IT IS not a good time to be a fox - I bet even dear old Basil Brush has gone into hiding. Maybe it's not surprising that these creatures are turning nasty: They've been persecuted by hunters for centuries.
A couple of years ago, leaving home early to walk to work in Uxbridge, I saw what I thought was a large tom cat or a small dog. It turned out to be a fox.
I stopped as it froze, blocking my way and daring me to pass. With my eyes fixed firmly on the fox I scrabbled in my bag for my phone and rang Mr F, who had the day off work.
He was half asleep and I won't repeat what he said; suffice to say it was not very helpful (I do have a history - remember when I told him there were puffins in the garden?).
It felt like High Noon in a spaghetti western. I kept my hand on my holster (mobile) as I walked slowly backwards in the direction of home, before leaping into the saddle of my Nissan Micra and driving to work, waving gingerly (ha) to the fox as I passed.
Sadly, the recent stories have not turned out so well, and if it happened again I would make sure all the neighbours were fox-aware, before scarpering.
Did you read that the errant 'reynard' may have gone into the house of the attacked twins after being attracted by the smell of milk and nappies?
It all sounds rather unsavoury, and reminded me of years ago when a toddler was visiting the Fisher household with his mum.
The boy, triumphant in the early year stages of potty training, had barely finished doing his doings when our Shetland sheepdog nudged him to one side and wolfed down the entire contents. I was embarrassed, his mother was startled, but worst of all, the dog licked his lips and smiled at us.
* FINALLY: Shopping in Uxbridge the other day it was good to hear the views of several readers of Bm@il.
Most disturbing was one who said they were having a discussion at work as to whether Mr F really exists.
Well he does, and he's now threatening to hi-jack the column one week. He says he will insist his picture goes at the top!