Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Enter a Fox

I grew up in Cork. A city, but one that was not that far from the country. I saw the usual rural animals – cows, goats, sheep and the like. But the most interesting animals I’ve seen have been the ones I’ve spotted since I moved to London.

Squirrels. I still can’t get my head around people who say they’re just rats with bushy tales. I absolutely love ‘em, ever since I first saw them in Hyde Park. This year I’ve been blessed by being able to watch them cavort on my balcony. Admittedly they’re only there so they can have a nose in my recycling bin (which has proved fruitless) or have a rummage in our potted plants (which are dead anyway, due to our communal lack of green fingers). It also amuses me to think of the destruction they’ve caused to our neighbours’ beautifully manicured flowers. Oh dear…I’m sure I’ll go to hell for that.

Badgers. Another creature I first spotted in the UK. I was looking out the window when I was on a train back to London when I spied a dead one on the tracks. Well…I was hardly going to spot at live one in the middle of the day, was I?

Which leads me to one of my favourite London inhabitants – the fox. We have quite a few in our neighbourhood and I was enamoured the first time I saw one. Yes, they’re annoying when they shriek in the night (I’ve since been informed that they do this while having sex – filthy beasts), but I love them nonetheless. While visiting my friend Gloria in south London, I encountered one on my walk back to the tube. This was the first fox I’d seen with a “fuck you” attitude. I walked along the pavement behind it and it stopped and glared at me, as if to say “how dare you try and take over my neck of the woods”. Ahhh yes, a fox with attitude – how indicative of London inhabitants in general.

Postscript: After writing this on the tube, a fox crossed in front of me on my street as I walked home – hadn’t seen an a fox for months, then two in one night!
And this post is named after the book I'm currently reading by Simon Gray.