WITH all the scaffolding now removed, the new roof on the farmhouse can be appreciated properly. To be honest I liked the visual aspect of the old tiles more. A subtle range of colours from where they had aged and been replaced over the last century. Now the roof on the house is the same colour. Rather stark in comparison. But our home should be infinitely warmer and watertight

Over the years John had become quite expert at replacing broken and cracked tiles. Now we have an impervious top to the house, hopefully we won't be constantly redecorating damp patches.

I was surprised at the amount of old nesting materials falling into the skip below and felt guilty that we have been home wreckers for all who have tucked their nests under the tiles. We are used to house martins nests constructed from mud and dotted under the eaves, but most have been knocked or fallen down this summer while the scaffolding has been in place. Luckily after their occupants had migrated to warmer climes in Africa.

But the roof was in a dreadful condition. The wooden laths that the tiles clipped onto and that held old felt and non existent insulation in place, just fell to bits. Now there are rolls and rolls of proper insulation in place over the ceiling beams. Many of which were apparently constructed from a boat’s hull. As are the fireplace beams.

It is lovely to live in an old house, but there are certainly problems when it comes to insulation and keeping the damp at bay. Two sitting rooms in the oldest part of the house have been relined to stop the rising damp penetrating the walls. The kitchen wallpaper is gradually peeling off and plaster falls off the pantry walls in lumps.

So although John and I are delighted that this winter we should be warmer and drier, other occupants are not so thrilled. Jackdaws have nested in the chimneys of the old fireplaces in the front bedrooms. All these have now been taken out.

The birds are not best pleased. Even though it is presumably the time when they will not be building nests for egg-laying, they have been bringing nesting materials to the pots then cawing in amazement that they can’t gain access for creating a cozy winter roost. What a pair of home wreckers we have been. Homeless sparrows, starlings, house martins and jackdaws. Someone ring Shelter now.