49 Days In 1988: Week 26 – Whodunit?

Click here to read the first week of this feature, and follow the links at the end of each post.


London – July 18th, 1988

The apple cart on cloud nine which I’ve been travelling on since the events of last weekend was shaken today when I came back to earth with a bump after receiving a call from my bank. It seems the banker’s card I’d thought I’d lost last September has turned up with the missing chequebook I reported missing around the same time. This all happened while I was living at my previous address in Earls Court. It seems that one of my previous flatmates stole both from me, the chequebook being taken from my mail.

Yesterday, somebody turned up at Heathrow airport and tried using both to withdraw money from my account. Luckily, the eagle-eyed assistant at the Bureau de Change spotted that the signature on the cheque did not match that on the banker’s card. They called security but, by the time they arrived, the person who was trying to withdraw the cash had run off. 

The shock has upset me today. Knowing that one of the three people I shared the flat with has done this to me is something I’m going to have to deal with. My bank has told me that it’s up to me as to whether I report the matter to the police. It’s something I need to think about, given that two of the three are probably innocent. I’m going to ask for some advice about it before I decide what to do.  

#London #music #bloggers #city #LGBTQI #LGBT


Welcome to this new feature for 2018 on Hugh’s Views and News. In this feature, I’ll be sharing snippets from my diary of 1988. We’ll also take a trip in Hugh’s Music Time machine to hear some songs from the 1980s which have been chosen by some specially invited guests.

#bookreviews #bookreviewer #books #photograhy
Book reviewer, photographer and writer: Cathy Ryan

This week my guest is the book reviewer, photographer, and writer, Cathy Ryan. Cathy lives on the beautiful North Wales coast in the UK and is also a member of Rosie Ambers book review team. As with all my other guests for this feature, I was delighted when Cathy accepted my invitation to choose a date and a favourite song from the 1980s.

You only have to look at the ‘Reviews By Author‘ page on Cathy’s blog to see just how much she enjoys reading, listening to audiobooks, and reviewing them. Her two favourite quotes about reading are –

There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book ~ Josh Jameson

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as though you’ve lost a friend ~ Paul Sweeney

Cathy’s blog is not only about book reviews, but a place where she also shares some of her wonderful photography. I’m always amazed by what Cathy captures on her camera. Whether it is the acrobatics of the Red Arrows to the wonderful scenery she captures when taking photos of castles, wildlife or coastal views, I’ve never been disappointed with the results. Cathy was also a regular contributor to the photo challenge I once run, with this photo being amongst one of my favourites.

I asked Cathy to tell me which of her blog posts has been the most popular with her readers. I wasn’t surprised when she said told me the answer. Click here to find out.

Released as a single in 1985, The Unforgettable Fire was U2’s second single from the album by the same name. The inspiration for the song came from an art exhibition for the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which the band attended. It became the band’s third top ten hit in the UK but failed to break them into the charts in the U.S.A. Thank you for the excellent song choice, Cathy.

It looks like I was ‘firefighting’ after getting that call from my bank back in July 1988. Do you have a favourite song that’s connected with fire or firefighting a problem? Share a link to it in the comments.

Next week find out what decision I made about contacting the police about the attempted chequebook fraud. Click here to find out what I did.

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    1. Not a nice experience at all. It reminded me a little of the time (a few years ago) when my electricity supplier cleared out my bank account and plunged it into overdraft. It took a few days to sort out and they were very sorry, but the shock I got when looking at my account balance was a nasty surprise.

      I’ll be revealing who I thought the culprit was in today’s post for this series, Brigid.

  1. Hugh, your life in the eighties was exciting already, but this is yet another turn, belonging in a detective novel! What would I do if I were you? Confront the three ex-roommates if possible. Tough call whether to file a police report if you don’t know who is the thief.

    U2 was arguably one of the best bands of the eighties if not ever. Cathy’s two hobbies/passions, reading and photography, would suit me perfectly (if I had more time)!

    1. lol, I’ve never thought about writing a crime novel, Liesbet, although did include a crime short story in my book, Glimpses. There’s also a new ‘whodunit’ story coming up in my new collection of short stories (more details to follow on my blog soon). 😀

  2. This is such a fresh series, Hugh. You definitely got us all wondering about who tried frisking your money and how you dealt with being at the centre of potential fraud. I do hope all was well in the end. It’s funny how these days using cheques are less common, and my bank charges for chequebooks or if you are after a bank cheque. Even these days when you use a credit card, you’ll usually use a pin for the transaction. Can’t remember the last time I signed for something with my card. Also keyless cards where you just tap and go are so common here in Australia.

    1. Thank you, Mabel. It seems to be going down very well with my readers. I’ve enjoyed sharing snippets of my dairy from 1988 with you all.

      I’ll be publishing the follow up later on today, so we’ll find out what happened and the decision I made regarding the theft. Like you, I can’t remember the last time I wrote a cheque, but back in 1988, they were very commonplace when paying for goods or wanting to withdraw money. Times have certainly changed with us now being able to pay for goods using a smartwatch or mobile phone. I wonder how we’ll be paying for goods in 20 years time?

      1. Theft is no joke. It gets you all worried and maybe even paranoid about who may or may not be watching you. So true we can pay for our goods with a watch or smartphone these days. Haven’t tried that myself and it’s still either cash or card for me. Maybe we can pay for our goods with a press of a finger or thumbprint in the future 🙂

        1. I think that may well be coming, Mabel. You only have to look at how a thumbprint is used now to unlock a mobile phone. I’m sure we’ll also be using our eyes to pay for goods as well as unlocking doors.

