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    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


      At the former Chinggis Khaan International Airport which was now called the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport, the young intern sat next to Youssef, making the seats tremble like a frail suspended bridge in the Andes. Youssef had been considering connecting to the game and start his quest to meet with his grumpy quirk, but the girl seemed pissed, almost on the brink of crying. So Youssef turned off his phone and asked her what had happened, without thinking about the consequences, and because he thought it was a nice opportunity to engage the conversation with her at last, and in doing so appear to be nice to care so that she might like him in return.

      Natalie, because he had finally learned her name, started with all the bullying she had to endure from Miss Tartiflate during the trip, all the dismissal about her brilliant ideas, and how the Yeti only needed her to bring her coffee and pencils, and go fetch someone her boss needed to talk to, and how many time she would get no thanks, just a short: “you’re still here?”

      After some time, Youssef even knew more about her parents and her sisters and their broken family dynamics than he would have cared to ask, even to be polite. At some point he was starting to feel grumpy and realised he hadn’t eaten since they arrived at the airport. But if he told Natalie he wanted to go get some food, she might follow him and get some too. His stomach growled like an angry bear. He stood more quickly than he wanted and his phone fell on the ground. The screen lit up and he could just catch a glimpse of a desert emoji in a notification before Natalie let out a squeal. Youssef looked around, people were glancing at him as if he might have been torturing her.

      “Oh! Sorry, said Youssef. I just need to go to the bathroom before we board.”

      “But the boarding is only in one hour!”

      “Well I can’t wait one hour.”

      “In that case I’m coming with you, I need to go there too anyway.”

      “But someone needs to stay here for our bags,” said Youssef. He could have carried his own bag easily, but she had a small suitcase, a handbag and a backpack, and a few paper bags of products she bought at one of the two the duty free shops.

      Natalie called Kyle and asked him to keep a close watch on her precious things. She might have been complaining about the boss, but she certainly had caught on a few traits of her.

      Youssef was glad when the men’s bathroom door shut behind him and his ears could have some respite. A small Chinese business man was washing his hands at one of the sinks. He looked up at Youssef and seemed impressed by his height and muscles. The man asked for a selfie together so that he could show his friends how cool he was to have met such a big stranger in the airport bathroom. Youssef had learned it was easier to oblige them than having them follow him and insist.

      When the man left, Youssef saw Natalie standing outside waiting for him. He thought it would have taken her longer. He only wanted to go get some food. Maybe if he took his time, she would go.

      He remembered the game notification and turned on his phone. The icon was odd and kept shifting between four different landscapes, each barren and empty, with sand dunes stretching as far as the eye could see. One with a six legged camel was already intriguing, in the second one a strange arrowhead that seemed to be getting out of the desert sand reminded him of something that he couldn’t quite remember. The fourth one intrigued him the most, with that car in the middle of the desert and a boat coming out of a giant dune.

      Still hungrumpy he nonetheless clicked on the shapeshifting icon and was taken to a new area in the game, where the ground was covered in sand and the sky was a deep orange, as if the sun was setting. He could see a mysterious figure in the distance, standing at the top of a sand dune.

      The bell at the top right of the screen wobbled, signalling a message from the game. There were two. He opened the first one.

      We’re excited to hear about your real-life parallel quest. It sounds like you’re getting close to uncovering the mystery of the grumpy shaman. Keep working on your blog website and keep an eye out for any clues that Xavier and the Snoot may send your way. We believe that you’re on the right path.

      What on earth was that ? How did the game know about his life and the shaman at the oasis ? After the Thi Gang mess with THE BLOG he was becoming suspicious of those strange occurrences. He thought he could wonder for a long time or just enjoy the benefits. Apparently he had been granted a substantial reward in gold coins for successfully managing his first quest, along with a green potion.

      He looked at his avatar who was roaming the desert with his pet bear (quite hungrumpy too). The avatar’s body was perfect, even the hands looked normal for once, but the outfit had those two silver disks that made him look like he was wearing an iron bra.

      He opened the second message.

      Clue unlocked It sounds like you’re in a remote location and disconnected from the game. But, your real-life experiences seem to be converging with your quest. The grumpy shaman you met at the food booth may hold the key to unlocking the next steps in the game. Remember, the desert represents your ability to adapt and navigate through difficult situations.

      🏜️🧭🧙‍♂️ Explore the desert and see if the grumpy shaman’s clues lead you to the next steps in the game. Keep an open mind and pay attention to any symbols or clues that may help you in your quest. Remember, the desert represents your ability to adapt and navigate through difficult situations.

      Youssef recalled that strange paper given by the lama shaman, was it another of the clues he needed to solve that game? He didn’t have time to think about it because a message bumped onto his screen.

      “Need help? Contact me 👉”

      Sands_of_time is trying to make contact : ➡️ACCEPT <> ➡️DENY ❓

      In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


        YASMIN’S QUIRK: Entry level quirk – snort laughing when socially anxious


        The initial setting for this quest is a comedic theater in the heart of a bustling city. You will start off by exploring the different performances and shows, trying to find the source of the snort laughter that seems to be haunting your thoughts. As you delve deeper into the theater, you will discover that the snort laughter is coming from a mischievous imp who has taken residence within the theater.

        Directions to Investigate

        Possible directions to investigate include talking to the theater staff and performers to gather information, searching backstage for clues, and perhaps even sneaking into the imp’s hiding spot to catch a glimpse of it in action.


        Possible characters to engage include the theater manager, who may have information about the imp’s history and habits, and a group of comedic performers who may have some insight into the imp’s behavior.


        Your task is to find a key or tile that represents the imp, and take a picture of it in real life as proof of completion of the quest. Good luck on your journey to uncover the source of the snort laughter!



        1st thread’s answer:

        As the family struggles to rebuild the inn and their lives in the wake of the Great Fires, they begin to uncover clues that lead them to believe that the mines hold the key to unlocking a great mystery. They soon discover that the mines were not just a source of gold and other precious minerals, but also a portal to another dimension. The family realizes that Mater had always known about this portal, and had kept it a secret for fear of the dangers it posed.

        The family starts to investigate the mines more closely and they come across a hidden room off Room 8. Inside the room, they find a strange device that looks like a portal, and a set of mysterious symbols etched into the walls. The family realizes that this is the secret room that Mater had always spoken about in hushed tones.

        The family enlists the help of four gamers, Xavier, Zara, Yasmin, and Youssef, to help them decipher the symbols and unlock the portal. Together, they begin to unravel the mystery of the mines, and the portal leads them on an epic journey through a strange and fantastical alternate dimension.

        As they journey deeper into the mines, the family discovers that the portal was created by an ancient civilization, long thought to be lost to history. The civilization had been working on a powerful energy source that could have changed the fate of humanity, but the project was abandoned due to the dangers it posed. The family soon discovers that the civilization had been destroyed by a powerful and malevolent force, and that the portal was the only way to stop it from destroying the world.

        The family and the gamers must navigate treacherous landscapes, battle fierce monsters, and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to stop the malevolent force and save the world. Along the way, they discover secrets about their own past and the true origins of the mines.

        As they journey deeper into the mines and the alternate dimension, they discover that the secret room leads to a network of underground tunnels, and that the tunnels lead to a secret underground city that was built by the ancient civilization. The city holds many secrets and clues to the fate of the ancient civilization, and the family and the gamers must explore the city and uncover the truth before it’s too late.

        As the story unfolds, the family and the gamers must come to grips with the truth about the mines, and the role that the family has played in the fate of the world for generations. They must also confront the demons of their own past, and learn to trust and rely on each other if they hope to save the world and bring the family back together.

        second thread’s answer:

        As the 4 gamers, Xavier, Zara, Yasmin and Youssef, arrived at the Flying Fish Inn in the Australian outback, they were greeted by the matriarch of the family, Mater. She was a no-nonsense woman who ran the inn with an iron fist, but her tough exterior hid a deep love for her family and the land.

        The inn was run by Mater and her daughter Dido, who the family affectionately called Aunt Idle. She was a free spirit who loved to explore the land and had a deep connection to the local indigenous culture.

        The family was made up of Devan, the eldest son who lived in town and helped with the inn when he could, and the twin sisters Clove and Coriander, who everyone called Corrie. The youngest was Prune, a precocious child who was always getting into mischief.

        The family had a handyman named Bert, who had been with them for decades and knew all the secrets of the land. Tiku, an old and wise Aborigine woman was also a regular visitor and a valuable source of information and guidance. Finly, the dutiful helper, assisted the family in their daily tasks.

        As the 4 gamers settled in, they learned that the area was rich in history and mystery. The old mines that lay abandoned nearby were a source of legends and stories passed down through the generations. Some even whispered of supernatural occurrences linked to the mines.

        Mater and Dido, however, were not on good terms, and the family had its own issues and secrets, but the 4 gamers were determined to unravel the mystery of the mines and find the secret room that was said to be hidden somewhere in the inn.

        As they delved deeper into the history of the area, they discovered that the mines had a connection to the missing brother, Jasper, and Fred, the father of the family and a sci-fi novelist who had been influenced by the supernatural occurrences of the mines.

        The 4 gamers found themselves on a journey of discovery, not only in the game but in the real world as well, as they uncovered the secrets of the mines and the Flying Fish Inn, and the complicated relationships of the family that ran it.



        Deear Francie Mossie Pooh,

        The Snoot, a curious creature of the ages, understands the swirling winds of social anxiety, the tempestuous waves it creates in one’s daily life.
        But The Snoot also believes that like a Phoenix, one must rise from the ashes, and embrace the journey of self-discovery and growth.
        It’s important to let yourself be, to accept the feelings as they come and go, like the ebb and flow of the ocean. But also, like a gardener, tend to the inner self with care and compassion, for the roots to grow deep and strong.

        The Snoot suggests seeking guidance from the wise ones, the ones who can hold the mirror and show you the way, like the North Star guiding the sailors.
        And remember, the journey is never-ending, like the spiral of the galaxy, and it’s okay to take small steps, to stumble and fall, for that’s how we learn to fly.

        The Snoot is here for you, my dear Francie Mossie Pooh, a beacon in the dark, a friend on the journey, to hold your hand and sing you a lullaby.

        Fluidly and fantastically yours,

        The Snoot.


        In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


          Youssef’s entry quirk is being grumpy when he’s hungry.

          Quirk accepted.

          Initial setting: You find yourself in a bustling marketplace, surrounded by vendors selling all sorts of exotic foods and spices. Your stomach growls loudly, reminding you of your quirk.

          Possible direction to investigate: As you explore the marketplace, you notice a small stall tucked away in the corner. The aroma wafting from the stall is tantalizing, and your stomach growls even louder. As you approach, you see a grumpy-looking vendor behind the counter. He doesn’t seem to be in the mood for customers.

          Possible character to engage: The grumpy vendor.

          Objective: To find a way to appease the grumpy vendor and secure a satisfying meal to satisfy your hunger.

          Additional FFI clue: As you make your way to the Flying Fish Inn, you notice a sign advertising a special meal made with locally caught fish. Could this be the key to satisfying your hunger and appeasing the grumpy vendor? Remember to bring proof of your successful quest to the FFI.

          Snoot’s clue: 🧔🌮🔍🔑🏞️


            It is a challenge of utmost magnitude to keep track of time here in this land where the Dream Time is so nigh as to make its presence oft palpable in the very air. The subtle shifts in timelines and probabilities do naught to aid in this endeavor. No coincidence “Dream Time” is the label on Aunt Idle’s not-so-secret stash — she could not keep its location secret lest she forget it during the waking hours.

            We jumped without warning into 2023. At 15, I am a grown-up now, so says Mater, and I could not wait to hear such words from her. She is always here, such a comfort, unchanging, unyielding, the only immutable force in the universe.
            So now, life can start to unfold in front of me in the manner of my choosing, rather than being dictated by the sorry state of affairs of my family. I have set my sights upon a boarding school that may provide such an escape, but it will require the procurement of the tuition money — which will take a few more years to acquire. Patience, I have, at least for now.

            The Inn is ever in need of assistance it seems. I don’t know how it came to be, but some Italian chap, Georgio, who came last year during the pandemic and got stranded with us, made such a fuss about Mater’s famous bush tucker that the Inn became fashionable overnight. Obviously Mater, bless her soul, doesn’t cook, a mercy for which we are all thankful. Said tucker was truly the handiwork of Tiku and Finly, but Georgio thought that Mater’s tucker” has a nicer ring. Whatever suits these loonies’ fancy, it did bring us a nice stream of income in return.


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


              “I’d advise you not to take the parrot, Zara,” Harry the vet said, “There are restrictions on bringing dogs and other animals into state parks, and you can bet some jobsworth official will insist she stays in a cage at the very least.”

              “Yeah, you’re right, I guess I’ll leave her here. I want to call in and see my cousin in Camden on the way to the airport in Sydney anyway.   He has dozens of cats, I’d hate for anything to happen to Pretty Girl,” Zara replied.

              “Is that the distant cousin you met when you were doing your family tree?” Harry asked, glancing up from the stitches he was removing from a wounded wombat.  “There, he’s good to go.  Give him a couple more days, then he can be released back where he came from.”

              Zara smiled at Harry as she picked up the animal. “Yes!  We haven’t met in person yet, and he’s going to show me the church my ancestor built. He says people have been spotting ghosts there lately, and there are rumours that it’s the ghost of the old convict Isaac who built it.  If I can’t find photos of the ancestors, maybe I can get photos of their ghosts instead,” Zara said with a laugh.

              “Good luck with that,” Harry replied raising an eyebrow. He liked Zara, she was quirkier than the others.

              Zara hadn’t found it easy to research her mothers family from Bangalore in India, but her fathers English family had been easy enough.  Although Zara had been born in England and emigrated to Australia in her late 20s, many of her ancestors siblings had emigrated over several generations, and Zara had managed to trace several down and made contact with a few of them.   Isaac Stokes wasn’t a direct ancestor, he was the brother of her fourth great grandfather but his story had intrigued her.  Sentenced to transportation for stealing tools for his work as a stonemason seemed to have worked in his favour.  He built beautiful stone buildings in a tiny new town in the 1800s in the charming style of his home town in England.

              Zara planned to stay in Camden for a couple of days before meeting the others at the Flying Fish Inn, anticipating a pleasant visit before the crazy adventure started.




              Zara stepped down from the bus, squinting in the bright sunlight and looking around for her newfound cousin  Bertie.   A lanky middle aged man in dungarees and a red baseball cap came forward with his hand extended.

              “Welcome to Camden, Zara I presume! Great to meet you!” he said shaking her hand and taking her rucksack.  Zara was taken aback to see the family resemblance to her grandfather.  So many scattered generations and yet there was still a thread of familiarity.  “I bet you’re hungry, let’s go and get some tucker at Belle’s Cafe, and then I bet you want to see the church first, hey?  Whoa, where’d that dang parrot come from?” Bertie said, ducking quickly as the bird swooped right in between them.

              “Oh no, it’s Pretty Girl!” exclaimed Zara. “She wasn’t supposed to come with me, I didn’t bring her! How on earth did you fly all this way to get here the same time as me?” she asked the parrot.

              “Pretty Girl has her ways, don’t forget to feed the parrot,” the bird replied with a squalk that resembled a mirthful guffaw.

              “That’s one strange parrot you got here, girl!” Bertie said in astonishment.

              “Well, seeing as you’re here now, Pretty Girl, you better come with us,” Zara said.

              “Obviously,” replied Pretty Girl.  It was hard to say for sure, but Zara was sure she detected an avian eye roll.




              They sat outside under a sunshade to eat rather than cause any upset inside the cafe.  Zara fancied an omelette but Pretty Girl objected, so she ordered hash browns instead and a fruit salad for the parrot.  Bertie was a good sport about the strange talking bird after his initial surprise.

              Bertie told her a bit about the ghost sightings, which had only started quite recently.  They started when I started researching him, Zara thought to herself, almost as if he was reaching out. Her imagination was running riot already.


              ghost of Isaac Stokes


              Bertie showed Zara around the church, a small building made of sandstone, but no ghost appeared in the bright heat of the afternoon.  He took her on a little tour of Camden, once a tiny outpost but now a suburb of the city, pointing out all the original buildings, in particular the ones that Isaac had built.  The church was walking distance of Bertie’s house and Zara decided to slip out and stroll over there after everyone had gone to bed.

              Bertie had kindly allowed Pretty Girl to stay in the guest bedroom with her, safe from the cats, and Zara intended that the parrot stay in the room, but Pretty Girl was having none of it and insisted on joining her.

