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They are considered vermin highly destructive to crops, and have been traditionally hunted down for centuries.
Wikipedia, as well as providing this photograph of a captured creature, tells us that ‘traditional molecatchers travelled from farm to farm. The molecatcher’s customers would provide food and lodging, as well as a fee for every mole caught. The molecatcher could also earn money by selling the moleskins to fur dealers.’
Today I finished reading, for the second time, John Le Carré’s 1974 novel, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, the first of three works featuring George Smiley, who is possibly as well known in British espionage culture as James Bond, largely on account of the 1979 BBC TV series and the 2011 film starring Gary Oldman.
You could be forgiven for wondering what this has to do with moles. Well, the book features a cast of moles, or spies who work undercover and insinuate themselves into positions of power in other countries. The Cambridge five were KGB moles in the British Intelligence Service of the 50s and 60s. Characters in Le Carré’s novel are inspired by these five Cambridge University men. His story tells of the convoluted lives of such agents. The work is, unlike the 007 tales, actually undramatic. It is superbly crafted, largely through the devices of retrospective conversations and interviews. Even on second reading I had trouble working it all out.
My Folio Society edition is cleverly illustrated by Tim Laing whose monochrome drawings exhibit obfuscation in keeping with the book’s theme of mistrust and deception.
Similarly appropriate are the anonymous silhouettes on the front cover.
This evening Jackie produced a well filled mushroom and onion omelette, chips, and baked beans, with which I drank sparkling water.