almost anything seemed like a good idea. When Valma Brown suggested
that I run for DUFF I was suitably flattered and accepted nomination
unhesitatingly. With the support of the Magic Puddin' people I even went
so far as to put out the first issue of THE HAG AND THE HUNGRY GOBLIN
(then unashamedly a Duffzine), but I naturally didn't give the trip much
thought until I won.
own, but by then it was too late. I wanted to concentrate on my new job,
I wanted to get married, I wanted to do anything but get on a plane, even
though I would be received on arrival into the capacious bosom of North
off to England leaving me to buy it for myself. I let time pass for a while,
writing a few letters to possible hosts, until I realised that the deadline
for the payment of my advance purchase fare was nearly upon me. I rushed
off a frantic telegram to Rusty Hevelin, who sent me the money just before
the onset of a postal strike! I won't bore you with reminiscences of my
war with the travel agents. Their cheerfully unbusinesslike outlook on life
would have qualified them for fandom, but fans don't do it for money;
not other people's.
for the U.S.A. I was obliged to complete a curious form which indicated
that the U.S. Government was chiefly concerned with two matters. First,
had I ever been a Communist, even -- I read the question several times
to be sure -- unknowingly? Taking the risk that they would never find out
that I once went to a Fabian Society lecture on the Australian film industry
I replied in the negative. Secondly, they wanted to know what assurance
I could offer that I was definitely going to return to Godzone. I told them
that I could not possibly practise law in a foreign country, which no doubt
explains why they gave me a visa that expired the day I was due to come
home. (Eric Lindsay got a five year visa for the same trip...) This was
my first brush with what I found to be the normal attitude of the U.S.
Immigration Department, viz "Welcome to the U.S.A., when are you leaving?"
they could arrange travellers cheques, if I said "Please" and curtseyed to
the picture of the Queen. I decided to turn almost all of my meagre savings
into U.S. dollars (I had assured Uncle Sam that I would be carrying plenty
of money). "What can I lose?" I said to them. "I can always get a refund
on what I don't spent, and I expect we'll be devaluing anyway." Stunned
silence. "Devaluing...Madam, this is a bank. You can't use language like
that in here, it's against Treasury regulations!" We did devalue, but clearly
well-brought-up young ladies are not supposed to know about such things.
On Leigh and Valma's advice I took no chances and had a smallpox
vaccination which gave me the opportunity to compare itineraries with
the doctor, who also had the travel bug.
fannish wellwishers, I joined the cast of thousands in that well-known comedy
of errors International Air Travel. As a seasoned domestic traveller I had
my suspicions that the people who write the commercials never actually