I can scarcely believe it but it was way back in 1999 when I first came into contact with Tim Quinn. He'd come into the head office of the Shropshire Star in Ketley to discuss with the editor the possibility of creating a children's comic within the newspaper.
This project did eventually bear fruit, but the comic was sadly short-lived.
However, what was destined NOT to be short-lived was our friendship.
Quite by chance that day in the office, Tim and I struck up a conversation and we discovered that we shared a love of Spider-Man, Marvel Comics, Batman, DC Comics, Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Dr Who, children's books and comics generally, and pop music, especially The Beatles.
For me, it was like suddenly making a new friend at school. It would not have surprised me one bit if he'd then turned around and offered me an Opal Fruit, some black jacks or a gobstopper!
We were getting on like a house on fire (whatever that means!) . . .
Later I would meet his lovely life, Jane. She's FAB! We would become firm friends.
What happened next?
Well, to cut a very long story short, there came a point when they left their home in Belle Vue, Shrewsbury, to go and live in America where Tim found work on a children's magazine.
I honestly thought I would never see them again.
HOWEVER . . .
Within a fairly short space of time, they were back in Britain, back in Shrewsbury, and back in Belle Vue. They had hated living in America.
From a purely selfish point of view, I was delighted. I could call round for a cup of tea at the drop of a hat. Or call round for a hat at the drop of a cup of tea.
Our friendship was soon thriving again.
I'd meet Tim up town for a cup of coffee and a scone (tragically, the man does not drink alcohol. Oh well). Or I'd just pop round to their place occasionally. It was lovely. This was during their Blue Moon period. Thanks to the financial clout of one of Enid Blyton's rich daughters, Tim and Jane were now producing a children's comic (a dream come true for the Quinns). Alas, like so many of their creative projects, it was dogged by problems. It was poorly distributed and was up against the might of Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine, and (ironically enough with the Blyton connection) Noddy . . . all of them backed by highly successful television programmes.
Blue Moon was eclipsed – and eventually it was time for the Quinns to move on again.
This time they went to live with the fairies at the bottom of Julie Felix's garden (Don't ask!).
And I honestly thought I would never see them again.
HOWEVER . . .
Years rolled by. We kept in touch best we could, but it wasn't like the old days when I could pop round for a cup of tea and as many biscuits as I could eat.
Anyway, fate intervened once more. And again they returned to Shrewsbury. This time, the area of my childhood, my beloved Castlefields.
The tea and biscuits were back on.
During this period, Tim and I went to see The Searchers together. On another occasion we met Paul McCartney's brother Mike to interview the former Scaffold star. (Again, too long a story to retell here).
The Quinns got into other creative projects, some successful, some not quite so successful.
And then last year (2010) they moved again, this time to Southport.
Now, some unkind people have suggested that they keep moving to get away from me. I have dismissed this notion outright!
Nevertheless, when they moved to Southport . . .
I honestly thought I'd never see them again.
Watch this space.