My local at Great Marton was crowded with festive revellers when it happened.
“Aren’t you that feller who writes these books?” demanded a blonde, indicating a poster about my latest.
“What do you mean by pig rustling?” she pressed, for its title was Bright Lights & Pig Rustling, a humorous memoir of life beside the seaside.
(Although her nearby hubby’s misreading of it as ‘Pig Wrestling’ would have been even better.)
It was, I explained, because of the first court case this paper sent me to as a reporter in the late 1970s, involving misdoings on Marton Moss during a sea fret.
My old pal, the Gazette’s late country writer Jack Benson, was a Mossag and confirmed rustling occurred when mist descended.
“There you are, I told you!” the woman beside me informed another chap of seasoned complexion.
“Did the defendant wear a greatcoat, tied up with string?” they both asked, becoming more excited as I again confirmed.
“Did he have another bloke with him, dressed similarly?”
That was true too. I remembered it as also the first time a bribe had been proffered to me in court – a scrunched up fiver.
“You won’t be putting this in’t Gazette, will you lad?” the farmer had asked.
Sadly, my report, scribbled on loose sheets of notepaper, was already despatched via an elderly messenger and just then being published inside our first edition.
Obviously he would have to live with his shame. But times have changed.
“That was my uncle – his dad,” the blonde told me, as delighted as her cousin appeared. “We had a good laugh at that,” he added, “still do.”
It was just a pity Jack couldn’t have been there, but perhaps he was smiling down – remembering such shenanigans from our diverse coast’s misty past.
Merry Christmas all!
* For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool. Amazon or stores.