These are the articles by John Baesch (plus a few extra comments from us) that appeared in the Foolscap Document from April 2000 through October 2001.

Volume 3 Number 2  April 2000

From your editors:
As many of you know, John Baesch, a loyal Garrideb, is now living and working in London. We are delighted to announce John's gracious acceptance of our offer to write a column for the Foolscap Document.  He will be sharing some of his observations and experiences as a Sherlockian in London.  … We hope you enjoy his article as much as we envy him his new location.                          Sue and Ben

                                                    Holmes's London--100 Years Later
                                                        by John Baesch

         Like many of you, I've visited London on several occasions.  Usually, part of the trip involves some walking in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes.  I can recall my first visit to the Sherlock Holmes Pub in Northumberland Street in 1980 as if it were twenty days instead of twenty years ago. Now my situation is vastly different from a visitor.  I live here.
         At some point, London impresses both the visitor and the resident  as a big historical theme park.  There is all the gravitas of royalty and empire with crowns, lions, and unicorns everywhere.  The monarchy must have been afraid of losing their possessions because so many things from street furniture to stately buildings have their cypher as a sort of monogram. That  same era of grandeur also resulted in various items of street furniture in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with the inscription, “Erected by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.”  (They aren't listed in the 'phone book or I'd join such a worthy organization.)
         London is not just an historical theme park; it's a working city.  The tube is not just a quaint anachronism.  It's my way to work and recreation.  Those cute red pillar post offices (my local bears the cypher VR) standing like sentries on duty are for serious mail like my American Express bill, not just the cheery postcard home.  Those big red Routemaster buses are my way across town.
         Places I've gone on Sherlockian pilgrimage are places I now visit as part of daily life.  Much has changed in the hundred years since Sherlock Holmes was an active consulting detective, but some things he would still recognize.  Let me just mention three.

“After you left, I sent down to Stamford's for...the Ordnance map of this portion of the moor....” (HOUN 683)

         Early on, I needed some local maps.  Where did I go?  To Stanford's obviously, now located in the Covent Garden area and still a delight to anybody interested in maps.  They sell everything, including historical maps.  You can buy a wall map of the British Empire with more than one third of the world colored pink. Of course, they have the latest Ordnance Survey maps of the British Isles.  Note Watson's typo.  The map place has the same name as the California university, not the former dresser at Bart's.

“Something nutritious at Simpson's....” (DYIN 941)

         The visit of a fellow Sherlockian was sufficient cause to visit Simpson's-in-the-Strand.  Here the roast beef of old England is served by efficient waiters with long white aprons pushing great trolleys of beef, much as they did a hundred years ago.


         In middle age, I've developed just enough ailments to make sure I have regular contact with a doctor and get blood work at regular intervals.  The whole process of using the National Health Service is a three pipe problem in itself, but one of the quirks is that doctors' offices (surgeries if you will) do not do lab work.  You go to a hospital for that.  Where was I sent?  To Bart's!  Where do  you go?  To the Outpatient Building, which just happens to be located very near the building holding the laboratories, the building in which the first meeting of Holmes and Watson took place. There was no twenty something shouting “I've found it! I've found it!” (STUD 17).  The technician took blood, but administered no pinch of vegetable alkaloid as Sherlock Holmes might have done to see what would result.  The Blood Lab is not quite as posh as the Great Hall, the venue of the closing dinner of the Back to Baker Street Festival of 1994, but Holmes would have recognized much of Bart's that's still a working hospital.

The following was appended to John’s article by the editors:

A little Garrideb history:  Many years ago, Bill Schweickert was interviewed for a newspaper article about Sherlock Holmes.  Considering what many reporters have been known to do with an unfamiliar topic, he was somewhat concerned about how the article might appear in print.  As he read the newspaper article, he was happily surprised that the facts were basically correct - until he got to the last paragraph.  There the reporter mentioned that in St. Bart's there was a plaque commemorating the first meeting between Holmes and Watson.   He placed this historical marker in the men's room at St. Bart's.  Apparently, he thought Bill had told him the meeting took place in the lavatory.

Volume 3 Number 3    June 2000

Starting with this issue, John used a consistent title, except for the last one.

