Squid and bacon did it for me
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?
'How much SQUID would you like, sir?' the fish lady asked the entire shop
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.