Friday, 13 July 2018

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

No. Not that one. The one in the middle of this group of three friends. The one who was friends with our Dad (that's Dad in the pink shirt) for over 50 years.

The one who came to see us off when we moved to Canada as little kids with an armful of the very best books (box sets of the first 5 Doctor Dolittles, the Narnia series and an E. Nesbitt set including the Wouldbegoods, Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, The Story of the Amulet and THE RAILWAY CHILDREN!) and and a stuffed kangaroo for me and a koala for my sister.

The one who joined our family for all the events and made us laugh at the absurdities of the world. The one who cheered my Dad with constant company when he was laid up with a sore foot. The one who lent us his tiny apartment in Brussels - my Dad slept on a chair on the balcony. The one who would call out of the blue to tell us of some interesting find he'd been researching or some outrage he was working to rectify.

The one who regaled us with tales of my Dad's mispent youth - and beyond - in London.

He loved to tell the story of a time my Dad was catching up with old friends at The Bell on Fleet Street on a trip back to "old Blighty". My sister and I were too young to go into the pub and were hanging out with our Mum in the St. Bride's courtyard. We came to the door and called out to our Dad that we were hungry. Our Dad responded by chucking a couple of bags of crisps at us and ordering another pint. Every time Mr. Fox told the story, it would send him off into gales of giggles as he mimicked our piteous cries and my father's indifference.

None of us remember it quite like that but who cares. It is funnier and foxier his way. I have always loved the story of the journalist who hid in the bathtub in Cyprus but I won't try and recreate it here. I couldn't do it justice and it probably is only barely true anyway.

The funny stories, punctuated with roars of laughter, that got wilder and wilder as they lurched towards a hilarious conclusion, is one of the many things we'll miss about the fantastic Mr. Fox. He was a great friend, great company and filled every room with his great spirit.

Cheerio. Pom pom.

Here are some of the things people have written about Mr. Fox:

And here is what he wrote about my Dad:

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