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      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.


        Prune has got me into this AI stuff… It sounds like gibberish to me, but Idle sounded amazed at the stuff it spewed out.

        With some info on our family story, Prune got it to try and predict the future…

        Sounds like a big plate of bog, but we’ll see how it goes.

        Sure, here are a few possible events that could occur between Mater’s 100th birthday and her death in the Flying Fish Inn story:

        1. Mater decides to throw herself a grand birthday party, inviting all of her friends and family from the small outback town. However, things take a turn for the strange when a group of extraterrestrial beings crash the party and reveal themselves to be long-time fans of Mater’s famous bush tucker cuisine.
        2. Mater begins to experience vivid dreams and hallucinations, in which she is visited by the ghost of her late husband. As the dreams become more frequent, the family begins to suspect that there may be something more to them than just Mater’s mind playing tricks on her.
        3. Mater’s granddaughter Prune becomes increasingly obsessed with her dream of traveling to Mars, and begins to notice strange occurrences happening around the inn that seem to be connected to her aspiration.
        4. A group of eccentric scientists arrive at the inn, conducting research on the local flora and fauna. They eventually discover a species of sentient plants living in the area, and Mater becomes convinced that the plants are communicating with her in her dreams.
        5. With her health declining, Mater begins to spend more and more time tending to her garden, where she is visited by an old kookaburra who seems to possess an otherworldly intelligence. The bird becomes Mater’s companion and confidant in the final days of her life.
        6. As the Great Fires ravage the Australian bush, Mater makes the difficult decision to shut down the inn and evacuate the guests. But as they flee, they realize that the fire is not just a natural disaster, but something far more sinister and mystical.
        7. In her final days, Mater begins to remember strange and vivid details of her life that she never could have known, as if she lived a previous life in another time and place. As she dies, she whispers something to Prune, which opens her eyes to a new reality that may have been hidden from her all along
        8. It turns out the family had a lot of secrets, and the only way to escape it, was to leave the inn, but it was not an escape for all. Through the series of events, secrets are revealed, and some truths cannot be undone.Note that these events are fictional and whimsical in nature, but as they keeps it grounded to a sense of doldrums in the Australian bush and occasionally guests help to unravel some of the overarching mysteries it could make a fitting storyline for the story.

          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.




                From Tanganyika with Love

                continued  ~ part 6

                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                Mchewe 6th June 1937

                Dearest Family,

                Home again! We had an uneventful journey. Kate was as good as gold all the
                way. We stopped for an hour at Bulawayo where we had to change trains but
                everything was simplified for me by a very pleasant man whose wife shared my
                compartment. Not only did he see me through customs but he installed us in our new
                train and his wife turned up to see us off with magazines for me and fruit and sweets for
                Kate. Very, very kind, don’t you think?

                Kate and I shared the compartment with a very pretty and gentle girl called
                Clarice Simpson. She was very worried and upset because she was going home to
                Broken Hill in response to a telegram informing her that her young husband was
                dangerously ill from Blackwater Fever. She was very helpful with Kate whose
                cheerfulness helped Clarice, I think, though I, quite unintentionally was the biggest help
                at the end of our journey. Remember the partial dentures I had had made just before
                leaving Cape Town? I know I shall never get used to the ghastly things, I’ve had them
                two weeks now and they still wobble. Well this day I took them out and wrapped them
                in a handkerchief, but when we were packing up to leave the train I could find the
                handkerchief but no teeth! We searched high and low until the train had slowed down to
                enter Broken Hill station. Then Clarice, lying flat on the floor, spied the teeth in the dark
                corner under the bottom bunk. With much stretching she managed to retrieve the
                dentures covered in grime and fluff. My look of horror, when I saw them, made young
                Clarice laugh. She was met at the station by a very grave elderly couple. I do wonder
                how things turned out for her.

                I stayed overnight with Kate at the Great Northern Hotel, and we set off for
                Mbeya by plane early in the morning. One of our fellow passengers was a young
                mother with a three week old baby. How ideas have changed since Ann was born. This
                time we had a smooth passage and I was the only passenger to get airsick. Although
                there were other women passengers it was a man once again, who came up and
                offered to help. Kate went off with him amiably and he entertained her until we touched
                down at Mbeya.

                George was there to meet us with a wonderful surprise, a little red two seater
                Ford car. She is a bit battered and looks a bit odd because the boot has been
                converted into a large wooden box for carrying raw salt, but she goes like the wind.
                Where did George raise the cash to buy a car? Whilst we were away he found a small
                cave full of bat guano near a large cave which is worked by a man called Bob Sargent.
                As Sargent did not want any competition he bought the contents of the cave from
                George giving him the small car as part payment.

                It was lovely to return to our little home and find everything fresh and tidy and the
                garden full of colour. But it was heartbreaking to go into the bedroom and see George’s
                precious forgotten boots still standing by his empty bed.

                With much love,

                Mchewe 25th June 1937

                Dearest Family,

                Last Friday George took Kate and me in the little red Ford to visit Mr Sargent’s
                camp on the Songwe River which cuts the Mbeya-Mbosi road. Mr Sargent bought
                Hicky-Wood’s guano deposit and also our small cave and is making a good living out of
                selling the bat guano to the coffee farmers in this province. George went to try to interest
                him in a guano deposit near Kilwa in the Southern Province. Mr Sargent agreed to pay
                25 pounds to cover the cost of the car trip and pegging costs. George will make the trip
                to peg the claim and take samples for analysis. If the quality is sufficiently high, George
                and Mr Sargent will go into partnership. George will work the claim and ship out the
                guano from Kilwa which is on the coast of the Southern Province of Tanganyika. So now
                we are busy building castles in the air once more.

                On Saturday we went to Mbeya where George had to attend a meeting of the
                Trout Association. In the afternoon he played in a cricket match so Kate and I spent the
                whole day with the wife of the new Superintendent of Police. They have a very nice
                new house with lawns and a sunken rose garden. Kate had a lovely romp with Kit, her
                three year old son.

                Mrs Wolten also has two daughters by a previous marriage. The elder girl said to
                me, “Oh Mrs Rushby your husband is exactly like the strong silent type of man I
                expected to see in Africa but he is the only one I have seen. I think he looks exactly like
                those men in the ‘Barney’s Tobacco’ advertisements.”

                I went home with a huge pile of magazines to keep me entertained whilst
                George is away on the Kilwa trip.

                Lots of love,

                Mchewe 9th July 1937

                Dearest Family,

                George returned on Monday from his Kilwa safari. He had an entertaining
                tale to tell.

                Before he approached Mr Sargent about going shares in the Kilwa guano
                deposit he first approached a man on the Lupa who had done very well out of a small
                gold reef. This man, however said he was not interested so you can imagine how
                indignant George was when he started on his long trip, to find himself being trailed by
                this very man and a co-driver in a powerful Ford V8 truck. George stopped his car and
                had some heated things to say – awful threats I imagine as to what would happen to
                anyone who staked his claim. Then he climbed back into our ancient little two seater and
                went off like a bullet driving all day and most of the night. As the others took turns in
                driving you can imagine what a feat it was for George to arrive in Kilwa ahead of them.
                When they drove into Kilwa he met them with a bright smile and a bit of bluff –
                quite justifiable under the circumstances I think. He said, you chaps can have a rest now,
                you’re too late.” He then whipped off and pegged the claim. he brought some samples
                of guano back but until it has been analysed he will not know whether the guano will be
                an economic proposition or not. George is not very hopeful. He says there is a good
                deal of sand mixed with the guano and that much of it was damp.

