Dear Philip - June 23, 2010
This was not a particularly good week for me. On Wednesday, I woke up with the beginning of a bad back - but bravely took myself off to bridge and managed to cope. However, upon returning and lying down for a nap, something snapped and the pain became enormous and despite pain killers and heating pads, it was still very much in evidence on Thursday morning. I cancelled all my scheduled activities, and decided to go into the computer room to play some games to try to cheer myself up.
There was something on the floor in the computer room. I wear glasses, and because I need both distance glasses and reading glasses, and my verifocals give me a headache, I compromise when at home by wearing old reading glasses - which are a sort of in between the two extremes of my vision - so I can sort of read, and sort of use the computer, and sort of see what's around me - but this thing on the floor was something I had no previous experience with. I couldn't bend down to see it better - my back hurt too much. So I kicked it - and it moved - so I knew it wasn't dead, whatever it was.
First I thought it might be a moth of some sort - it was about that size, but it was much chunkier than a moth - and looked a bit like a frog. But I couldn't for the life of me imagine how a frog might havegot into my very dry computer room. I didn't fancy using the computer with this not quite dead something or other just by my feet.
But since Wimbledon was on, and I didn't need to use the computer anyway, I decided
to leave it to die or escape - whatever it was.
Friday morning, I felt a lot better, and on going to the computer room, found that whatever it was, was still alive, and not only that, it had managed to move itself over the past day about four feet - and it was now very near the door. So as it was now nowhere near by the computer, I happily played a few games - and wondered what to do next. On the table the computer is on was a prayer card that I had been given in church a few weeks ago. On it was the Prayer of St. Francis - which I have always liked - and since I was worried about one of St. Francis' beloved animals, I decided to use it to scoop it up and take it outside.
You will think that was not such a big deal. But for me it was an enormous deal. I am very frightened by mice and insects and although this wasn't either of those, I certainly had little real sympathy for it.
But I didn't really want it to die on my carpet, and if what it needed to escape was being
outside, with a bit of rain to drink and a bit of leaf to chew, I could do that. As I balanced it carefully on St. Francis' shoulder, it struggled and I finally realised what it was that I had in my hands. It had jagged wings. It was a bat. It was about the size of a 50 p coin, so I thought probably it was a baby. I deposited it by the front step but covered with a leaf, for semi protection from the sun and predators, and went back to contemplate how a bat had got into my computer room (the window was closed, but the bathroom window next door was open) - and what was more frightening - was there a colony of them lurking there?
Feeling still stronger on Saturday, I went to dump the contents of the jug in which I was collecting the drips from the water tap from the washing machine. And there, floating on the top of the jug was another bat - the same size - and this time I had no trouble in identifying it.
Having bats in the garage seemed much more likely - and although there is no easy connection between the garage and the computer room - I do occasionally leave the garage door open, so it might well have flown out, only then to be trapped in a house where it didn't know how to get out - and when I found it, it was starving and dehydrated. But knowing the probable place where the bats were lurking did not make me any happier about them. Suddenly I remembered a few years ago, when I had been sure we had mice in the garage. The soft fruit and vegetables (courgettes and apples) had little teeth marks in them. Some had been almost entirely eaten. But at that time, I could see no typical mouse droppings around the vegetable bin. We moved the bin to a higher location on top of the freezer, and the food was never tampered with again. I had almost forgotten about it - when the light went on, and I realised that relatives of these bats were not brand new to my garage - but probably had been happily living there for years. There was no obvious nest where they might be living. And I had given the garage a fairly good clean when I put my house on the market - and had seen no evidence at that time.
The internet provides me with a bit of consolation. They apparently usually only have one or two young - so I might have got rid of this year's supply (unless they have young more than once a year.) The water jug had no floating bodies in it today, so I was able to cope with putting on a wash. If I am serious about getting rid of them, I will have to get rid of all the entry points into the garage - (the door fits badly and I would have to seal up the whole thing) but one thing is certain, I won't be telling the potential house buyers that they will be getting extra pets for no extra charge.