I keep looking at flying things - wondering how it must feel to fly: the seagulls making the most of high winds to skim and swoop - oddly silent now they are a little way inland; then the fat grey wood pigeons for whom taking off seems to require so much effort; and then, just before night falls, the bats. Every night during the summer they come out and circuit our small garden and very often Hodmandod Senior and I go and sit outside just to watch them.
There is something sinister about bats. Their flight is too fast and seemingly chaotic, their voices are usually too high to be heard, though sometimes they are low enough to squeal uncomfortably in the ear. Then there is that odd way that they sleep, dangling upside down, their leathery wings around them so they look like twitching pupae. Apparently bats spend their lives upside down like this for two reasons: in order to be out of reach of predators and so they can avoid taking off like a wood pigeon. If a bat wishes to fly it simply drops downwards and then flaps away from there - it is easier and less energy consuming.
However, the most disturbing thing about a bat is its face: the oversized pointed ears, the small eyes like protruding like beads, and the mouth, especially the mouth - the way it is toothed and ever-open, but with something too determined about it to be ever thought of as a gape. A gape would describe the greedy desperation of a baby bird but this little winged mammal is undoubtedly a blood-sucker. Even though most of them seem to eat fruit at our local zoo, it is difficult not to believe that their preference would be a swift suck of the thick red stuff every time.
One more thing about bats I just discovered, is that they grip on so hard with their thumbs that they even remain hanging onto their perch even after death. Which reminds me of a particularly disturbing scene in AUSTERLITZ by Sebald which I have just finished reading...