It was time to start a new life together, it was time to go to London. I cleared out the apartment and stored all my stuff at Steve and Di's place. They stayed in Cambridge and had rented a nice bungalow with a few spare rooms. The plan was that I would first go to London to look for a room for Barbara. It had to be a room just for Barbara. Not for us both. Barbara was afraid that if her mother would find out that I was living with her, that her mother would not her stay in London. Barbara already had to do a lot of persuading in order to be allowed to live in London. Her mother preferred it if she travelled every day from Histon to London. The university I was accepted already had arranged a place for me to stay in, I could move in when the term started.

I drove on my motorbike on a Saturday at the end of the summer holiday to London and stayed in the apartment were some of our Chinese friends stayed. They had moved to London straight after the exams and found themselves a nice place in the centre of London. They also found a room for Barbara. It was a small furnished room (room 10) at 37 Belsize Avenue. The house was large and all the rooms were rented, the landlady lived in the cellar. It was a nice neighborhood with a large park (Hampstead Heath) nearby. The underground station Belsize Park was about a 5 minutes walk away and it took about half an hour by underground to get to the city centre. The room was on the first floor and wasn't very large, about 4 meters long and 2 meters wide. When you walk through the door, then on the left was a single bed, on the right a cupboard. Behind the bed was a table with chair. Behind the cupboard was a kitchen sink with a cooking plate and the electricity meter. To get electricity you had put a shilling in the meter. Barbara lived three and half years in that room and all that time she didn't change the furniture. She didn't even hang any personal things on the wall. The only thing she did was in 1980 when she bought a rather girly sweet romantic draw poster, which she hang it above her bed. She said that it gave her comfort when she was lonely.

The house wasn't very well kept. One day the toilet of the second came through the ceiling of the toilet on the first floor, a few meters from Barbara's room. If someone had been on it then....... Most surprising was that no one complained. The ceiling and the toilet were fixed and life went on as nothing had happened. I think nobody in that house wanted to risk lose the contract, as the it quite cheap compared with other places so close to the centre.

The following Monday Barbara came with her mother and uncle to check out the room. They agreed and Barbara could move in. As soon as the her mother and uncle had left I went to visit her, parking my bike in front of the house. The following morning the landlady knocked on the door told us that she had noticed that my motorbike hadn't moved since yesterday. She asked if I was aware of the house rules. Of course I said that I wasn't aware. "'Well 'she said 'if you stay again for the night then Barbara will have to leave" Since then, every time when I came to visit Barbara I parked my motorbike further down the road. And of course we didn't follow the house rules. We had great fun in trying to smuggle me into Barbara's room after we been out a night. We tried all sort of methods to get upstairs without being noticed by the landlady. Carrying Barbara, taking the steps by making the same steps at the same time so it sounded like one person was going up, Barbara goes first and then I followed a few minutes later. Al these attempts were accompanied with a lot giggling.

That first week in London we had a great time. College wasn't started yet, although Barbara mother thought it had. We spend every day exploring London. Barbara knew London better than me as she had been often to Chinatown. We especially enjoyed going out near Leicester Square. There was a large disco and a lot of cinema's. Also Crystal Palace and China town were within walking distance. This was for us the first time we been together in a large city for more than a few hours. Staying as long in bed as we wanted, then wondering around the centre of London, going to eat somewhere and then to the disco or cinema. A perfect time that was.


1978 going to london 1


37 Belsize avenue (picture taken by Barfan in june 2010). The house has been renovated now into a guest house. There is nothing left of the original inside. The outside of 30 years ago was exactly the same as on this picture. Amazing really that it is possible to rent a room is the same house as where Barbara lived, having a chance to experience Barbara's daily life in London.



1978 going to london 4


The view Barbara had from her window (foto taken bij Barfan in june 2010), things haven't change much in 30 years.

芭芭拉从她的窗口看到的景物(照片拍摄于2010年6月)By Barfan,虽然已经过了30年,但景物并没有发生太大的变化



first floor belsize avenue


This is how I remember Barbara's room in Belsize avenue

I came across an old address book in my mothers apartment (she died in December 2016) . At one page I found these addresses of Barbara. The first one was written by my father, later my mother added the address in London to it.




这是我俩一起开始新的生活,亦是时间去伦敦。我清空了公寓和我所有存储在史蒂夫和迪那边的东西。他们会留在剑桥及已经租了一所有几个备用房间的漂亮的平房。我们的计划是,首先我要到伦敦为芭芭拉去寻找一个单人房间。它必须是一个单人房间,只为芭芭拉,而不适合我们两个人。因为芭芭拉害怕,如果她的妈妈发现,我和她是住在一起,她的母亲将不会让她留在伦敦。芭芭拉已经做了很多说服才能被允许住在伦敦。她母亲的本意是,她每天乘火车由 HISTON 往返伦敦。接受我入读的大学,也已为我安排了留宿的地方,学期开始的时候我便可以入住。

