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Rancid butter and lumpy milk

My fridge has decided to make the most of the recent hot weather by stopping working, or working at best intermittently. Bottles of milk have been barely lasting overnight before going off, and my butter dish has resembled an oil slick. I think it’s the door seal that has failed – the compressor still seems to be working fine, and the ice-box is frozen solid, but the door no longer makes that satisfying “clunk” sound when it’s closed.

I can’t complain too much though – the fridge must be close on twenty years old, and I didn’t pay for it it in the first place. When Christopher and I first moved in here, we bought the fridge off the previous owners, along with most of the kitchen appliances. One of the first things we did to renovate the cottage was to get an electric shower installed in the en-suite, instead of the very temperamental mixer shower that was there already. The Midlands Electricity Board (remember them?) had an offer on at the time, so we got them to install it. Electric showers take a lot of current, too much for the existing household wiring, so they needed to run a length of heavy-duty electric cable from the en-suite, through the loft, and out to the meter box outside the back door. They merrily drilled from the meter cabinet, all the way through the kitchen wall and then kept going, drilling right through the side of the fridge that was against the wall! Oops! I naturally made a huge fuss, and the MEB agreed to buy us a new fridge, mostly to shut me up. Christopher and I made sure that we chose a good quality larder fridge that was much more than we could have afforded ourselves, and indeed it has lasted well – until now. However, twenty years is a reasonable lifetime for consumer white goods, so I decided I’d replace the fridge rather than trying to get it repaired.

Over the years I’ve had the kitchen redecorated and reconfigured, so that the old fridge was not quite built in, but was surrounded by shelves and kitchen units. Which meant that I needed to replace it with something of a very specific size otherwise it wouldn’t have fitted into the space available. I only had leeway of a centimetre or so at most, and it turned out that the old fridge was a non-standard size. I went down to the local electrical appliances store in Ledbury, whom I’ve been quite impressed with over the past few years, and they had to search hard through their brochures to find a fridge that would fit the space. But in the end they found one, from a German manufacturer I’d never heard of, but that they assured me were a quality make. So I should hope – I’m not intending to replace this one for at least another twenty years!