SWOGGER AND ME
Mark Dapin’s column (10/8/13) prompted this memory – in 1963 when I was five I ran a small business at The Rising Sun Hotel in Port Wakefield. I sold freshly cooked crabs for six pence each. Old Swogger would cook them on the back of the boat and I’d carry them up piping hot in a hessian sack to the front bar. We’d catch 100 crabs a day and split the profits. Swogger had spent three years in a Japanese PoW camp. where “please” and “thank you” had been kicked out of him. I liked him. He had a dry sense of humour. One day the local copper fined me three shillings because I didn’t have a crabbing licence. There was no such thing. I told Swogger and he just grunted, “those things happen”. That night was a king tide. You had to make sure the boat wasn’t tied too tightly to the wharf, otherwise it would be left dangling high and dry. Or worse. Next morning we went down to find the policeman’s boat had sunk. The painter had been too tight and as the tide fell, the weight of the boat had pulled the bow off. It was the copper’s pride and joy. “Those things happen,” smiled Swogger. That’s all he said.