Flora Bijou Mybug, bless her massive furry feet, has spent the best part of the last three days hiding and a-quivering behind the sofa. It is odd because of all our cats she is the boldest. But she has been distressed by the crashing and banging going on up on our poor sick roof. I think that, like me, she is very noise sensitive. If I could squeeze behind the sofa, too, I would probably join her.
But I have had to go to work to earn money to pay for what has become a hugely expensive thing we weren't expecting to cost quite so much and this time last week wasn't even on our financial radar. It could have been worse though. There was a terrifying 24 hours when we thought we might have to have major structural beams removed because they had rotted BUT hurrah!!! They were okay! However, we did have the start of some woodworm, which has now been treated, and the second chimney stack which holds the pipe for the wood burner needed sorting out, and the guttering needed replacing and the flat roof above our bedroom window which we had done in March but was done very badly had to be redone properly and the back chimney is now much shorter and NOT going to do a wobble and drop on a chicken.
('Phew!' say Primrose and Daisy.)
And how do I know all this roof stuff? Because I, dear reader, have been UP on the roof being a roof inspector! Oh yes! Call me Danger Denise! I shinned up a very, very tall ladder yesterday and found myself up on top of our house! It was VERY exciting and a little bit scary so I didn't look down too much because I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of 6 roofer chaps by going a bit dizzy and falling off onto the front lawn, probably squishing the magnolia in the process. But I saw the evidence of the state of our roof - crumbly wood, rusty guttering, salt stains where leaks have occurred, disappearing pointing, teeny woodworm
holes - and although is has been an expensive business I am reassured we have made the right decision to get this job done properly and I am relieved we are weathertight for Winter.
Today, I was working from home on some school stuff and before I started I whipped up some chocolate muffins for the chaps on the roof. They were very excited by the appearance of cake and for ten minutes the banging and crashing stopped and muffin cases rained down onto the front garden as they demolished cake on the roof. And then they carried on crashing and banging and added to the noise by singing, too. And Flora stayed resolutely behind the sofa.
By the end of the day there was a lot of debris hither and thither. I learned that roofers live on fish and chips, Coca Cola, assorted energy drinks, cigarettes, Ribena and prawn cocktail crisps. They are not great with fruit and veg and they are not good with sorting their recycling into the correct bins, either. Or using brooms efficiently. They also sent the local school girls a bit hysterical by shedding their shirts in the afternoon because it has been jolly warm today.
But by golly they are getting the job done. They are back on Monday and reckon that will be their last day. The massive pile of old roof battens, they tell me, will make excellent kindling for the woodburner and I think there is enough there to last us a whole Winter's worth of kindling with some spares for next year, too.
And I don't know why but because we have done massive maintenance to the outside of the house I feel suddenly protective of it. We have been here nearly 10 years and it has always felt a little like someone else's house. But now it feels properly like our house. I know this sounds weird and I can't think of any other way of explaining it, but it feels like, well, proper home.