Thursday July 20, 2006
I had a dramatic demonstration of the efficiency of the insulation in the new house as I opened the door this morning. Yesterday, it was hot, very hot. Today, though hot, it was nowhere near the same as yesterday. So, as I closed the house up yesterday, I closed it on yesterday’s temperature. And, when I walked into the house this morning, it was like walking back into yesterday. Very, very hot. The trickle ventilation seems to work very well, for there was air to breath. Big savings to be had, then, when the weather turns cold and heating needs to be turned back on.
One of the many advantages of a three-floor town house is that, when necessary, you can ventilate it very quickly by opening a window wide on the cool side of the ground floor, and another on the hot side of the top floor. Prop the internal doors open and you get a chimney effect, using convection to let the warm air out at the top and the cool air in at the bottom. Open windows a crack in all the other rooms and the convected air circulates on its way out, bring the house to a nice equilibrium in only a few minutes.
Already provided with an efficient heating system for the cold weather, it’s going to need only a minimum of cooling in the heat to make it a comfortable home all year round, for work and for play. Relatively cheap, too, even given the inevitable hike in energy prices that’ll come in the next few months.
I was denied the work side today, though, on strict instructions:
“I’ll probably be able to get another wall done today,” I said before we went our separate ways this morning.
“Oh no you won’t,” Graham said, quick as a greased ferret.
“How do you mean?”
“You mustn’t even think of decorating work until things cool down to a civilised level. I can’t afford you making yourself sick and what’s the hurry anyway?”
“No real hurry, but I could get a little bit done.”
“Don’t be silly. Give yourself a chance to get over the heatwave before you start again.”
I paused, pouted a little, and gave in. He was right, of course. There is no hurry, and it is silly to sail so close to the wind without real need.
So, operating under temporary veto, I took myself and the laptop off to the house this morning, calling in at Sainsbury’s on the way, brewed a mug of coffee, uploaded yesterday’s journal entry, downloaded the over-night email, read yesterday’s comments (thanks!), shut the whole lot down and was back home just in time to join Graham for lunch and for us both to siesta the afternoon away. All in one long leisurely sentence, smooth, uninterrupted, like well-ordered clockwork. Work would have been an intrusion.
There were a few drops of rain as it got dark yesterday, and what may have been a distant rumble of thunder. The heat of the day faded slowly and it was possible to sleep properly once more, albeit with no covers until the small hours. This morning it was much cooler, and though the day grew steadily hotter, it peaked at a level way, way below that of yesterday’s record-breaking scorcher. It may be that we’ll have thunder and a spot of rain again tonight but even without it, things are improving, and forecast to continue that way.
I’ve come through it pretty well, and actually enjoyed it today. Dolly the Mega-cat has done well, too, spending the heat of the long, long days in the dark, cool space under the bed where she can take full advantage of both natural convection and the gentle draught from an electric fan we’ve had running night and day on the floor. The bedroom, at the far end of the caravan, is the coolest place to be anyway, sheltered from direct sunlight by hedges on all three sides.
I was rather shocked when Graham came home late last night, though. He was visibly tired, too tired to eat, and he started dropping off the moment he’d changed and sat down with a mug of tea. As I’ve observed before, he works too hard and too long. It’s just as well the heatwave is waning—I don’t think even Graham could go on this way much longer.
“I think perhaps I should have forbidden you to do any work today, too,” I said, not seriously, but almost that way.
“That would have been nice. Impossible, but nice.”
“Yeah. I know. The job has to come first. Ah well. Let’s toddle off to bed and try to get a decent night’s sleep.”
“I ain’t arguing.”