My mother got homesick and wanted to go back to Holland. My father gave up his career in England and accepted a less ambitious job in the Netherlands. From then on they both used their spare time to help with community work. Even now at the age of 81 my mother is still visiting old people in hospitals who have no family left. To help them thru those difficult (and often final) days of their life.

My parents decided that they were going back in the summer of 1977. The plan was that I would join them, I was looking forward to it. But after I fell in love with Barbara I didn't want to go anymore. I wanted to stay with Barbara.
My parents didn't object. They saw no harm, it didn't interfere with my study. They also saw the advantage that Barbara had a good influence on me. And if it didn't work out with Barbara I could always come over to Holland. My other brother stayed as well in England, he was following a study in Norwich.

With the help of my father's connections I found a nice little apartment in Cambridge nearby the CCAT. It was at Manhatten drive, bridgeacre flat 52 on the second floor. Some of my Arab friends lived there as well. I was still 17 when I moved in (Barbara was a few months older than me). My brother stayed in the same apartment for a few months till his colleges started. I had an arrangement with him. Every time Barbara came, he had to disappear. And when he came back he had to ring the intercom to check if he was allowed to come up. Often he was told to disappear again. Barbara felt quite embarrassed with this arrangement and she was glad that my brother finally moved out.

The apartment consisted of a single bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. I should really say our apartment because Barbara made it her second home. Barbara had her own key and she even brought a cat along to stay there. She didn't interfere with the furniture. Barbara didn't really care about furniture or decoration. She wasn't interested in perfectly designed or nice decorated homes. The apartment of her mother was not very specially furnished. And she never altered the furniture of her room in London. She never did anything to make it look nicer. She didn't even put posters or any other decorating on the wall.

I moved in during the summer holidays. The last weeks of this holiday Barbara would be waiting for me when I came back from work. We had a few hours together then before she had to go back to Histon to work in the shop.

Having an own place close to the CCAT made life a lot easier for us. We didn't have to arrange meetings any more. The moments Barbara was free she came to the apartment. Sometimes we missed each other, but then Barbara made herself comfortable in 'our' place.

With an own place to go to after school we had a few hours for ourselves before Barbara had to go home to work. Mondays we made 'our' day. We didn't go to school at all that day. It was our day together. Barbara came in the morning and we stayed together all day. A bit like the modern cocooning I suppose. Often Barbara would catch up the sleep she had been missing from working in the weekend.


bridgeacre flat 52

The front view on our apartment.

met cat op kamer

Me and the cat Barbara gave me












(translated by Zhi)



# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-02 21:50
Dearest Barbara fans,

The next few weeks I be going to the south of France for a holiday with my family. Wish me luck as we are going to a 'DISCO-'camping. With three pretty and very stubborn daughters, who have no intend to listen to their parents during this holiday, I think this dad is going to get little sleep.

Anyway, therefore a few weeks no stories and no answers to questions.

# RE: RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-03 02:38
Hi Rob, Have a great time with your pretty stubborn girls and wonderful life partner to make it a loving family.
Tribute to your parents who do good charitable works for the elderly. Your brothers are so understanding/supportive toward u &Barbara.
I feel sad for the "our apartment" though. Once upon a time, there were two teenagers who were so close & "so in love" staying there but it is now just memories. Such a moving love story....
# RE: RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-18 12:29
Have a nice holiday with your family.
I hope you will have enough rest ;-)
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-03 00:43
happy holiday to you and your family.
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-04 02:23
Happy Holidays Rob !
# Thanks a lot for the stories.Guest 2010-08-05 15:58
Dear Rob:

Thanks a lot for sharing the stories. I am a fan of Barbara since I was eleven years old. But now I am 40. I never could forget her. Wish you have a nice holiday! I will go to Baltic Sea for holiday tomorrow.

Nice summer!
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-12 13:13
although my english is not good.but i am very grateful for u .i told this to my friends.when i came back to China.i will email many photos about Barbara to u .
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-17 17:48
hi Rob,

U must have a very enjoyable holiday! U r also a caring n a good father. May i know fans keep asking u the same questions n repeat the same comments, do you feel boring sometimes? ha ha...
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-18 12:32
nice story and a great deal with your brother :-*
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-21 19:00
thanks rob for the lovely story. now that we know more about barbara...i was 12 when barbara started her stardom in hongkong...cant believe at 40 i still miss her...

wish you a happy holiday with family, please keep telling us more about life together with barbara.
# RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-23 15:46
Have a nice holiday Rob! And come back refreshed to write us more stories :)
I was just back from vacation too (I went to Tibet and Mount Everest - below it, not above, of course).

That apartment of you seemed to me a very nice place, at least judged from its exterior. But it seemed a little far away from CCAT by walking (I took a taxi). How did you guys commute?
# RE: RE: 'our' apartmentGuest 2010-08-28 12:15
I had a Dutch bicycle, Barbara sat on the back (very romantic). In 1978 Barbara had a car, that made life much more comfortable.
# RE: 15. 'our' apartment “我们”的公寓 (1977)APPLE 2013-06-19 13:48
# Re:Re:15Magdalyn 2013-06-19 18:07
We came here to read wonderful tales of Barbara and Rob. Seems like you don't even know what's going on here. If so, please leave the site! Barbara committed suicide because of Kent Tong, not because of Rob!
# RE: 15. 'our' apartment “我们”的公寓 (1977)APPLE 2013-06-22 16:23

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