Thursday, January 5, 2023

Fox, Unfazed

Yesterday morning Olga and I were sitting on the couch when she suddenly leaped up and ran to the back door, on red alert. She stood on her back legs, paws on the glass, watching intently. I looked outside and saw this fox trotting nonchalantly across the garden.

The fox could see us through the glass but it didn't seem too concerned. It eventually headed back towards the "wilderness area" at the back of the garden, and I waited plenty of time after it disappeared before letting the dog out.

Nature in the big city!

My main task yesterday was to take a patch of dead ivy off the front of the house. The ivy had been growing there since we moved in nine years ago, but several months back Mr. Russia cut it off at the base to discourage it from climbing up the wall. It died, leaving an unsightly brown snarl. I gave it time to dry out, so it would be easier to remove, and then yesterday put up a ladder and painstakingly scraped it off the brickwork.

I'm a little paranoid because when I pulled down the dead vines, they took some paint chips off the upper floor of the house, and I'm afraid when the Russians see that they'll go ballistic. And no one wants ballistic Russians! I did my best to be careful. The front of the house could stand to be painted anyway. It hasn't been painted the whole time we've lived here.

We are having very balmy weather, with temperatures in the mid-50's F (about 13º C). I worked outside in shorts and a sweatshirt. The daffodils and snowdrops are coming up already, and nighttime temperatures aren't projected to dip below 41º F (5º C) for the next two weeks.

Oh, and Plumber No. 2 did come to fix the leaking pipe upstairs, and we never saw him -- so I guess he didn't need access to our flat after all, despite what Mrs. Russia said.

Here's our cambria orchid, Nelly Isler Red Velvet, in full bloom on the kitchen windowsill. A nice surprise in the dead of winter.

Last night we watched "White Noise" on Netflix, a movie by Noah Baumbach with Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. I'm not sure what to think about it. The dialogue felt stilted and weird, which may be because it was apparently taken almost word-for-word from Don DeLillo's 1984 novel. It centered on a professor in a small college town whose family must evacuate when a nearby train crash creates a "toxic airborne event," and the learn-as-you-go nature of that emergency seemed to presage Covid -- at least in my mind. It was also an exploration of media and misinformation. Overall I found it intriguing and then tiring. It seemed long. The end credits were fantastic, though, and possibly the best part of the whole film.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

"The Russian Upstairs" should have talked to you and/or your landlady before tackling the ivy. He should have also seen the job through - removing all the dead material instead of leaving this up to somebody else. If he blows up about the inevitable slight damage to the paintwork and rendering tell him to "**** off" back across The Urals.

Moving with Mitchell said...

I'd been curious about White Noise but the preview didn't grab me. We've got such a long list now. That orchid is beautiful. Ours have ... leaves. Stunning photos of the fox. Too bad it's not something you want to encourage in your garden.

River said...

That's a handsome fox, hope he doesn't come back and cause any damage.

Frances said...

Superb photo of a beautiful animal.

Andrew said...

That is a good close up fox photo but unfortunately, we have more foxes in suburban Melbourne than you do in London. I think they are part of England's natural environment but certainly are a pest species here.

As a friend used to say something like, Ivy can be so beautiful but don't let her take over your life.

I don't wear shorts at all but some lads and older would here at 13 degrees. You must have Betty Grable legs.

The orchid is a fantastic colour.

Marcia LaRue said...

I find it interesting that there are foxes roaming the backyards where you live!
My little purple orchid is producing flower buds already ... a full month earlier then usual!

Ms. Moon said...

I will send my fox to you where he will have a happy urban life and I can have chickens again.

Ed said...

"And no one wants ballistic Russians!"

I'm glad I wasn't drinking when I read that line or I would be cleaning off my screen right now.

Adam Driver is a love hate relationship for me. I dislike him as an actor because he seems so one dimensional but he usually acts in fairly decent movies. Since I like the premise of the movie, I'll probably add it to my list to watch it sometime.

Sharon said...

A friend just told something similar about that movie. She said she didn't really know what to think about it. Glad you are having some decent weather. It has finally started to warm up here but those poor people in northern California are getting hit pretty hard with heavy rain.

NewRobin13 said...

It always surprises me when you see a fox in your yard. Foxes in London? It does look healthy and well fed, so I guess it really is in its environment. So nice to be having warm balmy weather. Enjoy every sunshiny moment.

Rachel Phillips said...

The urban foxes are getting more and more bold and more and more over-running cities. I think it is a problem in the making. Babies attacked in cots has happened. Food almost ripped from my hand happened to me in Bethnal Green some years back. In fact when the fox looked set to attack I threw the food to it and ran to my door.

Red said...

Some wildlife does very well in urban areas. Two mule deer were in my back yard two nights ago.

Ellen D. said...

I watched White Noise the other night and I didn't like it after all. It didn't seem to go where I thought it would go and then it went off on that weird tangent with the pill guy. I just was disappointed with it at the end.

Pixie said...

I looked at the trailer for White Noise but it didn't grab me, too chaotic.

You were right about the photo shoot with Jamie Lee Curtis, not underwear, although she ends up shot in her underwear, but photoshopping. Thank you.

And that fox, he's so beautiful.

Margaret said...

What a beautiful fox! I love Adam Driver but I'm not sure about the film. Perhaps I should just watch the end?

