Fiona Duff: Heart-in-moth time for jumper lovers

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There are some issues in life that are really quite serious, although may not seem so at first. I am talking about moths – those dastardly little beasties that chew up jumpers and carpets with wild abandon with little care for the cost to the owners.

My lovely cashmere sweaters bought from Belinda Robertson now look like something a punk rocker would have been happy to wear, back in the day. There are rugs in my home that resemble Elton John’s scalp after he had his first dodgy hair transplant – little tufts appearing from bald patches.

The unfortunate fact is that there is so little that can be done without the use of chemicals. All woollen and silk clothes have to be dry cleaned. I did read that you can put them in the freezer to kill the larvae but there just ain’t enough room in there with all the frozen peas and tubs of ice cream that are a necessary part of my life.

When the wonderful Grays was in George Street, it had a selection of deadly moth sprays, the result of using will no doubt induce emphysema in my later years. These days we are offered lavender and cedar balls, the latter of which might be of use if you have a very good aim and can knock one out with an overhead googly.

Of course, as I set about trying to eradicate the blasted things from my home, I suddenly wondered that they perhaps had some sort of use. From studying history I remembered that Mao Tse-tung took against sparrows when he first ruled China. The people, and that’s a heck of a bunch, were instructed to do all in their power to destroy the poor birds, which being good citizens they did with remarkable success.

Unfortunately, the following year as it came to harvest time they realised that sparrows were good at eating all sorts of creepy crawlies that left to their own devices would scoff all the crops. Amongst these were locusts and you do not have to have read the Bible to know the problems that then arose. The stupid git’s daft decree was responsible for a famine that resulted in the deaths of around 20 million people.

Anyway, I have done some research and I don’t think that moths can keep locusts at bay. In fact, there doesn’t really seem to be any reason for them at all, although their butterfly 
cousins are at least lovely to watch as they flutter around.

So I’ve stocked up on moth traps which are plastic triangular contraptions into which a sticky board is placed; the target of my wrath is drawn in and then will find themselves incapable of leaving. It’s as ingenious as anything a Bond villain could ever have constructed. I have also managed to find some spray for emergencies and, just in case all else fails, I have a bag of cedar balls which I shall chuck around for good measure. With any luck that will knock a couple of them out.

In the meantime, if you hear about a punk revival please let me know – I’ve got half the gear and don’t think that safety pins should be too hard to find.

Derrick’s got the Guild-en touch

In Scotland, we have a bad habit of not always giving some of our very talented citizens due credit.

Artist Derrick Guild was born in Perth, studied and still lives north of the Border, yet nearly all his success has been overseas. He’s feted in Los Angeles and New York as well as London where his work is snapped up by discerning collectors.

He’s never had a major commercial exhibition in Scotland, which is really quite appalling. However, as of tomorrow that will be repaired as his work is on display and for sale at The Scottish Gallery in Dundas Street.

I had a little preview and it is simply stunning and quite awe-inspiring. Of course, you don’t have to believe me – you could trot along and have a look yourself.

Jennifer’s flexible . . she can do Mondays

I used to think that people who did yoga and Pilates were just wasting an hour of their lives. What good could it do to stand on your head or cross your legs and perhaps include a bit of humming, I sneered.

Earlier this year my niece, Jennifer Dennis, returned to Edinburgh having undertaken several yoga courses in New York and India. I felt I should support her in this new venture so turned up for her first class – apart from anything it was free. I left realising that I had actually quite enjoyed it as well as being aware that I was no longer as flexible as I had been once upon a time.

Since then it has become part of my weekly routine and I am definitely a bit more bendy. The best news is that she’s about to start Monday classes at OMH Therapies, just around the corner from me in Randolph Crescent, so being a yoga bunny is going to involve a very short hop for yours truly.


I’m off to Italy next week to see some friends who moved out there a few years ago to renovate a dilapidated farmhouse. The stuff of dreams has sometimes been a nightmare – Italian authorities make the city council look like a bunch of softies – but they now have a fantastic place to live and the swimming pool is being dug out as I type. I am taking my swimming costume in hope.