When we left Scotland in 1991 we bought a house on the edge of Shiptonthorpe , a tiny village halfway between York and Hull . The house had 4 acres of land , consisting of Garden , Woodland and a large field where my Daughter kept her two horses , Charlie and Floss . The garden was beautifully landscaped with sweeping lawns and a huge fishpond with " waterfall " .and the pond was surrounded by a rockery and some particularly lovely flower beds .It was visited by families of ducks , who waddled up the garden with their babies "cheeping " in a long line behind them . Shy Moorhens scuttled behind the reeds and hid whenever we passed and every morning , bright and early , a Heron stood motionless at the waters edge , hoping for a glimpse of breakfast . It was a tranquil haven of cool green grass and shady trees , of the scent of flowers and the sound of birdsong . The field was lush and the horses happily grazed , their glossy coats gleaming in the sunlight . The wood was home to warrens of rabbits and birds of all kinds including cuckoos , owls and a woodpecker . It was nature at its best , everything in harmony ......... blissful !
Blissful until the arrival of interlopers ........... in the form of Moles ! At first it was charming to see the occasional molehill here and there . Moles are the " little gentlemen in velvet jackets " ...... the Moley of " Wind in the Willows " living happily in his subterranean world . But soon it became ridiculous , the damage the moles were doing was unbelieveable . Great piles of soil and huge holes everywhere . I twisted my ankle in one and my daughter became worried that one of the horses would break a leg if they stepped into one of the gaping holes that were appearing all over the field . The lawns were being destroyed and plants dying from being continually dug up .
It became clear that something had to be done . As animal lovers we were very reluctant to do anything at all but our gardener said that he would get a trap and show Hubby how to set it as the mole numbers definitely needed reducing . Well I think Hubby was so reluctant to do this that he didnt watch the demonstration very well and consequently the trap was not very successful and only two moles were actually caught . Even this made us quite sad as we didnt like killing things . The gardener also tried smoke bombs but we didnt like that either so that method was abandoned too .The problem was still there though so we resorted to asking everyone we knew at dog shows and other places for advice . It seemed everyone had a different method for humanely scaring off moles ! Put holly in the tunnels ........... put various foul-smelling mixtures in the tunnels ..... oh all sorts of weird and wonderful things that were all " guaranteed " to persuade the moles to dig elsewhere ! But of course nothing worked . The molehills multiplied and in desperation Hubby tried the trap again , this time it didnt work at all ( thankfully ) It seemed that the rabbits had teamed up with the moles and ran around and " sprung " the trap each time it was set !! We became the entertainment for friends and family , who enquired daily about the " mole situation " and almost cried laughing as we related the latest lack of progress .
It was our custom to host a barbeque in our garden after the annual Leeds Dog Show and many people attended . They all thought the molehills were hilarious and some witty chaps sneaked out and put huge heaps of soil on the paved patio , then shouted , " Oh look , theyve even tunnelled through the paving slabs ! Wow , these moles are invincible !!" and many guests brought us stuffed toy moles and a "mole" tea-towel and other mole themed objects ! ........ Ha , bloody ha !!!
Two days after the barbeque we received a letter and newspaper cutting from one of our friends in Birmingham . The newspaper article was about getting rid of moles by putting a tape player in the garden and playing rock music . Apparently moles dont like the vibrations ! We laughed at this idea , but we tried it and a couple of days later I wrote the following poem and sent it to our friend :
" This is the tale of a fellow called Een,
With a lovely garden and lawn flat and green.
He tended it daily and mowed it each week,
And when weeds appeared he gave them a tweak.
On rising one morning , a warm rosy dawn ,
He spied a big pile of soil on his lawn .
No time for his coffee , a fag or a cough
He just grabbed his spade and shovelled it off .
But during the day , when the sun brightly burned ,
To Ians dismay two molehills returned .
For the rest of the week , well he almost cried
Cos each time he moved them , they just multiplied .
So Ian decided a hard line to persue
And took some advice on just what to do .
He bought all the smokebombs , displayed on the shelf ;
" I'll get the buggers " he said to himself .
He lit the blue touch paper , sat back and waited
And then , for a while , the molehills abated .
But just a month later saw hills end to end ,
I think all the moles had come back , with a friend .
So Ian decided to try out a trap
The sort that squashes the sods with a snap !
So he got a long stick and poked in the ground
And followed the tunnels that went round and round .
He planted the trap and went in for his tea
And soon caught one and chortled with glee ,
" Ive caught one ! Ive caught one , now Im in clover
Soon all my trouble with moles will be over ! "
He caught one or two , or , wait , was it three ?
And gained admiration from his family .
His wife said , " Oh Een , youre a wonderful man ,
Protecting us from moles , as only you can ! "
Even the puppies watched Een with pride ,
As he opened the bin and dropped moles inside .
But soon the grin was wiped from his face ,
As molehills appeared all over the place.
The moles were too clever to all end up dead,
So around the traps they tunnelled instead .
And Ian began to get really glum
Cos each trap that sprung was an empty one .
And deep in their tunnels the moles all did scoff ,
They'd just asked the rabbits to set the traps off.
Well the battle raged on for many a day,
Those bloody moles would not go away .
Ian tried all the tricks with holly and such ,
But they didnt work .... well not very much !
Then a letter arrived in the post on bright morn ,
At first the idea Een did scorn .
But persuaded by wifey to have one last try,
He went off to Tesco and proceeded to buy
A pile of batteries and a certain tape .
The checkout assistant really did gape !
Then rushing back home , he plugged it all in
And then sat back with a tonic and gin .
After an hour of Des O'Connors tones
The moles were all packing and leaving their homes .
The tape and the batteries were surely no waste
Because thankfully even moles have taste .
I know you are all animal lovers so please allow for poetic license in the poem . No moles were hurt in the writing of this blog .
And YES , it did work !!