First you discover that the only access hatch into the roof space is inside your closet, so you have a surreptitious peek inside and are confronted by a sea of glass fibre insulation. Glass fibre isn’t good, you don’t want to touch it or breathe it in or get it in your eyes and you certainly don’t want it all over your clothes! So it was time for Plan B, and a quick trip to Home Depot, the American equivalent of Homebase or B&Q.

Once home we carried our new purchases upstairs and A set about making a quite ingenious tube cum curtain out of the thin flexible plastic sheeting we’d bought. This was stapled to the frame work of the hatch opening and it hung all the way to the floor, thus ensuing that any stray bits of insulation making a bid for freedom wouldn’t cover our clothes that are hanging up on the rails in the closet. It was wide enough to get a ladder inside it and for me to pass up the torch and tools for A. See exhibit A.

[Exhibit A]

The next thing was to decide what exactly one wears when on a mouse hunting expedition in a loft space. It had to something to cover up the normal ensemble, gloves were a must, a hat too but nothing too flamboyant you understand. There also had to be something to protect the eyes, safety glasses don’t hug the skin and form a seal so it had to be shop goggles, a head torch (from our camping days) and finally the breathing apparatus. What he uses this thing for normally I hate to ask! But I give you Exhibit B, my darling husband ready to catch a mouse.

[Exhibit B]

So, off the intrepid adventurer goes, disappearing up the plastic tube and into the black hole. I stand below and carefully pass up the two wooden boards to lay over the insulation, these boards will allow him to crawl along to where we hear the mice scurrying about, always at night and always just after we go to bed, that was the reason for this whole mission.

It went awfully quiet for quite a few minutes and then A appeared back at the opening and told me what he’d found when he lifted up the insulation…. and it wasn’t mice! I gave him the camera and sent him back to take the photos that you see below, a little blurry as there was no light whatsoever except from one torch and small head torch.

So without further ado,
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I present to you for your viewing pleasure
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our very own
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hibernating
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BATS!!!
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These photos make them look much more scarier than they were in real life (not that I got to see them in real life!), apparently their body is only about 2 – 2 1/2″ long and about 1″ wide, but their wings are quite wide when stretched out, one yawned and stretched it’s wings out when A lifted up the insulation. He saw three of them but we know there must be more as it often sounds like a herd of elephants up there! What they’ve done is to wiggle their way under the insulation, where it’s warmer, so they’re mainly lying on their backs on our bedroom ceiling with the warmth of the insulation on top of them! We can only put their noise down to the fluctuating winter temperatures, if it’s a bit warmer out side, then they wake up a little and move around, scrape along the ceiling and squeak at each other. When it colder, they’re quiet as, well, mice!! Last week was particularly bad, it was like Chinese Water Torture trying to get to sleep!

I have to admit that I suspected that we didn’t have mice in the loft, but I had no idea what was up there, and as many of you probably know, bats are protected, we can’t move or disturb them in any way, and when they leave in the spring we can’t find and block up their entry point. I actually have a soft spot for bats, they’re only hibernating, not breeding, and they’re very clean, they neither carry nor spread disease. Looks like I’ll have to learn to use ear plugs when I go to bed!

But the really ironic thing is that A and I have discussed putting up a bat box on the side of our house, we even downloaded a plan for one. Looks like we don’t need it after all!!!  And as our friends pointed out when we showed them the photos…. it’s official, the Butlers really do have bats in their belfry!!!

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