A minor complication in renovating our house has been that we are a bat roost. Our bats needs come first, by law.
In fact, there is only one bat — a male pipistrelle who uses our loft as a roost during the breeding season, away from the wife and kiddies. The mating season has just started, so he has left, but will probably be back next year.
We had minor storm damage to the roof from Hurricane Bertha, but despite the absence of Sir Nick (named after a cousin who is a bat expert), we still had to get permission from Natural England to replace a missing tile and a damaged chimney cowl.
Our liaison with the world of battery has been through Samantha the batwoman, who turned up a few weeks ago with 35 baby bats (known as pups) in boxes, which had to go everywhere with her while she was nursing them. She caught Sir Nick (the name was her suggestion since she knows of my cousin — the world of bat conservation is not large) and brought him downstairs to introduce him to us. He looked rather cross, but bats do anyway.
We got emergency consent from Natural England for the roof repair, but they will eventually send us full guidance, which we will be bound by law to obey. I’m hoping we will be allowed to store our Christmas decorations in the loft because this isn’t a large house and I can’t think where else to put them.
Almost everyone I’ve told about our bat has gone ‘ew’ or expressed sympathy, but we are feel rather proud of being a bat roost and Samantha’s visits have been fun. We’ve joined the Bat Conservation Trust. Natural England has been informed that we are ‘bat friendly’. Which is a slightly odd bit of personal info for a public body to hold on one, I think.