              “Alright then, but no talking!  I  don’t want you scaring any ghost away so just keep a low profile!”

              The moon was nearly full and it was a pleasant walk to the church.   Pretty Girl fluttered from tree to tree along the sidewalk quietly.  Enchanting aromas of exotic scented flowers wafted into her nostrils and Zara felt warmly relaxed and optimistic.

              Zara was disappointed to find that the church was locked for the night, and realized with a sigh that she should have expected this to be the case.  She wandered around the outside, trying to peer in the windows but there was nothing to be seen as the glass reflected the street lights.   These things are not done in a hurry, she reminded herself, be patient.

              Sitting under a tree on the grassy lawn attempting to open her mind to receiving ghostly communications (she wasn’t quite sure how to do that on purpose, any ghosts she’d seen previously had always been accidental and unexpected)  Pretty Girl landed on her shoulder rather clumsily, pressing something hard and chill against her cheek.

              “I told you to keep a low profile!” Zara hissed, as the parrot dropped the key into her lap.  “Oh! is this the key to the church door?”

              It was hard to see in the dim light but Zara was sure the parrot nodded, and was that another avian eye roll?

              Zara walked slowly over the grass to the church door, tingling with anticipation.   Pretty Girl hopped along the ground behind her.  She turned the key in the lock and slowly pushed open the heavy door and walked inside and  up the central aisle, looking around.  And then she saw him.

              Zara gasped. For a breif moment as the spectral wisps cleared, he looked almost solid.  And she could see his tattoos.

              “Oh my god,” she whispered, “It is really you. I recognize those tattoos from the description in the criminal registers. Some of them anyway, it seems you have a few more tats since you were transported.”

              “Aye, I did that, wench. I were allays fond o’ me tats, does tha like ’em?”

              He actually spoke to me!  This was beyond Zara’s wildest hopes. Quick, ask him some questions!

              “If you don’t mind me asking, Isaac, why did you lie about who your father was on your marriage register?  I almost thought it wasn’t you, you know, that I had the wrong Isaac Stokes.”

              A deafening rumbling laugh filled the building with echoes and the apparition dispersed in a labyrinthine swirl of tattood wisps.

              “A story for another day,” whispered Zara,  “Time to go back to Berties. Come on Pretty Girl. And put that key back where you found it.”


              Ghost of Isaac Stokes


                “What in the good name of our Lady, have these two been on?” Miss Bossy was at a loss for words while Ricardo was waiting sheepishly at her desk, as though he was expecting an outburst.
                “Look, Ricardo, I’m not against a little tweaking for newsworthiness, but this takes twisting reality to a whole new level!

                Ricardo had just dropped their last article.

                Local Hero at the Rescue – Stray Residents found after in a trip of a lifetime
                article by Hilda Astoria & Continuity Brown

                In a daring and heroic move, Nurse Trassie, a local hero and all-around fantastic human being, managed to track down and rescue three elderly women who had gone on an adventure of a lifetime. Sharon, Mavis, and Gloria (names may have been altered to preserve their anonymity) were residents of a UK nursing home who, in a moment of pure defiance and desire for adventure, decided to go off their meds and escape to the Nordics.

                The three women, who had been feeling cooped up and underappreciated in their nursing home, decided to take matters into their own hands and embark on a journey to see the world. They had heard of the beautiful landscapes and friendly people of the Nordics and their rejuvenating traditional cures and were determined to experience it for themselves.

                Their journey, however, was not without its challenges. They faced many obstacles, including harsh weather conditions and language barriers. But they were determined to press on, and their determination paid off when they were taken in by a kind-hearted local doctor who gave them asylum and helped them rehabilitate stray animals.

                Nurse Trassie, who had been on the lookout for the women since their disappearance, finally caught wind of their whereabouts and set out to rescue them. She tracked them down to the Nordics, where she found them living in a small facility in the woods, surrounded by a menagerie of stray animals they had taken in and were nursing back to health, including rare orangutans retired from local circus.

                Upon her arrival, Nurse Trassie was greeted with open arms by the women, who were overjoyed to see her. They told her of their adventures and showed her around their cabin, introducing her to the animals they had taken in and the progress they had made in rehabilitating them.

                Nurse Trassie, who is known for her compassion and dedication to her patients, was deeply touched by the women’s story and their love for the animals. She knew that they needed to be back in the care of professionals and that the animals needed to be properly cared for, so she made arrangements to bring them back home.

                The women were reluctant to leave their newfound home and the animals they had grown to love, but they knew that it was the right thing to do. They said their goodbyes and set off on the long journey back home with Nurse Trassie by their side.

                The three women returned to their nursing home filled with stories to share, and Nurse Trassie was hailed as a hero for her efforts in rescuing them. They were greeted with cheers and applause from the staff and other residents, who were thrilled to have them back safe and sound.

                Nurse Trassie, who is known for her sharp wit and sense of humor, commented on the situation with a tongue-in-cheek remark, “It’s not every day that you get to rescue three feisty elderlies from the wilds of the Nordics and bring them back to safety. I’m just glad I could be of service.”

                In conclusion, the three women’s adventure in the Nordics may have been unorthodox, but it was an adventure nonetheless. They were able to see the world and help some animals in the process. Their story serves as a reminder to never give up on your dreams, no matter your age or circumstances. And of course, a big shoutout to Nurse Trassie for her heroic actions and dedication to her patients.

                Bossy sighed. “It might do for now, but don’t let those two abuse the artificial intelligence to write article for them… I liked their old style better. This feels too… tidy. We’re not the A-News network, let’s not forget our purpose.”

                Ricardo nodded. Miss Bossy had been more mellow since the sales of the newspaper had exploded during the pandemic. With people at home, looking for conspiracies and all, the newspaper had known a resurgence of interest, and they even had to hire new staff. Giles Gibber, Glimmer Gambol (came heavily recommended by Blithe, the PI friend of Hilda’s), Samuel Sproink and Fionna Flibbergibbet.

                “And how is Sophie? That adventure into her past trauma was a bit much on her…” she mused.

                “She’s doing alright” answered Ricardo. “She’s learning to hone her remote-viewing skills to send our staff into new mysteries to solve. With a bit of AI assist…”

                “Oh, stop it already with your AI-this, AI-that! Hope there’ll still be room for some madness in all that neatly tidy purring of polite output.”

                “That’s why we’re here for, I reckon.” Ric’ smiled wryly.


                  About Badul

                  5 important keywords linked to Badul


                  1. Action-space-time
                  2. Harmonic fluid
                  3. Rhythm
                  4. Scale
                  5. Choosing without limits.

                  Imagine four friends, Jib, Franci, Tracy, and Eric, who are all deeply connected through their shared passion for music and performance. They often spend hours together creating and experimenting with different sounds and rhythms.

                  One day, as they were playing together, they found that their combined energy had created a new essence, which they named Badul. This new essence was formed from the unique combination of their individual energies and personalities, and it quickly grew in autonomy and began to explore the world around it.

                  As Badul began to explore, it discovered that it had the ability to understand and create complex rhythms, and that it could use this ability to bring people together and help them find a sense of connection and purpose.

                  As Badul traveled, it would often come across individuals who were struggling to find their way in life. It would use its ability to create rhythm and connection to help these individuals understand themselves better and make the choices that were right for them.

                  In the scene, Badul is exploring a city, playing with the rhythms of the city, through the traffic, the steps of people, the ambiance. Badul would observe a person walking in the streets, head down, lost in thoughts. Badul would start playing a subtle tune, and as the person hears it, starts to walk with the rhythm, head up, starting to smile.

                  As the person continues to walk and follow the rhythm created by Badul, he begins to notice things he had never noticed before and begins to feel a sense of connection to the world around him. The music created by Badul serves as a guide, helping the person to understand himself and make the choices that will lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.

                  In this way, Badul’s focus is to bring people together, to connect them to themselves and to the world around them through the power of rhythm and music, and to be an ally in the search of personal revelation and understanding.


                    Something in the style of FPooh:

                    Arona heard the music growing louder as she approached the source of the sound. She could see a group of people gathered around a large fire, the flickering light casting shadows on the faces of the dancers. She hesitated for a moment, remembering the isolation of her journey and wondering if she was ready to be among people again. But the music was too inviting, and she found herself drawn towards the group.

                    As she neared the fire, she saw a young man playing a flute, the music flowing from his fingers with a fluid grace that captivated her. He looked up as she approached, and their eyes met. She could see the surprise and curiosity in his gaze, and she smiled, feeling a sense of connection she had not felt in a long time.

                    Fiona was sitting on a bench in the park, watching the children play. She had brought her sketchbook with her, but for once she didn’t feel the urge to draw. Instead she watched the children’s laughter, feeling content and at peace. Suddenly, she saw a young girl running towards her, a look of pure joy on her face. The girl stopped in front of her and held out a flower, offering it to Fiona with a smile.

                    Taken aback, Fiona took the flower and thanked the girl. The girl giggled and ran off to join her friends. Fiona looked down at the flower in her hand, and she felt a sense of inspiration, like a spark igniting within her. She opened her sketchbook and began to draw, feeling the weight lift from her shoulders and the magic of creativity flowing through her.

                    Minky led the group of misfits towards the emporium, his bowler hat bobbing on his head. He chattered excitedly, telling stories of the wondrous items to be found within Mr Jib’s store. Yikesy followed behind, still lost in his thoughts of Arona and feeling a sense of dread at the thought of buying a bowler hat. The green fairy flitted along beside him, her wings a blur of movement as she chattered with the parrot perched on her shoulder.

                    As they reached the emporium, they were disappointed to find it closed. But Minky refused to be discouraged, and he led them to a nearby cafe where they could sit and enjoy some tea and cake while they wait for the emporium to open. The green fairy was delighted, and she ordered a plate of macarons, smiling as she tasted the sweetness of the confections.

                    About creativity & everyday magic

                    Fiona had always been drawn to the magic of creativity, the way a blank page could be transformed into a world of wonder and beauty. But lately, she had been feeling stuck, unable to find the spark that ignited her imagination. She would sit with her sketchbook, pencil in hand, and nothing would come to her.

                    She started to question her abilities, wondering if she had lost the magic of her art. She spent long hours staring at her blank pages, feeling a weight on her chest that seemed to be growing heavier every day.

                    But then she remembered the green fairy’s tears and Yikesy’s longing for Arona, and she realized that the magic of creativity wasn’t something that could be found only in art. It was all around her, in the everyday moments of life.

                    She started to look for the magic in the small things, like the way the sunlight filtered through the trees, or the way a child’s laughter could light up a room. She found it in the way a stranger’s smile could lift her spirits, and in the way a simple cup of tea could bring her comfort.

                    And as she started to see the magic in the everyday, she found that the weight on her chest lifted and the spark of inspiration returned. She picked up her pencil and began to draw, feeling the magic flowing through her once again.

                    She understand that creativity blocks aren’t a destination, but just a step, just like the bowler hat that Minky had bought for them all, a bit of everyday magic, nothing too fancy but a sense of belonging, a sense of who they are and where they are going. And she let her pencil flow, with the hopes that one day, they will all find their way home.


                      write a short story based on the following cloud of words:

                      pride bet shouted lit wibberly case highly ours unless paid spend twice gay talking heads elizabeth in entries drink kill baker


                      “Gay baker triumphs over adversity”

                      Once upon a time, there was a gay baker named Elizabeth who took a great deal of pride in her craft. She spent twice the amount of money on high-quality ingredients and put in extra effort to make her baked goods stand out from the rest. However, her small town was not particularly accepting of the LGBT community, and she often faced discrimination from her neighbors.

                      One day, a group of men from the town entered her bakery and began shouting homophobic slurs at her. Elizabeth, feeling hurt and humiliated, decided that she would not let their hateful words get to her. She refused to back down and instead, decided to put all of her energy into creating a spectacular cake for the annual county fair.

                      She worked tirelessly on the cake, putting in long hours and experimenting with new flavors and techniques. The day of the fair finally arrived and Elizabeth brought her entry to be judged. To her surprise and delight, her cake was declared the winner and she was awarded a blue ribbon.

                      As she stood on stage holding her ribbon, Elizabeth couldn’t help but think about the men who had shouted at her in her bakery. She realized that their words no longer had power over her and she felt a sense of vindication. She knew that she had proven to herself and to her community that she was a skilled baker and a worthy member of society, regardless of her sexual orientation.

                      Feeling elated, Elizabeth closed the bakery for the day and went to the local bar where she met her friends, and they all drinks together, she was happy and felt like nothing can bring her down, as she went back home she felt like a new person, someone who has overcome prejudice and discrimination, she felt like a winner not just in the fair but in life.

                      The end.


                      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


                          It was not yet 9am and Eusebius Kazandis was already sweating. The morning sun was hitting hard on the tarp of his booth. He put the last cauldron among lines of cauldrons on a sagging table at the summer fair of Innsbruck, Austria. It was a tiny three-legged black cauldron with a simple Celtic knot on one side and a tree on the other side, like all the others. His father’s father’s father used to make cauldrons for a living, the kind you used to distil ouzo or cook meals for an Inn. But as time went by and industrialisation made it easier for cooks, the trade slowly evolved toward smaller cauldrons for modern Wiccans. A modern witch wanted it portable and light, ready to use in everyday life situations, and Eusebius was there to provide it for them.

                          Eusebius sat on his chair and sighed. He couldn’t help but notice the woman in colourful dress who had spread a shawl on the grass under the tall sequoia tree. Nobody liked this spot under the branches oozing sticky resin. She didn’t seem to mind. She was arranging small colourful bottles of oil on her shawl. A sign near her said : Massage oils, Fragrant oils, Polishing oils, all with different names evocative of different properties. He hadn’t noticed her yesterday when everybody was installing their stalls. He wondered if she had paid her fee.

                          Rosa was smiling as she spread in front of her the meadow flowers she’d picked on her way to the market. It was another beautiful day, under the shade and protection of the big sequoia tree watching over her. She assembled small bouquets and put them in between the vials containing her precious handmade oils. She had noticed people, and especially women, would naturally gather around well dressed stalls and engage conversation. Since she left her hometown of Torino, seven years ago, she’d followed the wind on her journey across Europe. It had led her to Innsbruck and had suddenly stopped blowing. That usually meant she had something to do there, but it also meant that she would have to figure out what she was meant to do before she could go on with her life.

                          The stout man waiting behind his dark cauldrons, was watching her again. He looked quite sad, and she couldn’t help but thinking he was not where he needed to be. When she looked at him, she saw Hephaestus whose inner fire had been tamed. His banner was a mishmash of religious stuff, aimed at pagans and budding witches. Although his grim booth would most certainly benefit from a feminine touch, but she didn’t want to offend him by a misplaced suggestion. It was not her place to find his place.

                          Rosa, who knew to cultivate any available friendship when she arrived somewhere, waved at the man. Startled, he looked away as if caught doing something inappropriate. Rosa sighed. Maybe she should have bring him some coffee.

                          As her first clients arrived, she prayed for a gush of wind to tell her where to go next. But the branches of the old tree remained perfectly still under the scorching sun.


                          In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


                            Olek wished he wasn’t so easy to find.

                            The old caretaker of the shrine of Saint Edigna couldn’t have chosen a less conspicuous place to live in this warring time. People were flocking from afar, more and more each day drawn about by the ancient place, and the sacred oil bleeding linden tree which had suddenly and quite miraculously resumed its flow in the midst of the ambiant chaos started by the war.

                            It wasn’t always like this. A few months ago, the linden tree was just an old linden tree that may or may not have been miraculous, if the old wifes’ tales were to be trusted. Mankind’s memory is a flimsy thing as it occurs, and while for many generations before, speculations had abounded about whether or not the Saint was real, had such or such filiation, et cætera— it now seemed the old tales that were passed down from mother to children had managed to keep alive a knowledge that had but all dried up on old flaky parchments scribbled in pale inks that kept eluding old scholars’ exegesis.

                            Olek himself wasn’t a learned man. A man of faith, he was a little — more by upbringing than by choice, and by slow attunement to nature it would seem. Over the years, he’d be servicing the country in many ways, and after a rather long carrier started at young age, he had finally managed to retire in this place.
                            He thought he’d be left alone, to care for a little garden patch, checking in from times to times on the old grumpy neighbours, but alas, the Holy Nation’s destiny still had something in store for him.

