Gaspard, The Handsomest Fox in London came to visit one day with an injured leg and has continued to call ever since. The name was chosen because it rhymes with Renard (the French for fox) and forms the title of a Ravel piano suite ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’.
For a long time (without making an indelicate inspection) we assumed she was a he - and then the cubs appeared. There is a Mr. Gaspard although he is a paws-off parent. It was an unexpected and magical connection to something wild in the middle of the city and over time an extraordinary bond of trust seemed to develop.
Gaspard knew the sound of my Brompton bicycle (foxes have extraordinary hearing) and would often appear at my side just as I was folding it. She would sit patiently to watch and we would just 'hang out' together on the doorstep until something else caught her attention. When she brought the cubs to visit it was a heart-stoppingly special moment.
Gaspard is a facilitator of conversations with strangers, not just my neighbours but with people all over the world and is to be the subject of a series of children's books illustrated by James Mayhew, released next May.