                The trip was pretty eventful for Kianda, our houseboy. The little two seater car
                had been used by its previous owner for carting bags of course salt from his salt pans.
                For this purpose the dicky seat behind the cab had been removed, and a kind of box
                built into the boot of the car. George’s camp kit and provisions were packed into this
                open box and Kianda perched on top to keep an eye on the belongings. George
                travelled so fast on the rough road that at some point during the night Kianda was
                bumped off in the middle of the Game Reserve. George did not notice that he was
                missing until the next morning. He concluded, quite rightly as it happened, that Kianda
                would be picked up by the rival truck so he continued his journey and Kianda rejoined
                him at Kilwa.

                Believe it or not, the same thing happened on the way back but fortunately this
                time George noticed his absence. He stopped the car and had just started back on his
                tracks when Kianda came running down the road still clutching the unlighted storm lamp
                which he was holding in his hand when he fell. The glass was not even cracked.
                We are finding it difficult just now to buy native chickens and eggs. There has
                been an epidemic amongst the poultry and one hesitates to eat the survivors. I have a
                brine tub in which I preserve our surplus meat but I need the chickens for soup.
                I hope George will be home for some months. He has arranged to take a Mr
                Blackburn, a wealthy fruit farmer from Elgin, Cape, on a hunting safari during September
                and October and that should bring in some much needed cash. Lillian Eustace has
                invited Kate and me to spend the whole of October with her in Tukuyu.
                I am so glad that you so much enjoy having Ann and George with you. We miss
                them dreadfully. Kate is a pretty little girl and such a little madam. You should hear the
                imperious way in which she calls the kitchenboy for her meals. “Boy Brekkis, Boy Lunch,
                and Boy Eggy!” are her three calls for the day. She knows no Ki-Swahili.


                Mchewe 8th October 1937

                Dearest Family,

                I am rapidly becoming as superstitious as our African boys. They say the wild
                animals always know when George is away from home and come down to have their
                revenge on me because he has killed so many.

                I am being besieged at night by a most beastly leopard with a half grown cub. I
                have grown used to hearing leopards grunt as they hunt in the hills at night but never
                before have I had one roaming around literally under the windows. It has been so hot at
                night lately that I have been sleeping with my bedroom door open onto the verandah. I
                felt quite safe because the natives hereabouts are law-abiding and in any case I always
                have a boy armed with a club sleeping in the kitchen just ten yards away. As an added
                precaution I also have a loaded .45 calibre revolver on my bedside table, and Fanny
                our bullterrier, sleeps on the mat by my bed. I am also looking after Barney, a fine
                Airedale dog belonging to the Costers. He slept on a mat by the open bedroom door
                near a dimly burning storm lamp.

                As usual I went to sleep with an easy mind on Monday night, but was awakened
                in the early hours of Tuesday by the sound of a scuffle on the front verandah. The noise
                was followed by a scream of pain from Barney. I jumped out of bed and, grabbing the
                lamp with my left hand and the revolver in my right, I rushed outside just in time to see
                two animal figures roll over the edge of the verandah into the garden below. There they
                engaged in a terrific tug of war. Fortunately I was too concerned for Barney to be
                nervous. I quickly fired two shots from the revolver, which incidentally makes a noise like
                a cannon, and I must have startled the leopard for both animals, still locked together,
                disappeared over the edge of the terrace. I fired two more shots and in a few moments
                heard the leopard making a hurried exit through the dry leaves which lie thick under the
                wild fig tree just beyond the terrace. A few seconds later Barney appeared on the low
                terrace wall. I called his name but he made no move to come but stood with hanging
                head. In desperation I rushed out, felt blood on my hands when I touched him, so I
                picked him up bodily and carried him into the house. As I regained the verandah the boy
                appeared, club in hand, having been roused by the shots. He quickly grasped what had
                happened when he saw my blood saturated nightie. He fetched a bowl of water and a
                clean towel whilst I examined Barney’s wounds. These were severe, the worst being a
                gaping wound in his throat. I washed the gashes with a strong solution of pot permang
                and I am glad to say they are healing remarkably well though they are bound to leave
                scars. Fanny, very prudently, had taken no part in the fighting except for frenzied barking
                which she kept up all night. The shots had of course wakened Kate but she seemed
                more interested than alarmed and kept saying “Fanny bark bark, Mummy bang bang.
                Poor Barney lots of blood.”

                In the morning we inspected the tracks in the garden. There was a shallow furrow
                on the terrace where Barney and the leopard had dragged each other to and fro and
                claw marks on the trunk of the wild fig tree into which the leopard climbed after I fired the
                shots. The affair was of course a drama after the Africans’ hearts and several of our
                shamba boys called to see me next day to make sympathetic noises and discuss the

                I went to bed early that night hoping that the leopard had been scared off for
                good but I must confess I shut all windows and doors. Alas for my hopes of a restful
                night. I had hardly turned down the lamp when the leopard started its terrifying grunting
                just under the bedroom windows. If only she would sniff around quietly I should not
                mind, but the noise is ghastly, something like the first sickening notes of a braying
                donkey, amplified here by the hills and the gorge which is only a stones throw from the
                bedroom. Barney was too sick to bark but Fanny barked loud enough for two and the more
                frantic she became the hungrier the leopard sounded. Kate of course woke up and this
                time she was frightened though I assured her that the noise was just a donkey having
                fun. Neither of us slept until dawn when the leopard returned to the hills. When we
                examined the tracks next morning we found that the leopard had been accompanied by
                a fair sized cub and that together they had prowled around the house, kitchen, and out
                houses, visiting especially the places to which the dogs had been during the day.
                As I feel I cannot bear many more of these nights, I am sending a note to the
                District Commissioner, Mbeya by the messenger who takes this letter to the post,
                asking him to send a game scout or an armed policeman to deal with the leopard.
                So don’t worry, for by the time this reaches you I feel sure this particular trouble
                will be over.


                Mchewe 17th October 1937

                Dearest Family,

                More about the leopard I fear! My messenger returned from Mbeya to say that
                the District Officer was on safari so he had given the message to the Assistant District
                Officer who also apparently left on safari later without bothering to reply to my note, so
                there was nothing for me to do but to send for the village Nimrod and his muzzle loader
                and offer him a reward if he could frighten away or kill the leopard.

                The hunter, Laza, suggested that he should sleep at the house so I went to bed
                early leaving Laza and his two pals to make themselves comfortable on the living room
                floor by the fire. Laza was armed with a formidable looking muzzle loader, crammed I
                imagine with nuts and bolts and old rusty nails. One of his pals had a spear and the other
                a panga. This fellow was also in charge of the Petromax pressure lamp whose light was
                hidden under a packing case. I left the campaign entirely to Laza’s direction.
                As usual the leopard came at midnight stealing down from the direction of the
                kitchen and announcing its presence and position with its usual ghastly grunts. Suddenly
                pandemonium broke loose on the back verandah. I heard the roar of the muzzle loader
                followed by a vigourous tattoo beaten on an empty paraffin tin and I rushed out hoping
                to find the dead leopard. however nothing of the kind had happened except that the
                noise must have scared the beast because she did not return again that night. Next
                morning Laza solemnly informed me that, though he had shot many leopards in his day,
                this was no ordinary leopard but a “sheitani” (devil) and that as his gun was no good
                against witchcraft he thought he might as well retire from the hunt. Scared I bet, and I
                don’t blame him either.