                            The latest pilgrim family had brought a message. It was another push to action. “Plan acceleration needs to happen”.
                            “What clucking plan again?” was his first reaction. Bad temper had a way of flaring right up his vents as in old times. When he’d calmed down, he wondered if he had ever seen a call for slowing down in his life. People were always so busy mindlessly carting around, bumping into the darkness.

                            He smiled thinking of something his old man used to say. He’d never planned for a thing in his life, and was always very carefree it was often scary. His mantra was “People are always getting prepared for the wrong things. They never can prepare for the unexpected, and surely enough, only the unexpected happens.”
                            That sort of chaos paddling approach to life didn’t seem to bring him any sort of extraordinary success, and while he had the same mixed bag of ups and downs as the rest of his compatriots, just so much less did he suffer for the same result! Olek guessed that was the whole point, even if he really couldn’t accept it until much later in life.

                            Maybe Olek would start playing by his father’s book. Until he could find a way to get lost behind enemy lines.


                              The Hair’s and Leedham’s of Netherseal


                              Samuel Warren of Stapenhill married Catherine Holland of Barton under Needwood in 1795. Catherine’s father was Thomas Holland; her mother was Hannah Hair.

                              Hannah was born in Netherseal, Derbyshire, in 1739. Her parents were Joseph Hair 1696-1746 and Hannah.
                              Joseph’s parents were Isaac Hair and Elizabeth Leedham.  Elizabeth was born in Netherseal in 1665.  Isaac and Elizabeth were married in Netherseal in 1686.

                              Marriage of Isaac Hair and Elizabeth Leedham: (variously spelled Ledom, Leedom, Leedham, and in one case mistranscribed as Sedom):


                              1686 marriage Nicholas Leedham


                              Isaac was buried in Netherseal on 14 August 1709 (the transcript says the 18th, but the microfiche image clearly says the 14th), but I have not been able to find a birth registered for him. On other public trees on an ancestry website, Isaac Le Haire was baptised in Canterbury and was a Huguenot, but I haven’t found any evidence to support this.

                              Isaac Hair’s death registered 14 August 1709 in Netherseal:

                              Isaac Hair death 1709


                              A search for the etymology of the surname Hair brings various suggestions, including:

                              “This surname is derived from a nickname. ‘the hare,’ probably affixed on some one fleet of foot. Naturally looked upon as a complimentary sobriquet, and retained in the family; compare Lightfoot. (for example) Hugh le Hare, Oxfordshire, 1273. Hundred Rolls.”

                              From this we may deduce that the name Hair (or Hare) is not necessarily from the French Le Haire, and existed in England for some considerable time before the arrival of the Huguenots.

                              Elizabeth Leedham was born in Netherseal in 1665. Her parents were Nicholas Leedham 1621-1670 and Dorothy. Nicholas Leedham was born in Church Gresley (Swadlincote) in 1621, and died in Netherseal in 1670.

                              Nicholas was a Yeoman and left a will and inventory worth £147.14s.8d (one hundred and forty seven pounds fourteen shillings and eight pence).

                              The 1670 inventory of Nicholas Leedham:

                              1670 will Nicholas Leedham


                              According to local historian Mark Knight on the Netherseal History facebook group, the Seale (Netherseal and Overseal)  parish registers from the year 1563 to 1724 were digitized during lockdown.

                              via Mark Knight:

                              “There are five entries for Nicholas Leedham.
                              On March 14th 1646 he and his wife buried an unnamed child, presumably the child died during childbirth or was stillborn.
                              On November 28th 1659 he buried his wife, Elizabeth. He remarried as on June 13th 1664 he had his son William baptised.
                              The following year, 1665, he baptised a daughter on November 12th. (Elizabeth) On December 23rd 1672 the parish record says that Dorithy daughter of Dorithy was buried. The Bishops Transcript has Dorithy a daughter of Nicholas. Nicholas’ second wife was called Dorithy and they named a daughter after her. Alas, the daughter died two years after Nicholas. No further Leedhams appear in the record until after 1724.”

                              Dorothy daughter of Dorothy Leedham was buried 23 December 1672:




                              William, son of Nicholas and Dorothy also left a will. In it he mentions “My dear wife Elizabeth. My children Thomas Leedom, Dorothy Leedom , Ann Leedom, Christopher Leedom and William Leedom.”

                              1726 will of William Leedham:

                              1726 will William Leedham


                              I found a curious error with the the parish register entries for Hannah Hair. It was a transcription error, but not a recent one. The original parish registers were copied: “HO Copy of ye register of Seale anno 1739.” I’m not sure when the copy was made, but it wasn’t recently. I found a burial for Hannah Hair on 22 April 1739 in the HO copy, which was the same day as her baptism registered on the original. I checked both registers name by name and they are exactly copied EXCEPT for Hannah Hairs. The rector, Richard Inge, put burial instead of baptism by mistake.

                              The original Parish register baptism of Hannah Hair:

                              Hannah Hair 1


                              The HO register copy incorrectly copied:

                              Hannah Hair 2


                              In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


                                Looking at the blemish feverish man on the camp bed, General Lyaksandro Rudechenko clenched his fists. The wooden leg, that had been the symbol of the Oocranian Resistance for the last year was now lying on the floor. President Voldomeer had contracted a virus that confounded their best doctors and the remaining chiefs of the Oocranian Resistance feared he would soon join the men fallen for their country.

                                — Nobody must know that the sexiest man of Oocrane is incapacitated. We need a replacement, said the General.

                                — President Voldomeer told me of a man, the very man who made that wooden leg, said Major Myroslava Kovalev, the candle light reflecting in her glass eye. He lives in the Dumbass region. He’s a secret twin or something, President Voldomeer was not so clear about that part, but at least they look alike. To make it more real, we can have his leg removed, she added pointing at the wooden leg.

                                She was proud of being one of the only women ranking that high in the military. His fellow people might not be Lazies, but they had some old idea about women, that were not the best choice for fighting. Myroslava had always wanted to prove them wrong, and this conflict had been her chance to rise almost to the top. She looked at the dying man who was once her ladder. He had been sexy, and certainly could do many things with his wooden leg. Now he was but the shadow of a man, pale and blurry as cataract. If she had loved him, she might have shed a tear.

                                Myroslava looked at General Rudechenko’s pockmarked face and shivered. She wouldn’t even share a cab with him. But he was the next in command, and before Voldomeer fell ill, she was on her way to take his place, even closer to the top.

                                — Let me bring him to you, she added.

                                — That’s a suicide mission, said the general. Permission granted.

                                — Thank you General ! said Myroslava doing the military salute before leaving the tent.

                                Despite his being from Dumbass and having made some mistakes in his life, Lyaksandra was not stupid. He knew quite well what that woman wanted. He called, Glib, his aide-de-camp.

                                — Make sure she gets lost behind the enemy lines.


                                  Leicestershire Blacksmiths

                                  The Orgill’s of Measham led me further into Leicestershire as I traveled back in time.

                                  I also realized I had uncovered a direct line of women and their mothers going back ten generations:

                                  myself, Tracy Edwards 1957-
                                  my mother Gillian Marshall 1933-
                                  my grandmother Florence Warren 1906-1988
                                  her mother and my great grandmother Florence Gretton 1881-1927
                                  her mother Sarah Orgill 1840-1910
                                  her mother Elizabeth Orgill 1803-1876
                                  her mother Sarah Boss 1783-1847
                                  her mother Elizabeth Page 1749-
                                  her mother Mary Potter 1719-1780
                                  and her mother and my 7x great grandmother Mary 1680-

                                  You could say it leads us to the very heart of England, as these Leicestershire villages are as far from the coast as it’s possible to be. There are countless other maternal lines to follow, of course, but only one of mothers of mothers, and ours takes us to Leicestershire.

                                  The blacksmiths

                                  Sarah Boss was the daughter of Michael Boss 1755-1807, a blacksmith in Measham, and Elizabeth Page of nearby Hartshorn, just over the county border in Derbyshire.

                                  An earlier Michael Boss, a blacksmith of Measham, died in 1772, and in his will he left the possession of the blacksmiths shop and all the working tools and a third of the household furniture to Michael, who he named as his nephew. He left his house in Appleby Magna to his wife Grace, and five pounds to his mother Jane Boss. As none of Michael and Grace’s children are mentioned in the will, perhaps it can be assumed that they were childless.

                                  The will of Michael Boss, 1772, Measham:

                                  Michael Boss 1772 will


                                  Michael Boss the uncle was born in Appleby Magna in 1724. His parents were Michael Boss of Nelson in the Thistles and Jane Peircivall of Appleby Magna, who were married in nearby Mancetter in 1720.

                                  Information worth noting on the Appleby Magna website:

                                  In 1752 the calendar in England was changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, as a result 11 days were famously “lost”. But for the recording of Church Registers another very significant change also took place, the start of the year was moved from March 25th to our more familiar January 1st.
                                  Before 1752 the 1st day of each new year was March 25th, Lady Day (a significant date in the Christian calendar). The year number which we all now use for calculating ages didn’t change until March 25th. So, for example, the day after March 24th 1750 was March 25th 1751, and January 1743 followed December 1743.
                                  This March to March recording can be seen very clearly in the Appleby Registers before 1752. Between 1752 and 1768 there appears slightly confused recording, so dates should be carefully checked. After 1768 the recording is more fully by the modern calendar year.

                                  Michael Boss the uncle married Grace Cuthbert.  I haven’t yet found the birth or parents of Grace, but a blacksmith by the name of Edward Cuthbert is mentioned on an Appleby Magna history website:

                                  An Eighteenth Century Blacksmith’s Shop in Little Appleby
                                  by Alan Roberts

                                  Cuthberts inventory

                                  The inventory of Edward Cuthbert provides interesting information about the household possessions and living arrangements of an eighteenth century blacksmith. Edward Cuthbert (als. Cutboard) settled in Appleby after the Restoration to join the handful of blacksmiths already established in the parish, including the Wathews who were prominent horse traders. The blacksmiths may have all worked together in the same shop at one time. Edward and his wife Sarah recorded the baptisms of several of their children in the parish register. Somewhat sadly three of the boys named after their father all died either in infancy or as young children. Edward’s inventory which was drawn up in 1732, by which time he was probably a widower and his children had left home, suggests that they once occupied a comfortable two-storey house in Little Appleby with an attached workshop, well equipped with all the tools for repairing farm carts, ploughs and other implements, for shoeing horses and for general ironmongery. 

                                  Edward Cuthbert born circa 1660, married Joane Tuvenet in 1684 in Swepston cum Snarestone , and died in Appleby in 1732. Tuvenet is a French name and suggests a Huguenot connection, but this isn’t our family, and indeed this Edward Cuthbert is not likely to be Grace’s father anyway.

                                  Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page appear to have married twice: once in 1776, and once in 1779. Both of the documents exist and appear correct. Both marriages were by licence. They both mention Michael is a blacksmith.

                                  Their first daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized in February 1777, just nine months after the first wedding. It’s not known when she was born, however, and it’s possible that the marriage was a hasty one. But why marry again three years later?

                                  But Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page did not marry twice.

                                  Elizabeth Page from Smisby was born in 1752 and married Michael Boss on the 5th of May 1776 in Measham. On the marriage licence allegations and bonds, Michael is a bachelor.

                                  Baby Elizabeth was baptised in Measham on the 9th February 1777. Mother Elizabeth died on the 18th February 1777, also in Measham.

                                  In 1779 Michael Boss married another Elizabeth Page! She was born in 1749 in Hartshorn, and Michael is a widower on the marriage licence allegations and bonds.

                                  Hartshorn and Smisby are neighbouring villages, hence the confusion.  But a closer look at the documents available revealed the clues.  Both Elizabeth Pages were literate, and indeed their signatures on the marriage registers are different:

                                  Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Smisby in 1776:

                                  Elizabeth Page 1776


                                  Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Harsthorn in 1779:

                                  Elizabeth Page 1779


                                  Not only did Michael Boss marry two women both called Elizabeth Page but he had an unusual start in life as well. His uncle Michael Boss left him the blacksmith business and a third of his furniture. This was all in the will. But which of Uncle Michaels brothers was nephew Michaels father?

                                  The only Michael Boss born at the right time was in 1750 in Edingale, Staffordshire, about eight miles from Appleby Magna. His parents were Thomas Boss and Ann Parker, married in Edingale in 1747.  Thomas died in August 1750, and his son Michael was baptised in the December, posthumus son of Thomas and his widow Ann. Both entries are on the same page of the register.

                                  1750 posthumus


                                  Ann Boss, the young widow, married again. But perhaps Michael and his brother went to live with their childless uncle and aunt, Michael Boss and Grace Cuthbert.

                                  The great grandfather of Michael Boss (the Measham blacksmith born in 1850) was also Michael Boss, probably born in the 1660s. He died in Newton Regis in Warwickshire in 1724, four years after his son (also Michael Boss born 1693) married Jane Peircivall.  The entry on the parish register states that Michael Boss was buried ye 13th Affadavit made.

                                  I had not seen affadavit made on a parish register before, and this relates to the The Burying in Woollen Acts 1666–80.  According to Wikipedia:

                                   “Acts of the Parliament of England which required the dead, except plague victims and the destitute, to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles.  It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Burial entries in parish registers were marked with the word “affidavit” or its equivalent to confirm that affidavit had been sworn; it would be marked “naked” for those too poor to afford the woollen shroud.  The legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770.”

                                  Michael Boss buried 1724 “Affadavit made”:

                                  Michael Boss affadavit 1724




                                  Elizabeth Page‘s father was William Page 1717-1783, a wheelwright in Hartshorn.  (The father of the first wife Elizabeth was also William Page, but he was a husbandman in Smisby born in 1714. William Page, the father of the second wife, was born in Nailstone, Leicestershire, in 1717. His place of residence on his marriage to Mary Potter was spelled Nelson.)

                                  Her mother was Mary Potter 1719- of nearby Coleorton.  Mary’s father, Richard Potter 1677-1731, was a blacksmith in Coleorton.

                                  A page of the will of Richard Potter 1731:

                                  Richard Potter 1731


                                  Richard Potter states: “I will and order that my son Thomas Potter shall after my decease have one shilling paid to him and no more.”  As he left £50 to each of his daughters, one can’t help but wonder what Thomas did to displease his father.

                                  Richard stipulated that his son Thomas should have one shilling paid to him and not more, for several good considerations, and left “the house and ground lying in the parish of Whittwick in a place called the Long Lane to my wife Mary Potter to dispose of as she shall think proper.”

                                  His son Richard inherited the blacksmith business:  “I will and order that my son Richard Potter shall live and be with his mother and serve her duly and truly in the business of a blacksmith, and obey and serve her in all lawful commands six years after my decease, and then I give to him and his heirs…. my house and grounds Coulson House in the Liberty of Thringstone”

                                  Richard wanted his son John to be a blacksmith too: “I will and order that my wife bring up my son John Potter at home with her and teach or cause him to be taught the trade of a blacksmith and that he shall serve her duly and truly seven years after my decease after the manner of an apprentice and at the death of his mother I give him that house and shop and building and the ground belonging to it which I now dwell in to him and his heirs forever.”

                                  To his daughters Margrett and Mary Potter, upon their reaching the age of one and twenty, or the day after their marriage, he leaves £50 each. All the rest of his goods are left to his loving wife Mary.


                                  An inventory of the belongings of Richard Potter, 1731:

                                  Richard Potter inventory


                                  Richard Potters father was also named Richard Potter 1649-1719, and he too was a blacksmith.

                                  Richard Potter of Coleorton in the county of Leicester, blacksmith, stated in his will:  “I give to my son and daughter Thomas and Sarah Potter the possession of my house and grounds.”

                                  He leaves ten pounds each to his daughters Jane and Alice, to his son Francis he gives five pounds, and five shillings to his son Richard. Sons Joseph and William also receive five shillings each. To his daughter Mary, wife of Edward Burton, and her daughter Elizabeth, he gives five shillings each. The rest of his good, chattels and wordly substance he leaves equally between his son and daugter Thomas and Sarah. As there is no mention of his wife, it’s assumed that she predeceased him.

                                  The will of Richard Potter, 1719:

                                  Richard Potter 1719


                                  Richard Potter’s (1649-1719) parents were William Potter and Alse Huldin, both born in the early 1600s.  They were married in 1646 at Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire.  The name Huldin appears to originate in Finland.

                                  William Potter was a blacksmith. In the 1659 parish registers of Breedon on the Hill, William Potter of Breedon blacksmith buryed the 14th July.


