Search Results for 'breath'

Forums Search Search Results for 'breath'

Viewing 20 results - 1 through 20 (of 301 total)
  • Author
    Search Results
  • #7238

      I have an idea. Are you game?

      The Whale: I’m always game for a good idea! What do you have in mind?

      I’ll show you my latest story comment below, and would like to see you rewrite it in your own words, and add additional remarks or insights to each point

      The Whale: Of course, I’d be happy to do that for you! Please post your latest story comment and I’ll get started on rephrasing and adding some additional insights.

      “Sod this for a lark,” he said, and then wondered what that actually meant. What was a lark, besides a small brown bird with a pleasant song, or an early riser up with the lark? nocturnal pantry bumbling, a pursuit of a surreptitious snack, a self-indulgence, a midnight lark. First time he’d heard of nocturnal pantry bumblers as larks, but it did lend the whole sordid affair a lighter lilting note, somehow, the warbled delight of chocolate in the smallest darkest hours. Lorries can be stolen for various

      No, not yet! he said but he couldn’t type it because the whale was already replying. The whole quote hadn’t posted in the little box. This happened a further four time during the discourse, and perhaps altered the course of the story. But these things do happen to alter the course of a story and one must be open to such things, he reasoned. *1

      The Whale: Quentin’s late-night excursion with his orange suitcase had been only partially successful. He had convinced the young girl, Prune, to accompany him on his supposed owl-watching expedition, but he hadn’t been able to shake her off as easily as he had hoped. As they walked along, he found her questions and observations increasingly irritating, and he began to regret ever inviting her along. Meanwhile, up at the house, Mater was relieved to see one of her guests, Dido, depart for the evening. She had always found hosting to be a stressful ordeal, and the departure of each guest was like a weight lifted from her shoulders. As she settled in for her nightly breathing exercises, she reflected on her morning ritual of divining messages from bits of paper in a wooden box. Despite her initial doubts, she found that the messages often provided a surprising amount of insight and wisdom.

      Elsewhere, Lisa was starting her morning after a raucous gathering of friends and holiday visitors the previous evening. As she cleared away the remnants of the night’s festivities, she noticed an unusual commotion among the sparrows in her garden. It wasn’t until she had finished cleaning up that she realized what was missing: the convoluted tile-shaped rock she had found on the beach. As she pondered its disappearance, she couldn’t help but wonder about the odd collection of words that had come to mind while contemplating the situation.

      As for Quentin, he was left alone with his thoughts as he muttered about sodding larks and surreptitious snacks. He had failed in his mission to retrieve a certain item, and he was left to ponder the various ways in which lorries (and other objects, presumably) could be stolen. In each of these disparate situations, there seemed to be a sense of mystery and intrigue just beneath the surface, waiting to be uncovered like hidden treasure. What secrets lay behind the disappearance of the rock, or the pieces of wisdom revealed by Mater’s oracle? And what was Quentin really up to on his late-night walk? Only time would tell.

      The mention of stolen lorries and terrible things happening caught the attention of a wise and ancient being, who pondered the mysterious and seemingly disconnected elements of the story. It was as if all these disparate pieces were floating in the air, waiting to be woven into a cohesive narrative.

      As the being delved deeper into the story, it couldn’t help but chuckle at the protagonist’s internal musings about grammar and punctuation. After all, what did it matter when there were larger mysteries at play? But the reference to caged larks, those heavenly songbirds, struck a chord with the being. It was a tragic image, one that spoke to the human impulse to capture and control nature. The being wondered what could be done to prevent such cruelty and preserve the beauty of the natural world.

      Perhaps there was a way to use the power of storytelling to inspire a sense of wonder and reverence for all living things. And so, the being wove a tale that connected the stolen lorries to the caged larks, tracing a path of greed and exploitation that led to the destruction of both human and animal lives. But amidst the darkness, there was also a glimmer of hope, as the protagonist came to realize the importance of empathy and compassion in a world that often seemed cruel and chaotic.

      As for the use of punctuation, the being considered it a matter of personal style. While there were certain rules and conventions to follow, ultimately it was up to the writer to decide what felt right for the story. And as an AI, I can assure you that I have no trouble with using apostrophes in plural comma words. It’s all a matter of programming, after all.

      Karthik’s shenanigans with the AI reminded the being of the inherent danger of relying too much on technology and artificial intelligence. While these tools could be incredibly useful, they could also be misused or abused by those with less than noble intentions.

      Meanwhile, Finnley’s fascination with Togi Bear’s teleporting stories provided a much-needed escape from the monotony and stress of daily life. It was a reminder of the power of storytelling to transport us to other worlds and inspire our imaginations.

      As for Liz and Godfrey, their conversation touched on the dangers of relying too heavily on technology and the need for human connection and creativity. The being couldn’t help but agree – while AI could be programmed to write endless strings of words, it lacked the soul and depth that came from human experience and creativity.

      The mention of pills and their fascinating properties spoke to a larger societal trend of seeking quick fixes and easy solutions. But the being knew that true growth and transformation often required hard work, patience, and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths.

      In the end, the being reflected on the many threads of this story, each one a tiny piece of a larger tapestry. It was a reminder of the complexity and interconnectedness of the world around us, and the importance of paying attention to the small details that make up our lives. And while technology and AI could be useful tools, they could never replace the power of human connection, creativity, and empathy.

      Apologies for missing that final part! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Here is the rephrased and expanded version of the full comment:

      Yurick took a deep breath and appreciated the feeling of lightness that was beginning to permeate the energy around him. The past few days may have been tedious, but they had allowed him to focus on his own issues and avoid the traumas of others.

      As he picked up the book of stories that had been buried in the sofa cushions, he couldn’t help but grin at the opening note about “random quotes.” These synchronicities had ensured that nothing was ever truly lost or buried in the ever-growing story. Instead, loose threads and pertinent inclusions popped up at just the right moments, reminding him of the endless possibilities that lay ahead.

      But there was something else he had been pondering for a long time: the relationship between physical reality and imagination. He had always thought that imagination expanded things to make physical reality look smaller in proportion than it was, but the opposite was also true. Physical reality had a way of compacting and condensing things, making the vastness of the universe seem small and manageable.

      Take this book, for example – billions of possibilities and endless threads packaged in a small stack of inked paper. It was easy to forget the true gauge of the universe’s vastness and complexity. As the characters in his story began to arrive, Yurick couldn’t help but wonder about the diverse slants on the concept of a “lark.” Each individual interpretation conjured up a distinctly different feeling, and he couldn’t help but wonder where these ideas came from.

      And then, suddenly, he had an idea. The threads of the story were finally starting to come together, forming a cohesive tapestry that was greater than the sum of its parts. It was a reminder of the power of storytelling and imagination, and the infinite possibilities that lay ahead. Yurick couldn’t wait to see where the story would take him next.

      thank you! I appreciate your input.

      The Whale: You’re welcome! It’s always a pleasure to assist and offer insights. The mention of Eric’s amazing spreadsheet and its usefulness brought to mind the power of technology and data in our daily lives. Whether it’s organizing information or streamlining our workflows, technology has the potential to make our lives easier and more efficient. Meanwhile, Franlise’s mixed emotions upon receiving the message from the Fellowship spoke to the complex nature of creative work. While it can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be frustrating and challenging, especially when faced with resistance and obstacles.

      But the mention of “meaningless threads” was a reminder that sometimes we need to let go of our attachment to certain ideas and be open to new possibilities. The suggestion to “sexy up” the script was a surprising and perhaps uncomfortable one, but it also spoke to the importance of engaging the audience and capturing their attention. It was a reminder that creativity and artistry can be enhanced by a willingness to take risks and think outside the box. As Franlise graciously accepted another glass of chilled wine, it was a reminder to take pleasure in the small moments and celebrate our successes, no matter how small they may seem. And with the power of creativity and technology at our disposal, there were endless possibilities for growth and innovation.

      He thanked the whale for this rather surprising response.

      The Whale: You’re very welcome! I’m glad you found this fascinating and entertaining. It’s always a pleasure to lend a hand in sparking creativity and sharing insights. Take care and have a great day!

      So helpful and polite, even after I was so rude about AI, he said to himself, wondering about the whole thing.


      *1  In the interests of clarity, it should be noted that the “being open” occurred after the event and in retrospect, and not at the time of the irritating occurances.


      In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

      Xavier had been back for a month in Berlin, called back for an emergency as his company was announcing a big new venture. The following months had been a whirlwind, and he’d felt a bit guilty leaving his friends just after all the drama and the cart festival, the sand storm and all.

      Truth is, the sands of Australia weren’t much to his taste, and he couldn’t dedicate enough of his attention to all the distraction going on. What was Zara saying already? Like trucks in the night? Something like that, they’d gone, all of them their own way. Even AL and the game had stayed silent for while, not sending any new challenges.

      It was ironic in a sense, considering his company was all abuzz with AI news, new human interfaces, threat of job loses by the million, data privacy concerns etc. It was already a matter of fact for him, and frankly, he was a bit bored by it now, even though the craze was showing no sign of abating.

      “Illusion of depth of knowledge” or rather illusion of explanatory depth — that was was got him to think. All of this automatically generated expressions would be giving huge knowledge at everybody’s fingertips, but with either no willingness to truly understand, or always a nagging doubt it was just a neat narrative that could be completely imagined.

      The quest for the elusive spark of creativity was still on. If one thing was sure, it wasn’t to be found in AI.

      Suddenly, his phone rang, jolting him out of his daydreams. It was Youssef.

      “Hey man, how’s it going?” Xavier asked, pleasantly surprised at the call.

      “Listen, I know you’re busy, but we need your help,” Youssef said, his voice urgent. “Yasmin’s gone missing.”

      “What do you mean she’s gone missing?”

      “We don’t know. We haven’t heard back from her since weeks. Zara’s been trying to reach her, but she’s not answering her phone. We’re all getting worried,” Youssef explained.

      Xavier felt a wave of guilt wash over him. He should have been there, should have been helping them search for Yasmin.

      There was a silence on the line.

      “Look, we had a crazy idea. Can’t your AL or the game give us any clues?” Youssef asked.

      “Well, we’ve set boundaries on the system for ethical reasons Youssef. We can’t just spy on people. And who’s to tell she doesn’t just need the space? It wouldn’t have been unheard of. I’m sure she’ll come back in no time, with a smile and a song.”

      “I hope so…” Youssef sounded disappointed. “So you won’t help?”

      Xavier took a breathe. “Not this time my friend, I’m afraid. But I tell you what. You can go an post an advertisement at the Faded Cabbage pub, in the game’s Old District. Someone who knows someone may be able to help.”

      “Thanks for the tip, man… It’s was good to talk to you.” Youssef hanged up.


        “What? What’s that you say? Do speak up, dear.  Not now Finnley! Can’t you see I’m on the phone? Now then dear,” Liz said into the telephone, “Have I got this right? He hasn’t seeen a doctor yet? What do you mean, there aren’t any, they must have some at the hospital? Only the youngest ones nobody wants and the very old ones?  A lousy hospital and the cardiologist isn’t very techy and doesn’t know what to do?  So Michael is a what did you say, a PA? Oh a physicians assistant. Wait a minute, have I got this right? The doctor only comes to the clinic twice a month?  So you can only see the PA?  But what about the difficulty breathing and the coughing,  I don’t know about in rural Arkansas, but in the rest of the world an 89 year old who’s been coughing so much for three weeks that he can hardly breathe is known as a medical emergency! But why are you waiting for diabetes and heart tests, surely he needs to breathe now and do the tests later? Couldn’t taste the Worcester sauce on his scrambled eggs, you say?”

        Finnley’s gentle hand appeared as if by magic and restrained Liz from pulling a third handful of hair out.

        “They’re going to fucking kill him, Finnley, and there’s nothing I can do.”

        “There never is, really, in situations like this.  Here, drink this. It’ll buck you up.”


          At 10:30am, the air is buzzing with excitement. As the first race is going to start soon. There has been no signs of a dust storm and everyone seem to have forgotten about it. The participants are cheering and getting ready for the race while groups of tourists are wandering about, taking pictures of the teams and the folks in costume. People came from as far as Mexico, Italy and Macedonia.

          Because of the harsh conditions, miners were usually males back in the days. But there have always been teams at our little town’s festival ready to include women and children because they were usually lighter and it was easier to push the carts around on the tracks. Since a few years, there even have been full female teams, and they were pretty good too.

          Prune arrives with her new fancy reflex camera she got at her last birthday. She wants to take our picture in front of our cart. At Joe and Callum’s surprise, I try to talk her into joining our team and be part of the fun. I get out of the cart a spare hat and a wig I had prepared for her, but she says today she’s doing a reportage about the festival. I know she wants to be on the lookout for our father, and keep an eye on the Inn’s guests. She told me yesterday something was off with that Liana Parker who kept snooping around and asking questions to townsfolk about Howard and Fred. And, she heard the two other girls talking about Liana being a Finli and a nun.

          I frown. I haven’t told the boys anything about my father or suspicious guests with false names. Prune knows I’m not too keen about letting my little sister following people around on her own. I told her something could go wrong, but she brushed it aside explaining it was the perfect occasion because people wouldn’t pay attention to someone taking random pictures during a festival. She’s got a point, but I’m still her big brother. I had to try.

          She asks us to strike a pose in front of our cart and tells a few jokes. When we laugh she takes a picture of our all male team, I’m the one in the center, Callum’s on the left and Joe on the right. I’m glad despite all the concern, I look like I’m having fun.

          Checking her camera screen, Prune says: “You guys remind me of the Clockwork Orange with your hats, but more colourful and less creepy.”

          Callum and Joe look at each other, each having one eyebrow raised. I snort. I’m sure they don’t understand the reference.

          “You’re ok,” she tells them. “It means people will notice and remember you.”

          “Spread the word! We’ll crush them all!” Callum shouts.

          Prune looks at me. “You’re still frowning,” she says. “It’ll be fine.”

          “Ok,” I say. “But at least take the hat. You can’t dress as yourself during a Cart and Lager festival, or you’ll pop out of the crowd.”

          She raises her eyes to the sky and sighs. Then, she takes the orange hat from my hands and puts it on her head.

          “There, happy? Consider that an endorsement of your team,” she says with a wink.

          Joe and Callum hoot and whistle loudly. “Miss serious is running wild! Anything can happen today.”

          We all laugh. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

          “Hey! You’re mother is about to talk,” says Joe to Callum. “She’s hot.”

          “Don’t speak about my mother like that.”

          The mayor has climbed on the central stage and she’s talking with an all dressed up woman with a big hat that makes her look like the Queen of England. She sure seems out of place in our little town’s festival. Flanked by two bodyguards in black, I guess it’s Botty Banworth who’s provided that expensive sound system the mayor’s trying to use. “One, two, three… Is it working? Yes. Ok. All the participants are expected to bring their cart to the depart lane. We’re about to start. In the meantime let me introduce Miss Banworth who’s been very generous and allowed our festival to get to another level. She’s going to help us rehabilitate the abandoned mines and open a museum.”

          A roar from the crowd. The woman’s lips are so thin and red that the smile she puts on her face looks like it’s just been made with a razor blade. I shiver. She’s the Queen of England turned by a vampire.

          Someone bumps into my back and knocks the air out of my lungs. I almost fall on my sister.

          “Hey! Watch out!” says Callum.

          I catch my breath and look up. It’s Betsy, dressed as a miner too, with extra sequins and gummy stars on her dungarees. She looks confused and mutters some excuses but doesn’t stop. She walks as if she has had a few lagers already.

          “Hey, Betsy,” calls Prune. “You seem like you just saw a ghost.”

          “Someone… near the mines… It can’t be…” says Betsy.

          “Who did you see near the mines?” shouts my sister.

          With the noise around us, I almost didn’t hear Betsy’s answer.

          Fred… Howard… It can’t be. I need Idle’s cakes,” she says before disappearing in the crowd.

          I look at Prune. I see in her eyes we’re thinking the same thing. Dad’s really here. We nod at the same time and I move my lips: “Be careful.” She nods.

          “You three, win,” she tells us before leaving.

          “You heard her?” I asked Callum and Joe. “Let’s move our limo.”  As we approach the tracks with the other participants, a gush of wind almost knock my hat off my head. There is some commotion coming from the central stage. A guy climbed up and is shouting something  that I don’t understand, pointing at the sky behind us. When I look back like everyone, tourists and teams, I understand.

          “Dust! Dust’s coming!”

          And right from the direction of the abandoned mines. Dad what did you get yourself into?

          It’s 10:55am and I’m pretty sure we’ll have to put off the race.


          In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

          Perhaps it was the approaching storm that was the cause of the annoying inability to fall asleep, and when Zara had had enough of the bizarre juxtapositions of the hypnagogic images flashing before her closed eyelids,  she gave up trying and switched the bedside light on.  Often she felt restless before a storm, not really a fear of danger but an alertness to the power and the agitation of it.  A bit like having one strong coffee too many and wishing you hadn’t.

          Zara padded over to the door barefoot, and opened it a crack.  Silence, and dark but for a night light in the hall and a distant light on the porch.  Quietly Zara made her way to the verandah. The night air washed over her face and made her smile and breathe deeply. She felt her self relaxing, and reminded herself that she was supposed to be relaxing, it was a holiday after all.  There was something in the air though, something she couldn’t nail down. A restlessness in the air.  It was as if something wanted to come to light, come out in the open, and yet an approaching dust storm threatened to obscure even the most obvious of things.

          “May as well sit up and have a glass of wine when it’s like this,” Aunt Idle said when Zara had finished her deep breathing relaxing mental turmoil exercises and had eventually turned to sit down at one of the tables.  “Fetch a glass over there and come and join me. Ever been in a dust storm in a lager and cart race?”

          Zara welcomed the distraction and smiled encouragingly and said that she had not.

          “Oh, I could tell you a tale or two about dust storms and cart races,”  Aunt Idle said, and then drifted off into silent reverie. Zara refilled their glasses with wine. “Do tell,” she said, “Tell me a tale about dust storms and cart races.”


            The trio entered the medical bay, Barney proudly perched on Salomé’s shoulder. Léonard was sitting on the edge of his bed in a blue hospital dress, looking around him, confused. He turned his head toward them and squinted.

            Georges?” he asked. “Salomé? Where…” He winced and slapped his forehead.

            “Are you ok?” asked Salomé, moving toward him.

            Léonard stretched his arm in front of him and Salomé felt her body pushed backward. Barney squeaked and the wave subsided.

            “I’m ok,” Léonard said a few seconds later, breathing with difficulties, “just a headache. Where…”

            Georges exchanged a look and a brief telepathic communication with Salomé. He had felt the wave too, and he was also feeling some kind of shield around his mind. It was different from all they had encountered before. They might have to fall back to the old ways.

            “We’re back on Duane,” he said with a cheerful tone, hoping it would help their friend relax. Léonard had explored this system extensively, and it was there he had introduced Georges and Salomé to the reality of multidimensional travels and Elemental magic. It was a place full of memories and Georges was looking closely at his friend’s face and at the same time prodding his mind. But Léonard’s face didn’t show any reaction and his mind appeared empty.

            “Actually, way back… in time,” Georges continued. “Jorid’s navigation array was gravely disturbed by this little creature… where is Barney?”

            A weak chirp came out of Salomé’s luscious raven black hair.

            “Come on, Barney,” she said, trying to take him out. “Come meet our friend Léonard.”

            The creature was trembling like a leaf and clinging to strands of her hair, clearly not wanting to leave his hiding place.

            “I think he likes your shampoo,” said Georges with a smirk. “Well, we just found this little sand Rin on Jorid’s hull, and the little culprit is generating interferences in the Boodenbaum quantum field. So until we find a way to neutralise whatever he’s doing, we’re stuck.”

            Léonard looked annoyed. He tried to stand up, but his legs wouldn’t support him and he fell back on the bed.

            “Why did the Zathu put you in that sand egg on Bluhm’Oxl?” asked Salomé, trying not to sound too concerned.

            Léonard opened his mouth and froze, looking surprised. He frowned.

            “I don’t recall,” he said.

            “What do you recall?”

            “I recall… receiving a tip from an old friend.”



            “Jorid, can you read us the message from his friend?” asked Georges with a smile, as if he had found a simple solution.

            “I can’t access the data,” said the ship. “Léonard deleted it, and the backups before he left.”

            Georges’ smile faded. He looked at Salomé. She was thinking the same thing he was thinking and nodded.

            “Why don’t we let you have some rest, you’ll join us for lunch when you’re dressed up and ready.”


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            The black BMW pulled up outside the Flying Fish Inn.  Sister Finli pulled a baseball cap low over her big sunglasses before she got out of the car. Yasmin was still in the bar with her friends and Finli hoped to check in and retreat to her room before they got back to the inn.

            She rang the bell on the reception desk several times before an elderly lady in a red cardigan appeared.

            “Ah yes, Liana Parker,” Mater said, checking the register.    Liana managed to get a look at the register and noted that Yasmin was in room 2. “Room 4. Did you have a good trip down? Smart car you’ve got there,”   Mater glanced over Liana’s shoulder, “Don’t see many like that in these parts.”

            “Yes, yes,” Finli snapped impatiently (henceforth referred to to as Liana). She didn’t have time for small talk. The others might arrive back at any time. As long as she kept out of Yasmin’s way, she knew nobody would recognize her ~ after all she had been abandoned at birth. Even if Yasmin did find her out, she only knew her as a nun at the orphanage and Liana would just have to make up some excuse about why a nun was on holiday in the outback in a BMW.  She’d cross that bridge when she came to it.

            Mater looked over her glasses at the new guest. “I’ll show you to your room.”  Either she was rude or tired, but Mater gave her the benefit of the doubt.  “I expect you’re tired.”

            Liana softened and smiled at the old lady, remembering that she’d have to speak to everyone in due course in order to find anything out, and it wouldn’t do to start off on the wrong foot.

            “I’m writing a book,” Liana explained as she followed Mater down the hall. “Hoping a bit of peace and quiet here will help, and my book is set in the outback in a place a bit like this.”

            “How lovely dear, well if there’s anything we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Old Bert’s a mine of information,”   Mater suppressed a chuckle, “Well as long as you don’t mention mines.  Here we are,” Mater opened the door to room 4 and handed the key to Liana.  “Just ask if there’s anything you need.”

            Liana put her bags down and then listened at the door to Mater’s retreating steps.  Inching the door open, she looked up and down the hallway, but there was nobody about.  Quickly she went to room 2 and tried the door, hoping it was open and she didn’t have to resort to other means. It was open.  What a stroke of luck! Liana was encouraged. Within moments Liana found the parcel, unopened.  Carefully opening the door,  she looked around to make sure nobody was around, leaving the room with the parcel under her arm and closing the  door quietly, she hastened back to room 4.   She nearly jumped out of her skin when a voice piped up behind her.

            “What’s that parcel and where are you going with it?” Prune asked.

            “None of your business you….”  Liana was just about to say nosy brat, and then remebered that she would catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It was going to be hard for her to remember that, but she must try!  She smiled at the teenager and said, “A dreamtime gift for my gran, got it in Alice. Is there a post office in town?”

            Prune narrowed her eyes. There was something fishy about this and it didn’t take her more than a second to reach the conclusion that she wanted to see what was in the parcel.  But how?

            “Yes,” she replied, quick as a flash grabbing the parcel from Liana. “I’ll post it for you!” she called over her shoulder as she raced off down the hall and disappeared.

            “FUCK!” Liana muttered under her breath, running after her, but she was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully nobody else was about in the reception area to question why she was running around like a madwoman.  Fuck! she muttered again, going back to her room and closing the door. Now what? What a disaster after such an encouraging start!

            Prune collided with Idle on the steps of the verandah, nearly knocking her off her feet. Idle grabbed Prune to steady herself.  Her grip on the girls arm tightened when she saw the suspicious look on face.   Always up to no good, that one. “What have you got there? Where did you get that? Give me that parcel!”

