Not so long ago, they were the pests that made a mess on the lawn. But now they have crept into our homes their images on mugs, cushions and tea towels into TV adverts, fashion and literature
British cities are full of foxes. Within a mile of my home in east London, there is one with an organic gastro menu, one stuffed with feathers that, when plumped, makes my desk chair more comfortable, and another, in pen and ink, on the masthead of the Hackney Citizen. There is one on a mug, another on a toast rack, one on a poster advertising the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. And then, of course, there are the two one a little mangy, the other fine and bushy that visit my back garden. I say visit, but I doubt they see it like that.
Foxes are having a moment in popular culture. Admittedly, I have a highly sensitive fox radar, because four years ago I started to write a novel, called How to be Human, about a woman who sees a fox on her lawn one day, and thinks he winks at her. She becomes obsessed with him she never doubts he is a he and undergoes a, lets say, emotional rewilding. I had only written two chapters when Sarah Hall won the BBC short story award with Mrs Fox, and the Norwegian duo Ylvis released their song The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)? I remember feeling aghast that the fox was finished.