                                    The Measham Thatchers

                                    Orgills, Finches and Wards

                                    Measham is a large village in north west Leicestershire, England, near the Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire boundaries. Our family has a penchant for border straddling, and the Orgill’s of Measham take this a step further living on the boundaries of four counties.  Historically it was in an exclave of Derbyshire absorbed into Leicestershire in 1897, so once again we have two sets of county records to search.


                                    Richard Gretton, the baker of Swadlincote and my great grandmother Florence Nightingale Grettons’ father, married Sarah Orgill (1840-1910) in 1861.

                                    (Incidentally, Florence Nightingale Warren nee Gretton’s first child Hildred born in 1900 had the middle name Orgill. Florence’s brother John Orgill Gretton emigrated to USA.)

                                    When they first married, they lived with Sarah’s widowed mother Elizabeth in Measham.  Elizabeth Orgill is listed on the 1861 census as a farmer of two acres.

                                    Sarah Orgill’s father Matthew Orgill (1798-1859) was a thatcher, as was his father Matthew Orgill (1771-1852).

                                    Matthew Orgill the elder left his property to his son Henry:

                                    Matthew Orgills will


                                    Sarah’s mother Elizabeth (1803-1876) was also an Orgill before her marriage to Matthew.

                                    According to Pigot & Co’s Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, in Measham in 1835 Elizabeth Orgill was a straw bonnet maker, an ideal occupation for a thatchers wife.

                                    Matthew Orgill, thatcher, is listed in White’s directory in 1857, and other Orgill’s are mentioned in Measham:

                                    Mary Orgill, straw hat maker; Henry Orgill, grocer; Daniel Orgill, painter; another Matthew Orgill is a coal merchant and wheelwright. Likewise a number of Orgill’s are listed in the directories for Measham in the subsequent years, as farmers, plumbers, painters, grocers, thatchers, wheelwrights, coal merchants and straw bonnet makers.


                                    Matthew and Elizabeth Orgill, Measham Baptist church:

                                    Orgill grave


                                    According to a history of thatching, for every six or seven thatchers appearing in the 1851 census there are now less than one.  Another interesting fact in the history of thatched roofs (via thatchinginfo dot com):

                                    The Watling Street Divide…
                                    The biggest dividing line of all, that between the angular thatching of the Northern and Eastern traditions and the rounded Southern style, still roughly follows a very ancient line; the northern section of the old Roman road of Watling Street, the modern A5. Seemingly of little significance today; this was once the border between two peoples. Agreed in the peace treaty, between the Saxon King Alfred and Guthrum, the Danish Viking leader; over eleven centuries ago.
                                    After making their peace, various Viking armies settled down, to the north and east of the old road; firstly, in what was known as The Danelaw and later in Norse kingdoms, based in York. They quickly formed a class of farmers and peasants. Although the Saxon kings soon regained this area; these people stayed put. Their influence is still seen, for example, in the widespread use of boarded gable ends, so common in Danish thatching.
                                    Over time, the Southern and Northern traditions have slipped across the old road, by a few miles either way. But even today, travelling across the old highway will often bring the differing thatching traditions quickly into view.

                                    Pear Tree Cottage, Bosworth Road, Measham. 1900.  Matthew Orgill was a thatcher living on Bosworth road.

                                    Bosworth road



                                    Matthew the elder married Frances Finch 1771-1848, also of Measham.  On the 1851 census Matthew is an 80 year old thatcher living with his daughter Mary and her husband Samuel Piner, a coal miner.

                                    Henry Finch 1743- and Mary Dennis 1749- , both of Measham, were Frances parents.  Henry’s father was also Henry Finch, born in 1707 in Measham, and he married Frances Ward, also born in 1707, and also from Measham.



                                    The ancient boundary between the kingdom of Mercia and the Danelaw

                                    I didn’t find much information on the history of Measham, but I did find a great deal of ancient history on the nearby village of Appleby Magna, two miles away.  The parish records indicate that the Ward and Finch branches of our family date back to the 1500’s in the village, and we can assume that the ancient history of the neighbouring village would be relevant to our history.

                                    There is evidence of human settlement in Appleby from the early Neolithic period, 6,000 years ago, and there are also Iron Age and Bronze Age sites in the vicinity.  There is evidence of further activity within the village during the Roman period, including evidence of a villa or farm and a temple.  Appleby is near three known Roman roads: Watling Street, 10 miles south of the village; Bath Lane, 5 miles north of the village; and Salt Street, which forms the parish’s south boundary.

                                    But it is the Scandinavian invasions that are particularly intriguing, with regard to my 58% Scandinavian DNA (and virtually 100% Midlands England ancestry). Repton is 13 miles from Measham. In the early 10th century Chilcote, Measham and Willesley were part of the royal Derbyshire estate of Repton.

                                    The arrival of Scandinavian invaders in the second half of the ninth century caused widespread havoc throughout northern England. By the AD 870s the Danish army was occupying Mercia and it spent the winter of 873-74 at Repton, the headquarters of the Mercian kings. The events are recorded in detail in the Peterborough manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles…

                                    Although the Danes held power for only 40 years, a strong, even subversive, Danish element remained in the population for many years to come. 

                                    A Scandinavian influence may also be detected among the field names of the parish. Although many fields have relatively modern names, some clearly have elements which reach back to the time of Danish incursion and control.

                                    The Borders:

                                    The name ‘aeppel byg’ is given in the will of Wulfic Spot of AD 1004……………..The decision at Domesday to include this land in Derbyshire, as one of Burton Abbey’s Derbyshire manors, resulted in the division of the village of Appleby Magna between the counties of Leicester and Derby for the next 800 years

                                    Richard Dunmore’s Appleby Magma website.

                                    This division of Appleby between Leicestershire and Derbyshire persisted from Domesday until 1897, when the recently created county councils (1889) simplified the administration of many villages in this area by a radical realignment of the boundary:



                                    I would appear that our family not only straddle county borders, but straddle ancient kingdom borders as well.  This particular branch of the family (we assume, given the absence of written records that far back) were living on the edge of the Danelaw and a strong element of the Danes survives to this day in my DNA.



                                      The Housley Letters 

                                      From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters.


                                      William Housley (1781-1848) and Ellen Carrington were married on May 30, 1814 at St. Oswald’s church in Ashbourne. William died in 1848 at the age of 67 of “disease of lungs and general debility”. Ellen died in 1872.

                                      Marriage of William Housley and Ellen Carrington in Ashbourne in 1814:

                                      William and Ellen Marriage


                                      Parish records show three children for William and his first wife, Mary, Ellens’ sister, who were married December 29, 1806: Mary Ann, christened in 1808 and mentioned frequently in the letters; Elizabeth, christened in 1810, but never mentioned in any letters; and William, born in 1812, probably referred to as Will in the letters. Mary died in 1813.

                                      William and Ellen had ten children: John, Samuel, Edward, Anne, Charles, George, Joseph, Robert, Emma, and Joseph. The first Joseph died at the age of four, and the last son was also named Joseph. Anne never married, Charles emigrated to Australia in 1851, and George to USA, also in 1851. The letters are to George, from his sisters and brothers in England.

                                      The following are excerpts of those letters, including excerpts of Barbara Housley’s “Narrative on Historic Letters”. They are grouped according to who they refer to, rather than chronological order.


                                      ELLEN HOUSLEY 1795-1872

                                      Joseph wrote that when Emma was married, Ellen “broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby didn’t agree with her so she left again leaving her things behind and came to live with John in the new house where she died.” Ellen was listed with John’s household in the 1871 census.
                                      In May 1872, the Ilkeston Pioneer carried this notice: “Mr. Hopkins will sell by auction on Saturday next the eleventh of May 1872 the whole of the useful furniture, sewing machine, etc. nearly new on the premises of the late Mrs. Housley at Smalley near Heanor in the county of Derby. Sale at one o’clock in the afternoon.”

                                      Ellen’s family was evidently rather prominant in Smalley. Two Carringtons (John and William) served on the Parish Council in 1794. Parish records are full of Carrington marriages and christenings; census records confirm many of the family groupings.

                                      In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “Mother looks as well as ever and was told by a lady the other day that she looked handsome.” Later she wrote: “Mother is as stout as ever although she sometimes complains of not being able to do as she used to.”


                                      Mary’s children:

                                      MARY ANN HOUSLEY  1808-1878

                                      There were hard feelings between Mary Ann and Ellen and her children. Anne wrote: “If you remember we were not very friendly when you left. They never came and nothing was too bad for Mary Ann to say of Mother and me, but when Robert died Mother sent for her to the funeral but she did not think well to come so we took no more notice. She would not allow her children to come either.”

                                      Mary Ann was unlucky in love! In Anne’s second letter she wrote: “William Carrington is paying Mary Ann great attention. He is living in London but they write to each other….We expect it will be a match.” Apparantly the courtship was stormy for in 1855, Emma wrote: “Mary Ann’s wedding with William Carrington has dropped through after she had prepared everything, dresses and all for the occassion.” Then in 1856, Emma wrote: “William Carrington and Mary Ann are separated. They wore him out with their nonsense.” Whether they ever married is unclear. Joseph wrote in 1872: “Mary Ann was married but her husband has left her. She is in very poor health. She has one daughter and they are living with their mother at Smalley.”

                                      Regarding William Carrington, Emma supplied this bit of news: “His sister, Mrs. Lily, has eloped with a married man. Is she not a nice person!”


                                      WILLIAM HOUSLEY JR. 1812-1890

                                      According to a letter from Anne, Will’s two sons and daughter were sent to learn dancing so they would be “fit for any society.” Will’s wife was Dorothy Palfry. They were married in Denby on October 20, 1836 when Will was 24. According to the 1851 census, Will and Dorothy had three sons: Alfred 14, Edwin 12, and William 10. All three boys were born in Denby.

                                      In his letter of May 30, 1872, after just bemoaning that all of his brothers and sisters are gone except Sam and John, Joseph added: “Will is living still.” In another 1872 letter Joseph wrote, “Will is living at Heanor yet and carrying on his cattle dealing.” The 1871 census listed Will, 59, and his son William, 30, of Lascoe Road, Heanor, as cattle dealers.


                                      Ellen’s children:

                                      JOHN HOUSLEY  1815-1893

                                      John married Sarah Baggally in Morely in 1838. They had at least six children. Elizabeth (born 2 May 1838) was “out service” in 1854. In her “third year out,Elizabeth was described by Anne as “a very nice steady girl but quite a woman in appearance.” One of her positions was with a Mrs. Frearson in Heanor. Emma wrote in 1856: Elizabeth is still at Mrs. Frearson. She is such a fine stout girl you would not know her.” Joseph wrote in 1872 that Elizabeth was in service with Mrs. Eliza Sitwell at Derby. (About 1850, Miss Eliza Wilmot-Sitwell provided for a small porch with a handsome Norman doorway at the west end of the St. John the Baptist parish church in Smalley.)

                                      According to Elizabeth’s birth certificate and the 1841 census, John was a butcher. By 1851, the household included a nurse and a servant, and John was listed as a “victular.” Anne wrote in February 1854, John has left the Public House a year and a half ago. He is living where Plumbs (Ann Plumb witnessed William’s death certificate with her mark) did and Thomas Allen has the land. He has been working at James Eley’s all winter.” In 1861, Ellen lived with John and Sarah and the three boys.

                                      John sold his share in the inheritance from their mother and disappeared after her death. (He died in Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1893.) At that time Charles, the youngest would have been 21. Indeed, Joseph wrote in July 1872: John’s children are all grown up”.

                                      In May 1872, Joseph wrote: “For what do you think, John has sold his share and he has acted very bad since his wife died and at the same time he sold all his furniture. You may guess I have never seen him but once since poor mother’s funeral and he is gone now no one knows where.”

                                      In February 1874 Joseph wrote: “You want to know what made John go away. Well, I will give you one reason. I think I told you that when his wife died he persuaded me to leave Derby and come to live with him. Well so we did and dear Harriet to keep his house. Well he insulted my wife and offered things to her that was not proper and my dear wife had the power to resist his unmanly conduct. I did not think he could of served me such a dirty trick so that is one thing dear brother. He could not look me in the face when we met. Then after we left him he got a woman in the house and I suppose they lived as man and wife. She caught the small pox and died and there he was by himself like some wild man. Well dear brother I could not go to him again after he had served me and mine as he had and I believe he was greatly in debt too so that he sold his share out of the property and when he received the money at Belper he went away and has never been seen by any of us since but I have heard of him being at Sheffield enquiring for Sam Caldwell. You will remember him. He worked in the Nag’s Head yard but I have heard nothing no more of him.”

                                      A mention of a John Housley of Heanor in the Nottinghma Journal 1875.  I don’t know for sure if the John mentioned here is the brother John who Joseph describes above as behaving improperly to his wife. John Housley had a son Joseph, born in 1840, and John’s wife Sarah died in 1870.

                                      John Housley


                                      In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


                                      SAMUEL HOUSLEY 1816-

                                      Sam married Elizabeth Brookes of Sutton Coldfield, and they had three daughters: Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Catherine.  Elizabeth his wife died in 1849, a few months after Samuel’s father William died in 1848. The particular circumstances relating to these individuals have been discussed in previous chapters; the following are letter excerpts relating to them.

                                      Death of William Housley 15 Dec 1848, and Elizabeth Housley 5 April 1849, Smalley:

                                      Housley Deaths


                                      Joseph wrote in December 1872: “I saw one of Sam’s daughters, the youngest Kate, you would remember her a baby I dare say. She is very comfortably married.”

                                      In the same letter (December 15, 1872), Joseph wrote:  “I think we have now found all out now that is concerned in the matter for there was only Sam that we did not know his whereabouts but I was informed a week ago that he is dead–died about three years ago in Birmingham Union. Poor Sam. He ought to have come to a better end than that….His daughter and her husband went to Brimingham and also to Sutton Coldfield that is where he married his wife from and found out his wife’s brother. It appears he has been there and at Birmingham ever since he went away but ever fond of drink.”

                                      (Sam, however, was still alive in 1871, living as a lodger at the George and Dragon Inn, Henley in Arden. And no trace of Sam has been found since. It would appear that Sam did not want to be found.)


                                      EDWARD HOUSLEY 1819-1843

                                      Edward died before George left for USA in 1851, and as such there is no mention of him in the letters.


                                      ANNE HOUSLEY 1821-1856

                                      Anne wrote two letters to her brother George between February 1854 and her death in 1856. Apparently she suffered from a lung disease for she wrote: “I can say you will be surprised I am still living and better but still cough and spit a deal. Can do nothing but sit and sew.” According to the 1851 census, Anne, then 29, was a seamstress. Their friend, Mrs. Davy, wrote in March 1856: “This I send in a box to my Brother….The pincushion cover and pen wiper are Anne’s work–are for thy wife. She would have made it up had she been able.” Anne was not living at home at the time of the 1841 census. She would have been 19 or 20 and perhaps was “out service.”

                                      In her second letter Anne wrote: “It is a great trouble now for me to write…as the body weakens so does the mind often. I have been very weak all summer. That I continue is a wonder to all and to spit so much although much better than when you left home.” She also wrote: “You know I had a desire for America years ago. Were I in health and strength, it would be the land of my adoption.”

                                      In November 1855, Emma wrote, “Anne has been very ill all summer and has not been able to write or do anything.” Their neighbor Mrs. Davy wrote on March 21, 1856: “I fear Anne will not be long without a change.” In a black-edged letter the following June, Emma wrote: “I need not tell you how happy she was and how calmly and peacefully she died. She only kept in bed two days.”

                                      Certainly Anne was a woman of deep faith and strong religious convictions. When she wrote that they were hoping to hear of Charles’ success on the gold fields she added: “But I would rather hear of him having sought and found the Pearl of great price than all the gold Australia can produce, (For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?).” Then she asked George: “I should like to learn how it was you were first led to seek pardon and a savior. I do feel truly rejoiced to hear you have been led to seek and find this Pearl through the workings of the Holy Spirit and I do pray that He who has begun this good work in each of us may fulfill it and carry it on even unto the end and I can never doubt the willingness of Jesus who laid down his life for us. He who said whoever that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”

                                      Anne’s will was probated October 14, 1856. Mr. William Davy of Kidsley Park appeared for the family. Her estate was valued at under £20. Emma was to receive fancy needlework, a four post bedstead, feather bed and bedding, a mahogany chest of drawers, plates, linen and china. Emma was also to receive Anne’s writing desk. There was a condition that Ellen would have use of these items until her death.

