There is a vixen living in the garden next to mine, with two cubs. I haven’t seen them but if I go out there at dusk I hear a scrabbling and banging as one of them goes over the fence, and my cat Maisie won’t go out at all.
They visit my garden at night and leave evidence of their antics in the form of horrible rubbish; plastic bags, food wrappers, bits of foil and soggy kitchen paper. I once found a bag of old make-up remover pads and dead false eye-lashes. This is strewn all over the lawn and borders. They have also dug a hole under my fence into next door’s garden. It gives an odd feeling of chaos to look at my lawn now, as if my garden has suddenly become part of the pavement at the front.
I was doing a bit of gardening before lunch, picked up some stray sticks and took them to the compost heap – this is not really what you might call authentic compost, of the sort seen on TV contained in neat wooden structures, more a load of old branches and twigs I can’t be bothered to cut up, which get stacked up on a wall behind the shed, along with grass cuttings and weeds. The thing has got very large and unwieldy in the past, and once contained a wild bees’ nest.
I reached out with the detritus and found that the compost heap had gone. Vanished. Just not there. I stared at a flatish pile of old leaves.
Some grass cutting had been shoved down onto the path along with a wet plastic bag, but my pile of organic matter was missing. The foxes have taken it all for their nest, and just left me with the spare shreds of unpleasant plastic they don’t want.
They are nothing if not green.
Since I came back from Poland Maisie has been behaving slightly oddly, by sleeping on my clothes. She always used to roost in the folded back duvet, sinking into it until she almost disappeared. Now she has been curled up on my pillow on my nightdress, and today she was on the mattress sheet on top of my t-shirt. She looks as if she’s clutching the things to her. I won’t mention that I’m going away again soon, to New York on the Queen Mary.