So in Halifax we are, and at an RV park for the first time, it’s an unexpected 29 degrees outside which is a lovely surprise. The van’s mechanics may have issues but at least the habitation equipment has been checked out and is all working …. isn’t it?
The only time we tried to rely on the fridge, water heater, hob and gas fire (although not so much that last one) was at the wedding weekend in August 2015. And pretty immediately it seemed there was some sort of fault with each of them (except the hob).
So we had them checked out by a mobile service engineer in the UK. Ray Swain – you did a great job and the fridge definately worked – I saw the readings. But did it work well enough? A temperature reading showing a drop in temperature is one thing but actually being able to freeze ice and keep the main compartment cool when one is putting warm things in from the shops and opening the door to get food and beers out is apparently completely another.
I say all this because when suddenly the only place to store food from one day to the next is a small absorbtion fridge that is 23 years old one realises just how much we rely on shopping for a period of time (week/fortnightly) and then storing it all; kept lovely and fresh by that trusty old 240Vac fridge in the kitchen. Not only for convenieince but also keeping food costs down.
Anyway, the fridge weren’t cutting it …. damn …. enter the recently installed cool box that I built under one of the rear lounge area seats. Lined on 6 sides with 50mm celotex, faced with 4mm board, lovingly painted and siliconed by the wife with an insulated hinged lid with a capacilty of 50 litres. It was a back up in concept. Somewhere to store more for longer. It seems that if one adds a bag of icecubes every day and keeps the in/out traffic to a minimum it gets down to around 3 degrees and saves the day – Yay!!
Another specialist search; so at the place that we found the address of Gary Murphy’s Automotive workshop we were also given a name – Absorbtion Refridgeration Services Canada – arscanada.ca. We found a number and found it on big G’s maps. An answerphone message informed us that whilst normally open a personal situation had caused them to be shut until the Wednesday of the next week.
We arranged our first visit to Murphy’s the following Thursday and determined to land with this specialist on the Wednesday.
We arrived at the crossroads (sorry 4-way) where the big G said and all there was to find was a hairdressers and some houses.
Thanks to the very helpful receptionist at the hairdressers, further Sherlock like clues were discovered. Between the Yellow Pages, of course more input from the big G and phoning local businesses that might know what or where this place was; we discovered (or rather the lovely receptionist discovered) a further 15 minute drive was required.
Like some sort of treasure hunt (Challenge Anneka?) we set off again and took the firm but strangely ambiguous directions as literally as possible – Saskia the map reading, direction finding and general “where are we?” go to girl took it and ran with it – or rather sat in the passenger seat with it – and sure enough a little wooden shack on the side of the road appeared roughly where she expected it to be and we pulled in.
Like some vision from a frontier town the shack stood – looking perhaps slightly listing to the right – the locked and deserted ‘we are open on Wednesday’ business was firmly and resolutely not open.
Shame – it was only an hour and half drive from Halifax – a ‘pop over distance’ in Canadian terms – but on shaking and wobbling front wheels across some of the most potholed and badly surfaced roads I have driven not really an easy hop.
We halted …. we digested …. we rang the number again and heard the unanswered phone inside and muted by the peeling paint and the rambling wood shack. Oh!
We should go …. but I wanted to eat something, anything right then and there …. no aesthetic picnic site for Sas … and as the temperature reached 30+ a car pulled up and out got the proprietor and his wife.
It turned out that the personal business had overrun and at the last moment David Fraser had decided enough was enough and come to work. Bloody marvellous.
This man is a consumate professional and seemingly the only refridgeration repair specialist in Nova Scotia. The rest of such places being more ‘identify the broken part – order a new one – and fit it – chuck old part away’ type of places. But David wanted to know what was not working and could it be repaired?
I removed the fridge from the under-counter unit in the RV and wheeled it on a borrowed sack truck across to David’s workshop – see, now that the engineer was there and the place was open it had become a repair workshop – transformed by the man himself being present.
He hooked it up and diagnosed the problem by extracting symptomatic verbal notes from me and within 5 mins had found the parts that needed cleaning and only asked that he could keep it over night for testing. We couldn’t come back the next day due to the mechanics appointment so arranged to return the following Monday.
Then we all got to chatting and David and his wife, Paulette, turned out not only to be of the same anthroponomastic root but the same spelling as Sas – connection – and the reason that David and Paulette knew as much as they did of their family past was due to them being Mormons and their love of geneology – Jenny thanks for that connection too.
Such sweet and lovely people, David is a real engineer – diagnosis and problem solving his whole life – such a pleasure to talk to and leave, lets face it, a pretty major part of the motorhome with. Finding the best person for the job in a foreign land (well in any land come to that) has to mainly be about the ability to connect with a greater conciousness and then the faith to trust that information when it comes along. Leaving that day was a little like saying goodbye to new friends rather than some business transaction.
But on we went very happy to have been uplifted by such an experience (little did we know that tomorrow held another experience of the same calibre) off to Lunenberg to check out Paulette’s Grandfather – George E Naas – photograph’s in the local museum of the fishing industry from the early 1920’s and 30’s. He had been on the quay taking photos from the age of 14, born in 1912. But the tales of Lunenberg must come another day …. this is about fridges and fridge repair Sensei people (if you are still reading …)
So we returned the following monday with a mechanically better vehicle (but still with way more work to do) and re-met David and Paulette. Again such loving, smiley and generous people that it was more a friendly visit than the conclusion to a transaction. I re-installed the fridge and was assured that it was good for another 5 years. Tests revealed that the freezer was dropping to -10 celcius and the fridge was down to 4 degrees – on an empty overnight test. The final bill was incredibly small compared to the import of the work to us. And after fitting the fridge and listening to David diagnose other options for resolution of the mechanincal issues on the van (of which at least one option turned out to be spot on) we, a little sadly said our goodbyes and returned to Halifax.
So in conclusion then – Are you in Nova Scotia? yes – Is your RV fridge (or home fridge) not working? yes – do you want it repaired rather than tossed on to the scrap heap? yes – then contact David Fraser at arscanada.ca. BUT be quick: he is retiring at some point next year and sadly, like so many masters at their craft, he doesn’t have an apprentice and when the business closes there will be one less repair engineer of this calibre in the world.
Thank you David, and Paulette, what a wonderful experience it was to meet you both and really, really, thank you for fixing our fridge.