Sweet Dreams Reynard
11.55 a.m. In My Garden, Brockley, South East London.
I had in mind today to get up early, finish the packing, sort through some paperwork and generally be prepared for next weeks move. But, as I opened up the blinds this morning to a slate grey sky and persistent rain I spotted this wonderful creature out in the garden.
It's not unusual to see foxes wandering through the garden, but it's usually late in the afternoon when they sometimes come in and catch the late afternoon or at the end of the day when usually a gang of them can heard rustling in the bushes or running around the garden playing. Al fresco coitus on the other hand is an completely different matter and the noise makes you wonder if any pleasure can be derived from it. But, I digress.
A motionless fox was in my garden has the rain pored down. I wondered if it had died until I saw it move it's head, look around and slump back onto the ground. Not even me cutting up apples and throwing them out into the garden could rouse it. I wondered if I had come across a depressed fox and contemplated inviting it to be part of a flat-share. Eventually it moved, but sadly it's back legs seemed to badly injured. Clearly still half asleep I scrambled through boxes looking for a yellow pages, before coming to the logical conclusion of looking up the RSPCA online.
This now offset an hour long task of speaking to call centres, specialist RSPCA centres and individual members of staff and something called 'The Broom Test' which is to see how injured a wild though in this case sophisticated animal is and even if badly injured it should try and escape.In torrential rain I headed out into the garden and saw this beautiful creature look up at me with a look of slight trepidation but more that it knew maybe it couldn't get much worse than some idiot with a broom standing in front of it speaking to it like a small child. After informing the RSPCA that the test with the broom hadn't been a success I was told that someone would be with us within an hour. During that time I even tried to make amends by previously patronising it by trying to keep it sheltered from the rain
The nice man from the RSPCA arrived, blessed me for trying to protect the poor creature from the rain and pulled it up by it's coat and inspected it and looked resigned. As a child if I heard the sentence 'I'm afraid I'm going to have to put him to sleep' I would have been mortified, but as you get older I suppose you become slightly more matter of fact of such things. As he went to his van to collect his small black bag I sat and talked to the fox. I'd feel sorry for any living creature that had me to comfort them in their last moments of life and even worse photographing them on my phone. But, it was wonderful to be so close to one of the most attractive members of British Wildlife. And ironic that in my formative years in semi-rural Shropshire never saw a fox, but now in London take them almost for granted.
As the RSPCA man walked back into the garden, I was told that I may not want to watch this. It only dawned on me when he uttered the words and I noticed he didn't have anything resembling having a vets bag what would happen. I turned walked to the other end of the garden and heard a noise reminiscent of a branch snapping and it was over. I hope he's in a better place.