I should visit my mother more often.
The first good reason for visiting her more often is that she is really quite elderly, having celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year. The second, far more selfish reason, is that I always find ideas when I do visit. Not necessarily ideas for poems, and not necessarily useful ideas, but usually there are oddities and slantwise perspectives that amuse me.
Today I have been hearing a faint alarm sound every 30 seconds or so; I knew it wasn’t the foghorns on the estuary – not least because it has been a gloriously sunny day – and it didn’t seem to be a phone or an alarm clock. When I asked if she had any idea what it might be, my mother denied all knowledge. Eventually, though, we managed to work it out. It’s her new “solar mole repeller”.
My mother has had problems with moles in her garden for years now and we have tried all sorts of solutions.
I have brought back old-fashioned camphor moth balls from Spain, we have set up giant wind mills in the mole hills, I think she’s tried flooding them out and I think there were spices, too… Now, apparently she has installed this battery-operated gadget which, in the words of the instruction leaflet emits “an annoying buzzing sound” every thirty seconds or so.
It’s all very well for my mother, who, unsurprisingly given her age, has less than perfect hearing. But it’s driving me crazy. (I may not be young enough to hear the “mosquito” anti-loitering devices, but I am apparently on the same wavelength as Moldy Warp.)
So far I haven’t had the heart to point out to her that the device is no more likely to work than all the other solutions we have tried: after all, who ever heard of a solar mole?