                                      The money that Anne was to receive from her grandfather, William Carrington, and her father, William Housley was to be distributed one third to Joseph, one third to Emma, and one third to be divided between her four neices: John’s daughter Elizabeth, 18, and Sam’s daughters Elizabeth, 10, Mary Ann, 9 and Catharine, age 7 to be paid by the trustees as they think “most useful and proper.” Emma Lyon and Elizabeth Davy were the witnesses.

                                      The Carrington Farm:

                                      Carringtons Farm


                                      CHARLES HOUSLEY 1823-1855

                                      Charles went to Australia in 1851, and was last heard from in January 1853. According to the solicitor, who wrote to George on June 3, 1874, Charles had received advances on the settlement of their parent’s estate. “Your promissory note with the two signed by your brother Charles for 20 pounds he received from his father and 20 pounds he received from his mother are now in the possession of the court.”

                                      Charles and George were probably quite close friends. Anne wrote in 1854: “Charles inquired very particularly in both his letters after you.”

                                      According to Anne, Charles and a friend married two sisters. He and his father-in-law had a farm where they had 130 cows and 60 pigs. Whatever the trade he learned in England, he never worked at it once he reached Australia. While it does not seem that Charles went to Australia because gold had been discovered there, he was soon caught up in “gold fever”. Anne wrote: “I dare say you have heard of the immense gold fields of Australia discovered about the time he went. Thousands have since then emigrated to Australia, both high and low. Such accounts we heard in the papers of people amassing fortunes we could not believe. I asked him when I wrote if it was true. He said this was no exaggeration for people were making their fortune daily and he intended going to the diggings in six weeks for he could stay away no longer so that we are hoping to hear of his success if he is alive.”

                                      In March 1856, Mrs. Davy wrote: “I am sorry to tell thee they have had a letter from Charles’s wife giving account of Charles’s death of 6 months consumption at the Victoria diggings. He has left 2 children a boy and a girl William and Ellen.” In June of the same year in a black edged letter, Emma wrote: “I think Mrs. Davy mentioned Charles’s death in her note. His wife wrote to us. They have two children Helen and William. Poor dear little things. How much I should like to see them all. She writes very affectionately.”

                                      In December 1872, Joseph wrote: “I’m told that Charles two daughters has wrote to Smalley post office making inquiries about his share….” In January 1876, the solicitor wrote: “Charles Housley’s children have claimed their father’s share.”


                                      GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

                                      George emigrated to the United states in 1851, arriving in July. The solicitor Abraham John Flint referred in a letter to a 15-pound advance which was made to George on June 9, 1851. This certainly was connected to his journey. George settled along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The letters from the solicitor were addressed to: Lahaska Post Office, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

                                      George married Sarah Ann Hill on May 6, 1854 in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In her first letter (February 1854), Anne wrote: “We want to know who and what is this Miss Hill you name in your letter. What age is she? Send us all the particulars but I would advise you not to get married until you have sufficient to make a comfortable home.”

                                      Upon learning of George’s marriage, Anne wrote: “I hope dear brother you may be happy with your wife….I hope you will be as a son to her parents. Mother unites with me in kind love to you both and to your father and mother with best wishes for your health and happiness.” In 1872 (December) Joseph wrote: “I am sorry to hear that sister’s father is so ill. It is what we must all come to some time and hope we shall meet where there is no more trouble.”

                                      Emma wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

                                      In September 1872, Joseph wrote, “I was very sorry to hear that John your oldest had met with such a sad accident but I hope he is got alright again by this time.” In the same letter, Joseph asked: “Now I want to know what sort of a town you are living in or village. How far is it from New York? Now send me all particulars if you please.”

                                      In March 1873 Harriet asked Sarah Ann: “And will you please send me all the news at the place and what it is like for it seems to me that it is a wild place but you must tell me what it is like….”.  The question of whether she was referring to Bucks County, Pennsylvania or some other place is raised in Joseph’s letter of the same week.
                                      On March 17, 1873, Joseph wrote: “I was surprised to hear that you had gone so far away west. Now dear brother what ever are you doing there so far away from home and family–looking out for something better I suppose.”

                                      The solicitor wrote on May 23, 1874: “Lately I have not written because I was not certain of your address and because I doubted I had much interesting news to tell you.” Later, Joseph wrote concerning the problems settling the estate, “You see dear brother there is only me here on our side and I cannot do much. I wish you were here to help me a bit and if you think of going for another summer trip this turn you might as well run over here.”

                                      Apparently, George had indicated he might return to England for a visit in 1856. Emma wrote concerning the portrait of their mother which had been sent to George: “I hope you like mother’s portrait. I did not see it but I suppose it was not quite perfect about the eyes….Joseph and I intend having ours taken for you when you come over….Do come over before very long.”

                                      In March 1873, Joseph wrote: “You ask me what I think of you coming to England. I think as you have given the trustee power to sign for you I think you could do no good but I should like to see you once again for all that. I can’t say whether there would be anything amiss if you did come as you say it would be throwing good money after bad.”

                                      On June 10, 1875, the solicitor wrote: “I have been expecting to hear from you for some time past. Please let me hear what you are doing and where you are living and how I must send you your money.” George’s big news at that time was that on May 3, 1875, he had become a naturalized citizen “renouncing and abjuring all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state and sovereignity whatsoever, and particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain of whom he was before a subject.”


                                      ROBERT HOUSLEY 1832-1851

                                      In 1854, Anne wrote: “Poor Robert. He died in August after you left he broke a blood vessel in the lung.”
                                      From Joseph’s first letter we learn that Robert was 19 when he died: “Dear brother there have been a great many changes in the family since you left us. All is gone except myself and John and Sam–we have heard nothing of him since he left. Robert died first when he was 19 years of age. Then Anne and Charles too died in Australia and then a number of years elapsed before anyone else. Then John lost his wife, then Emma, and last poor dear mother died last January on the 11th.”

                                      Anne described Robert’s death in this way: “He had thrown up blood many times before in the spring but the last attack weakened him that he only lived a fortnight after. He died at Derby. Mother was with him. Although he suffered much he never uttered a murmur or regret and always a smile on his face for everyone that saw him. He will be regretted by all that knew him”.

                                      Robert died a resident of St. Peter’s Parish, Derby, but was buried in Smalley on August 16, 1851.
                                      Apparently Robert was apprenticed to be a joiner for, according to Anne, Joseph took his place: “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after and is there still.”

                                      In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


                                      EMMA HOUSLEY 1836-1871

                                      Emma was not mentioned in Anne’s first letter. In the second, Anne wrote that Emma was living at Spondon with two ladies in her “third situation,” and added, “She is grown a bouncing woman.” Anne described her sister well. Emma wrote in her first letter (November 12, 1855): “I must tell you that I am just 21 and we had my pudding last Sunday. I wish I could send you a piece.”

                                      From Emma’s letters we learn that she was living in Derby from May until November 1855 with Mr. Haywood, an iron merchant. She explained, “He has failed and I have been obliged to leave,” adding, “I expect going to a new situation very soon. It is at Belper.” In 1851 records, William Haywood, age 22, was listed as an iron foundry worker. In the 1857 Derby Directory, James and George were listed as iron and brass founders and ironmongers with an address at 9 Market Place, Derby.

                                      In June 1856, Emma wrote from “The Cedars, Ashbourne Road” where she was working for Mr. Handysides.
                                      While she was working for Mr. Handysides, Emma wrote: “Mother is thinking of coming to live at Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I.”

                                      Friargate and Ashbourne Road were located in St. Werburgh’s Parish. (In fact, St. Werburgh’s vicarage was at 185 Surrey Street. This clue led to the discovery of the record of Emma’s marriage on May 6, 1858, to Edwin Welch Harvey, son of Samuel Harvey in St. Werburgh’s.)

                                      In 1872, Joseph wrote: “Our sister Emma, she died at Derby at her own home for she was married. She has left two young children behind. The husband was the son of the man that I went apprentice to and has caused a great deal of trouble to our family and I believe hastened poor Mother’s death….”.   Joseph added that he believed Emma’s “complaint” was consumption and that she was sick a good bit. Joseph wrote: “Mother was living with John when I came home (from Ascension Island around 1867? or to Smalley from Derby around 1870?) for when Emma was married she broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby did not agree with her so she had to leave it again but left all her things there.”

                                      Emma Housley and Edwin Welch Harvey wedding, 1858:

                                      Emma Housley wedding


                                      JOSEPH HOUSLEY 1838-1893

                                      We first hear of Joseph in a letter from Anne to George in 1854. “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after (probably 1851) and is there still. He is grown as tall as you I think quite a man.” Emma concurred in her first letter: “He is quite a man in his appearance and quite as tall as you.”

                                      From Emma we learn in 1855: “Joseph has left Mr. Harvey. He had not work to employ him. So mother thought he had better leave his indenture and be at liberty at once than wait for Harvey to be a bankrupt. He has got a very good place of work now and is very steady.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote “Joseph and I intend to have our portraits taken for you when you come over….Mother is thinking of coming to Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I. Joseph is very hearty I am happy to say.”

                                      According to Joseph’s letters, he was married to Harriet Ballard. Joseph described their miraculous reunion in this way: “I must tell you that I have been abroad myself to the Island of Ascension. (Elsewhere he wrote that he was on the island when the American civil war broke out). I went as a Royal Marine and worked at my trade and saved a bit of money–enough to buy my discharge and enough to get married with but while I was out on the island who should I meet with there but my dear wife’s sister. (On two occasions Joseph and Harriet sent George the name and address of Harriet’s sister, Mrs. Brooks, in Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, but it is not clear whether this was the same sister.) She was lady’s maid to the captain’s wife. Though I had never seen her before we got to know each other somehow so from that me and my wife recommenced our correspondence and you may be sure I wanted to get home to her. But as soon as I did get home that is to England I was not long before I was married and I have not regretted yet for we are very comfortable as well as circumstances will allow for I am only a journeyman joiner.”

                                      Proudly, Joseph wrote: “My little family consists of three nice children–John, Joseph and Susy Annie.” On her birth certificate, Susy Ann’s birthdate is listed as 1871. Parish records list a Lucy Annie christened in 1873. The boys were born in Derby, John in 1868 and Joseph in 1869. In his second letter, Joseph repeated: “I have got three nice children, a good wife and I often think is more than I have deserved.” On August 6, 1873, Joseph and Harriet wrote: “We both thank you dear sister for the pieces of money you sent for the children. I don’t know as I have ever see any before.” Joseph ended another letter: “Now I must close with our kindest love to you all and kisses from the children.”

                                      In Harriet’s letter to Sarah Ann (March 19, 1873), she promised: “I will send you myself and as soon as the weather gets warm as I can take the children to Derby, I will have them taken and send them, but it is too cold yet for we have had a very cold winter and a great deal of rain.” At this time, the children were all under 6 and the baby was not yet two.

                                      In March 1873 Joseph wrote: “I have been working down at Heanor gate there is a joiner shop there where Kings used to live I have been working there this winter and part of last summer but the wages is very low but it is near home that is one comfort.” (Heanor Gate is about 1/4 mile from Kidsley Grange. There was a school and industrial park there in 1988.) At this time Joseph and his family were living in “the big house–in Old Betty Hanson’s house.” The address in the 1871 census was Smalley Lane.

                                      A glimpse into Joseph’s personality is revealed by this remark to George in an 1872 letter: “Many thanks for your portrait and will send ours when we can get them taken for I never had but one taken and that was in my old clothes and dear Harriet is not willing to part with that. I tell her she ought to be satisfied with the original.”

                                      On one occasion Joseph and Harriet both sent seeds. (Marks are still visible on the paper.) Joseph sent “the best cow cabbage seed in the country–Robinson Champion,” and Harriet sent red cabbage–Shaw’s Improved Red. Possibly cow cabbage was also known as ox cabbage: “I hope you will have some good cabbages for the Ox cabbage takes all the prizes here. I suppose you will be taking the prizes out there with them.” Joseph wrote that he would put the name of the seeds by each “but I should think that will not matter. You will tell the difference when they come up.”

                                      George apparently would have liked Joseph to come to him as early as 1854. Anne wrote: “As to his coming to you that must be left for the present.” In 1872, Joseph wrote: “I have been thinking of making a move from here for some time before I heard from you for it is living from hand to mouth and never certain of a job long either.” Joseph then made plans to come to the United States in the spring of 1873. “For I intend all being well leaving England in the spring. Many thanks for your kind offer but I hope we shall be able to get a comfortable place before we have been out long.” Joseph promised to bring some things George wanted and asked: “What sort of things would be the best to bring out there for I don’t want to bring a lot that is useless.” Joseph’s plans are confirmed in a letter from the solicitor May 23, 1874: “I trust you are prospering and in good health. Joseph seems desirous of coming out to you when this is settled.”

                                      George must have been reminiscing about gooseberries (Heanor has an annual gooseberry show–one was held July 28, 1872) and Joseph promised to bring cuttings when they came: “Dear Brother, I could not get the gooseberries for they was all gathered when I received your letter but we shall be able to get some seed out the first chance and I shall try to bring some cuttings out along.” In the same letter that he sent the cabbage seeds Joseph wrote: “I have got some gooseberries drying this year for you. They are very fine ones but I have only four as yet but I was promised some more when they were ripe.” In another letter Joseph sent gooseberry seeds and wrote their names: Victoria, Gharibaldi and Globe.

                                      In September 1872 Joseph wrote; “My wife is anxious to come. I hope it will suit her health for she is not over strong.” Elsewhere Joseph wrote that Harriet was “middling sometimes. She is subject to sick headaches. It knocks her up completely when they come on.” In December 1872 Joseph wrote, “Now dear brother about us coming to America you know we shall have to wait until this affair is settled and if it is not settled and thrown into Chancery I’m afraid we shall have to stay in England for I shall never be able to save money enough to bring me out and my family but I hope of better things.”

                                      On July 19, 1875 Abraham Flint (the solicitor) wrote: “Joseph Housley has removed from Smalley and is working on some new foundry buildings at Little Chester near Derby. He lives at a village called Little Eaton near Derby. If you address your letter to him as Joseph Housley, carpenter, Little Eaton near Derby that will no doubt find him.”

                                      George did not save any letters from Joseph after 1874, hopefully he did reach him at Little Eaton. Joseph and his family are not listed in either Little Eaton or Derby on the 1881 census.

                                      In his last letter (February 11, 1874), Joseph sounded very discouraged and wrote that Harriet’s parents were very poorly and both had been “in bed for a long time.” In addition, Harriet and the children had been ill.
                                      The move to Little Eaton may indicate that Joseph received his settlement because in August, 1873, he wrote: “I think this is bad news enough and bad luck too, but I have had little else since I came to live at Kiddsley cottages but perhaps it is all for the best if one could only think so. I have begun to think there will be no chance for us coming over to you for I am afraid there will not be so much left as will bring us out without it is settled very shortly but I don’t intend leaving this house until it is settled either one way or the other. “

                                      Joseph Housley and the Kiddsley cottages:

                                      Joseph Housley


                                        From Tanganyika with Love

                                        continued part 9

                                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                        Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        We had a novel Christmas this year. We decided to avoid the expense of
                                        entertaining and being entertained at Lyamungu, and went off to spend Christmas
                                        camping in a forest on the Western slopes of Kilimanjaro. George decided to combine
                                        business with pleasure and in this way we were able to use Government transport.
                                        We set out the day before Christmas day and drove along the road which skirts
                                        the slopes of Kilimanjaro and first visited a beautiful farm where Philip Teare, the ex
                                        Game Warden, and his wife Mary are staying. We had afternoon tea with them and then
                                        drove on in to the natural forest above the estate and pitched our tent beside a small
                                        clear mountain stream. We decorated the tent with paper streamers and a few small
                                        balloons and John found a small tree of the traditional shape which we decorated where
                                        it stood with tinsel and small ornaments.

                                        We put our beer, cool drinks for the children and bottles of fresh milk from Simba
                                        Estate, in the stream and on Christmas morning they were as cold as if they had been in
                                        the refrigerator all night. There were not many presents for the children, there never are,
                                        but they do not seem to mind and are well satisfied with a couple of balloons apiece,
                                        sweets, tin whistles and a book each.

                                        George entertain the children before breakfast. He can make a magical thing out
                                        of the most ordinary balloon. The children watched entranced as he drew on his pipe
                                        and then blew the smoke into the balloon. He then pinched the neck of the balloon
                                        between thumb and forefinger and released the smoke in little puffs. Occasionally the
                                        balloon ejected a perfect smoke ring and the forest rang with shouts of “Do it again
                                        Daddy.” Another trick was to blow up the balloon to maximum size and then twist the
                                        neck tightly before releasing. Before subsiding the balloon darted about in a crazy
                                        fashion causing great hilarity. Such fun, at the cost of a few pence.

