Welcome indeed to all of you, young, middle-aged, or older. We here at our site extend to you no more than you would extend to yourselves. Thus, avoiding the hypocrisy of some elements of the so-called celebration of Christ, commonly referred to as “Christmas”. As my birthday just happens to have landed on December 24th, Christmas Eve no less, at four minutes to Midnight, it has and still does intrigue me as to how and why our lives begin and end, and does our birth sign make any difference to the outcome of our existence?

My main purpose to this entry is to say a simple, but deeply-felt, “Thank you” to all of the people we met on our November holiday trip halfway up the length and breadth of England. We loved every minute of this travel and I enjoyed showing Jeni my country close-up.

It was good to see close mates like Derek Hambly from “10th Planet”, and his lovely lady, Carolyn, who have as always, kept their word, in all of my dealings with Doctor Who friends and acquaintances.

There were so many moments that jumped out at us during this wonderfully endless journey (it felt endless). We traveled from Los Angeles to Heathrow; Heathrow to Southampton to Salisbury (our base in the UK), Salisbury to London to Newcastle (my father’s birthplace in 1919) and back again; Salisbury to London to Manchester, and back (with a glorious overnight stay with my cousin and her husband in Abergavenny, Wales); Salisbury to London to Birmingham NEC, and back to Salisbury via Basingstoke (when we finally realized we could avoid the London Underground by going to the North via Basingstoke). Finally, one last time, from Salisbury, through Southampton, to London Heathrow by National coach, then our Air New Zealand flight (delayed by four hours) to LAX, then a Flyaway bus and a taxi ride back to our home to Burbank, California. Our deepest thanks to all the planes, trains, busses, and automobiles, for never letting us down on any part of our journey to, through, and back from my beloved Great Britain.

In our emotionally full tour, people made me cry, feel humbled and stunned at our place in the British heart, through my association with Doctor Who. To them, God bless you for simply loving me. You showed me your tender side, and what it is like to be a fan and meeting your television favourites. It is an honour to be your reliable Sgt. Benton of U.N.I.T.

I and my wife, Jennifer, wish you an honest Christmas, with little waste, and a little thought for someone you may be able to help. Soon Christmas will pass, and along with it the unnecessary rush for even more things to buy, with money you do not have, for gifts the recipients did not need in the first place. Sorry, Santa, but it all seems just a little too much for such a short span of time.

As a new feature to this site, we welcome you to the artwork by none other than my all-time favourite cousin, Elizabeth Russell-Coopey. She has blossomed into quite an artist, with her watercolours of the views that make up our visual life. If you are undeterred by my anti-capitalistic rant, and are in the market for a lovely watercolour painting, if you have a photo of your favourite scene, house, castle, hilltop, forest, etc. (sorry, no portraits) which you would like made into a unique piece of art, please contact Elizabeth here, through, for a quote and to discuss what you wish her to paint. Her work is just right for a meaningful gift, or note cards for special correspondence or occasions such as a wedding, birthday, or what have you.

In closing, if we met at one of our venues, we would love to hear from you, as your response is the only way we could possibly know how you feel about us and what we do and say. Are we what you expected? Did we fail or let you down in our meeting you? Were we less than you thought or more than you’d hoped for? Do you have any other writings you wish to share and have printed on the site? Contributions are always invited and most welcome. Please do write to us with any views or feelings about your convention experiences.

Thank you for visiting our site. It is an ever-evolving work-in-progress, and it will be more active and informative after December. Do visit again.

Be good to you and yours, and as my gift to you, I leave you with this quote from Red Buttons, which may aid in maintaining your serenity, in this festive season of family gatherings: “Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.”

With that in mind, God bless.

John Levene


© Copyright 2011 John Levene Sgt. At Arms
Doctor Who is copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 1963, 2011.
No infringement of this copyright is either implied or intended.