It was the end of 1987 and I found myself at Heathrow airport trying to check in on a day when all flights were being diverted due to fog. When I presented myself at the check-in desk along with my flight-cased DX7 and other baggage I was informed that my excessive 88kg payload would cost me the price of another airfare! I was advised to go and make a payment at the Excess Baggage window, but there was no rush since all inbound flights were being diverted to Birmingham (and some back to Europe) and there was no knowing when the flight would close and board. I avoided the payment window, retreating to lick my wounds and consider this predicament. This started what was to become a 12 hour wait - tied to my baggage trolley for fear of my stuff getting nicked.
At last the flight was announced, and I thought that I would try my luck again. By this time most of the airport had closed down (midnight) and I was one of the last to present my baggage. The lady at the desk kindly let me through and in view of all the inconvenience and the late hour, I did not have to pay! I breathed a real sigh of relief and went through to the departure hall, bought a Walkman and Sting's Nothing Like The Sun album, and settled down to what became another two hour wait. At last we took off, and I was on my way back home.
At Johannesburg I transferred to a small twin turbo-prop and finally made it back to my destination, Pietermaritzburg, meeting my family at Oribi Airport just after sundown. It felt really good to be home. Within a few days I was introduced by Linda to Anthony Brink who was playing at a local venue and I "pushed" my way onto his bandstand for a night at The Black Stag nightspot (... before the place went to the dogs). This started a long friendship with Anthony which included some exciting times in his recording studio with the late Bruce Sosibo (drummer, formerly of the Malopoets) and his band Zanusi. (read Anthony's recollection of this event) And through Anthony I was able to get some jazz gigs in Durban and Pietermaritzburg along with Johnny Fourie, Marc Duby (bass) and George Ellis (drums). Anthony was co-organizer of a local music appreciation society called Capital Jazz, and I subsequently sat in with various visiting bands (which is where I jammed with Bakhiti Khumalo and others). (read Anthony's press article published in The Natal Witness here)