Maggie Beer has a no-fail recipe for slow-cooked oven baked quinces which I consult each year when they’re in season. Memories of my mother’s own cooked quinces are not so favourable. Let’s just say she is a master of the ‘quick-food’ movement and hers, cooked on the stovetop are pale, firm and flavourless.
On a grey Saturday I do a cook-up with my forbidden fruit – quinces that I’d found on a tree in the grounds of a nearby church. While they are maturing in the oven and a heady aroma fills the house, Sue our neighbour has a pre-dinner drink with us on dusk. While seated in our lounge facing the hallway she calls out in fright: ‘Ooh, there’s a bird in the house, no, I think it’s a bat!’
Because of our indoor cat we’re mindful of keeping all outside doors closed and so I’m incredulous. My instinct tells me it must be a bird, that is until Sue yells: ‘There it is again…it’s a bat!’
It’s in full flight and completes a 360 degree circle around the living room avoiding the kitchen and heads back to the hallway. With a wingspan of about 35cm it’s small but I duck my head fearing it will fly into my hair and scream in fright.
Flummoxed with what to do with this small nocturnal beastie, I get Neil to Google ‘bat in the house.’ Coco our cat is duly locked in the laundry and we open the front door and turn the balcony lights off. Sue’s certain it’s a fruit bat and the quince smell has drawn it into the room. I’m not so sure about its nomenclature, but follow her instructions to put some cooked quince and syrup on a saucer outdoors as a lure.
After about twenty minutes of floundering, Sue leaves us with our problem and goes back home. We choose to ignore Google’s suggestions to use traps or repellents, smother it in a blanket or catch it with thick leather gloves. Rather, I add more quince to the saucer.
Instead of venturing outdoors the bat continues to circuit the lounge intermittently before returning to its home base suspended high up on the wood panelling in the hallway. Neil decides to turn a broom upside down to coax it to the entrance door, but that too is in vain.
Tacking a sheet across the entrance to the lounge and kitchen is our next home-grown solution until the bat flies under our makeshift barrier. We exchange it for a queen size sheet that drapes to the floor.
As bats are mainly active at night I assume that they are blinded by light, so I prop open the back door creating a front and back exit in the passage and go to the kitchen to prepare dinner where it’s warmer. At this stage I’m feeling a bit jaded and want the problem to go away.
Miraculously, it works. The bat disappears but I can’t say which exit it took and I’m still baffled as to how it got inside or when but there’s no sign of bat scat anywhere.
As we lay down to sleep there’s a high pitched clicking outside. Last night I said to Neil ‘listen to the possums’, tonight I suspect it’s those pesky bats!
Have you had a bat in the house experience and if so, what did you do….?