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Date: 25/02/20

Uncool

Remember this?

Photo of a fridge-freezer

No reason why you should particularly, so read this first, please.

My first inkling that something was amiss came in the small hours of last Monday week. I - suffering from a (non-oriental) lurgi - came downstairs to get me a drink. I noticed that the fridge-freezer was making rather loud glugging noises; significantly louder than usual. I thought little more about it, did a little bit of glugging myself, and went back to bed.

Sometime around lunchtime on Monday, I opened the fridge door and got the impression that things were rather warmer in those latitudes than I would have expected. I have a small thermometer in there, and was somewhat alarmed to find that it was reading approximately 15°C. I turned the dial up from '4' to its maximum of '7' and went back to my nap on the sofa.

A couple of hours later, I checked again: still 15°C. The motor was still constantly active.

Oh dear.

This could mean only one thing.

My scarcely-more-than-five-years-old fridge-freezer was - as the more technically-minded would put it - fucked.

This was an annoyance on a number of levels. Its predecessor having managed to clock up some thirty years of service before its terminal decline, I had hoped that even a (not especially) cheap Malaysian knock-off would have lasted a bit longer than half a decade. Moreover, at least the old LEC had given me some advance notice of its demise; this one had just decided to leave my employ with no warning whatsoever.

This all left me with a major - and immediate - problem. For, clearly, I would have to get a new one prontissimo, otherwise the skies would darken, the dogs of war would be let slip and Ann Widdecombe would complete her triumphant return from the realms of the Undead.

What to do? Look online, of course.

I briefly considered the local white-goods emporium from whence I had acquired what I now referred to every time I passed it as "you piece of shit!". But their website doesn't list what they have in stock, and in any case the brand names were largely unfamiliar to me (as they had been last time).

My next port of call was a major on-line retailer (hint: think 'river'). I had no intention of getting one from there, of course - that company's attitude to most ethical positions is, at best, one of studied indifference and, as difficult as ethical shopping is in this age, there are certain things I simply will not do - but I needed to get some idea of prices.

I then went to another retailer (hint: think 'Greek') and browsed critically for a while. I say 'critically' (in fact, I've just said it) because - as I said last time - I have to be very mindful of the required dimensions. I spotted a nice-looking Bush job, but realised that it would be that annoying 2½ centimetres too high. In fact, nearly everything which might suit my purpose was slightly too large in one direction or another.

Finally, I found one (a Candy CSC1365ME) which would fit, although I had carefully to measure the width I had available to make sure that the new light switch in the kitchen wouldn't be obscured by it.

I pondered the matter overnight Monday.

This retailer makes great and prominent play of its "Same-day delivery (if ordered before 6pm)" feature, so on Tuesday morning I tried to place my order...

...only to find that I had to set up an account with them first. I hate having to do that, for reasons of irksomeness as much as data security, but I no longer had any remaining options in the matter.

On placing my order, I then found clicking through that the much-vaunted "Same-day delivery" was not available for this product; but I was led on to book a time slot for delivery "from tomorrow!"...

...to discover that there were no slots available until Sunday, and that if I wanted a particular part of Sunday, I would have to pay an extra 12.95. Again, I had no choice and - as the great Jake Thackray once put it - jacta was my alea; I placed my order.

The rest of the week was a case of salvaging what was possible from the wreck. I had started by using what was, as 'twere, the most 'vulnerable' items from the freezer - especially things which I could cook the bejazus out of just in case - but I hadn't realised one crucial detail. I had wondered in a just-passing sort of way why the wretched beast hadn't pissed all over the floor; by Friday, I realised that the meltwater had pooled into the trays in the freezer, waterlogging much of what was in them. I saved what I could (and luckily my insulin - which I had moved from the fridge to the freezer as the latter still seemed to be slightly below ambient - was wrapped up and immune to the inundation), but still well over half of what I'd had in there had to be carted dripping to the bin. Three-quarters of a pint of milk in the fridge had decided that becoming plain yoghurt would be a nifty career move, and so down the sink that went.

I managed. Much of modern life consists of doing that, don't you find?

I had to forgo my customary Saturday morning shopping trip, as I would have had nowhere to put most of what I would have bought. Saturday evening, I dragged the old machine out into the middle of the kitchen and cleaned the floor and skirting boards the grubby sins of which had been hidden by it.

Shortly after 13:00 on Sunday, I got a phone call: "I'm running a bit late, but I should be with you inside the hour". Fine. Half an hour later, the phone rang again. I tried to swipe the icon, but the bastard refused to be swiped and I lost the call. A minute later, he tried again.

"I'm outside Number One now; is your house behind a big wall?" I had to tell him that - much as I would sometimes like it to be - it isn't. I asked him where he was, and he said he'd just driven up a steep, narrow hill.

I then realised where he was.

You see, our road is about three hundred yards long. I live in the council-house bit, but there are two other Number Ones, each for a separate block, one called 'Offa Villas', one called 'Graig Villas', each block predating the council estate by a couple of decades or more (I get their post from time to time as a result). He was parked outside Graig Villas. So I told him to keep going for another couple of hundred yards and look for the oak tree.

A minute or so later, a large Argos (there, I've said it) truck pulled up outside, and two slightly harrassed-looking blokes got out of the cab, opened the back and took my new purchase out. I steered them to the back door for ease of access, they put the (still wrapped and boxed) item on the kitchen floor, I signed for it and off they went.

Setting to it with the Stanley knife, I had it all unpacked in about ten minutes and manoeuvred it into position:

Photo of another fridge-freezer

But for the fact that it is slightly more squat and a little wider than its precursor, it looks very similar to it, doesn't it? 'Badge engineering', I suppose.

Of course, I then had to leave it stand for over four hours before using it (although I did power it up for a moment just to be sure), but when it was ready, I transferred what was left out of the old one and left 'Candy' (isn't anthropomorphism wonderful? Except to type, of course) to cool down.

Being on leave on Monday, I went and raided the chill cabinets of Sainsbury's to restock the freezer. In another bonus, the freezer compartment on this one is about ten per cent larger, so it's no longer a three-dimensional puzzle trying to fit everything in.

And there we have it. Except for the disposing of the old one, which is currently standing in the kitchen with its back to everything, in tacit acknowledgement of its place on the permanent Naughty Step of my life. I'm going to have to pay our increasingly avaricious Council over 40 to take it away.

So, I'm cool.