My husband works with a South African who interests me for two reasons. 1: He begins all correspondence as if in reply; ‘I’m very well, thank you. How are you?’ ‘All going well, thanks. Getting busy.’
“Did you ask him if he was well or how things were going?”
“I haven’t actually spoken to him for months.”
Thing 2: in the UK, he is fascinated by foxes.
“It was right there in the middle of the high street,” he repeats, until he gets more of a reaction than “really?”
“People come all the way to South Africa to see lions, and you have foxes walking up the high street!”
“They’re quite common.”
“They’re a bit of nuisance.”
“We had a thing with a cat.” I tell him the story.
I woke to a bright sunny day, drew the curtains, looked out of the window and saw a cat sleeping on the deck. Something was not quite right. It was too still, too small and there was a trail of debris leading from it.
Closer inspection revealed half a cat and entrails.
“It must have been a fox,” I say to a neighbor. “Or Glenn Close…”
“Probably a fox,” she agrees. “Although they don’t usually go for cats.”
“They ate our rabbits,” I remind her.
“With that too, the finger kind of points to Glenn Close,” she counters.
The rabbits were a few years earlier.
Our pets were a bit too free range. We locked them up at night, but foxes don’t seem to be nocturnal any more. This time they had the grace to get rid of the bodies, albeit they left a trail of fur, which was enough to upset the kids, albeit you wouldn’t have known from the posters they decided to pin to North Village lampposts.
“Has anyone seen these rabbits?” Hand-scrawled, beneath an image of the rabbits hopping round the
So far, so sweet. “Or any signs of them.”
It got worse.
“E.g. blood, fur or bones.”
“I’m not sure about these,” I ventured. Our street is on the main route to the local infant school. Kids - not mine, obviously - might have found them upsetting.
I am upset about the cat. It’s not our cat, but nevertheless. Poor cat.
To add insult to injury, the fox seems to have taken up permanent residence on the deck where the cat used to sleep. Every time I look out of the window or go into the garden it’s lying there, sunning itself,
in broad daylight.
I’m understandably wary of it. It’s not at all wary of me.
I phone the RSPCA who put me on their ‘humanefox-trap waiting list’.
A first for me, but it’s a long list.
The fox is still there and the trap has not materialized.
Plan B is to make a feature of it, bring coach tours from South Africa.
“We’re very well thank you and now operating urban fox safaris…”