Thursday, 26 April 2007

The fridge

The fridge is disgusting. I can barely describe it. So imagine this scenario.

Eighteen months ago the washing machine broke down. Dig went off and bought a new one and within a couple of weeks it was installed and working. Relatively problem-free for the inhabitants of The Pile, you might think.

There was just one problem. The front of the washing machine bows out, like a big curved letter C. Why it does this I do not know. It just does. But the consequence of the washing machine with a front shaped like a letter C is that we cannot open the fridge door. The fridge is adjacent to the washing machine; we cannot put it anywhere else because it is a specially long fridge and doesn't fit anywhere else. And for the last eighteen months we've not been able to open the door. Well, to be specific, we can open the fridge door to about a 30 degree angle; just enough to slip a hand in and out with a litre of milk.

Now, have you or your children ever put anything in the fridge, then knocked it over, and thought, 'Dash! I've just knocked over the yoghurt/ milk/ grated cheese/ orange juice/ pink sugar mice/ Hama beads/ pile of soil that mother is going to have a fit about when she finds it/ the bowl of soup that I thought I might eat later/ the tinned tomatoes that I opened on auto-cook and couldn't face/ half-bot of wine/ a snowman's head from the freezer/ the rest of the pasta that one day I might make into pasta salad/ clay fish/ etc etc?

In any normal fridge, of course you can spill it, curse, scoop out the contents and clean it up, promising to be more careful next time.

Well in this house, when any of the above gets knocked over in the fridge, there's nothing we can do about it because we can't open the door beyond a 30 degree angle. I can throw in some dishclothes to mop up the orange juice and soup, and I can scoop out a bit of the soil, but that's about it. I simply can't get in there to clean it all up. So it stays.

Now after childbirth I can take some disgusting sights, but the inside of our fridge isn't one of them.

The slight problem is that we are about to be exposed on this one. We have a visitor coming to stay on Saturday until Monday. This is Sasha, who is flying in from Germany to meet the children and decide whether she would like to be an au pair with us during August. And what if she opens the fridge? This would be a disaster. Dig has a reputation to maintain. What if she photographs the inside of the fridge and posts the horrific sight up on MySpace, or worse, provides a narration and sets up a video on YouTube? The national press would be alerted to Dig's fridge. I would be prosecuted. The children would go into care. All would be lost.

So today I have grabbed Tiger by the arm and marched her off to John Lewis to buy a fridge. Dig assured me you could go in, say 'I'll have that one' and they pop it round the next day.

Only it doesn't happen like that, Dig. Oh no, not at all. They pop it round in seven days time. Seven days. Sasha will have been and gone. She'll have her photo/video safe in her mobile phone and she'll be dialling the Daily Mail on Monday morning demanding counselling and compensation. So let's hope she's vegan, hates milk or never expresses interest in the fridge.

I could chain and padlock it, which will look normal, of course. Or I could stand in front of it for 48 hours shouting out 'Don't worry Sasha! I'll get the milk!' Or we could just let her get some milk for her cup of tea, and we pretend everything's normal and hope we get away with it.

Oh dear, oh dear. On the fridge front, all is lost.

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