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch

         Spring was made for Sherlockian pursuits.  The cold, damp fog lifts from Baker Street, and the splendor of nature renewed seems to shout to all the world, “The game's afoot.”  In the U.S., many societies have spring meetings and activities.  It's no different in Europe.  The Sherlock Holmes Society of London organized a trip to Paris over the Spring bank holiday.  There was no special as Moriarty hired, but the Eurostar is, in its own way, something special. 
         Leaving Waterloo station, we were off into the Kent countryside through the towns where London lives.  There were about sixty of us in all, and we had a fast, comfortable, on time trip to Paris Gare du Nord.  The French Sherlock Holmes Society was there to meet us and we were soon off to our hotel.  The French Sherlock Holmes Society was a full collaborator in all the events which included a delightful party at the hotel of its President, Thierry Saint-Joanis.  This was no ordinary flat.  It was Baker Street, full of Canonical and Sherlockian artifacts. 
         Other events were a movie evening and several ritual meals.  Paris is a place for restaurants, and we sought and found some great French cooking.  And of course, there are American shrines in Paris, such as Harry's New York Bar, which has much stronger links to Hemingway than to any of the twentieth century detectives.  The trip included walks around Sherlockian Paris:  the Hotel du Louvre (BRUC), the Bank of France (REDH), and other sites.  The main event was a lavish dinner at the Gare de Lyon in a restaurant that is still quite Edwardian.  The present station was erected a little after Holmes' active career, but it remains evocative of an era of luxury train travel.  The French Society (Les Quincailliers de la Franco-Midland) loves to dress up Victorian, and so the grand dinner looked like a trip back in time.  There were the inevitable toasts and speeches of amity between the French Society and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London.  There was also private time for museums, for sidewalk cafes, and for Sunday morning at the great cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
         The very next weekend was the Millennium Congress in Meiringen, Switzerland.  There were about 15 of us at the “Englischer Hof.”  The picnic above the Reichenbach Falls was truly spectacular.  In that wonderful Sherlockian fashion, we took over the bar late at night, arranging the chairs in an ever widening circle as the Germans, French, Swiss, Japanese, and Americans enjoyed the quiet conversation in the town that Sherlock Holmes did not build, but certainly sustains. 
         It's a monumental city.  There's the John Doubleday statue of Sherlock Holmes in the Place Conan Doyle.  There's a plaque on the wall of the Englischer Hof.  There's the Sherlock Holmes Museum and sitting room in the former English Church.  There's the Norwegian Explorers' plaque near the terminus of the funicular railway.  There's the Sporthotel Sherlock Holmes and the bakery selling Sherlock Holmes chocolates.  Oh yes, the Reichenbach Irregulars erected a monument high up the falls where the encounter with Moriarty took place.  There is yet another Sherlock Holmes statue to be erected near the funicular railway.  It's hard not to feel the presence of the Master here.
         Later on in the Spring there was the annual general meeting of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London at the Savage Club (where you are summoned to dinner with the beat of the tom-tom).  The business rituals were duly observed, and we then settled down to a talk on horse drawn vehicles in the Canon.  The street cleaning in Victorian London was quite a task.  I'll always smile from now on when I recall Holmes' line, “The air of London is sweeter for my presence.”  That's not half as sweet as it was for the presence of the street sweepers.
         The adventure continues.

Volume 3 Number 4  August 2000

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch

         The London social season is a very unique and magical time of celebrations, parties, meetings, and events that begins roughly with the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race in March and ends with either Cowes Week or Glorious Goodwood in early August, depending on whether you like your fun wet or dry.  Of course, all the celebrations have an air of “wetness” about them.  Even the pocket guide to The Season is distributed by a champagne manufacturer.  It could just as easily been sponsored by Moss Bros., the company for formal rentals.
         Sherlock Holmes was rather Bohemian in his habits and in his soul.  He would not be inclined to join the great social events.  The same does not hold for the other characters in the stories or even for this writer.  I was able to banish dull care on several occasions, slip away from my office stool and taste a bit of the season with some of the characters in the stories.

