THE MOLE ARCHIVE
WHO IS THE MOLE?
The Mole has been writing about Formula 1 since 2000, outlining the activities of the Motor Racing and Trade Development Department (formerly known as The Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department) of the Secret Intelligence Service. Many have tried to discover the identity of The Mole over the years but very little is known except what The Mole himself has let slip in his published works.
He claims to have been educated at Oxford and Harvard before becoming a self-confessed "government gun-slinger" in the 1960s at hot spots in the Cold War. The Mole claims to have lived in a tree in North Vietnam early in his career but later attended the US Army Russian Institute in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and then moved on to a series of embassy postings including stints in Moscow, Berlin, Geneva, Prague, Paris and, so rumour has it, Nairobi. In early 1990 he spent a period on secondment to the FBI in New York, studying wire-tapping techniques.The Mole now claims to enjoy the rank of Counsellor with the Foreign Office in London and is a Companion of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael & St. George. He is a member of The Travellers' Club, an establishment for gentlemen in Pall Mall in London.
The Mole intends to retire from the service when he is knighted or when he plucks up the courage to ask his seductive deputy Penelope (Roedean) to run away with him and live happily ever after in faded splendour at the Villa Mole, an establishment which overlooks The Bay of Angels on the Cote d’Azur.
The Mole was sitting in front of the summer house, looking out over the valleys where streams collect to fill the River Arun.
This year The Mole concluded that he did not need to be in Monaco for the Grand Prix and so sent left the joy of partying on monogrammed boats to his three delightful Penelopes; all girls who never look out of place on a poop deck, and who all have very nice feet so it is not embarrassing when boat owners ask them to remove their shoes.
It was Friday afternoon and the girls were discussing the relative merits of thigh and hip holsters when The Mole came striding into the office. "You just cannot wear Chanel and Smith & Wesson," said Penelope (Wycombe Abbey). "It is as simple as that!"
The Mole's agent Dusty Road, named after an ice cream sundae at Fortnum & Mason, had been quiet for a long time but one day The Mole received a postcard addressed to Mr WH Smith at the Barristers Benevolent Association, one of his "letterboxes".
The Colonel and The Mole had been having a quiet drink at The Jolly Farmer when The Colonel spotted a rather trim old biddy, sitting by herself in the corner. The Mole was planning to go home for a dinner party and so The Colonel was looking for company.
"And I thought we were going to church!" said Penelope (Wycombe Abbey) as they hammered down the A3 towards Guildford on Sunday morning. The Mole smiled. It is not every day that a chap gets three gorgeous blondes in his Alvis TF21 drophead (with bodywork by Hermann Graber from Bern) and sets off into the country for lunch. Sometimes to achieve such things one must use a little subterfuge.
The Reverend O would have been all right if the Bishop of Mount Kilimanjaro had not been visiting from Arusha. The Bishop was staying in a very reasonable hotel at nearby Walking Bottom and had arranged to meet up with the Bishop of Dorking on Easter Day for an early morning communion.
The Mole does not have a man in Australia. He has a woman, codenamed Blue. Blue is a top notch agent and The Mole has often wondered whether one day he might convince her to leave Australia and move to The Mother Country to help the Penelopes in the fight against foreign motorsport.
It was NAMSAP time again and The Mole decided that it would be politic to attend the meeting of the North Atlantic Motor Sport Advisory Panel, rather than sending one of the Penelopes along. After the delights of Australia, The Mole found London to be freezing and reckoned that things could not be any worse in Iceland.
The start of a new Formula 1 season is a busy time of year for the Motor Racing and Trade Development Department of the Secret Intelligence Service. Being the first line of defence of Britain's motorsport industry, The Mole's department fights the good fight to stop foreign governments trying to lure away the best and the brightest and set up their own racing industries and ultimately destroy the British Motorsport Empire.
It had been nearly two years since Annabel, the new girl, had first arrived in the Motor Racing and Trade Development Department of the Secret Intelligence Service, hotfoot from the MI6 training school, not a million miles away from Silverstone.
The Mole was looking out of the window, humming "Good King Wenceslas" and admiring the snowy scene when The Colonel and The Reverend O hove into view.
"Oh, saints preserve us," said Mrs Batty, as she looked out of the window as the rain beat down on the gardens of Mole Manor. "It's all very well if it's cold and crisp but this rain is just too much for my old bones. I never used to worry about such things but now I am a little older it gets harder and harder."
"I don't think Max Mosley should go into real estate," said Penelope (Roedean), looking up from her new copy of Guns & Ammo. The Mole was reading Good Housekeeping and crunching on pork scratchings. They were in the pub, having one of their relaxed lunches where they make conversation while reading their favourite magazines.
