BBC Radio Norfolk received a rather extraordinary letter this week from Tony Colman, Norfolk man and - among other things - the former MP for Putney.


He's said we can share his Treasure Quest tale with you all, so here it is... 


How “Treasure Quest” Saved the Day!



A year ago in June 2011, I, and my wife Juliet, were coming to the end of 10 months stay in Botswana, Southern Africa, doing fieldwork for our PhDs at the School of International Development, UEA.


I come from Upper Sheringham, born and bred, and having spent my whole career away from North Norfolk, returned in 2008. Feeling homesick after 9 months in Gaborone, I took to listening to “Treasure Quest” on BBC Radio Norfolk Listen Again facility on the internet. I eked out the programme each week listening on the headphones to one clue and its discovery each night after my wife had gone to sleep. When I finished listening, I slid the laptop under the bed.


We had just returned to our flat from going upcountry. Our flat was in a compound of 20 flats surrounded by a high wall with an electrified wire fence and a guard on the entrance. We had gone 9 months with no burglary until that night.


My wife had her fieldwork data on her computer which she left in the living room with other electrical equipment. A back-up she had taken a few days earlier was hidden in another room. That night I listened to David and Becky for 20 minutes on the first clue of the week, Juliet was asleep and after the victory music of the Hallelujah Chorus, the computer (with my data) went under the bed.


Next morning we were woken up by our neighbours telling us we (and they) had been burgled during the night. Juliet’s computer and the rest had gone. The burglars had got in over the electric fence, forced open a kitchen window and taken anything of value. Our neighbours, who were from Israel, lost not only their equipment, but passports as well, and woke to find their television was switched on loudly. The modus operandi for burglars in Botswana is not to attack, or worse, kill the burgled but to anaesthetise them. Word is that they break in, put their victims to sleep and then cook a meal before leaving with their loot.


In this case the loot did not include my computer with its 9 months fieldwork data as it was hidden under the bed. So Treasure Quest saved the day.


When we got back to Norfolk in July 2011, we found that Juliet’s backup had worked and she only lost a small amount of research data.


So today, on the anniversary of the burglary, we listened to “Treasure Quest “again, but this time all the way through!!


Tony Colman



You need to register and sign-in to add comments.