Hayley Matthews: Bin there, done that to help fox hunger pangs

Bin bags are a temptation for foxes

Bin bags are a temptation for foxes

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Being an animal lover and a bit of a hippie at heart (I have a white fluffy cat cuddling into my shoulder whilst purring and slavering down my back as I type) and living in the city, I’m always aware of the impact us humans have on the wildlife, especially the slinky urban foxes. I’ll tell you about my relationship with foxes and food in a moment but first let me tell you how I decided to talk about these beautifully strong, independent animals.

It all started at 7.15 on Tuesday morning, when the black bag for the big street bin had been forgotten about (by whom at this point is not important – and caused a full-blown household debate) and had been ripped apart during the night. The front gate had been left open, that one was completely my fault! I’d already dressed myself in gold heels with “glam” in mind as Tom from The Wanted was coming to the Studio so I wanted to look “foxy”. Mr Hayley shouts as he’s leaving “you’ll need to put the bin bag together, there’s a few things in the garden” A few? Try the entire contents from the bin, which consisted of but was not limited to; the entire contents of the cat jobby tray, left-over curry, oil from the wok, lots of loo roll and ripped paper and the odd unidentifiable object. Mr Fox had also needed to answer the call of nature whilst rummaging, so with gold heels and marigolds on, whilst insisting to my five-year-old that there really was nothing to see, I scooped up all contents of the bin, the poop from my garden wall, and the other wall, and the diarrhoea that was plastered along the path and waved as cars and passers-by beeped and laughed during the morning rush. Apparently the fox jobbies are a way of “marking your territory”. I’d much have preferred a note that read: “Mr Fox woz ’ere, apologies for the mess.”

I thank my mum for my urban fox awareness abilities. She is always cooking, always feeding people and animals and never likes anyone going hungry (ironically she’s a size 10, slim and doesn’t overeat) and she does make very good curries.

This awareness of how privileged we are that we have enough food and water to survive however, leaves me with a lot of guilt. I feel guilty for being more fortunate than my fellow humans, 795 million of whom don’t have enough food or access to clean water.

The amount of times I‘ve had someone on the telly make my dinner and thought, all I want to do is send it to the other end of the world for some poor wee soul who hasn’t eaten for days.

Unfortunately we don’t have to go far too find kids or adults who haven’t had a meal all weekend. For some, in this country anyway, we have food banks. So I think of myself as a food bank for the hairy four-legged type. And trust me, if a child or adult came to me and asked if they could come for tea, I’d bring them in for a good feeding.

So I’ve learnt my lesson to always put my black bags in the bin and I’ll continue to do my best to reduce food waste (because we waste so much as a nation) but what can’t be recycled, Mrs Fox will find in a Tupperware dish in a dark leafy corner. PS they don’t like onions.

Hayley Matthews is a presenter on STV2