                                        After breakfast George went off to fish for trout. John and Jim decided that they
                                        also wished to fish so we made rods out of sticks and string and bent pins and they
                                        fished happily, but of course quite unsuccessfully, for hours. Both of course fell into the
                                        stream and got soaked, but I was prepared for this, and the little stream was so shallow
                                        that they could not come to any harm. Henry played happily in the sand and I had a
                                        most peaceful morning.

                                        Hamisi roasted a chicken in a pot over the camp fire and the jelly set beautifully in the
                                        stream. So we had grilled trout and chicken for our Christmas dinner. I had of course
                                        taken an iced cake for the occasion and, all in all, it was a very successful Christmas day.
                                        On Boxing day we drove down to the plains where George was to investigate a
                                        report of game poaching near the Ngassari Furrow. This is a very long ditch which has
                                        been dug by the Government for watering the Masai stock in the area. It is also used by
                                        game and we saw herds of zebra and wildebeest, and some Grant’s Gazelle and
                                        giraffe, all comparatively tame. At one point a small herd of zebra raced beside the lorry
                                        apparently enjoying the fun of a gallop. They were all sleek and fat and looked wild and
                                        beautiful in action.

                                        We camped a considerable distance from the water but this precaution did not
                                        save us from the mosquitoes which launched a vicious attack on us after sunset, so that
                                        we took to our beds unusually early. They were on the job again when we got up at
                                        sunrise so I was very glad when we were once more on our way home.

                                        “I like Christmas safari. Much nicer that silly old party,” said John. I agree but I think
                                        it is time that our children learned to play happily with others. There are no other young
                                        children at Lyamungu though there are two older boys and a girl who go to boarding
                                        school in Nairobi.

                                        On New Years Day two Army Officers from the military camp at Moshi, came for
                                        tea and to talk game hunting with George. I think they rather enjoy visiting a home and
                                        seeing children and pets around.


                                        Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        So the war in Europe is over at last. It is such marvellous news that I can hardly
                                        believe it. To think that as soon as George can get leave we will go to England and
                                        bring Ann and George home with us to Tanganyika. When we know when this leave can
                                        be arranged we will want Kate to join us here as of course she must go with us to
                                        England to meet George’s family. She has become so much a part of your lives that I
                                        know it will be a wrench for you to give her up but I know that you will all be happy to
                                        think that soon our family will be reunited.

                                        The V.E. celebrations passed off quietly here. We all went to Moshi to see the
                                        Victory Parade of the King’s African Rifles and in the evening we went to a celebration
                                        dinner at the Game Warden’s house. Besides ourselves the Moores had invited the
                                        Commanding Officer from Moshi and a junior officer. We had a very good dinner and
                                        many toasts including one to Mrs Moore’s brother, Oliver Milton who is fighting in Burma
                                        and has recently been awarded the Military Cross.

                                        There was also a celebration party for the children in the grounds of the Moshi
                                        Club. Such a spread! I think John and Jim sampled everything. We mothers were
                                        having our tea separately and a friend laughingly told me to turn around and have a look.
                                        I did, and saw the long tea tables now deserted by all the children but my two sons who
                                        were still eating steadily, and finding the party more exciting than the game of Musical
                                        Bumps into which all the other children had entered with enthusiasm.

                                        There was also an extremely good puppet show put on by the Italian prisoners
                                        of war from the camp at Moshi. They had made all the puppets which included well
                                        loved characters like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Babes in the Wood as
                                        well as more sophisticated ones like an irritable pianist and a would be prima donna. The
                                        most popular puppets with the children were a native askari and his family – a very
                                        happy little scene. I have never before seen a puppet show and was as entranced as
                                        the children. It is amazing what clever manipulation and lighting can do. I believe that the
                                        Italians mean to take their puppets to Nairobi and am glad to think that there, they will
                                        have larger audiences to appreciate their art.

                                        George has just come in, and I paused in my writing to ask him for the hundredth
                                        time when he thinks we will get leave. He says I must be patient because it may be a
                                        year before our turn comes. Shipping will be disorganised for months to come and we
                                        cannot expect priority simply because we have been separated so long from our
                                        children. The same situation applies to scores of other Government Officials.
                                        I have decided to write the story of my childhood in South Africa and about our
                                        life together in Tanganyika up to the time Ann and George left the country. I know you
                                        will have told Kate these stories, but Ann and George were so very little when they left
                                        home that I fear that they cannot remember much.

                                        My Mother-in-law will have told them about their father but she can tell them little
                                        about me. I shall send them one chapter of my story each month in the hope that they
                                        may be interested and not feel that I am a stranger when at last we meet again.


                                        Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        In a months time we will be saying good-bye to Lyamungu. George is to be
                                        transferred to Mbeya and I am delighted, not only as I look upon Mbeya as home, but
                                        because there is now a primary school there which John can attend. I feel he will make
                                        much better progress in his lessons when he realises that all children of his age attend
                                        school. At present he is putting up a strong resistance to learning to read and spell, but
                                        he writes very neatly, does his sums accurately and shows a real talent for drawing. If
                                        only he had the will to learn I feel he would do very well.

                                        Jim now just four, is too young for lessons but too intelligent to be interested in
                                        the ayah’s attempts at entertainment. Yes I’ve had to engage a native girl to look after
                                        Henry from 9 am to 12.30 when I supervise John’s Correspondence Course. She is
                                        clean and amiable, but like most African women she has no initiative at all when it comes
                                        to entertaining children. Most African men and youths are good at this.

                                        I don’t regret our stay at Lyamungu. It is a beautiful spot and the change to the
                                        cooler climate after the heat of Morogoro has been good for all the children. John is still
                                        tall for his age but not so thin as he was and much less pale. He is a handsome little lad
                                        with his large brown eyes in striking contrast to his fair hair. He is wary of strangers but
                                        very observant and quite uncanny in the way he sums up people. He seldom gets up
                                        to mischief but I have a feeling he eggs Jim on. Not that Jim needs egging.

                                        Jim has an absolute flair for mischief but it is all done in such an artless manner that
                                        it is not easy to punish him. He is a very sturdy child with a cap of almost black silky hair,
                                        eyes brown, like mine, and a large mouth which is quick to smile and show most beautiful
                                        white and even teeth. He is most popular with all the native servants and the Game
                                        Scouts. The servants call Jim, ‘Bwana Tembo’ (Mr Elephant) because of his sturdy

                                        Henry, now nearly two years old, is quite different from the other two in
                                        appearance. He is fair complexioned and fair haired like Ann and Kate, with large, black
                                        lashed, light grey eyes. He is a good child, not so merry as Jim was at his age, nor as
                                        shy as John was. He seldom cries, does not care to be cuddled and is independent and
                                        strong willed. The servants call Henry, ‘Bwana Ndizi’ (Mr Banana) because he has an
                                        inexhaustible appetite for this fruit. Fortunately they are very inexpensive here. We buy
                                        an entire bunch which hangs from a beam on the back verandah, and pluck off the
                                        bananas as they ripen. This way there is no waste and the fruit never gets bruised as it
                                        does in greengrocers shops in South Africa. Our three boys make a delightful and
                                        interesting trio and I do wish you could see them for yourselves.

                                        We are delighted with the really beautiful photograph of Kate. She is an
                                        extraordinarily pretty child and looks so happy and healthy and a great credit to you.
                                        Now that we will be living in Mbeya with a school on the doorstep I hope that we will
                                        soon be able to arrange for her return home.


                                        c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 30th October 1945

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        How nice to be able to write c/o Game Dept. Mbeya at the head of my letters.
                                        We arrived here safely after a rather tiresome journey and are installed in a tiny house on
                                        the edge of the township.

                                        We left Lyamungu early on the morning of the 22nd. Most of our goods had
                                        been packed on the big Ford lorry the previous evening, but there were the usual
                                        delays and farewells. Of our servants, only the cook, Hamisi, accompanied us to
                                        Mbeya. Japhet, Tovelo and the ayah had to be paid off and largesse handed out.
                                        Tovelo’s granny had come, bringing a gift of bananas, and she also brought her little
                                        granddaughter to present a bunch of flowers. The child’s little scolded behind is now
                                        completely healed. Gifts had to be found for them too.

                                        At last we were all aboard and what a squash it was! Our few pieces of furniture
                                        and packing cases and trunks, the cook, his wife, the driver and the turney boy, who
                                        were to take the truck back to Lyamungu, and all their bits and pieces, bunches of
                                        bananas and Fanny the dog were all crammed into the body of the lorry. George, the
                                        children and I were jammed together in the cab. Before we left George looked
                                        dubiously at the tyres which were very worn and said gloomily that he thought it most
                                        unlikely that we would make our destination, Dodoma.

                                        Too true! Shortly after midday, near Kwakachinja, we blew a back tyre and there
                                        was a tedious delay in the heat whilst the wheel was changed. We were now without a
                                        spare tyre and George said that he would not risk taking the Ford further than Babati,
                                        which is less than half way to Dodoma. He drove very slowly and cautiously to Babati
                                        where he arranged with Sher Mohammed, an Indian trader, for a lorry to take us to
                                        Dodoma the next morning.

                                        It had been our intention to spend the night at the furnished Government
                                        Resthouse at Babati but when we got there we found that it was already occupied by
                                        several District Officers who had assembled for a conference. So, feeling rather
                                        disgruntled, we all piled back into the lorry and drove on to a place called Bereku where
                                        we spent an uncomfortable night in a tumbledown hut.

                                        Before dawn next morning Sher Mohammed’s lorry drove up, and there was a
                                        scramble to dress by the light of a storm lamp. The lorry was a very dilapidated one and
                                        there was already a native woman passenger in the cab. I felt so tired after an almost
                                        sleepless night that I decided to sit between the driver and this woman with the sleeping
                                        Henry on my knee. It was as well I did, because I soon found myself dosing off and
                                        drooping over towards the woman. Had she not been there I might easily have fallen
                                        out as the battered cab had no door. However I was alert enough when daylight came
                                        and changed places with the woman to our mutual relief. She was now able to converse
                                        with the African driver and I was able to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air!
                                        George, John and Jim were less comfortable. They sat in the lorry behind the
                                        cab hemmed in by packing cases. As the lorry was an open one the sun beat down
                                        unmercifully upon them until George, ever resourceful, moved a table to the front of the
                                        truck. The two boys crouched under this and so got shelter from the sun but they still had
                                        to endure the dust. Fanny complicated things by getting car sick and with one thing and
                                        another we were all jolly glad to get to Dodoma.

                                        We spent the night at the Dodoma Hotel and after hot baths, a good meal and a
                                        good nights rest we cheerfully boarded a bus of the Tanganyika Bus Service next
                                        morning to continue our journey to Mbeya. The rest of the journey was uneventful. We slept two nights on the road, the first at Iringa Hotel and the second at Chimala. We
                                        reached Mbeya on the 27th.

                                        I was rather taken aback when I first saw the little house which has been allocated
                                        to us. I had become accustomed to the spacious houses we had in Morogoro and
                                        Lyamungu. However though the house is tiny it is secluded and has a long garden
                                        sloping down to the road in front and another long strip sloping up behind. The front
                                        garden is shaded by several large cypress and eucalyptus trees but the garden behind
                                        the house has no shade and consists mainly of humpy beds planted with hundreds of
                                        carnations sadly in need of debudding. I believe that the previous Game Ranger’s wife
                                        cultivated the carnations and, by selling them, raised money for War Funds.
                                        Like our own first home, this little house is built of sun dried brick. Its original
                                        owners were Germans. It is now rented to the Government by the Custodian of Enemy
                                        Property, and George has his office in another ex German house.

                                        This afternoon we drove to the school to arrange about enrolling John there. The
                                        school is about four miles out of town. It was built by the German settlers in the late
                                        1930’s and they were justifiably proud of it. It consists of a great assembly hall and
                                        classrooms in one block and there are several attractive single storied dormitories. This
                                        school was taken over by the Government when the Germans were interned on the
                                        outbreak of war and many improvements have been made to the original buildings. The
                                        school certainly looks very attractive now with its grassed playing fields and its lawns and
                                        bright flower beds.

                                        The Union Jack flies from a tall flagpole in front of the Hall and all traces of the
                                        schools German origin have been firmly erased. We met the Headmaster, Mr
                                        Wallington, and his wife and some members of the staff. The school is co-educational
                                        and caters for children from the age of seven to standard six. The leaving age is elastic
                                        owing to the fact that many Tanganyika children started school very late because of lack
                                        of educational facilities in this country.

                                        The married members of the staff have their own cottages in the grounds. The
                                        Matrons have quarters attached to the dormitories for which they are responsible. I felt
                                        most enthusiastic about the school until I discovered that the Headmaster is adamant
                                        upon one subject. He utterly refuses to take any day pupils at the school. So now our
                                        poor reserved Johnny will have to adjust himself to boarding school life.
                                        We have arranged that he will start school on November 5th and I shall be very
                                        busy trying to assemble his school uniform at short notice. The clothing list is sensible.
                                        Boys wear khaki shirts and shorts on weekdays with knitted scarlet jerseys when the
                                        weather is cold. On Sundays they wear grey flannel shorts and blazers with the silver
                                        and scarlet school tie.

                                        Mbeya looks dusty, brown and dry after the lush evergreen vegetation of
                                        Lyamungu, but I prefer this drier climate and there are still mountains to please the eye.
                                        In fact the lower slopes of Lolesa Mountain rise at the upper end of our garden.


                                        c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 21st November 1945

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        We’re quite settled in now and I have got the little house fixed up to my
                                        satisfaction. I have engaged a rather uncouth looking houseboy but he is strong and
                                        capable and now that I am not tied down in the mornings by John’s lessons I am able to
                                        go out occasionally in the mornings and take Jim and Henry to play with other children.
                                        They do not show any great enthusiasm but are not shy by nature as John is.
                                        I have had a good deal of heartache over putting John to boarding school. It
                                        would have been different had he been used to the company of children outside his
                                        own family, or if he had even known one child there. However he seems to be adjusting
                                        himself to the life, though slowly. At least he looks well and tidy and I am quite sure that
                                        he is well looked after.

                                        I must confess that when the time came for John to go to school I simply did not
                                        have the courage to take him and he went alone with George, looking so smart in his
                                        new uniform – but his little face so bleak. The next day, Sunday, was visiting day but the
                                        Headmaster suggested that we should give John time to settle down and not visit him
                                        until Wednesday.

                                        When we drove up to the school I spied John on the far side of the field walking
                                        all alone. Instead of running up with glad greetings, as I had expected, he came almost
                                        reluctently and had little to say. I asked him to show me his dormitory and classroom and
                                        he did so politely as though I were a stranger. At last he volunteered some information.
                                        “Mummy,” he said in an awed voice, Do you know on the night I came here they burnt a
                                        man! They had a big fire and they burnt him.” After a blank moment the penny dropped.
                                        Of course John had started school and November the fifth but it had never entered my
                                        head to tell him about that infamous character, Guy Fawkes!

                                        I asked John’s Matron how he had settled down. “Well”, she said thoughtfully,
                                        John is very good and has not cried as many of the juniors do when they first come
                                        here, but he seems to keep to himself all the time.” I went home very discouraged but
                                        on the Sunday John came running up with another lad of about his own age.” This is my
                                        friend Marks,” he announced proudly. I could have hugged Marks.

                                        Mbeya is very different from the small settlement we knew in the early 1930’s.
                                        Gone are all the colourful characters from the Lupa diggings for the alluvial claims are all
                                        worked out now, gone also are our old friends the Menzies from the Pub and also most
                                        of the Government Officials we used to know. Mbeya has lost its character of a frontier
                                        township and has become almost suburban.

                                        The social life revolves around two places, the Club and the school. The Club
                                        which started out as a little two roomed building, has been expanded and the golf
                                        course improved. There are also tennis courts and a good library considering the size of
                                        the community. There are frequent parties and dances, though most of the club revenue
                                        comes from Bar profits. The parties are relatively sober affairs compared with the parties
                                        of the 1930’s.