                You can imagine my relief when a car rolled up that afternoon bringing Messers
                Stewart and Griffiths, two farmers who live about 15 miles away, between here and
                Mbeya. They had a note from the Assistant District Officer asking them to help me and
                they had come to set up a trap gun in the garden. That night the leopard sniffed all
                around the gun and I had the added strain of waiting for the bang and wondering what I
                should do if the beast were only wounded. I conjured up horrible visions of the two little
                totos trotting up the garden path with the early morning milk and being horribly mauled,
                but I needn’t have worried because the leopard was far too wily to be caught that way.
                Two more ghastly nights passed and then I had another visitor, a Dr Jackson of
                the Tsetse Department on safari in the District. He listened sympathetically to my story
                and left his shotgun and some SSG cartridges with me and instructed me to wait until the
                leopard was pretty close and blow its b—– head off. It was good of him to leave his
                gun. George always says there are three things a man should never lend, ‘His wife, his
                gun and his dog.’ (I think in that order!)I felt quite cheered by Dr Jackson’s visit and sent
                once again for Laza last night and arranged a real show down. In the afternoon I draped
                heavy blankets over the living room windows to shut out the light of the pressure lamp
                and the four of us, Laza and his two stooges and I waited up for the leopard. When we
                guessed by her grunts that she was somewhere between the kitchen and the back door
                we all rushed out, first the boy with the panga and the lamp, next Laza with his muzzle
                loader, then me with the shotgun followed closely by the boy with the spear. What a
                farce! The lamp was our undoing. We were blinded by the light and did not even
                glimpse the leopard which made off with a derisive grunt. Laza said smugly that he knew
                it was hopeless to try and now I feel tired and discouraged too.

                This morning I sent a runner to Mbeya to order the hotel taxi for tomorrow and I
                shall go to friends in Mbeya for a day or two and then on to Tukuyu where I shall stay
                with the Eustaces until George returns from Safari.


                Mchewe 18th November 1937

                My darling Ann,

                Here we are back in our own home and how lovely it is to have Daddy back from
                safari. Thank you very much for your letter. I hope by now you have got mine telling you
                how very much I liked the beautiful tray cloth you made for my birthday. I bet there are
                not many little girls of five who can embroider as well as you do, darling. The boy,
                Matafari, washes and irons it so carefully and it looks lovely on the tea tray.

                Daddy and I had some fun last night. I was in bed and Daddy was undressing
                when we heard a funny scratching noise on the roof. I thought it was the leopard. Daddy
                quickly loaded his shotgun and ran outside. He had only his shirt on and he looked so
                funny. I grabbed the loaded revolver from the cupboard and ran after Dad in my nightie
                but after all the rush it was only your cat, Winnie, though I don’t know how she managed
                to make such a noise. We felt so silly, we laughed and laughed.

                Kate talks a lot now but in such a funny way you would laugh to her her. She
                hears the houseboys call me Memsahib so sometimes instead of calling me Mummy
                she calls me “Oompaab”. She calls the bedroom a ‘bippon’ and her little behind she
                calls her ‘sittendump’. She loves to watch Mandawi’s cattle go home along the path
                behind the kitchen. Joseph your donkey, always leads the cows. He has a lazy life now.
                I am glad you had such fun on Guy Fawkes Day. You will be sad to leave
                Plumstead but I am sure you will like going to England on the big ship with granny Kate.
                I expect you will start school when you get to England and I am sure you will find that

                God bless my dear little girl. Lots of love from Daddy and Kate,
                and Mummy

                Mchewe 18th November 1937

                Hello George Darling,

                Thank you for your lovely drawing of Daddy shooting an elephant. Daddy says
                that the only thing is that you have drawn him a bit too handsome.

                I went onto the verandah a few minutes ago to pick a banana for Kate from the
                bunch hanging there and a big hornet flew out and stung my elbow! There are lots of
                them around now and those stinging flies too. Kate wears thick corduroy dungarees so
                that she will not get her fat little legs bitten. She is two years old now and is a real little
                pickle. She loves running out in the rain so I have ordered a pair of red Wellingtons and a
                tiny umbrella from a Nairobi shop for her Christmas present.

                Fanny’s puppies have their eyes open now and have very sharp little teeth.
                They love to nip each other. We are keeping the fiercest little one whom we call Paddy
                but are giving the others to friends. The coffee bushes are full of lovely white flowers
                and the bees and ants are very busy stealing their honey.

                Yesterday a troop of baboons came down the hill and Dad shot a big one to
                scare the others off. They are a nuisance because they steal the maize and potatoes
                from the native shambas and then there is not enough food for the totos.
                Dad and I are very proud of you for not making a fuss when you went to the
                dentist to have that tooth out.

                Bye bye, my fine little son.
                Three bags full of love from Kate, Dad and Mummy.

                Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                Dearest Family,

                here is some news that will please you. George has been offered and has
                accepted a job as Forester at Mbulu in the Northern Province of Tanganyika. George
                would have preferred a job as Game Ranger, but though the Game Warden, Philip
                Teare, is most anxious to have him in the Game Department, there is no vacancy at
                present. Anyway if one crops up later, George can always transfer from one
                Government Department to another. Poor George, he hates the idea of taking a job. He
                says that hitherto he has always been his own master and he detests the thought of
                being pushed around by anyone.

                Now however he has no choice. Our capitol is almost exhausted and the coffee
                market shows no signs of improving. With three children and another on the way, he
                feels he simply must have a fixed income. I shall be sad to leave this little farm. I love
                our little home and we have been so very happy here, but my heart rejoices at the
                thought of overseas leave every thirty months. Now we shall be able to fetch Ann and
                George from England and in three years time we will all be together in Tanganyika once

                There is no sale for farms so we will just shut the house and keep on a very small
                labour force just to keep the farm from going derelict. We are eating our hens but will
                take our two dogs, Fanny and Paddy with us.

                One thing I shall be glad to leave is that leopard. She still comes grunting around
                at night but not as badly as she did before. I do not mind at all when George is here but
                until George was accepted for this forestry job I was afraid he might go back to the
                Diggings and I should once more be left alone to be cursed by the leopard’s attentions.
                Knowing how much I dreaded this George was most anxious to shoot the leopard and
                for weeks he kept his shotgun and a powerful torch handy at night.

                One night last week we woke to hear it grunting near the kitchen. We got up very
                quietly and whilst George loaded the shotgun with SSG, I took the torch and got the
                heavy revolver from the cupboard. We crept out onto the dark verandah where George
                whispered to me to not switch on the torch until he had located the leopard. It was pitch
                black outside so all he could do was listen intently. And then of course I spoilt all his
                plans. I trod on the dog’s tin bowl and made a terrific clatter! George ordered me to
                switch on the light but it was too late and the leopard vanished into the long grass of the
                Kalonga, grunting derisively, or so it sounded.

                She never comes into the clearing now but grunts from the hillside just above it.


                Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Journeys end at last. here we are at Mbulu, installed in our new quarters which are
                as different as they possibly could be from our own cosy little home at Mchewe. We
                live now, my dears, in one wing of a sort of ‘Beau Geste’ fort but I’ll tell you more about
                it in my next letter. We only arrived yesterday and have not had time to look around.
                This letter will tell you just about our trip from Mbeya.

                We left the farm in our little red Ford two seater with all our portable goods and
                chattels plus two native servants and the two dogs. Before driving off, George took one
                look at the flattened springs and declared that he would be surprised if we reached
                Mbeya without a breakdown and that we would never make Mbulu with the car so

                However luck was with us. We reached Mbeya without mishap and at one of the
                local garages saw a sturdy used Ford V8 boxbody car for sale. The garage agreed to
                take our small car as part payment and George drew on our little remaining capitol for the
                rest. We spent that night in the house of the Forest Officer and next morning set out in
                comfort for the Northern Province of Tanganyika.

