Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Bats in the belfry

As part of my current employment I am allocated, free of charge, a room in the possession of the College. Not, alas, in the main College itself, but in a peculiar student accommodation block off-site. Myself I have always rather liked this eccentric 60s temple to architectural innovation for its own sake, though I know many people loathe it. It is made of brick and glass and strange angles, and looks out over the river. It was designed with not a thought given to issues of maintenance or cleaning, such that it is in many respects impossible to adequately look after. The windows all slope, with the result that the blinds inside them break easily: they cannot be properly cleaned either. From deep in its dark, disorientating, echoing core, the building seems to generate dust and what I think Margaret Atwood memorably calls sluts' wool: those curious hanks of lilac fluff that slowly gather beneath the bed. The shared bathrooms are depressing and cold but the rooms are not unpleasant.

The building is primarily for undergraduates: I lived in it in my first year at university, 1997-98. Now that I am a Fellow they give me the finest room in the building, or rather suite of rooms: four separate, linked areas. One with sink and cooking equipment, one large living room area, a mezzanine study space and a mezzanine bedroom. One entire wall, and half the opposite wall, are made wholly of glass. The rooms are at the very top of the building, and from my bedroom I can look out over a stupendous skyline, the mosque beautifully silhouetted against the sunrise. If only it had a bathroom of its own and a fully equipped kitchen instead of a collection of pieces of equipment on a chest of drawers, it would be an absolutely stupendous place to live. It is like a glamorous penthouse apartment.

One thing it is not, clearly, is a Belfry. No bell is to be found either in my rooms or elsewhere in the building. Notwithstanding the clear and obvious differences between my bedroom and a belfry, a small furry member of the genus pipistrellus had, for reasons best known to itself, decided to drop in. Distressingly it had also decided to die in there.

Eep. I'm not normally very squawky and girly about things but for some reason I have to confess that this registered a higher than usual Girly Squawk rating. I squawked ' A dead bat!' quite a lot, whilst gently but futilely poking it with a piece of paper in the hope it might turn out not to be dead after all.

This is Not Good. I like bats, bats are great. But I don't really want them in my bedroom, and I especially don't want them dead in my bedroom. I phoned my mother to shout 'A bat! A dead bat!' down the phone at her. She launched cheerfully into an unhelpful reminiscence about a bat coming to roost in the doorway of my bedroom when we lived in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, when I was about 3. 'Of course, it's illegal to move a bat,' she pointed out happily, 'they're protected by law.'

Suspecting strongly that said legal protection does not include bats now residing in the hereafter, (though on this point the otherwise excellent http://www.bats.org.uk/ website is curiously uninformative), I decided to move the bat anyway. I wasn't sure whether it would rot or desiccate and I don't really want to find out. At first I thought it might be a baby, and apparently they are born at this time of year. But it turns out that they are usually very small, and it was most likely full grown. It must have flown in through an open window and been unable to get out. The bat has now gone and I am hopeful that if I see any of its fellows they will be outside, flying around, scoffing insects, and generally being their delightful and mysterious selves.


Marv said...

Where did it go? Did you lob it out of the window?

TrentToffee said...

Spangly, might I be so bold as to ask what stupendous skyline your room looks over ?

Spangly Princess said...

TT I'm in Oxford. Also, would you like to come to a prty in Nottingham next Saturday?

TrentToffee said...

Sure. Is this a victory celebration for the mighty Albert Herring ?

I hope I haven't just cursed him ! He's not there yet and his rear wheel is about to fall off :0)


De Vertalerin said...

Hey, TT, we'd be delighted to have you come to our party. It wasn't planned as a victory celebration, because I don't think he'd even decided to do it when we planned the party. We generally try to have one every summer. Food, drink and good company usually abound. Would be excellent to meet you.

TrentToffee said...

SP / de vertalerin, thankyou for your generous offer. I'd be delighted to drink a toast to the mighty Mr Herring, and pay homage to the blog-meistress that is the Spangly Princess. Errm... but I'd need some details as to where to go. Alternativly, I could wander aimlessly around West Bridgford for a few hours.

Spangly Princess said...

TT mail me on spanglyprincess@gmail.com and I'll give you the address