I WOULD like to add my two penn’orth to the everyday story of fox-debating folk.
I’d like to know if any of your readers have ever witnessed, and I know Penny Little would have, being a true country ‘swede-basher’ as I am, the following as well.
A few years ago, I was taking a gang of women walkers along the Oxford Canal, by Souldern Wharf, to Somerton. I noticed a fox, about 100 yards into the next field, acting rather strangely. I alerted my girls to the spectacle, who were ever interested in learning country matters first hand.
The fox was stamping its forefeet on the ground, then pouncing, each time grabbing some small creature in its mouth and stowing them there. I soon realised they were moles.
When it had about three, it trotted off, with no regard for us whatsoever.
I later related this story to a wise, old gamekeeper, of many years standing, who said “ah yes, they feed their young with them, I’ve seen one catch as many as six, hold them all in its mouth, then make off to its lair”.
It’s wonderful what one can see in the countryside if you stay in one place long enough.
As an open-air artist, I was once treated to a wonderful sight. At the time I was lurking in a hedge, sketching a far distant village scene, when a magnificent vixen came trotting my way.
I froze, not blinking an eyelid. It stopped just one yard from me. I could have touched it. The vixen then sniffed the air and carried on, on its way, in a dignified fashion.
One other encounter I had with Reynard was in the Croughton quarry, by RAF Croughton. I was repairing a 60-ton earth moving machine when suddenly the hunt and dogs were surrounding me. I shut my machine off and retreated into the vast lime shed nearby.
And, lo and behold, there was the poor old fox, shivering and shaking at the top of a 10-ton heap of lime. I said: “You stay there Reynard” and I shut the steel doors fast.
On re-appearing, back to my work, the hunt leader beckoned, saying: “I say, ol’ chep, hev you seen a bloody fux about?” I said: “Yes, sir, and he was heading towards Evenley in a hell of a hurry.”
With that it was hunting horns to the fore, and they were gone. When all was clear, I opened the steel doors, later witnessing old Reynard tiptoeing away.
I felt very gratified and then finished repairing the machine.
TONY O’GORMAN Main Street Hethe