Welcome to the Sv2 England page!

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Impressions of my new home.

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Here are some photographs of me through the ages.

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I went to England! All these years, and I have never managed to get myself over the pond until just now. I have a very nice man by the name of Dave Hough to thank for the trip, and for many other good things. Here are some of the pictures I took. I'm afraid England does not show up in most of them. Lots of English (and other) people do though.

I'm afraid the page is not complete at the moment. I have to finish unpacking and find the rest of the photos. Please be patient!

Camera Test

I got a new camera before I left for England. The old one was rather careless about where it flashed. Before I took too many pictures on my trip, I thought I ought to do a test of the camera and get the film developed. Naturally I took a picture of my dog, Chrono, who was lying around. I zoomed in on his face without moving my feet. Then I turned and took a picture of Subway resting. The flash woke him up, so I zoomed in on him too. Lacey did not seem to be around right then. She must have been sleeping in a nice warm corner somewhere. I wondered how close I could get, so I held the camera at arm's length and pointed it at myself. Not bad. Kenny came over to get some keys and instructions for taking care of the animals while I was gone. It was nice to know that they would not be alone.

Then I flew to England to get the film developed. Dave swears by Boots developing.

The Backs

While we were waiting for that first roll of film to get developed, Dave took me for a nice walk through "The Backs." Cambridge has a lot of impressive colleges with big lawns behind. I was knackered from the flight, but Dave got some ice cream from a truck and we sat under a tree to eat it. Then he chivalrously walked the wrappers to the bin while l stayed behind on the grass shooting pictures of him.


Dave took me to a nice restaurant on Wednesday night, September 23, 1998. He asked them to seat us in a secluded little alcove at a table for two. We ordered some food, then he asked me to marry him. I said yes. Wheee! I asked him right back if he would marry me, and he said he would. So there you have it. Of course we took pictures of each other. Unfortunately there was a mirror on the wall right next to the table, so there is some reflected flash on some of these. I think he was a little nervous at first, then overcome with emotion, then wondered what he had gotten himself into, then it finally all sank in. I was pretty happy about it, as you can see. There's a lot to think about though. Fortunately it's mostly good stuff.


The next day we went shopping for an engagement ring (we found one we both liked, but had wait several days for it to be sized), and then to the Register Office to learn what forms we had to fill out. It was a nice walk to get to the place. We passed a common cow field, which was being set up for a carnival sort of thing. The advertising did not seem to bother the cows. They seemed attracted to it. We turned and went down a tree lined path. Dave took a picture of me, and I took one of him. Then we turned and walked along the River Cam. Dave has animal magnetism, which extends to swans. Someone had left bread pieces along the steps down to the water, so we hand fed the birds. Dave made it look easy, which it is, so long as you don't mind being bitten. It's surprising, but doesn't actually hurt. We walked past some punts, each of which had at least one duck resting on it.

We discovered that we had to go back for an appointment with the Register Office people another day, but they gave us a lot of papers to read. Did you know that in England and Wales, it is illegal to get married outdoors? Or in any sort of temporary or movable structure? They are very serious about weddings being easy to find and open to the public so that anyone with good cause can find the ceremony and object. Sorry kids, you'll have to research the location of this wedding on your own. I'm not going to give it away. They are also deadly serious about civil ceremonies not having any religious elements at all. If you play music, it cannot have had any religious significance to anyone anywhere ever. They do not want anyone to be able to think that the state was acting in the name of the churches or god or anything.


On Friday we went to an amateur radio convention. Dave likes that stuff. We ran into a lot of people he knew there that he had known for years. We walked around the place holding hands, and when someone he knew came up he would introduce me and lift my left hand (which was already in his right hand and had a "place holder" ring on the ring finger) which served very effectively to explain our whole relationship to them. Impressive, really. They made jokes about fitting him for leg irons, and talked about what their wives would and would not let them do, and the deals they had struck with them, mostly in connection with their radio hobby.
Then we drove west so I could meet the family. His mother was too ill for visitors, but here is a picture of Dave with a needlepoint picture of cows that his mother made hanging on the wall behind him. I met his father, who had plenty of smiles for me, and his sister Linda (who eluded the cameras, but appears here in a photo on the wall behind Dave and his father), and her children, David and Emma. I brought presents for them. Emma got an art kit, which she put right into action. David, who is called Little David other than to his face, hammed it up for the camera. He turned his eyelid inside out to be gross, then stuck out his tongue. Dave told him that he was going to take a picture and show it to Little David's friends when he turned fifteen. Little David's mother said he is just like his uncle: "Sometimes sweet, and sometimes a sod."