                         “Stackhurst himself was a well known rowing Blue in his day.” (LION)

         To earn a rowing Blue, you would have raced in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, which is rowed on the Thames each year.  The course stretches from east of the Hammersmith Bridge to a point west of the Barnes Bridge.  The Barnes Bridge was my destination, having fallen in with the dodgy company of some Cantabrigians I know from work.  The day was cold, grey and rainy.  The cold day made the cold Pimm's rather pointless, yet there was plenty else to drink at the riverside pubs that are “filling stations” for the enthusiasts of both sides.  After seven straight losses, Oxford powered their way to a convincing win.

                           The Commissionaire in “The Naval Treaty” had served in the Coldstream Guards.

         When he was a serving guardsman, the commissionaire would have taken part in The Queen's Birthday Parade, otherwise known as Trooping the Colour.  The Household Division, made up of the seven guards units, parade in honor of the sovereign each June.  The Queen's actual birthday is April 21st, but the birthday parade is postponed until June to take advantage of the more favorable weather.  It was “Queen's Weather” on June 12th when the review took place in glorious warm sunshine.  The foot and mounted regiments march by in slow time and then again in quick time as the band plays the regimental marches and the various tunes of glory that recall the campaigns of the British army.  Like many of the season's events, it's an occasion for morning dress and long dresses and hats.  It's a very different slant on the phrase, “Victorian dress encouraged.”
                            “His father was the notorious Sir Jabez Gilchrist, who ruined himself on the turf.”

         He might have done it several times over at Royal Ascot, a splendid four-day race meeting in June.  Thousands attend in formal wear.  As far as being ruined is concerned, there are at least two ways to do it:  either at the betting windows or the bars.  The betting is surprisingly easy, and even though some terms are different (betting win and place is betting “each way”), it's easily learned.  Unlike my visits to the various Silver Blazes which usually result in my leaving more money behind than I'd like to admit, the visit to Ascot was a financial as well as a social success.  Those not ruined at the betting windows can easily get ruined at the many bars where champagne, Pimm's, beer, wine, and other potables are dispensed.  The mind boggles at the effect the London Season must have on the champagne growing regions of France. It's a splendid day out where everybody is still in Victorian dress.
         The adventure continues.

Volume 3 Number 5  October 2000

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch

         Holmes was here.
         There’s always a joy in finding the familiar in an unfamiliar place.  After all, we might visit a chain restaurant in a strange town because we liked it at home and feel we can have the same enjoyment away from home.  The same holds true with reciprocal clubs.  We may also visit church of choice away from home for the comfort of the familiar and the strength that comes from the exercise of faith.  To some degree, the same can be said for Sherlock Holmes.
         Since Holmes travelled extensively in his career, it’s not unusual that one hears of Holmes everywhere once Watson became his chronicler.  As I discovered on two distinctly non-Holmesian trips to the Continent, in some ways Baker Street was never quite so far away, and in some places I was directly in his footsteps.
         There was a railway conference in Hungary.  My trip retraced part of the journey in “The Final Problem,” “We made our way to Brussels that night”  (FINA, 476).  Rather than stay there for two days as Holmes and Watson did, I pushed on to Cologne where I joined a fellow Sherlockian, Michael Ross, and for some few hours on the banks of the Rhine we fulfilled the John Bennett Shaw prescription* for the establishment of a Sherlockian society. Michael, by the way, is one of the best authorities on Sherlock Holmes on stage and screen, particularly the German stage and screen.
         In “The Greek Interpreter” we read of the death by stabbing of two Englishmen in a curious newspaper cutting from Buda-Pesth.  The deed itself may very have been done in Sopron, a provincial capital nestled among the hills near the modern border of Austria and Hungary.  Its narrow streets and medieval buildings set the mind spinning to all sorts of possibilities of intrigue and foul play.  And like Altamont, I took a fancy to the Tokay which was available everywhere.
         The next Continental trip involved a journey to Rome from London, changing trains in Paris.  The trains from Rome leave from the Gare de Lyon, a place that would have been familiar to Holmes from his journeys to the south of France. 
         There are two bits of England near the Spanish Steps in Rome.  On one side is the home rented by John Keats and Joseph Severn, which is now the Keats-Shelley Museum.  On the other side is Babbington’s English Tea Rooms which is now pouring tea in its third century.  Both locations were probably familiar to the unfortunate Douglas Maberley (3GAB) when he was attache in Rome.                                           
         And then there’s the Vatican with several reminders of Pope Leo XIII who twice engaged Holmes’ services.  Like the royal coat of arms that appears on public buildings and monuments in England, there are several representations of Leo XIII’s papal arms and the inscription “Leo XIII, Pont. Max.”  in and around St. Peter’s Basilica.  And in the gift shop of the Vatican Museum, the visitor can buy Vatican cameos.
         The adventure continues.

