Saturday, 7 September 2013

The wonderful miracle of refrigeration.

The other day our fridge packed up. It's pretty annoying. We've only had it for 16 years although it was here in this flat when we bought it so god knows how old it was when we first got it. Back in the day when I had some surplus money in  my bank account I would have tried to solve the problem by buying a new fridge. I would have done it as quickly as possible before Peter had a chance to get involved in the decision making.

Peter doesn't like to make a bad decision so this slows things down considerably. He likes to look at all the options and consider all the alternatives. So it took him 2 years to buy his last bike. I don't know if we can really wait 2 years for a new fridge. I very nearly ordered a fridge from Curry's. Peter came in and said "Where else have you looked?", but I ignored him. I got stuck when I realised the delivery slot was 7am - 7pm. There's no day in my life when I'm going to guarantee to just sit in the house from 7am - 7pm. I felt defeated. Peter got involved. We looked on gum tree and found 2nd hand fridges for about £40 a go, but they're going very quickly. We saw 2 suitable ones and contacted the owners but they had already gone.

Peter put a message on facebook to see if anyone had an old fridge they didn't want. Our friend John Coyle in Mull suggested that we turn our one upside down and shake it. Something to do with this stirring up the gases and getting a bit more life out of it. This brought me to the realisation that I had no idea how a fridge works. I don't have much more idea now but I looked it up. Something to do with gases getting compressed and expanding. Anyway, we shook the fridge upside down. Really, we did. I was afraid I would drop it and lose a toe or something but it wasn't that heavy with no food in it.

It didn't start working though. For the third day in a row now the fridge is a rather warm, fusty smelling box. My milk keeps going thick. The margarine has developed a mould. The yoghurt is actually delicious but I'm being very careful with it. I recently had a tub of yoghurt that went off and I put it on a bowl of fruit before I realised. It tasted like a leper's foot. I have never spat anything out so quickly. It was a horrible waste of lovely fruit.

Anyway, I can't shake the notion that things happen for a reason. 2 winters ago our shower stopped working just before christmas, and we could neither afford to replace it nor find anyone who would be prepared to fit a new one for us, for a good 4 weeks, I came to appreciate the wonder of the modern day shower. We washed ourselves with buckets of water filled from the kettle in our unheated bathroom as a thick fog formed as the steam hit the cold air. The only time I'd experienced anything like it was when we were in Nepal in the Himalayas and we stayed at a lodge that boasted a "hot shower". We keenly anticipated having a shower as it had been a good 3 weeks since we'd even really washed. The thin air made smell travel less. Well I hope so anyway. The "hot shower" however turned out to be a thin trickle of warmish water in a room which was 15 degrees below. It created a lot of condensation. I was so cold after a while that it was hard to get dried off and get my clothes back on. I could hardly bend my arms because my muscles were all tensed up. Getting my hair wet was a mistake. The next day I had a head-cold.

Our christmas without a shower was like that everyday. We were doing the marcothon at the time so we were running every day and really had to wash every day. Being cold makes me miserable. When we finally had a new shower, standing under a stream of hot water seemed like one of the greatest pleasures you could experience. That feeling has never quite left me. Maybe that was the point of it all.

But I'm wondering if we could shorten this experience of not having a fridge by appreciating the wonder of refrigeration right away.

In other news I went out for a long run today. I accidentally doped. It was a shame. I wanted to run 17 miles and thought I should take along something with a bit of sugar in it to keep me going for the last few miles. Peter had some of those "shot bloks" in the cupboard, which I have always scoffed at because they are only 20 calories a shot. What is the point of 20 calories? That's like 2/3rds of a rice cake.

Early on in the run I felt pretty knackered and even questioned the wisdom of running 17 miles. Should I cut it short? I was reluctant to give up so easily, however, so didn't make any decisions. I had a shot blok early on. A little later I found the miles were swinging by and I was feeling good. At mile 9 I stopped and had another shot blok and some water and then read the packet. I hadn't realised that each little shot blok has 25 mgs of caffeine in it, and what I had mistaken for a feeling of natural well-being was actually a caffeine kick. What I had thought was CHI turned out to be C8H10N4O2. Ha ha. Chemist's joke.

The caffeine helped but 40 calories didn't cut it. At Murrayfield, at 13 miles, I had to go into the co-op and find something to eat. I got a bar of dark chocolate as everyone's always going on about how good it is for you. Mistake. Not enough sugar and not delicious like milk chocolate. Still, it got me home.

17.3 miles felt relatively easy and I've run a 45 mile week. Things are getting better.


idleage said...

Personally I'd go for your strategy of appreciating the wonders of refrigeration. Meantime, have you tried putting things outside the window (if the ledge is wide enough)and/or wrapping in wet cloths?

Billy said...

Hmmm... I can understand why you're so desperate to save it. Wouldn't fancy trying to dispose of that with your stairs! Do you flat-dwellers still lob that sort of stuff out of the window these days? Probably clutching at straws here, but have you double-checked that the thermostat hasn't accidentally been knocked to a warm setting?

Yak Hunter said...

Billy, getting rid of things is more complex than it used to be because you have to try and get stuff out the window and into the wheely bin below! It's really an art and a science.

I did check the thermostat and sadly it's at max. I've got a weather station in the fridge and it's sitting at a cosy 21 degrees.

The can't be arsed factor is kicking in hard and I'm afraid we might just end up living without cold stuff.