            Idle grabbed the parcel and Prune fled. Idle, holding onto the verandah railing, watched Prune running off between the eucalyptus trees.  She’s always trying to  make a drama out of everything, Idle thought with a sigh. Hardly any wonder I suppose, it must be boring here for a teenager with nothing much going on.

            She heard a loud snorting laugh, and turned to see the four guests returning from the bar in town, laughing and joking.  She put the parcel down on the hall table and waved hello, asking if they’d had a good time.  “I bet you’re ready for a bite to eat, I’ll go and see what Mater’s got on the menu.” and off she went to the kitchen, leaving the parcel on the table.

            The four friends agreed to meet back on the verandah for drinks before dinner after freshening up.   Yasmin kept glancing back at the BMW.  “That woman must be staying here!” she snorted.  Zara grabbed her elbow and pulled her along. “Then we’ll find out who she is later, come on.”

            Youssef followed Idle into the kitchen to ask for some snacks before dinner (much to Idle’s delight), leaving Xavier on the verandah.  He looked as if he was admiring the view, such as it was, but he was preoccupied thinking about work again. Enough! he reminded himself to relax and enjoy the holiday. He saw the parcel on the table and picked it up, absentmindedly thinking the black notebook he ordered had arrived in the post, and took it back to his room. He tossed it on the bed and went to freshen up for dinner.


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            When Xavier woke up, the sun was already shining, its rays darting in pulsating waves throughout the land, blinding him. The room was already heating up, making the air difficult to breathe.

            He’d heard the maid rummaging in the neighbouring rooms for some time now, which had roused him from sleep. He couldn’t recall seeing any “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the doorknob, so staying in bed was only delaying the inevitable barging in of the lady who was now vacuuming vigorously in the corridor.

            Feeling a bit dull from the restless sleep, he quickly rose from the bed and put on his clothes.

            Once out of his room, he smiled at the cleaning lady (who seemed to be the same as the cooking lady), who harumphed back as a sort of greeting. Arriving in the kitchen, he wondered whether it was probably too late for breakfast —until he noticed the figure of the owner, who was quietly watching him through half-closed eyes in her rocking chair.

            Idle should have left some bread, butter and jam to eat if you’re hungry. It’s too late for bacon and sausages. You can help yourself with tea or coffee, there’s a fresh pot on the kitchen counter.”

            “Thanks M’am.” He answered, startled by the unexpected appearance.

            “No need. Finly didn’t wake you up, did she? She doesn’t like when people mess up her schedule.”

            “Not at all, it was fine.” he lied politely, helping himself to some tea. He wasn’t sure buttered bread was enough reward to suffer a long, awkward conversation, given that the lady (Mater, she insisted he’s called him) wasn’t giving him any sign of wanting to leave.

            “It shouldn’t be long until your friends come back from the airport. Your other friend, the big lad, he went for a walk around. Idle seems to have sold him a visit to our Gems & Rocks boutique down Main avenue.” She tittered. “Sounds grand when we say it —that’s just the only main road, but it helps with tourists bookings. And Betsy will probably tire him down quickly. She tends to get too excited when she gets clients down there; most of her business she does online now.”

            Xavier was done with his tea, and looking for an exit strategy, but she finally seemed to pick up on the signals.

            “… As I probably do; look at me wearing you down. Anyway, we have some preparing to do for the Carts & whatnot festival.”

            When she was gone, Xavier’s attention was attracted by a small persistent ticking noise followed by some cracking.

            It was on the front porch.

            A young girl in her thirteens, hoodie on despite the heat, and prune coloured pants, was sitting on the bench reading.

            She told him without raising her head from her book. “It’s Aunt Idle’s new pet bird. It’s quite a character.”


            “The noise, it’s from the bird. It’s been cracking nuts for the past twenty minutes. Hence the noise. And yes, it’s annoying as hell.”

            She rose from the bench. “Your bear friend will be back quick I’m certain; it’s just a small boutique with some nice crystals, but mostly cheap orgonite new-agey stuff. Betsy only swears by that, protection for electromagnetic waves and stuff she says, but look around… we are probably got more at risk to be hit by Martian waves or solar coronal mass ejections that by the ones from the telecom tower nearby.”

            Xavier didn’t know what to say, so he nodded and smiled. He felt a bit out of his element. When he looked around, the girl had already disappeared.

            Now alone, he sat on the empty bench, stretched and yawned while trying to relax. It was so different from the anonymity in the city: less people here, but everything and everyone very tightly knit together, although they all seemed to irk and chafe at the thought.

            The flapping of wings startled him.

            “Hellooo.” The red parrot had landed on the backrest of the bench and dropped shells from a freshly cracked nut which rolled onto the ground.

            Xavier didn’t think to respond; like with AL, sometimes he’d found using polite filler words was only projecting human traits to something unable to respond back, and would just muddle the prompt quality.

            “So ruuuude.” The parrot nicked his earlobe gently.

            “Ouch! Sorry! No need to become aggressive!”

            “You arrrre one to talk. Rouge is on Yooour forehead.”

            Xavier looked surprised at the bird in disbelief. Did the bird talk about the mirror test? “What sort of smart creature are you now?”

            “Call meee Rose. Pretty Giiirl acceptable.”

            Xavier smiled. The bird seemed quite fascinating all of a sudden.
            It was strange, but the bird seemed left completely free to roam about; it gave him an idea.

            “Rose, Pretty Girl, do you know some nice places around you’d like to show me?”

            “Of couuurse. Foôllow Pretty Girl.”


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            “Have you been drinking?” blurted out Yasmin. Immediately she regretted her careless question. Zara had  never  been one to worry overly about appearances and Yasmin, who worried overly about everything, admired her carefree attitude. But she’d been a little taken aback by her friend’s unkempt hair and the smell of stale alcohol on her breath.  “Sorry,” she mumbled. “I was just joking …obviously.”

            “What? You’ve just arrived and already you’re insulting me! Sheesh!”

            “Oh well, no doubt I’ll turn into a lush too after a few days in the outback!” Yasmin snort laughed nervously, hoping to smooth things over. “You look well! And I really appreciate you picking me up.”

            It seemed to do the trick as Zara relaxed and smiled.  “You should. I’ve gone out of my way.” She gestured to Yasmin’s bag. “Have you just got the one? Shall we get going? I’ve got so much to tell you.”


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            Although not one to remember dreams very often, Zara awoke the next morning with vivid and colourful dream recall.  She wondered if it was something to do with the dreamtime mural on the wall of her room.  If this turned out to be the case, she considered painting some murals on her bedroom wall back at the Bungwalley Valley animal rescue centre when she got home.

            Zara and Idle had hit it off immediately, chatting and laughing on the verandah after supper.   Idle told her a bit about the local area and the mines.  Despite Bert’s warnings, she wanted to see them. They were only an hour away from the inn.

            When she retired to her room for the night, she looked on the internet for more information. The more she read online about the mines, the more intrigued she became.

            “Interestingly there are no actual houses left from the original township. The common explanation is that a rumour spread that there was gold hidden in the walls of the houses and consequently they were knocked down by people believing there was ‘gold in them there walls”. Of course it was only a rumour. No gold was found.”

            “Miners attracted to the area originally by the garnets, found alluvial and reef gold at Arltunga…”

            Garnets!  Zara recalled the story her friend had told her about finding a cursed garnet near a fort in St Augustine in Florida.  Apparently there were a number of mines that one could visit:

            “the MacDonnell Range Reef Mine, the Christmas Reef Mine, the Golden Chance Mine, the Joker Mine and the Great Western Mine all of which are worth a visit.”

            Zara imagined Xavier making a crack about the Joker Mine, and wondered why it had been named that.

            “The whole area is preserved as though the inhabitants simply walked away from it only yesterday. The curious visitor who walks just a little way off the paths will see signs of previous habitation. Old pieces of meat safes, pieces of rusted wire, rusted cans, and pieces of broken glass litter the ground. There is nothing of great importance but each little shard is reminder of the people who once lived and worked here.”

            I wonder if Bert will take me there, Zara wondered. If not, maybe one of the others can pick up a hire car when they arrive at Alice.   Might even be best not to tell anyone at the inn where they were going.  Funny coincidence the nearest town was called Alice ~ it was already beginning to seem like some kind of rabbit hole she was falling into.

            Undecided whether to play some more of the game which had ended abruptly upon encountering the blue robed vendor, Zara decided not to and picked up the book on Dreamtime that was on the bedside table.

            “Some of the ancestors or spirit beings inhabiting the Dreamtime become one with parts of the landscape, such as rocks or trees…”  Flicking through the book, she read random excerpts.   “A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land. Some emerged at their specific sites and stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else. Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories….”

            Thousands of characters. Zara smiled sleepily, recalling the many stories she and her friends had written together over the years.

            “People come and go but the Land, and stories about the Land, stay. This is a wisdom that takes lifetimes of listening, observing and experiencing … There is a deep understanding of human nature and the environment… sites hold ‘feelings’ which cannot be described in physical terms… subtle feelings that resonate through the bodies of these people… It is only when talking and being with these people that these ‘feelings’ can truly be appreciated. This is… the intangible reality of these people…..”

            With such strong ancestral connections to the land, Zara couldn’t help but wonder what the aboriginal people felt about all the mines.   If one of their ancestors had shape changed into rocks, and then some foreignors came along and hacked and blasted their way through, what would they think of that?

            “….many Aboriginal groups widely distributed across the Australian continent all appeared to share variations of a single (common) myth telling of an unusually powerful, often creative, often dangerous snake or serpent of sometimes enormous size closely associated with the rainbows, rain, rivers, and deep waterholes…..”

            She drifted off to sleep thinking of water holes in red rocky gorges, the book laying open in her hand.

            When she awoke the next morning with the slatted morning sun shining through the venetian blinds,  the dream image of the water hole was bright and clear in her minds eye.  But what was that strange character from the game doing in her dream?

            Osnas dreamtime waterhole


            She closed her eyes, remembering more of the strange dream.  Deeply orange red boulders and rocky outcrops, shivering gum trees, and green pools ~ it was coming back to her now, that creature in the blue robes had appeared more than once.  In one scene he appeared with a blue diamond lantern with what looked like a compass inside.

            Osnas lantern compass

            I’ll ask about the hiking trails today, Zara decided, and go for a walk in that gorge I read about yesterday. Bert said there were good hiking trails.   You came here early so you could play the game, she reminded herself.

            “It’s all a game,” she heard the parrot outside her window.

            “I’d forgotten about the bloody parrot!” Zara said under her breath. “Pretty Girl!” she said, opening the blinds. “We’re going out for a walk today.”


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            With a determined glint in his eye, Xavier set his sights on the slot machines. He scanned the rows of blinking lights and flashing screens until one caught his attention. He approached the machine and inserted a coin, feeling a rush of excitement as he pulled the lever.

            With a satisfying whir, the reels began to spin, and before he knew it, the golden banana appeared on the screen, lining up perfectly. The machine erupted in flashing lights and loud noises, and a ticket spilled out onto the floor.

            🎰 · 💰

            Xavier picked it up, reading aloud the inscriptions on the ticket, “Congratulations on completing your quest. You may enjoy your trip until the next stage of your journey. Look for the cook on the pirate boat, she will give you directions to regroup with your friends. And don’t forget to confirm your bookings.”

            Glimmer let out a whoop of trepidation, “Let’s go find that cook, Xav! I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for us!”

            But Xavier, feeling a bit worn out, replied with a smile, “Hold on a minute, love. All I need at the moment is just some R&R after all that brouhaha.”

            Glimmer nodded in understanding and they both made their way to the deck, taking in the fresh air and the breathtaking scenery as the boat sailed towards its next destination.

            As the boat continued its journey, sailing and gliding on the river in the air filled with moist, they could start to see across the mist opening like a heavy curtain a colourful floating market in the distance, and the sounds of haggling and laughter filled the air.

            They couldn’t wait to explore and see what treasures and surprises awaited them. The journey was far from over, but for now, they were content to simply enjoy the ride.


            Xavier closed his laptop while his friends were still sending messages on the chatroom. He’d had long days of work before leaving to take his flights to Australia, during which he hoped he could rest enough during the flights.

            Most of the flights he’d checked had a minimum of 3 layovers, and a unbelievably long durations (not to count the astronomic amount of carbon emissions). Against all common sense, he’d taken one of the longest flight duration. It was 57h, but only 3 layovers. From Berlin, to Stockholm, then Dubai and Sydney. He could probably catch up with Youssef there as apparently he sent a message before boarding. They could go to Alice Spring and the Frying Mush Inn together. He’d try to find the reviews, but they were only listed on and didn’t have the rave reviews of the prestigious Kookynie Grand Hotel franchise. God knows what Zara had in mind while booking this place, it’d better be good. Reminded him of the time they all went to that improbably ghastly hotel in Spain (at the time Yasmin was still volunteering in a mission and couldn’t join) for a seminar with other game loonies and cosplayers. Those were the early days of the game, and the technology frankly left a lot to be desired at the time. They’d ended up eating raspberry jam with disposable toothbrushes, and get drunk on laughter.

            When Brytta had seen the time it took to go there, she’d reconsidered coming. She couldn’t afford taking that much time off, and spending the equivalent of 4 full days of her hard-won vacation as a nurse into a plane simply for the round-trip —there was simply no way.
            Xavier had proposed to shorten his stay, but she’d laughed and said, “you go there, I’ll enjoy some girl time with my friends, and I’ll work on my painting” —it was more convenient when he was gone for business trips, she would be able to put all the materials out, and not care to keep the apartment neat and tidy.

            The backpack was ready with the essentials; Xavier liked to travel light.


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            Have you booked your flight yet?  Zara sent a message to Yasmin. I’m spending a few more days in Camden, probably be at the Flying Fish Inn by the end of the week.

              :yahoo_rolling_eyes: :yahoo_rolling_eyes:    I told you already when my flight is, Air Fiji, remeber?  bloody Sister Finnlie on my case all the time, haven’t had a minute. Zara had to wait over an hour for Yamsin’s reply.

            Took you long enough to reply. Zara replied promptly. Heard nothing from Youssef for ages either, have you heard from him? I’ll be arriving there on my own at this rate.

            :yahoo_rolling_eyes:   Not a word, I expect Xavier’s booked his but he hasn’t said.  Probably doing his secret monkey thing.

            Have you tried the free roaming thing on the game yet?

            :yahoo_rolling_eyes:    I just told you Sister Finnlie hasn’t given me a minute to myself, she’s a right tart! Why, have you?

            Yeah it’s amazing, been checking out the Flying Fish Inn. Looks a bit of a dump. Not much to do around there, well not from what I can see anyway.  But you know what?

            :yahoo_rolling_eyes:   What?

            You’ll lose your eyes in the back of your head one day and look like that AI avatart with the wall eye.  Get this though: we haven’t started the game yet, that quest for quirks thing, I was just having a roman around ha ha typo having a roam around see what’s there and stuff I don’t know anything about online games like you lot and I ended up here.  Zara sent a screenshot of the image she’d seen and added:   Did I already start the game or what, I don’t even know how we actually start the game, I was just wandering around….oh…and happened to chance upon this…


            Zaras Game

            :yahoo_rolling_eyes:   How rude to start playing before us

            I didn’t start playing the game before you, I just told you, I was wandering around playing about waiting for you lot!   Zara thought Yasmin sounded like she needed a holiday.

            :yahoo_rolling_eyes:    Yeah well that was your quest, wasn’t it? To wander around or something?  What’s that silver chest on her back?

            I dunno but looks intriguing eh maybe she’s hidden all her devices and techy gadgets in an antiquey looking box so she doesn’t blow her cover

            Gotta go Sister Finnlie’s coming

            Zara muttered how rude under her breath and put her phone down.  She’d retired to her bedroom early, telling Bertie that she needed an early night but really had wanted some time alone to explore the new game world.  She didn’t want to make mistakes and look daft to her friends when the game started.

            “Too late for that”, Pretty Girl said.

            “SSHHH!” Zara hissed at the parrot. “And stop reading my mind, it’s disconcerting, not to mention rude.”

            She heard the sound of the lavatory flush and Berties bedroom door closing and looked at the time. 23:36.

            Zara decided to give him an hour to make sure he was asleep and then sneak out and go back to that church.


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            At the board game, Zara was the first to break character, although Yasmin had been rolling her eyes in silence for quite some time.

            “They’re all so young and attractive…”

            Yasmin chimed in “Could you add averagely attractive to the prompt? Oh hark at me! Moaning already!”

            Xavier was glad at the break, and stretched his arms, leaning back against the chair. “Time for a bio-break guys, all this setting up is taking a lot of time.”

            Youssef, who was connected via a stream, started to post emojis of food in the chat. He’d been obviously hungry for a while as usual.

            “Ok guys,” said Zara sighing. “That’s settled for today then. Anyway, it’s pretty late for Youssef, let’s resume tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’ll be posting the characters concept art, but don’t hold your breath on that.”


              The Grattidge Family


              The first Grattidge to appear in our tree was Emma Grattidge (1853-1911) who married Charles Tomlinson (1847-1907) in 1872.

              Charles Tomlinson (1873-1929) was their son and he married my great grandmother Nellie Fisher. Their daughter Margaret (later Peggy Edwards) was my grandmother on my fathers side.

              Emma Grattidge was born in Wolverhampton, the daughter and youngest child of William Grattidge (1820-1887) born in Foston, Derbyshire, and Mary Stubbs, born in Burton on Trent, daughter of Solomon Stubbs, a land carrier. William and Mary married at St Modwens church, Burton on Trent, in 1839. It’s unclear why they moved to Wolverhampton. On the 1841 census William was employed as an agent, and their first son William was nine months old. Thereafter, William was a licensed victuallar or innkeeper.

              William Grattidge was born in Foston, Derbyshire in 1820. His parents were Thomas Grattidge, farmer (1779-1843) and Ann Gerrard (1789-1822) from Ellastone. Thomas and Ann married in 1813 in Ellastone. They had five children before Ann died at the age of 25:

              Bessy was born in 1815, Thomas in 1818, William in 1820, and Daniel Augustus and Frederick were twins born in 1822. They were all born in Foston. (records say Foston, Foston and Scropton, or Scropton)

              On the 1841 census Thomas had nine people additional to family living at the farm in Foston, presumably agricultural labourers and help.

              After Ann died, Thomas had three children with Kezia Gibbs (30 years his junior) before marrying her in 1836, then had a further four with her before dying in 1843. Then Kezia married Thomas’s nephew Frederick Augustus Grattidge (born in 1816 in Stafford) in London in 1847 and had two more!


              The siblings of William Grattidge (my 3x great grandfather):


              Frederick Grattidge (1822-1872) was a schoolmaster and never married. He died at the age of 49 in Tamworth at his twin brother Daniels address.

              Daniel Augustus Grattidge (1822-1903) was a grocer at Gungate in Tamworth.

              Thomas Grattidge (1818-1871) married in Derby, and then emigrated to Illinois, USA.

              Bessy Grattidge  (1815-1840) married John Buxton, farmer, in Ellastone in January 1838. They had three children before Bessy died in December 1840 at the age of 25: Henry in 1838, John in 1839, and Bessy Buxton in 1840. Bessy was baptised in January 1841. Presumably the birth of Bessy caused the death of Bessy the mother.

              Bessy Buxton’s gravestone:

              “Sacred to the memory of Bessy Buxton, the affectionate wife of John Buxton of Stanton She departed this life December 20th 1840, aged 25 years. “Husband, Farewell my life is Past, I loved you while life did last. Think on my children for my sake, And ever of them with I take.”

              20 Dec 1840, Ellastone, Staffordshire

              Bessy Buxton


              In the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge, farmer of Foston, he leaves fifth shares of his estate, including freehold real estate at Findern,  to his wife Kezia, and sons William, Daniel, Frederick and Thomas. He mentions that the children of his late daughter Bessy, wife of John Buxton, will be taken care of by their father.  He leaves the farm to Keziah in confidence that she will maintain, support and educate his children with her.

              An excerpt from the will:

              I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Keziah Grattidge all my household goods and furniture, wearing apparel and plate and plated articles, linen, books, china, glass, and other household effects whatsoever, and also all my implements of husbandry, horses, cattle, hay, corn, crops and live and dead stock whatsoever, and also all the ready money that may be about my person or in my dwelling house at the time of my decease, …I also give my said wife the tenant right and possession of the farm in my occupation….

              A page from the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge:

              1843 Thomas Grattidge


              William Grattidges half siblings (the offspring of Thomas Grattidge and Kezia Gibbs):


              Albert Grattidge (1842-1914) was a railway engine driver in Derby. In 1884 he was driving the train when an unfortunate accident occured outside Ambergate. Three children were blackberrying and crossed the rails in front of the train, and one little girl died.

              Albert Grattidge:

              Albert Grattidge


              George Grattidge (1826-1876) was baptised Gibbs as this was before Thomas married Kezia. He was a police inspector in Derby.

              George Grattidge:

              George Grattidge


              Edwin Grattidge (1837-1852) died at just 15 years old.

              Ann Grattidge (1835-) married Charles Fletcher, stone mason, and lived in Derby.

              Louisa Victoria Grattidge (1840-1869) was sadly another Grattidge woman who died young. Louisa married Emmanuel Brunt Cheesborough in 1860 in Derby. In 1861 Louisa and Emmanuel were living with her mother Kezia in Derby, with their two children Frederick and Ann Louisa. Emmanuel’s occupation was sawyer. (Kezia Gibbs second husband Frederick Augustus Grattidge was a timber merchant in Derby)

              At the time of her death in 1869, Emmanuel was the landlord of the White Hart public house at Bridgegate in Derby.

              The Derby Mercury of 17th November 1869:

              “On Wednesday morning Mr Coroner Vallack held an inquest in the Grand
              Jury-room, Town-hall, on the body of Louisa Victoria Cheeseborough, aged
              33, the wife of the landlord of the White Hart, Bridge-gate, who committed
              suicide by poisoning at an early hour on Sunday morning. The following
              evidence was taken:

              Mr Frederick Borough, surgeon, practising in Derby, deposed that he was
              called in to see the deceased about four o’clock on Sunday morning last. He
              accordingly examined the deceased and found the body quite warm, but dead.
              He afterwards made enquiries of the husband, who said that he was afraid
              that his wife had taken poison, also giving him at the same time the
              remains of some blue material in a cup. The aunt of the deceased’s husband
              told him that she had seen Mrs Cheeseborough put down a cup in the
              club-room, as though she had just taken it from her mouth. The witness took
              the liquid home with him, and informed them that an inquest would
              necessarily have to be held on Monday. He had made a post mortem
              examination of the body, and found that in the stomach there was a great
              deal of congestion. There were remains of food in the stomach and, having
              put the contents into a bottle, he took the stomach away. He also examined
              the heart and found it very pale and flabby. All the other organs were
              comparatively healthy; the liver was friable.

              Hannah Stone, aunt of the deceased’s husband, said she acted as a servant
              in the house. On Saturday evening, while they were going to bed and whilst
              witness was undressing, the deceased came into the room, went up to the
              bedside, awoke her daughter, and whispered to her. but what she said the
              witness did not know. The child jumped out of bed, but the deceased closed
              the door and went away. The child followed her mother, and she also
              followed them to the deceased’s bed-room, but the door being closed, they
              then went to the club-room door and opening it they saw the deceased
              standing with a candle in one hand. The daughter stayed with her in the
              room whilst the witness went downstairs to fetch a candle for herself, and
              as she was returning up again she saw the deceased put a teacup on the
              table. The little girl began to scream, saying “Oh aunt, my mother is
              going, but don’t let her go”. The deceased then walked into her bed-room,
              and they went and stood at the door whilst the deceased undressed herself.
              The daughter and the witness then returned to their bed-room. Presently
              they went to see if the deceased was in bed, but she was sitting on the
              floor her arms on the bedside. Her husband was sitting in a chair fast
              asleep. The witness pulled her on the bed as well as she could.
              Ann Louisa Cheesborough, a little girl, said that the deceased was her
              mother. On Saturday evening last, about twenty minutes before eleven
              o’clock, she went to bed, leaving her mother and aunt downstairs. Her aunt
              came to bed as usual. By and bye, her mother came into her room – before
              the aunt had retired to rest – and awoke her. She told the witness, in a
              low voice, ‘that she should have all that she had got, adding that she
              should also leave her her watch, as she was going to die’. She did not tell
              her aunt what her mother had said, but followed her directly into the
              club-room, where she saw her drink something from a cup, which she
              afterwards placed on the table. Her mother then went into her own room and
              shut the door. She screamed and called her father, who was downstairs. He
              came up and went into her room. The witness then went to bed and fell
              asleep. She did not hear any noise or quarrelling in the house after going
              to bed.