                I had done the journey from Dodoma to Mbeya seven years before so was
                familiar with the scenery but the road was much improved and the old pole bridges had
                been replaced by modern steel ones. Kate was as good as gold all the way. We
                avoided hotels and camped by the road and she found this great fun.
                The road beyond Dodoma was new to me and very interesting country, flat and
                dry and dusty, as little rain falls there. The trees are mostly thorn trees but here and there
                one sees a giant baobab, weird trees with fantastically thick trunks and fat squat branches
                with meagre foliage. The inhabitants of this area I found interesting though. They are
                called Wagogo and are a primitive people who ape the Masai in dress and customs
                though they are much inferior to the Masai in physique. They are also great herders of
                cattle which, rather surprisingly, appear to thrive in that dry area.

                The scenery alters greatly as one nears Babati, which one approaches by a high
                escarpment from which one has a wonderful view of the Rift Valley. Babati township
                appears to be just a small group of Indian shops and shabby native houses, but I
                believe there are some good farms in the area. Though the little township is squalid,
                there is a beautiful lake and grand mountains to please the eye. We stopped only long
                enough to fill up with petrol and buy some foodstuffs. Beyond Babati there is a tsetse
                fly belt and George warned our two native servants to see that no tsetse flies settled on
                the dogs.

                We stopped for the night in a little rest house on the road about 80 miles from
                Arusha where we were to spend a few days with the Forest Officer before going on to
                Mbulu. I enjoyed this section of the road very much because it runs across wide plains
                which are bounded on the West by the blue mountains of the Rift Valley wall. Here for
                the first time I saw the Masai on their home ground guarding their vast herds of cattle. I
                also saw their strange primitive hovels called Manyattas, with their thorn walled cattle
                bomas and lots of plains game – giraffe, wildebeest, ostriches and antelope. Kate was
                wildly excited and entranced with the game especially the giraffe which stood gazing
                curiously and unafraid of us, often within a few yards of the road.

                Finally we came across the greatest thrill of all, my first view of Mt Meru the extinct
                volcano about 16,000 feet high which towers over Arusha township. The approach to
                Arusha is through flourishing coffee plantations very different alas from our farm at Mchewe. George says that at Arusha coffee growing is still a paying proposition
                because here the yield of berry per acre is much higher than in the Southern highlands
                and here in the North the farmers have not such heavy transport costs as the railway runs
                from Arusha to the port at Tanga.

                We stayed overnight at a rather second rate hotel but the food was good and we
                had hot baths and a good nights rest. Next day Tom Lewis the Forest Officer, fetched
                us and we spent a few days camping in a tent in the Lewis’ garden having meals at their
                home. Both Tom and Lillian Lewis were most friendly. Tom lewis explained to George
                what his work in the Mbulu District was to be, and they took us camping in a Forest
                Reserve where Lillian and her small son David and Kate and I had a lovely lazy time
                amidst beautiful surroundings. Before we left for Mbulu, Lillian took me shopping to buy
                material for curtains for our new home. She described the Forest House at Mbulu to me
                and it sounded delightful but alas, when we reached Mbulu we discovered that the
                Assistant District Officer had moved into the Forest House and we were directed to the
                Fort or Boma. The night before we left Arusha for Mbulu it rained very heavily and the
                road was very treacherous and slippery due to the surface being of ‘black cotton’ soil
                which has the appearance and consistency of chocolate blancmange, after rain. To get to
                Mbulu we had to drive back in the direction of Dodoma for some 70 miles and then turn
                to the right and drive across plains to the Great Rift Valley Wall. The views from this
                escarpment road which climbs this wall are magnificent. At one point one looks down
                upon Lake Manyara with its brilliant white beaches of soda.

                The drive was a most trying one for George. We had no chains for the wheels
                and several times we stuck in the mud and our two houseboys had to put grass and
                branches under the wheels to stop them from spinning. Quite early on in the afternoon
                George gave up all hope of reaching Mbulu that day and planned to spend the night in
                a little bush rest camp at Karatu. However at one point it looked as though we would not
                even reach this resthouse for late afternoon found us properly bogged down in a mess
                of mud at the bottom of a long and very steep hill. In spite of frantic efforts on the part of
                George and the two boys, all now very wet and muddy, the heavy car remained stuck.
                Suddenly five Masai men appeared through the bushes beside the road. They
                were all tall and angular and rather terrifying looking to me. Each wore only a blanket
                knotted over one shoulder and all were armed with spears. They lined up by the side of
                the road and just looked – not hostile but simply aloof and supercilious. George greeted
                them and said in Ki-Swahili, “Help to push and I will reward you.” But they said nothing,
                just drawing back imperceptibly to register disgust at the mere idea of manual labour.
                Their expressions said quite clearly “A Masai is a warrior and does not soil his hands.”
                George then did something which startled them I think, as much as me. He
                plucked their spears from their hands one by one and flung them into the back of the
                boxbody. “Now push!” he said, “And when we are safely out of the mud you shall have
                your spears back.” To my utter astonishment the Masai seemed to applaud George’s
                action. I think they admire courage in a man more than anything else. They pushed with a
                will and soon we were roaring up the long steep slope. “I can’t stop here” quoth George
                as up and up we went. The Masai were in mad pursuit with their blankets streaming
                behind. They took a very steep path which was a shortcut to the top. They are certainly
                amazing athletes and reached the top at the same time as the car. Their route of course
                was shorter but much more steep, yet they came up without any sign of fatigue to claim
                their spears and the money which George handed out with a friendly grin. The Masai
                took the whole episode in good heart and we parted on the most friendly terms.

                After a rather chilly night in the three walled shack, we started on the last lap of our
                journey yesterday morning in bright weather and made the trip to Mbulu without incident.


                Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Mbulu is an attractive station but living in this rather romantic looking fort has many
                disadvantages. Our quarters make up one side of the fort which is built up around a
                hollow square. The buildings are single storied but very tall in the German manner and
                there is a tower on one corner from which the Union Jack flies. The tower room is our
                sitting room, and one has very fine views from the windows of the rolling country side.
                However to reach this room one has to climb a steep flight of cement steps from the
                court yard. Another disadvantage of this tower room is that there is a swarm of bees in
                the roof and the stray ones drift down through holes in the ceiling and buzz angrily
                against the window panes or fly around in a most menacing manner.

                Ours are the only private quarters in the Fort. Two other sides of the Fort are
                used as offices, storerooms and court room and the fourth side is simply a thick wall with
                battlements and loopholes and a huge iron shod double door of enormous thickness
                which is always barred at sunset when the flag is hauled down. Two Police Askari always
                remain in the Fort on guard at night. The effect from outside the whitewashed fort is very
                romantic but inside it is hardly homely and how I miss my garden at Mchewe and the
                grass and trees.

                We have no privacy downstairs because our windows overlook the bare
                courtyard which is filled with Africans patiently waiting to be admitted to the courtroom as
                witnesses or spectators. The outside windows which overlook the valley are heavily
                barred. I can only think that the Germans who built this fort must have been very scared
                of the local natives.

                Our rooms are hardly cosy and are furnished with typical heavy German pieces.
                We have a vast bleak bedroom, a dining room and an enormous gloomy kitchen in
                which meals for the German garrison were cooked. At night this kitchen is alive with
                gigantic rats but fortunately they do not seem to care for the other rooms. To crown
                everything owls hoot and screech at night on the roof.

