It was way back at the start of the summer that my fridge decided it had chilled its last. Lousy timing that, don't you think? Any fridge with compassion, with decency, would have given up the ghost at a more seemly time of year, like December, when I could at least have relied on my kitchen to resemble an ice box most of the time. I could have resorted, as I have in the past when necessary, to storing my milk outside on the window ledge, but no, it picked a warm, sunny, glorious day to make a strange spluttering noise and die.
As usual when household appliances pack up without warning, it happened at a time that was not only seasonally inappropriate, but financially impossible. The chances of replacing it were slim, if not non-existent. There were expenses coming up that simply couldn't be avoided, a new fridge would just have to wait.
I must admit that at the time I did think, as I magnanimously set aside my
need desire for a new fridge, that it would probably be only a month, maybe a teeny bit longer, before we managed to scrape together enough to buy a second hand one. Hmmmm. The problem with managing without something is you become accustomed to it surprisingly quickly. At first it drove me crazy. I had to completely rethink my shopping habits as there were so many things I couldn't keep fresh. Things I took for granted. Things like milk.
All of a sudden I couldn't buy cheap 4 pint bottles of milk for £1 from the co-op. Instead I was paying 60p for just 1 pint... and often having to throw half of that away. Milk disappeared from the shopping list to be replaced by coffee whitener (yuck) although I discovered it doesn't really matter what coffee you buy when you add whitener to it, it all tastes much the same. So I scrapped my one treat - a half decent coffee- and replaced it with 47p-for-100g-pig-swill-pretending-to-be-coffee.
Cheese was another thing I stopped buying. Yogurt was another. I discovered I could still keep a lettuce looking half decent and not a wilted mush if I kept it in the spare bedroom which never, ever gets any sun (wow, that makes the bedroom tax worth it doesn't it?) but cucumbers go off very quickly.
Sometimes I'd get very down about not having something that most people take for granted, especially if one came up on freecycle and we hadn't got the diesel to collect it, or if I saw one in a charity or second hand shop that I still couldn't afford, but most of the time I didn't even think about it...although I did become very wistful remembering the cold slab my grandma used to have in her pantry. When you think about it, only a few generations ago a fridge would have been an expensive luxury. If generations of grandmothers could cope without one, then so could I.
But I was extremely relieved to see one come up on freecycle last week, especially as it was very local and therefore not a problem to collect.
So now I am the proud owner of a fridge. It was a bit grubby and tatty (it was being used on a caravan site as their 'outdoor beer fridge') but after peeling off a few old stickers, giving it a good old scrub and some tlc, it looks pretty good and I am extremely grateful to the lovely lady who was giving it away.
Now I just need to find something to put in it.