Oswald the chauffeur jinked The Mole's new Toyota Prius to avoid a rather fat lady wandering across the road, carrying too many plastic bags. "Wake up missus!" he grumbled. "Worse than a bloody cyclist."
The Mole had been working on budgets for most of the weekend and was a bit fed up when he arrived for work at Vauxhall Cross on Monday morning.
Mrs Batty is now back from the coast and swears that she is now cured of her love for gin. She has sworn blind to Mrs Mole that she will not steal any more of the family silver to pay for her Gordon's and Mrs Mole, believing in charitable acts, has accepted the promise.
The Mole has never been much of a golf player but The Colonel was bitten by that strange bug a few years ago and now regularly plays at the Wildwood Club, if only because it is down the road and reminds him of his childhood when a rather masculine nursemaid used to read him the stories of Toad of Toad Hall.
The Mole's injuries have now cleared up completely and, having been grounded for far too long, The Mole felt the need to fly off somewhere interesting and so decided to go to the launch of the ING-Renault sponsorship deal in Amsterdam.
The Mole had spent the morning with The Bean Counters and was in a rather dark mood - as usually happened when the talk turns to budgets. It is the fate of the desk men to have to deal with such things while the average agent does not care about money.
The Mole's leg injury is now getting much better but the idea of spending 10 hours on cramped planes flying to China and Japan was a little more than The Mole was willing to countenance and so Penelope (Roedean) and Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College) were despatched to Shanghai.
The novelty of wearing a cast on his leg was beginning to wear thin for The Mole. He had been, in the words of Penelope (Roedean), "a pain in the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius AND gluteus minimus!"
Mrs Mole announced half way through last week that she was going to be busy on Sunday at some Pony Club cross country event. The Mole was alarmed by this news because Mrs Batty, the cook, had taken to gin over the summer, while visiting her sister Beryl in Brighton, and remains on the south coast, taking the air.
The Mole must apologise for failing to write a column last week. This was because of the sudden burst of activity in F1 after the summer holidays, coupled with the fact that The Mole was involved in a real life emergency room drama
For reasons known only to Miss Pringle-Featherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Featherbys), The Mole and Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College) had to go to Vienna on their way back from Istanbul. It was something to do with the fact that Penelope had started her journey to Turkey from Austria, where she had spent her holiday climbing mountains.
The Mole had decided to send Penelope (Wycombe Abbey) to the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris, figuring that a visit to the city so soon after his misadventure with Isabelle, his Renault spy, would reopen wounds.
Formula 1 had gone on holiday - at least the people who do the racing have got a chance for a rest even if the factories are still whirring away merrily. For some of the F1 team bosses that means a boat off Sardinia although this year some strange new tax for visiting gin palaces has got some of them rather hot under their collars.
Penelope (Roedean) had spent the weekend being tortured in a country house not far from London.
"It is time for a barbecue," The Mole announced while breakfasting on Saturday morning. "Let's bring in the usual suspects and entertain our nearest and dearest with the gentle roasting of tender meats over fragrant charcoal."
London's Inner Temple is a world lost in time, divorced from the mayhem that goes on outside its gates. The Mole had gone to visit his legal counsel, Norma Zaas (of the expensive firm of Scheister, Scheister, Zissu & Zaas) and they had settled on "a picnic" by the pond.
The Mole's trip to Magny-Cours had been a splendid one. Driving the Alvis on sunny open roads and the tree-lined route nationales of France had been a most pleasant experience and with Penelope (Wycombe Abbey) along for the ride, The Mole enjoyed turning heads in every village.
It had all been a terrible mistake, The Mole concluded as he checked out of the Plaza Athenee, pausing only to wince at the bill. If only he and Isabelle had not gone up to his room with champagne and strawberries, perhaps things would have worked out better.
Isabelle, The Mole's spy at Renault, is a stunningly beautiful woman. When she was a teenager she could not understand why there were always road accidents when she walked down a street.
The Mole decided not to go to Canada and the United States and so had to find other ways to avoid his life becoming polluted by soccer.
Feature - Why I look forward to... the US Grand Prix
Most of us who live in the first world now take international travel for granted. Millions can afford to fly regularly, and those who are involved in the business of F1 racing do so several times each month.
The Crisis Meeting was in full swing. "But it says in the press release that "discussions are taking place with Geoff Willis, regarding his future role with the team," said Annabel, the new girl, proving once again that she has a lot to learn about the ways of Formula 1.
Annabel, the new girl, was desperately keen. So keen, in fact, that she annoyed everyone else in the Motor Racing and Trade Development Department of the Secret Intelligence Service by volunteering for absolutely anything.
