For years I've been reviewing children's books (not to mention the occasional bits of non fiction and several books on Lewis Carroll) for our local paper, known to all as the "Ham and High." But it wasn't till last night that I got along to the pub to meet everyone. At long last I could put faces on Barry, Katie, Jo and the other hitherto cyberpeople I'd been dealing with by phone and email. They were all extremely nice and I rather wished I could work in their office instead of in my lonely cupboard here at home.

Among the other freelancers was the writer of the wildlife column. Since this is Inner London I asked if he covered Hampstead Heath, which is in our "patch." No, he said, he usually sticks with REAL London - streets, buildings, etc. His last column was about eating some mushrooms ihe found growing in Islington.

He was a knowledgable environmental officer with Islington council & set me right on the difference between the moths that have been locally infesting the rice and the ones which have been infesting the clothes (moths are incredibly fashionable in London at present). I expect he knows all about bedbugs, which are also almost de rigeur in parts of London these days, but luckily not in our house.

I should have told him about the fox who lives in the communal garden at the back of us. He used to be so mangy, but then a wildlife lover left out some meat liberally laced with anti mange medicine. The fox is now the picture of radiant health and strolls around in broad daylight, often when people are having picnics in the garden.