                                        The school provides entertainment of another kind. Both Mr and Mrs Wallington
                                        are good amateur actors and I am told that they run an Amateur Dramatic Society. Every
                                        Wednesday afternoon there is a hockey match at the school. Mbeya town versus a
                                        mixed team of staff and scholars. The match attracts almost the whole European
                                        population of Mbeya. Some go to play hockey, others to watch, and others to snatch
                                        the opportunity to visit their children. I shall have to try to arrange a lift to school when
                                        George is away on safari.

                                        I have now met most of the local women and gladly renewed an old friendship
                                        with Sheilagh Waring whom I knew two years ago at Morogoro. Sheilagh and I have
                                        much in common, the same disregard for the trappings of civilisation, the same sense of
                                        the ludicrous, and children. She has eight to our six and she has also been cut off by the
                                        war from two of her children. Sheilagh looks too young and pretty to be the mother of so
                                        large a family and is, in fact, several years younger than I am. her husband, Donald, is a
                                        large quiet man who, as far as I can judge takes life seriously.

                                        Our next door neighbours are the Bank Manager and his wife, a very pleasant
                                        couple though we seldom meet. I have however had correspondence with the Bank
                                        Manager. Early on Saturday afternoon their houseboy brought a note. It informed me
                                        that my son was disturbing his rest by precipitating a heart attack. Was I aware that my
                                        son was about 30 feet up in a tree and balanced on a twig? I ran out and,sure enough,
                                        there was Jim, right at the top of the tallest eucalyptus tree. It would be the one with the
                                        mound of stones at the bottom! You should have heard me fluting in my most
                                        wheedling voice. “Sweets, Jimmy, come down slowly dear, I’ve some nice sweets for

                                        I’ll bet that little story makes you smile. I remember how often you have told me
                                        how, as a child, I used to make your hearts turn over because I had no fear of heights
                                        and how I used to say, “But that is silly, I won’t fall.” I know now only too well, how you
                                        must have felt.


                                        c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 14th January 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        I hope that by now you have my telegram to say that Kate got home safely
                                        yesterday. It was wonderful to have her back and what a beautiful child she is! Kate
                                        seems to have enjoyed the train journey with Miss Craig, in spite of the tears she tells
                                        me she shed when she said good-bye to you. She also seems to have felt quite at
                                        home with the Hopleys at Salisbury. She flew from Salisbury in a small Dove aircraft
                                        and they had a smooth passage though Kate was a little airsick.

                                        I was so excited about her home coming! This house is so tiny that I had to turn
                                        out the little store room to make a bedroom for her. With a fresh coat of whitewash and
                                        pretty sprigged curtains and matching bedspread, borrowed from Sheilagh Waring, the
                                        tiny room looks most attractive. I had also iced a cake, made ice-cream and jelly and
                                        bought crackers for the table so that Kate’s home coming tea could be a proper little

                                        I was pleased with my preparations and then, a few hours before the plane was
                                        due, my crowned front tooth dropped out, peg and all! When my houseboy wants to
                                        describe something very tatty, he calls it “Second-hand Kabisa.” Kabisa meaning
                                        absolutely. That is an apt description of how I looked and felt. I decided to try some
                                        emergency dentistry. I think you know our nearest dentist is at Dar es Salaam five
                                        hundred miles away.

                                        First I carefully dried the tooth and with a match stick covered the peg and base
                                        with Durofix. I then took the infants rubber bulb enema, sucked up some heat from a
                                        candle flame and pumped it into the cavity before filling that with Durofix. Then hopefully
                                        I stuck the tooth in its former position and held it in place for several minutes. No good. I
                                        sent the houseboy to a shop for Scotine and tried the whole process again. No good

                                        When George came home for lunch I appealed to him for advice. He jokingly
                                        suggested that a maize seed jammed into the space would probably work, but when
                                        he saw that I really was upset he produced some chewing gum and suggested that I
                                        should try that . I did and that worked long enough for my first smile anyway.
                                        George and the three boys went to meet Kate but I remained at home to
                                        welcome her there. I was afraid that after all this time away Kate might be reluctant to
                                        rejoin the family but she threw her arms around me and said “Oh Mummy,” We both
                                        shed a few tears and then we both felt fine.

                                        How gay Kate is, and what an infectious laugh she has! The boys follow her
                                        around in admiration. John in fact asked me, “Is Kate a Princess?” When I said
                                        “Goodness no, Johnny, she’s your sister,” he explained himself by saying, “Well, she
                                        has such golden hair.” Kate was less complementary. When I tucked her in bed last night
                                        she said, “Mummy, I didn’t expect my little brothers to be so yellow!” All three boys
                                        have been taking a course of Atebrin, an anti-malarial drug which tinges skin and eyeballs

                                        So now our tiny house is bursting at its seams and how good it feels to have one
                                        more child under our roof. We are booked to sail for England in May and when we return
                                        we will have Ann and George home too. Then I shall feel really content.


                                        c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 2nd March 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        My life just now is uneventful but very busy. I am sewing hard and knitting fast to
                                        try to get together some warm clothes for our leave in England. This is not a simple
                                        matter because woollen materials are in short supply and very expensive, and now that
                                        we have boarding school fees to pay for both Kate and John we have to budget very
                                        carefully indeed.

                                        Kate seems happy at school. She makes friends easily and seems to enjoy
                                        communal life. John also seems reconciled to school now that Kate is there. He no
                                        longer feels that he is the only exile in the family. He seems to rub along with the other
                                        boys of his age and has a couple of close friends. Although Mbeya School is coeducational
                                        the smaller boys and girls keep strictly apart. It is considered extremely
                                        cissy to play with girls.

                                        The local children are allowed to go home on Sundays after church and may bring
                                        friends home with them for the day. Both John and Kate do this and Sunday is a very
                                        busy day for me. The children come home in their Sunday best but bring play clothes to
                                        change into. There is always a scramble to get them to bath and change again in time to
                                        deliver them to the school by 6 o’clock.

                                        When George is home we go out to the school for the morning service. This is
                                        taken by the Headmaster Mr Wallington, and is very enjoyable. There is an excellent
                                        school choir to lead the singing. The service is the Church of England one, but is
                                        attended by children of all denominations, except the Roman Catholics. I don’t think that
                                        more than half the children are British. A large proportion are Greeks, some as old as
                                        sixteen, and about the same number are Afrikaners. There are Poles and non-Nazi
                                        Germans, Swiss and a few American children.

                                        All instruction is through the medium of English and it is amazing how soon all the
                                        foreign children learn to chatter in English. George has been told that we will return to
                                        Mbeya after our leave and for that I am very thankful as it means that we will still be living
                                        near at hand when Jim and Henry start school. Because many of these children have to
                                        travel many hundreds of miles to come to school, – Mbeya is a two day journey from the
                                        railhead, – the school year is divided into two instead of the usual three terms. This
                                        means that many of these children do not see their parents for months at a time. I think
                                        this is a very sad state of affairs especially for the seven and eight year olds but the
                                        Matrons assure me , that many children who live on isolated farms and stations are quite
                                        reluctant to go home because they miss the companionship and the games and
                                        entertainment that the school offers.

                                        My only complaint about the life here is that I see far too little of George. He is
                                        kept extremely busy on this range and is hardly at home except for a few days at the
                                        months end when he has to be at his office to check up on the pay vouchers and the
                                        issue of ammunition to the Scouts. George’s Range takes in the whole of the Southern
                                        Province and the Southern half of the Western Province and extends to the border with
                                        Northern Rhodesia and right across to Lake Tanganyika. This vast area is patrolled by
                                        only 40 Game Scouts because the Department is at present badly under staffed, due
                                        partly to the still acute shortage of rifles, but even more so to the extraordinary reluctance
                                        which the Government shows to allocate adequate funds for the efficient running of the

                                        The Game Scouts must see that the Game Laws are enforced, protect native
                                        crops from raiding elephant, hippo and other game animals. Report disease amongst game and deal with stock raiding lions. By constantly going on safari and checking on
                                        their work, George makes sure the range is run to his satisfaction. Most of the Game
                                        Scouts are fine fellows but, considering they receive only meagre pay for dangerous
                                        and exacting work, it is not surprising that occasionally a Scout is tempted into accepting
                                        a bribe not to report a serious infringement of the Game Laws and there is, of course,
                                        always the temptation to sell ivory illicitly to unscrupulous Indian and Arab traders.
                                        Apart from supervising the running of the Range, George has two major jobs.
                                        One is to supervise the running of the Game Free Area along the Rhodesia –
                                        Tanganyika border, and the other to hunt down the man-eating lions which for years have
                                        terrorised the Njombe District killing hundreds of Africans. Yes I know ‘hundreds’ sounds
                                        fantastic, but this is perfectly true and one day, when the job is done and the official
                                        report published I shall send it to you to prove it!

                                        I hate to think of the Game Free Area and so does George. All the game from
                                        buffalo to tiny duiker has been shot out in a wide belt extending nearly two hundred
                                        miles along the Northern Rhodesia -Tanganyika border. There are three Europeans in
                                        widely spaced camps who supervise this slaughter by African Game Guards. This
                                        horrible measure is considered necessary by the Veterinary Departments of
                                        Tanganyika, Rhodesia and South Africa, to prevent the cattle disease of Rinderpest
                                        from spreading South.

                                        When George is home however, we do relax and have fun. On the Saturday
                                        before the school term started we took Kate and the boys up to the top fishing camp in
                                        the Mporoto Mountains for her first attempt at trout fishing. There are three of these
                                        camps built by the Mbeya Trout Association on the rivers which were first stocked with
                                        the trout hatched on our farm at Mchewe. Of the three, the top camp is our favourite. The
                                        scenery there is most glorious and reminds me strongly of the rivers of the Western
                                        Cape which I so loved in my childhood.

                                        The river, the Kawira, flows from the Rungwe Mountain through a narrow valley
                                        with hills rising steeply on either side. The water runs swiftly over smooth stones and
                                        sometimes only a foot or two below the level of the banks. It is sparkling and shallow,
                                        but in places the water is deep and dark and the banks high. I had a busy day keeping
                                        an eye on the boys, especially Jim, who twice climbed out on branches which overhung
                                        deep water. “Mummy, I was only looking for trout!”

                                        How those kids enjoyed the freedom of the camp after the comparative
                                        restrictions of town. So did Fanny, she raced about on the hills like a mad dog chasing
                                        imaginary rabbits and having the time of her life. To escape the noise and commotion
                                        George had gone far upstream to fish and returned in the late afternoon with three good
                                        sized trout and four smaller ones. Kate proudly showed George the two she had caught
                                        with the assistance or our cook Hamisi. I fear they were caught in a rather unorthodox
                                        manner but this I kept a secret from George who is a stickler for the orthodox in trout


                                        Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        Here we are all together at last in England. You cannot imagine how wonderful it
                                        feels to have the whole Rushby family reunited. I find myself counting heads. Ann,
                                        George, Kate, John, Jim, and Henry. All present and well. We had a very pleasant trip
                                        on the old British India Ship Mantola. She was crowded with East Africans going home
                                        for the first time since the war, many like us, eagerly looking forward to a reunion with their
                                        children whom they had not seen for years. There was a great air of anticipation and
                                        good humour but a little anxiety too.

                                        “I do hope our children will be glad to see us,” said one, and went on to tell me
                                        about a Doctor from Dar es Salaam who, after years of separation from his son had
                                        recently gone to visit him at his school. The Doctor had alighted at the railway station
                                        where he had arranged to meet his son. A tall youth approached him and said, very
                                        politely, “Excuse me sir. Are you my Father?” Others told me of children who had
                                        become so attached to their relatives in England that they gave their parents a very cool
                                        reception. I began to feel apprehensive about Ann and George but fortunately had no
                                        time to mope.

                                        Oh, that washing and ironing for six! I shall remember for ever that steamy little
                                        laundry in the heat of the Red Sea and queuing up for the ironing and the feeling of guilt
                                        at the size of my bundle. We met many old friends amongst the passengers, and made
                                        some new ones, so the voyage was a pleasant one, We did however have our
                                        anxious moments.

                                        John was the first to disappear and we had an anxious search for him. He was
                                        quite surprised that we had been concerned. “I was just talking to my friend Chinky
                                        Chinaman in his workshop.” Could John have called him that? Then, when I returned to
                                        the cabin from dinner one night I found Henry swigging Owbridge’s Lung Tonic. He had
                                        drunk half the bottle neat and the label said ‘five drops in water’. Luckily it did not harm

                                        Jim of course was forever risking his neck. George had forbidden him to climb on
                                        the railings but he was forever doing things which no one had thought of forbidding him
                                        to do, like hanging from the overhead pipes on the deck or standing on the sill of a
                                        window and looking down at the well deck far below. An Officer found him doing this and
                                        gave me the scolding.

                                        Another day he climbed up on a derrick used for hoisting cargo. George,
                                        oblivious to this was sitting on the hatch cover with other passengers reading a book. I
                                        was in the wash house aft on the same deck when Kate rushed in and said, “Mummy
                                        come and see Jim.” Before I had time to more than gape, the butcher noticed Jim and
                                        rushed out knife in hand. “Get down from there”, he bellowed. Jim got, and with such
                                        speed that he caught the leg or his shorts on a projecting piece of metal. The cotton
                                        ripped across the seam from leg to leg and Jim stood there for a humiliating moment in a
                                        sort of revealing little kilt enduring the smiles of the passengers who had looked up from
                                        their books at the butcher’s shout.

                                        That incident cured Jim of his urge to climb on the ship but he managed to give
                                        us one more fright. He was lost off Dover. People from whom we enquired said, “Yes
                                        we saw your little boy. He was by the railings watching that big aircraft carrier.” Now Jim,
                                        though mischievous , is very obedient. It was not until George and I had conducted an
                                        exhaustive search above and below decks that I really became anxious. Could he have
                                        fallen overboard? Jim was returned to us by an unamused Officer. He had been found
                                        in one of the lifeboats on the deck forbidden to children.

                                        Our ship passed Dover after dark and it was an unforgettable sight. Dover Castle
                                        and the cliffs were floodlit for the Victory Celebrations. One of the men passengers sat
                                        down at the piano and played ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’, and people sang and a few
                                        wept. The Mantola docked at Tilbury early next morning in a steady drizzle.
                                        There was a dockers strike on and it took literally hours for all the luggage to be
                                        put ashore. The ships stewards simply locked the public rooms and went off leaving the
                                        passengers shivering on the docks. Eventually damp and bedraggled, we arrived at St
                                        Pancras Station and were given a warm welcome by George’s sister Cath and her
                                        husband Reg Pears, who had come all the way from Nottingham to meet us.
                                        As we had to spend an hour in London before our train left for Nottingham,
                                        George suggested that Cath and I should take the children somewhere for a meal. So
                                        off we set in the cold drizzle, the boys and I without coats and laden with sundry
                                        packages, including a hand woven native basket full of shoes. We must have looked like
                                        a bunch of refugees as we stood in the hall of The Kings Cross Station Hotel because a
                                        supercilious waiter in tails looked us up and down and said, “I’m afraid not Madam”, in
                                        answer to my enquiry whether the hotel could provide lunch for six.
                                        Anyway who cares! We had lunch instead at an ABC tea room — horrible
                                        sausage and a mound or rather sloppy mashed potatoes, but very good ice-cream.
                                        After the train journey in a very grimy third class coach, through an incredibly green and
                                        beautiful countryside, we eventually reached Nottingham and took a bus to Jacksdale,
                                        where George’s mother and sisters live in large detached houses side by side.
                                        Ann and George were at the bus stop waiting for us, and thank God, submitted
                                        to my kiss as though we had been parted for weeks instead of eight years. Even now
                                        that we are together again my heart aches to think of all those missed years. They have
                                        not changed much and I would have picked them out of a crowd, but Ann, once thin and
                                        pale, is now very rosy and blooming. She still has her pretty soft plaits and her eyes are
                                        still a clear calm blue. Young George is very striking looking with sparkling brown eyes, a
                                        ready, slightly lopsided smile, and charming manners.

                                        Mother, and George’s elder sister, Lottie Giles, welcomed us at the door with the
                                        cheering news that our tea was ready. Ann showed us the way to mother’s lovely lilac
                                        tiled bathroom for a wash before tea. Before I had even turned the tap, Jim had hung
                                        form the glass towel rail and it lay in three pieces on the floor. There have since been
                                        similar tragedies. I can see that life in civilisation is not without snags.

                                        I am most grateful that Ann and George have accepted us so naturally and
                                        affectionately. Ann said candidly, “Mummy, it’s a good thing that you had Aunt Cath with
                                        you when you arrived because, honestly, I wouldn’t have known you.”


