Designing the Van Part 18 – Fridges and Liverpudlian Gypsies.

Having discovered that the fridge wasn’t working on the gas I was a bit pissed off. When I say ‘a bit’ I mean the same kind of ‘bit’ that could describe the entire continent of Africa, as such for instance, “Africa covers a bit of land.”

Yes, I was monumentally vexed but anger must be put on hold as it’s impossible to think straight when your cranial veins are popping.

I got back to the internet and started to search through various websites in search of a reasonably priced replacement. The trouble with these old fridges is that they don’t make them any longer so I was searching in a very large place, like that bit of land, Africa, for a very limited commodity – like racial and class tolerance in Africa, for instance.

My last port of call was Ebay, a website I loathe for a whole host of reasons; mainly because there is a great divide between the logic of buyers and sellers. I scanned the little list of second hand three-way fridges, two pages in total when one jumped out at me.

“Buy it now – £99.00”. I bought it then, sent an email to the seller and relaxed for the evening, plotting a trip to Formby in Liverpool.

The next morning I’d heard nothing but decided to drive the 80 odd miles and collect my shiny new (second hand) fridge. I waited forthe morning traffic to clear and set off up the M6, taking it nice and slow for the sake of the environment and my own finances.

The place was easy to find and just a few miles from the M6, tucked away in the depths of a huge and grotty industrial estate. It wasn’t what I expected at all; a set of old ramshackle caravans in various states of disassembly parked next to a shoddy old warehouse chock full of bins loaded with old caravan and camper parts, shelves and nooks crammed with old toilets, bathroom fittings and heaters, and at the far end a little office playing home to a gravelly voiced Liverpudlian whose accent was so broad I could barely understand him.

He was friendly enough, but before the deal was done I wanted to see the fridge working on all three systems. Sadly he couldn’t oblige me as he didn’t have a gas bottle and in fact showed genuine fear at my suggestion of rigging it up in the van. Gas would have to wait then.

The little Electrolux was in good condition, far better than the one it was replacing and I asked him if he’d give me anything for the old one. Being a shrewd, former Gypsy and business man he offered me £20 for it against the new one. I took the deal, took the fridge and set off.

Upon returning I set the fridge upside down overnight to flush the system so the next day I could test it on the gas and electricity.

I was relieved to see the little pilot light flare into action after a couple of clicks of the ignition – our gas fridge worked! This meant we could use it off grid and that was a step closer to our ideal home. I left it plugged into the electricity all afternoon and after a few hours it was cold inside with ice forming on the element under the freezer box.

My day out in Liverpool was a great success and my fears over buying a dud had been laid to rest. The next day I would tackle the job of fitting the stove and that meant a return to Hydrafit.

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