Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Mouse and the Hitler Moustache

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Mouse and the Hitler Moustache

Article excerpt


IN A week full of surprises, the mouse running out of the restaurant kitchen was only narrowly trumped by the chauffeur sporting an Adolf Hitler-style toothbrush moustache.

He claimed to have done it for a bet - the chauffeur, that is, not the mouse. And, when I told my wife how much he stood to make if he kept ignoring the jibes of angry passers-by until Christmas, she vowed to grow one herself.

Now all we need is someone to wager that she cannot do it. I would step up to the plate myself, but that would rather defeat the object of enriching us as a family.

My first surprise came before all that on Monday, when we arrived in north Norfolk for a few days of rest.

I have long been fond of the area.

In my years working in London, something about its remoteness and emptiness evoked memories of my beloved Northumberland. Now, however, Sleepy Hollow has become the Klondike.

The excellent Crown Hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea had commissioned a large extension to its restaurant since I last passed by, and on an out-of-season weekday I anticipated no need to book.

But the place was busier than I had ever seen it, with many of the tables occupied by parties of middle-aged males. Had it become the unlikely setting for a greybeard gay encounter group? Discreet enquiries soon established that this was not the case. The men were pioneers constructing the massive Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm, to service which a dredger was industriously creating new berths in the quiet harbour. A local property owner told me that all concerned in the project were so awash with cash that they were happily paying double the going rate to rent his house.

I pointed out that this was because they were being drenched in public subsidies to create this ludicrous "saving the planet" PR stunt, an analysis with which he readily agreed. …

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