Although the average gardener shudders at the sight of a row of mole heaps appearing on a freshly mown lawn, I mostly rake them flat or scoop the freshly turned soil to use for potting lavender cuttings or something like that. The neighbouring hound often watches an active mole heap with great interest, his nose twitching as the mound of soil shifts and swells. The movement stops and starts irregularly, but often enough to maintain interest.
Sometimes the symmetrical shape of the mole heap is broken by the surfacing of a cylindrical plug of compacted soil that rises above it like a sentinel – until it dries and collapses, the grains of sand added to the mound. Occasionally the mound collapses inward, exposing the entrance to a tunnels that leads to who knows where.
Now and then said hound will appear with a soil covered muzzle, indicating a fruitless search for the great tunneller and mountain builder. We seldom, if ever, actually see the moles.
Read the Duncton Wood series of novels about moles penned by William Horwood and thereby enter the wonderful world of intrigue below the surface of your lawn. It might soften your stance against these creatures.
This morning dawned grey, damp and rather chilly in the aftermath of last night’s thunderstorm. Clinging to the hose in the swimming pool, its claws hooked over the curve and its mouth twitching enough to indicate it was alive, was a mole – sleekly wet and shivering.

How long it had been blindly clinging on for dear life we cannot tell. From the moment it was scooped out of the water though, it began to move by scrabbling with its front claws and paddling against the netting with its back feet.

We took it to an exposed tunnel on the lawn, where the mound above had been washed away by the rain. Within seconds the mole had dug its way through the grass and mud and had burrowed down to safety.


I like to think that, even though P pointed out that it might not necessarily be welcomed by the owner of that particular tunnel. “But that’s his problem,” he said.


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