With the longer nights, it’s been a while since I saw any of these tiny creatures. But tonight, I was treated to a stunning display of aerodynamic expertise, with bats flying around as I enjoyed an evening stroll’n’sniff with my dogs.
I’d never seen them before I moved to my old house. Although right next to a main road on one side, on the other side was miles and miles of fields and woods.
The lane below leads to the nearby farm, and was part of my regular evening walk with my old dog, and then the current two.
In winter, despite the proximity to the coast, it was not uncommon to be tramping down here in a foot of snow. This picture was taken in my old back garden in February 2012. The big blades of grass are actually in a huge pond, which you can just make out behind Ronnie’s tail. He’s a big dog so you can really see how deep the snow is.
Here, Wendy is looking for things to chase over the fields.
At dusk, despite the constant flow of the traffic, there would be regular winged visitors to my garden. I have never lost the sense of wonder that I felt the first time I saw them. In the woods behind the farm, bat boxes had been placed high in the trees to provide somewhere safe for them to live. I’ve spent many evenings sat next to the pond watching them do whatever it is they do, I’m never sure whether they are hunting, or just out for the bat equivalent of a blast on your motorbike with your mates.
In another village over towards the border with Suffolk, three people existed who have helped shape who I am today. I have talked before about this area. One evening, following a particularly traumatic but ultimately positive visit to a big house at the top of a big hill, I was driving home, carefully picking my way down the twists and turns of the lane down the hill, and noticed I had company.
This is a remote place where at certain times of the year, the fields are several feet higher than the road and you can feel as though if you stopped where you were, you might never be found for thousands of years. I was in that awful state where you are not fit to drive but you also know there is no other way to get home. My winged escort was very welcome, and only joined me in that particular place on that one night.
Last year, my aunt brought me a tiny little bat magnet from her holiday in Whitby. He’s beautifully made and sits on my dressing table on top of a big glittery “BELIEVE” sign which came from America one Thanksgiving. I see them both each morning and they make me smile.
Everyone assumes the sign is a religious thing, but it’s not. My old boss gave it to me during a particularly traumatic budget cycle at work – she had faith in me and it was a lovely and very amusing gesture. I don’t quite know what my colleagues made of it – it used to live perched precariously blu-takked to the top of my old computer screen long after that budget had ended.
I start a new job tomorrow. I’m a bundle of nerves, both good and bad. I’d hoped for a long summer lazing about, but needs must and I’ve been surprised how much I am looking forward to stepping back into the old for just a little while. My new boss seemed great – despite the standard black suit I clocked her 4 inch leopard print heels straightaway and figured I could fit in here.
The presence of a few bats always feels to me like a good omen, and tonight they have helped settle my nerves a little.