Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

I touched last week on French weakness over whisky. This week I want to mention their failings over port.

I was brought up to have a great affection for good port.

A port wine of good education and pedigree must be approached with care and respect. The French have no concept of this, but then they never meet good port.

The port that I have met in France comes from no Port House that I have ever heard of and tastewise I can only compare it (unfavourably) to cough syrup. It would never be allowed out of the kennel in Northumberland, not even in a hunting flask (and that is saying something).

The French with great pride describe it as an "aperitif" and call it "porto". There is only one way to cope with it: you take a cold cantaloupe melon, cut it in half and fill the hollow with porto. Not bad. With good port it would be desecration; for porto it is absolution.

SOME of you may remember my problem with the taupe, the French mole, and my unsuccessful attempt to blow it up, which resulted in nearly blowing up Pip the terrier instead.

Since then I have tried all sorts and conditions of remedies, but the moles marched (or tunnelled) inexorably on. Every day a new cone of earth would appear and every day the dogs would dig it up, so that the lawn came to resemble the "after" pictures of the Somme battlefield.

It seemed only a matter of time before the black blighters appeared through the floor of our bedroom.

But now I have got the beggar and got him with a good old sort of trap that I sent to England for.

The French version is so complicated to set that the only thing you would be certain of catching would be a finger (yours). A kind friend sent me out a couple from England and I came out the other morning and saw that one was sprung. I had caught my first mole.

I turned to the surrounding spoil heaps and addressed them, telling all the moles that they could dig but they could not hide. I'd have 'em, I told them. Then I reset the traps and-- nothing. The traps remain empty and the smooth velvet surface of the lawn remains unsullied.

I found it hard to believe that one mole could make so much mess. …

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