* (Editor's note)  In case you are unfamiliar with John Bennett Shaw's definition of a Sherlockian meeting,
it goes something like this: A Sherlockian meeting can be convened whenever you have two Sherlockians
and a bottle. In a pinch, you can dispense with one of the Sherlockians.

Volume 3 Number 6  December 2000

From your editors:
For this issue, we have given John Baesch a break - but only for this issue.  John's column has been very well-received, and we look forward to his next adventure.  …
Sue and Ben

Volume 4 Number 1  February 2001

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch
         Even in the twenty-first century there are some things about London that Holmes would have recognized in the nineteenth.  Big Ben still makes its deeply resonant ring, and beneath its tower, the work of government goes on in the House of Commons.  Invitations to functions still come on stiff cardboard.  A Victorian would have put them on the mantel--with or without jackknife.  In the modern age, the refrigerator door performs the same notice board function as the mantel.
         When Big Ben boomed out six o'clock on January 13th, over six dozen Sherlockians started to queue at St. Stephen's Gate for the Golden Jubilee Dinner of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London which was to be held in the Members Dining Room of the House of Commons under the sponsorship of Sir Sydney Chapman, MP.  The present Parliament buildings were built and decorated by Victorians.  (There are VR's all over the place and none made by bullet holes.) The paintings, statuary, and decorations reflect the glory of the industrial revolution, the glory of British history and institutions, and the glory of parliamentary government.  Here you get a sense of what made Britain great throughout the centuries, represented on a heroic scale in painting, sculpture, and decoration.
         The dining room itself is quite near the chamber.  When in session, the members are never too far away from a good meal, a game of cards, or quiet recreation.  As it was, we had the house to ourselves with drinks in an antechamber followed by dinner in the main dining room.  It's not too much a stretch of the imagination to imagine Holmes being taken here by some member who wanted to consult the detective prior to drafting criminal legislation.
         The dinner itself was another showpiece of Great Britain.  The traditional oak-smoked Scottish salmon with potted shrimps and horseradish cream was followed by fillet of beef “Wellington” in puff pastry with Madeira sauce with glazed asparagus, broad beans, and snow peas as accompaniment.  All this was washed down with private label House of Commons table wine and port. There were sweets, coffee and tea, but the real dessert was the programme.
         Personally, there was both a light and a sad moment in the proceedings.  It's long been the practice for the SHSL to recognize their foreign members by name and acclamation.  By virtue of my residence, my name was not read with those of my fellow countrymen: Ev Herzog, Marina Stajic, Marilyn MacGregor, the Tinnings, and others.  There was a sad moment as the Chairman mentioned Wayne Swift's grave condition, and the many of us who knew and loved him listened and very likely said a word or two to God in silent solidarity with Wayne and Francine.
         There was a proper toast to the Queen by the President of the Society, a toast to the immortal memory of Mr. Sherlock Holmes by the chairman, Mr. Peter Horrocks, and the main presentation of the evening by Mr. Barry Cryer, a comedian.  The toast to Dr. Watson was proposed by Mr. Nicholas Utechin.
By this time the hands of Big Ben were reaching for the sky.  Carriages were called, and we went off into the London night, which beyond St. Stephen’s Gate was all too obviously no longer 1895.
         The adventure continues.