Penelope (Cheltenham Ladies College) is classically beautiful. She has lovely bone structure and a pair of startling grey eyes. She is like a statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war.
Working in motor racing gives one friends all over the world and The Mole is fortunate to know a number of very rich people who enjoy their expensive toys.
People have been speculating for a long time about the identity that The Mole uses in Formula 1 circles and the guesses have increased ever since The Mole's logo included a blurred picture of the man in question.
Penelope (Wycombe Abbey) was the youngest of The Mole's operatives, younger even than the new girl Annabel, who was always so keen that everyone wanted her to transfer to another department.
Mrs Batty was clearing away the cheese plates, tut-tutting at anyone who had not finished their Beenleigh Blue. The Mole had enjoyed the deliciously tangy but very rare sheep's cheese that Mrs Batty had tracked down with all the enthusiasm of a Labrador chasing a nice chewy stick.
It had been a long time since The Mole had snuck off and had a really good lunch but the San Marino Grand Prix weekend offered him a good opportunity to spend some taxpayers money. In Italy good food is rather cheaper than it is in London, Paris or New York.
The Motor Racing and Trade Development Department of the Secret Intelligence Service exists to protect the interests of the British motorsport industry, but The Mole decided that neither he nor the Penelopes could do much at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday
Miss Pringle-Featherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Featherbys) came rushing into the office. Normally she was very discreet and pretty but the file she had pressed close to her chest was clearly an important despatch from aboard and she was breathless, rather pink around the cheek and slightly wild-eyed.
When The Mole arrived back from Australia, he was met at the airport by Oswald the chauffeur and was whisked to the office in order to debrief the troops. The Penelopes have not seen much of The Mole in recent weeks and there was plenty of chit-chat.
At this time of year Formula 1 people are spending a lot of time on aeroplanes, going backwards and forwards from Europe to the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The Mole and the Penelopes have seen all the latest movies, although, according to Penelope (Roedean) all "the good bits" have been cut out.
The Mole had a hangover. Too many brandies after dinner at the club the previous evening had left him feeling rather fragile as he set off for the office with Oswald the chauffeur.
The Mole's Chief Technical Officer is officially known as MRTDD-C2, although in the office everyone calls him Nigel.
At the end of December two things have happened in the life of The Mole which made things rather quiet. It became clear that the political games in Formula 1 were over after Williams signed up for the extended Concorde Agreement.
"Darlings!" said Penelope (Roedean) to the other Penelopes. "Madeleine Vionnet would have fainted. Coco Chanel would have shrieked and poor Christian Dior would have wept into his hankie
Now that the kids have grown up and left The Mole's nest, he sometimes likes to have one of the Penelopes around to brighten up Sunday lunches at Mole Manor.
The Mole had always been a fan of great architecture and appreciates a well-built flying buttress or a nicely-rounded vault. The modern steel and concrete frames with fancy facades are not that exciting for him.
The library at the Travellers Club is always a good place to meet ambassadors and spies, although the bar is probably better in this respect as diplomats and spooks generally drink rather a lot.
With the motor racing world relatively quiet at this time of year, The Mole and his colleagues in SIS Headquarters in Vauxhall (which is no longer a secret now that MI6 has its own website) have spent the last few days reading the revelations of Vasily Mitrokhin, a KGB man who for 30 years kept track of the going-on in Moscow.
The Mole was delighted to get to the British Airways Lounge in Pudong International Airport in Shanghai. He was tired after what had been a very long Formula 1 season but at least he was in one piece, even if a gin and tonic was needed to soothe his nerves.
The Morgue is a vault in SIS Headquarters where all the old case files are stored. This is presided over by a rather creepy individual named Schmutzli, who scares the Penelopes on a regular basis when they are doing research work.
It was a quiet day at SIS Headquarters. The Mole stared out across Pimlico for a while and then wandered to the other side of the building and watched a Eurostar cruising along below, heading out to Paris.
The Mole had been called for a meeting with The Mandarin from the Personnel Directorate and, as the Club is a gentlemanly walk from The Mandarin's office in the Old Admiralty Building, The Mole suggested it would be a good idea for them to meet there for lunch. The motor racing world, it seemed, was causing the service some headaches.
Penelope (Roedean) took her top off to reveal that she was entirely topless. The Mole spluttered slightly and did what all Englishmen do when they encounter topless women. He tried to look the other way.
The Mole had wanted to stay at Boycott Manor, a select establishment not far from Silverstone, but apparently it was booked by the Michelin teams and so The Mole and his team ended up in a country house a little further out.