暑假快结束时,周六我驾了我的摩托车到伦敦,住在一些我们中国朋友入住的公寓。他们考试后已直接搬到了伦敦,在伦敦市中心发现了的一个不错的地方。他们还为芭芭拉找到一个房间。这是一个有小许家具的房间(房间10)位於37贝尔塞斯大道。房子很大,所有的房间都是出租,房东太太则住在地窖里。有一个很好的大型公园(Hampstead Heath公园)在附近。离地下铁路的贝尔塞斯公园站约只有5分钟的步行路程,再花半小时的地铁行程便可以到达市中心。房间在一楼,并不是非常大,约4米长,宽2米。当你穿过大门,在左侧是一张单人床,一个橱柜在右边。床后面是一张桌子与椅子。橱柜下方是厨房的水槽,电热烹饪板和电表。要获得电力供应,你必需先放入『一先令』硬币。芭芭拉在那个房间里一共住了三年半的时间,期间她并没有改变任何的家具,甚至没有在墙壁上挂上任何个人的物件。她做的唯一的事情是在1980年时,她买了一幅相当浪漫的甜蜜少女绘制海报,她把它挂在她的床上。她说,她寂寞的时候那海报能给她安慰。


接着的星期一芭芭拉带着她的母亲和舅舅来检视房间。他们满意,芭芭拉可以搬进去。当她的母亲和叔叔离开后,我便去看望她,把我的摩托车停放在房子的前面。第二天早上,女房东敲门告诉我们,她已经注意到,我的摩托车从昨天起便没有移动过。她问我是否知道房子的规则,我当然说我并不知道。 “嗯”她说:“如果你再一次留夜,芭芭拉将不得不离开”。从那时起,我每次来看望芭芭拉,我都把我的摩托车停泊在很远的地方。当然,我们并没有遵照“房子守则”。晚上,试图把我偷进入到芭芭拉的房间都给我们带来有很大的乐趣。我们尝试了所有不会被女房东发现的上楼方法排序,例如,我背著芭芭拉,或大家都同时踏出相同时间相同的步伐,令脚步声听起来像只有一个人;又或者芭芭拉先上楼去,然后再几分钟后我跟着。这些尝试都伴随了我们很多的傻笑。

在伦敦第一周,我们有一个非常欢乐的时光。大学学院尚未开课,但芭芭拉告诉她母亲已开课。我们每一天都在游览伦敦中度过。芭芭拉熟悉伦敦比我多,因为她经常到唐人街。我们特别喜欢去莱斯特广场(Leicester Square)附近。那里有一个大型迪斯科舞厅和很多电影院。水晶宫和唐人街亦都在步行距离之内。这是我们第一次在一个大城市里,大家能在一起超过几个小时。每天不必急于起床,想着今天在伦敦的中心会去那个地方,在那里吃喝,然后到迪斯科或者电影院。这是一个完美的时间。



(translated by eblc2006)





# RE: Going to LondonYvonne 2010-11-18 02:50
Two feelings mixed after reading this-happiness and sadness.
Thank you for sharing the happy memories with us, Rob! You are so lucky to have so many young happy days with Barbara. I also feel very happy to imagine that in my mind, just like a romantic film. But the end was sad. Things are still there after 30 years but she has left…
# RE: Going to LondonBarfan 2010-11-18 04:15
Although the interior of the house has been restructured, I believe her room is still (roughly) there, and the room number is #22. If anyone goes to London you should really check it out! (Be warned: The room is quite small)
I was not lucky enough and only got another room one level above, but still, it's such an experience, knowing Barbara used to be living only meters (and 30 years) away.
# RE: Going to LondonANN HEE 2010-11-18 10:08
Hello Rob,
Thank u for updating the london's love story!
Although I dont write much comments in ur blog, but I kept silently reading ur love story every Wednesday. Support u with 100% my heart! ha ha....
Hope u can understand what I m writing. U take care Rob
# RE: Going to LondonWinky 2010-11-18 15:34
lol that sounds fun carrying your gf upstairs so that the landlady didn't noticed that you stayed hahaha
# RE: Going to LondonVivian 2010-11-19 04:04
Thank you so much for the pics, drawing and comparison. I feel really sad now. Why did she have to end her life?
# RE: Going to Londonjulia 2010-11-21 03:30
As the same wild as me when I was at that age. The more parents control ,the stronger the rebellion is.
# RE: Going to LondonHannah 2010-11-23 01:27
Wow. Seems to be Barbara was content with the daily things she had. Nothing fancy, no decorations, no personalizing anything. It is as though she 1. knows that its only temporary 2. is saving her money for a goal or plan she has in the future. This aspect of her is certainly different from most young people I know, especially girls. Very very interesting indeed. Thanks for the photos from your BarbFan and your layout drawing. Appreciate all the details you put in for us!
# FansLecong 2013-06-06 07:09
This article is in wrong Chinese translation, same with No. 27
# forever alwaysryuzaki 2016-06-13 09:01
love this site... she will always be remembered and loved in our hearts..
If I had one wish.... just ONE wish.... I would wish she is still alive...
# # RE: Going to LondonBHK 2019-05-31 01:20
it must have cost a fortune to live there area by now.
# So sweet, so touchingJade 2020-06-27 03:21
I smiled when I read this: "Carrying Barbara, taking the steps by making the same steps at the same time so it sounded like one person was going up, Barbara goes first and then I followed a few minutes later. Al these attempts were accompanied with a lot giggling."

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