The Mole's picnic
JULY 18, 2003
Nothing much was happening in Formula 1. Almost everyone was away on holiday. If The Mole had really wanted to know what was going on he would have taken Penelope (Roedean) with him to Porto Cervo in Sardinia and kept an eye on the team principals.
But he knew that Mrs Mole would be less than pleased if that happened.
Penelope had just returned from Liberia, where she had acquired a delightful suntan while organising the departure of Charles Taylor. There was not much left for the Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department to do.
The weather was stifling and on evening as she departed the office, Penelope had suggested to The Mole that as they were the only two people left they should have an office picnic the following day.
She arrived in the morning carrying a Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench Cooler, with a lid shaped like a Chevrolet. Inside were some carrot and celery sticks, a complicated cucumber and salmon sandwich topped with alfalfa sprouts and watercress and some pickled gherkins, which she insisted on calling "cornichons".
The Mole brought a pork pie, some cold sausages, a hunk of Cheddar, some crisps and a bottle of ginger beer. Plus a small but all-important container of mustard.
"An excellent source of calories, fat, cholesterol and salt," said Penelope, perusing The Mole's choices.
"Rabbit food," said The Mole as he looked at her contribution.
"Well," said Penelope. "I thought this might help."
She whipped a bottle of Isabel, Marlborough Chardonnay out of the cooler. It was still chilled.
"Excellent," said The Mole.
"They say it has a nose with hints of honey on toast," said Penelope.
"Excellent, excellent, " said The Mole.
"Stop please," said Penelope. "You are beginning to sound like Hugh Grant."
They shared the food and afterwards, in a moment of post-prandial bliss, Penelope had even gone as far as to admit that she had taken secret pleasure in her big slab of pork pie. And then they had stopped talking and simply enjoyed being there. The Mole was reading the latest copy of Woman & Home magazine which he had stolen from Mrs Mole and Penelope was busy digesting the July edition of Guns & Ammo.
"I have been thinking about getting one of these abbreviated Kahr nine millimetre pistols," she said. "They sound really good. Four inches by five and a half. That would fit perfectly into my new Judith Leiber."
"What?" said The Mole.
"A handbag," said Penelope, wiggling her nose.
"Is that the cool thing these days?"
"Who knows?" said Penelope. "I'm not cool, I'm chilled."
The Mole laughed.
"Besides," she said. "You have no idea how hard it is to find a stylish handbag into which to slip a pistol."
"Ah," said The Mole. "That explains the outrageous expense claim I signed the other day."
"Did you read that thing about Bernie and the Canadian disc jockey pranksters pretending to be the Prime Minister while live on the air," said Penelope, wisely changing the subject. "Cheeky thing to do to poor old Mr E."
"What's he going to do?" said The Mole. "Ask Jean Chretien to prove that he is the Canadian Prime Minister? That would be a trifle rude, wouldn't it? Besides he wanted to talk to Chretien and try to get things sorted out. Everyone likes the Canadian Grand Prix. And the lobster is really very nice."
"If I were him I think I'd send someone over to Canada and whack those two fruitcakes," said Penelope.
"Who do you think you are?," said The Mole. "Tony Soprano?"
"No, his mudda..." said Penelope in her best New Jersey accent.
There was a pause, full of good humour.
"Did you see the report out of Bogota?" The Mole said finally. "The one about Montoya having signed a deal with McLaren for 2005."
"Do you believe it?"
"Yes, I think I do," said The Mole. "Monty has not been happy at Williams since he discovered that there was a new deal with BMW. I think he thinks that means that they will re-sign Ralf for a couple more years. And he does not want that."
"I think they already re-signed Ralf," said Penelope. "Two more years for less money. That is what I heard. They are going to let him have some more personal sponsors and there's a big bonus is he wins the World Championship."
The Mole shrugged.
"Did you hear about the big fight Monty had with the team at Magny Cours," he said. "He was effing and blinding down the radio and Sam Michael came on and gave his both barrels between the eyes."
"He whacked him, huh?"
"Yeah," continued The Mole, "and that was followed up by a letter from Sir Francis and Monty apparently had to visit Grove to make peace and get the whole thing sorted out."
"Ralf and Monty just don't get on, do they?" said Penelope. "Juan wants to go somewhere else."
"But it is not a good move," said The Mole. "McLaren is OK but they have not looked like real winners for a few years now. I am still not convinced. I know they won those races at the start of the year but that was before Williams and Ferrari got things running smoothly. And I really don't see Montoya and Ron getting on well."
"Well, I guess we will see," said Penelope. "Anyway Monty will be earning a pile more money."
"Yeah," said The Mole "but you know I cannot hep but think of Jean Alesi when he ditched Williams and went off to Ferrari back in 1991. He let emotion get in the way of logic and look what happened. Jean ended up with just one win to his name and Williams won a string of titles. Should have won more actually. Jean might have retired with three world titles to his name.
"The thing about Williams is that they don't go in for all the bullshit. They know how to concentrate on what is important. You can argue that the current Ferrari is a better car but that is irrelevant because the Bridgestones are not a match for the Michelins. The Williams-BMW-Michelin package is better."
"Williams has always been an organisation which makes good drivers look great with its machinery," said Penelope.
The Mole nodded. They agreed on everything.
Penelope smiled and went back to Guns & Ammo and The Mole began reading a recipe for spiced venison and cranberry casserole.
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