All hell had broken loose in the motor racing world. When The Mole arrived back from Indianapolis, he spent the whole morning working the phones. Miss Pringle-Featherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Featherbys) kept up a constant flow of cups of tea and Rich Tea biscuits but The Mole remained in a deep depression.
Up in the Olympic Tower in Munich, there is a restaurant, 181m above the ground. The Mole was there with his German agent, codename Norbert, a man who is close to the action at BMW.
The Sunseeker 94 is the perfect motor yacht for the Monaco Grand Prix. It is small enough not to be ostentatious (ninety-four feet) but large enough to house a decent team of secret agents, particularly with two staterooms fitted with twin beds for the girls.
There have been rumours of change at Woking for some time and The Mole decided that it was time to get down to business and find out what was happening at McLaren.
The Motor Racing and Trade Development Department had briefly gone on to a war footing when news of the out-of-court settlement between Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula 1 banks arrived.
Sitting in the lounge at Changi Airport in Singapore, The Mole was surprised to see his man from Zurich. They were both on the way to Sepang where The Mole reckoned there would be plenty of action.
In the basement at Mole Headquarters there is a vault in which the old case files are stored. It is known as The Morgue and presided over by a sad little man called Schmutzli, who frightens children when he stands at bus stops and consequently prefers to pass his days in the safe, secure and sterile world of The Morgue. The files are his children.
They met as usual at "The Bonfire". The Mole and Isabelle, his beautiful spy from Renault, were the only two people who knew the rendezvous point: the golden flame statue that sits in the Place de l'Alma in Paris.
It was freezing in Geneva, as it often is at this time of year. The Mole had arranged for lunch with one of his contacts, known as The Fixer.
That morning The Mole had scurried to the Travellers, worried by alarming stories that the service was to be restructured again following the ballyhoo over Iraq. But after a little chat and some bacon and eggs The Mole was overjoyed.
The Colonel (The Mole's next door neighbour and a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party) had decided that they should have what he called "a boy's night" and had invited The Mole and the Reverend O around to his house for his "famous turkey curry".
The winter had descended on London and the girls had disappeared inside sexless coats, named after the town of Duffel in Belgium (misspelled in the finest English tradition), where Flemish weavers first created the coarse woollen material that is so popular at this time of year in frosty England.
It was a cold and wintry day but Penelope (Roedean) had been taken by an urge to eat sashimi and was trying to convince The Mole to buy her lunch.
They were at The Travellers' Club to have a bite of lunch, as London-based spooks are prone to do. The Mole and Number Two had not seen much of one another since the big reshuffle in September and, although The Mole would never admit it, he had missed his deputy and even his smelly old pipe.
London was grey and wintry and Penelope (Roedean) had to dig out a winter coat. The only advantage, she thought as she snuggled into its folds, is that in the winter it is so much easier to hide an Uzi.
Politicians have a habit of screwing things up. They come and they go and it is left to the bureaucrats to clean up the mess they leave behind them. If you want something to run properly you need to have a dictator.
It was drizzling in Pall Mall as The Mole scurried from the taxi and up the stairs into The Club. The porter fussed over him, removing his coat, his briefcase and his umbrella and then The Mole was propelled into the Dining Room where The Minister was waiting for him at a table which looked out over the gardens.
"I was in a bar the other night," said The Mole, "when the barman, a longtime Formula 1 fan, muttered that he would willingly shoot Bernie Ecclestone
The Mole, The Colonel and the Reverend O had decided to go shooting. The Mole was not a great hunter but he had been alarmed by the Hunting Bill which, he felt, was against everything that Britain stands for.
The Permanent Under Secretary goes by the rather unfortunate acronym of PUS and The Mole used this and several other rather more colourful expletives on his return from the Bank Holiday weekend when he discovered a memo informing him that the Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department was to be broken up.
The Mole and Mrs Mole had gone to Cambridge for the day. It had been years since he had been back to his old university and he had been keen to see how things had changed.
The Mole was puzzling over Jenson Button's decision to move to BMW Williams in 2005. It was hard to understand such a switch. BAR-Honda is the coming team at the moment.
"So," said The Colonel. "Mosley's gone then?"
Miss Pringle-Featherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Featherbys) had popped out and come back with Penelope (Roedean)'s favourite sandwich: a complicated cucumber and salmon affair topped with alfalfa sprouts and some pickled gherkins, which Penelope insisted on calling "cornichons".
Now that the kids have grown up, Mrs Mole keeps herself busy with charity functions, garden parties and occasional shopping trips to Bath or Cheltenham.
Mrs Batty, The Mole's celebrated cook, is famous throughout the Home Counties for her culinary skills and particularly a special salad dressing which she often serves.
