Sunday, 15 May 2011

Bat aware

Bats have had an image change, haven't they? These days I readily hand over solid cash to oooh and arrhh at close-up photos of their cute, pug noses and funny-furry ears. A few years ago I'm sure I was running about fields screaming how the agents of the devils were going to nest in my hair.

Maybe I dramatise, and I was only nervous of their swoopy droppy turny flight, but legged it indoors, just in case.

But this shows how far I've come! Not only do I now go out of my way to find the little creatures, I would readily cuddle one, and offer it my house for a cosy roost!

I should never have worried about them crashing into my face, for example. They are far better at avoiding large objects than I am. I think the car insurance people know what I am talking about there. Bats are also supreme agents when it comes to catching their dinners. Mid-flight they can scoop up tasty morsels and flip them into their mouths! I have the dinner dribble down the front of my Per Una white top to testify to my inadequacies in that department, and that happens when I am sitting down.

I think it is all proof that bats are supreme in their abilities; by comparison I am a great hairy, crashing-about lumbery object, covered in tomato sauce.

My conversion and admiration for the agile bat is entirely thanks to other people, mostly those groups of well-connected Bat PR Agencies, working tirelessly up and down the country to educate the ignorants, and I count myself among that group.

People like the North Bucks Bat Group. They lead a talk and walk round Stowe Landscape Gardens. This time (unlike the night we went on the moth walk), I do not drench me and the gritlets in 100% Deet. No. I want to invite the midges to hover about my head! I want batty to swoop down low over my face and demonstrate his fantastic turning abilities, the like of which Clarkson can only fantasize about!

More importantly, I now know better than to disappoint Bat Leader. (I distinctly recall Moth Man wondering why there didn't seem to be any moths that evening.)

You should not do anything to upset Bat Leaders. They are a bit scary, actually. They police the public perception and understanding of our little furry flying friends with single-focused, totally dedicated, commitment. They will readily educate you, and sharply admonish you for any unwise action.

Like, one member of the group (not me this time!) brings their own super-strength torch! Foolish person. Bat Leader snaps, That torch is too bright! Which means you should be ashamed of yourself. To scan ornamental lakes in fields after dark you need a torch capable of low light output. See? I told you they were dedicated.

So, it is time to take the children bat walking. I have learned: bats do not need to worry about their no claims bonus; being bitten by midges is a small price to pay for a close encounter with batty; it is worth ingratiating yourself with Bat Leader for a welcoming smile, and leave the searchlight at home.