Life and the direction that one is given, depends on the luck one makes and a determination to make ‘tomorrow a better day’, a phrase taken from Captain Tom.

I moved to Somerset last spring to repair my life into the smallest house ever called The Reading Room. Originally it was built for the farm workers in 1880 who after a day’s toil would congregate there. It would have been close to the pastor’s house and next to his church. The horses, tools and dirty boots would be left down stairs and they would sit in the large room upstairs and read either the ‘good book’ or selected newspapers. Those who could not read were taught so it was adult education in the middle of no-where built on good intentions, keeping them away from ale-houses.

Today with a Farrow and Ball paint work, cream walls, a power shower and a large downstairs bedroom it is a refuge and a place to re-group. The tenants, it is owned by the Baptist Church, tend to stay only for a few months and must bring their own bed and more importantly a fridge. But all is not lost as a sofa was left behind for the next inhabitant. It was dressed in grey corduroy and because its springs had gone, one tended to sink as your backside disappears almost to the polished pine floor. As for the new fridge, the space left was very tiny, just under the sink and so I bought a small white cube that was useless in that it was too short for kippers, not tall enough for a wine bottle but a meal-for-one could just be squeezed in if one tried hard. And it never really became cold.

The summer came. The Reading Room was cute but was too quiet for me though ideal for its purpose. It did what it said on the tin and my time in solitary had came to an end, it was time to move on, I had recovered my spirits and now should let another take the medicine. To my horror I then read in my lease that I had to remove the sofa of course my things and the fridge. 

The leaving day arrived and I man-handled the large sofa down from the top room and with the fridge nestled in its sagging folds drove to my next safe harbour, appropriately called The Cider Press. My two dogs cowered in the front seat watching the road disappear through the open back of the car. How I wished there would be a crash as the cube bounced out of sight into the oncoming traffic!

The vendors of my new house wanted me to buy everything it seemed including their clothes but I resisted as I still had the fridge and a sofa. But The Cider Press had all the white goods included at a cost, so with glee off went the fridge to Facebook Market Place. Within minutes it had been snapped up, well it was free, and a ruddy faced ‘Katy’ turned up to bring it to her stables to keep her milk cold for her coffee and tea.

She is a funny thing, straggling hair, ripped jeans, eccentric, likes rock music, mud and walking and importantly dogs. She made it clear that I had now swapped a fridge for a friend, a true exercise in barter and I got the better part of the deal. I have a walk each day with her, the dogs get a companion and I have a new friend.

I hope I do what is says on the tin!

7 thoughts on “Would you swap a fridge for a friend?

  1. Excellent reading Thomas. Look forward to meeting Katie!! Xx

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  2. Entertaining as usual, Thomas – so is The Cider Press your new permanent home? And where exactly is it (i.e. which town, village, etc)?

    Wayne Andrews

    gracechurchtreasury.com

    Tel: (+44) 1293 804740

    Mob: (+44) 7733 284419

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    1. The Cider Press (should be a printing press) is in Somerset in a village called Merriott.

      Pretty much permanent.

      Thomas.

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  3. Very late with my reading but I loved your article and hope that you and the doggies will be happy at The Cider Press! The new friend is a great support for you and the dogs when out walking! Love from us both, H n M

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