They come at the same time each evening, gliding out of the shadows.
You could set your watch by them.
There is a rustle of leaves, the sound of something moving through the undergrowth, before they burst through the bushes and into the garden.
They scurry across the grass and find another gap in the fence, disappearing again in the blink of an eye.
The family of urban foxes that live in the strip of woodland beside our house are surprisingly bold. We sit quietly in the garden, waiting for them.
A single fox appears and catches sight of us. He stops to stare. We stay still, watching to see what he does.
After a few moments, he comes closer, his face peeping around the corner of the old brick barbeque that sits at the edge of the garden, just a foot away from us.
Then he’s gone. We listen to the sound he makes as he moves through the woods behind us.
We look at each other, amazement on our faces.
When he returns, he expects to see us there. He wants to investigate. His nose stretching out cautiously to touch my feet, as I sit cross legged on the grass. I have to move a little and frighten him back a short leap. I don’t want him to get too close.
Every night they appear in our garden, this family of urban foxes.
During the day, the garden becomes the domain of a gang of grey squirrels, who squabble with the magpies over food. But by night, it belongs to the foxes, only occasionally disturbed by a passing hedgehog.
They’ve ghosted across the lawn each night for three weeks. For almost a year before that we would hear them in the woods, but we never once saw them.
And then there they were.
I hope they aren’t gone again as quickly.