Thursday, 27 January 2011

London Life

When we moved to London I didn't expect to have almost nightly sightings of a fox. The first time I saw this much written about urban animal was in our first week in the city. I was walking the terrier out at about ten o'clock. It was high summer and still hot and humid. First I thought it was another dog, but soon realised it was indeed a fox that was running along the pavement at the bottom of the little hill. My beast was on a lead, and I was glad he was restrained, because I knew if he was loose he'd be off after the fox straight away. Predictably, as soon as the terrier spotted the other animal, he started to pull on the lead. The fox, however, was totally non-plussed. It stood there, now a few metres away from us, victoriously watching my dog's struggle to get to him. Just when we were about nose to nose with the fox (or my dog was), he turned on his heels and disappeared over a low brick wall.

Since that first night, I've seen a fox (same one?) a few mores times. This is far many more times than I ever saw one in the sticks.

Earlier this week, when walking in Belsize to my book group at England's Lane Bookshop, there was another fox, jauntily crossing the road. I stopped to watch him swiftly climb a low wall and he turned to look back at me. There was only the empty road between us and as we stood there staring at each other I saw how healthy the animal looked: it must have rich pickings in NW3. Too late did I start reaching for my phone to take a picture - all I saw was his thick furry tail as he disappeared into a the garden of a posh modern villa.


Alison Cross said...

I like the look of a fox, but since some well-meaning person dropped off a pair of town-foxes onto our fox-free island a few years ago 'to set them free' much carnage has been wreaked by them and their offspring.

Think over 60 were shot last year and we've still got loads.

I am now reserving my foxly affections for Thought Foxes only (Ted Hughes, I think)

Ali x

Jeanne said...

More fox thoughts...we have plenty in the woods around us in Surrey and I have had a stand off on more than one occasion. I have a bone to pick with one because he or she is having a good old chew at our wooden garden gate. The fortress is now penetrable! I am now ready for battle :)

Jeanne xx

Ruby Tuesday said...

Yes I used to see Foxes a lot more when we lived in a village.. now we are on the look out all the time.. I used to love them, but after last summers massacre I enjoy wearing them. ...Actually I do still think they are stunning animals I would love a pet one xx

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Helena, we have loads round here. I woke up one morning and there were two of them lying on a sunlounger in my garden! xx

PS. You should take off your word verification Blogger has a new spam filter now. It's so boring and time consuming. Nearly all the blogs I follow have done it.

Helena Halme said...

Christina, that's excellent advice - I've now removed the word verification.

The foxes are a nuisance, and some seem quite aggressive (they are stray dogs after all), but I cannot but think of Mongrels, the excellent BBC 3 puppet comedy show, every time I see them. I'm always wondering which kind of fox it is: a Vince or a Nelson! If you haven't seen the show, the link is here I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Helena xx

Rose said...

Oh I love foxes- you can see them thinking as they look at you- and they are urban survivors!