Two weeks ago I was sitting peacefully on my rucksack that turns in a split second into a portable armchair, on the quay at Blakeney in North Norfolk.
A man walked up to me and said: “Forget the bacon.”
Was I suddenly in the middle of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?
Or was he a secret agent from the Chief Rabbi’s office, out to catch Jews using bacon?
If this really was a secret code, what was my password ?
“The Blakeney seals sleep all day long,” I said.
I must have got it wrong because he carried on gazing out to sea.
A paranoid thought popped into my mind. Was he a member of the hitherto unknown North Norfolk Nazi Party?
But how did he know I was Jewish?
Over the years, in moments of crisis I’ve discovered I have an uncanny ability to remain totally calm. So I took a long puff on my cigar and said nothing.
He turned and moved towards me but I still didn’t move a muscle. Leaning in, he whispered into my ear: “I’m going to say just one word to you. Squid.”
“Squid?” I said. ” Squid? Are you quite sure?”
He tapped the side of his nose twice.
“Trust me. It’s the killer bait.”
“But I was told that bacon was the bait to use.” Even, I thought, for Jews.
“Bacon? That’s so yesterday.” he said. “Squid’s the new bacon.” He walked briskly off.
“Excuse me”, I asked the young family next to me on the quay. “Where’s the nearest fish shop?”
In the tiny shop on the tiny high street I cast a seemingly casual glance over the lobsters, plaice and sole displayed on the ice tray.
“Got any squid?” I whispered.
“How much SQUID do you want, sir?” the fish lady asked.
” Ssssssh NOT so loud!” I said. “About 3 inches should suffice”.
“Right! One bag of squid bait!” she announced to the whole shop.
50p’s worth of squid later I was back on the quay.
I looked round. Nobody was watching me.
I lowered the line over the side and waited a couple of minutes.
I looked over the edge into the dark water below. I couldn’t see a thing.
I slowly wound the line up.
And that’s how I caught six crabs in one go, setting a new, I like to think, world crabbing record.
For my remaining 4 days in Blakeney I was surrounded by admiring kids and their parents as crab after crab was hauled up.
I had to buy a second bucket. “How do you do it?” they all asked. “What’s your secret?”
“I’ll say just one word,” I replied. “Bananas.”
For five days in late August I was the Crabbing King of Blakeney.
And you know something?
It’s good to be the King.