there's supposed to be a chute into which you sweep the ashes (after the fire has burnt itself out and made the oven warm, before you place the bread etc. inside for baking).....This chute slopes down to the right, so that when you sweep the ashes into it, they are deposited into the main firebox, at ground level. Bricks had to be removed at the top and bottom of this chute, but inbetween them was just loose dirt, river stones and rubbish, including some silk stockings and bits of newspaper dated 1934! Now all we need to do is repair the chimney, repair the inside of the oven, and find an oven door. This requires someone small enough and willing enough to crawl inside.........any volunteers?