It started, innocently enough, around four years ago. Returning home one Thursday night, there he was. Tripping along the pavement with his nose in the air.
This was the most urbane and elegant of foxes, entirely at home in his central London domain. He’d left his top hat and silver cane with the doorman and was about to have dinner. It was all set out and waiting for him in the black bin liner for the dustman by my front door.
Over time, he became less of a bachelor gadabout and settled down with a mate. I’d spot the pair of them curled up in the sun on the conservatory roof opposite. Aaaah, I thought. They look like a cosy couple on the beach. Then, late one evening, I heard terrifying wails from over the garden fence.
Sure enough, a few weeks later three little cubs came scampering over a wall. A lighter colour than their parents, they looked like delicate ghosts flitting among my ferns.
Then, one morning I awoke to find a huge pile of earth at the end of my tiny garden. Someone had dug two huge holes and uprooted plants. Next to this, like a calling card, was some unfortunate creature’s desiccated skull. My suspicions as to the perpetrator seemed to be confirmed when a cheeky face with pointy ears peered down over the fence and looked as me as if to say “What are you doing on my patch?”
So now they’re no longer loveable neighbours. In fact they’re full-on pests. Google told me they hate the scent of urine, so I peed in a bucket, poured it on newspapers and shoved them down the hole. Cayenne pepper was mooted as a deterrent, but didn’t work (perhaps because the use-by date was June 2002?). I then bought a product called Scoot that had no effect and was all set to get lion dung from London Zoo until a friend said it, too, definitely doesn’t work. As far as I can see, there’s absolutely nothing we can do to see them off.
Does anyone out there have any other ideas? Help, before we’re overrun!