                On our first day here I wandered outside the fort walls with Kate and came upon a
                neatly fenced plot enclosing the graves of about fifteen South African soldiers killed by
                the Germans in the 1914-18 war. I understand that at least one of theses soldiers died in
                the courtyard here. The story goes, that during the period in the Great War when this fort
                was occupied by a troop of South African Horse, a German named Siedtendorf
                appeared at the great barred door at night and asked to speak to the officer in command
                of the Troop. The officer complied with this request and the small shutter in the door was
                opened so that he could speak with the German. The German, however, had not come
                to speak. When he saw the exposed face of the officer, he fired, killing him, and
                escaped into the dark night. I had this tale on good authority but cannot vouch for it. I do
                know though, that there are two bullet holes in the door beside the shutter. An unhappy
                story to think about when George is away, as he is now, and the moonlight throws queer
                shadows in the court yard and the owls hoot.

                However though I find our quarters depressing, I like Mbulu itself very much. It is
                rolling country, treeless except for the plantations of the Forestry Dept. The land is very
                fertile in the watered valleys but the grass on hills and plains is cropped to the roots by
                the far too numerous cattle and goats. There are very few Europeans on the station, only
                Mr Duncan, the District Officer, whose wife and children recently left for England, the
                Assistant District Officer and his wife, a bachelor Veterinary Officer, a Road Foreman and
                ourselves, and down in the village a German with an American wife and an elderly
                Irishman whom I have not met. The Government officials have a communal vegetable
                garden in the valley below the fort which keeps us well supplied with green stuff. 

                Most afternoons George, Kate and I go for walks after tea. On Fridays there is a
                little ceremony here outside the fort. In the late afternoon a little procession of small
                native schoolboys, headed by a drum and penny whistle band come marching up the
                road to a tune which sounds like ‘Two lovely black eyes”. They form up below our tower
                and as the flag is lowered for the day they play ‘God save the King’, and then march off
                again. It is quite a cheerful little ceremony.

                The local Africans are a skinny lot and, I should say, a poor tribe. They protect
                themselves against the cold by wrapping themselves in cotton blankets or a strip of
                unbleached sheeting. This they drape over their heads, almost covering their faces and
                the rest is wrapped closely round their bodies in the manner of a shroud. A most
                depressing fashion. They live in very primitive comfortless houses. They simply make a
                hollow in the hillside and build a front wall of wattle and daub. Into this rude shelter at night
                go cattle and goats, men, women, and children.

                Mbulu village has the usual mud brick and wattle dukas and wattle and daub
                houses. The chief trader is a Goan who keeps a surprisingly good variety of tinned
                foodstuffs and also sells hardware and soft goods.

                The Europeans here have been friendly but as you will have noted there are
                only two other women on station and no children at all to be companions for Kate.


                Mbulu 20th June 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Here we are on Safari with George at Babati where we are occupying a rest
                house on the slopes of Ufiome Mountain. The slopes are a Forest Reserve and
                George is supervising the clearing of firebreaks in preparation for the dry weather. He
                goes off after a very early breakfast and returns home in the late afternoon so Kate and I
                have long lazy days.

                Babati is a pleasant spot and the resthouse is quite comfortable. It is about a mile
                from the village which is just the usual collection of small mud brick and corrugated iron
                Indian Dukas. There are a few settlers in the area growing coffee, or going in for mixed
                farming but I don’t think they are doing very well. The farm adjoining the rest house is
                owned by Lord Lovelace but is run by a manager.

                George says he gets enough exercise clambering about all day on the mountain,
                so Kate and I do our walking in the mornings when George is busy, and we all relax in
                the evenings when George returns from his field work. Kate’s favourite walk is to the big
                block of mtama (sorghum) shambas lower down the hill. There are huge swarms of tiny
                grain eating birds around waiting the chance to plunder the mtama, so the crops are
                watched from sunrise to sunset.

                Crude observation platforms have been erected for this purpose in the centre of
                each field and the women and the young boys of the family concerned, take it in turn to
                occupy the platform and scare the birds. Each watcher has a sling and uses clods of
                earth for ammunition. The clod is placed in the centre of the sling which is then whirled
                around at arms length. Suddenly one end of the sling is released and the clod of earth
                flies out and shatters against the mtama stalks. The sling makes a loud whip like crack and
                the noise is quite startling and very effective in keeping the birds at a safe distance.


                Karatu 3rd July 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Still on safari you see! We left Babati ten days ago and passed through Mbulu
                on our way to this spot. We slept out of doors one night beside Lake Tiawa about eight
                miles from Mbulu. It was a peaceful spot and we enjoyed watching the reflection of the
                sunset on the lake and the waterhens and duck and pelicans settling down for the night.
                However it turned piercingly cold after sunset so we had an early supper and then all
                three of us lay down to sleep in the back of the boxbody (station wagon). It was a tight
                fit and a real case of ‘When Dad turns, we all turn.’

                Here at Karatu we are living in a grass hut with only three walls. It is rather sweet
                and looks like the setting for a Nativity Play. Kate and I share the only camp bed and
                George and the dogs sleep on the floor. The air here is very fresh and exhilarating and
                we all feel very fit. George is occupied all day supervising the cutting of firebreaks
                around existing plantations and the forest reserve of indigenous trees. Our camp is on
                the hillside and below us lie the fertile wheat lands of European farmers.

                They are mostly Afrikaners, the descendants of the Boer families who were
                invited by the Germans to settle here after the Boer War. Most of them are pro-British
                now and a few have called in here to chat to George about big game hunting. George
                gets on extremely well with them and recently attended a wedding where he had a
                lively time dancing at the reception. He likes the older people best as most are great
                individualists. One fine old man, surnamed von Rooyen, visited our camp. He is a Boer
                of the General Smuts type with spare figure and bearded face. George tells me he is a
                real patriarch with an enormous family – mainly sons. This old farmer fought against the
                British throughout the Boer War under General Smuts and again against the British in the
                German East Africa campaign when he was a scout and right hand man to Von Lettow. It
                is said that Von Lettow was able to stay in the field until the end of the Great War
                because he listened to the advise given to him by von Rooyen. However his dislike for
                the British does not extend to George as they have a mutual interest in big game

                Kate loves being on safari. She is now so accustomed to having me as her nurse
                and constant companion that I do not know how she will react to paid help. I shall have to
                get someone to look after her during my confinement in the little German Red Cross
                hospital at Oldeani.

                George has obtained permission from the District Commissioner, for Kate and
                me to occupy the Government Rest House at Oldeani from the end of July until the end
                of August when my baby is due. He will have to carry on with his field work but will join
                us at weekends whenever possible.


                Karatu 12th July 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Not long now before we leave this camp. We have greatly enjoyed our stay
                here in spite of the very chilly earl mornings and the nights when we sit around in heavy
                overcoats until our early bed time.

                Last Sunday I persuaded George to take Kate and me to the famous Ngoro-
                Ngoro Crater. He was not very keen to do so because the road is very bumpy for
                anyone in my interesting condition but I feel so fit that I was most anxious to take this
                opportunity of seeing the enormous crater. We may never be in this vicinity again and in
                any case safari will not be so simple with a small baby.

                What a wonderful trip it was! The road winds up a steep escarpment from which
                one gets a glorious birds eye view of the plains of the Great Rift Valley far, far below.
                The crater is immense. There is a road which skirts the rim in places and one has quite
                startling views of the floor of the crater about two thousand feet below.

