Thursday 22nd December
The fox; we have always had a strange relationship with the fox. Traditionally farmers hated them and rich folk rode around in red jackets and a pack of hounds and hunted them in a highly ritualized manner; the Hunt as much a social rite of passage and one-upmanship as a real attempt to rid the countryside of what were considered vermin.
And then there is the ‘morphism’ of the fox; throughout History they have been awarded special human characteristics of cunning (that sly old fox Reynard) and an almost sinister slinking devilishness. Elton John made a record titled The Fox (one of my favourites) especially the title track where Elton is the fox, sly and scheming. And cartoon foxes are never really nice, even Basil Brush had a sinister laugh and was not exactly cuddly…boom boom.
And even in this Twenty-first Century men in pink coats are preparing to hunt the fox this Boxing day, and call it sport too – well it isn’t my definition of sport that’s for sure. And the strange thing is that foxes may still be around in the countryside but they have moved into the cities big time. Here, especially in London, there is plenty of rubbish for them to scavenge with all the take-away joints and black bags sitting on the pavement waiting for collection. Walking the dogs I see them, slinking along and driving the dogs mad; they have little fear of humans here in the city who are mostly tucked up in bed or slinking along some opposite pavement themselves. And my heart goes out to Mr. Fox, the ultimate survivor, living on his wits and outwitting the men in pink coats. He may be sly and cunning, but maybe we have driven him to use all of his intelligence to evade us, the most sly and cunning of enemies in the whole wild world.