On Saturday, I think that I noticed some water under the milk bottle in my fridge, but didn't think further of it. However, on Sunday, there definitely was water, and the fridge didn't really seem very cold. Suspicious. And then my brain clicked - the water would be from the ice on the freezer compartment defrosting, because the fridge was not working.
So I triaged the fridge - things that didn't really need to be in it were taken out. Nearly everything else went into my rucksack to take to my parents fridge. And I poured the milk into my thermos. Problem - the thermos won't keep the milk fresh enough for more than a day, I wasn't going to be in a position to do anything to fix the problem for several days, but I would need tea and cereal in the mean time. And then I spotted the hitherto unopened, unused ice cube tray that came with my freezer. (The real freezer is full, unlike the freezer compartment in my fridge). So I filled it with milk, to make milk ice cubes, to periodically refresh the cold* in the thermos.
Meanwhile, I put the fridge out into the back "garden", so that when the block of ice did melt, it didn't flood the floor. Defrosting the fridge was something I had been meaning to get round to...
So yesterday my dad came round, to look at the fridge to check that we hadn't missed anything obvious, and then go with me to buy a new fridge. Only, we decided to plug the fridge in. Noise**. Strange. The compressor started. So we moved it back indoors, and left it plugged in. The inside became cooler; the back became hotter. Most strange, but most useful. Saved a lot of hassle and some expense buying a new fridge. Clearly our talk of taking it to the dump scared it back into working.
Today it was still working, so I collected things from my parents, and put them back into it. Plus the ice cube trick has worked, as my milk is still good.
* for convenience, please ignore the fact that cold doesn't exist, only heat
** Do not assume that a fridge that makes no noise is broken. I got a freebee fridge at university, that when plugged in made no noise. So we started to take it apart, trying to find the motor, to check that. There was no motor. This explained the lack of noise. The fridge worked like a gas fridge, with a small electric heater, so that it was silent. Very good if it's in the same room as you sleep in. But confusing if you didn't expect this.