Barbara's mother started to accept that I existed. She ignored me, probably hoping that our relation would finish soon, but she knew that I was Barbara's boyfriend. I made no effort to get to know her better, I saw no point in it as Barbara told me that her mother never would accept me. Therefore Barbara lived in two worlds, dividing her time between me and her mother in such a way that we both were satisfied. Despite this situation Barbara's mum and I did meet several times.

One time Barbara mother got problems with her legs. They started to swell up and red stains appeared all over them. It was very itchy and because of the swelling walking became painful. For some reason she didn't want to see the doctor. Barbara asked me if I could help by looking up in the library what was wrong with her mother. Therefore I had to have a look at her legs first. This was the first and last time in my life that a girlfriend asked me to look at her mother's legs. I went to Histon and her mother showed showed me her legs. I still remember the very white legs all covered with the red patches. With this image in mind I did some research in the library and concluded that it was a fungal infection. I made an Iodine solution and gave to Barbara. Her mother used it to bath her legs in it. The solution stopped the itching but didn't get rid of the infection. Finally she had to see the doctor after all. He gave her some anti-fungal cream that cured the infection. I did get a complement from Barbara's mother for trying to help her.

Barbara's mother decided that she wanted a long-haired cat. One of our friends, Di, just got a long-haired kitten. I told her about that Barbara's mother was looking for a long-haired cat and suggested to trade this kitten for one of the kittens Barbara had running round the backyard. It should be an easy switch. Di agreed and there I went to Histon with the long-haired kitten and gave it to Barbara's mother. She was very pleased with it. She said I could take any kitten I wanted from the backyard. This was easier said than done. Barbara's animals were not very tame, and the kittens least of all. While Barbara's mother stood there laughing, Barbara and I were trying to catch one of the kittens. Finally her mother had enough of this and joined in. In no time she had caught one. It did scratch her hand but she didn't mind.

Unfortunately the kitten I had given got sick. Her mother bought therefore instead a really nice white long-haired Persian cat. Only that cat was allowed upstairs in the apartment. One time she even took it with her shopping in the centre of Cambridge. That cat stayed all the time on her shoulders. The kitten I had given had to live between the others cats downstairs. Barbara told me that this cat was the friendliest cat she had, only it sneezed a lot.

The last meeting I can remember was when my parents came over to England to visit me. Barbara was with me when my parents knocked on the door of the apartment. Seeing Barbara they suddenly decided that it was time to meet Barbara's family. Barbara and I try to persuade them not to do this. But they insisted. Barbara phoned her mother, she agreed that they would meet and of we went to Histon. Barbara and I were very nervous .The meeting was very formal, my parents tried their best to understand Barbara's uncle and mother. Barbara did the translations. My parents admired her uncle's paintings and tried to understand the cultural diffierences. Looking back the meeting went rather well. Barbara and I were very relieved.

Later Barbara told me that her mother was disappointed that my parents didn't bring any large gifts. My parents had given a box of chocolates. Apparently it is a Chinese tradition that when parents meet, large gifts are given. My parents and I didn't know this and if we knew I don't think my parents would have followed this tradition.

1978meeting mum 1

I found this family portrait on internet. Barbara's mother is proudly holding her Persian cat. This picture is taken in the living room above the Fish and Chip shop in Histon. I recognise the wall painting Barbara's uncle made. Standing behind Barbara is her uncle. I don't recognise the other persons in the picture. I guess the person next to Barbara's mother is Barbara's stepfather, I never met him.


我在网上看到这幅家庭像。像里面美玲妈妈正骄傲地抱着她那只波斯猫。这张相片是在Histon 的炸鱼薯条店上面二楼的客厅里拍的.我记得墙上的画是美玲的舅父画的,站在美玲后面的是她舅父,我不认识照片中的其他人,我猜坐在美玲母亲旁边的是美玲的继父,我从来没见过他.




有一次美玲妈妈的腿出了问题,双腿肿胀,布满红癍,非常痒,走路也很疼.不知为何她不想看医生,美玲让我帮忙到图书馆查资料,看她妈妈得的是什么病,这样我必须得先看看她妈妈的腿是什么样子.这是我生命中第一次也是最后一次我的女朋友叫我看她妈妈的腿.我去了Histon,她妈妈给我看她的腿.我到现在还记得,她那白白的双腿上布满了片片红癍. 在图书馆查了资料后,我确定那是真菌感染.我做了碘溶液给美玲,她妈妈用来洗腿,然后腿不痒了,可是红癍还在.最后美玲妈妈还是去看了医生,医生开了抗真菌药膏,治好了感染,美玲妈妈对我表示感激,因为我努力想帮忙.

美玲妈妈决定想要一只长毛的猫, 娣是我们的一个朋友, 她刚好有一只长毛的猫,于是我就告诉她说,她可以用这只猫换一只美玲后院里的一只猫.这应该是个简单的交换. 娣同意了,于是我就带着娣的那只长毛猫去了HISTON给了美玲妈妈,美玲妈妈很高兴,她说后院的猫随我选一个。逮住其中一只猫?说起来容易,做起来就难了,美玲养的动物都不驯服,尤其是那些小猫,最调皮。我和美玲努力抓其中一只小猫的时候,美玲妈妈就站在那里大笑。后来她实在看不下去了,就来和我们一起抓。很快她就抓到了一只,小猫的爪子在她手上划了几道,但她不介意。



过了一段时间后,美玲告诉我她妈妈很失望,因为我父母没有送大礼。实际上我父母送了一盒巧克力。父母第一次碰面时送大礼,很明显这是华人的传统。 我和我的父母不知道这个传统,就算是知道,我觉得我父母可能也不会那样做。


(thanks to Julia for the translation)



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