There I was, in the middle of the morning, chatting on the ‘phone and idly staring out of the window, across the lawn and the newly-bare winter trees.
A fox appeared. He walked under the mulberry tree, across the grass, and disappeared into the undergrowth some distance away. He was magnificent. As large as a labrador, with a sleek tawny-red coat, he was very fine as he strolled the full length of the garden, some small item of prey wedged between his jaws.
He was so very different from the urban foxes we see when we go to stay with my son and his family in London. After dark, we enjoy peeping through the curtains, watching them as they prowl up and down the street and stop to examine that unfamiliar car – ours. Compared with our country fox, these urban types are small, with duller coats that are ochre-red, rather mangy and bald in places. But look at what they eat. Our fellow will have feasted on a plentiful diet of rabbits and pheasants. Town fox investigates dustbins and fast-food litter, looking for the remains of a greasy, salty fried chicken meal, or a few crusts of pizza. He won’t starve, but he’ll be pretty ill-nourished.
We always enjoy our glimpses of those town foxes in London. But how much more excited I was yesterday when I saw the beast who, unhurried, stepped regally past.
And no. I haven’t got a photo of him. I’d have had to leave the window and miss those few special moments.