Sat, I was all ready to go to Rich's party but thought I should check what I could do about the freezer first. I had the thermostat replaced last year, so I thought, and that was the best part of £100 pounds, so if this needed a repair costing about as much, it might be a better idea to buy a new one. So I did some research online. A basic freezer isn't too expensive, but I wanted another frost-free one, and that puts the price up a bit. And I just shelled out £250 for my painting.
The freezer is from John Lewis, and while looking at reviews for the newer model of mine, someone had helpfully put a detailed account of how they'd dealt with a similar problem in their freeser. It seems that after time (a year for him, six years for me) the pipe that feeds melted ice out into the driptray at the back, where it evaporates, can get frozen up. And then an icepack forms in the back of the freezer, behind a plastic panel, where you can't see it. You have to remove the panel, wait for the ice pack and pipe to defrost, and hopefully all will be well for a good time.
As it turned out, the thermostat was replaced two years ago (really ?), so it hasn't been two faults in two years after all. I wanted to get it working again if I could, to save the expense of a new one, and also to save putting something fixable in landfill. I called Chris Felton on the Sat, asking for help and freezer space. I knew he didn't use his freezer much - not at all at the moment, it turns out. So he switched it on to get it ready. Sunday, he collected the contents of my freezer, and put them in his. Then he helped get the interior back panel off mine. This was not easy, as it was fixed with deeply-set nuts that were hard to get at. Chris succeeded in the end, revealing a pack of ice at the bottom of the space behind. This was all left to melt overnight.
By Monday evening, the ice had all gone, leaving the drainpipe clear. Chris returned, fixed the panel back, popped home to cut bits from a sheet of plywood I had about, and came back to lift the freezer while I lay on the carpet and positioned wooden blocks and slivers of plywood under the feet, to get it as level as possible. Then it was turned on, the food put back and job done.
The freezer is humming with quiet content now, and has been for nearly a week. Before, the door tended to drag lightly against the carpet as it came fully open, but it now swings freely all the way, which I'm still getting used to. Yesterday, I gave Chris a bottle of wine as a thank you. And thank you to the Chivers, for their phone-a-friend advice when I was trying to pick something in the supermarket. Chris looked genuinely please when I gave him the bottle.