Many years ago I was sitting on a rock trying to avoid having my big toe snapped off by a ferocious crab with a chip on his shoulder.
It was such a beautiful day too.
The Sea of Galilee stretched out before me looking puzzled and fed up with all the attention it had been receiving over the years. I could almost hear it shimmer ‘Bugger off, go home and don’t come back! I’ve damn well had enough!’.
Be that as it may, the sun was out, the Sea was calm and I was pleasantly plastered in that unique arrak sort of way. I was sitting there bottle in one hand, Nobbler (that was the nickname of a cheap Israeli fag) in the other, while my feet dangled in the cool waters of an ancient Christian icon.
The day was beautiful, my mood was beautiful. I was young, full of hell and looking forward to a meeting later the following day with a cracking Sabra from Tel Aviv. I had gone multi-cultural and it was bloody great.
I had wised up to the crabs, so at least I wouldn’t turn up to the date toe-less, drunk maybe but not toe-less. Anyway there I was, wondering if I could walk on water and whether the arrak would help, when I decided to have a browse at a manuscript I had been playing around with – funnily enough it eventually became Ragged Cliffs.
I soon became engrossed with the words and the arrak, indeed so engrossed that even now I remember little if anything about the rest of the day, apart from the tickles of some bright moonlight and the odd cicada chorus.
The following day, sober and ready to take on the world again, I realised that I was no longer in possession of my precious manuscript. It had gone. I tried to remember where I had been on the Sea of Galilee but it was hopeless, I even searched part of the shoreline for a day or two. Nothing.
My one and only work of literary genius had gone, the bloody crabs had had it!
Well, that little incident had taken place some thirty years ago, but do you know that the manuscript did eventually turn up. Five years after it had disappeared, it arrived at my grandmother’s house, in South Wales of all places.
It had been carefully packed, the chapters all neatly treasury tagged and in numerical order, there was even a hint of some tender loving care.
A piece of paper saying ‘Thank you, from xxxx Kibbutz, Galilee,’ had been placed on top of the bundles of paper.
PS The above is absolutely true.