Boud said...

Foxes have lived in cities for ages, I think. Certainly it's not unusual to see one round here in a parking lot. Less common in the trees, so I guess human closeness offers more.

Ivy is a terrible plant against walls, very damaging when the hair roots get into the wall fabric. Not surprised some debris is coming away. If the Russian neighbors object, make them a present of it!

Kelly said...

Your fox is gorgeous! I can understand Olga's excitement in seeing it! We have red and grey foxes around here, but don't see them very often. They tend to be nocturnal and are fairly shy.

gz said...

A good healthy fox!
They are thriving in urban areas due to untidy, more rodents and discarded food.

Allison said...

That is a good looking fox. Their ability to adapt is amazing. I wish they would eat more rats.

The Padre said...


Janie Junebug said...

I've been wondering about White Noise. I don't want to watch it if the best thing about it is the credits, so it's been moved to a low spot on To Be Watched.


Jim Davis said...

That is a really good looking Fox. Clearly he/she is not missing any meals. Amazing critters, as adaptable as Coyotes.

Bob said...

Not for nothing, but we've seen the havoc one ballistic Russian can do; imagine two Russians?????

sparklingmerlot said...

Foxes are gorgeous animals but, sadly, adapt too well to urban (and suburban) live and wreak havoc on pets and native species. Tasmania has spent millions trying to eradicate them and keep them out of the state with varying degrees of success.
The Russians continue to baffle and entertain in equal portions.
Thank your for the review - I won't bother as I was on the fence.

Debby said...

It is always a shock to see your foxes in an urban setting. I guess it happens here, but I'm NOT in an urban setting, so I forget about it until it is called to my attention.

ellen abbott said...

I haven't spotted the foxes I saw crossing the back of my property again. We do have a possum that lives under the house. I don't know if it has learned not to come in the little fenced part of the yard where I let the dog out at night before bed but just in case I always knock on the glass in the door and turn on the light before I let Minnie out. She still charges out barking like mad towards the fence and chased something up a tree the other night.

That orchid is gorgeous! My daffodils are starting to come up already too. Yours always bloom before mine. I'll put movies or shows on a list to watch that people write about but I think I'll pass on White Noise.

Jeanie said...

Can't believe the snowdrops are already popping. The world is in one weird climate mess, isn't it? I'd love to see a fox but probably wise to keep Olga inside. Let's hope the Russians aren't busy checking up on the outside of the house!

Steve Reed said...

YP: He did mention that he was going to cut it, but he did nothing about removing it from the wall and it was unsightly.

Mitchell: Well, they need leaves before they can have flowers, so don't give up! :)

River: We've never had them cause a problem, aside from occasionally bringing garbage onto the lawn.

Frances: He's so healthy-looking!

Andrew: I had no idea you even have foxes in Australia. They must have been imported for hunting?

Marcia: Yeah, several of our orchids have buds. It always surprises me how they develop in winter, but I guess that's in time for spring flowering!

Ms Moon: I'm sure seeing a fox is a whole different experience for you. I hope this post wasn't triggering!

Ed: I think he's a more capable actor than his movies indicate. Those Star Wars films, for example, just don't require much depth.

Sharon: I really WANTED to like it, but at the end of the day I'm not sure I did.

Robin: There are quite a few foxes wandering around. Some of them look pretty haggard but this one appears healthy.

Rachel: I've never found them threatening. And cars dispatch a lot of them, so there is some population control, as cruel as that sounds.

Red: Deer seem to show up more and more in suburban areas of North America these days. We don't have them here in London, though! (Not wandering wild, anyway, except in certain designated parks.)

Ellen D: Yeah, I hear you. The bit toward the end with the pills was less interesting to me.

Pixie: I remembered that because it showed me the power of Photoshop, and what magazine editors do to make people "beautiful." (And thus an unattainable ideal.)

Margaret: I wouldn't say DON'T watch it, but be prepared for a meandering film experience. If you give up definitely fast-forward to the end credits. :)

Boud: I will try to argue that the ivy damaged the wall without my intervention!

Kelly: Ours are more nocturnal than not, but they do get around in the daytime when they're hungry. Fortunately we don't have any rabies in the UK!

GZ: London definitely has problems managing solid waste, so I'm not surprised the foxes find things to snack on.

Allison: I think they DO eat rats, and pigeons too, but probably mostly garbage.

Padre: That is a foxy fox!

Janie: Well, I hate to discourage you, because you might love it. To each his or her own!

Jim: Sometimes they look pretty rough, but yeah, this one appears to be quite healthy.

Bob: Exactly! Ballistics and Russians do not go well together! (Nor, in all fairness, do Ballistics and Americans.)

Caro: I can see how they'd be a problem in a place like Tasmania where they're not native. If only those Thylacines were still around to fight them off!

Debby: Yeah, I wonder how urban they are in the states. I don't ever remember hearing about foxes turning up in urban New York, though we did have a possum once in Manhattan!

Ellen: Olga always runs out and streaks toward the back wall, because if the foxes are in the garden that's where they'll most likely be. Dogs are so funny. Defending the territory!

Jeanie: Snowdrops usually show up in January here, as I recall. Sometimes by the end of the month we have daffodils blooming! It's still too early for that, though.