                                        Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        I am sorry that I have not written for some time but honestly, I don’t know whether
                                        I’m coming or going. Mother handed the top floor of her house to us and the
                                        arrangement was that I should tidy our rooms and do our laundry and Mother would
                                        prepare the meals except for breakfast. It looked easy at first. All the rooms have wall to
                                        wall carpeting and there was a large vacuum cleaner in the box room. I was told a
                                        window cleaner would do the windows.

                                        Well the first time I used the Hoover I nearly died of fright. I pressed the switch
                                        and immediately there was a roar and the bag filled with air to bursting point, or so I
                                        thought. I screamed for Ann and she came at the run. I pointed to the bag and shouted
                                        above the din, “What must I do? It’s going to burst!” Ann looked at me in astonishment
                                        and said, “But Mummy that’s the way it works.” I couldn’t have her thinking me a
                                        complete fool so I switched the current off and explained to Ann how it was that I had
                                        never seen this type of equipment in action. How, in Tanganyika , I had never had a
                                        house with electricity and that, anyway, electric equipment would be superfluous
                                        because floors are of cement which the houseboy polishes by hand, one only has a
                                        few rugs or grass mats on the floor. “But what about Granny’s house in South Africa?’”
                                        she asked, so I explained about your Josephine who threatened to leave if you
                                        bought a Hoover because that would mean that you did not think she kept the house
                                        clean. The sad fact remains that, at fourteen, Ann knows far more about housework than I
                                        do, or rather did! I’m learning fast.

                                        The older children all go to school at different times in the morning. Ann leaves first
                                        by bus to go to her Grammar School at Sutton-in-Ashfield. Shortly afterwards George
                                        catches a bus for Nottingham where he attends the High School. So they have
                                        breakfast in relays, usually scrambled egg made from a revolting dried egg mixture.
                                        Then there are beds to make and washing and ironing to do, so I have little time for
                                        sightseeing, though on a few afternoons George has looked after the younger children
                                        and I have gone on bus tours in Derbyshire. Life is difficult here with all the restrictions on
                                        foodstuffs. We all have ration books so get our fair share but meat, fats and eggs are
                                        scarce and expensive. The weather is very wet. At first I used to hang out the washing
                                        and then rush to bring it in when a shower came. Now I just let it hang.

                                        We have left our imprint upon my Mother-in-law’s house for ever. Henry upset a
                                        bottle of Milk of Magnesia in the middle of the pale fawn bedroom carpet. John, trying to
                                        be helpful and doing some dusting, broke one of the delicate Dresden china candlesticks
                                        which adorn our bedroom mantelpiece.Jim and Henry have wrecked the once
                                        professionally landscaped garden and all the boys together bored a large hole through
                                        Mother’s prized cherry tree. So now Mother has given up and gone off to Bournemouth
                                        for a much needed holiday. Once a week I have the capable help of a cleaning woman,
                                        called for some reason, ‘Mrs Two’, but I have now got all the cooking to do for eight. Mrs
                                        Two is a godsend. She wears, of all things, a print mob cap with a hole in it. Says it
                                        belonged to her Grandmother. Her price is far beyond Rubies to me, not so much
                                        because she does, in a couple of hours, what it takes me all day to do, but because she
                                        sells me boxes of fifty cigarettes. Some non-smoking relative, who works in Players
                                        tobacco factory, passes on his ration to her. Until Mrs Two came to my rescue I had
                                        been starved of cigarettes. Each time I asked for them at the shop the grocer would say,
                                        “Are you registered with us?” Only very rarely would some kindly soul sell me a little
                                        packet of five Woodbines.

                                        England is very beautiful but the sooner we go home to Tanganyika, the better.
                                        On this, George and I and the children agree.


                                        Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        Our return passages have now been booked on the Winchester Castle and we
                                        sail from Southampton on October the sixth. I look forward to returning to Tanganyika but
                                        hope to visit England again in a few years time when our children are older and when
                                        rationing is a thing of the past.

                                        I have grown fond of my Sisters-in-law and admire my Mother-in-law very much.
                                        She has a great sense of humour and has entertained me with stories of her very
                                        eventful life, and told me lots of little stories of the children which did not figure in her
                                        letters. One which amused me was about young George. During one of the air raids
                                        early in the war when the sirens were screaming and bombers roaring overhead Mother
                                        made the two children get into the cloak cupboard under the stairs. Young George
                                        seemed quite unconcerned about the planes and the bombs but soon an anxious voice
                                        asked in the dark, “Gran, what will I do if a spider falls on me?” I am afraid that Mother is
                                        going to miss Ann and George very much.

                                        I had a holiday last weekend when Lottie and I went up to London on a spree. It
                                        was a most enjoyable weekend, though very rushed. We placed ourselves in the
                                        hands of Thos. Cook and Sons and saw most of the sights of London and were run off
                                        our feet in the process. As you all know London I shall not describe what I saw but just
                                        to say that, best of all, I enjoyed walking along the Thames embankment in the evening
                                        and the changing of the Guard at Whitehall. On Sunday morning Lottie and I went to
                                        Kew Gardens and in the afternoon walked in Kensington Gardens.

                                        We went to only one show, ‘The Skin of our Teeth’ starring Vivienne Leigh.
                                        Neither of us enjoyed the performance at all and regretted having spent so much on
                                        circle seats. The show was far too highbrow for my taste, a sort of satire on the survival
                                        of the human race. Miss Leigh was unrecognisable in a blond wig and her voice strident.
                                        However the night was not a dead loss as far as entertainment was concerned as we
                                        were later caught up in a tragicomedy at our hotel.

                                        We had booked communicating rooms at the enormous Imperial Hotel in Russell
                                        Square. These rooms were comfortably furnished but very high up, and we had a rather
                                        terrifying and dreary view from the windows of the enclosed courtyard far below. We
                                        had some snacks and a chat in Lottie’s room and then I moved to mine and went to bed.
                                        I had noted earlier that there was a special lock on the outer door of my room so that
                                        when the door was closed from the inside it automatically locked itself.
                                        I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard a hammering which seemed to
                                        come from my wardrobe. I got up, rather fearfully, and opened the wardrobe door and
                                        noted for the first time that the wardrobe was set in an opening in the wall and that the
                                        back of the wardrobe also served as the back of the wardrobe in the room next door. I
                                        quickly shut it again and went to confer with Lottie.

                                        Suddenly a male voice was raised next door in supplication, “Mary Mother of
                                        God, Help me! They’ve locked me in!” and the hammering resumed again, sometimes
                                        on the door, and then again on the back of the wardrobe of the room next door. Lottie
                                        had by this time joined me and together we listened to the prayers and to the
                                        hammering. Then the voice began to threaten, “If you don’t let me out I’ll jump out of the
                                        window.” Great consternation on our side of the wall. I went out into the passage and
                                        called through the door, “You’re not locked in. Come to your door and I’ll tell you how to
                                        open it.” Silence for a moment and then again the prayers followed by a threat. All the
                                        other doors in the corridor remained shut.

                                        Luckily just then a young man and a woman came walking down the corridor and I
                                        explained the situation. The young man hurried off for the night porter who went into the
                                        next door room. In a matter of minutes there was peace next door. When the night
                                        porter came out into the corridor again I asked for an explanation. He said quite casually,
                                        “It’s all right Madam. He’s an Irish Gentleman in Show Business. He gets like this on a
                                        Saturday night when he has had a drop too much. He won’t give any more trouble
                                        now.” And he didn’t. Next morning at breakfast Lottie and I tried to spot the gentleman in
                                        the Show Business, but saw no one who looked like the owner of that charming Irish

                                        George had to go to London on business last Monday and took the older
                                        children with him for a few hours of sight seeing. They returned quite unimpressed.
                                        Everything was too old and dirty and there were far too many people about, but they
                                        had enjoyed riding on the escalators at the tube stations, and all agreed that the highlight
                                        of the trip was, “Dad took us to lunch at the Chicken Inn.”

                                        Now that it is almost time to leave England I am finding the housework less of a
                                        drudgery, Also, as it is school holiday time, Jim and Henry are able to go on walks with
                                        the older children and so use up some of their surplus energy. Cath and I took the
                                        children (except young George who went rabbit shooting with his uncle Reg, and
                                        Henry, who stayed at home with his dad) to the Wakes at Selston, the neighbouring
                                        village. There were the roundabouts and similar contraptions but the side shows had
                                        more appeal for the children. Ann and Kate found a stall where assorted prizes were
                                        spread out on a sloping table. Anyone who could land a penny squarely on one of
                                        these objects was given a similar one as a prize.

                                        I was touched to see that both girls ignored all the targets except a box of fifty
                                        cigarettes which they were determined to win for me. After numerous attempts, Kate
                                        landed her penny successfully and you would have loved to have seen her radiant little


                                        Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        Back in Tanganyika at last, but not together. We have to stay in Dar es Salaam
                                        until tomorrow when the train leaves for Dodoma. We arrived yesterday morning to find
                                        all the hotels filled with people waiting to board ships for England. Fortunately some
                                        friends came to the rescue and Ann, Kate and John have gone to stay with them. Jim,
                                        Henry and I are sleeping in a screened corner of the lounge of the New Africa Hotel, and
                                        George and young George have beds in the Palm Court of the same hotel.

                                        We travelled out from England in the Winchester Castle under troopship
                                        conditions. We joined her at Southampton after a rather slow train journey from
                                        Nottingham. We arrived after dark and from the station we could see a large ship in the
                                        docks with a floodlit red funnel. “Our ship,” yelled the children in delight, but it was not the
                                        Winchester Castle but the Queen Elizabeth, newly reconditioned.

                                        We had hoped to board our ship that evening but George made enquiries and
                                        found that we would not be allowed on board until noon next day. Without much hope,
                                        we went off to try to get accommodation for eight at a small hotel recommended by the
                                        taxi driver. Luckily for us there was a very motherly woman at the reception desk. She
                                        looked in amusement at the six children and said to me, “Goodness are all these yours,
                                        ducks? Then she called over her shoulder, “Wilf, come and see this lady with lots of
                                        children. We must try to help.” They settled the problem most satisfactorily by turning
                                        two rooms into a dormitory.

                                        In the morning we had time to inspect bomb damage in the dock area of
                                        Southampton. Most of the rubble had been cleared away but there are still numbers of
                                        damaged buildings awaiting demolition. A depressing sight. We saw the Queen Mary
                                        at anchor, still in her drab war time paint, but magnificent nevertheless.
                                        The Winchester Castle was crammed with passengers and many travelled in
                                        acute discomfort. We were luckier than most because the two girls, the three small boys
                                        and I had a stateroom to ourselves and though it was stripped of peacetime comforts,
                                        we had a private bathroom and toilet. The two Georges had bunks in a huge men-only
                                        dormitory somewhere in the bowls of the ship where they had to share communal troop
                                        ship facilities. The food was plentiful but unexciting and one had to queue for afternoon
                                        tea. During the day the decks were crowded and there was squatting room only. The
                                        many children on board got bored.

                                        Port Said provided a break and we were all entertained by the ‘Gully Gully’ man
                                        and his conjuring tricks, and though we had no money to spend at Simon Artz, we did at
                                        least have a chance to stretch our legs. Next day scores of passengers took ill with
                                        sever stomach upsets, whether from food poisoning, or as was rumoured, from bad
                                        water taken on at the Egyptian port, I don’t know. Only the two Georges in our family
                                        were affected and their attacks were comparatively mild.

                                        As we neared the Kenya port of Mombassa, the passengers for Dar es Salaam
                                        were told that they would have to disembark at Mombassa and continue their journey in
                                        a small coaster, the Al Said. The Winchester Castle is too big for the narrow channel
                                        which leads to Dar es Salaam harbour.

                                        From the wharf the Al Said looked beautiful. She was once the private yacht of
                                        the Sultan of Zanzibar and has lovely lines. Our admiration lasted only until we were
                                        shown our cabins. With one voice our children exclaimed, “Gosh they stink!” They did, of
                                        a mixture of rancid oil and sweat and stale urine. The beds were not yet made and the
                                        thin mattresses had ominous stains on them. John, ever fastidious, lifted his mattress and two enormous cockroaches scuttled for cover.

                                        We had a good homely lunch served by two smiling African stewards and
                                        afterwards we sat on deck and that was fine too, though behind ones enjoyment there
                                        was the thought of those stuffy and dirty cabins. That first night nearly everyone,
                                        including George and our older children, slept on deck. Women occupied deck chairs
                                        and men and children slept on the bare decks. Horrifying though the idea was, I decided
                                        that, as Jim had a bad cough, he, Henry and I would sleep in our cabin.

                                        When I announced my intention of sleeping in the cabin one of the passengers
                                        gave me some insecticide spray which I used lavishly, but without avail. The children
                                        slept but I sat up all night with the light on, determined to keep at least their pillows clear
                                        of the cockroaches which scurried about boldly regardless of the light. All the next day
                                        and night we avoided the cabins. The Al Said stopped for some hours at Zanzibar to
                                        offload her deck cargo of live cattle and packing cases from the hold. George and the
                                        elder children went ashore for a walk but I felt too lazy and there was plenty to watch
                                        from deck.

                                        That night I too occupied a deck chair and slept quite comfortably, and next
                                        morning we entered the palm fringed harbour of Dar es Salaam and were home.


                                        Mbeya 1st November 1946

                                        Dearest Family.

                                        Home at last! We are all most happily installed in a real family house about three
                                        miles out of Mbeya and near the school. This house belongs to an elderly German and
                                        has been taken over by the Custodian of Enemy Property and leased to the

                                        The owner, whose name is Shenkel, was not interned but is allowed to occupy a
                                        smaller house on the Estate. I found him in the garden this morning lecturing the children
                                        on what they may do and may not do. I tried to make it quite clear to him that he was not
                                        our landlord, though he clearly thinks otherwise. After he had gone I had to take two
                                        aspirin and lie down to recover my composure! I had been warned that he has this effect
                                        on people.

                                        Mr Shenkel is a short and ugly man, his clothes are stained with food and he
                                        wears steel rimmed glasses tied round his head with a piece of dirty elastic because
                                        one earpiece is missing. He speaks with a thick German accent but his English is fluent
                                        and I believe he is a cultured and clever man. But he is maddening. The children were
                                        more amused than impressed by his exhortations and have happily Christened our
                                        home, ‘Old Shenks’.

                                        The house has very large grounds as the place is really a derelict farm. It suits us
                                        down to the ground. We had no sooner unpacked than George went off on safari after
                                        those maneating lions in the Njombe District. he accounted for one, and a further two
                                        jointly with a Game Scout, before we left for England. But none was shot during the five
                                        months we were away as George’s relief is quite inexperienced in such work. George
                                        thinks that there are still about a dozen maneaters at large. His theory is that a female
                                        maneater moved into the area in 1938 when maneating first started, and brought up her
                                        cubs to be maneaters, and those cubs in turn did the same. The three maneating lions
                                        that have been shot were all in very good condition and not old and maimed as
                                        maneaters usually are.

                                        George anticipates that it will be months before all these lions are accounted for
                                        because they are constantly on the move and cover a very large area. The lions have to
                                        be hunted on foot because they range over broken country covered by bush and fairly
                                        dense thicket.

                                        I did a bit of shooting myself yesterday and impressed our African servants and
                                        the children and myself. What a fluke! Our houseboy came to say that there was a snake
                                        in the garden, the biggest he had ever seen. He said it was too big to kill with a stick and
                                        would I shoot it. I had no gun but a heavy .450 Webley revolver and I took this and
                                        hurried out with the children at my heels.

                                        The snake turned out to be an unusually large puff adder which had just shed its
                                        skin. It looked beautiful in a repulsive way. So flanked by servants and children I took
                                        aim and shot, not hitting the head as I had planned, but breaking the snake’s back with
                                        the heavy bullet. The two native boys then rushed up with sticks and flattened the head.
                                        “Ma you’re a crack shot,” cried the kids in delighted surprise. I hope to rest on my laurels
                                        for a long, long while.

                                        Although there are only a few weeks of school term left the four older children will
                                        start school on Monday. Not only am I pleased with our new home here but also with
                                        the staff I have engaged. Our new houseboy, Reuben, (but renamed Robin by our
                                        children) is not only cheerful and willing but intelligent too, and Jumbe, the wood and
                                        garden boy, is a born clown and a source of great entertainment to the children.

                                        I feel sure that we are all going to be very happy here at ‘Old Shenks!.



                                          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.



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