Rather than go to Germany and spend the weekend in a shoddy little hotel or gasthof, surrounded by drunken Schumacher fans, with nothing to eat but Schnitzels, The Mole decided that he would stay away from the European Grand Prix.
The Mole was rather irritated not to be invited to the official ribbon-cutting at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking. It might, he felt, have provided a chance to edge elegantly towards his K, the knighthood he was sure would one day come.
The Mole and Number Two were having lunch on The English Maid, a barge which is moored on the River Thames, not far from SIS Headquarters. The Mole was particularly enjoying his Cumberland Sausages with mustard mash while Number Two had plumped for the much healthier Fish Pie.
The moustachioed dowager from down the road had taken a shine to Penelope (Roedean). The Mole's top agent had been invited to lunch to offset The Dowager's normally dour nature and it was working.
The Mole has always liked Lake Geneva but he has never been able to afford to buy a place down that way. You need to be a dodgy African dictator, a motor racing World Champion or a disgustingly rich industrialist, singer or film star if you wish to afford anything nice in the area.
Cheap and cheerful Japanese restaurants are not normally the kind of place where one would expect to find The Mole. But, now and then, when on an overseas mission, The Mole has been known to meet a contact in somewhere other a Michelin two star restaurant.
When The Mole arrived in the office, all he could hear was Number Two ranting and raving.
When the girls came back to the office after the Christmas break Penelope (Wycombe Abbey) had a dreamy smile on her face. It did not take Miss Pringle-Featherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Featherbys) too long to extract the information that Penelope had found herself a new boyfriend.
"Meet me at the bonfire. Saturday at noon," said The Mole to Isabelle, his beautiful spy at Renault. The words were designed to mean nothing to anyone listening, but Isabelle knew immediately that "the bonfire" was their codename for a statue in the Place de l'Alma in Paris, a golden flame modelled on the one that sits on top of the torch of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
"What does it all mean?" said The Mole to no-one in particular. It was late on Monday evening and he and his analysts were poring over the first pictures of the Jordan-Ford EJ14.
Mrs Mole was captivated by the latest edition of Hello! magazine.
Mrs Mole could not sleep. The Mole, being helpful, got her rather merry on brandy and when that failed to send her off, he went to the library and returned with a copy of Richard Brown's 1905 classic, "A Short History of Accounting and Business".
Penelope (Roedean)'s idea of a great weekend is to lie on a big floppy couch, wearing pyjamas, and eat hamburgers followed by a lot of chocolate.
Each year, try as he might, The Mole cannot escape feeling rather merry as Christmas approaches. The winds may be icy but there is something delightful about decorating Christmas trees, buying presents and going to lots of drinks parties.
Life has been a complete social whirl of late with The Mole in a pre-Christmas dash of "dos" with Ferrari at Fiorano; a dinner in London with Jaguar Racing and lunch at the Manoir aux Quat' Saisons with British American Racing.
"What a extraordinary story," said The Mole out loud, as he sat in Dunkin' Donuts, looking out over Boston Common. He was reading The Boston Globe and had just discovered some rather unsavoury details about the sex life of the hyena which had nearly put him off his second Cinnamon Frosted Apple Cider Cake Donut.
The Mole has a man who is high up in the Bundeskriminalamt, which is otherwise known as the BKA. This is Germany's version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its 5000 employees spend their time chasing drug barons, terrorists, money-launderers, terrorists and other Euro-scum.
The Mole had never seen Penelope (Roedean) weeping before. He had always considered her to be a tough cookie, but here she was with tears rolling down each cheek. And all because of the famous horseradish sauce which they serve with the shrimp cocktail at St Elmo's steakhouse in Indianapolis.
Things had been very quiet in The Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department for a couple of weeks. With most of the F1 people off on their holidays and Bernie Ecclestone swanning about on Concorde there was not much to do.
"I am Lady Windermere's biggest fan!" said The Mole to the Reverend O, as they were finishing off the roast lamb on Sunday afternoon at Mole Manor.
Every once in a while The Mole likes to drop into the London office of the tunefully-named (and disgracefully expensive) legal firm of Scheister, Scheister, Zissu & Zaas and take his legal counsel Norma Zaas out to lunch.
Mrs Mole announced one evening that she was planning to visit her sister, who had the great misfortune to have married a Scotsman.
Felipe Massa has recently acquired a new agent. His name is rumoured to be Nicolas Todt and, apparently, he has a very famous father who is employed by a car company in Maranello, Italy.
It was too quiet. As The Mole walked down the corridor towards the Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department, he could hear nothing: no giggling, no high heels clicking; not even the whisper of lipstick being applied to pouting lips.