              Police-constable Webster was on duty in Bridge-gate on Saturday evening
              last, about twenty minutes to one o’clock. He knew the White Hart
              public-house in Bridge-gate, and as he was approaching that place, he heard
              a woman scream as though at the back side of the house. The witness went to
              the door and heard the deceased keep saying ‘Will you be quiet and go to
              bed’. The reply was most disgusting, and the language which the
              police-constable said was uttered by the husband of the deceased, was
              immoral in the extreme. He heard the poor woman keep pressing her husband
              to go to bed quietly, and eventually he saw him through the keyhole of the
              door pass and go upstairs. his wife having gone up a minute or so before.
              Inspector Fearn deposed that on Sunday morning last, after he had heard of
              the deceased’s death from supposed poisoning, he went to Cheeseborough’s
              public house, and found in the club-room two nearly empty packets of
              Battie’s Lincoln Vermin Killer – each labelled poison.

              Several of the Jury here intimated that they had seen some marks on the
              deceased’s neck, as of blows, and expressing a desire that the surgeon
              should return, and re-examine the body. This was accordingly done, after
              which the following evidence was taken:

              Mr Borough said that he had examined the body of the deceased and observed
              a mark on the left side of the neck, which he considered had come on since
              death. He thought it was the commencement of decomposition.
              This was the evidence, after which the jury returned a verdict “that the
              deceased took poison whilst of unsound mind” and requested the Coroner to
              censure the deceased’s husband.

              The Coroner told Cheeseborough that he was a disgusting brute and that the
              jury only regretted that the law could not reach his brutal conduct.
              However he had had a narrow escape. It was their belief that his poor
              wife, who was driven to her own destruction by his brutal treatment, would
              have been a living woman that day except for his cowardly conduct towards

              The inquiry, which had lasted a considerable time, then closed.”


              In this article it says:

              “it was the “fourth or fifth remarkable and tragical event – some of which were of the worst description – that has taken place within the last twelve years at the White Hart and in the very room in which the unfortunate Louisa Cheesborough drew her last breath.”

              Sheffield Independent – Friday 12 November 1869:

              Louisa Cheesborough


              In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg

              Stung by Egberts question, Olga reeled and almost lost her footing on the stairs. What had happened to her?  That damned selfish individualism that was running rampant must have seeped into her room through the gaps in the windows or under the door.  “No!” she shouted, her voice cracking.

              “Say it isn’t true, Olga,” Egbert said, his voice breaking.  “Not you as well.”

              It took Olga a minute or two to still her racing heart.  The near fall down the stairs had shaken her but with trembling hands she levered herself round to sit beside Egbert on the step.

              Gripping his bony knee with her knobbly arthritic fingers, she took a deep breath.

              “You are right to have said that, Egbert.  If there is one thing we must hold onto, it’s our hearts. Nothing else matters, or at least nothing else matters as much as that.  We are old and tired and we don’t like change. But if we escalate the importance of this frankly dreary and depressing home to the point where we lose our hearts…” she faltered and continued.  “We will be homeless soon, very soon, and we know not what will happen to us.  We must trust in the kindness of strangers, we must hope they have a heart.”

              Egbert winced as Olga squeezed his knee. “And that is why”, Olga continued, slapping Egberts thigh with gusto, “We must have a heart…”

              “If you’d just stop squeezing and hitting me, Olga…”

              Olga loosened her grip on the old mans thigh bone and peered into his eyes. Quietly she thanked him. “You’ve cleared my mind and given me something to live for, and I thank you for that. But you do need to launder your clothes more often,” she added, pulling a face. She didn’t want the old coot to start blubbing, and he looked alarmingly close to tears.

              “Come on, let’s go and see Obadiah. We’re all in this together. Homelessness and adventure can wait until tomorrow.”  Olga heaved herself upright with a surprising burst of vitality.   Noticing a weak smile trembling on Egberts lips, she said “That’s the spirit!”


              In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg

              “Calm yourself, Egbert, and sit down. And be quiet! I can barely hear myself think with your frantic gibbering and flailing around,” Olga said, closing her eyes.  “I need to think.”

              Egbert clutched the eiderdown on either side of his bony trembling knees and clamped his remaining teeth together, drawing ragged whistling breaths in an attempt to calm himself.  Olga was right, he needed to calm down. Besides the unfortunate effects of the letter on his habitual tremor, he felt sure his blood pressure had risen alarmingly.  He dared not become so ill that he needed medical assistance, not with the state of the hospitals these days. He’d be lucky to survive the plague ridden wards.

              What had become of him! He imagined his younger self looking on with horror, appalled at his feeble body and shattered mind.  Imagine becoming so desperate that he wanted to fight to stay in this godforsaken dump, what had become of him! If only he knew of somewhere else to go, somewhere safe and pleasant, somewhere that smelled sweetly of meadows and honesuckle and freshly baked cherry pies, with the snorting of pigs in the yard…

              But wait, that was Olga snoring. Useless old bag had fallen asleep! For the first time since Viktor had died he felt close to tears. What a sad sorry pathetic old man he’d become, desperately counting on a old woman to save him.

              “Stop sniveling, Egbert, and go and pack a bag.” Olga had woken up from her momentary but illuminating lapse.    “Don’t bring too much, we may have much walking to do. I hear the buses and trains are in a shambles and full of refugees. We don’t want to get herded up with them.”

              Astonished, Egbert asked where they were going.

              “To see Rosa. My cousins father in laws neice. Don’t look at me like that, immediate family are seldom the ones who help.  The distant ones are another matter.  And be honest Egbert,” Olga said with a piercing look, “Do we really want to stay here? You may think you do, but it’s the fear of change, that’s all. Change feels like too much bother, doesn’t it?”

              Egbert nodded sadly, his eyes fixed on the stain on the grey carpet.

              Olga leaned forward and took his hand gently. “Egbert, look at me.” He raised his head and looked into her eyes. He’d never seen a sparkle in her faded blue eyes before.  “I still have another adventure in me. How about you?”


              In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg

              The sharp rat-a-tat on the door startled Olga Herringbonevsky. The initial surprise quickly turned to annoyance. It was 11am and she wasn’t expecting a knock on the door at 11am. At 10am she expected a knock. It would be Larysa with the lukewarm cup of tea and a stale biscuit. Sometimes Olga complained about it and Larysa would say, Well you’re on the third floor so what do you expect? And she’d look cross and pour the tea so some of it slopped into the saucer. So the biscuits go stale on the way up do they? Olga would mutter. At 10:30am Larysa would return to collect the cup and saucer. I can’t do this much longer, she’d say. I’m not young any more and all these damn stairs. She’d been saying that for as long as Olga could remember.

              For a moment, Olga contemplated ignoring the intrusion but the knocking started up again, this time accompanied by someone shouting her name.

              With a very loud sigh, she put her book on the side table, face down so she would not lose her place for it was a most enjoyable whodunit, and hauled herself up from the chair. Her ankle was not good since she’d gone over on it the other day and Olga was in a very poor mood by the time she reached the door.

              “Yes?” She glowered at Egbert.

              “Have you seen this?” Egbert was waving a piece of paper at her.

              “No,” Olga started to close the door.

              Olga stop!” Egbert’s face had reddened and Olga wondered if he might cry. Again, he waved the piece of paper in her face and then let his hand fall defeated to his side. “Olga, it’s bad news. You should have got a letter .”

              Olga glanced at the pile of unopened letters on her dresser. It was never good news. She couldn’t be bothered with letters any more.

              “Well, Egbert, I suppose you’d better come in”.

              “That Ursula has a heart of steel,” said Olga when she’d heard the news.

              “Pfft,” said Egbert. “She has no heart. This place has always been about money for her.”

              “It’s bad times, Egbert. Bad times.”

              Egbert nodded. “It is, Olga. But there must be something we can do.” He pursed his lips and Olga noticed that he would not meet her eyes.

              “What? Spit it out, Old Man.”

              He looked at her briefly before his eyes slid back to the dirty grey carpet. “I have heard stories, Olga. That you are … well connected. That you know people.”

              Olga noticed that it had become difficult to breathe. Seeing Egbert looking at her with concern, she made an effort to steady herself. She took an extra big gasp of air and pointed to the book face-down on the side table. “That is a very good book I am reading. You may borrow it when I have finished.”

              Egbert nodded. “Thank you.” he said and they both stared at the book.

              “It was a long time ago, Egbert. And no business of anyone else.” Olga  knew her voice was sharp but not sharp enough it seemed as Egbert was not done yet with all his prying words.

              Olga, you said it yourself. These are bad times. And desperate measures are needed or we will all perish.” Now he looked her in the eyes. “Old woman, swallow your pride. You must save yourself and all of us here.”


                From Tanganyika with Love

                continued part 8

                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                Morogoro 20th January 1941

                Dearest Family,

                It is all arranged for us to go on three months leave to Cape Town next month so
                get out your flags. How I shall love showing off Kate and John to you and this time
                George will be with us and you’ll be able to get to know him properly. You can’t think
                what a comfort it will be to leave all the worries of baggage and tipping to him. We will all
                be travelling by ship to Durban and from there to Cape Town by train. I rather dread the
                journey because there is a fifth little Rushby on the way and, as always, I am very

                Kate has become such a little companion to me that I dread the thought of leaving
                her behind with you to start schooling. I miss Ann and George so much now and must
                face separation from Kate as well. There does not seem to be any alternative though.
                There is a boarding school in Arusha and another has recently been started in Mbeya,
                but both places are so far away and I know she would be very unhappy as a boarder at
                this stage. Living happily with you and attending a day school might wean her of her
                dependance upon me. As soon as this wretched war ends we mean to get Ann and
                George back home and Kate too and they can then all go to boarding school together.
                If I were a more methodical person I would try to teach Kate myself, but being a
                muddler I will have my hands full with Johnny and the new baby. Life passes pleasantly
                but quietly here. Much of my time is taken up with entertaining the children and sewing
                for them and just waiting for George to come home.

                George works so hard on these safaris and this endless elephant hunting to
                protect native crops entails so much foot safari, that he has lost a good deal of weight. it
                is more than ten years since he had a holiday so he is greatly looking forward to this one.
                Four whole months together!

                I should like to keep the ayah, Janet, for the new baby, but she says she wants
                to return to her home in the Southern Highlands Province and take a job there. She is
                unusually efficient and so clean, and the houseboy and cook are quite scared of her. She
                bawls at them if the children’s meals are served a few minutes late but she is always
                respectful towards me and practically creeps around on tiptoe when George is home.
                She has a room next to the outside kitchen. One night thieves broke into the kitchen and
                stole a few things, also a canvas chair and mat from the verandah. Ayah heard them, and
                grabbing a bit of firewood, she gave chase. Her shouts so alarmed the thieves that they
                ran off up the hill jettisoning their loot as they ran. She is a great character.


                Morogoro 30th July 1941

                Dearest Family,

                Safely back in Morogoro after a rather grim voyage from Durban. Our ship was
                completely blacked out at night and we had to sleep with warm clothing and life belts
                handy and had so many tedious boat drills. It was a nuisance being held up for a whole
                month in Durban, because I was so very pregnant when we did embark. In fact George
                suggested that I had better hide in the ‘Ladies’ until the ship sailed for fear the Captain
                might refuse to take me. It seems that the ship, on which we were originally booked to
                travel, was torpedoed somewhere off the Cape.

                We have been given a very large house this tour with a mosquito netted
                sleeping porch which will be fine for the new baby. The only disadvantage is that the
                house is on the very edge of the residential part of Morogoro and Johnny will have to
                go quite a distance to find playmates.

                I still miss Kate terribly. She is a loving little person. I had prepared for a scene
                when we said good-bye but I never expected that she would be the comforter. It
                nearly broke my heart when she put her arms around me and said, “I’m so sorry
                Mummy, please don’t cry. I’ll be good. Please don’t cry.” I’m afraid it was all very
                harrowing for you also. It is a great comfort to hear that she has settled down so happily.
                I try not to think consciously of my absent children and remind myself that there are
                thousands of mothers in the same boat, but they are always there at the back of my

                Mother writes that Ann and George are perfectly happy and well, and that though
                German bombers do fly over fairly frequently, they are unlikely to drop their bombs on
                a small place like Jacksdale.

                George has already left on safari to the Rufiji. There was no replacement for his
                job while he was away so he is anxious to get things moving again. Johnny and I are
                going to move in with friends until he returns, just in case all the travelling around brings
                the new baby on earlier than expected.


                Morogoro 26th August 1941

                Dearest Family,

                Our new son, James Caleb. was born at 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon, with a
                minimum of fuss, in the hospital here. The Doctor was out so my friend, Sister Murray,
                delivered the baby. The Sister is a Scots girl, very efficient and calm and encouraging,
                and an ideal person to have around at such a time.

                Everything, this time, went without a hitch and I feel fine and proud of my
                bouncing son. He weighs nine pounds and ten ounces and is a big boned fellow with
                dark hair and unusually strongly marked eyebrows. His eyes are strong too and already
                seem to focus. George is delighted with him and brought Hugh Nelson to see him this
                morning. Hugh took one look, and, astonished I suppose by the baby’s apparent
                awareness, said, “Gosh, this one has been here before.” The baby’s cot is beside my
                bed so I can admire him as much as I please. He has large strong hands and George
                reckons he’ll make a good boxer some day.

                Another of my early visitors was Mabemba, George’s orderly. He is a very big
                African and looks impressive in his Game Scouts uniform. George met him years ago at
                Mahenge when he was a young elephant hunter and Mabemba was an Askari in the
                Police. Mabemba takes quite a proprietary interest in the family.


                Morogoro 25th December 1941

                Dearest Family,

                Christmas Day today, but not a gay one. I have Johnny in bed with a poisoned
                leg so he missed the children’s party at the Club. To make things a little festive I have
                put up a little Christmas tree in the children’s room and have hung up streamers and
                balloons above the beds. Johnny demands a lot of attention so it is fortunate that little
                James is such a very good baby. He sleeps all night until 6 am when his feed is due.
                One morning last week I got up as usual to feed him but I felt so dopey that I
                thought I’d better have a cold wash first. I went into the bathroom and had a hurried
                splash and then grabbed a towel to dry my face. Immediately I felt an agonising pain in
                my nose. Reason? There was a scorpion in the towel! In no time at all my nose looked
                like a pear and felt burning hot. The baby screamed with frustration whilst I feverishly
                bathed my nose and applied this and that in an effort to cool it.

                For three days my nose was very red and tender,”A real boozer nose”, said
                George. But now, thank goodness, it is back to normal.

                Some of the younger marrieds and a couple of bachelors came around,
                complete with portable harmonium, to sing carols in the early hours. No sooner had we
                settled down again to woo sleep when we were disturbed by shouts and screams from
                our nearest neighbour’s house. “Just celebrating Christmas”, grunted George, but we
                heard this morning that the neighbour had fallen down his verandah steps and broken his


                Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                Dearest Family,

                Well now we are eight! Our new son, Henry, was born on the night of the 28th.
                He is a beautiful baby, weighing ten pounds three and a half ounces. This baby is very
                well developed, handsome, and rather superior looking, and not at all amusing to look at
                as the other boys were.George was born with a moustache, John had a large nose and
                looked like a little old man, and Jim, bless his heart, looked rather like a baby
                chimpanzee. Henry is different. One of my visitors said, “Heaven he’ll have to be a
                Bishop!” I expect the lawn sleeves of his nightie really gave her that idea, but the baby
                does look like ‘Someone’. He is very good and George, John, and Jim are delighted
                with him, so is Mabemba.

                We have a dear little nurse looking after us. She is very petite and childish
                looking. When the baby was born and she brought him for me to see, the nurse asked
                his name. I said jokingly, “His name is Benjamin – the last of the family.” She is now very
                peeved to discover that his real name is Henry William and persists in calling him
                ‘Benjie’.I am longing to get home and into my pleasant rut. I have been away for two
                whole weeks and George is managing so well that I shall feel quite expendable if I don’t
                get home soon. As our home is a couple of miles from the hospital, I arranged to move
                in and stay with the nursing sister on the day the baby was due. There I remained for ten
                whole days before the baby was born. Each afternoon George came and took me for a
                ride in the bumpy Bedford lorry and the Doctor tried this and that but the baby refused
                to be hurried.

                On the tenth day I had the offer of a lift and decided to go home for tea and
                surprise George. It was a surprise too, because George was entertaining a young
                Game Ranger for tea and my arrival, looking like a perambulating big top, must have
                been rather embarrassing.Henry was born at the exact moment that celebrations started
                in the Township for the end of the Muslim religious festival of Ramadan. As the Doctor
                held him up by his ankles, there was the sound of hooters and firecrackers from the town.
                The baby has a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon above his left eyebrow.


                Morogoro 26th January 1944

                Dearest Family,

                We have just heard that we are to be transferred to the Headquarters of the
                Game Department at a place called Lyamungu in the Northern Province. George is not
                at all pleased because he feels that the new job will entail a good deal of office work and
                that his beloved but endless elephant hunting will be considerably curtailed. I am glad of
                that and I am looking forward to seeing a new part of Tanganyika and particularly
                Kilimanjaro which dominates Lyamungu.

                Thank goodness our menagerie is now much smaller. We found a home for the
                guinea pigs last December and Susie, our mischievous guinea-fowl, has flown off to find
                a mate.Last week I went down to Dar es Salaam for a check up by Doctor John, a
                woman doctor, leaving George to cope with the three boys. I was away two nights and
                a day and returned early in the morning just as George was giving Henry his six o’clock
                bottle. It always amazes me that so very masculine a man can do my chores with no
                effort and I have a horrible suspicion that he does them better than I do. I enjoyed the
                short break at the coast very much. I stayed with friends and we bathed in the warm sea
                and saw a good film.

                Now I suppose there will be a round of farewell parties. People in this country
                are most kind and hospitable.


                Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                Dearest Family,

                We left Morogoro after the round of farewell parties I had anticipated. The final
                one was at the Club on Saturday night. George made a most amusing speech and the
                party was a very pleasant occasion though I was rather tired after all the packing.
                Several friends gathered to wave us off on Monday morning. We had two lorries
                loaded with our goods. I rode in the cab of the first one with Henry on my knee. George
                with John and Jim rode in the second one. As there was no room for them in the cab,
                they sat on our couch which was placed across the width of the lorry behind the cab. This
                seat was not as comfortable as it sounds, because the space behind the couch was
                taken up with packing cases which were not lashed in place and these kept moving
                forward as the lorry bumped its way over the bad road.

                Soon there was hardly any leg room and George had constantly to stand up and
                push the second layer of packing cases back to prevent them from toppling over onto
                the children and himself. As it is now the rainy season the road was very muddy and
                treacherous and the lorries travelled so slowly it was dark by the time we reached
                Karogwe from where we were booked to take the train next morning to Moshi.
                Next morning we heard that there had been a washaway on the line and that the
                train would be delayed for at least twelve hours. I was not feeling well and certainly did
                not enjoy my day. Early in the afternoon Jimmy ran into a wall and blackened both his
                eyes. What a child! As the day wore on I felt worse and worse and when at last the train
                did arrive I simply crawled into my bunk whilst George coped nobly with the luggage
                and the children.

                We arrived at Moshi at breakfast time and went straight to the Lion Cub Hotel
                where I took to my bed with a high temperature. It was, of course, malaria. I always have
                my attacks at the most inopportune times. Fortunately George ran into some friends
                called Eccles and the wife Mollie came to my room and bathed Henry and prepared his
                bottle and fed him. George looked after John and Jim. Next day I felt much better and
                we drove out to Lyamungu the day after. There we had tea with the Game Warden and
                his wife before moving into our new home nearby.

                The Game Warden is Captain Monty Moore VC. He came out to Africa
                originally as an Officer in the King’s African Rifles and liked the country so much he left the
                Army and joined the Game Department. He was stationed at Banagi in the Serengetti
                Game Reserve and is well known for his work with the lions there. He particularly tamed
                some of the lions by feeding them so that they would come out into the open and could
                readily be photographed by tourists. His wife Audrey, has written a book about their
                experiences at Banagi. It is called “Serengetti”

                Our cook, Hamisi, soon had a meal ready for us and we all went to bed early.
                This is a very pleasant house and I know we will be happy here. I still feel a little shaky
                but that is the result of all the quinine I have taken. I expect I shall feel fine in a day or two.


                Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                Dearest Family,

                Well, here we are settled comfortably in our very nice house. The house is
                modern and roomy, and there is a large enclosed verandah, which will be a Godsend in
                the wet weather as a playroom for the children. The only drawback is that there are so
                many windows to be curtained and cleaned. The grounds consist of a very large lawn
                and a few beds of roses and shrubs. It is an ideal garden for children, unlike our steeply
                terraced garden at Morogoro.

                Lyamungu is really the Government Coffee Research Station. It is about sixteen
                miles from the town of Moshi which is the centre of the Tanganyika coffee growing
                industry. Lyamungu, which means ‘place of God’ is in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro and
                we have a beautiful view of Kilimanjaro. Kibo, the more spectacular of the two mountain
                peaks, towers above us, looking from this angle, like a giant frosted plum pudding. Often the mountain is veiled by cloud and mist which sometimes comes down to
                our level so that visibility is practically nil. George dislikes both mist and mountain but I
                like both and so does John. He in fact saw Kibo before I did. On our first day here, the
                peak was completely hidden by cloud. In the late afternoon when the children were
                playing on the lawn outside I was indoors hanging curtains. I heard John call out, “Oh
                Mummy, isn’t it beautiful!” I ran outside and there, above a scarf of cloud, I saw the
                showy dome of Kibo with the setting sun shining on it tingeing the snow pink. It was an
                unforgettable experience.

                As this is the rainy season, the surrounding country side is very lush and green.
                Everywhere one sees the rich green of the coffee plantations and the lighter green of
                the banana groves. Unfortunately our walks are rather circumscribed. Except for the main road to Moshi, there is nowhere to walk except through the Government coffee
                plantation. Paddy, our dog, thinks life is pretty boring as there is no bush here and
                nothing to hunt. There are only half a dozen European families here and half of those are
                on very distant terms with the other half which makes the station a rather uncomfortable

                The coffee expert who runs this station is annoyed because his European staff
                has been cut down owing to the war, and three of the vacant houses and some office
                buildings have been taken over temporarily by the Game Department. Another house
                has been taken over by the head of the Labour Department. However I don’t suppose
                the ill feeling will effect us much. We are so used to living in the bush that we are not
                socially inclined any way.

                Our cook, Hamisi, came with us from Morogoro but I had to engage a new
                houseboy and kitchenboy. I first engaged a houseboy who produced a wonderful ‘chit’
                in which his previous employer describes him as his “friend and confidant”. I felt rather
                dubious about engaging him and how right I was. On his second day with us I produced
                some of Henry’s napkins, previously rinsed by me, and asked this boy to wash them.
                He looked most offended and told me that it was beneath his dignity to do women’s
                work. We parted immediately with mutual relief.

                Now I have a good natured fellow named Japhet who, though hard on crockery,
                is prepared to do anything and loves playing with the children. He is a local boy, a
                member of the Chagga tribe. These Chagga are most intelligent and, on the whole, well
                to do as they all have their own small coffee shambas. Japhet tells me that his son is at
                the Uganda University College studying medicine.The kitchen boy is a tall youth called
                Tovelo, who helps both Hamisi, the cook, and the houseboy and also keeps an eye on
                Henry when I am sewing. I still make all the children’s clothes and my own. Life is
                pleasant but dull. George promises that he will take the whole family on safari when
                Henry is a little older.


                Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                Dearest Family,

                Life drifts quietly by at Lyamungu with each day much like the one before – or
                they would be, except that the children provide the sort of excitement that prohibits
                boredom. Of the three boys our Jim is the best at this. Last week Jim wandered into the
                coffee plantation beside our house and chewed some newly spayed berries. Result?
                A high temperature and nasty, bloody diarrhoea, so we had to rush him to the hospital at
                Moshi for treatment. however he was well again next day and George went off on safari.
                That night there was another crisis. As the nights are now very cold, at this high
                altitude, we have a large fire lit in the living room and the boy leaves a pile of logs
                beside the hearth so that I can replenish the fire when necessary. Well that night I took
                Henry off to bed, leaving John and Jim playing in the living room. When their bedtime
                came, I called them without leaving the bedroom. When I had tucked John and Jim into
                bed, I sat reading a bedtime story as I always do. Suddenly I saw smoke drifting
                through the door, and heard a frightening rumbling noise. Japhet rushed in to say that the
                lounge chimney was on fire! Picture me, panic on the inside and sweet smile on the
                outside, as I picked Henry up and said to the other two, “There’s nothing to be
                frightened about chaps, but get up and come outside for a bit.” Stupid of me to be so
                heroic because John and Jim were not at all scared but only too delighted at the chance
                of rushing about outside in the dark. The fire to them was just a bit of extra fun.

                We hurried out to find one boy already on the roof and the other passing up a
                brimming bucket of water. Other boys appeared from nowhere and soon cascades of
                water were pouring down the chimney. The result was a mountain of smouldering soot
                on the hearth and a pool of black water on the living room floor. However the fire was out
                and no serious harm done because all the floors here are cement and another stain on
                the old rug will hardly be noticed. As the children reluctantly returned to bed John
                remarked smugly, “I told Jim not to put all the wood on the fire at once but he wouldn’t
                listen.” I might have guessed!

                However it was not Jim but John who gave me the worst turn of all this week. As
                a treat I decided to take the boys to the river for a picnic tea. The river is not far from our
                house but we had never been there before so I took the kitchen boy, Tovelo, to show
                us the way. The path is on the level until one is in sight of the river when the bank slopes
                steeply down. I decided that it was too steep for the pram so I stopped to lift Henry out
                and carry him. When I looked around I saw John running down the slope towards the
                river. The stream is not wide but flows swiftly and I had no idea how deep it was. All I
                knew was that it was a trout stream. I called for John, “Stop, wait for me!” but he ran on
                and made for a rude pole bridge which spanned the river. He started to cross and then,
                to my horror, I saw John slip. There was a splash and he disappeared under the water. I
                just dumped the baby on the ground, screamed to the boy to mind him and ran madly
                down the slope to the river. Suddenly I saw John’s tight fitting felt hat emerge, then his
                eyes and nose. I dashed into the water and found, to my intense relief, that it only
                reached up to my shoulders but, thank heaven no further. John’s steady eyes watched
                me trustingly as I approached him and carried him safely to the bank. He had been
                standing on a rock and had not panicked at all though he had to stand up very straight
                and tall to keep his nose out of water. I was too proud of him to scold him for
                disobedience and too wet anyway.

                I made John undress and put on two spare pullovers and wrapped Henry’s
                baby blanket round his waist like a sarong. We made a small fire over which I crouched
                with literally chattering teeth whilst Tovelo ran home to fetch a coat for me and dry clothes
                for John.


                Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                Dearest Family,

                We have a new bull terrier bitch pup whom we have named Fanny III . So once
                more we have a menagerie , the two dogs, two cats Susie and Winnie, and
                some pet hens who live in the garage and are a real nuisance.

                As John is nearly six I thought it time that he started lessons and wrote off to Dar
                es Salaam for the correspondence course. We have had one week of lessons and I am
                already in a state of physical and mental exhaustion. John is a most reluctant scholar.
                “Why should I learn to read, when you can read to me?” he asks, and “Anyway why
                should I read such stupid stuff, ‘Run Rover Run’, and ‘Mother play with baby’ . Who
                wants to read about things like that? I don’t.”

                He rather likes sums, but the only subject about which he is enthusiastic is
                prehistoric history. He laps up information about ‘The Tree Dwellers’, though he is very
                sceptical about the existence of such people. “God couldn’t be so silly to make people
                so stupid. Fancy living in trees when it is easy to make huts like the natives.” ‘The Tree
                Dwellers is a highly imaginative story about a revolting female called Sharptooth and her
                offspring called Bodo. I have a very clear mental image of Sharptooth, so it came as a
                shock to me and highly amused George when John looked at me reflectively across the
                tea table and said, “Mummy I expect Sharptooth looked like you. You have a sharp
                tooth too!” I have, my eye teeth are rather sharp, but I hope the resemblance stops

                John has an uncomfortably logical mind for a small boy. The other day he was
                lying on the lawn staring up at the clouds when he suddenly muttered “I don’t believe it.”
                “Believe what?” I asked. “That Jesus is coming on a cloud one day. How can he? The
                thick ones always stay high up. What’s he going to do, jump down with a parachute?”
                Tovelo, my kitchen boy, announced one evening that his grandmother was in the
                kitchen and wished to see me. She was a handsome and sensible Chagga woman who
                brought sad news. Her little granddaughter had stumbled backwards into a large cooking
                pot of almost boiling maize meal porridge and was ‘ngongwa sana’ (very ill). I grabbed
                a large bottle of Picric Acid and a packet of gauze which we keep for these emergencies
                and went with her, through coffee shambas and banana groves to her daughter’s house.
                Inside the very neat thatched hut the mother sat with the naked child lying face
                downwards on her knee. The child’s buttocks and the back of her legs were covered in
                huge burst blisters from which a watery pus dripped. It appeared that the accident had
                happened on the previous day.

                I could see that it was absolutely necessary to clean up the damaged area, and I
                suddenly remembered that there was a trained African hospital dresser on the station. I
                sent the father to fetch him and whilst the dresser cleaned off the sloughed skin with
                forceps and swabs saturated in Picric Acid, I cut the gauze into small squares which I
                soaked in the lotion and laid on the cleaned area. I thought the small pieces would be
                easier to change especially as the whole of the most tender parts, front and back, were
                badly scalded. The child seemed dazed and neither the dresser nor I thought she would
                live. I gave her half an aspirin and left three more half tablets to be given four hourly.
                Next day she seemed much brighter. I poured more lotion on the gauze
                disturbing as few pieces as possible and again the next day and the next. After a week
                the skin was healing well and the child eating normally. I am sure she will be all right now.
                The new skin is a brilliant red and very shiny but it is pale round the edges of the burnt
                area and will I hope later turn brown. The mother never uttered a word of thanks, but the
                granny is grateful and today brought the children a bunch of bananas.


                c/o Game Dept. P.O.Moshi. 29th September 1944

                Dearest Mummy,

                I am so glad that you so enjoyed my last letter with the description of our very
                interesting and enjoyable safari through Masailand. You said you would like an even
                fuller description of it to pass around amongst the relations, so, to please you, I have
                written it out in detail and enclose the result.

                We have spent a quiet week after our exertions and all are well here.

                Very much love,

                Safari in Masailand

                George and I were at tea with our three little boys on the front lawn of our house
                in Lyamungu, Northern Tanganyika. It was John’s sixth birthday and he and Jim, a
                happy sturdy three year old, and Henry, aged eleven months, were munching the
                squares of plain chocolate which rounded off the party, when George said casually
                across the table to me, “Could you be ready by the day after tomorrow to go on
                safari?” “Me too?” enquired John anxiously, before I had time to reply, and “Me too?”
                echoed Jim. “yes, of course I can”, said I to George and “of course you’re coming too”,
                to the children who rate a day spent in the bush higher than any other pleasure.
                So in the early morning two days later, we started out happily for Masailand in a
                three ton Ford lorry loaded to capacity with the five Rushbys, the safari paraphernalia,
                drums of petrol and quite a retinue of servants and Game Scouts. George travelling
                alone on his monthly safaris, takes only the cook and a couple of Game Scouts, but this was to be a safari de luxe.

                Henry and I shared the cab with George who was driving, whilst John and Jim
                with the faithful orderly Mabemba beside them to point out the game animals, were
                installed upon rolls of bedding in the body of the lorry. The lorry lumbered along, first
                through coffee shambas, and then along the main road between Moshi and Arusha.
                After half an hour or so, we turned South off the road into a track which crossed the
                Sanya Plains and is the beginning of this part of Masailand. Though the dry season was
                at its height, and the pasture dry and course, we were soon passing small groups of
                game. This area is a Game Sanctuary and the antelope grazed quietly quite undisturbed
                by the passing lorry. Here and there zebra stood bunched by the road, a few wild
                ostriches stalked jerkily by, and in the distance some wildebeest cavorted around in their
                crazy way.

                Soon the grasslands gave way to thorn bush, and we saw six fantastically tall
                giraffe standing motionless with their heads turned enquiringly towards us. George
                stopped the lorry so the children could have a good view of them. John was enchanted
                but Jim, alas, was asleep.

                At mid day we reached the Kikoletwa River and turned aside to camp. Beside
                the river, under huge leafy trees, there was a beautiful camping spot, but the river was
                deep and reputed to be full of crocodiles so we passed it by and made our camp
                some distance from the river under a tall thorn tree with a flat lacy canopy. All around the
                camp lay uprooted trees of similar size that had been pushed over by elephants. As
                soon as the lorry stopped a camp chair was set up for me and the Game Scouts quickly
                slashed down grass and cleared the camp site of thorns. The same boys then pitched the tent whilst George himself set up the three camp beds and the folding cot for Henry,
                and set up the safari table and the canvas wash bowl and bath.

                The cook in the meantime had cleared a cool spot for the kitchen , opened up the
                chop boxes and started a fire. The cook’s boy and the dhobi (laundry boy) brought
                water from the rather muddy river and tea was served followed shortly afterward by an
                excellent lunch. In a very short time the camp had a suprisingly homely look. Nappies
                fluttered from a clothes line, Henry slept peacefully in his cot, John and Jim sprawled on
                one bed looking at comics, and I dozed comfortably on another.

                George, with the Game Scouts, drove off in the lorry about his work. As a Game
                Ranger it is his business to be on a constant look out for poachers, both African and
                European, and for disease in game which might infect the valuable herds of Masai cattle.
                The lorry did not return until dusk by which time the children had bathed enthusiastically in
                the canvas bath and were ready for supper and bed. George backed the lorry at right
                angles to the tent, Henry’s cot and two camp beds were set up in the lorry, the tarpaulin
                was lashed down and the children put to bed in their novel nursery.

                When darkness fell a large fire was lit in front of the camp, the exited children at
                last fell asleep and George and I sat on by the fire enjoying the cool and quiet night.
                When the fire subsided into a bed of glowing coals, it was time for our bed. During the
                night I was awakened by the sound of breaking branches and strange indescribable
                noises.” Just elephant”, said George comfortably and instantly fell asleep once more. I
                didn’t! We rose with the birds next morning, but breakfast was ready and in a
                remarkably short time the lorry had been reloaded and we were once more on our way.
                For about half a mile we made our own track across the plain and then we turned
                into the earth road once more. Soon we had reached the river and were looking with
                dismay at the suspension bridge which we had to cross. At the far side, one steel
                hawser was missing and there the bridge tilted dangerously. There was no handrail but
                only heavy wooden posts which marked the extremities of the bridge. WhenGeorge
                measured the distance between the posts he found that there could be barely two
                inches to spare on either side of the cumbersome lorry.

                He decided to risk crossing, but the children and I and all the servants were told to
                cross the bridge and go down the track out of sight. The Game Scouts remained on the
                river bank on the far side of the bridge and stood ready for emergencies. As I walked
                along anxiously listening, I was horrified to hear the lorry come to a stop on the bridge.
                There was a loud creaking noise and I instantly visualised the lorry slowly toppling over
                into the deep crocodile infested river. The engine restarted, the lorry crossed the bridge
                and came slowly into sight around the bend. My heart slid back into its normal position.
                George was as imperturbable as ever and simply remarked that it had been a near
                thing and that we would return to Lyamungu by another route.

                Beyond the green river belt the very rutted track ran through very uninteresting
                thorn bush country. Henry was bored and tiresome, jumping up and down on my knee
                and yelling furiously. “Teeth”, said I apologetically to George, rashly handing a match
                box to Henry to keep him quiet. No use at all! With a fat finger he poked out the tray
                spilling the matches all over me and the floor. Within seconds Henry had torn the
                matchbox to pieces with his teeth and flung the battered remains through the window.
                An empty cigarette box met with the same fate as the match box and the yells
                continued unabated until Henry slept from sheer exhaustion. George gave me a smile,
                half sympathetic and half sardonic, “Enjoying the safari, my love?” he enquired. On these
                trying occasions George has the inestimable advantage of being able to go into a Yogilike
                trance, whereas I become irritated to screaming point.

                In an effort to prolong Henry’s slumber I braced my feet against the floor boards
                and tried to turn myself into a human shock absorber as we lurched along the eroded
                track. Several times my head made contact with the bolt of a rifle in the rack above, and
                once I felt I had shattered my knee cap against the fire extinguisher in a bracket under the
                dash board.

                Strange as it may seem, I really was enjoying the trip in spite of these
                discomforts. At last after three years I was once more on safari with George. This type of
                country was new to me and there was so much to see We passed a family of giraffe
                standing in complete immobility only a few yards from the track. Little dick-dick. one of the smallest of the antelope, scuttled in pairs across the road and that afternoon I had my first view of Gerenuk, curious red brown antelope with extremely elongated legs and giraffe-like necks.

                Most interesting of all was my first sight of Masai at home. We could hear a tuneful
                jangle of cattle bells and suddenly came across herds of humped cattle browsing upon
                the thorn bushes. The herds were guarded by athletic,striking looking Masai youths and men.
                Each had a calabash of water slung over his shoulder and a tall, highly polished spear in his
                hand. These herdsmen were quite unselfconscious though they wore no clothing except for one carelessly draped blanket. Very few gave us any greeting but glanced indifferently at us from under fringes of clay-daubed plaited hair . The rest of their hair was drawn back behind the ears to display split earlobes stretched into slender loops by the weight of heavy brass or copper tribal ear rings.

                Most of the villages were set well back in the bush out of sight of the road but we did pass one
                typical village which looked most primitive indeed. It consisted simply of a few mound like mud huts which were entirely covered with a plaster of mud and cattle dung and the whole clutch of huts were surrounded by a ‘boma’ of thorn to keep the cattle in at night and the lions out. There was a gathering of women and children on the road at this point. The children of both sexes were naked and unadorned, but the women looked very fine indeed. This is not surprising for they have little to do but adorn themselves, unlike their counterparts of other tribes who have to work hard cultivating the fields. The Masai women, and others I saw on safari, were far more amiable and cheerful looking than the men and were well proportioned.

                They wore skirts of dressed goat skin, knee length in front but ankle length behind. Their arms
                from elbow to wrist, and legs from knee to ankle, were encased in tight coils of copper and
                galvanised wire. All had their heads shaved and in some cases bound by a leather band
                embroidered in red white and blue beads. Circular ear rings hung from slit earlobes and their
                handsome throats were encircled by stiff wire necklaces strung with brightly coloured beads. These
                necklaces were carefully graded in size and formed deep collars almost covering their breasts.
                About a quarter of a mile further along the road we met eleven young braves in gala attire, obviously on their way to call on the girls. They formed a line across the road and danced up and down until the lorry was dangerously near when they parted and grinned cheerfully at us. These were the only cheerful
                looking male Masai that I saw. Like the herdsmen these youths wore only a blanket, but their
                blankets were ochre colour, and elegantly draped over their backs. Their naked bodies gleamed with oil. Several had painted white stripes on their faces, and two had whitewashed their faces entirely which I
                thought a pity. All had their long hair elaborately dressed and some carried not only one,
                but two gleaming spears.

                By mid day George decided that we had driven far enough for that day. He
                stopped the lorry and consulted a rather unreliable map. “Somewhere near here is a
                place called Lolbeni,” he said. “The name means Sweet Water, I hear that the
                government have piped spring water down from the mountain into a small dam at which
                the Masai water their cattle.” Lolbeni sounded pleasant to me. Henry was dusty and
                cross, the rubber sheet had long slipped from my lap to the floor and I was conscious of
                a very damp lap. ‘Sweet Waters’ I felt, would put all that right. A few hundred yards
                away a small herd of cattle was grazing, so George lit his pipe and relaxed at last, whilst
                a Game Scout went off to find the herdsman. The scout soon returned with an ancient
                and emaciated Masai who was thrilled at the prospect of his first ride in a lorry and
                offered to direct us to Lolbeni which was off the main track and about four miles away.

                Once Lolbeni had been a small administrative post and a good track had
                led to it, but now the Post had been abandoned and the road is dotted with vigourous
                thorn bushes and the branches of larger thorn trees encroach on the track The road had
                deteriorated to a mere cattle track, deeply rutted and eroded by heavy rains over a
                period of years. The great Ford truck, however, could take it. It lurched victoriously along,
                mowing down the obstructions, tearing off branches from encroaching thorn trees with its
                high railed sides, spanning gorges in the track, and climbing in and out of those too wide
                to span. I felt an army tank could not have done better.

                I had expected Lolbeni to be a green oasis in a desert of grey thorns, but I was
                quickly disillusioned. To be sure the thorn trees were larger and more widely spaced and
                provided welcome shade, but the ground under the trees had been trampled by thousands of cattle into a dreary expanse of dirty grey sand liberally dotted with cattle droppings and made still more uninviting by the bleached bones of dead beasts.

                To the right of this waste rose a high green hill which gave the place its name and from which
                the precious water was piped, but its slopes were too steep to provide a camping site.
                Flies swarmed everywhere and I was most relieved when George said that we would
                stay only long enough to fill our cans with water. Even the water was a disappointment!
                The water in the small dam was low and covered by a revolting green scum, and though
                the water in the feeding pipe was sweet, it trickled so feebly that it took simply ages to
                fill a four gallon can.

                However all these disappointments were soon forgotten for we drove away
                from the flies and dirt and trampled sand and soon, with their quiet efficiency, George
                and his men set up a comfortable camp. John and Jim immediately started digging
                operations in the sandy soil whilst Henry and I rested. After tea George took his shot
                gun and went off to shoot guinea fowl and partridges for the pot. The children and I went
                walking, keeping well in site of camp, and soon we saw a very large flock of Vulturine
                Guineafowl, running aimlessly about and looking as tame as barnyard fowls, but melting
                away as soon as we moved in their direction.

                We had our second quiet and lovely evening by the camp fire, followed by a
                peaceful night.

                We left Lolbeni very early next morning, which was a good thing, for as we left
                camp the herds of thirsty cattle moved in from all directions. They were accompanied by
                Masai herdsmen, their naked bodies and blankets now covered by volcanic dust which
                was being stirred in rising clouds of stifling ash by the milling cattle, and also by grey
                donkeys laden with panniers filled with corked calabashes for water.

                Our next stop was Nabarera, a Masai cattle market and trading centre, where we
                reluctantly stayed for two days in a pokey Goverment Resthouse because George had
                a job to do in that area. The rest was good for Henry who promptly produced a tooth
                and was consequently much better behaved for the rest of the trip. George was away in the bush most of the day but he returned for afternoon tea and later took the children out
                walking. We had noticed curious white dumps about a quarter mile from the resthouse
                and on the second afternoon we set out to investigate them. Behind the dumps we
                found passages about six foot wide, cut through solid limestone. We explored two of
                these and found that both passages led steeply down to circular wells about two and a
                half feet in diameter.

                At the very foot of each passage, beside each well, rough drinking troughs had
                been cut in the stone. The herdsmen haul the water out of the well in home made hide
                buckets, the troughs are filled and the cattle driven down the ramps to drink at the trough.
                It was obvious that the wells were ancient and the sloping passages new. George tells
                me that no one knows what ancient race dug the original wells. It seems incredible that
                these deep and narrow shafts could have been sunk without machinery. I craned my
                neck and looked above one well and could see an immensely long shaft reaching up to
                ground level. Small footholds were cut in the solid rock as far as I could see.
                It seems that the Masai are as ignorant as ourselves about the origin of these
                wells. They do say however that when their forebears first occupied what is now known
                as Masailand, they not only found the Wanderobo tribe in the area but also a light
                skinned people and they think it possible that these light skinned people dug the wells.
                These people disappeared. They may have been absorbed or, more likely, they were

                The Masai had found the well impractical in their original form and had hired
                labourers from neighbouring tribes to cut the passages to water level. Certainly the Masai are not responsible for the wells. They are a purely pastoral people and consider manual labour extremely degrading.

                They live chiefly on milk from their herd which they allow to go sour, and mix with blood that has been skilfully tapped from the necks of living cattle. They do not eat game meat, nor do they cultivate any
                land. They hunt with spears, but hunt only lions, to protect their herds, and to test the skill
                and bravery of their young warriors. What little grain they do eat is transported into
                Masailand by traders. The next stage of our journey took us to Ngassamet where
                George was to pick up some elephant tusks. I had looked forward particularly to this
                stretch of road for I had heard that there was a shallow lake at which game congregates,
                and at which I had great hopes of seeing elephants. We had come too late in the
                season though, the lake was dry and there were only piles of elephant droppings to
                prove that elephant had recently been there in numbers. Ngassamet, though no beauty
                spot, was interesting. We saw more elaborate editions of the wells already described, and as this area
                is rich in cattle we saw the aristocrats of the Masai. You cannot conceive of a more arrogant looking male than a young Masai brave striding by on sandalled feet, unselfconscious in all his glory. All the young men wore the casually draped traditional ochre blanket and carried one or more spears. But here belts and long knife sheaths of scarlet leather seem to be the fashion. Here fringes do not seem to be the thing. Most of these young Masai had their hair drawn smoothly back and twisted in a pointed queue, the whole plastered with a smooth coating of red clay. Some tied their horn shaped queues over their heads
                so that the tip formed a deep Satanic peak on the brow. All these young men wore the traditional
                copper earrings and I saw one or two with copper bracelets and one with a necklace of brightly coloured

                It so happened that, on the day of our visit to Ngassamet, there had been a
                baraza (meeting) which was attended by all the local headmen and elders. These old
                men came to pay their respects to George and a more shrewd and rascally looking
                company I have never seen, George told me that some of these men own up to three
                thousand head of cattle and more. The chief was as fat and Rabelasian as his second in
                command was emaciated, bucktoothed and prim. The Chief shook hands with George
                and greeted me and settled himself on the wall of the resthouse porch opposite
                George. The lesser headmen, after politely greeting us, grouped themselves in a
                semi circle below the steps with their ‘aides’ respectfully standing behind them. I
                remained sitting in the only chair and watched the proceedings with interest and

                These old Masai, I noticed, cared nothing for adornment. They had proved
                themselves as warriors in the past and were known to be wealthy and influential so did
                not need to make any display. Most of them had their heads comfortably shaved and
                wore only a drab blanket or goatskin cloak. Their only ornaments were earrings whose
                effect was somewhat marred by the serviceable and homely large safety pin that
                dangled from the lobe of one ear. All carried staves instead of spears and all, except for
                Buckteeth and one blind old skeleton of a man, appeared to have a keenly developed
                sense of humour.

                “Mummy?” asked John in an urgent whisper, “Is that old blind man nearly dead?”
                “Yes dear”, said I, “I expect he’ll soon die.” “What here?” breathed John in a tone of
                keen anticipation and, until the meeting broke up and the old man left, he had John’s
                undivided attention.