The next day we went back to Cambridge in time to go to a ceilidh (pronounce it with me now: KAY-lee). That's a lot like square dancing. We met up with Dave's friends from IVC, a club he belongs to. Dave and I indulged in camera wars (dashing around taking sneaky shots of each other), but also posed for a few nice pictures like this and this and this. We're talking about getting a ceilidh band for the wedding. It's good fun, and since no one knows how to do it until they get there, everyone looks equally stupid and no one worries about it. It actually gets a bit more fun the worse you do, since you end up having to run around to try to find the place you are supposed to be.


I purposely planned my trip to be long enough that Dave could not take the whole time off from work, so I would have a chance to poke around on my own. I went out on Monday to explore Cambridge. I looked around at all the places that were becoming familiar, then decided to head away, off the beaten path to see where the people live. Mistake. Well, not a big mistake, but I managed to get myself lost. This is strange because I almost never get lost in the United States. In England I get disoriented. I should have realized before I set off that the number of times I'd had to look at my map even in familiar areas meant I should not go exploring. I managed to get myself found, but I was very worn out by the end of the day.
Here are some pics of me, and some pics of Dave in Cambridge. These were taken another day (my last Friday after we gave notice at the Register Office). We parked the car in The Backs, then walked toward the center of the city, stopping in front of various buildings on the way to marvel at the detail. There is an open market in the middle of town with different booths on different days of the week. A few things caught my eye, but I didn't buy anything. I just took note of prices.


I decided to set off for London while Dave was at work on Wednesday because it would be a shame to go all the way to England and not even see it. Dave took me to his work, where I caught a Park and Ride bus to Cambridge, then got a train to London. I got off at the King's Cross station and got on the tube. I spent most of the day getting on the underground, getting off at a random station, walking until I found another station, then getting another train to another random station. I did go to the Tower of London, and I took the tour. Later, I was wandering around kind of lost and frustrated and decided to head north. I popped out right in front of Buckinham Palace, and they were changing the guard. What luck! To me, Buckingham Palace looks like some of the Federal Buildings in Washington DC. I wonder if they were built around the same time.

Around the House

We took a lot of pictures that night because the jeweler finally had the ring ready. We sat around admiring it, then Dave set up his camera on a ladder, and we took some pictures of the three of us (him, me, ring) with the remote control. There were other pictures we took of each other around the house. He had some computer problems at one point and decided to reinstall windows, and actually had to consult the manual. Of ourse I had a camera ready for that. Quite often, Dave could be found checking his mail, or sometimes just sitting at his computer gazing in my direction. I managed to get a shot of him wandering out of the room once, and another day he got one of me before I managed to get my contact lenses in. Don't worry, we'll get tired of photographing each other someday.


"Boink" is a generic term for a gathering of people from a newsgroup. In this case, we met in Cambridge at a pub, where we had some food, beverages, and conversation for several hours before going to a classical music concert. David Reid showed up with his video camera, as he is known for doing. Dave brought along some pictures to show off, being viewed here by Charles, Lynda, and Dan, and here by Dan, Zareh, Keith, and Andrew. Lynda insisted that I take a picture of Charles' foot, because for some reason his wearing of sandles is significant. I never got the story on that. Someone took a picture of me and Dave. David Reid actually set down his video cam long enough for me to take this one of him. Richard showed up a bit later than everyone else. I had a present from Marianne to give him, but he declined to open it up in view of the others. Smart fellow. I got up and milled around, so I got this one of Richard and Dave. David Reid couldn't restrain himself forever, so I took a picture of him trying to video me. This is what Charles, Lynda, and Dan look like from the other side. Zareh wanted me to get down on the floor and do this with him, but I never quite managed to do what he wanted. We were there for hours, so at some point I set my camera down, which just made me a target. You can imagine how I felt about that. Dan and Zareh eventually got their coats, but not in the manner usually meant, at least not as far as anyone told me. David Reid posed with car before we went to the concert hall. I stuck my head inside, and I think it smells just like an old Volkswagen. I didn't take any pictures at the concert, but we had a nice time there.

Thatched Roof?

Something I noticed was that a lot of houses and other buildings have thatched roofs. I'd never seen a real one before, but Dave hardly noticed them. Because I kept commenting on them, he drove me to an old church with a thatched roof. He said it is one of two in England. There are several houses right near where Dave lives that have thatched roofs. They seem to have several layers of these special little sticks, then they're sculpted with interesting little details around the tops or around the windows, then they're covered in chicken wire to keep everything in place. I want to find out what makes them waterproof. Do you think there is something doing the actual roofing under them, and the sticks are just for show? Seems like a lot of trouble for roof cosmetics. They look cool though!

Related Pages

Dave has a page up of pictures he took in San Francisco.
David Reid put up a Classicboink page with pictures and sound clips from his video camera.

© 1998--2002 Susan Van Valkenburg
Last modified Sun, 21 Mar 2004 21:10:27 UTC

hits since 5 February 2002