It happens once a year in our house. It involves a lot of pushing and pulling. There’s a lot of banging. And everyone involved gets very damp.
And sometimes the dogs get the leftovers.
I am of course talking about defrosting the freezer. It is dispiriting and morale-sapping, and in my case involves a potentially life threatening mix of boiling water, live sockets and ignorance.
On the plus side there’s the intriguing prospect of discovering a long discarded treat. Tasty ice cream but with a surface so hard you need a pneumatic drill to break through.
There is a down side. The strange dark coloured meals in long forgotten containers begging the question as to why they were preserved in the first place.
There are usually two reasons for the ‘big defrost’ in our house. A voluntary New Year economy drive to eat the lot and clear the decks and the second is forced on you when the doors won’t close any more because the carefully cultivated iceberg which has enveloped the icetray like a see through triffid now has the bag of home grown gooseberries in its sights.
So yesterday I was put in charge of the defrost. My wife had seen me in action before and had made appropriate arrangements. All other humans would be out, the pets elsewhere and local A&E on standby.
This time I was going to tackle the job properly. In the garden shed I found the hand held water sprayer which normally enjoys a temperate and pleasant life in the greenhouse tending to the needs of the tomatoes and cucumbers. It was filled with boiling water and so the assault got underway with me pretending it was a ray gun as I zapped the ice flakes on the grilles with a 12 inch jet of liquid.
It was going well…..apart from the huge pool of water now under the freezer. Kitchen tea towels and cloths were abandoned in favour of the kids beach towels.
Man versus machine. It was relentless. It went on for 45 minutes. And eventually the freezer was empty. It had been defeated. I was by now enduring some peculiar bodily extremes. One hand was virtually scalded from the boiling water flying everywhere while the other had frostbite from chipping the ice away. My M&S moccasin slippers were soaking.
Ignoring all health and safety considerations I chucked all the food – now a tad limp- back into the freezer and that was that. Apart from what my wife described somewhat vaguely as ‘non essentials’ which we would now have to eat.
And so you are more than welcome to come round to the house tonight to enjoy a starter of something small and grey which smells a bit fishy; a medley of main courses including some very old Lasagne which looks a bit like Piltdown Man’s face followed by melon balls (could be used for golf) and some Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (bring your own chisel).
Oh and don’t forget the wellies. The kitchen is still flooded.