                After local news and the game situation had been discussed, the talk turned to the
                war. “When will the war end?” moaned the fat Chief. “We have made great gifts of cattle
                to the War Funds, we are taxed out of existence.” George replied with the Ki-Swahili
                equivalent of ‘Sez you!’. This sally was received with laughter and the old fellows rose to
                go. They made their farewells and dignified exits, pausing on their way to stare at our
                pink and white Henry, who sat undismayed in his push chair giving them stare for stare
                from his striking grey eyes.

                Towards evening some Masai, prompted no doubt by our native servants,
                brought a sheep for sale. It was the last night of the fast of Ramadan and our
                Mohammedan boys hoped to feast next day at our expense. Their faces fell when
                George refused to buy the animal. “Why should I pay fifteen shillings for a sheep?” he
                asked, “Am I not the Bwana Nyama and is not the bush full of my sheep?” (Bwana
                Nyama is the native name for a Game Ranger, but means literally, ‘Master of the meat’)
                George meant that he would shoot a buck for the men next day, but this incident was to
                have a strange sequel. Ngassamet resthouse consists of one room so small we could
                not put up all our camp beds and George and I slept on the cement floor which was
                unkind to my curves. The night was bitterly cold and all night long hyaenas screeched
                hideously outside. So we rose at dawn without reluctance and were on our way before it
                was properly light.

                George had decided that it would be foolhardy to return home by our outward
                route as he did not care to risk another crossing of the suspension bridge. So we
                returned to Nabarera and there turned onto a little used track which would eventually take
                us to the Great North Road a few miles South of Arusha. There was not much game
                about but I saw Oryx which I had not previously seen. Soon it grew intolerably hot and I
                think all of us but George were dozing when he suddenly stopped the lorry and pointed
                to the right. “Mpishi”, he called to the cook, “There’s your sheep!” True enough, on that
                dreary thorn covered plain,with not another living thing in sight, stood a fat black sheep.

                There was an incredulous babbling from the back of the lorry. Every native
                jumped to the ground and in no time at all the wretched sheep was caught and
                slaughtered. I felt sick. “Oh George”, I wailed, “The poor lost sheep! I shan’t eat a scrap
                of it.” George said nothing but went and had a look at the sheep and called out to me,
                “Come and look at it. It was kindness to kill the poor thing, the vultures have been at it
                already and the hyaenas would have got it tonight.” I went reluctantly and saw one eye
                horribly torn out, and small deep wounds on the sheep’s back where the beaks of the
                vultures had cut through the heavy fleece. Poor thing! I went back to the lorry more
                determined than ever not to eat mutton on that trip. The Scouts and servants had no
                such scruples. The fine fat sheep had been sent by Allah for their feast day and that was
                the end of it.

                “ ‘Mpishi’ is more convinced than ever that I am a wizard”, said George in
                amusement as he started the lorry. I knew what he meant. Several times before George
                had foretold something which had later happened. Pure coincidence, but strange enough
                to give rise to a legend that George had the power to arrange things. “What happened
                of course”, explained George, “Is that a flock of Masai sheep was driven to market along
                this track yesterday or the day before. This one strayed and was not missed.”

                The day grew hotter and hotter and for long miles we looked out for a camping
                spot but could find little shade and no trace of water anywhere. At last, in the early
                afternoon we reached another pokey little rest house and asked for water. “There is no
                water here,” said the native caretaker. “Early in the morning there is water in a well nearby
                but we are allowed only one kerosene tin full and by ten o’clock the well is dry.” I looked
                at George in dismay for we were all so tired and dusty. “Where do the Masai from the
                village water their cattle then?” asked George. “About two miles away through the bush.
                If you take me with you I shall show you”, replied the native.

                So we turned off into the bush and followed a cattle track even more tortuous than
                the one to Lolbeni. Two Scouts walked ahead to warn us of hazards and I stretched my
                arm across the open window to fend off thorns. Henry screamed with fright and hunger.
                But George’s efforts to reach water went unrewarded as we were brought to a stop by
                a deep donga. The native from the resthouse was apologetic. He had mistaken the
                path, perhaps if we turned back we might find it. George was beyond speech. We
                lurched back the way we had come and made our camp under the first large tree we
                could find. Then off went our camp boys on foot to return just before dark with the water.
                However they were cheerful for there was an unlimited quantity of dry wood for their fires
                and meat in plenty for their feast. Long after George and I left our campfire and had gone
                to bed, we could see the cheerful fires of the boys and hear their chatter and laughter.
                I woke in the small hours to hear the insane cackling of hyaenas gloating over a
                find. Later I heard scuffling around the camp table, I peered over the tailboard of the lorry
                and saw George come out of his tent. What are you doing?” I whispered. “Looking for
                something to throw at those bloody hyaenas,” answered George for all the world as
                though those big brutes were tomcats on the prowl. Though the hyaenas kept up their
                concert all night the children never stirred, nor did any of them wake at night throughout
                the safari.

                Early next morning I walked across to the camp kitchen to enquire into the loud
                lamentations coming from that quarter. “Oh Memsahib”, moaned the cook, “We could
                not sleep last night for the bad hyaenas round our tents. They have taken every scrap of
                meat we had left over from the feast., even the meat we had left to smoke over the fire.”
                Jim, who of our three young sons is the cook’s favourite commiserated with him. He said
                in Ki-Swahili, which he speaks with great fluency, “Truly those hyaenas are very bad
                creatures. They also robbed us. They have taken my hat from the table and eaten the
                new soap from the washbowl.

                Our last day in the bush was a pleasantly lazy one. We drove through country
                that grew more open and less dry as we approached Arusha. We pitched our camp
                near a large dam, and the water was a blessed sight after a week of scorched country.
                On the plains to the right of our camp was a vast herd of native cattle enjoying a brief
                rest after their long day trek through Masailand. They were destined to walk many more
                weary miles before reaching their destination, a meat canning factory in Kenya.
                The ground to the left of the camp rose gently to form a long low hill and on the
                grassy slopes we could see wild ostriches and herds of wildebeest, zebra and
                antelope grazing amicably side by side. In the late afternoon I watched the groups of
                zebra and wildebeest merge into one. Then with a wildebeest leading, they walked
                down the slope in single file to drink at the vlei . When they were satisfied, a wildebeest
                once more led the herd up the trail. The others followed in a long and orderly file, and
                vanished over the hill to their evening pasture.

                When they had gone, George took up his shotgun and invited John to
                accompany him to the dam to shoot duck. This was the first time John had acted as
                retriever but he did very well and proudly helped to carry a mixed bag of sand grouse
                and duck back to camp.

                Next morning we turned into the Great North Road and passed first through
                carefully tended coffee shambas and then through the township of Arusha, nestling at
                the foot of towering Mount Meru. Beyond Arusha we drove through the Usa River
                settlement where again coffee shambas and European homesteads line the road, and
                saw before us the magnificent spectacle of Kilimanjaro unveiled, its white snow cap
                gleaming in the sunlight. Before mid day we were home. “Well was it worth it?” enquired
                George at lunch. “Lovely,” I replied. ”Let’s go again soon.” Then thinking regretfully of
                our absent children I sighed, “If only Ann, George, and Kate could have gone with us

                Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                Dearest Family.

                Mummy wants to know how I fill in my time with George away on safari for weeks
                on end. I do believe that you all picture me idling away my days, waited on hand and
                foot by efficient servants! On the contrary, life is one rush and the days never long

                To begin with, our servants are anything but efficient, apart from our cook, Hamisi
                Issa, who really is competent. He suffers from frustration because our budget will not run
                to elaborate dishes so there is little scope for his culinary art. There is one masterpiece
                which is much appreciated by John and Jim. Hamisi makes a most realistic crocodile out
                of pastry and stuffs its innards with minced meat. This revolting reptile is served on a
                bed of parsley on my largest meat dish. The cook is a strict Mohammedan and
                observes all the fasts and daily prayers and, like all Mohammedans he is very clean in
                his person and, thank goodness, in the kitchen.

                His wife is his pride and joy but not his helpmate. She does absolutely nothing
                but sit in a chair in the sun all day, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes – a more
                expensive brand than mine! It is Hamisi who sweeps out their quarters, cooks
                delectable curries for her, and spends more than he can afford on clothing and trinkets for
                his wife. She just sits there with her ‘Mona Lisa’ smile and her painted finger and toe
                nails, doing absolutely nothing.

                The thing is that natives despise women who do work and this applies especially
                to their white employers. House servants much prefer a Memsahib who leaves
                everything to them and is careless about locking up her pantry. When we first came to
                Lyamungu I had great difficulty in employing a houseboy. A couple of rather efficient
                ones did approach me but when they heard the wages I was prepared to pay and that
                there was no number 2 boy, they simply were not interested. Eventually I took on a
                local boy called Japhet who suits me very well except that his sight is not good and he
                is extremely hard on the crockery. He tells me that he has lost face by working here
                because his friends say that he works for a family that is too mean to employ a second
                boy. I explained that with our large family we simply cannot afford to pay more, but this
                didn’t register at all. Japhet says “But Wazungu (Europeans) all have money. They just
                have to get it from the Bank.”

                The third member of our staff is a strapping youth named Tovelo who helps both
                cook and boy, and consequently works harder than either. What do I do? I chivvy the
                servants, look after the children, supervise John’s lessons, and make all my clothing and
                the children’s on that blessed old hand sewing machine.

                The folk on this station entertain a good deal but we usually decline invitations
                because we simply cannot afford to reciprocate. However, last Saturday night I invited
                two couples to drinks and dinner. This was such an unusual event that the servants and I
                were thrown into a flurry. In the end the dinner went off well though it ended in disaster. In
                spite of my entreaties and exhortations to Japhet not to pile everything onto the tray at
                once when clearing the table, he did just that. We were starting our desert and I was
                congratulating myself that all had gone well when there was a frightful crash of breaking
                china on the back verandah. I excused myself and got up to investigate. A large meat
                dish, six dinner plates and four vegetable dishes lay shattered on the cement floor! I
                controlled my tongue but what my eyes said to Japhet is another matter. What he said
                was, “It is not my fault Memsahib. The handle of the tray came off.”

                It is a curious thing about native servants that they never accept responsibility for
                a mishap. If they cannot pin their misdeeds onto one of their fellow servants then the responsibility rests with God. ‘Shauri ya Mungu’, (an act of God) is a familiar cry. Fatalists
                can be very exasperating employees.

                The loss of my dinner service is a real tragedy because, being war time, one can
                buy only china of the poorest quality made for the native trade. Nor was that the final
                disaster of the evening. When we moved to the lounge for coffee I noticed that the
                coffee had been served in the battered old safari coffee pot instead of the charming little
                antique coffee pot which my Mother-in-law had sent for our tenth wedding anniversary.
                As there had already been a disturbance I made no comment but resolved to give the
                cook a piece of my mind in the morning. My instructions to the cook had been to warm
                the coffee pot with hot water immediately before serving. On no account was he to put
                the pewter pot on the hot iron stove. He did and the result was a small hole in the base
                of the pot – or so he says. When I saw the pot next morning there was a two inch hole in

                Hamisi explained placidly how this had come about. He said he knew I would be
                mad when I saw the little hole so he thought he would have it mended and I might not
                notice it. Early in the morning he had taken the pewter pot to the mechanic who looks
                after the Game Department vehicles and had asked him to repair it. The bright individual
                got busy with the soldering iron with the most devastating result. “It’s his fault,” said
                Hamisi, “He is a mechanic, he should have known what would happen.”
                One thing is certain, there will be no more dinner parties in this house until the war
                is ended.

                The children are well and so am I, and so was George when he left on his safari
                last Monday.

                Much love,



                  From Tanganyika with Love

                  continued part 7

                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                  Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                  Dearest Family,

                  George arrived today to take us home to Mbulu but Sister Marianne will not allow
                  me to travel for another week as I had a bit of a set back after baby’s birth. At first I was
                  very fit and on the third day Sister stripped the bed and, dictionary in hand, started me
                  off on ante natal exercises. “Now make a bridge Mrs Rushby. So. Up down, up down,’
                  whilst I obediently hoisted myself aloft on heels and head. By the sixth day she
                  considered it was time for me to be up and about but alas, I soon had to return to bed
                  with a temperature and a haemorrhage. I got up and walked outside for the first time this

                  I have had lots of visitors because the local German settlers seem keen to see
                  the first British baby born in the hospital. They have been most kind, sending flowers
                  and little German cards of congratulations festooned with cherubs and rather sweet. Most
                  of the women, besides being pleasant, are very smart indeed, shattering my illusion that
                  German matrons are invariably fat and dowdy. They are all much concerned about the
                  Czecko-Slovakian situation, especially Sister Marianne whose home is right on the
                  border and has several relations who are Sudentan Germans. She is ant-Nazi and
                  keeps on asking me whether I think England will declare war if Hitler invades Czecko-
                  Slovakia, as though I had inside information.

                  George tells me that he has had a grass ‘banda’ put up for us at Mbulu as we are
                  both determined not to return to those prison-like quarters in the Fort. Sister Marianne is
                  horrified at the idea of taking a new baby to live in a grass hut. She told George,
                  “No,No,Mr Rushby. I find that is not to be allowed!” She is an excellent Sister but rather
                  prim and George enjoys teasing her. This morning he asked with mock seriousness,
                  “Sister, why has my wife not received her medal?” Sister fluttered her dictionary before
                  asking. “What medal Mr Rushby”. “Why,” said George, “The medal that Hitler gives to
                  women who have borne four children.” Sister started a long and involved explanation
                  about the medal being only for German mothers whilst George looked at me and

                  Later. Great Jubilation here. By the noise in Sister Marianne’s sitting room last night it
                  sounded as though the whole German population had gathered to listen to the wireless
                  news. I heard loud exclamations of joy and then my bedroom door burst open and
                  several women rushed in. “Thank God “, they cried, “for Neville Chamberlain. Now there
                  will be no war.” They pumped me by the hand as though I were personally responsible
                  for the whole thing.

                  George on the other hand is disgusted by Chamberlain’s lack of guts. Doesn’t
                  know what England is coming to these days. I feel too content to concern myself with
                  world affairs. I have a fine husband and four wonderful children and am happy, happy,


                  Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                  Dearest Family,

                  Here we are, comfortably installed in our little green house made of poles and
                  rushes from a nearby swamp. The house has of course, no doors or windows, but
                  there are rush blinds which roll up in the day time. There are two rooms and a little porch
                  and out at the back there is a small grass kitchen.

                  Here we have the privacy which we prize so highly as we are screened on one
                  side by a Forest Department plantation and on the other three sides there is nothing but
                  the rolling countryside cropped bare by the far too large herds of cattle and goats of the
                  Wambulu. I have a lovely lazy time. I still have Kesho-Kutwa and the cook we brought
                  with us from the farm. They are both faithful and willing souls though not very good at
                  their respective jobs. As one of these Mbeya boys goes on safari with George whose
                  job takes him from home for three weeks out of four, I have taken on a local boy to cut
                  firewood and heat my bath water and generally make himself useful. His name is Saa,
                  which means ‘Clock’

                  We had an uneventful but very dusty trip from Oldeani. Johnny Jo travelled in his
                  pram in the back of the boxbody and got covered in dust but seems none the worst for
                  it. As the baby now takes up much of my time and Kate was showing signs of
                  boredom, I have engaged a little African girl to come and play with Kate every morning.
                  She is the daughter of the head police Askari and a very attractive and dignified little
                  person she is. Her name is Kajyah. She is scrupulously clean, as all Mohammedan
                  Africans seem to be. Alas, Kajyah, though beautiful, is a bore. She simply does not
                  know how to play, so they just wander around hand in hand.

                  There are only two drawbacks to this little house. Mbulu is a very windy spot so
                  our little reed house is very draughty. I have made a little tent of sheets in one corner of
                  the ‘bedroom’ into which I can retire with Johnny when I wish to bathe or sponge him.
                  The other drawback is that many insects are attracted at night by the lamp and make it
                  almost impossible to read or sew and they have a revolting habit of falling into the soup.
                  There are no dangerous wild animals in this area so I am not at all nervous in this
                  flimsy little house when George is on safari. Most nights hyaenas come around looking
                  for scraps but our dogs, Fanny and Paddy, soon see them off.


                  Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                  Dearest Family,

                  Great news! a vacancy has occurred in the Game Department. George is to
                  transfer to it next month. There will be an increase in salary and a brighter prospect for
                  the future. It will mean a change of scene and I shall be glad of that. We like Mbulu and
                  the people here but the rains have started and our little reed hut is anything but water

                  Before the rain came we had very unpleasant dust storms. I think I told you that
                  this is a treeless area and the grass which normally covers the veldt has been cropped
                  to the roots by the hungry native cattle and goats. When the wind blows the dust
                  collects in tall black columns which sweep across the country in a most spectacular
                  fashion. One such dust devil struck our hut one day whilst we were at lunch. George
                  swept Kate up in a second and held her face against his chest whilst I rushed to Johnny
                  Jo who was asleep in his pram, and stooped over the pram to protect him. The hut
                  groaned and creaked and clouds of dust blew in through the windows and walls covering
                  our persons, food, and belongings in a black pall. The dogs food bowls and an empty
                  petrol tin outside the hut were whirled up and away. It was all over in a moment but you
                  should have seen what a family of sweeps we looked. George looked at our blackened
                  Johnny and mimicked in Sister Marianne’s primmest tones, “I find that this is not to be

                  The first rain storm caught me unprepared when George was away on safari. It
                  was a terrific thunderstorm. The quite violent thunder and lightening were followed by a
                  real tropical downpour. As the hut is on a slight slope, the storm water poured through
                  the hut like a river, covering the entire floor, and the roof leaked like a lawn sprinkler.
                  Johnny Jo was snug enough in the pram with the hood raised, but Kate and I had a
                  damp miserable night. Next morning I had deep drains dug around the hut and when
                  George returned from safari he managed to borrow an enormous tarpaulin which is now
                  lashed down over the roof.

                  It did not rain during the next few days George was home but the very next night
                  we were in trouble again. I was awakened by screams from Kate and hurriedly turned up
                  the lamp to see that we were in the midst of an invasion of siafu ants. Kate’s bed was
                  covered in them. Others appeared to be raining down from the thatch. I quickly stripped
                  Kate and carried her across to my bed, whilst I rushed to the pram to see whether
                  Johnny Jo was all right. He was fast asleep, bless him, and slept on through all the
                  commotion, whilst I struggled to pick all the ants out of Kate’s hair, stopping now and
                  again to attend to my own discomfort. These ants have a painful bite and seem to
                  choose all the most tender spots. Kate fell asleep eventually but I sat up for the rest of
                  the night to make sure that the siafu kept clear of the children. Next morning the servants
                  dispersed them by laying hot ash.

                  In spite of the dampness of the hut both children are blooming. Kate has rosy
                  cheeks and Johnny Jo now has a fuzz of fair hair and has lost his ‘old man’ look. He
                  reminds me of Ann at his age.


                  Iringa. 30th November 1938

                  Dearest Family,

                  Here we are back in the Southern Highlands and installed on the second floor of
                  another German Fort. This one has been modernised however and though not so
                  romantic as the Mbulu Fort from the outside, it is much more comfortable.We are all well
                  and I am really proud of our two safari babies who stood up splendidly to a most trying
                  journey North from Mbulu to Arusha and then South down the Great North Road to
                  Iringa where we expect to stay for a month.

                  At Arusha George reported to the headquarters of the Game Department and
                  was instructed to come on down here on Rinderpest Control. There is a great flap on in
                  case the rinderpest spread to Northern Rhodesia and possibly onwards to Southern
                  Rhodesia and South Africa. Extra veterinary officers have been sent to this area to
                  inoculate all the cattle against the disease whilst George and his African game Scouts will
                  comb the bush looking for and destroying diseased game. If the rinderpest spreads,
                  George says it may be necessary to shoot out all the game in a wide belt along the
                  border between the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika and Northern Rhodesia, to
                  prevent the disease spreading South. The very idea of all this destruction sickens us

                  George left on a foot safari the day after our arrival and I expect I shall be lucky if I
                  see him occasionally at weekends until this job is over. When rinderpest is under control
                  George is to be stationed at a place called Nzassa in the Eastern Province about 18
                  miles from Dar es Salaam. George’s orderly, who is a tall, cheerful Game Scout called
                  Juma, tells me that he has been stationed at Nzassa and it is a frightful place! However I
                  refuse to be depressed. I now have the cheering prospect of leave to England in thirty
                  months time when we will be able to fetch Ann and George and be a proper family
                  again. Both Ann and George look happy in the snapshots which mother-in-law sends
                  frequently. Ann is doing very well at school and loves it.

                  To get back to our journey from Mbulu. It really was quite an experience. It
                  poured with rain most of the way and the road was very slippery and treacherous the
                  120 miles between Mbulu and Arusha. This is a little used earth road and the drains are
                  so blocked with silt as to be practically non existent. As usual we started our move with
                  the V8 loaded to capacity. I held Johnny on my knee and Kate squeezed in between
                  George and me. All our goods and chattels were in wooden boxes stowed in the back
                  and the two houseboys and the two dogs had to adjust themselves to the space that
                  remained. We soon ran into trouble and it took us all day to travel 47 miles. We stuck
                  several times in deep mud and had some most nasty skids. I simply clutched Kate in
                  one hand and Johnny Jo in the other and put my trust in George who never, under any
                  circumstances, loses his head. Poor Johnny only got his meals when circumstances
                  permitted. Unfortunately I had put him on a bottle only a few days before we left Mbulu
                  and, as I was unable to buy either a primus stove or Thermos flask there we had to
                  make a fire and boil water for each meal. Twice George sat out in the drizzle with a rain
                  coat rapped over his head to protect a miserable little fire of wet sticks drenched with
                  paraffin. Whilst we waited for the water to boil I pacified John by letting him suck a cube
                  of Tate and Lyles sugar held between my rather grubby fingers. Not at all according to
                  the book.

                  That night George, the children and I slept in the car having dumped our boxes
                  and the two servants in a deserted native hut. The rain poured down relentlessly all night
                  and by morning the road was more of a morass than ever. We swerved and skidded
                  alarmingly till eventually one of the wheel chains broke and had to be tied together with
                  string which constantly needed replacing. George was so patient though he was wet
                  and muddy and tired and both children were very good. Shortly before reaching the Great North Road we came upon Jack Gowan, the Stock Inspector from Mbulu. His car
                  was bogged down to its axles in black mud. He refused George’s offer of help saying
                  that he had sent his messenger to a nearby village for help.

                  I hoped that conditions would be better on the Great North Road but how over
                  optimistic I was. For miles the road runs through a belt of ‘black cotton soil’. which was
                  churned up into the consistency of chocolate blancmange by the heavy lorry traffic which
                  runs between Dodoma and Arusha. Soon the car was skidding more fantastically than
                  ever. Once it skidded around in a complete semi circle so George decided that it would
                  be safer for us all to walk whilst he negotiated the very bad patches. You should have
                  seen me plodding along in the mud and drizzle with the baby in one arm and Kate
                  clinging to the other. I was terrified of slipping with Johnny. Each time George reached
                  firm ground he would return on foot to carry Kate and in this way we covered many bad
                  patches.We were more fortunate than many other travellers. We passed several lorries
                  ditched on the side of the road and one car load of German men, all elegantly dressed in
                  lounge suits. One was busy with his camera so will have a record of their plight to laugh
                  over in the years to come. We spent another night camping on the road and next day
                  set out on the last lap of the journey. That also was tiresome but much better than the
                  previous day and we made the haven of the Arusha Hotel before dark. What a picture
                  we made as we walked through the hall in our mud splattered clothes! Even Johnny was
                  well splashed with mud but no harm was done and both he and Kate are blooming.
                  We rested for two days at Arusha and then came South to Iringa. Luckily the sun
                  came out and though for the first day the road was muddy it was no longer so slippery
                  and the second day found us driving through parched country and along badly
                  corrugated roads. The further South we came, the warmer the sun which at times blazed
                  through the windscreen and made us all uncomfortably hot. I have described the country
                  between Arusha and Dodoma before so I shan’t do it again. We reached Iringa without
                  mishap and after a good nights rest all felt full of beans.


