The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The Larder. Home to our fridge freezer

inside our fridge freezerThere is a small larder in the cottage kitchen. It’s one of the rooms that I particularly liked when I looked round for the first time. Colin, the seller, was astonished and explained that if he had stayed it would have gone. They had plans to knock down walls, create more foot space in the kitchen. Thank goodness they moved away.

The larder is the old fashioned kind. A real cold room. Built on the north east corner of the cottage it’s always cool as there is an airflow beneath the floor. It’s only five feet square but holds an enormous amount of stuff. Equipment, stores and our fridge freezer. The latter does affect the temperature of the room and vice versa. Almost human, the fridge section can’t cope with extremes of temperature. Struggling in a heat wave and, in freezing temperatures, emulating the weather to become a hybrid pseudo freezer.

It was chosen for its height rather than its efficiency. It could just be squeezed through the larder door. This is fridge freezer number two. The first broke down within a month and my mother made a panicky call to me in London.
“There are two inches of water on the larder floor and the light doesn’t go on when I open the fridge.”
From the word go, she was suspicious of the replacement. As far as she was concerned it was now the enemy.

The fridge freezer has become our fourth indoor pet. We spend an inordinate amount of time discussing its future. Large, white and temperamental, it guarantees a good home by only occasionally playing up. The glitches are dramatic. Two days before an Italian holiday, my mother refused to house-sit unless we replaced the fridge immediately. She tearfully admitted, “I just can’t cope. I don’t know what it’s going to do next.’
We were surprised at this request as it was pretty settled at the time, only weeping massively into the salad drawers.

As funds were limited, we examined it with binoculars and discovered that it was suffering from a blocked drain. This was cleared with bicarbonate of soda and a dessert spoonful of boiling water. Giving my mum an unsecured guarantee, we left for Rome. Standing in the Coliseum, I asked Danny why he was so quiet. He explained in just two words, “The Fridge.”

The temper tantrums that one might expect from a younger fridge haven’t abated over time. At eleven years old, it still hates a defrost and cannot be unplugged from the wall. We did this once and spent six panicky hours surfing the Internet for a reliable replacement. Just as D was about to order a replacement  friend, I opened the larder door to double check that it had really died. There was a faint splutter followed by a constant purr. It was breathing.

Update November 2009

The FF is still alive!


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