When The Mole does not go to a Grand Prix he likes very traditional Sundays at home. This involves going to St Christopher's Parish Church in the morning, a good Sunday roast at Mole Manor and then an afternoon on the sofa, watching the Grand Prix on ITV.
The Mole's spy Isabelle was on a train going to Heathrow Airport when she rang Mole Headquarters to report on her latest discovery.
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.
The Mole believes that the best way to solve a problem is to use a women to sort things out. Thus it is that the major operatives of the Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department are all women and by chance all are called Penelope.
Mrs Mole's idea of a cheese and pickle sandwich is a quite spectacular edifice and also the reason why The Mole never asks for sandwiches when Mrs Batty the cook is away on holiday.
Mr Chang of Chinese Intelligence and his assistant Peaceful Fountains of Desire have been in London in recent days on an official visit to meet their counterparts in British Intelligence.
Mrs Mole was snoring and, homely though that was, The Mole found it impossible to sleep. After a while he decided that he would go foraging for a snack in the kitchen.
Ever since returning from their road trip, The Mole and Penelope had taken to having lunch together. It had, not surprisingly, led to suggestions inside the SIS that a romance was in the air.
The grandchildren are already out of school and as they seemed to be vomiting on a regular basis, The Mole decided it would be a good moment to take a trip to Magny Cours for "important business" and stop off on the way home in the Sancerre to pick up a little wine for "personal consumption".
"The answer is in Lugano," said Number Two, his voice slightly raised. "I think we should organise a break-in!"
The other day The Mole decided that he wanted to have a barbecue to celebrate the arrival of summer.
The Mole wished, if only for a brief moment, that he had been in Montreal on Friday and Saturday.
The Mole had to admit (if only to himself) that dinner with his Renault spy Isabelle at Beaulieu in the week of the Monaco Grand Prix was a rather troubling experience for a chap of his age. Isabelle is an utterly gorgeous creature and the setting was so intimate that The Mole felt the need for his blood-pressure pills.
They were drinking champagne on the balcony of The Mole's room at the Hotel Hermitage.
It being a Bank Holiday weekend in England, The Mole decided that it would be a good opportunity to do some serious work in the office at a time when the telephones are not ringing.
The Mole was in the little bar downstairs at The Travellers' and there was no-one much about. Outside it was pouring with rain and so a Pimm's Number 1 Cup seemed the best solution, with a little sprig of borage thrown in to, in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, "repress the fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholie".
The Mole sometimes wonders about a generation that thinks that everything is "cool" and likes to drink Red Bull.
The Mole felt the need the other day for some Parmesan and rather than popping down to Sainsbury's as he might perhaps have done, he decided that he would kill four birds with one stone and set off to visit Maranello, where he wanted to order some tiles for a bathroom Mrs Mole is planning in the converted stables at Mole Manor.
"Show me a Russian and I will tell you a long and complicated story," said The Mole as he and his staff were considering a new research report on the possibility of a Russian Grand Prix in St Petersburg.
It is the school holidays in England and there are children everywhere. The Mole has been at The Front facing his grandchildren in recent days and being subjected to various forms of torture including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang songs and horrific remakes of classic stories.
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.
A week or so ago Willi Weber, Ralf Schumacher's manager, told German press men that Ralf would probably have a chat with Toyota in August to see if there was any potential for a deal in the future.
They say that the battle going on between the various factions involved in Formula 1 is all about a clash of philosophies between those who believe that Formula 1 must be about technology and those who believe that it must be a sport, an entertainment.
The Mole has always been a fan of Asia. He spent some time in the late 1960s as the commercial attache at the British Embassy in Saigon but it is a less known fact that for a period he also lived in a tree in North Vietnam.
The Mole was down at the butcher's the other day in search of decent sausages (they are so hard to find these days) when he noticed that the butcher was wearing an MCC tie.
For the average member of the intelligence community, if indeed there is such a thing, any piece of paper which arrives from Langley usually excites interest.
The Hotel Holt in Reykjavik is a rather pleasant place, full of Icelandic works of art. It features the best restaurant in Iceland.
The Mole dropped into the office on Saturday morning, intending to go quickly through his post while the office was quiet and then jump into a taxi and rush from Vauxhall to Fortnum & Mason for "a date" with Mrs Mole.
The other day The Mole's office received a telephone call from an angry middle-aged man who demanded to speak to "The Mole".
In the New Year's Honours List The Mole was awarded something called a CMG. This is a wonderfully old-fashioned honour which is given to old spooks, without anyone noticing it has happened.
The Mole is one of those strange people who actually like fruitcake. For most people fruitcake conjures up an image of something as hard as rock that should have a government health warning attached.