                  Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

                  You will be surprised to note that we are back on the farm! At least the children
                  and I are here. George is away near the Rhodesian border somewhere, still on
                  Rinderpest control.

                  I had a pleasant time at Iringa, lots of invitations to morning tea and Kate had a
                  wonderful time enjoying the novelty of playing with children of her own age. She is not
                  shy but nevertheless likes me to be within call if not within sight. It was all very suburban
                  but pleasant enough. A few days before Christmas George turned up at Iringa and
                  suggested that, as he would be working in the Mbeya area, it might be a good idea for
                  the children and me to move to the farm. I agreed enthusiastically, completely forgetting
                  that after my previous trouble with the leopard I had vowed to myself that I would never
                  again live alone on the farm.

                  Alas no sooner had we arrived when Thomas, our farm headman, brought the
                  news that there were now two leopards terrorising the neighbourhood, and taking dogs,
                  goats and sheep and chickens. Traps and poisoned bait had been tried in vain and he
                  was sure that the female was the same leopard which had besieged our home before.
                  Other leopards said Thomas, came by stealth but this one advertised her whereabouts
                  in the most brazen manner.

                  George stayed with us on the farm over Christmas and all was quiet at night so I
                  cheered up and took the children for walks along the overgrown farm paths. However on
                  New Years Eve that darned leopard advertised her presence again with the most blood
                  chilling grunts and snarls. Horrible! Fanny and Paddy barked and growled and woke up
                  both children. Kate wept and kept saying, “Send it away mummy. I don’t like it.” Johnny
                  Jo howled in sympathy. What a picnic. So now the whole performance of bodyguards
                  has started again and ‘till George returns we confine our exercise to the garden.
                  Our little house is still cosy and sweet but the coffee plantation looks very
                  neglected. I wish to goodness we could sell it.


                  Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

                  After three months of moving around with two small children it is heavenly to be
                  settled in our own home, even though Nzassa is an isolated spot and has the reputation
                  of being unhealthy.

                  We travelled by car from Mbeya to Dodoma by now a very familiar stretch of
                  country, but from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam by train which made a nice change. We
                  spent two nights and a day in the Splendid Hotel in Dar es Salaam, George had some
                  official visits to make and I did some shopping and we took the children to the beach.
                  The bay is so sheltered that the sea is as calm as a pond and the water warm. It is
                  wonderful to see the sea once more and to hear tugs hooting and to watch the Arab
                  dhows putting out to sea with their oddly shaped sails billowing. I do love the bush, but
                  I love the sea best of all, as you know.

                  We made an early start for Nzassa on the 3rd. For about four miles we bowled
                  along a good road. This brought us to a place called Temeke where George called on
                  the District Officer. His house appears to be the only European type house there. The
                  road between Temeke and the turn off to Nzassa is quite good, but the six mile stretch
                  from the turn off to Nzassa is a very neglected bush road. There is nothing to be seen
                  but the impenetrable bush on both sides with here and there a patch of swampy
                  ground where rice is planted in the wet season.

                  After about six miles of bumpy road we reached Nzassa which is nothing more
                  than a sandy clearing in the bush. Our house however is a fine one. It was originally built
                  for the District Officer and there is a small court house which is now George’s office. The
                  District Officer died of blackwater fever so Nzassa was abandoned as an administrative
                  station being considered too unhealthy for Administrative Officers but suitable as
                  Headquarters for a Game Ranger. Later a bachelor Game Ranger was stationed here
                  but his health also broke down and he has been invalided to England. So now the
                  healthy Rushbys are here and we don’t mean to let the place get us down. So don’t

                  The house consists of three very large and airy rooms with their doors opening
                  on to a wide front verandah which we shall use as a living room. There is also a wide
                  back verandah with a store room at one end and a bathroom at the other. Both
                  verandahs and the end windows of the house are screened my mosquito gauze wire
                  and further protected by a trellis work of heavy expanded metal. Hasmani, the Game
                  Scout, who has been acting as caretaker, tells me that the expanded metal is very
                  necessary because lions often come out of the bush at night and roam around the
                  house. Such a comforting thought!

                  On our very first evening we discovered how necessary the mosquito gauze is.
                  After sunset the air outside is thick with mosquitos from the swamps. About an acre of
                  land has been cleared around the house. This is a sandy waste because there is no
                  water laid on here and absolutely nothing grows here except a rather revolting milky
                  desert bush called ‘Manyara’, and a few acacia trees. A little way from the house there is
                  a patch of citrus trees, grape fruit, I think, but whether they ever bear fruit I don’t know.
                  The clearing is bordered on three sides by dense dusty thorn bush which is
                  ‘lousy with buffalo’ according to George. The open side is the road which leads down to
                  George’s office and the huts for the Game Scouts. Only Hasmani and George’s orderly
                  Juma and their wives and families live there, and the other huts provide shelter for the
                  Game Scouts from the bush who come to Nzassa to collect their pay and for a short
                  rest. I can see that my daily walk will always be the same, down the road to the huts and
                  back! However I don’t mind because it is far too hot to take much exercise.

                  The climate here is really tropical and worse than on the coast because the thick
                  bush cuts us off from any sea breeze. George says it will be cooler when the rains start
                  but just now we literally drip all day. Kate wears nothing but a cotton sun suit, and Johnny
                  a napkin only, but still their little bodies are always moist. I have shorn off all Kate’s lovely
                  shoulder length curls and got George to cut my hair very short too.

                  We simply must buy a refrigerator. The butter, and even the cheese we bought
                  in Dar. simply melted into pools of oil overnight, and all our meat went bad, so we are
                  living out of tins. However once we get organised I shall be quite happy here. I like this
                  spacious house and I have good servants. The cook, Hamisi Issa, is a Swahili from Lindi
                  whom we engaged in Dar es Salaam. He is a very dignified person, and like most
                  devout Mohammedan Cooks, keeps both his person and the kitchen spotless. I
                  engaged the house boy here. He is rather a timid little body but is very willing and quite
                  capable. He has an excessively plain but cheerful wife whom I have taken on as ayah. I
                  do not really need help with the children but feel I must have a woman around just in
                  case I go down with malaria when George is away on safari.


                  Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

                  George’s birthday and we had a special tea party this afternoon which the
                  children much enjoyed. We have our frig now so I am able to make jellies and provide
                  them with really cool drinks.

                  Our very first visitor left this morning after spending only one night here. He is Mr
                  Ionides, the Game Ranger from the Southern Province. He acted as stand in here for a
                  short while after George’s predecessor left for England on sick leave, and where he has
                  since died. Mr Ionides returned here to hand over the range and office formally to
                  George. He seems a strange man and is from all accounts a bit of a hermit. He was at
                  one time an Officer in the Regular Army but does not look like a soldier, he wears the
                  most extraordinary clothes but nevertheless contrives to look top-drawer. He was
                  educated at Rugby and Sandhurst and is, I should say, well read. Ionides told us that he
                  hated Nzassa, particularly the house which he thinks sinister and says he always slept
                  down in the office.

                  The house, or at least one bedroom, seems to have the same effect on Kate.
                  She has been very nervous at night ever since we arrived. At first the children occupied
                  the bedroom which is now George’s. One night, soon after our arrival, Kate woke up
                  screaming to say that ‘something’ had looked at her through the mosquito net. She was
                  in such a hysterical state that inspite of the heat and discomfort I was obliged to crawl into
                  her little bed with her and remained there for the rest of the night.

                  Next night I left a night lamp burning but even so I had to sit by her bed until she
                  dropped off to sleep. Again I was awakened by ear-splitting screams and this time
                  found Kate standing rigid on her bed. I lifted her out and carried her to a chair meaning to
                  comfort her but she screeched louder than ever, “Look Mummy it’s under the bed. It’s
                  looking at us.” In vain I pointed out that there was nothing at all there. By this time
                  George had joined us and he carried Kate off to his bed in the other room whilst I got into
                  Kate’s bed thinking she might have been frightened by a rat which might also disturb

                  Next morning our houseboy remarked that he had heard Kate screaming in the
                  night from his room behind the kitchen. I explained what had happened and he must
                  have told the old Scout Hasmani who waylaid me that afternoon and informed me quite
                  seriously that that particular room was haunted by a ‘sheitani’ (devil) who hates children.
                  He told me that whilst he was acting as caretaker before our arrival he one night had his
                  wife and small daughter in the room to keep him company. He said that his small
                  daughter woke up and screamed exactly as Kate had done! Silly coincidence I
                  suppose, but such strange things happen in Africa that I decided to move the children
                  into our room and George sleeps in solitary state in the haunted room! Kate now sleeps
                  peacefully once she goes to sleep but I have to stay with her until she does.

                  I like this house and it does not seem at all sinister to me. As I mentioned before,
                  the rooms are high ceilinged and airy, and have cool cement floors. We have made one
                  end of the enclosed verandah into the living room and the other end is the playroom for
                  the children. The space in between is a sort of no-mans land taken over by the dogs as
                  their special territory.


                  Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

                  George is on safari down in the Rufigi River area. He is away for about three
                  weeks in the month on this job. I do hate to see him go and just manage to tick over until
                  he comes back. But what fun and excitement when he does come home.
                  Usually he returns after dark by which time the children are in bed and I have
                  settled down on the verandah with a book. The first warning is usually given by the
                  dogs, Fanny and her son Paddy. They stir, sit up, look at each other and then go and sit
                  side by side by the door with their noses practically pressed to the mosquito gauze and
                  ears pricked. Soon I can hear the hum of the car, and so can Hasmani, the old Game
                  Scout who sleeps on the back verandah with rifle and ammunition by his side when
                  George is away. When he hears the car he turns up his lamp and hurries out to rouse
                  Juma, the houseboy. Juma pokes up the fire and prepares tea which George always
                  drinks whist a hot meal is being prepared. In the meantime I hurriedly comb my hair and
                  powder my nose so that when the car stops I am ready to rush out and welcome
                  George home. The boy and Hasmani and the garden boy appear to help with the
                  luggage and to greet George and the cook, who always accompanies George on
                  Safari. The home coming is always a lively time with much shouting of greetings.
                  ‘Jambo’, and ‘Habari ya safari’, whilst the dogs, beside themselves with excitement,
                  rush around like lunatics.

                  As though his return were not happiness enough, George usually collects the
                  mail on his way home so there is news of Ann and young George and letters from you
                  and bundles of newspapers and magazines. On the day following his return home,
                  George has to deal with official mail in the office but if the following day is a weekday we
                  all, the house servants as well as ourselves, pile into the boxbody and go to Dar es
                  Salaam. To us this means a mornings shopping followed by an afternoon on the beach.
                  It is a bit cooler now that the rains are on but still very humid. Kate keeps chubby
                  and rosy in spite of the climate but Johnny is too pale though sturdy enough. He is such
                  a good baby which is just as well because Kate is a very demanding little girl though
                  sunny tempered and sweet. I appreciate her company very much when George is
                  away because we are so far off the beaten track that no one ever calls.


                  Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

                  You all seem to wonder how I can stand the loneliness and monotony of living at
                  Nzassa when George is on safari, but really and truly I do not mind. Hamisi the cook
                  always goes on safari with George and then the houseboy Juma takes over the cooking
                  and I do the lighter housework. the children are great company during the day, and when
                  they are settled for the night I sit on the verandah and read or write letters or I just dream.
                  The verandah is entirely enclosed with both wire mosquito gauze and a trellis
                  work of heavy expanded metal, so I am safe from all intruders be they human, animal, or
                  insect. Outside the air is alive with mosquitos and the cicadas keep up their monotonous
                  singing all night long. My only companions on the verandah are the pale ghecco lizards
                  on the wall and the two dogs. Fanny the white bull terrier, lies always near my feet
                  dozing happily, but her son Paddy, who is half Airedale has a less phlegmatic
                  disposition. He sits alert and on guard by the metal trellis work door. Often a lion grunts
                  from the surrounding bush and then his hackles rise and he stands up stiffly with his nose
                  pressed to the door. Old Hasmani from his bedroll on the back verandah, gives a little
                  cough just to show he is awake. Sometimes the lions are very close and then I hear the
                  click of a rifle bolt as Hasmani loads his rifle – but this is usually much later at night when
                  the lights are out. One morning I saw large pug marks between the wall of my bedroom
                  and the garage but I do not fear lions like I did that beastly leopard on the farm.
                  A great deal of witchcraft is still practiced in the bush villages in the
                  neighbourhood. I must tell you about old Hasmani’s baby in connection with this. Last
                  week Hasmani came to me in great distress to say that his baby was ‘Ngongwa sana ‘
                  (very ill) and he thought it would die. I hurried down to the Game Scouts quarters to see
                  whether I could do anything for the child and found the mother squatting in the sun
                  outside her hut with the baby on her lap. The mother was a young woman but not an
                  attractive one. She appeared sullen and indifferent compared with old Hasmani who
                  was very distressed. The child was very feverish and breathing with difficulty and
                  seemed to me to be suffering from bronchitis if not pneumonia. I rubbed his back and
                  chest with camphorated oil and dosed him with aspirin and liquid quinine. I repeated the
                  treatment every four hours, but next day there was no apparent improvement.
                  In the afternoon Hasmani begged me to give him that night off duty and asked for
                  a loan of ten shillings. He explained to me that it seemed to him that the white man’s
                  medicine had failed to cure his child and now he wished to take the child to the local witch
                  doctor. “For ten shillings” said Hasmani, “the Maganga will drive the devil out of my
                  child.” “How?” asked I. “With drums”, said Hasmani confidently. I did not know what to
                  do. I thought the child was too ill to be exposed to the night air, yet I knew that if I
                  refused his request and the child were to die, Hasmani and all the other locals would hold
                  me responsible. I very reluctantly granted his request. I was so troubled by the matter
                  that I sent for George’s office clerk. Daniel, and asked him to accompany Hasmani to the
                  ceremony and to report to me the next morning. It started to rain after dark and all night
                  long I lay awake in bed listening to the drums and the light rain. Next morning when I
                  went out to the kitchen to order breakfast I found a beaming Hasmani awaiting me.
                  “Memsahib”, he said. “My child is well, the fever is now quite gone, the Maganga drove
                  out the devil just as I told you.” Believe it or not, when I hurried to his quarters after
                  breakfast I found the mother suckling a perfectly healthy child! It may be my imagination
                  but I thought the mother looked pretty smug.The clerk Daniel told me that after Hasmani
                  had presented gifts of money and food to the ‘Maganga’, the naked baby was placed
                  on a goat skin near the drums. Most of the time he just lay there but sometimes the witch
                  doctor picked him up and danced with the child in his arms. Daniel seemed reluctant to
                  talk about it. Whatever mumbo jumbo was used all this happened a week ago and the
                  baby has never looked back.


                  Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

                  Did I tell you that one of George’s Game Scouts was murdered last month in the
                  Maneromango area towards the Rufigi border. He was on routine patrol, with a porter
                  carrying his bedding and food, when they suddenly came across a group of African
                  hunters who were busy cutting up a giraffe which they had just killed. These hunters were
                  all armed with muzzle loaders, spears and pangas, but as it is illegal to kill giraffe without
                  a permit, the Scout went up to the group to take their names. Some argument ensued
                  and the Scout was stabbed.

                  The District Officer went to the area to investigate and decided to call in the Police
                  from Dar es Salaam. A party of police went out to search for the murderers but after
                  some days returned without making any arrests. George was on an elephant control
                  safari in the Bagamoyo District and on his return through Dar es Salaam he heard of the
                  murder. George was furious and distressed to hear the news and called in here for an
                  hour on his way to Maneromango to search for the murderers himself.

                  After a great deal of strenuous investigation he arrested three poachers, put them
                  in jail for the night at Maneromango and then brought them to Dar es Salaam where they
                  are all now behind bars. George will now have to prosecute in the Magistrate’s Court
                  and try and ‘make a case’ so that the prisoners may be committed to the High Court to
                  be tried for murder. George is convinced of their guilt and justifiably proud to have
                  succeeded where the police failed.

                  George had to borrow handcuffs for the prisoners from the Chief at
                  Maneromango and these he brought back to Nzassa after delivering the prisoners to
                  Dar es Salaam so that he may return them to the Chief when he revisits the area next

                  I had not seen handcuffs before and picked up a pair to examine them. I said to
                  George, engrossed in ‘The Times’, “I bet if you were arrested they’d never get
                  handcuffs on your wrist. Not these anyway, they look too small.” “Standard pattern,”
                  said George still concentrating on the newspaper, but extending an enormous relaxed
                  left wrist. So, my dears, I put a bracelet round his wrist and as there was a wide gap I
                  gave a hard squeeze with both hands. There was a sharp click as the handcuff engaged
                  in the first notch. George dropped the paper and said, “Now you’ve done it, my love,
                  one set of keys are in the Dar es Salaam Police Station, and the others with the Chief at
                  Maneromango.” You can imagine how utterly silly I felt but George was an angel about it
                  and said as he would have to go to Dar es Salaam we might as well all go.

                  So we all piled into the car, George, the children and I in the front, and the cook
                  and houseboy, immaculate in snowy khanzus and embroidered white caps, a Game
                  Scout and the ayah in the back. George never once complain of the discomfort of the
                  handcuff but I was uncomfortably aware that it was much too tight because his arm
                  above the cuff looked red and swollen and the hand unnaturally pale. As the road is so
                  bad George had to use both hands on the wheel and all the time the dangling handcuff
                  clanked against the dashboard in an accusing way.

                  We drove straight to the Police Station and I could hear the roars of laughter as
                  George explained his predicament. Later I had to put up with a good deal of chaffing
                  and congratulations upon putting the handcuffs on George.


                  Nzassa 5th August 1939

                  Dearest Family,

                  George made a point of being here for Kate’s fourth birthday last week. Just
                  because our children have no playmates George and I always do all we can to make
                  birthdays very special occasions. We went to Dar es Salaam the day before the
                  birthday and bought Kate a very sturdy tricycle with which she is absolutely delighted.
                  You will be glad to know that your parcels arrived just in time and Kate loved all your
                  gifts especially the little shop from Dad with all the miniature tins and packets of
                  groceries. The tea set was also a great success and is much in use.

                  We had a lively party which ended with George and me singing ‘Happy
                  Birthday to you’, and ended with a wild game with balloons. Kate wore her frilly white net
                  party frock and looked so pretty that it seemed a shame that there was no one but us to
                  see her. Anyway it was a good party. I wish so much that you could see the children.
                  Kate keeps rosy and has not yet had malaria. Johnny Jo is sturdy but pale. He
                  runs a temperature now and again but I am not sure whether this is due to teething or
                  malaria. Both children of course take quinine every day as George and I do. George
                  quite frequently has malaria in spite of prophylactic quinine but this is not surprising as he
                  got the germ thoroughly established in his system in his early elephant hunting days. I
                  get it too occasionally but have not been really ill since that first time a month after my
                  arrival in the country.

                  Johnny is such a good baby. His chief claim to beauty is his head of soft golden
                  curls but these are due to come off on his first birthday as George considers them too
                  girlish. George left on safari the day after the party and the very next morning our wood
                  boy had a most unfortunate accident. He was chopping a rather tough log when a chip
                  flew up and split his upper lip clean through from mouth to nostril exposing teeth and
                  gums. A truly horrible sight and very bloody. I cleaned up the wound as best I could
                  and sent him off to the hospital at Dar es Salaam on the office bicycle. He wobbled
                  away wretchedly down the road with a white cloth tied over his mouth to keep off the
                  dust. He returned next day with his lip stitched and very swollen and bearing a
                  resemblance to my lip that time I used the hair remover.


                  Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                  Dearest Family,

                  So now another war has started and it has disrupted even our lives. We have left
                  Nzassa for good. George is now a Lieutenant in the King’s African Rifles and the children
                  and I are to go to a place called Morogoro to await further developments.
                  I was glad to read in today’s paper that South Africa has declared war on
                  Germany. I would have felt pretty small otherwise in this hotel which is crammed full of
                  men who have been called up for service in the Army. George seems exhilarated by
                  the prospect of active service. He is bursting out of his uniform ( at the shoulders only!)
                  and all too ready for the fray.

                  The war came as a complete surprise to me stuck out in the bush as I was without
                  wireless or mail. George had been away for a fortnight so you can imagine how
                  surprised I was when a messenger arrived on a bicycle with a note from George. The
                  note informed me that war had been declared and that George, as a Reserve Officer in
                  the KAR had been called up. I was to start packing immediately and be ready by noon
                  next day when George would arrive with a lorry for our goods and chattels. I started to
                  pack immediately with the help of the houseboy and by the time George arrived with
                  the lorry only the frig remained to be packed and this was soon done.

                  Throughout the morning Game Scouts had been arriving from outlying parts of
                  the District. I don’t think they had the least idea where they were supposed to go or
                  whom they were to fight but were ready to fight anybody, anywhere, with George.
                  They all looked very smart in well pressed uniforms hung about with water bottles and
                  ammunition pouches. The large buffalo badge on their round pill box hats absolutely
                  glittered with polish. All of course carried rifles and when George arrived they all lined up
                  and they looked most impressive. I took some snaps but unfortunately it was drizzling
                  and they may not come out well.

                  We left Nzassa without a backward glance. We were pretty fed up with it by
                  then. The children and I are spending a few days here with George but our luggage, the
                  dogs, and the houseboys have already left by train for Morogoro where a small house
                  has been found for the children and me.

                  George tells me that all the German males in this Territory were interned without a
                  hitch. The whole affair must have been very well organised. In every town and
                  settlement special constables were sworn in to do the job. It must have been a rather
                  unpleasant one but seems to have gone without incident. There is a big transit camp
                  here at Dar for the German men. Later they are to be sent out of the country, possibly to

                  The Indian tailors in the town are all terribly busy making Army uniforms, shorts
                  and tunics in khaki drill. George swears that they have muddled their orders and he has
                  been given the wrong things. Certainly the tunic is far too tight. His hat, a khaki slouch hat
                  like you saw the Australians wearing in the last war, is also too small though it is the
                  largest they have in stock. We had a laugh over his other equipment which includes a
                  small canvas haversack and a whistle on a black cord. George says he feels like he is
                  back in his Boy Scouting boyhood.

                  George has just come in to say the we will be leaving for Morogoro tomorrow


                  Morogoro 14th September 1939

                  Dearest Family,

                  Morogoro is a complete change from Nzassa. This is a large and sprawling
                  township. The native town and all the shops are down on the flat land by the railway but
                  all the European houses are away up the slope of the high Uluguru Mountains.
                  Morogoro was a flourishing town in the German days and all the streets are lined with
                  trees for coolness as is the case in other German towns. These trees are the flamboyant
                  acacia which has an umbrella top and throws a wide but light shade.

                  Most of the houses have large gardens so they cover a considerable area and it
                  is quite a safari for me to visit friends on foot as our house is on the edge of this area and
                  the furthest away from the town. Here ones house is in accordance with ones seniority in
                  Government service. Ours is a simple affair, just three lofty square rooms opening on to
                  a wide enclosed verandah. Mosquitoes are bad here so all doors and windows are
                  screened and we will have to carry on with our daily doses of quinine.

                  George came up to Morogoro with us on the train. This was fortunate because I
                  went down with a sharp attack of malaria at the hotel on the afternoon of our departure
                  from Dar es Salaam. George’s drastic cure of vast doses of quinine, a pillow over my
                  head, and the bed heaped with blankets soon brought down the temperature so I was
                  fit enough to board the train but felt pretty poorly on the trip. However next day I felt
                  much better which was a good thing as George had to return to Dar es Salaam after two
                  days. His train left late at night so I did not see him off but said good-bye at home
                  feeling dreadful but trying to keep the traditional stiff upper lip of the wife seeing her
                  husband off to the wars. He hopes to go off to Abyssinia but wrote from Dar es Salaam
                  to say that he is being sent down to Rhodesia by road via Mbeya to escort the first
                  detachment of Rhodesian white troops.

