Everything around me was country perfect, birds in the trees, the sun shimmering on everything. “Tra-la-la twiddle-dee-dee, it’s peace and goodwill,” I sang. Then
I lobbed the empty wine bottle onto my mole-heap-dotted lawn. My two Weimaraners just stared at me. Smooth, grey-haired hunting dogs, long hanging ears and yellow eyes. Piercing eyes, I tell you.
I was a defeated Bacchanalian, a drunk, a loser. I had lost the battle against the moles. The moles now ruled my lawn. Once immaculately kept, it now looked like the battlefields of Verdun and the Somme. The Battle of the Moles was long and bitter, now all was lost, devastation ruled and my own end was nigh.
Two years ago, a mole or two or three hundred and sixty moved into the subterranean area of my lawn. And started tunnelling worse than the Vietcong tunnellers of the Cu Chi District. I studied my enemies, became an underground agent, a mole-e-cologist, a mole fighter. When moles catch their prey (earthworms, insect larvae and slugs), they paralyse it with a toxin and store it in their underground larders. There may be hundreds of earthworms stored for later consumption.
First I tried various traps and all kinds of anti-mole devices like firecrackers, waterboarding, gas, fire, spring-loaded spikes and poisons. When nothing worked, I turned to the sniper stage and lay in wait for them to surface, push their blind, little, pug-faced heads out into the open and then shot at them with my .22 rifle.
Mole heaps exploded at intervals, but never the bloody guts of these little tunnelling pests. I thought about importing anti-personnel mines and Bouncing Betties (German S-mines). Nothing worked.
Then I read a column by Ciscoe Morris, The Seattle Times garden writer who wrote, ‘I once met a gardener in England who successfully repelled moles using gadgets. He buried wine bottles part-way into the soil with the mouth aiming in a windward direction.
Upon visiting his garden I had to admit it worked, but I doubt the reason for the success was the sound the wind made whistling through the bottles. Rather I suspect the moles got tired of bumping their heads on the thousands of wine bottles buried in his small garden’.
I tried that with the hundreds of empty wine bottles that I had lying around, but the wind didn’t blow and the bottles didn’t sing. By then the environmentalists were up in arms and the other normal people thought I had cuckoos flying around in my head. My lawn looked like a piece of land art, an art installation. Then one of my only friends left brought me Jack.
“Jack,” he said, holding up this fierce-looking Jack Russell, “is the best mole killer in the world.” The Battle of the Moles had resumed. The one Weimaraner looked at the other Weimaraner and both looked at me and smiled. I am telling you, their yellow eyes twinkled and their soft, wrinkly mouths smiled.