Bruce and Dave go on a(nother) Trip, 2019 (Saturday, 27th April)

Bruce arrived in Darwin after a shortish flight from Sydney (4.5 hrs), where he stayed overnight.  Before that, he had two long flights: Boston to LA (6 hrs), and LA to Sydney (15hrs!). Welcome to Australia, Bruce!

The Bruce & Dave/Dave & Bruce story goes back a long way, and indeed most of our life.

We first crossed paths, but didn’t meet, when we lived in Canterbury (Melbourne), and attended the eponymous Primary School.  My mum was in hospital, and I was living with my grandmother. I then moved back to Blackburn South, and Bruce and his family moved to Box Hill South, a nearby suburb. In our final year of primary school (different schools), Bruce and I attended the Lord Somer’s Camp, and Bruce was in the bunk above mine.  So, our first proper meeting. We then attended the same local high school (Blackburn South High School, or simply “Blackie South”), and became besties in around Year 9. We hung out a lot, together with Graham Cottew (who was on the trip with me last year). Bruce and I were team mates on the school (field) hockey team.

Bruce and I went to Monash University, where we studied science, and both ended up majoring in Computer Science (called Information Science then).  Bruce and I did a number of camping/road trips during our time at university, braving the cold at Easter to head into the wilds of Victoria. A couple of years later – after Bruce obtained an MSc – and I worked and climbed in New Zealand – we headed to the University of Cambridge for PhD studies.  Remarkably, or boringly (take your pick), we both studied Information Retrieval under C. J. (Keith) van Rijsbergen. Bruce got his PhD in the regulation 3 years (hard-working bastard), and I took about (mumble) 5 years, albeit after completing two long climbing expeditions to Greenland and the Himalayas.

We then went our separate ways, although we both continued to work in the field of Information Retrieval, with Bruce being incredibly successful and highly published and cited, and me achieving moderate success in the field.  

Bruce moved to Amherst, Mass., married Pam Aselton, and had two delightful boys, Doug and Eric.  I married Morna Stewart, spent a short time in Austalia, and then returned to Europe to work variously in Ireland, Scotland, and Switzerland. Our son, Duncan, was born in Glasgow, and lives in Edinburgh.

Throughout our working life, we did see one another regularly, at conferences such as the annual SIGIR Conference, and I spent a delightful 6-month sabbatical at the University of Amherst, where both Bruce and Pam gave me a truly wonderful time.

And, so, we meet again, ready for another road trip, and I am super happy that Bruce is coming along.  I haven’t seen him for a few years – sadly I missed Doug’s wedding and Bruce’s farewell bash at Amherst – so we have a lot to catch up on.  Let the fun begin!

When we were young (er), so much younger than today
And 50-ish years on and … still looking good!

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  1. Shelley Mansfield 27/04/2019 at 10:52 #

    I enjoyed reading about the history of your friendship with Bruce, David. Happy adventures. I look forward to further instalments.

  2. Pam 27/04/2019 at 12:06 #

    Wow that summary brought tears to my eyes such a sweet story! What a good friend you are David and so glad you invited Bruce on this adventure!

  3. maggie 27/04/2019 at 12:50 #

    Unreal… great story guys- I actually went to school with both of you and remember you well- I’m still in touch with a few gals from back then- it sure doesn’t feel like 50 years ago though! Enjoy your trip
    Maggie Mills- known as Margaret back then!

  4. Hamish Esslemont 27/04/2019 at 12:54 #

    Fascinating story ( no, really ) and I’m looking forward to seeing your first stage of the trip together !

  5. Robert swan 27/04/2019 at 13:37 #

    That was a great read. Life is amazing. David, did you have a VW back then? Have a brilliant road trip, I look forward to the pics n posts.

  6. Bryan Dorman 27/04/2019 at 21:41 #

    A great life story on behalf of each of you. I remember you both at ’Blacky South. Good lads each!
    I to, have had a remarkable journey of another sort, and of which I am in the process of writing.
    It’s great to read of your continuing journey!

  7. Gillian Loughman 27/04/2019 at 23:25 #

    Well Bruce I never would have recognised you, David you look more & more like I remember your father. Have another wonderful & safe trip, am looking forward to seeing the photos.

  8. David Harper 27/04/2019 at 23:32 #

    Thanks for all your messages of support, and great to hear from all the folks from Blackie South.

  9. Elaine Greenough (Ri 28/04/2019 at 04:29 #

    Hello to you both.

    What a great achievement.

    What a great read loved your story.

    I went to primary school with Bruce at Warrawong. Then I think I was in your grade 2c.

    Have a great time guys

  10. Sue Nichols 28/04/2019 at 05:24 #

    Safe travels fellas. Enjoy and treasure your catch up. Alvin (Nichols) and I (Sue Bell) will look forward to your next travels installment.

  11. Deborah Summers (Box 03/05/2019 at 22:41 #

    Hi Dave
    Say hello to Bruce from me! I spent three weeks in Australia last year! I finally made it! Had a great trip. I am sitting here with Ian Dalton and indulging in a few moments of nostalgia! Xx

    • harperdj 04/05/2019 at 00:53 #

      Hi from Bruce and I .. south of Daly Waters .. on our way to Tennant Creek.

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