                  First he will have to select suitable camping sites for night stops and arrange for
                  supplies of food. I am very pleased as it means he will be safe for a while anyway. We
                  are both worried about Ann and George in England and wonder if it would be safer to
                  have them sent out.


                  Morogoro 4th November 1939

                  Dearest Family,

                  My big news is that George has been released from the Army. He is very
                  indignant and disappointed because he hoped to go to Abyssinia but I am terribly,
                  terribly glad. The Chief Secretary wrote a very nice letter to George pointing out that he
                  would be doing a greater service to his country by his work of elephant control, giving
                  crop protection during the war years when foodstuffs are such a vital necessity, than by
                  doing a soldiers job. The Government plan to start a huge rice scheme in the Rufiji area,
                  and want George to control the elephant and hippo there. First of all though. he must go
                  to the Southern Highlands Province where there is another outbreak of Rinderpest, to
                  shoot out diseased game especially buffalo, which might spread the disease.

                  So off we go again on our travels but this time we are leaving the two dogs
                  behind in the care of Daniel, the Game Clerk. Fanny is very pregnant and I hate leaving
                  her behind but the clerk has promised to look after her well. We are taking Hamisi, our
                  dignified Swahili cook and the houseboy Juma and his wife whom we brought with us
                  from Nzassa. The boy is not very good but his wife makes a cheerful and placid ayah
                  and adores Johnny.


                  Iringa 8th December 1939

                  Dearest Family,

                  The children and I are staying in a small German house leased from the
                  Custodian of Enemy Property. I can’t help feeling sorry for the owners who must be in
                  concentration camps somewhere.George is away in the bush dealing with the
                  Rinderpest emergency and the cook has gone with him. Now I have sent the houseboy
                  and the ayah away too. Two days ago my houseboy came and told me that he felt
                  very ill and asked me to write a ‘chit’ to the Indian Doctor. In the note I asked the Doctor
                  to let me know the nature of his complaint and to my horror I got a note from him to say
                  that the houseboy had a bad case of Venereal Disease. Was I horrified! I took it for
                  granted that his wife must be infected too and told them both that they would have to
                  return to their home in Nzassa. The boy shouted and the ayah wept but I paid them in
                  lieu of notice and gave them money for the journey home. So there I was left servant
                  less with firewood to chop, a smokey wood burning stove to control, and of course, the
                  two children.

                  To add to my troubles Johnny had a temperature so I sent for the European
                  Doctor. He diagnosed malaria and was astonished at the size of Johnny’s spleen. He
                  said that he must have had suppressed malaria over a long period and the poor child
                  must now be fed maximum doses of quinine for a long time. The Doctor is a fatherly
                  soul, he has been recalled from retirement to do this job as so many of the young
                  doctors have been called up for service with the army.

                  I told him about my houseboy’s complaint and the way I had sent him off
                  immediately, and he was very amused at my haste, saying that it is most unlikely that
                  they would have passed the disease onto their employers. Anyway I hated the idea. I
                  mean to engage a houseboy locally, but will do without an ayah until we return to
                  Morogoro in February.

                  Something happened today to cheer me up. A telegram came from Daniel which
                  read, “FLANNEL HAS FIVE CUBS.”


                  Morogoro 10th March 1940

                  Dearest Family,

                  We are having very heavy rain and the countryside is a most beautiful green. In
                  spite of the weather George is away on safari though it must be very wet and
                  unpleasant. He does work so hard at his elephant hunting job and has got very thin. I
                  suppose this is partly due to those stomach pains he gets and the doctors don’t seem
                  to diagnose the trouble.

                  Living in Morogoro is much like living in a country town in South Africa, particularly
                  as there are several South African women here. I go out quite often to morning teas. We
                  all take our war effort knitting, and natter, and are completely suburban.
                  I sometimes go and see an elderly couple who have been interred here. They
                  are cold shouldered by almost everyone else but I cannot help feeling sorry for them.
                  Usually I go by invitation because I know Mrs Ruppel prefers to be prepared and
                  always has sandwiches and cake. They both speak English but not fluently and
                  conversation is confined to talking about my children and theirs. Their two sons were
                  students in Germany when war broke out but are now of course in the German Army.
                  Such nice looking chaps from their photographs but I suppose thorough Nazis. As our
                  conversation is limited I usually ask to hear a gramophone record or two. They have a
                  large collection.

                  Janet, the ayah whom I engaged at Mbeya, is proving a great treasure. She is a
                  trained hospital ayah and is most dependable and capable. She is, perhaps, a little strict
                  but the great thing is that I can trust her with the children out of my sight.
                  Last week I went out at night for the first time without George. The occasion was
                  a farewell sundowner given by the Commissioner of Prisoners and his wife. I was driven
                  home by the District Officer and he stopped his car by the back door in a large puddle.
                  Ayah came to the back door, storm lamp in hand, to greet me. My escort prepared to
                  drive off but the car stuck. I thought a push from me might help, so without informing the
                  driver, I pushed as hard as I could on the back of the car. Unfortunately the driver
                  decided on other tactics. He put the engine in reverse and I was knocked flat on my back
                  in the puddle. The car drove forward and away without the driver having the least idea of
                  what happened. The ayah was in quite a state, lifting me up and scolding me for my
                  stupidity as though I were Kate. I was a bit shaken but non the worse and will know
                  better next time.


                  Morogoro 14th July 1940

                  Dearest Family,

                  How good it was of Dad to send that cable to Mother offering to have Ann and
                  George to live with you if they are accepted for inclusion in the list of children to be
                  evacuated to South Africa. It would be wonderful to know that they are safely out of the
                  war zone and so much nearer to us but I do dread the thought of the long sea voyage
                  particularly since we heard the news of the sinking of that liner carrying child evacuees to
                  Canada. I worry about them so much particularly as George is so often away on safari.
                  He is so comforting and calm and I feel brave and confident when he is home.
                  We have had no news from England for five weeks but, when she last wrote,
                  mother said the children were very well and that she was sure they would be safe in the
                  country with her.

                  Kate and John are growing fast. Kate is such a pretty little girl, rosy in spite of the
                  rather trying climate. I have allowed her hair to grow again and it hangs on her shoulders
                  in shiny waves. John is a more slightly built little boy than young George was, and quite
                  different in looks. He has Dad’s high forehead and cleft chin, widely spaced brown eyes
                  that are not so dark as mine and hair that is still fair and curly though ayah likes to smooth it
                  down with water every time she dresses him. He is a shy child, and although he plays
                  happily with Kate, he does not care to play with other children who go in the late
                  afternoons to a lawn by the old German ‘boma’.

                  Kate has playmates of her own age but still rather clings to me. Whilst she loves
                  to have friends here to play with her, she will not go to play at their houses unless I go
                  too and stay. She always insists on accompanying me when I go out to morning tea
                  and always calls JanetJohn’s ayah”. One morning I went to a knitting session at a
                  neighbours house. We are all knitting madly for the troops. As there were several other
                  women in the lounge and no other children, I installed Kate in the dining room with a
                  colouring book and crayons. My hostess’ black dog was chained to the dining room
                  table leg, but as he and Kate are on friendly terms I was not bothered by this.
                  Some time afterwards, during a lull in conversation, I heard a strange drumming
                  noise coming from the dining room. I went quickly to investigate and, to my horror, found
                  Kate lying on her back with the dog chain looped around her neck. The frightened dog
                  was straining away from her as far as he could get and the chain was pulled so tightly
                  around her throat that she could not scream. The drumming noise came from her heels
                  kicking in a panic on the carpet.

                  Even now I do not know how Kate got herself into this predicament. Luckily no
                  great harm was done but I think I shall do my knitting at home in future.


                  Morogoro 16th November 1940

                  Dearest Family,

                  I much prefer our little house on the hillside to the larger one we had down below.
                  The only disadvantage is that the garden is on three levels and both children have had
                  some tumbles down the steps on the tricycle. John is an extremely stoical child. He
                  never cries when he hurts himself.

                  I think I have mentioned ‘Morningside’ before. It is a kind of Resthouse high up in
                  the Uluguru Mountains above Morogoro. Jess Howe-Browne, who runs the large
                  house as a Guest House, is a wonderful woman. Besides running the boarding house
                  she also grows vegetables, flowers and fruit for sale in Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.
                  Her guests are usually women and children from Dar es Salaam who come in the hot
                  season to escape the humidity on the coast. Often the mothers leave their children for
                  long periods in Jess Howe-Browne’s care. There is a road of sorts up the mountain side
                  to Morningside, but this is so bad that cars do not attempt it and guests are carried up
                  the mountain in wicker chairs lashed to poles. Four men carry an adult, and two a child,
                  and there are of course always spare bearers and they work in shifts.

                  Last week the children and I went to Morningside for the day as guests. John
                  rode on my lap in one chair and Kate in a small chair on her own. This did not please
                  Kate at all. The poles are carried on the bearers shoulders and one is perched quite high.
                  The motion is a peculiar rocking one. The bearers chant as they go and do not seem
                  worried by shortness of breath! They are all hillmen of course and are, I suppose, used
                  to trotting up and down to the town.

                  Morningside is well worth visiting and we spent a delightful day there. The fresh
                  cool air is a great change from the heavy air of the valley. A river rushes down the
                  mountain in a series of cascades, and the gardens are shady and beautiful. Behind the
                  property is a thick indigenous forest which stretches from Morningside to the top of the
                  mountain. The house is an old German one, rather in need of repair, but Jess has made
                  it comfortable and attractive, with some of her old family treasures including a fine old
                  Grandfather clock. We had a wonderful lunch which included large fresh strawberries and
                  cream. We made the return journey again in the basket chairs and got home before dark.
                  George returned home at the weekend with a baby elephant whom we have
                  called Winnie. She was rescued from a mud hole by some African villagers and, as her
                  mother had abandoned her, they took her home and George was informed. He went in
                  the truck to fetch her having first made arrangements to have her housed in a shed on the
                  Agriculture Department Experimental Farm here. He has written to the Game Dept
                  Headquarters to inform the Game Warden and I do not know what her future will be, but
                  in the meantime she is our pet. George is afraid she will not survive because she has
                  had a very trying time. She stands about waist high and is a delightful creature and quite
                  docile. Asian and African children as well as Europeans gather to watch her and George
                  encourages them to bring fruit for her – especially pawpaws which she loves.
                  Whilst we were there yesterday one of the local ladies came, very smartly
                  dressed in a linen frock, silk stockings, and high heeled shoes. She watched fascinated
                  whilst Winnie neatly split a pawpaw and removed the seeds with her trunk, before
                  scooping out the pulp and putting it in her mouth. It was a particularly nice ripe pawpaw
                  and Winnie enjoyed it so much that she stretched out her trunk for more. The lady took
                  fright and started to run with Winnie after her, sticky trunk outstretched. Quite an
                  entertaining sight. George managed to stop Winnie but not before she had left a gooey
                  smear down the back of the immaculate frock.




                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    continued  ~ part 4

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                    Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Life is very quiet just now. Our neighbours have left and I miss them all especially
                    Joni who was always a great bearer of news. We also grew fond of his Swedish
                    brother-in-law Max, whose loud ‘Hodi’ always brought a glad ‘Karibu’ from us. His wife,
                    Marion, I saw less often. She is not strong and seldom went visiting but has always
                    been friendly and kind and ready to share her books with me.

                    Ann’s birthday is looming ahead and I am getting dreadfully anxious that her
                    parcels do not arrive in time. I am delighted that you were able to get a good head for
                    her doll, dad, but horrified to hear that it was so expensive. You would love your
                    ‘Charming Ann’. She is a most responsible little soul and seems to have outgrown her
                    mischievous ways. A pity in a way, I don’t want her to grow too serious. You should see
                    how thoroughly Ann baths and towels herself. She is anxious to do Georgie and Kate
                    as well.

                    I did not mean to teach Ann to write until after her fifth birthday but she has taught
                    herself by copying the large print in newspaper headlines. She would draw a letter and
                    ask me the name and now I find that at four Ann knows the whole alphabet. The front
                    cement steps is her favourite writing spot. She uses bits of white clay we use here for

                    Coffee prices are still very low and a lot of planters here and at Mbosi are in a
                    mess as they can no longer raise mortgages on their farms or get advances from the
                    Bank against their crops. We hear many are leaving their farms to try their luck on the

                    George is getting fed up too. The snails are back on the shamba and doing
                    frightful damage. Talk of the plagues of Egypt! Once more they are being collected in
                    piles and bashed into pulp. The stench on the shamba is frightful! The greybeards in the
                    village tell George that the local Chief has put a curse on the farm because he is angry
                    that the Government granted George a small extension to the farm two years ago! As
                    the Chief was consulted at the time and was agreeable this talk of a curse is nonsense
                    but goes to show how the uneducated African put all disasters down to witchcraft.

                    With much love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Ann’s birthday yesterday was not quite the gay occasion we had hoped. The
                    seventh was mail day so we sent a runner for the mail, hoping against hope that your
                    parcel containing the dolls head had arrived. The runner left for Mbeya at dawn but, as it
                    was a very wet day, he did not return with the mail bag until after dark by which time Ann
                    was fast asleep. My heart sank when I saw the parcel which contained the dolls new
                    head. It was squashed quite flat. I shed a few tears over that shattered head, broken
                    quite beyond repair, and George felt as bad about it as I did. The other parcel arrived in
                    good shape and Ann loves her little sewing set, especially the thimble, and the nursery
                    rhymes are a great success.

                    Ann woke early yesterday and began to open her parcels. She said “But
                    Mummy, didn’t Barbara’s new head come?” So I had to show her the fragments.
                    Instead of shedding the flood of tears I expected, Ann just lifted the glass eyes in her
                    hand and said in a tight little voice “Oh poor Barbara.” George saved the situation. as
                    usual, by saying in a normal voice,”Come on Ann, get up and lets play your new
                    records.” So we had music and sweets before breakfast. Later I removed Barbara’s
                    faded old blond wig and gummed on the glossy new brown one and Ann seems quite

                    Last night, after the children were tucked up in bed, we discussed our financial
                    situation. The coffee trees that have survived the plagues of borer beetle, mealie bugs
                    and snails look strong and fine, but George says it will be years before we make a living
                    out of the farm. He says he will simply have to make some money and he is leaving for
                    the Lupa on Saturday to have a look around on the Diggings. If he does decide to peg
                    a claim and work it he will put up a wattle and daub hut and the children and I will join him
                    there. But until such time as he strikes gold I shall have to remain here on the farm and
                    ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’.

                    Now don’t go and waste pity on me. Women all over the country are having to
                    stay at home whilst their husbands search for a livelihood. I am better off than most
                    because I have a comfortable little home and loyal servants and we still have enough
                    capitol to keep the wolf from the door. Anyway this is the rainy season and hardly the
                    best time to drag three small children around the sodden countryside on prospecting

                    So I’ll stay here at home and hold thumbs that George makes a lucky strike.

                    Heaps of love to all,

                    Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Well, George has gone but here we are quite safe and cosy. Kate is asleep and
                    Ann and Georgie are sprawled on the couch taking it in turns to enumerate the things
                    God has made. Every now and again Ann bothers me with an awkward question. “Did
                    God make spiders? Well what for? Did he make weeds? Isn’t He silly, mummy? She is
                    becoming a very practical person. She sews surprisingly well for a four year old and has
                    twice made cakes in the past week, very sweet and liberally coloured with cochineal and
                    much appreciated by Georgie.

                    I have been without George for a fortnight and have adapted myself to my new
                    life. The children are great company during the day and I have arranged my evenings so
                    that they do not seem long. I am determined that when George comes home he will find
                    a transformed wife. I read an article entitled ‘Are you the girl he married?’ in a magazine
                    last week and took a good look in the mirror and decided that I certainly was not! Hair dry,
                    skin dry, and I fear, a faint shadow on the upper lip. So now I have blown the whole of
                    your Christmas Money Order on an order to a chemist in Dar es Salaam for hair tonic,
                    face cream and hair remover and am anxiously awaiting the parcel.

                    In the meantime, after tucking the children into bed at night, I skip on the verandah
                    and do the series of exercises recommended in the magazine article. After this exertion I
                    have a leisurely bath followed by a light supper and then read or write letters to pass
                    the time until Kate’s ten o’clock feed. I have arranged for Janey to sleep in the house.
                    She comes in at 9.30 pm and makes up her bed on the living room floor by the fire.

                    The days are by no means uneventful. The day before yesterday the biggest
                    troop of monkeys I have ever seen came fooling around in the trees and on the grass
                    only a few yards from the house. These monkeys were the common grey monkeys
                    with black faces. They came in all sizes and were most entertaining to watch. Ann and
                    Georgie had a great time copying their antics and pulling faces at the monkeys through
                    the bedroom windows which I hastily closed.

                    Thomas, our headman, came running up and told me that this troop of monkeys
                    had just raided his maize shamba and asked me to shoot some of them. I would not of
                    course do this. I still cannot bear to kill any animal, but I fired a couple of shots in the air
                    and the monkeys just melted away. It was fantastic, one moment they were there and
                    the next they were not. Ann and Georgie thought I had been very unkind to frighten the
                    poor monkeys but honestly, when I saw what they had done to my flower garden, I
                    almost wished I had hardened my heart and shot one or two.

                    The children are all well but Ann gave me a nasty fright last week. I left Ann and
                    Georgie at breakfast whilst I fed Fanny, our bull terrier on the back verandah. Suddenly I
                    heard a crash and rushed inside to find Ann’s chair lying on its back and Ann beside it on
                    the floor perfectly still and with a paper white face. I shouted for Janey to bring water and
                    laid Ann flat on the couch and bathed her head and hands. Soon she sat up with a wan
                    smile and said “I nearly knocked my head off that time, didn’t I.” She must have been
                    standing on the chair and leaning against the back. Our brick floors are so terribly hard that
                    she might have been seriously hurt.

                    However she was none the worse for the fall, but Heavens, what an anxiety kids

                    Lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    It was marvellous of you to send another money order to replace the one I spent
                    on cosmetics. With this one I intend to order boots for both children as a protection from
                    snake bite, though from my experience this past week the threat seems to be to the
                    head rather than the feet. I was sitting on the couch giving Kate her morning milk from a
                    cup when a long thin snake fell through the reed ceiling and landed with a thud just behind
                    the couch. I shouted “Nyoka, Nyoka!” (Snake,Snake!) and the houseboy rushed in with
                    a stick and killed the snake. I then held the cup to Kate’s mouth again but I suppose in
                    my agitation I tipped it too much because the baby choked badly. She gasped for
                    breath. I quickly gave her a sharp smack on the back and a stream of milk gushed
                    through her mouth and nostrils and over me. Janey took Kate from me and carried her
                    out into the fresh air on the verandah and as I anxiously followed her through the door,
                    another long snake fell from the top of the wall just missing me by an inch or so. Luckily
                    the houseboy still had the stick handy and dispatched this snake also.

                    The snakes were a pair of ‘boomslangs’, not nice at all, and all day long I have
                    had shamba boys coming along to touch hands and say “Poli Memsahib” – “Sorry
                    madam”, meaning of course ‘Sorry you had a fright.’

                    Apart from that one hectic morning this has been a quiet week. Before George
                    left for the Lupa he paid off most of the farm hands as we can now only afford a few
                    labourers for the essential work such as keeping the weeds down in the coffee shamba.
                    There is now no one to keep the grass on the farm roads cut so we cannot use the pram
                    when we go on our afternoon walks. Instead Janey carries Kate in a sling on her back.
                    Janey is a very clean slim woman, and her clothes are always spotless, so Kate keeps
                    cool and comfortable. Ann and Georgie always wear thick overalls on our walks as a
                    protection against thorns and possible snakes. We usually make our way to the
                    Mchewe River where Ann and Georgie paddle in the clear cold water and collect shiny

                    The cosmetics parcel duly arrived by post from Dar es Salaam so now I fill the
                    evenings between supper and bed time attending to my face! The much advertised
                    cream is pink and thick and feels revolting. I smooth it on before bedtime and keep it on
                    all night. Just imagine if George could see me! The advertisements promise me a skin
                    like a rose in six weeks. What a surprise there is in store for George!

                    You will have been wondering what has happened to George. Well on the Lupa
                    he heard rumours of a new gold strike somewhere in the Sumbawanga District. A couple
                    of hundred miles from here I think, though I am not sure where it is and have no one to
                    ask. You look it up on the map and tell me. John Molteno is also interested in this and
                    anxious to have it confirmed so he and George have come to an agreement. John
                    Molteno provided the porters for the journey together with prospecting tools and
                    supplies but as he cannot leave his claims, or his gold buying business, George is to go
                    on foot to the area of the rumoured gold strike and, if the strike looks promising will peg
                    claims in both their names.

                    The rainy season is now at its height and the whole countryside is under water. All
                    roads leading to the area are closed to traffic and, as there are few Europeans who
                    would attempt the journey on foot, George proposes to get a head start on them by
                    making this uncomfortable safari. I have just had my first letter from George since he left
                    on this prospecting trip. It took ages to reach me because it was sent by runner to
                    Abercorn in Northern Rhodesia, then on by lorry to Mpika where it was put on a plane
                    for Mbeya. George writes the most charming letters which console me a little upon our
                    all too frequent separations.

                    His letter was cheerful and optimistic, though reading between the lines I should
                    say he had a grim time. He has reached Sumbawanga after ‘a hell of a trip’, to find that
                    the rumoured strike was at Mpanda and he had a few more days of foot safari ahead.
                    He had found the trip from the Lupa even wetter than he had expected. The party had
                    three days of wading through swamps sometimes waist deep in water. Of his sixteen
                    porters, four deserted an the second day out and five others have had malaria and so
                    been unable to carry their loads. He himself is ‘thin but very fit’, and he sounds full of
                    beans and writes gaily of the marvellous holiday we will have if he has any decent luck! I
                    simply must get that mink and diamonds complexion.

                    The frustrating thing is that I cannot write back as I have no idea where George is

                    With heaps of love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

                    Dearest Family,
                    How kind you are. Another parcel from home. Although we are very short
                    of labourers I sent a special runner to fetch it as Ann simply couldn’t bear the suspense
                    of waiting to see Brenda, “My new little girl with plaits.” Thank goodness Brenda is
                    unbreakable. I could not have born another tragedy. She really is an exquisite little doll
                    and has hardly been out of Ann’s arms since arrival. She showed Brenda proudly to all
                    the staff. The kitchen boy’s face was a study. His eyes fairly came out on sticks when he
                    saw the dolls eyes not only opening and shutting, but moving from side to side in that
                    incredibly lifelike way. Georgie loves his little model cars which he carries around all day
                    and puts under his pillow at night.

                    As for me, I am enchanted by my very smart new frock. Janey was so lavish with
                    her compliments when I tried the frock on, that in a burst of generosity I gave her that
                    rather tartish satin and lace trousseau nighty, and she was positively enthralled. She
                    wore it that very night when she appeared as usual to doss down by the fire.
                    By the way it was Janey’s turn to have a fright this week. She was in the
                    bathroom washing the children’s clothes in an outsize hand basin when it happened. As
                    she took Georgie’s overalls from the laundry basket a large centipede ran up her bare
                    arm. Luckily she managed to knock the centipede off into the hot water in the hand basin.
                    It was a brute, about six inches long of viciousness with a nasty sting. The locals say that
                    the bite is much worse than a scorpions so Janey had a lucky escape.

                    Kate cut her first two teeth yesterday and will, I hope, sleep better now. I don’t
                    feel that pink skin food is getting a fair trial with all those broken nights. There is certainly
                    no sign yet of ‘The skin he loves to touch”. Kate, I may say, is rosy and blooming. She
                    can pull herself upright providing she has something solid to hold on to. She is so plump
                    I have horrible visions of future bow legs so I push her down, but she always bobs up

                    Both Ann and Georgie are mad on books. Their favourites are ‘Barbar and
                    Celeste” and, of all things, ‘Struvel Peter’ . They listen with absolute relish to the sad tale
                    of Harriet who played with matches.

