The Industrious Mr Fox – The Only Worker In Town

On Saturday last, I spent a good deal of my valuable time waiting for a rogue urban fox to appear, so I could find out how he is getting into our garden and attempt block his entrance. It seems the little red rotter has been stealing from our bins and nibbling at my green beans, which I know because I saw him late one night out of my bedroom window. I didn’t even know foxes ate vegetables, I am beginning to wonder if he was stealing leftover duck skins from the compost bin and taking it along the the vegetable patch so he could have a proper meat and two veg dinner in my garden.

So I spent a good hour in hiding. By which I mean I sat in my shed, binoculars at the ready with a few bottles of Baron Filchits Dirty Brown Ale and a chicken sandwich to keep me company.

As anyone who has ever been to watch a professional cricket match knows, there is a peace and inner calm that comes from sitting for a very long time in the sun, waiting for something interesting to happen. At Lords or the Oval you might be suddenly distracted and plucked from your reverie by various odd characters called ‘Corky’ or ‘Blue’ or “Smithers” or by the extravagant sound of champagne corks popping and cries of “£25 for a ruddy cheese sandwich?”, whereas in the relative peace of my back garden there is precious little to distract a flaky soul on most occasions. However, on Saturday I was rather taken aback by the the distant sound of Mrs Drew, loudly grumbling about the postman.

So I gave up my ‘hide’ and trundled in to see what was the matter. Mrs Drew was in a very cross mood indeed, and for once, it wasn’t me who had poked the bear, so I earned brownie points by being empathetic. It seems our illustrious postman had just left a parcel on the front doorstep, without buzzing the door and, again, had pushed post addressed to two of our neighbours through our letter box, the reason being, we take it, that they live in upstairs flats either side of us and he can’t be bothered to walk up the stairs. Mrs Drew was furious.

She has a point. Our postman is the most lazy, miserable mailman in the history of the postal service. He complains about the weight of his post, even though he pushes it around in a souped up red perambulator, grumbles about the length of the path to our house, and moans about heat when its hot and the cold when it’s cold, despite the fact that he wears shorts at all times of the year like a grumpy, gloomy, coughing overage schoolboy. And I don’t think he’s very fit, as he seems to need a breather half way up our steps to the front door and there are only six of them.

Running, delivering, smiling…long trousers!. Ah the old days!

It seems ludicrous to me to take a job that involves a lot of walking if you A/ Don’t like walking and B/ Can’t walk.

We call him Postman Prat and we are thinking of starting a blog on his behalf, “20 Ways to Be A Postman Without Actually Delivering The Post”. On one occasion he even asked the vicar, coming up our path, to deliver the post for him.

Personally I think that if he could have his way he would just ride by on a motorbike, flinging the post randomly at houses as he went, like a an American kid delivering newspapers.

He is, in fact, one of a growing number of workers’ who don’t seem to ‘work’ like wot they used to.

Take, as an example, our refuse disposal operatives, who used to be known as dustbin men or simply bin men until I was recently corrected by my niece (she’s in marketing). They have a number of their own special rules which they add each week at will, including…

  1. No collection  if it’s not in a black bag
  2. No collection if it is in a black bag
  3. No collection if it’s raining
  4. No collection if it’s snowing
  5. No collection on any day but a Wednesday
  6. No collection on every other Wednesday
  7. No collection if we don’t want to

And as for the recycling people. Why can you recycle plastic milk bottles but not the tops? Why can you recycle plastic bags but not plastic wrapping? Are these rules made up to send us mad? I think so.

And if you add to this our local milkman (yes we still have one) who has recently taken to leaving us low-fat strawberry yoghurt we didn’t ask for.. is he trying to tell me something? I am beginning to wonder if anybody can be bothered to do anything properly anymore.

Which is why I am going back into the garden this Saturday to look for that fox again, because the one thing foxes do is their job, stealing stuff. They stick at it and they do it with pride. I  am going to shake reynard by the paw and offer him as many green beans and duck leftovers as he wants. He’s earned them.

Enjoy your garden    Drew Hardy

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