Moving to France as we did from mole-free Ireland, we were initially taken aback at the obvious national hatred of these little creatures that manifested itself in the large displays of mole eradication devices that we saw in every hardware shop. There were mole mashers, mole crushers, mole crunchers, mole blasters, mole manglers, mole gasses and mole marmalisers. All this because of a few tiny molehills – talk about over the top! We felt sorry for the persecuted moles.

Not any more. We now hate, loathe, detest and despise moles. We have 75 acres of land. You’d think we could co-exist peacefully. But no. Out of that 75 acres, just a few hundred square metres is taken up by lawn. Can the moles leave that alone? They can’t. In fact, they seem to home in on it on purpose. Their life’s goal is to dig it up.

So reluctantly we’ve resorted to traps and deterrents. Our homemade molescarers made with plastic bottles upside down on sticks may have scared a few worms off but that’s all. So we’ve become more sophisticated and invested in items from the hardware stores. But the moles are having the last laugh. While Chris has deafened himself several times with the mole blasters and come close to losing his fingers, we still don’t have a confirmed victim. Despairing of that device, and particularly of its costs, we’ve invested in a little humane tunnel trap. So far that’s caught a mouse. The mole cruncher hasn’t caught anything. Moley has been round it, over it, under it and even through it a few times, but on each occasion he jams it open with earth. He’s also removed the trigger that holds it open.

The cats have been more successful than we have. They’ve presented us with a couple of dead moles which bizarrely they refuse to eat. Normally our garden tigers eat everything.

Moles are fascinating creatures, with their star-shaped noses and velvety fur. They are smart little animals and incredibly quick. They can catch and eat a worm faster than the human eye can see. Their saliva contains a toxin so that they poison their invertebrate victims and store them in a specially constructed larder for later. And they give each worm a good squeeze before eating it to remove dirt and grit from its guts. They may live in the soil but they don’t want to eat it! Males are called boars, females are sows and a group of moles is known as a labour. That’s a very appropriate name.

What hope for our lawn? Well, we’ll carry on our ineffectual campaign against our underground enemy. It seems to give them a good laugh and I’m not that sorry that we can’t catch them! Maybe I should drop maps showing the route to Germany down their holes. Moles are a protected species there.