Quietly announced a few days ago from the Church of England's press office was the odd piece of news that Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury has discovered there's a tiny pimpernel bat apparently hibernating in his beard!
The pimpernel bat, common around Britain's old churches is reported to be only a couple of inches in height, and is certainly not known to choose peoples beards to hibernate the winter away in - a fact that has convinced the archbishop that it's God's wish it be there and that there it must be allowed to remain until such time as it decides it's time to leave. Unfortunately that might not be for several weeks because the pimpernel doesn't usually come out of hibernation until well into the spring.
RSPCA experts have tried to check the bat to make sure the tiny creature is healthy and not injured in any way but say the archbishop is refusing to let them delve too deep into his facial schrubbery for fear they could disturb it's sleep. He is reported to be treading very softly wherever he goes and telling anyone who approaches him to 'Schhh. . . '
Prince William and bride-to-be Kate Middleton have been informed of the situation - the Archbishop is to marry them at Westminster Abbey on 29th April. They've said they see no reason why things shouldn't proceed as planned though they naturally hope the little bat will have left the Archbishop's beard by the time of their wedding.
Kate's only concern is if it decides to exit the beard just when William has placed the ring on her finger to make her his first wife then leans across to kiss her. She fears the bat will try to kiss her first so says she'll be keeping her eyes open.