Sorry I’ve not blogged for a little while, sometimes I need to hide for a bit.
Anyway, our beloved foxes are still around. My boss put up a notice warning people not to feed the foxes. She put it in a non-scary, family-friendly way, because apparently my suggestion of ‘KILLER FOXES ON RAMPAGE! IF YOU SEE A FOX, RUN!’ was considered ‘inappropriate’.
Unfortunately she over-did the non scary, because we now we have children asking where the foxes are and if they can stroke them. I guess kids in Central London don’t get to see much nature.
Also, did anyone else have a ladybird swarm yesterday? To be fair, the swarm only consisted of about thirty scattered around our front and back door, but I don’t think I’ve seen more than a couple together before. And they were all different species too. This was a horror film possibility even Hitchcock didn’t imagine.
Just a quick update for anyone worried about Reynard and Talbot. Our boss got some fox deterrent powder to be added to water and sprinkled around the garden. Mateo trundled out with his watering can, putting the most solution in the sandpit since they clearly like it there. On his way back from sprinkling around the rest of the garden, he passed the sandpit. One of the foxes was sitting happily in the sand, happy as Larry.
We suspect the deterrent is not effective.
For those of you getting attached to these foxes, don’t read on. Instead have a look at this fox from my garden during lockdown and then move on.
So, nature can be quite grim. And inexplicable. Don’t worry, Reynard and Talbot are still alive and harassing children, but one fox isn’t. Mateo found the head, but only the head, of a fox this morning, in the bushes. Did one of the children exact revenge on another fox? Perhaps the children were the aggressors all along?
Some of you might remember the cat’s head that Jessica found a few years ago. I think the police said that that foxes did it, but we were never satisfied with that explanation. It’s all very strange. Where did the body go?
Some of you might remember the gangster foxes, Talbot and Reynard, at one of the large gardens where I work. Their cheeky faces won over our hearts and their tendency to creep up on children in a sinister way fired up some panic. Seems they’ve gone one step further now.
Today my boss got a call from a parent. We have a small playground for children with a sand pit. Turns out the foxes have been jumping into the sand pit where children are playing, stealing their toys and leaping out again. They then rip up the toys in front of the children before running off.
I did suspect that the foxes were setting up a protection racket, but it looks like some of the children have refused to take part and it’s led to rivalry and the start of territory war.
‘Nice dolly you have here. Be a shame if something happened to it,’ sneers Talbot while Reynard sniggers nearby. ‘Oops!’ says Reynard as the dolly’s head is snapped off.
This is not the Beatrix Potter style story I was hoping for when I posted their photos.
Was walking to the station early on Friday morning and saw this sparkling fizzy pop of a car. In case the picture doesn’t make it clear, it has the texture of glitter ball deely boppers, in the colour of an orangeade-cherryade mix.
I have no idea what I think of it. Is it a daring and dashing fashion choice? A practical joke? The car of a disco champion reliving their glitterball hey-day? Did someone end up with too much glittery wrapping paper and became inspired?
Today’s ridiculous drama: I had just driven back to base and had gracefully leapt from the van barely stumbling at all, when Mike appeared from the shadows and said earnestly, ‘I’ve got vapers’ tongue!’
‘What?’ I asked politely, pressing all the wrong buttons on the key to lock the van.
‘It’s when you lose your sense of taste because you’ve been vaping too much. See?’ he went on proudly. ‘People thinking vaping is simple, like smoking, but actually there’s a lot to know.’
Finally I stopped faffing about and started listening. ‘Wait, you’ve lost your sense of taste? Isn’t that a sign of the virus?’
‘No, it’s vapers’ tongue,’ said Mike.
‘And you said you were coughing earlier. You’ve got the plague! Stay away from me infiltrated one!’ I tried to ward him off with the van key, holding my sleeve in front of my mouth.
‘It’s vapers’ tongue!’ said Mike insistently. ‘I’ll get my sense of taste back once I have some chewing gum. It’s all fine. My vape dealer explained it all, it’s vapers’ tongue. Have you got any chewing gum, I need mint!’
I watched him carefully for the rest of the afternoon. No more signs, but I’m ready with a net, a cross and a plastic bag. We’ve already made plans for how we can survive in the gardens if the plague takes over London, but if one of us get it, then we’re screwed.
I know it’s tacky virtue signaling to put heroic acts online, but some discoveries must be shared.