It is been a while since The Mole read Sun Tzu's Ping Fa in the original Chinese but after dinner the other night he found himself in the library with a glass of his favorite Glenfiddich (the Rare Collection of 1937) and as he savoured its leathery smell and smooth silk toffee taste with a finish of bitter chocolate, he chanced upon a copy of Ping Fa on one of the shelves.
The Mole is very partial to a little duck now and then. A good magret de canard with a honey glaze or a nice robust confit de canard and some boiled potatoes always goes down rather well and, of course, a man cannot live without foie gras and a little glass of Monbazillac from time to time.
Back in the days when The Mole was a government gun-slinger in Saigon he heard many stories of an American Air Force General called Edward G Lansdale, who had worked for the CIA in the city in the 1950s.
Christmas shopping is not up there with The Mole's favourite activities but rather than doing something sensible like shopping in August when the stores are quiet, the Moles always seem to end up in the West End at the worst possible time in the run-up to Christmas.
History is a funny thing, thought The Mole the other day, while savouring the delicate flavour of his four o'clock cup of Earl Grey. Regular readers of the column will know that The Mole is a bit of an Epicurean...
The other day The Mole received a coded message from a Formula 1 "sleeper" advising him to visit one of his dead letter boxes to pick up a document.
Down in the basement at SIS Headquarters there is a vault in which the old case files are stored. It is known as The Morgue and presided over by a very strange individual who is nicknamed Schmutzli.
"Have you been invited to the Thanksgiving Party at the American Embassy?" asked Penelope (Roedean) at lunchtime the other day.
The Mole is not a great believer in investment (apart from Mrs Mole's little horde of gold in Zurich) but he does occasionally peruse the share prices in The Financial Times while waiting in the morning for his kedgeree to arrive from the kitchens.
During his recent holiday in France, The Mole popped up to Paris for a weekend, bullied by Mrs Mole to see an art exhibition at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume.
The Mole had been away on holiday. With the United Nations Security Council taking care of the adventures of Saddam Hussein and the motor racing world in hibernation, the Motor Racing and Tinpot Dictator Department had been stuck in a limbo for weeks and Mrs Mole, noticing that her husband had become restless, suggested a few days at the Villa Mole, overlooking the Bay of Angels on the Cote d'Azur.
When The Mole was a young man, life was all about pretending to be a diplomat. Going to embassy functions and being charming to beautiful women in ball gowns.
There is much talk in Formula 1 circles at the moment about the idea that F1 cars should be handicapped in the future. People are up in arms. Formula 1 is back in the newspapers. People are talking about the sport again. Will it happen?
While the Formula 1ers headed out to Indianapolis, The Mole decided it was better to stay home and watch the beeches of Burnham changing colour as autumn descends on Great Britain.
At the end of November last year all the Formula 1 team principals who mattered gathered in a chilly Geneva to be given a presentation by a company called GPWC Holding NV, which said it was planning to start a new "Grand Prix World Championship" in 2008. The team bosses were told that the car manufacturers were behind the idea.
The Mole spent last weekend in the garden at Mole Manor, fiddling with fuchsia. On Sunday afternoon, at the appointed hour, he headed into his own Communications Centre (The Mole has had one of these for rather longer than Ron Dennis) to watch the Italian Grand Prix.
Number Two had come back from his holiday in a rather dark mood. The decision to go to Angola had seemed rather odd to begin with and to make matters worse, at the airport, he had discovered that his wife had made a terrible mistake and they were booked for two weeks in the Potawatomi Inn Resort in Angola, Indiana. Halfway between Detroit and Chicago.
The Mole cannot claim to be a great fan of German poets but now and then he reads a little Goethe (in the original German) to soothe his nerves.
The Mole was chatting the other day at The Club with Sir Dickie Dearlove (known to his friends as "C") about the good old days when espionage was a political business and they used to work undercover in such intriguing spots as Nairobi, Prague, Paris and, in particular, Geneva.
You might not recall the details, but in the 1970s there was a Formula 1 team which was (reputedly) run by a retired undercover operative. He had a curious sense of humour and so the team's logo was the profile of a black-cloaked figure in a wide-brimmed hat. The team was called Shadow.
For some years now The Mole has been visiting St Tropez every August. It is not the place to be unless you really crave publicity and wish to be photographed with the latest top bimbo on your arm.
When The Mole was a lad, Mecca was always used as the name for the place where one wanted to go, where there were piles of gold, endless liquorice and dancing girls. It always amazed The Mole that Paramount Pictures did not make a musical comedy called The Road to Mecca, starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.
Mrs Mole is a great believer in gold bars. Recently she has been glumly reading the newspapers at breakfast time and muttering about the world's economy and how the only place to be these days is "in gold".
