The eagled-eyed reader of the list of staff at the TLS (listed on the next to back page of the paper) will have spotted that the Assistant to the Editor is now Jan Sims (very warm welcome Jan!) -- and that Maureen Allen (radiant above) has left us for an action packed retirement.
Maureen had been at the TLS longer than me (which means since before 1992 and is my rather egocentric way of measuring TLS time), and I had indeed met her the first time I went to meet the then editor Ferdy Mount, at St John's Gate. Her recollection is that I went up to her and said slightly stiffly that I had come to see "the editor" -- which I can well believe, though the stiffness was masking terror at entering the august (and rather messy) portals.
Since then Maureen has been my lifeline at the TLS (from sorting out my pay to finding books I lost and helping me pack up stuff each time we moved office -- which is more often than you would imagine!). And she has been the lifeline for everybody else too. (If you ever wondered who made sure that those who wrote for us received a cheque for their labours, well look no further.)