        2. It would be amazing for us to pay for goods with our eyes. Then again, with every new payment methods is a new way to scam. Thumbprints may be hard to duplicate though since each is so unique. If we go by paying with eyes, not to sure how that will affect people with contact lenses.

        3. That’s a good question, Mabel. The thought of having to take them out to pay for something isn’t what anyone wants to think about, but I’m sure they will come up with a way around it. I’ve already seen eye scanners at airports. A traveller enters a booth and it scans their eyes. This, in turn, tells the scanner about the traveller’s passport. I’m not sure how they connect the eye scanning to the passport, though. On a plus side, the queue is always very short to the eye scanner booths.

  3. How awful that your checkbook and credit card was stolen by someone you knew. Maybe you have to give this person a scare and report the theft to the police.
    I had my identity at one time stolen. I found out through the Internal Revenue Tax people when a person tried to file a claim with my SS #. I had to report it to the police, get a special number in order to go into my SS account and use this # in order to file taxes for the next several years. I felt violated! People like this need to be stopped.

    Best wishes in getting this reconciled, Cathy. 🤗 to you and Hugh! Thanks for sharing, Hugh.

    1. We’ll find out what action I took next week, Janice. Fraud, especially online, is something that has taken the world over today. So many phishing emails, phone calls, mail, and even face to face attempts to fraud us are all part of the world we live in today. We have to be so very careful what information we share about ourselves online. Fortunately, there is a lot of excellent free information out there to help us out.

      Hugs to you.

  4. Oh my – it’s terrible when people you trust act so horribly. The only fire song I can think of is Light my Fire by Jim Morrison which is not exactly about firefighting!

  5. What a horrible thing to happen, Hugh. Shakes your trust in people. Lovely to see Cathy here. I follow her blog and always enjoy it whether it’s a book review or her wonderful photos.

    1. It does, Mary. It’s also a good lesson not to trust everybody. Fortunately, the large percentage of people we meet during our lifetimes are the good ones. I guess life wouldn’t be ‘life’ without the occasional encounter with the bad ones, though.

  6. Nice friends! Not! Wow Hugh that’s awful, but I have to ask, when you originally thought they were stolen didn’t you close off the account and the card? I was mugged once and cancelled my cards and closed my bank account and opened a new one. 2 Years later someone tried to write a cheque for 2K on the old account. The bank sends a statement that I’m in overdraft 2K on that account. I phone and blast them, “Duh, that account was closed 2 years ago!” The bank didn’t do their due diligence, thus they ate the loss not me. 🙂 xxx

    1. I reported the banker’s card missing, Debby. However, here in the UK, back in 1988, bank cards were only used as a guarantee for a cheque (up to the value of £50) or to withdrawn cash (using a pin-number). Chequebooks were sent by post to your home address by the bank when you were down to the last five cheques in the book. The cheques were numbered, so the bank knew when to send a new chequebook out. It never crossed my mind for a while that I was due a new chequebook, so I never reported it missing. I got a new banker’s card and just carried on using that as normal. I rarely wrote cheques for anything. It was all cash in those days for me.

      I’m so sorry to hear about you getting mugged. It doesn’t surprise me that some criminals wait before trying to withdraw cash in the hope that they won’t get caught because everyone will have forgotten about it. It seems that’s exactly what your bank did, so well done for opening up a new bank account. Back in 1988, it could take weeks to open a new bank account. You had to present yourself at the bank, along with a huge application form and lots of I.D. Just the thought was enough to put many people off. How things have changed since then.

      1. I get you on the cheque book Hugh. And yes, opening and closing accounts are a pain. But luckily, I didn’t have to even go into the bank. That incident happen in the early 2000s. But good you and I both have moved on. 🙂 ❤

  7. Hi Hugh,
    What a dilemma. Can’t wait to see what happens.
    On the second date with someone, I thought I knew, I asked him to spend the night. The next day I found my watch missing. I called him and of course, he denied taking it. Life lessons come hard sometimes.

    Enjoyed you spotlight piece, Cathy. Look forward to seeing more from you.

    HUGS to all.

    1. Hi Chuck, your story reminds me of somebody I knew of who was nicknamed ‘Family Silver, George.’ He was a good-looking guy and sometimes robbed those he spent the night with. He’s a few years in the future from my life in 1988. Thankfully, I wasn’t his type. 😀
      Hugs to you.

    1. Indeed, Jacquie. However, I’ve grown to know when somebody is hiding behind a mask. I don’t know what it is, but I usually get a feeling when I know somebody is not a particularly nice person.
      Thanks for following Cathy’s blog.

  8. You shouldn’t hesitate when something like this happens. I know it’s tough to follow through, and so many of us would rather let it pass, but this is why people who do bad things keep on doing them!

  9. Oh Hugh… that had to be an awful time. My purse was stolen by a coworker (years ago), but theft by a room mate is even worse. I know that was a difficult decision.
    Best to Cathy, and hugs to you both.

    1. It was, Tegan. I’d lived with those roommates for a few years and thought I knew them. It seems not. Sorry to hear about your purse being stolen by a co-worker. Stealing off a company we work for is one thing, but off a co-worker is even worse.
      Hugs to you.

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