                A camp for tourists has just been built in a clearing in the virgin forest. It is most
                picturesque as the camp buildings are very neatly constructed log cabins with very high
                pitched thatched roofs. We spent about an hour sitting on the grass near the edge of the
                crater enjoying the sunshine and the sharp air and really awe inspiring view. Far below us
                in the middle of the crater was a small lake and we could see large herds of game
                animals grazing there but they were too far away to be impressive, even seen through
                George’s field glasses. Most appeared to be wildebeest and zebra but I also picked
                out buffalo. Much more exciting was my first close view of a wild elephant. George
                pointed him out to me as we approached the rest camp on the inward journey. He
                stood quietly under a tree near the road and did not seem to be disturbed by the car
                though he rolled a wary eye in our direction. On our return journey we saw him again at
                almost uncomfortably close quarters. We rounded a sharp corner and there stood the
                elephant, facing us and slap in the middle of the road. He was busily engaged giving
                himself a dust bath but spared time to give us an irritable look. Fortunately we were on a
                slight slope so George quickly switched off the engine and backed the car quietly round
                the corner. He got out of the car and loaded his rifle, just in case! But after he had finished
                his toilet the elephant moved off the road and we took our chance and passed without

                One notices the steepness of the Ngoro-Ngoro road more on the downward
                journey than on the way up. The road is cut into the side of the mountain so that one has
                a steep slope on one hand and a sheer drop on the other. George told me that a lorry
                coming down the mountain was once charged from behind by a rhino. On feeling and
                hearing the bash from behind the panic stricken driver drove off down the mountain as
                fast as he dared and never paused until he reached level ground at the bottom of the
                mountain. There was no sign of the rhino so the driver got out to examine his lorry and
                found the rhino horn embedded in the wooden tail end of the lorry. The horn had been
                wrenched right off!

                Happily no excitement of that kind happened to us. I have yet to see a rhino.


                Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Greetings from a lady in waiting! Kate and I have settled down comfortably in the
                new, solidly built Government Rest House which comprises one large living room and
                one large office with a connecting door. Outside there is a kitchen and a boys quarter.
                There are no resident Government officials here at Oldeani so the office is in use only
                when the District Officer from Mbulu makes his monthly visit. However a large Union
                Jack flies from a flagpole in the front of the building as a gentle reminder to the entirely
                German population of Oldeani that Tanganyika is now under British rule.

                There is quite a large community of German settlers here, most of whom are
                engaged in coffee farming. George has visited several of the farms in connection with his
                forestry work and says the coffee plantations look very promising indeed. There are also
                a few German traders in the village and there is a large boarding school for German
                children and also a very pleasant little hospital where I have arranged to have the baby.
                Right next door to the Rest House is a General Dealers Store run by a couple named
                Schnabbe. The shop is stocked with drapery, hardware, china and foodstuffs all
                imported from Germany and of very good quality. The Schnabbes also sell local farm
                produce, beautiful fresh vegetables, eggs and pure rich milk and farm butter. Our meat
                comes from a German butchery and it is a great treat to get clean, well cut meat. The
                sausages also are marvellous and in great variety.

                The butcher is an entertaining character. When he called round looking for custom I
                expected him to break out in a yodel any minute, as it was obvious from a glance that
                the Alps are his natural background. From under a green Tyrollean hat with feather,
                blooms a round beefy face with sparkling small eyes and such widely spaced teeth that
                one inevitably thinks of a garden rake. Enormous beefy thighs bulge from greasy
                lederhosen which are supported by the traditional embroidered braces. So far the
                butcher is the only cheery German, male or female, whom I have seen, and I have met
                most of the locals at the Schnabbe’s shop. Most of the men seem to have cultivated
                the grim Hitler look. They are all fanatical Nazis and one is usually greeted by a raised
                hand and Heil Hitler! All very theatrical. I always feel like crying in ringing tones ‘God
                Save the King’ or even ‘St George for England’. However the men are all very correct
                and courteous and the women friendly. The women all admire Kate and cry, “Ag, das
                kleine Englander.” She really is a picture with her rosy cheeks and huge grey eyes and
                golden curls. Kate is having a wonderful time playing with Manfried, the Scnabbe’s small
                son. Neither understands a word said by the other but that doesn’t seem to worry them.

                Before he left on safari, George took me to hospital for an examination by the
                nurse, Sister Marianne. She has not been long in the country and knows very little
                English but is determined to learn and carried on an animated, if rather quaint,
                conversation with frequent references to a pocket dictionary. She says I am not to worry
                because there is not doctor here. She is a very experienced midwife and anyway in an
                emergency could call on the old retired Veterinary Surgeon for assistance.
                I asked sister Marianne whether she knew of any German woman or girl who
                would look after Kate whilst I am in hospital and today a very top drawer German,
                bearing a strong likeness to ‘Little Willie’, called and offered the services of his niece who
                is here on a visit from Germany. I was rather taken aback and said, “Oh no Baron, your
                niece would not be the type I had in mind. I’m afraid I cannot pay much for a companion.”
                However the Baron was not to be discouraged. He told me that his niece is seventeen
                but looks twenty, that she is well educated and will make a cheerful companion. Her
                father wishes her to learn to speak English fluently and that is why the Baron wished her
                to come to me as a house daughter. As to pay, a couple of pounds a month for pocket
                money and her keep was all he had in mind. So with some misgivings I agreed to take
                the niece on as a companion as from 1st August.


                Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Never a dull moment since my young companion arrived. She is a striking looking
                girl with a tall boyish figure and very short and very fine dark hair which she wears
                severely slicked back. She wears tweeds, no make up but has shiny rosy cheeks and
                perfect teeth – she also,inevitably, has a man friend and I have an uncomfortable
                suspicion that it is because of him that she was planted upon me. Upon second
                thoughts though, maybe it was because of her excessive vitality, or even because of
                her healthy appetite! The Baroness, I hear is in poor health and I can imagine that such
                abundant health and spirit must have been quite overpowering. The name is Ingeborg,
                but she is called Mouche, which I believe means Mouse. Someone in her family must
                have a sense of humour.

                Her English only needed practice and she now chatters fluently so that I know her
                background and views on life. Mouche’s father is a personal friend of Goering. He was
                once a big noise in the German Airforce but is now connected with the car industry and
                travels frequently and intensively in Europe and America on business. Mouche showed
                me some snap shots of her family and I must say they look prosperous and charming.
                Mouche tells me that her father wants her to learn to speak English fluently so that
                she can get a job with some British diplomat in Cairo. I had immediate thought that I
                might be nursing a future Mata Hari in my bosom, but this was immediately extinguished
                when Mouche remarked that her father would like her to marry an Englishman. However
                it seems that the mere idea revolts her. “Englishmen are degenerates who swill whisky
                all day.” I pointed out that she had met George, who was a true blue Englishman, but
                was nevertheless a fine physical specimen and certainly didn’t drink all day. Mouche
                replied that George is not an Englishman but a hunter, as though that set him apart.
                Mouche is an ardent Hitler fan and an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth
                Movement. The house resounds with Hitler youth songs and when she is not singing,
                her gramophone is playing very stirring marching songs. I cannot understand a word,
                which is perhaps as well. Every day she does the most strenuous exercises watched
                with envy by me as my proportions are now those of a circus Big Top. Mouche eats a
                fantastic amount of meat and I feel it is a blessing that she is much admired by our
                Tyrollean butcher who now delivers our meat in person and adds as a token of his
                admiration some extra sausages for Mouche.

                I must confess I find her stimulating company as George is on safari most of the
                time and my evenings otherwise would be lonely. I am a little worried though about
                leaving Kate here with Mouche when I go to hospital. The dogs and Kate have not taken
                to her. I am trying to prepare Kate for the separation but she says, “She’s not my
                mummy. You are my dear mummy, and I want you, I want you.” George has got
                permission from the Provincial Forestry Officer to spend the last week of August here at
                the Rest House with me and I only hope that the baby will be born during that time.
                Kate adores her dad and will be perfectly happy to remain here with him.