Volume 4 Number 2  April 2001

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch

         Sometimes we are thrust rather unwillingly back into the Victorian age.  That happened on March 29, 2001 when London Underground employees made a second one-day strike that effectively closed the tube.  That put a lot of people on their feet.  The strike had some effect on Sherlock Holmes, because it actually started after 8:00PM Wednesday evening.  Wednesday evening was the spring meeting of the SHSL at the Savage Club with dinner in the National Liberal Club.  Unlike in Holmes's day, the two clubs are in the same building which is essentially the Victorian National Liberal Club at 1, Whitehall Place, near the Embankment tube station. 
         The Savage Club is a cozy bohemian retreat on the ground floor.  It's a club for actors, artists, writers, and the people associated with them.  It looks a little like the sitting room in Baker Street with a well-stocked bar where the chemistry set belongs.  The dinner upstairs in the National Liberal Club was held in a nineteenth century room named for the great British twentieth century Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, who was Britain's Prime Minister during the Great War.  The theme of the meeting was the last fifty years of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, with several founding members giving their reminiscences.  If the ‘30s of Christopher Morley was the Sherlockian Golden Age, the 1950s was a Sherlockian Silver Age that saw the founding of so many societies.
         By the time the evening was over, the tubes were already closed, and my way home was by train from Charing Cross to Greenwich.  That was essentially the route back to work at Euston Station the next morning.  When it came time to go home Thursday evening, I was in no mood to fight the crowds on the buses so I walked to Charing Cross from Euston Square.  First, I walked along Gower Street through University College, London.  Holmes would have recognized the old hospital, now academic buildings.  There are many houses on Gower Street that would have looked nearly the same a hundred years ago.  Then it was a short turn down Store Street to join Tottenham Court Road and get in the great throng of people who always seem to crowd St. Giles Circus where Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street, and Charing Cross Road meet.  Henry Baker was certainly familiar with this neighborhood.  There were no abandoned geese and hats, just the bustle of walkers and the gridlock of vehicles.  Then it was down Charing Cross Road, past the inviting bookstores to Charing Cross Station where Holmes would have felt quite at home.
         Days later, there was the curious incident on the Docklands Light Railway, the usual way I get to work.  There was a man in his twenties seated opposite reading a book.  Book reading is not really all that common on London transport.  Even more remarkable was the book itself, the Penguin edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  The man's dress and demeanor were very English, but his bookmark was an MTA Metrocard.  The English just do not talk to strangers on public transport, so I summoned up all my will power to refrain from saying, “You've been in New York, I perceive.” 
         The adventure continues.

Volume 4 Number 3  June 2001

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch

         For one brief Sunday afternoon in Buckinghamshire, it was 1895 again.  The Sherlock Holmes Society of London had challenged the P.G. Wodehouse Society to a cricket match played to the laws of 1895.  Players and spectators wore Victorian dress.  There were men in bright blazers and women in long dresses and stunning hats.  The match was held at West Wycombe Park on the Dashwood estate whose great house, chapel, and fortress-like mausoleum made a superb setting.  Blankets, tables, chairs, and tents dotted the lawn as the players and spectators spread out the picnic lunches full of the roast beef, ham, pork pies, salads, cheeses, and puddings that are so much a part of the English way of life in high summer.
         Cricket is not a matter of life or death.  It's much more serious than that.  The game was played with a solemnity that would have pleased Dorothy Sayers,* and it was played seriously.  Well, rather seriously.  One PGW player batted in a top hat, and another in a Chicago White Sox cap.  The SHSL side was kitted out in specially made caps with the society pipe and deerstalker logo.  The SHSL made a finer spectacle, but the PGW Society scored more runs. The SHSL came to play; the Wodehouse Society came to play and win.  At the end of the day, the match was a Draw, owing to the fact that the agreed time to pull stumps had come before the SHSL had completed their innings.
         The two societies make good partners, drawn together this time by the great love that both Arthur Conan Doyle and P.G.Wodehouse had for cricket.  (Watson only makes two short references to the game in his narration.)  The occasional rain did not dampen the enthusiasm on either side.  There was a great feeling that the two sides should play an annual game, maybe at Dulwich, P.G.Wodehouse's school.
         You get the feeling that Holmes or Watson might have been among the crowd, or staying up at West Wycombe Park investigating some foul doings related to the Dashwood family who were rather like the Baskervilles in the eighteenth century.
         It was grand and glorious being back in 1895, if only for a brief afternoon. 
         The adventure continues.

*Editor’s Note:  I asked John about the allusion to Dorothy Sayers, and he kindly responded with the following.  Thanks, John!   SEBV
Writing in the 1930's about “playing the game” of Sherlockian pursuits, Dorothy Sayers wrote, “The game should be played with all the solemnity of a county cricket match at Lords.”  To translate that in American terms, “The game should be played with all the solemnity of an amateur baseball game at Yankee Stadium.”

