The end of our high school period was coming soon and we had to decide what we were going to do in the future. Obviously we wanted to be in the same city to study. Then we finally be free from al the obligations Barbara had with her family. It was clear that Barbara still had to go back to Histon in the weekends to help out in the fish and chip shop and to do the administration. We had two options, Norwich, my first choice and London, that had Barbara's preference. Both options were possible. The Central School of Art and Design had accepted Barbara's application. This college was known to have a very high standard, it was one of the best art colleges of England, therefore we decided for London. I got accepted for Kings college London (if I got the high scores on my A-levels).
The last weeks at school was a lovely time. Barbara was already accepted for the Central School of Art and Design and therefore had nothing to do anymore. My lessons were finished I just had to take the exams. This meant that we were spending a lot of time together. Also the weather was very nice then. It was a carefree and happy time. Even the exams didn't spoil this. The memory of Barbara waited for me outside the exam hall, sitting there on the grass still makes me smile.
Also all our friends were very relaxed and looking forward towards the new life to come. Our Chinese friends all were going to leave Cambridge. They either went to Hong Kong, Canada or London. Our English friends mostly stayed around Cambridge or went to London.
This time Barbara had no problems with her family in going with me for a holiday. She was allowed to go for two weeks. After that she planned to go with her mother for another two weeks to the English coast. We decided that we go to Holland first, to see my parents, and then from there we go on to France with my parents car.
This time we rented a sleeping cabin on the boat trip to Holland, we stayed the whole journey in that cabin. At first we stayed a few days at my parents house, then we went to France. From that journey I remember that Barbara was very disappointed that every time we passed a border she didn't get a stamp in her passport. As we didn't have much money we went camping, Barbara had never been camping before. We didn't want to travel very far, just in case Camping and Barbara was a bad combination. We went to a large nature area in northern France.
Everything went well, Barbara had no problem with camping. The weather was pretty bad, we had a lot of rain, but that didn't matter. Being together was the most important thing for us, doing what we wanted, that was all we needed. Just the two of us in a very small tent. We spend our time playing cards and badminton, walking (even in the rain), going out to eat, we didn't cook. The area where we were had beautiful nature, there was nothing else to do. No disco's or big cities nearby. One time the camping organized a local traditional French evening. Barbara couldn't speak or understand French. She had no idea what was going on. To make the evening more interesting for herself she made her own interpretation of the French words. She had great fun in doing so. Often she was the only one laughing because the French words translated in something she thought was very funny. Barbara didn't drink alcohol but I think a lot of guest that evening must have thought that she had a bit too much.
After our holiday in France Barbara and went back to Cambridge and I stayed in the Netherlands to work. It was strange first being together for two weeks and then not seeing each other for four weeks, that was difficult to get used to. But then again when I came back to the apartment in Cambridge, Barbara was sitting there waiting for me. That wonderful moment of seeing each other again after such a time and then both knowing that we were still very much in love , that feeling, I still remember very well even after more than 30 years.
I found some pictures of that holiday in France. You can see them below the chinese translation. Most of them show us playing around a small mountain stream. The camera that we used was not very good, therefore some pictures are pretty bad. But I guess that doesn't matter for a real Barbara fan, as they even want to see less quality pictures of Barbara.
(thanks to Natalie for the translation)