                One final paragraph about Mouche. I thought all German girls were domesticated
                but not Mouche. I have Kesho-Kutwa here with me as cook and I have engaged a local
                boy to do the laundry. I however expected Mouche would take over making the
                puddings and pastry but she informed me that she can only bake a chocolate cake and
                absolutely nothing else. She said brightly however that she would do the mending. As
                there is none for her to do, she has rescued a large worn handkerchief of George’s and
                sits with her feet up listening to stirring gramophone records whilst she mends the
                handkerchief with exquisite darning.


                Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                Dearest Family,

                Just after I had posted my last letter I received what George calls a demi official
                letter from the District Officer informing me that I would have to move out of the Rest
                House for a few days as the Governor and his hangers on would be visiting Oldeani
                and would require the Rest House. Fortunately George happened to be here for a few
                hours and he arranged for Kate and Mouche and me to spend a few days at the
                German School as borders. So here I am at the school having a pleasant and restful
                time and much entertained by all the goings on.

                The school buildings were built with funds from Germany and the school is run on
                the lines of a contemporary German school. I think the school gets a grant from the
                Tanganyika Government towards running expenses, but I am not sure. The school hall is
                dominated by a more than life sized oil painting of Adolf Hitler which, at present, is
                flanked on one side by the German Flag and on the other by the Union Jack. I cannot
                help feeling that the latter was put up today for the Governor’s visit today.
                The teachers are very amiable. We all meet at mealtimes, and though few of the
                teachers speak English, the ones who do are anxious to chatter. The headmaster is a
                scholarly man but obviously anti-British. He says he cannot understand why so many
                South Africans are loyal to Britain – or rather to England. “They conquered your country
                didn’t they?” I said that that had never occurred to me and that anyway I was mainly of
                Scots descent and that loyalty to the crown was natural to me. “But the English
                conquered the Scots and yet you are loyal to England. That I cannot understand.” “Well I
                love England,” said I firmly, ”and so do all British South Africans.” Since then we have
                stuck to English literature. Shakespeare, Lord Byron and Galsworthy seem to be the
                favourites and all, thank goodness, make safe topics for conversation.
                Mouche is in her element but Kate and I do not enjoy the food which is typically
                German and consists largely of masses of fat pork and sauerkraut and unfamiliar soups. I
                feel sure that the soup at lunch today had blobs of lemon curd in it! I also find most
                disconcerting the way that everyone looks at me and says, “Bon appetite”, with much
                smiling and nodding so I have to fight down my nausea and make a show of enjoying
                the meals.

                The teacher whose room adjoins mine is a pleasant woman and I take my
                afternoon tea with her. She, like all the teachers, has a large framed photo of Hitler on her
                wall flanked by bracket vases of fresh flowers. One simply can’t get away from the man!
                Even in the dormitories each child has a picture of Hitler above the bed. Hitler accepting
                flowers from a small girl, or patting a small boy on the head. Even the children use the
                greeting ‘Heil Hitler’. These German children seem unnaturally prim when compared with
                my cheerful ex-pupils in South Africa but some of them are certainly very lovely to look

                Tomorrow Mouche, Kate and I return to our quarters in the Rest House and in a
                few days George will join us for a week.


                Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                Dearest Family,

                You will all be delighted to hear that we have a second son, whom we have
                named John. He is a darling, so quaint and good. He looks just like a little old man with a
                high bald forehead fringed around the edges with a light brown fluff. George and I call
                him Johnny Jo because he has a tiny round mouth and a rather big nose and reminds us
                of A.A.Milne’s ‘Jonathan Jo has a mouth like an O’ , but Kate calls him, ‘My brother John’.
                George was not here when he was born on September 5th, just two minutes
                before midnight. He left on safari on the morning of the 4th and, of course, that very night
                the labour pains started. Fortunately Kate was in bed asleep so Mouche walked with
                me up the hill to the hospital where I was cheerfully received by Sister Marianne who
                had everything ready for the confinement. I was lucky to have such an experienced
                midwife because this was a breech birth and sister had to manage single handed. As
                there was no doctor present I was not allowed even a sniff of anaesthetic. Sister slaved
                away by the light of a pressure lamp endeavouring to turn the baby having first shoved
                an inverted baby bath under my hips to raise them.

                What a performance! Sister Marianne was very much afraid that she might not be
                able to save the baby and great was our relief when at last she managed to haul him out
                by the feet. One slap and the baby began to cry without any further attention so Sister
                wrapped him up in a blanket and took Johnny to her room for the night. I got very little
                sleep but was so thankful to have the ordeal over that I did not mind even though I
                heard a hyaena cackling and calling under my window in a most evil way.
                When Sister brought Johnny to me in the early morning I stared in astonishment.
                Instead of dressing him in one of his soft Viyella nighties, she had dressed him in a short
                sleeved vest of knitted cotton with a cotton cloth swayed around his waist sarong
                fashion. When I protested, “But Sister why is the baby not dressed in his own clothes?”
                She answered firmly, “I find it is not allowed. A baby’s clotheses must be boiled and I
                cannot boil clotheses of wool therefore your baby must wear the clotheses of the Red

                It was the same with the bedding. Poor Johnny lies all day in a deep wicker
                basket with a detachable calico lining. There is no pillow under his head but a vast kind of
                calico covered pillow is his only covering. There is nothing at all cosy and soft round my
                poor baby. I said crossly to the Sister, “As every thing must be so sterile, I wonder you
                don’t boil me too.” This she ignored.

                When my message reached George he dashed back to visit us. Sister took him
                first to see the baby and George was astonished to see the baby basket covered by a
                sheet. “She has the poor little kid covered up like a bloody parrot,” he told me. So I
                asked him to go at once to buy a square of mosquito netting to replace the sheet.
                Kate is quite a problem. She behaves like an Angel when she is here in my
                room but is rebellious when Sister shoos her out. She says she “Hates the Nanny”
                which is what she calls Mouche. Unfortunately it seems that she woke before midnight
                on the night Johnny Jo was born to find me gone and Mouche in my bed. According to
                Mouche, Kate wept all night and certainly when she visited me in the early morning
                Kate’s face was puffy with crying and she clung to me crying “Oh my dear mummy, why
                did you go away?” over and over again. Sister Marianne was touched and suggested
                that Mouche and Kate should come to the hospital as boarders as I am the only patient
                at present and there is plenty of room. Luckily Kate does not seem at all jealous of the
                baby and it is a great relief to have here here under my eye.



                  From Tanganyika with Love

                  continued  ~ part 4

                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                  Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  With much love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Heaps of love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  With heaps of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

                  Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

                  Lots and lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Your very affectionate,

                  Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

                  With love to you all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to you all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

                  Your worried but affectionate,

                  Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

                  Much love,

                  Mchewe. 12th November 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots and lots of love to all,

                  Chunya 27th November 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to all,



                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    continued  ~ part 3

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                    Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    I am feeling much better now that I am five months pregnant and have quite got
                    my appetite back. Once again I go out with “the Mchewe Hunt” which is what George
                    calls the procession made up of the donkey boy and donkey with Ann confidently riding
                    astride, me beside the donkey with Georgie behind riding the stick which he much
                    prefers to the donkey. The Alsatian pup, whom Ann for some unknown reason named
                    ‘Tubbage’, and the two cats bring up the rear though sometimes Tubbage rushes
                    ahead and nearly knocks me off my feet. He is not the loveable pet that Kelly was.
                    It is just as well that I have recovered my health because my mother-in-law has
                    decided to fly out from England to look after Ann and George when I am in hospital. I am
                    very grateful for there is no one lse to whom I can turn. Kath Hickson-Wood is seldom on
                    their farm because Hicky is working a guano claim and is making quite a good thing out of
                    selling bat guano to the coffee farmers at Mbosi. They camp out at the claim, a series of
                    caves in the hills across the valley and visit the farm only occasionally. Anne Molteno is
                    off to Cape Town to have her baby at her mothers home and there are no women in
                    Mbeya I know well. The few women are Government Officials wives and they come
                    and go. I make so few trips to the little town that there is no chance to get on really
                    friendly terms with them.

