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A bit of a week
bats, birds and broken bones


Graffiti of a bird on a brick wall

It’s been quite a week. Lots happening. Here’s an overview.

Tuesday

In the evening, one of the cats brought a bat into the house. We were all flopped in front of the telly, when we became aware of a strange screeching sound coming from the hall.

“What’s that?” asked B. I went to look.

There on the floor was a bat - larger than bats I’ve seen before. A proper mouse with wings. It was crawling around on the carpet, screeching and bearing its teeth. Our large cat, Frank, was sitting next to it looking very relaxed.

“I’ve got a new bat,” he said proudly. “I found it outside.”

“Frank!” I yelled. The bat screeched at both of us.

“Piss off!” it shouted. “Leave me alone!”

“Don’t let it bite you!” yelled K from the living room.

I went to get some thick gardening gloves. Frank chased the bat around a bit. “Piss off piss off piss off piss off!” said the bat.

The bat and the cat ended up under the kitchen table. I tried catching the bat in a cardboard box, but that didn’t work.

Frank looked up at me, disbelieving. “Why are you putting my bat in a box?” he asked.

“Frank, out!” I said. He knows what “out” means. He ignored me.

“If you think I’m going out when I’ve just found myself a new bat, you need to think again,” he said.

“I AM NOT YOUR BAT!” shouted the bat.

I abandoned the box and bent down to grab the bat. I had to pin it against one of the kitchen table legs, but I got it. I tried as hard as I could to hold it tight, but not so tight that I’d damage its wings. It opened its mouth, showed its tiny and incredibly sharp-looking teeth, and politely requested to be set free.

B opened the front door and I ran out. Frank followed me. “That’s MY bat!”

I put the bat down on the front drive and let go. It scuttled under a fuchsia bush. “Thank GOD for that!” it gasped as it disappeared from sight.

“You utter utter bastard,” said Frank from behind me. “That was my bat. My brand new bat.”

“Nyahh nyahh nyahh!” yelled the bat, from the safety of the fuchsia.

I shooed Frank back into the house, and calm returned. For a while.

Wednesday

K and I were both working from home, when we got a call. Could we pick B up from school? He’d hurt his foot.

I went up there. The boy was obviously in a lot of pain, couldn’t walk on his right foot, but it looked completely fine. No swelling, no bruising. We went home and he rested. I thought it would sort itself out.

By late afternoon, that hadn’t happened. He was still in a lot of pain. We went to the Minor Injuries Unit. It’s like Accident & Emergency, but not so well suited to reality TV. We waited 2 hours and got seen by a doctor who said: “You need an x-ray. The x-ray department is now closed. You’ll have to come back tomorrow.”

Thursday

We went back to the hospital and waiting 2 more hours to be seen again.

“You need an x-ray,” they said.

“We know,” we said.

The x-ray happened, and revealed a fracture in B’s big toe. Things happened fast after that. He got taken to a bandaging room and his foot wrapped in a temporary plaster, pending a visit to the fracture clinic next week.

We hobbled home, and B watched TV, dosed on painkillers.

Friday

I’d just made my second cup of tea of the morning, and was about to sit down in front of the computer to do some much-delayed work, when I heard Frank the cat meowing out in the hall.

He doesn’t meow very much. I wondered what he was saying this time.

Turned out he was saying: “I’ve got a new bird.”

Clutched in his jaws was a bird - a thrush, I think. It was keen to stress its disagreement with Frank’s position.

“LET ME GO YOU BASTARD!” it cheeped.

Frank turned to me with another meow.

“Do you like my new bird?” he asked.

“Frank! Out!” I shouted, feeling strong deja vu. He ignored me, and took the bird into the kitchen.

“No, out!” I said.

Frank opened his mouth to argue in stronger terms, and the bird took its chance. It flapped around the kitchen, shouting “BASTARD CAT!” loudly. Feathers everywhere.

Frank just sat and watched it flap. “That’s my bird, that is,” he said, casually licking a front paw.

The bird flapped out of the kitchen, across the hall and into the office. Everything went silent.

“Dammit Frank,” I said. “Now where’s it gone?”

“I like my bird.”

I stepped into the office. No sounds, no movement. The office is a tip at the best of times, the bird could have been hiding anywhere.

It was hiding behind a computer monitor, barely breathing for fear of giving itself away. I reached out for it, but it flapped up, around the room a couple of times, and crashed into the window blinds before landing in a heap on the windowsill. I reached again and picked it up, as gently as I could. It squeaked and chirruped its indignation.

“Let me go! Let me go! Ow that’s my wing! Dammit!” it said.

I carried it outside, like the bat before it, and let go. It flapped off, round the corner of the house and out of sight.

“That was my bird,” said Frank behind me, furious. “First my bat. Then my bird.”

He stepped daintily over the chaotic mess of feathers, dirt, blood and bird poo that now decorated the hall, and sauntered off to find somewhere to snooze.

“Honestly,” I heard him mutter. “Why do I even bother?”


(21 Jul 2017)