When I took off from Washington DC it was a hot summer's day, but by the time I reached Gatwick winter had arrived. It was a good twenty degrees colder than it had been in DC, and whereas DC had been sunny and pleasant, London was experiencing torrential rain and was thoroughly miserable. What made it even more miserable was that it was 7am in the morning, I'd had no sleep, and -- thanks to using all but half a day of my annual vacation time on my TAFF trip -- I had only two hours to get to work. I made it, though not without dropping my Donald Duck hat in a puddle, and spent the next few hours concentrating on fairly mindless tasks such as filing (just about all I could manage). When I left work, shortly after 1pm, the rain hadn't let up at all and neither had the general unpleasantness the day was subjecting me to. As I struggled over Blackfriars Bridge, pulling my suitcase along on its trolley with one hand and holding my umbrella into the wind with the other, I failed to notice when the flat document bag wedged between the suitcase and the trolley straps slipped out. When I did notice I retraced my steps, getting thoroughly soaked in the process (wringing the water out of my socks when I got home was a real barrel of laughs), but there was no sign of it. Fortunately my trip notes (the one wholly irreplaceable item on me) were in my jacket pocket, as were my house keys, which I'd removed from the bag shortly before leaving the office and without which I'd've been in real trouble. However, there were things in there I was pissed off at having lost, things like my Friends In Space badge, fanzines, photos given to me by Avedon, various high-priced comics, and like that. Back home I fell asleep at 4pm, woke 3am, had a lie-in 'til 4am, bathed, wrote a letter, had breakfast, and set off for work at 8.20am.

Actually, I was unwise in the way I handled jet-lag on my return, and I suffered for it. That same evening, a Friday, I hit the sack at 11pm and woke at 1.25pm. I woke exactly the same time the next day -- having retired at midnight -- and that 27 hours sleep in two nights totally messed me up for the rest of the week.

I had a pleasant surprise the Wednesday after my return when I received a call from the local police station. My lost bag had been handed in and they wanted me to call round and collect it. I whooped with joy, collected the bag, and was surprised at how many items I hadn't even realised I was missing. These included my L.A.CON II Programme Book, postcards of San Francisco, two copies of a 'Journal of Do-It-Yourself Mental Health', a copy of the invitation Rich Coad and Stacy Scott printed up for the party they threw for me in San Francisco, and a weirdly wonderful postcard given to me by Stu Shiffman that showed the Brooklyn Bridge as it is now and as it looked while being built a century ago, depending which angle you looked at it. Getting all this stuff back cheered me up no end and by that point I needed cheering up having come down with a bug then doing the rounds whose symptoms included diarrhoea and strange pains in the stomach and groin. And no sooner had I shaken this off than I came down with a real bastard of a cold that led to me having a few days off work that were spent in no more productive activity than lying in bed feeling ill. Then of course there were the horrors of the TAFF Wars (see Appendix - link below - for an account of that particular nightmare), which I got embroiled in immediately my trip was over and which were to occupy my full attention for the rest of the year and beyond.

In May 1985, Avedon moved to the UK and we were married. A number of those I'd met on my TAFF trip were at the wedding, including Rick & Maryanne, Dolly and Alexis Gilliland, and Ted White. Avedon and I have been back to the US many times since then, and if we could afford to we'd visit it even more often.

My love affair with American fanzine fandom continues.