“By the way,” says the person checking us all in, “just as a matter of routine, I better check your passport. Just routine, you know.”

He looks at my passport, and then at me, and he says, “I'm sorry, Mr. Jaffe you will not be allowed to go!”

Of course, I realize, he must be joking. Ha! Ha! I, the group leader, cannot go. Ha! Ha! Must be a joke. It's got to be a joke. Good gracious! The fellow is serious! He says my passport expired two weeks ago, and this invalidates my American visa. If they do allow me to fly, and I am considered to have entered the States illegally, they must bring me straight back. As they are a charter company and have no scheduled flights, they cannot do this and would be liable to a fine of $5,000 for every day I remain in America. So - it's been very nice meeting me, but there is nothing he can do about it.

It is nearly 12:00 p.m. and the plane must be off. I appeal to the immigration officers, but they are not helpful. As far as they are concerned, I can go even on my expired passport. I have an idea: I will phone the American Consul, Hello! Hello! Hello! HELLO! But It's July 4th - American Independence Day - so there is no reply.

The BEA fellow is helpful, very helpful indeed. He had found that I can get to Liverpool, extend my passport, and then get the 10: 00 p.m. BOAC jet that evening, which would arrive only five hours after the group and, for just £85 it was a bargain! My mind was in a daze by then; but I must explain everything to my wife.

Okay, Roselyn, everything is now in order: you and Hindy carry on and I will be along later. All right, don't get excited, relax and keep calm. KEEP CALM, for goodness sake! It's time to leave now. Everyone's going mad, everybody is shouting. Everyone that is except Rabbi Shemtov, who remarks quietly, “Don't worry, everything will be alright!” I feel he must be going crackers, too!

But then, Moishie Pfeffer tugs my arm and says, “Come with me, Zalmon. I had this experience before and I think I know the way out” (I thought yes, that's the way I am going). He took me back to the immigration officers and got permission to speak to the chief of the passport office at Liverpool. He in turn gave permission and instructions to the officers to extend my passport for three months.

So, at last, everything was in order. We eventually took off from Manchester on our four-engine propeller plane at 12:30 p.m., half an hour late.