Saturday, December 08, 2007

And into February

Daily routine as usual. Even the senior detectives, sorry, inspectors, were becoming so well known that they were almost friends. Especially Bill Bayley, the second in command. But then, I think he was a naturally friendly man. I know that he intercepted a phone call from Monica, she often phoned me at work, and she thought he was trying to chat her up. I knew better of course, he was weighing the situation up as all the inspectors, every day, were doing. After work I had got in the habit of going for a drink in the small "snug" in the Lourne Pub in the High Street. Its still there if you fancy a drink in Rhyl, but the snug has long gone. It was used by, shall I say, professional men, i.e. local Solicitors, Managers of Marks and Spencer and the like. One evening the acting Chief Clerk, I don't recall his name, came in, presumably on his way home to Mold, I think it was. He was a very nice, peaceful old gentleman, I don't think he was particularly happy at being thrown into the boiling pot of intrege (spelt wrong I know) that was Barclays, Rhyl. He got into the habit, like me. I often wondered afterwards was he put up to this by the Inspectors. Probably. "See what you can find out---and report back." Also, about that time, Ernie Taylor, the owner of the missing deedbox, understandably started playing up, after all it was nearly three months after the loss was discovered and his claim, to me, appeared foolproof. After all, the box had gone, there was no argument about that. He said he needed the money, and fast. One day, in the Bank, I happened to be working on the enquiry desk and Ernie was there as a customer. He came over to me and started talking. He said he had heard that one of our staff was no longer there, I'm not surprised he had heard, the Barclays Bank mystery was the number one topic of conversation in every bar and cafe in Rhyl. All in very hushed tones. Ernie chatted, but his face was stern. He said he had a shooting range on the fairground, so he had easy access to guns and ammunition. He said that he was strongly tempted to use his gun on whoever had got their hands on his cash---he did'nt say me, but he did'nt say not me either. Lucky I'm not of a nervious disposition. The following couple of days a phone call came from Head Office in London. Very, very unusual. Both the Manager and acting C.C. were out, so the call ended up with me. Head Office: "We want you to transfer 75,000 pounds from Sundry Payments account (this was an internal account to cover small day to day payments like the window cleaner or some floor polish.) Put it into a temporary account with withdrawals to be made by Mr Ernie Taylor and no one else, up to the balance of 75,000. Do not charge any interest or any other charge to this account, and say as little as possible to anyone on the staff about it." O.K., I did that, and Ernie was happy again. But still gunning for me, literally. I often laughed to myself about the phone call. Whoever spoke to me from London obviously thought Rhyl branch had about 100 on the staff, not about 20 or so. They would never have instructed ME of all people to do this if they had known I was one of the prime suspects. By a strange quirk of fate, many, many years later, at least 25 years, both Ernie and I were regular customers in a social club in Kinmel Bay. One night, over a pint, he confessed that in 1965 he thought it was me, to use his words "You had the style." Do you think that was a complement?

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