On Sunday morning, I half-awoke around 5am. It was still pretty dark outside, and our curtains were drawn. But I could hear a strange sound, almost as if something was being dragged over our roof. Then it stopped. I tried to get back to sleep, but every so often the noise returned. Richard was still fast asleep, and I started wondering what on earth it could be. It sounded rather closer than the roof, but I couldn't see anything obvious. I wondered if there was a space between the ceiling and the roof, and whether a bird had got trapped.
One of the cats was on our bed, and was also alert, moving her head around as if to follow a sound. But she didn't seem too disturbed. At one point I thought I saw something black on the ceiling, but when I switched my side-light on, there was nothing there. Ah well. I got up anyway. We were having people coming for lunch, and although Tim usually cooks the main course on Sundays (roast chicken yesterday), I wanted to prepare some desserts before it got too hot. It was already 30C in the kitchen about 6am when I got started. And I learned something: the ice cream churn does not function well at that temperature. The beautifully whipped ice cream shrunk back to evaporated milk mixed with cocoa powder. But the thought of using air conditioning at that time in the morning goes right against the grain!
The day went well, and I didn't go upstairs again until the evening when some friends called in and we showed them around. I half-remembered the morning's noises, but as our balcony door had been open most of the day, I assumed that whatever it was - if not my imagination - it would have flown out.
It wasn't until about 10.30pm when I had just got into bed that we heard a definite fluttering sound behind one of the curtains. Sophia was in the room, and heard it too. She leapt half way up the curtain, then slipped down again. Next thing we knew, something black and small was flying around the room at great speed. In no time at all I was completely covered with the sheet, while Richard raced around, aided by Sophia, trying to grab hold of whatever-it-was.
I could hear a high-pitched humming, and its behaviour wasn't that of a bird, so we guessed it had to be a bat. It kept bumping into the walls, which seemed a bit odd. Nor could it find the way out. It would fly near the open balcony door, miss it by about 15cm, and then whizz back into the room again.
I knew all that because Richard gave me a running commentary. I was not watching. It's not that I have any objection to bats. I think they're lovely, in their place. Which is not in my bedroom.
At our previous house, we had bats living in the high cypress tree in the back yard, and I would sometimes sit out on the patio in the early evening, watching the bats swoop around over my head. I was particularly pleased when I learned that they eat their weight in insects every night. The more insects that are eaten, the better, in my view. I support bats and their right to life fully.
But I do NOT like flying creatures in the house. Logic disappears, and mild phobia takes over.
Eventually the bat stopped, about half a metre from the balcony door, poised at the edge of the roof. Richard crept out to get the step-ladder (which was in Dan's room, not far away)... and suggested I should go and get the digital camera! Even more surprising, I did so. Despite risking a bat in my hair, a photo for this blog was more important.
Richard tried to take a close-up from the top of the ladder, but it's a bit out of focus. Perhaps he was too close, and didn't use 'macro' mode. It doesn't look much like a bat in this, but here it is anyway for the record:
And here he is, pillowcase in hand, perhaps the nearest he's ever got to being a knight rescuing his fair lady from a dragon.
He caught it gently, and released it outside. It flew away into the darkness.