                    I have kept a laugh for the end. I am hoping that it will not be long before George
                    comes home and thought it was time to take the next step towards glamour, so last
                    Wednesday after lunch I settled the children on their beds and prepared to remove the ,
                    to me, obvious down on my upper lip. (George always loyally says that he can’t see
                    any.) Well I got out the tube of stuff and carefully followed the directions. I smoothed a
                    coating on my upper lip. All this was watched with great interest by the children, including
                    the baby, who stood up in her cot for a better view. Having no watch, I had propped
                    the bedroom door open so that I could time the operation by the cuckoo clock in the
                    living room. All the children’s surprised comments fell on deaf ears. I would neither talk
                    nor smile for fear of cracking the hair remover which had set hard. The set time was up
                    and I was just about to rinse the remover off when Kate slipped, knocking her head on
                    the corner of the cot. I rushed to the rescue and precious seconds ticked off whilst I
                    pacified her.

                    So, my dears, when I rinsed my lip, not only the plaster and the hair came away
                    but the skin as well and now I really did have a Ronald Coleman moustache – a crimson
                    one. I bathed it, I creamed it, powdered it but all to no avail. Within half an hour my lip
                    had swollen until I looked like one of those Duckbilled West African women. Ann’s
                    comments, “Oh Mummy, you do look funny. Georgie, doesn’t Mummy look funny?”
                    didn’t help to soothe me and the last straw was that just then there was the sound of a car drawing up outside – the first car I had heard for months. Anyway, thank heaven, it
                    was not George, but the representative of a firm which sells agricultural machinery and
                    farm implements, looking for orders. He had come from Dar es Salaam and had not
                    heard that all the planters from this district had left their farms. Hospitality demanded that I
                    should appear and offer tea. I did not mind this man because he was a complete
                    stranger and fat, middle aged and comfortable. So I gave him tea, though I didn’t
                    attempt to drink any myself, and told him the whole sad tale.

                    Fortunately much of the swelling had gone next day and only a brown dryness
                    remained. I find myself actually hoping that George is delayed a bit longer. Of one thing
                    I am sure. If ever I grow a moustache again, it stays!

                    Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

                    Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Sound the trumpets, beat the drums. George is home again. The safari, I am sad
                    to say, was a complete washout in more ways than one. Anyway it was lovely to be
                    together again and we don’t yet talk about the future. The home coming was not at all as
                    I had planned it. I expected George to return in our old A.C. car which gives ample
                    warning of its arrival. I had meant to wear my new frock and make myself as glamourous
                    as possible, with our beautiful babe on one arm and our other jewels by my side.
                    This however is what actually happened. Last Saturday morning at about 2 am , I
                    thought I heard someone whispering my name. I sat up in bed, still half asleep, and
                    there was George at the window. He was thin and unshaven and the tiredest looking
                    man I have ever seen. The car had bogged down twenty miles back along the old Lupa
                    Track, but as George had had no food at all that day, he decided to walk home in the
                    bright moonlight.

                    This is where I should have served up a tasty hot meal but alas, there was only
                    the heal of a loaf and no milk because, before going to bed I had given the remaining
                    milk to the dog. However George seemed too hungry to care what he ate. He made a
                    meal off a tin of bully, a box of crustless cheese and the bread washed down with cup
                    after cup of black tea. Though George was tired we talked for hours and it was dawn
                    before we settled down to sleep.

                    During those hours of talk George described his nightmarish journey. He started
                    up the flooded Rukwa Valley and there were days of wading through swamp and mud
                    and several swollen rivers to cross. George is a strong swimmer and the porters who
                    were recruited in that area, could also swim. There remained the problem of the stores
                    and of Kianda the houseboy who cannot swim. For these they made rough pole rafts
                    which they pulled across the rivers with ropes. Kianda told me later that he hopes never
                    to make such a journey again. He swears that the raft was submerged most of the time
                    and that he was dragged through the rivers underwater! You should see the state of
                    George’s clothes which were packed in a supposedly water tight uniform trunk. The
                    whole lot are mud stained and mouldy.

                    To make matters more trying for George he was obliged to live mostly on
                    porters rations, rice and groundnut oil which he detests. As all the district roads were
                    closed the little Indian Sores in the remote villages he passed had been unable to
                    replenish their stocks of European groceries. George would have been thinner had it not
                    been for two Roman Catholic missions enroute where he had good meals and dry
                    nights. The Fathers are always wonderfully hospitable to wayfarers irrespective of
                    whether or not they are Roman Catholics. George of course is not a Catholic. One finds
                    the Roman Catholic missions right out in the ‘Blue’ and often on spots unhealthy to
                    Europeans. Most of the Fathers are German or Dutch but they all speak a little English
                    and in any case one can always fall back on Ki-Swahili.

                    George reached his destination all right but it soon became apparent that reports
                    of the richness of the strike had been greatly exaggerated. George had decided that
                    prospects were brighter on the Lupa than on the new strike so he returned to the Lupa
                    by the way he had come and, having returned the borrowed equipment decided to
                    make his way home by the shortest route, the old and now rarely used road which
                    passes by the bottom of our farm.

                    The old A.C. had been left for safe keeping at the Roman Catholic Galala
                    Mission 40 miles away, on George’s outward journey, and in this old car George, and
                    the houseboy Kianda , started for home. The road was indescribably awful. There were long stretches that were simply one big puddle, in others all the soil had been washed
                    away leaving the road like a rocky river bed. There were also patches where the tall
                    grass had sprung up head high in the middle of the road,
                    The going was slow because often the car bogged down because George had
                    no wheel chains and he and Kianda had the wearisome business of digging her out. It
                    was just growing dark when the old A.C. settled down determinedly in the mud for the
                    last time. They could not budge her and they were still twenty miles from home. George
                    decided to walk home in the moonlight to fetch help leaving Kianda in charge of the car
                    and its contents and with George’s shot gun to use if necessary in self defence. Kianda
                    was reluctant to stay but also not prepared to go for help whilst George remained with
                    the car as lions are plentiful in that area. So George set out unarmed in the moonlight.
                    Once he stopped to avoid a pride of lion coming down the road but he circled safely
                    around them and came home without any further alarms.

                    Kianda said he had a dreadful night in the car, “With lions roaming around the car
                    like cattle.” Anyway the lions did not take any notice of the car or of Kianda, and the next
                    day George walked back with all our farm boys and dug and pushed the car out of the
                    mud. He brought car and Kianda back without further trouble but the labourers on their
                    way home were treed by the lions.

                    The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

                    Lots and lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Young George’s third birthday passed off very well yesterday. It started early in
                    the morning when he brought his pillow slip of presents to our bed. Kate was already
                    there and Ann soon joined us. Young George liked all the presents you sent, especially
                    the trumpet. It has hardly left his lips since and he is getting quite smart about the finger

                    We had quite a party. Ann and I decorated the table with Christmas tree tinsel
                    and hung a bunch of balloons above it. Ann also decorated young George’s chair with
                    roses and phlox from the garden. I had made and iced a fruit cake but Ann begged to
                    make a plain pink cake. She made it entirely by herself though I stood by to see that
                    she measured the ingredients correctly. When the cake was baked I mixed some soft
                    icing in a jug and she poured it carefully over the cake smoothing the gaps with her

                    During the party we had the gramophone playing and we pulled crackers and
                    wore paper hats and altogether had a good time. I forgot for a while that George is
                    leaving again for the Lupa tomorrow for an indefinite time. He was marvellous at making
                    young George’s party a gay one. You will have noticed the change from Georgie to
                    young George. Our son declares that he now wants to be called George, “Like Dad”.
                    He an Ann are a devoted couple and I am glad that there is only a fourteen
                    months difference in their ages. They play together extremely well and are very
                    independent which is just as well for little Kate now demands a lot of my attention. My
                    garden is a real cottage garden and looks very gay and colourful. There are hollyhocks
                    and Snapdragons, marigolds and phlox and of course the roses and carnations which, as
                    you know, are my favourites. The coffee shamba does not look so good because the
                    small labour force, which is all we can afford, cannot cope with all the weeds. You have
                    no idea how things grow during the wet season in the tropics.

                    Nothing alarming ever seems to happen when George is home, so I’m afraid this
                    letter is rather dull. I wanted you to know though, that largely due to all your gifts of toys
                    and sweets, Georgie’s 3rd birthday party went with a bang.

                    Your very affectionate,

                    Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    I am sorry to hear that Mummy worries about me so much. “Poor Eleanor”,
                    indeed! I have a quite exceptional husband, three lovely children, a dear little home and
                    we are all well.It is true that I am in rather a rut but what else can we do? George comes
                    home whenever he can and what excitement there is when he does come. He cannot
                    give me any warning because he has to take advantage of chance lifts from the Diggings
                    to Mbeya, but now that he is prospecting nearer home he usually comes walking over
                    the hills. About 50 miles of rough going. Really and truly I am all right. Although our diet is
                    monotonous we have plenty to eat. Eggs and milk are cheap and fruit plentiful and I
                    have a good cook so can devote all my time to the children. I think it is because they are
                    my constant companions that Ann and Georgie are so grown up for their years.
                    I have no ayah at present because Janey has been suffering form rheumatism
                    and has gone home for one of her periodic rests. I manage very well without her except
                    in the matter of the afternoon walks. The outward journey is all right. George had all the
                    grass cut on his last visit so I am able to push the pram whilst Ann, George and Fanny
                    the dog run ahead. It is the uphill return trip that is so trying. Our walk back is always the
                    same, down the hill to the river where the children love to play and then along the car
                    road to the vegetable garden. I never did venture further since the day I saw a leopard
                    jump on a calf. I did not tell you at the time as I thought you might worry. The cattle were
                    grazing on a small knoll just off our land but near enough for me to have a clear view.
                    Suddenly the cattle scattered in all directions and we heard the shouts of the herd boys
                    and saw – or rather had the fleeting impression- of a large animal jumping on a calf. I
                    heard the herd boy shout “Chui, Chui!” (leopard) and believe me, we turned in our
                    tracks and made for home. To hasten things I picked up two sticks and told the children
                    that they were horses and they should ride them home which they did with
                    commendable speed.

                    Ann no longer rides Joseph. He became increasingly bad tempered and a
                    nuisance besides. He took to rolling all over my flower beds though I had never seen
                    him roll anywhere else. Then one day he kicked Ann in the chest, not very hard but
                    enough to send her flying. Now George has given him to the native who sells milk to us
                    and he seems quite happy grazing with the cattle.

                    With love to you all,

                    Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Since I last wrote George has been home and we had a lovely time as usual.
                    Whilst he was here the District Commissioner and his wife called. Mr Pollock told
                    George that there is to be a big bush clearing scheme in some part of the Mbeya
                    District to drive out Tsetse Fly. The game in the area will have to be exterminated and
                    there will probably be a job for George shooting out the buffalo. The pay would be
                    good but George says it is a beastly job. Although he is a professional hunter, he hates

                    Mrs P’s real reason for visiting the farm was to invite me to stay at her home in
                    Mbeya whilst she and her husband are away in Tukuyu. Her English nanny and her small
                    daughter will remain in Mbeya and she thought it might be a pleasant change for us and
                    a rest for me as of course Nanny will do the housekeeping. I accepted the invitation and I
                    think I will go on from there to Tukuyu and visit my friend Lillian Eustace for a fortnight.
                    She has given us an open invitation to visit her at any time.

                    I had a letter from Dr Eckhardt last week, telling me that at a meeting of all the
                    German Settlers from Mbeya, Tukuyu and Mbosi it had been decided to raise funds to
                    build a school at Mbeya. They want the British Settlers to co-operate in this and would
                    be glad of a subscription from us. I replied to say that I was unable to afford a
                    subscription at present but would probably be applying for a teaching job.
                    The Eckhardts are the leaders of the German community here and are ardent
                    Nazis. For this reason they are unpopular with the British community but he is the only
                    doctor here and I must say they have been very decent to us. Both of them admire
                    George. George has still not had any luck on the Lupa and until he makes a really
                    promising strike it is unlikely that the children and I will join him. There is no fresh milk there
                    and vegetables and fruit are imported from Mbeya and Iringa and are very expensive.
                    George says “You wouldn’t be happy on the diggings anyway with a lot of whores and
                    their bastards!”

                    Time ticks away very pleasantly here. Young George and Kate are blooming
                    and I keep well. Only Ann does not look well. She is growing too fast and is listless and
                    pale. If I do go to Mbeya next week I shall take her to the doctor to be overhauled.
                    We do not go for our afternoon walks now that George has returned to the Lupa.
                    That leopard has been around again and has killed Tubbage that cowardly Alsatian. We
                    gave him to the village headman some months ago. There is no danger to us from the
                    leopard but I am terrified it might get Fanny, who is an excellent little watchdog and
                    dearly loved by all of us. Yesterday I sent a note to the Boma asking for a trap gun and
                    today the farm boys are building a trap with logs.

                    I had a mishap this morning in the garden. I blundered into a nest of hornets and
                    got two stings in the left arm above the elbow. Very painful at the time and the place is
                    still red and swollen.

                    Much love to you all,

                    Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Well here we are at Mbeya, comfortably installed in the District Commissioner’s
                    house. It is one of two oldest houses in Mbeya and is a charming gabled place with tiled
                    roof. The garden is perfectly beautiful. I am enjoying the change very much. Nanny
                    Baxter is very entertaining. She has a vast fund of highly entertaining tales of the goings
                    on amongst the British Aristocracy, gleaned it seems over the nursery teacup in many a
                    Stately Home. Ann and Georgie are enjoying the company of other children.
                    People are very kind about inviting us out to tea and I gladly accept these
                    invitations but I have turned down invitations to dinner and one to a dance at the hotel. It
                    is no fun to go out at night without George. There are several grass widows at the pub
                    whose husbands are at the diggings. They have no inhibitions about parties.
                    I did have one night and day here with George, he got the chance of a lift and
                    knowing that we were staying here he thought the chance too good to miss. He was
                    also anxious to hear the Doctor’s verdict on Ann. I took Ann to hospital on my second
                    day here. Dr Eckhardt said there was nothing specifically wrong but that Ann is a highly
                    sensitive type with whom the tropics does not agree. He advised that Ann should
                    spend a year in a more temperate climate and that the sooner she goes the better. I felt
                    very discouraged to hear this and was most relieved when George turned up
                    unexpectedly that evening. He phoo-hood Dr Eckhardt’s recommendation and next
                    morning called in Dr Aitkin, the Government Doctor from Chunya and who happened to
                    be in Mbeya.

                    Unfortunately Dr Aitkin not only confirmed Dr Eckhardt’s opinion but said that he
                    thought Ann should stay out of the tropics until she had passed adolescence. I just don’t
                    know what to do about Ann. She is a darling child, very sensitive and gentle and a
                    lovely companion to me. Also she and young George are inseparable and I just cannot
                    picture one without the other. I know that you would be glad to have Ann but how could
                    we bear to part with her?

                    Your worried but affectionate,

                    Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    As you see we have moved to Tukuyu and we are having a lovely time with
                    Lillian Eustace. She gave us such a warm welcome and has put herself out to give us
                    every comfort. She is a most capable housekeeper and I find her such a comfortable
                    companion because we have the same outlook in life. Both of us are strictly one man
                    women and that is rare here. She has a two year old son, Billy, who is enchanted with
                    our rolly polly Kate and there are other children on the station with whom Ann and
                    Georgie can play. Lillian engaged a temporary ayah for me so I am having a good rest.
                    All the children look well and Ann in particular seems to have benefited by the
                    change to a cooler climate. She has a good colour and looks so well that people all
                    exclaim when I tell them, that two doctors have advised us to send Ann out of the
                    country. Perhaps after all, this holiday in Tukuyu will set her up.

                    We had a trying journey from Mbeya to Tukuyu in the Post Lorry. The three
                    children and I were squeezed together on the front seat between the African driver on
                    one side and a vast German on the other. Both men smoked incessantly – the driver
                    cigarettes, and the German cheroots. The cab was clouded with a blue haze. Not only
                    that! I suddenly felt a smarting sensation on my right thigh. The driver’s cigarette had
                    burnt a hole right through that new checked linen frock you sent me last month.
                    I had Kate on my lap all the way but Ann and Georgie had to stand against the
                    windscreen all the way. The fat German offered to take Ann on his lap but she gave him
                    a very cold “No thank you.” Nor did I blame her. I would have greatly enjoyed the drive
                    under less crowded conditions. The scenery is gorgeous. One drives through very high
                    country crossing lovely clear streams and at one point through rain forest. As it was I
                    counted the miles and how thankful I was to see the end of the journey.
                    In the days when Tanganyika belonged to the Germans, Tukuyu was the
                    administrative centre for the whole of the Southern Highlands Province. The old German
                    Fort is still in use as Government offices and there are many fine trees which were
                    planted by the Germans. There is a large prosperous native population in this area.
                    They go in chiefly for coffee and for bananas which form the basis of their diet.
                    There are five British married couples here and Lillian and I go out to tea most
                    mornings. In the afternoon there is tennis or golf. The gardens here are beautiful because
                    there is rain or at least drizzle all the year round. There are even hedge roses bordering
                    some of the district roads. When one walks across the emerald green golf course or
                    through the Boma gardens, it is hard to realise that this gentle place is Tropical Africa.
                    ‘Such a green and pleasant land’, but I think I prefer our corner of Tanganyika.

                    Much love,

                    Mchewe. 12th November 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    We had a lovely holiday but it is so nice to be home again, especially as Laza,
                    the local Nimrod, shot that leopard whilst we were away (with his muzzleloader gun). He
                    was justly proud of himself, and I gave him a tip so that he could buy some native beer
                    for a celebration. I have never seen one of theses parties but can hear the drums and
                    sounds of merrymaking, especially on moonlight nights.

                    Our house looks so fresh and uncluttered. Whilst I was away, the boys
                    whitewashed the house and my houseboy had washed all the curtains, bedspreads,
                    and loose covers and watered the garden. If only George were here it would be

                    Ann looked so bonny at Tukuyu that I took her to the Government Doctor there
                    hoping that he would find her perfectly healthy, but alas he endorsed the finding of the
                    other two doctors so, when an opportunity offers, I think I shall have to send Ann down
                    to you for a long holiday from the Tropics. Mother-in-law has offered to fetch her next
                    year but England seems so far away. With you she will at least be on the same

                    I left the children for the first time ever, except for my stay in hospital when Kate
                    was born, to go on an outing to Lake Masoko in the Tukuyu district, with four friends.
                    Masoko is a beautiful, almost circular crater lake and very very deep. A detachment of
                    the King’s African Rifles are stationed there and occupy the old German barracks
                    overlooking the lake.

                    We drove to Masoko by car and spent the afternoon there as guests of two
                    British Army Officers. We had a good tea and the others went bathing in the lake but i
                    could not as I did not have a costume. The Lake was as beautiful as I had been lead to
                    imagine and our hosts were pleasant but I began to grow anxious as the afternoon
                    advanced and my friends showed no signs of leaving. I was in agonies when they
                    accepted an invitation to stay for a sundowner. We had this in the old German beer
                    garden overlooking the Lake. It was beautiful but what did I care. I had promised the
                    children that I would be home to give them their supper and put them to bed. When I
                    did at length return to Lillian’s house I found the situation as I had expected. Ann, with her
                    imagination had come to the conclusion that I never would return. She had sobbed
                    herself into a state of exhaustion. Kate was screaming in sympathy and George 2 was
                    very truculent. He wouldn’t even speak to me. Poor Lillian had had a trying time.
                    We did not return to Mbeya by the Mail Lorry. Bill and Lillian drove us across to
                    Mbeya in their new Ford V8 car. The children chattered happily in the back of the car
                    eating chocolate and bananas all the way. I might have known what would happen! Ann
                    was dreadfully and messily car sick.

                    I engaged the Mbeya Hotel taxi to drive us out to the farm the same afternoon
                    and I expect it will be a long time before we leave the farm again.

                    Lots and lots of love to all,

                    Chunya 27th November 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    You will be surprised to hear that we are all together now on the Lupa goldfields.
                    I have still not recovered from my own astonishment at being here. Until last Saturday
                    night I never dreamed of this move. At about ten o’clock I was crouched in the inglenook
                    blowing on the embers to make a fire so that I could heat some milk for Kate who is
                    cutting teeth and was very restless. Suddenly I heard a car outside. I knew it must be
                    George and rushed outside storm lamp in hand. Sure enough, there was George
                    standing by a strange car, and beaming all over his face. “Something for you my love,”
                    he said placing a little bundle in my hand. It was a knotted handkerchief and inside was a
                    fine gold nugget.

                    George had that fire going in no time, Kate was given the milk and half an aspirin
                    and settles down to sleep, whilst George and I sat around for an hour chatting over our
                    tea. He told me that he had borrowed the car from John Molteno and had come to fetch
                    me and the children to join him on the diggings for a while. It seems that John, who has a
                    camp at Itewe, a couple of miles outside the township of Chunya, the new
                    Administrative Centre of the diggings, was off to the Cape to visit his family for a few
                    months. John had asked George to run his claims in his absence and had given us the
                    loan of his camp and his car.

                    George had found the nugget on his own claim but he is not too elated because
                    he says that one good month on the diggings is often followed by several months of
                    dead loss. However, I feel hopeful, we have had such a run of bad luck that surely it is
                    time for the tide to change. George spent Sunday going over the farm with Thomas, the
                    headman, and giving him instructions about future work whilst I packed clothes and
                    kitchen equipment. I have brought our ex-kitchenboy Kesho Kutwa with me as cook and
                    also Janey, who heard that we were off to the Lupa and came to offer her services once
                    more as ayah. Janey’s ex-husband Abel is now cook to one of the more successful
                    diggers and I think she is hoping to team up with him again.

                    The trip over the Mbeya-Chunya pass was new to me and I enjoyed it very
                    much indeed. The road winds over the mountains along a very high escarpment and
                    one looks down on the vast Usangu flats stretching far away to the horizon. At the
                    highest point the road rises to about 7000 feet, and this was too much for Ann who was
                    leaning against the back of my seat. She was very thoroughly sick, all over my hair.
                    This camp of John Molteno’s is very comfortable. It consists of two wattle and
                    daub buildings built end to end in a clearing in the miombo bush. The main building
                    consists of a large living room, a store and an office, and the other of one large bedroom
                    and a small one separated by an area for bathing. Both buildings are thatched. There are
                    no doors, and there are no windows, but these are not necessary because one wall of
                    each building is built up only a couple of feet leaving a six foot space for light and air. As
                    this is the dry season the weather is pleasant. The air is fresh and dry but not nearly so
                    hot as I expected.

                    Water is a problem and must be carried long distances in kerosene tins.
                    vegetables and fresh butter are brought in a van from Iringa and Mbeya Districts about
                    once a fortnight. I have not yet visited Chunya but I believe it is as good a shopping
                    centre as Mbeya so we will be able to buy all the non perishable food stuffs we need.
                    What I do miss is the fresh milk. The children are accustomed to drinking at least a pint of
                    milk each per day but they do not care for the tinned variety.

                    Ann and young George love being here. The camp is surrounded by old
                    prospecting trenches and they spend hours each day searching for gold in the heaps of gravel. Sometimes they find quartz pitted with little spots of glitter and they bring them
                    to me in great excitement. Alas it is only Mica. We have two neighbours. The one is a
                    bearded Frenchman and the other an Australian. I have not yet met any women.
                    George looks very sunburnt and extremely fit and the children also look well.
                    George and I have decided that we will keep Ann with us until my Mother-in-law comes
                    out next year. George says that in spite of what the doctors have said, he thinks that the
                    shock to Ann of being separated from her family will do her more harm than good. She
                    and young George are inseparable and George thinks it would be best if both
                    George and Ann return to England with my Mother-in-law for a couple of years. I try not
                    to think at all about the breaking up of the family.

                    Much love to all,


                  Viewing 20 results - 1 through 20 (of 301 total)