It was like a blood bath for the male opposition leaders in politics last week, likewise, in the street, the politics of the people were at the heart of an incident that can only be described as mole gate.A few streets away, just off Dorothy Drive there are a group of allotments that are tended by a good number of people including Reg and Margaret, Tom, Prithpal and Jacinta. This year an enthusiastic Raphe joined them.
As usual when trying a new idea Raphe was not supported by Ian, ‘What’s the point?’
‘Fresh food, exercise and bonding with the neighbours, and it’s a perfect outlet after the stress of my job.’
As Raphe worked as an activities adviser at a private nursing home, Ian struggled to see the stress that his partner was under, but his views on the allotment were clear.
‘Muddy boots in my hall, vegetables with insects in them and I bet you fall out with Reg.’
Undeterred Raphe took a day off work to start digging his new plot, so that by the weekend he could hold his head up high with the neighbours.
On Saturday morning I did hear him complain to Ian about how much his body ached but I was impressed by the fact that this did not prevent him turning up at the allotment by 10.30, where he was greeted by an angry looking Reg who was pointing to a small mound in the middle of his carrots.
‘I think this may be your doing!’
Raphe looked from the earth to his own allotment and then back to Reg, ‘No, I don’t think so, any earth I dug up stayed on this plot.’
‘It’s not earth you twerp, it’s a mole, a mole attracted by the worms you’ve disturbed. You’re going to have to deal with it.’
Although slightly annoyed by being labelled as a twerp by Reg, Raphe was nevertheless excited to be attracting new wild life at such an early stage in his foray with nature, but the smile on his face was soon wiped off as Reg continued.
‘They are little blighters to get rid of but you can trap them, a swift bop on the head with a shovel will do the trick. You’ll have to be quick though, they may be blind but they can’t half shift’.
Raphe stopped listening after the word ‘blind’ and mumbling his excuses to Reg he swiftly left for home. When Ian returned from shopping with his pre washed, pre sliced, insect free vegetables he found his partner in floods of tears in front of the laptop.
‘I give to Guide Dogs for the Blind, how can I hit one of their community over the head with a shovel?’
Ian finally gave up consoling Raphe in the late afternoon, by which time the book of Toad of Toad Hall had been located and wrapped up as a gift for Reg.
‘Perhaps if he reads about Mole he may have a different view’.
Although unconvinced Ian was pleased that the sobbing had finally given way to action. The next morning a sharp knocking on the door at 11am revealed a very angry looking Reg, Raphe cowered behind Ian who tried to muster up an equally confrontational stance.
‘You’ve smashed a pane in my greenhouse, I told you yesterday, you’ll have to trap the blighter, not throw stones at it, you nincompoop.’
The noise drew me to the window and I could see that at last Ian was going to make a stand in support of Raphe, ‘Now look here Reg, I won’t have you coming round here making false accusations…’
At that point Tom passed by the house, ‘Ah Reg, I’m glad I caught you, I’m afraid I broke a window in your green house, some blooming crow was after my seeds. I’m a bit off target with my stone throwing I’m afraid, I’ll pay for the damage.’
The sight of Reg deflating like a burst balloon was something I’ve waited a long time to see, after a few minutes contemplation he turned to offer Raphe both an apology and help in expunging the offending moles.
‘No thank you Reg, I will be resigning from the allotment, but I will help to catch the moles in a humane trap, and then they are more than welcome to live out a rich and rewarding life here, in our small garden’.
Ian didn’t seem enamoured with the idea but for once he did not say a word of complaint or indeed, ‘I told you so’, meanwhile a very bemused looking Reg walked back in the direction of the allotments with Tom.
‘They’ll regret that tunnelling, and no mistake.’