Sunday 16 November 2008

watching winter coming in

Cloudes kesten kenly the colde to the erthe;
With nyye innoghe of the northe the naked to tene

The flat got inspected last week by Brian, from EAGA (no, he doesn't know what it stands for either) which falls under the aegis* of DEFRA. I know someone who also works for DEFRA, as it happens, and she does something to do with soil. The fellow at the next desk is in charge of squirrels. Now that sounds like a job to have.

Anyway, Brian had come down from Liverpool and was surveying the homes of people in the area who have applied for Home Front grants. The point of these is to make homes energy efficient for people on a low income. People ike me.

So he rootled around in the attic, and measured things with his tape measure, and counted the windows and gave the immersion heater a Serious Looking At, and then got out his baby laptop and tapped away for a bit, and gave the flat its score for energy efficiency.

Reader, out of a possible score of 100, we scored 1.

I felt rather distinguished, I have to say.

Not that it's any great surprise; this is the sort of flat where the wind just slows down a bit when it reaches the skylight, and you don't actually get the benefit of having a heater on unless you sit on it with a blanket over you. Of course, being a hardy, ex living-on-top-of-a-mountain sort of type, I am sort of used to it, but it would be nice not to have water freeze in the glass overnight for a change.

So they're going to put insulation in the loft. I don't have gas, otherwise they would have offered me central heating too. Gosh. Brian said that I could have storage heaters if I wanted. I said I'd had them once and hated them; stiflingly hot in the morning and cold by the afternoon. He nodded agreement. Brian isn't a storage heater person either.

*aegis: a sort of ancient greek bus shelter. I think that's where the smokers go during coffee breaks.


  1. Love that weather photo!

    Can't you have gas connected - its not as though you are living on the top of a mountain is it?

  2. Which winter will all of the work be done for?

    Having shutters and double glazing I do miss frost patterns on the windows.

    We have damp cold winters here (though not as cold as the UK). When Dom went to Russia her teacher assured us that they wouldn't feel as cold because the air is drier. She was right, though Dom has Norwegian blood, except for her feet.

  3. You are a hardy soul Dru.

    I too would like to be In Charge of Squirrels.

  4. There used to be gas, Caroline, but the pipework got porous. I don't think that the landlady would be agreeable to having new pipework put in, and I don't mind the cold too much, as long as it's not too cold.

    I remember that dry cold from Germany, Anji; the only place that felt the cold was my feet, where it seeped up through my shoes. I went into a second hand bookshop in Falmouth a few winters ago, and the woman in there was huddled under a blanket next to a Calor gas stove. We agreed that it was horrid cold. "I've only been back in the country for a week," she said.
    "Where've you been?" I asked, expecting her to say Gambia or some such place.
    "Siberia", she said.
    Which just goes to show.

    Who wouldn't, Jo? -there used to be a bounty of five shillings or some such thing for grey squirrel tails. I wonder if there still is, and if it's him, and if so, what he does with the tails

  5. I had a place in Glastonbury where the carpets would lift up on a windy day, and the loo froze in winter.

    There's a lot you can do, I duct-taped all the floorboards over, added a layer of newspaper under the carpet, put up plastic over the windows, more tape around them to stop the curtains flapping, then it was almost nice and cozy, but the loo still froze over, as it was in a one-brick thick add on out the back. Brr.. Thankfully, one of my friends let me use his shower when I needed to!