Half an hour later, and the table looked almost as good as new – sort of. Ron was satisfied, anyway.
“Ron?” Hermione shouted. “Could you put the heating on – it’s a bit cold.”
“No problem.” The house was rather an old building, and on cold nights, the icy air seemed to creep through every available crack, making them very grateful for central heating.
At seven, when they were both changed, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll go,” said Hermione. “Could you check the heating – it still seems cold.”
Ron went to check the boiler, and the switch was still set to ‘on’, but if anything the house was getting colder, not warmer. The radiator in the kitchen was stone cold.
He had no idea how to fix Muggle boilers, and doubted that Hermione did either.
“Um, Hermione,” he said, poking his head around the living room door. “I think there’s a problem with the heating.”
“Hang on, I’ll come and take a look.”
Hermione fiddled with the switch while Ron greeted the rest of the guests, but the boiler was completely broken.
“What are we going to do?” Hermione asked. “The house is freezing!”
“A warming charm?”
“It’ll never be effective in somewhere as large as the dining room.”
He paused for a moment and then grinned. “Here’s what we’ll do – you go upstairs and find all the warm clothing you can – jumpers, hats, scarves, and everyone can put them on. We must enough jumpers from Mum for everyone to wear at least one, and I’m sure there’s a whole stash of scarves up there too, from the time she taught Rose how to knit.”
“But it’ll look ridiculous!”
“It’ll keep us warm at least.”
Ten minutes later, they returned to the living room, arms laden with knitwear.
“We appear to have a problem with our central heating,” Ron announced. “So you’d better wrap up warm.”
He dropped his pile on the carpet. “Everyone take what you want.”
“Have you got any that aren’t maroon?” George asked, holding a jumper up gingerly. “It’s not really my colour.”
“Unless you want to want to wear one of Hermione’s then I suggest you shut up and put up with it,” Ron shot back.
“Hmm…now that’s a suggestion,” George replied, eying the more attractive female jumpers.
Angelina pretended to swipe him over the head. “Here you,” she said, “take a hat. I don’t want your ear hole getting cold.”
“Oh thank you, caring wife, for drawing attention to my terrible affliction in front of my entire family. How will I ever recover from the embarrassment?”
She threw the hat at him in reply.
After a few more minutes of chatter, everyone was warmly wrapped up in an interesting array of jumpers, hats and scarves.
“My scarf appears to have several holes in it,” Bill observed.
“Ah yes, that is probably one of Rose’s earlier attempts. Don’t tell her you’ve seen it!”
“Is everyone warm enough?”
“Great,” said Ron as they all nodded. “Now let’s eat!”