We’ve been on holiday. Staithes. North Yorkshire coast. Near Whitby. Look, hang on, let me get my smartphone out, I’ll show you...
Our cottage was directly opposite the habourside, where every child in holiday mode would turn up clutching a crab net or bucket, purchased from The Shop.
Early first afternoon, and I spot a tiny girl marching towards the harbour with a determined air, sporting the obligatory crab net. She’s wearing lots of pink. Mainly in the glittery sandals and sparkly tiara. Holiday wear, I assume.
In attendance, proud papa. No tiara, but really should have worn a hat since the sun has made an appearance. Lots of red. Mainly on the face and scalp.
Papa baits and lowers crab net into the water. Raises net. As we can all predict, nothing there. Papa explains that crabs don’t play by the rules of domestic pets.
Princess Crabfisher displays signs of impatience.
Suddenly, lo! The net string goes taut and the Princess helps haul in a seriously impressive crab. In fact, I can see the beast from where I’m sitting. So big and old that it’s got barnacles attached to its shell, which, given the number of crab sarnies they sell down Yorkshire way must be something of an achievement in these waters.
Princess Crabfisher pokes at the crab in a thoughtful manner, then realises that crabs are actually a bit boring. With the hauteur of an empress faced with a substandard tiara, she waves her hand and papa gently returns the monster to the briny.
Her majesty is pleased by this turn of events and accepts the offer of ice cream.
Twenty minutes later, little boy, similar crab net, granny in attendance this time. Much chucking of the net, much hauling in on the line, much thinly veiled disappointment at the meagre offerings.
Granny is Scottish. She doesn’t give up easily.
Lo! The string goes taut, Team Gran and Grandson haul like deck hands on a tramp steamer headed for Valpariso and the net comes up with a massive crab.
Hold on. I can see the beast from where I’m sitting. Its so old and big it has barnacles on its back.
It’s the same crab.
Either I am looking at the dumbest crab on the North Yorkshire coast, or something more sinister is afoot.
Have these crabs organised a rota to improve customer satisfaction among junior holiday makers by getting caught?