Welcome to Wallis World. Not only is this my first blog but it is also the day our website goes live. Anyone looking at Filthy Beasts could not help but notice that foxes appear quite frequently in my work, so I thought this might be a suitable moment to introduce a couple of them to you properly.
Fox number one was my father. Pa loved the early Disney cartoons and I think it gave him a feeling for exaggerating the facial expressions and mannerisms of animals. Dogs, I suppose, were actually his particular favourites to impersonate (for example, if my mother scratched his back for him he’d start kicking out a hind leg just like a dog would) but when he arched an eyebrow in a scheming, cunning manner he became all fox. I loved to watch him do that. I can promise you many funny little stories about him to come.
My second fox is my good friend Rufus of Cambridge and by coincidence, today is his birthday. Owing to his inspirationally disreputable urban nature he makes a marvellous subject. I once gave him a handsome, tooled leather fox mask for Christmas. He was most appreciative of his present and told me later that it was great for going through bushes as it protected his face from scratches and kept water off his nose. A neighbour soon reported to me that they had been walking along the tow path, late one foggy afternoon and probably in a slightly foggy state too, when they were startled by someone emerging from the mist wearing a purple velvet frock coat and a fox mask. Well, I think I know who that was. Happy Birthday, Rufus.