This morning I discovered something terrible: A spider had built a web from the fire escape leading from my flat and across the garden gate, meaning I couldn’t get out my gate to the shed. It was an impressive web too, with many circles of silver thread and many flies caught – including a number of mosquitoes, who are, quite frankly, bastards. I didn’t want to ruin this spider’s good work.
However, I needed to get my spade from the shed, so I tried to see if there was another way – leapfrog over the fence? No, will end in broken nose. Limbo under the web? No, I have no limbo skills and will only end up destroying it anyway. How about just moving one end of the web to the other side of the gate? A crazy idea, but it might just work!
So I moved my arm into the threads so that they caught on my hoody, lifted them and wrapped them around the other post of the gate. And they stayed! And they’re still there now! I didn’t even know that was possible! I’m practically a spider myself.
Turns out it’s not possible.
When I went back later, the had web broken.
There’s still enough of it up that the spider should be able to salvage the flies that he’d caught, but he’ll have to build a whole new web.
So I was trundling along the path with my wheel barrow, when I saw some jays flapping around with a tufty looking bird nearby. I thought he might be a young jay, but he had a long beak, and after he turned around a few times, I saw there was a red tinge to his head and green to his body. He wasn’t fully colourful because he still had his young fluffy brown feathers, but I could see his shape was distinctively a woodpecker.
Woodpeckers are ace!
By now he had hopped a bit further on and was standing with his chest puffed out. I crept closer and took a photo. He didn’t fly away so I kept on creeping. My phone is shitty, so I knew the photos wouldn’t be great, but I kept on creeping up to see how close I could get. At one point Mike walked up from the opposite direction and saw me. He stopped where he was so he would scare my new fluffy friend away. Woody Woodpecker gave me a few more poses, hopping around before flying off.
Then I realised unfortunately that my new manager (my boss’s boss) was standing watching all this. Fortunately he thought it was hysterical to watch me sneaking up slow footstep by slow footstep, especially since from his point of view the bird was obscured and he thought I was creeping up on a tree.
‘I’m actually working very hard!’ I shouted over to him and he seemed to accept it.
Here is what the woodpecker will look like as an adult, you can see that proud pose already forming in the photo I took:
I worked with Mateo today and got to hear another strange story.
You know how a rat steals an egg? Because rats like eggs, but they can’t carry it in their paws and still walk. But I’ve seen it, what they do is get another rat. And one holds onto the egg and the other pulls him by his tail.
The image of little Edgar rat (no reason why a rat shouldn’t be called Edgar in my view) with his paws wrapped around an egg, while Bertrude rat pulls his tail over her shoulder and drags him along, is just great.
After I posted about the cheeky fox at my work, Darnell and Calmgrove came up with the excellent fox names Talbot and Reynard. However it turns out that Shaily guessed where the story would go. Because the foxes (I found out there are two, conveniently since I have two names) have chosen a twisted path.
I was walking back from lunch and was surprised to see one of the foxes, Talbot I would guess, walking down the main path. Normally in daytime, when there are a fair few people about, the foxes are nowhere to be seen. Certainly not out in the sun. Then I saw that he was walking towards a toddler. Not quite stalking, but Talbot would stop every few steps and stare at the kid waddling about in a white jacket, then walk closer. This did not look right to me. Foxes don’t do that. It also didn’t look right to Jess and Mateo, who I saw were walking fast towards them.
Fox Talbot saw the two gardeners heading for him and did a few steps at a half-run, then stopped and stared at them. Then a couple more steps and then stood waiting. He didn’t seem afraid at all. When he did wander off, he sat a few metres away under a bush and had a bit of a roll around in the grass.
By now I’d made it over to the group and heard the child’s guardian explain what had been happening.
‘The foxes do come up to the kids sometimes. They’re not scared. Yesterday, one of them stole William’s ball. William chased after the fox to get it back, so the fox ran off. But then he came back with another fox, like he got reinforcements.’
I refuse to believe that Reynard and Talbot are bad foxes, they’re just misguided. But it does look like they might have set up an extortion business intimidating small children in order to take their toys.
This little guy was hanging about at my work today. Excuse the crappy photos, hopefully you can still see he’s a character from an unwritten children’s illustrated book. Unfortunately Fantastic Mr Fox is already taken, so I’ll need a new title – if you’ve got any ideas??
Erk! Having looked it up to check, I’ve discovered that Fantastic Mr Fox got made into a film where the fox looks like a chewed slipper. My fox would do a way better job. Look at that quizzical smile, those bright eyes.
Presumably at some point me and the fox will have a tea party together along with a cranky elf. We’ll go through a magic door, and then work out how to fly a rusty car abandoned in a field.