In December 1986 I was invited by Yorkshire Regional Health Authority to visit centres of excellence with regard to mental handicap community provision. I had just been appointed to a consultant psychiatrist post with a special interest in mental handicap. The Authority's suggestion was that I go to several centres around Britain and make one trip to Europe and one trip to North America. I was very favourably impressed by Yorkshire's imaginative style and set to work to plan my tour. I had until 1 April 1987 when my new job started. I learned very quickly that preparing a travel schedule is a frustrating and irritating task. It took more than four weeks of telephone calls, with the aid of detective work by Directory Enquiries, before I had even a rough plan of campaign. I discovered several truths at this time. These were.