Rife incompetence and Scavenger Halloween

Just a mish mash of events today.

First event is ridiculous. I was in a bit of a daze as I made my way across the station to catch my second train this morning. At London Bridge they have huge escalators and there’s no particular logic which ones go up and which go down. Sometimes they all go down and you see tragic figures walking their way up a hundred stairs to catch their train. Anyway, I reached the bottom of the escalator and looked up at the board to see that my train was late. I was trying to work out if the next one was too, as I put a foot on the escalator. I heard someone shout ‘Careful!’ and then I shot backwarsd, grabbing onto the handrail as my feet were taken from underneath me. Turned out I was trying to go up on the down escalator. Dignity lost!

However, I did find Halloween while doing the mowing. A few days late, granted. The first find was an eyeball peeking up at me, that luckily turned out to be a bouncy ball. You can see that and the other two in the picture. I’ve given them to Dan who likes to learn tricks with frisbees and footballs and whatever else we find for him to play with.

Dan was also joined by one of the foxes today. He tried to scare it away by hitting the ground with the rake, clapping the leaf grabbers together and generally making aggressive noises. Reynard fox sat down and watched him, curious to see such a silly display of not-scary behaviour. It then climbed into the bag he was using and sat watching him from the comfort of leaves.

Deterring those foxes!

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?

Gangster Foxes: Talbot and Reynard

When adorable foxes go bad…

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.

What do we do now?

Fantastic Mr Fox

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.

And here:

He’s winking!

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.

Me vs. Tree. I lose.

Red Fox cub
As you can see from the watermark, I nicked this from Warren photographic

I’ve been keeping busy in the lockdown.

I was hanging out at the end of my garden today. I pruned the apple tree in winter and I’ve been terrified it wouldn’t bud. However, it’s sprouting like a trooper, blossom abounding, so I was getting a close up look. Then I noticed a fox the other side of the tree, standing staring at me. So I stood and stared at her for a bit. And she stared at me. I thought, This is nice. We’re having a moment. Then she ran over to the fence where a small animal was trundling through a hole into my garden. It looked like a puppy, squat and dark brown, with a stubby tail. I’ve seen fox cubs before, but they didn’t look like that. The fox tried to nudge the pup back through the hole, and when it wouldn’t go she gripped it with her mouth to try and pick it up. I shifted around the tree to get a better look and saw there were four or five of these little puppies squeezing through the hole, ignoring the fox trying to get them back out again. They were crawling underneath her while she tried to sit on them so they couldn’t, all the while still gripping the one pup by the neck. She kept looking over at me warily, no doubt thinking I was up to no good.

IMG_20200413_160827

I decided I needed to get my phone to try and get a picture and quickly turned, smacking my face straight into a thick tree branch of my lovely pruned tree. I didn’t knock myself out, but had to sit on the ground for a bit with my head in my hands. When I looked later my eye had gone a bit purple, and there were scratches and bumps across the lid and up my forehead in a clear line.

Anyway, now I’ve looked it up, those dog-like pups are exactly what fox cubs look like when they’re very small. No wonder the fox was protective and suspicious. Hopefully, having seen me walk into a tree she’ll have realised I’m not even slightly a threat.