Well the bluebells are getting ready to flower in my garden so hopefully spring is not too far away and, if you forgive the pun, that always puts a spring in my step.

These days this column seems to be blossoming in several newspapers and it was nice to receive a letter from Jill, who reads it in the St Albans Review and told me about the early 1960s when she worked in the accounts department at MGM in Borehamwood. I always enjoy hearing from readers who were in the business.

This increased readership gives me the excuse to repeat some stories from my life but for long-term sufferers I apologise if you have read it before. I have been writing this column for 41 years and have not kept my old articles so I don't always recall what I have written some time ago.

This week I go back 30 years to my first visit to Hollywood. The late great managing director of Elstree Studios Andrew Mitchell gave me letters of introductions to the various studios so I would be provided with private tours. As a film buff this was seventh heaven for me and I crammed my two-week visit with appointments and commercially available tours such as the Laurel and Hardy location tour and a trip in a hearse around the murder and scandal sites of tinseltown. I also visited several cemeteries to visit stars of yesteryear, which may seem odd. I know my chemist when developing my photographs thought it strange to come back from holiday with snaps of graves but that is me.

I recall staying at the grand old Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where the first Oscar ceremony was held and which is opposite the famous Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

I was invited to Paramount Studios to watch the taping of a then popular television show called Family Ties and afterwards to say hello to its rising star Michael J Fox, who was a nice chap and despite ill health in recent years continues to act. I got a taxi there but as it was only a couple of miles I decided to walk back to my hotel. What I did not realise that people do not walk in Los Angeles and the surrounding area had a reputation for being a bit seedy. A police car pulled up and asked if I was okay as I guess I did not blend with the locals, being British and perhaps looking like a tourist. Upon their advice I stepped up my pace and made it safely back, otherwise of course I would not be writing this now.

Visiting the old MGM Studio plus visits to 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Universal were like a dream come true. Can you believe I never took a single photo as it seemed unprofessional? Of course this was before mobile phone technology, not that I even use it today.

I went to another one-time home of the Oscars called the Pantages Theatre, and dined at famous old Hollywood restaurants. This is now becoming boring for you so one last memory.

I was invited to a mobsters and gals party at the hotel with old -time entertainment and a number of old character actors and stars of yesteryear. I went dressed in a light coloured suit, a black shirt and white tie to look like a member of the Mafia in the 1950s, at least according to those old films. It was wonderful to meet some old names. I sat next to Mae Clarke, who you will not have heard of unless you are a fellow movie buff. However, back in the 1930s she co-starred in the original Frankenstein film and had a grapefruit squashed in her face by Jimmy Cagney in the gangster film Public Enemy, which launched him to stardom. Mae told me in the original script it was to have been an omelette but thereafter Jimmy always called her his citrus queen.

Anyway, after the meal and a few drinks past the midnight hour I decided to wander out of the hotel and walk down Hollywood Boulevard still dressed in my outfit. In those days it was rather seedy with drug addicts and ladies of the night. Again a police car pulled up and asked me was I okay. I explained I was refreshing myself in the night air and the officer said to his colleague: "We have got a limey tourist here." He then he spoke to me and explained they don't even advise the Mafia to walk the Boulevard at that time of night and I took the advice.

I have no idea why 30 years later it is of any interest but it is nice to remember and hopefully you get the paper free so sit back and don't complain. You can always wrap your fish and chips in this tomorrow, so until next time take care.