Volume 4 Number 4  August 2001

The Adventure Continues
by John Baesch

         Late July is usually a quiet time in the English social scene.  Henley and Wimbledon and most other events of high season are over.  The royal family is packing for the late summer progress to Balmoral, and tourists from six continents gravitate to the cesspool of Empire as London was described in A Study in Scarlet.
         The tourists make the quiet time more lively, and Sherlockian tourists are among the liveliest.  If it's not raining--and it doesn't always rain--a London summer evening can be quite pleasant, breezy, mild, and long.  You can easily imagine the long evenings at Baker Street when Lestrade would come round and visit Holmes and Watson as detailed in  “The Six Napoleons.”  The Sherlock Holmes pub is a great place to spend a pleasant, breezy, mild and long summer evening, enjoyed best in the chairs out front or under the tree across the street facing the pub.
         Sherlockian hospitality is genuine and generous.  It's well practiced around the world where Sherlockians gather for dinner and drinks because another Sherlockian is in town.  It is particularly well practiced in London where visitors from six continents are welcomed to the world of Sherlock Holmes. It's the work of individual members of the Sherlock Holmes Society who are always glad to meet another Sherlockian. Last night was one of those pleasant summer evenings and about a dozen of us, including a visitor from America, gathered to meet a Sherlockian from Australia who had come to bask in Australia's success over England in cricket.  We passed the evening with dinner and drinks among the Holmesian memorabilia that decorates the pub and dining room.
         Convivial as they are, it's rare for The Sherlock Holmes Society to visit its namesake pub two nights running, but it happens that a French film crew arrives today to do advance work on a Sherlock Holmes documentary to be filmed in the fall.  They were interested in interesting places connected with Sherlock Holmes and interesting people who followed him.  Back to the Sherlock Holmes pub for another pleasant, breezy, mild, and long summer evening! 
         The adventure continues. 

Volume 4 Number 5  October 2001

The Adventure Concludes
by John Baesch

         In the time I've been writing these little articles, I've tried to relate the London I experience today to the London of Sherlock Holmes, but there are things I have experienced in London in the past four weeks that were only a dream to Sherlock Holmes.  In “The Noble Bachelor,” Sherlock Holmes tells Francis Hay Moulton that he hoped that our children may some day be “citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.”  It hasn't happened yet, but the aftermath of the dreadful events of September 11, 2001 brought me as close as I'll ever get to a vision of that worldwide country Holmes envisioned.
         When you understand that there are enormous cultural differences between the United Kingdom and the United States despite the common language, the outpouring of public sympathy and solidarity was all the more impressive.  Holmes never heard “The Star Spangled Banner” played by the Coldstream Guards as part of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, but thousands did and cheered.  The American anthem was woven into the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, a time usually devoted to the British tunes of glory. It was played at St. Paul's during the national service of mourning attended by the Queen.  I was there, and thousands kept reverential silence outside the cathedral as the service was broadcast. On that day, the Daily Mail printed an American flag covering the entire back page asking people to put it in their window as a sign of respect. My parish church, like so many churches of many faiths, played the anthem at the conclusion of Sunday Mass.  Westminster Cathedral set aside a chapel for thought, reflection, and prayer--and they hung an American flag in it.  I was here, but it's never felt so much like home. Please remember that this country lost several hundred of its own citizens in the same attack.
         More impressive than the public displays was the fact that every English friend, in that so wondrously understated English way, took the time to call, e-mail, or come speak to me, solicitous for the welfare of the people I know and love.  That's so gloriously English.  Non-Sherlockians reminded the world of the Holmesian vision of the flag in letters to the editor, and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London proudly displayed the quartered flag on its website.
         It was a time to be proud to be an American and a time to see the people here at their wonderful best.  It's a high note on which to leave.  I'll reach the end of my two-year contract in December, and I'll be returning home to the U.S.  Among the many pleasures of being here in London has been the opportunity to tell you about it from time to time.  The encouragement and appreciation you have shown for these silly scribblings over the past two years means a great deal to me.  Thank you, gentle readers.
         The adventure concludes.