It's a cat-eat-fish world out there!
MARCH 11, 2003
It was one of those weeks, thought The Mole, as he sat in Legoland, with his head in his hands. Forget Baghdad and the demise of Saddam Hussein, The Mole had problems of his own and one's problems are always highlighted when there are joyful children running around you.
The big problem was in Brazil where someone screwed up big time on the timing.
Before that could be settled however there was the ridiculous GPWC meeting in Munich on Thursday at which all the Formula 1 team bosses signed a document to say that they would think about perhaps one day agreeing in principle to discussing something (on a conditional basis) about the GPWC at an undetermined point in time in the future if there was an R in the month (and even then only if they felt like it).
The GPWC version of this message was that everyone had signed up to join the GPWC circus. This arrived by e-mail, although The Mole felt it should have been thrown from an aircraft, and he had to be restrained from ringing up the PR agency in question and asking if they needed a supply of berets for their Minister of Information.
The worrying thing was the media coverage that followed the GPWC statement. The teams, so they said, had all signed up with the GPWC. It made The Mole ashamed of being (in his spare time) in the media. It seems that if a story is delivered to a journalist these days he will write it and wait until the denials come in the following day to give him another story.
"This isn't journalism," The Mole grumbled. "That is factory farming. Leave them in the dark and feed them once a day."
"And then turn them into chicken nuggets," muttered The Mole's Number Two through a cloud of pipe smoke.
Friday came and with it came the denouement of the Brazilian GP mess. Giancarlo Fisichella was "very 'appy" and McLaren was generous in defeat and the FIA shuffled its feet and made some mumbling noises about looking into who had been responsible.
The Mole was so incensed by it all that he went for a walk along the Albert Embankment and there was surprised to bumped into Schmutzli, the archivist indulging in a rare trip into daylight.
"I hadn't realised it was Spring," he said. "One never knows down there in The Morgue."
It was Spring all right. That afternoon The Mole went to Legoland with his grandchildren and it rained. He should have been impressed by the amazing collection of model things made from colourful Lego bricks but he as not in the mood. And so as The Mole sat in Legoland, mulling over the bad times, he found his mind going back to the old days of being a government gunslinger and being told to slot away a bad guy without any questions. It was so easy to whip out the Smith and Wesson 44 Magnum and do what Dirty Harry did with the punks.
Now the 44 Magnum, as any decent gunman will tell you, is not the gun but rather the cartridges which Remington began producing in the mid-Fifties. The Smith & Wesson was named after the bullets it used. The actual gun was called The Model 29 (or if you preferred the stainless steel model The Model 629) and it was a most effective weapon against sleaze and slime.
There have been times when The Mole has wanted to run wild in the F1 paddock with a Smith & Wesson Model 29.
Amid the squealing brats, The Mole concluded that he missed the clarity of being an agent in the field with a gun in his hand. Once you get a bigger picture one is never quite sure who the bad guys are because alliances change so quickly.
It was, he thought, as true of real life in Iraq as it was in motor racing at the moment. It was very wearying.
And then there was the birthday cake.
On Saturday morning one of the Penelopes was asked to nip down to the Madeira Patisserie to pick up a special birthday cake which The Mole had ordered for his grandson's party that afternoon. It was supposed to be made of chocolate and shaped like a pistol (which is a lot easier than making a cake that looks like a revolver). Alas Penelope had her mind on Tikrit or Interlagos or Henley-on-Thames and "quite forgot" and The Mole was forced to head for home that afternoon without the cake in hand.
And it did not help that when he arrived at the family pile he discovered that Mosley the cat had eaten the favourite goldfish of the household: Tom, Dick and Ari.
The kids were not much bothered about Tom, for he had always been a cursed fish thanks to a large black spot which would have made Long John Silver shudder.
"Tom was only good for cat food anyway" said The Mole's granddaughter rather meanly. But she wept like Shirley Temple for Dick and Ari.
"Feed the damned cat some wasabi," growled The Mole as he stomped off to the library. "That will go down well with his sushi."
"Sashimi, dear," said Mrs Mole.
The Mole was in a black mood but a glass of Glenfiddich (the Rare Collection of 1937) made the world seem a rather more bearable place and when he was leafing though the papers in his briefcase he came upon a most extraordinary report. It said that ITV had registered a viewing figure in Brazil so remarkable that even he was impressed. The audience had peaked at 13.4m people. It was the sport's highest rating for three years on ITV, and the third highest rating F1 show since the company acquired the rights to the sport in 1997.
Strange as though it may seem The Mole felt somehow elated. Could it be, he thought, that the sport is actually turning itself around despite the best efforts of everyone fighting over it?
Alas, no, it seems that audience was so huge because the programme overran and picked up the millions of people who were tuning in to watch a soap opera.
The Mole laughed out loud and did not notice the cat, travelling across the garden at great speed, diving headlong and mouth open into the fish pond, wherein lurked no fish.
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