In the latter days of the Second World War a British intelligence officer called Cameron Earl persuaded the British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee to allow him to go to Germany and see what could be found in the filing cabinets at Mercedes-Benz and AutoUnion.
Formula 1 people like to see themselves as important and there is no doubt that despite the misadventures of some of the smaller teams, the industry is big business. But can one imagine a situation in which success in the sport would propel Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo to becoming the top automobile executive in Italy?
When The Mole was a youth and battling bad guys in Indochina there was a funny little fellow called Bob Dylan who turned up in America and started singing songs that he thought would change the world. The human being has an enormous capacity for self-delusion.
The other day while sitting in the garden looking at his roses, The Mole read an article in the newspaper about an unpleasant accident which occurred in England.
The Mole thinks that the 2002 season is a pretty silly one for Formula 1. The huge success of Ferrari on the race tracks of the world means that there is not much to say about the racing and so the happenings in the paddock have had to suffice for the hungry media.
John Gotti served just under 10 years of his life sentence in the super-maximum-security US Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois. This is the highest security prison in the United States of America and for the former boss of the Gambino crime family, once known as "The Teflon Don", it was the least that the government could do. A lesser prison would have been an insult.
The Mole is in a bit of rush today. There are things to be done in preparation for the forthcoming meeting of the Formula 1 team bosses in London (rooms to be bugged, that sort of thing).
The Mole does not believe in coincidences when it comes to Formula 1. In the real world there may be conspiracies 20% of the time and mistakes 80% of the time, but in F1 those figures are reversed. Things happen for reasons.
Cluedo is a very fine game. For those who do not know it, is a detective game in which one deduces who is the murderer, where the murder happened and what the murder weapon was, by asking a variety of questions to the other players. It is set in a country house and they are suspects with names like Colonel Mustard, the Reverend Green and so on.
The last few days have been very stressful in the world of Formula 1. The Mole was not surprised by what happened at the A1 Ring on Sunday but, like everyone in Formula 1, he was surprised by the reaction.
The Mole's personal assistant Miss Pringle-Featherby (of the Berkshire Pringle-Featherbys) has remarkably small feet and, being a neat young lady, tends to wear those narrow skirts that accentuate certain parts of the anatomy in a charming way but make walking quickly rather difficult. Miss Pringle-Featherby does not run to catch buses.
When The Mole was about nine years old he was a great fan of the Chelsea Bun. They were more agreeable than Rock Cakes and slightly less messy (but not much) than Bath Buns, Custard Tarts, Sticky Buns and Cream Puffs.
A couple of weeks ago FIA President Max Mosley turned up at Imola for an amiable exchange of views with the Formula 1 press.
The Mole is by nature a cynical fellow, believing that one can never treat things in Formula 1 at face value, particularly when you are dealing with such clever people as Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.
When he was Cultural Attache at the Moscow Embassy in the 1970s, The Mole was rather fond of the place. One really did meet the most interesting people at embassy cocktail parties.
Back in the days when the Peugeot Family made only pepperpots and saw blades, there was no need for marketing men with coloured plastic spectacles and pig-tails. There was a lion logo and the products worked.
When The Mole was a child he was fascinated by stories of smugglers and pirates and one of his favourite poems was Rudyard Kipling's "The Smuggler's Song".
The Mole has always been impressed by David Richards. As a young whipper-snapper DR was trained as an accountant and that has always served him well when he ventured out from North Wales.
The Mole loved fairytales when he was a little lad and in life it is always rather comforting that once in a while there is something to reaffirm the belief that fairytales can still happen.
The Mole decided that morning to let Oswald the chauffeur have the day off on Monday and set off to London by train, alighting at Vauxhall where the Secret Intelligence Service owns a rather large building.
The Mole - Follow the money
In recent days worthy motor racing reporters have been writing lots of complicated stories (which they do not quite understand) about a mysterious man in Bavaria called Leo Kirch.
There is nothing The Mole finds more disheartening than government lawyers who read The Mole's columns and decide that he is cutting too close to the bones of powerful individuals and so his work must be shredded immediately.
Max Mosley and no fewer than four of his FIA acolytes had lunch twice last week in London with assorted members of the motor racing media.
The Mole quite likes Holland. The people are always very friendly and these days they speak English better than the English do. Amsterdam may be full of drunken and drugged hippies but the average Dutchman is a jolly fellow with a decent sense of humour.
The Mole did not go to Renault launch in Paris. Seventeen Sundays in a year are enough time spent worshipping at the Temple of St Bernard and The Mole did not want the Reverend Sidney Overton-Fuller to frown upon him from the pulpit at St Christopher's if he were to grab an 18th Sunday to visit the Renault Technocentre at Guyancourt.