Release The Bats
Tome Artrocker discusses the dark side as bats invade Brixton
Do you have bats?
I have, and I'm ridiculously over-excited by them. Last year I had a wonderful experience on the Norfolk Broads. As the evening stretched itself across the flatland the bats came out to play above our boat, swooping so close that we ducked as they dived. It was fabulous, the highlight of the holiday. But I can't quite work out why. When seagulls get that close we curse and hide our chips, but bats are different, maybe it's because they're mammals like us, maybe we see them as the mammal air force, representing us in bird land.
Bats run deep in our psyche, from witches to Bram Stoker, they form part of our dark side, creatures of the night, fearlessly flying around in the twilight as most other mammals turn in for the night.
And they invented radar, which is pretty impressive for a creature the size of a cild's hand.
And now I don't have to go to Norfolk to see the bats. I live bang in the middle of an ex-council estate in Brixton. It's a lovely place full of marvellous people, a community, but it's former reputation keeps visitors away. They don't realise that there's a wonderful pond right in the middle, next to my gaff, in which herons feed, ducks breed, foxes snuffle and large fish glide. It's a well kept secret so shhhhh, don't tell. Popped out to the car the other evening at about 9pm and 'swoop', a bat flew across my head, followed by another. Around and around they flew as I stood in awe and amazement that bats had decided to move into my 'ends'.
Not sure where they're roosting as yet, but I'll contact the bat conservation trust for some advice. I'm more excited by the arrival of the bats than just about anything I can think of.
But I'm not sure why.