Squid and bacon did it for me

The Jewish Chronicle Online, 19/09/2011

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.