Thursday, October 19, 2006


With the return of the prodigal cat I was anticipating a glorious night of untroubled sleep.

All was deep and dreamy until I became dimly aware of my husband repeating the mysterious, and, frankly, annoying phrase “the alarms are going off” over and over again.

I was confused. In my dazed and dozy state I went into default mode, mumbling “yeah, yeah I know” whilst trying to fumble off my alarm clock. I squinted at the blue, glowing numerals. Four? Four in morning? What? Why alarm ring now? Why clock not shut up?

“No,” insisted my man, with commendable patience, “the security alarms!”

And, yes, now as I concentrated and gathered my faculties a little more, I could hear the incessant, maddening, long drawn out, spiralling whoop of the intruder alarm sounding in the distant reaches of the house.

Bugger bugger bum bum bollocks.

I lurched upright, and managed to get my dressing gown without falling over again. It is always best to investigate potential break-ins when wearing a purple candlewick dressing gown. If you tackle them in just your curry-stained t-shirt and big knickers you can be imprisoned for using unreasonable force. There is no justice.

So, having investigated every room for signs of intrusion, and finding none, I was left to conclude it was those sodding bats again.

The attic space is home to a thriving maternity roost of pipistrelle bats, though we also have long eared brown and lesser horseshoe bats. All of them like to flit about the Great Hall in the hours of darkness, pooping on the Precious Things and setting off the alarms. Which is all great fun for them, but less so for me, as each time the alarms go off the police are called out automatically. While they are talking to this purple dressing gown-clad, sleep-deprived woman who keeps shaking her fist at bats no one else can see, actual crimes are being perpetrated, unpoliced!

Oh well. Only a few more weeks and the bats will be hibernating for the winter. I could find out where and set off a car alarm or play the tuba at them at random intervals, to see how they like it, but they are a protected species, and, to be honest, it all seems like too much effort and they probably wouldn’t grasp the point I was making anyway.

In the meantime I shall count the days until the new, supposedly bat-proof, alarm system is installed.

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