I was just about to wave Graham goodbye as he disappeared into the loft, clad all in red and equipped with dust masks and gloves, ready to start laying the new insulation when the door bell rang.
“Change of plan!” I yelled up the loft ladder. You’re needed down here!”
“Wassamatta?” he said, sticking his head down through the hatch.
“The wall insulation men are here.”
It’s not possible to describe the wealth of meaning and feeling the Welsh can inject into a simple “Oh.” They do like to make at least two syllables of it, of course, so they can put the emphasis on the penultimate one for good Welshness. No, they lift it, sometimes they drop it, now and then they polyphonise it in some miraculous way. Whatever, there’s seldom any doubt that it’s a Welshman who’s just said “Oh,” and you have to catch the meaning of it best you can. This time it was astonishment, and pleasure.
So, for the past couple of hours the house has rattled with the sound of masonry drills, and shivered with the sound of little polystyrene balls being pumped into the cavities. Room by room, comfort filled the little house in the valley. I doubt if, at this stage, there’s much in the way of measurable temperature rise, but it feels cosier, and that is a very large part of the battle.
“Right,” said Graham when the blokes had finished up and left. ”Now I shall want to be up and at it early tomorrow, to get the loft insulation done as quick as we can manage.”
I left him chatting with our neighbour, bloke-to-bloke, came back into the house and went off to comfort Dolly, who’d taken up a defensive position on the wool blanket on the spare bed for the duration. ”It’s not just that it feels warmer, Dolly,” I said. ”It also feels quieter.”
She didn’t answer. A Mega-cat likes to wring the last erg of outrage out of a disturbance like that. But, struggle as she may, she couldn’t help but luxuriate in the extra comfort, stretching out and offering her tummy for a good tickle.