                    Janey, the ayah, is turning into a treasure. She washes and irons well and keeps
                    the children’s clothes cupboard beautifully neat. Ann and George however are still
                    reluctant to go for walks with her. They find her dull because, like all African ayahs, she
                    has no imagination and cannot play with them. She should however be able to help with
                    the baby. Ann is very excited about the new baby. She so loves all little things.
                    Yesterday she went into ecstasies over ten newly hatched chicks.

                    She wants a little sister and perhaps it would be a good thing. Georgie is so very
                    active and full of mischief that I feel another wild little boy might be more than I can
                    manage. Although Ann is older, it is Georgie who always thinks up the mischief. They
                    have just been having a fight. Georgie with the cooks umbrella versus Ann with her frilly
                    pink sunshade with the inevitable result that the sunshade now has four broken ribs.
                    Any way I never feel lonely now during the long hours George is busy on the
                    shamba. The children keep me on my toes and I have plenty of sewing to do for the
                    baby. George is very good about amusing the children before their bedtime and on
                    Sundays. In the afternoons when it is not wet I take Ann and Georgie for a walk down
                    the hill. George meets us at the bottom and helps me on the homeward journey. He
                    grabs one child in each hand by the slack of their dungarees and they do a sort of giant
                    stride up the hill, half walking half riding.

                    Very much love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    A great flap here. We had a letter yesterday to say that mother-in-law will be
                    arriving in four days time! George is very amused at my frantic efforts at spring cleaning
                    but he has told me before that she is very house proud so I feel I must make the best
                    of what we have.

                    George is very busy building a store for the coffee which will soon be ripening.
                    This time he is doing the bricklaying himself. It is quite a big building on the far end of the
                    farm and close to the river. He is also making trays of chicken wire nailed to wooden
                    frames with cheap calico stretched over the wire.

                    Mother will have to sleep in the verandah room which leads off the bedroom
                    which we share with the children. George will have to sleep in the outside spare room as
                    there is no door between the bedroom and the verandah room. I am sewing frantically
                    to make rose coloured curtains and bedspread out of material mother-in-law sent for
                    Christmas and will have to make a curtain for the doorway. The kitchen badly needs
                    whitewashing but George says he cannot spare the labour so I hope mother won’t look.
                    To complicate matters, George has been invited to lunch with the Governor on the day
                    of Mother’s arrival. After lunch they are to visit the newly stocked trout streams in the
                    Mporotos. I hope he gets back to Mbeya in good time to meet mother’s plane.
                    Ann has been off colour for a week. She looks very pale and her pretty fair hair,
                    normally so shiny, is dull and lifeless. It is such a pity that mother should see her like this
                    because first impressions do count so much and I am looking to the children to attract
                    attention from me. I am the size of a circus tent and hardly a dream daughter-in-law.
                    Georgie, thank goodness, is blooming but he has suddenly developed a disgusting
                    habit of spitting on the floor in the manner of the natives. I feel he might say “Gran, look
                    how far I can spit and give an enthusiastic demonstration.

                    Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                    your loving but anxious,

                    Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    Mother-in-law duly arrived in the District Commissioner’s car. George did not dare
                    to use the A.C. as she is being very temperamental just now. They also brought the
                    mail bag which contained a parcel of lovely baby clothes from you. Thank you very
                    much. Mother-in-law is very put out because the large parcel she posted by surface
                    mail has not yet arrived.

                    Mother arrived looking very smart in an ankle length afternoon frock of golden
                    brown crepe and smart hat, and wearing some very good rings. She is a very
                    handsome woman with the very fair complexion that goes with red hair. The hair, once
                    Titan, must now be grey but it has been very successfully tinted and set. I of course,
                    was shapeless in a cotton maternity frock and no credit to you. However, so far, motherin-
                    law has been uncritical and friendly and charmed with the children who have taken to
                    her. Mother does not think that the children resemble me in any way. Ann resembles her
                    family the Purdys and Georgie is a Morley, her mother’s family. She says they had the
                    same dark eyes and rather full mouths. I say feebly, “But Georgie has my colouring”, but
                    mother won’t hear of it. So now you know! Ann is a Purdy and Georgie a Morley.
                    Perhaps number three will be a Leslie.

                    What a scramble I had getting ready for mother. Her little room really looks pretty
                    and fresh, but the locally woven grass mats arrived only minutes before mother did. I
                    also frantically overhauled our clothes and it a good thing that I did so because mother
                    has been going through all the cupboards looking for mending. Mother is kept so busy
                    in her own home that I think she finds time hangs on her hands here. She is very good at
                    entertaining the children and has even tried her hand at picking coffee a couple of times.
                    Mother cannot get used to the native boy servants but likes Janey, so Janey keeps her
                    room in order. Mother prefers to wash and iron her own clothes.

                    I almost lost our cook through mother’s surplus energy! Abel our previous cook
                    took a new wife last month and, as the new wife, and Janey the old, were daggers
                    drawn, Abel moved off to a job on the Lupa leaving Janey and her daughter here.
                    The new cook is capable, but he is a fearsome looking individual called Alfani. He has a
                    thick fuzz of hair which he wears long, sometimes hidden by a dingy turban, and he
                    wears big brass earrings. I think he must be part Somali because he has a hawk nose
                    and a real Brigand look. His kitchen is never really clean but he is an excellent cook and
                    as cooks are hard to come by here I just keep away from the kitchen. Not so mother!
                    A few days after her arrival she suggested kindly that I should lie down after lunch
                    so I rested with the children whilst mother, unknown to me, went out to the kitchen and
                    not only scrubbed the table and shelves but took the old iron stove to pieces and
                    cleaned that. Unfortunately in her zeal she poked a hole through the stove pipe.
                    Had I known of these activities I would have foreseen the cook’s reaction when
                    he returned that evening to cook the supper. he was furious and wished to leave on the
                    spot and demanded his wages forthwith. The old Memsahib had insulted him by
                    scrubbing his already spotless kitchen and had broken his stove and made it impossible
                    for him to cook. This tirade was accompanied by such waving of hands and rolling of
                    eyes that I longed to sack him on the spot. However I dared not as I might not get
                    another cook for weeks. So I smoothed him down and he patched up the stove pipe
                    with a bit of tin and some wire and produced a good meal. I am wondering what
                    transformations will be worked when I am in hospital.

                    Our food is really good but mother just pecks at it. No wonder really, because
                    she has had some shocks. One day she found the kitchen boy diligently scrubbing the box lavatory seat with a scrubbing brush which he dipped into one of my best large
                    saucepans! No one can foresee what these boys will do. In these remote areas house
                    servants are usually recruited from the ranks of the very primitive farm labourers, who first
                    come to the farm as naked savages, and their notions of hygiene simply don’t exist.
                    One day I said to mother in George’s presence “When we were newly married,
                    mother, George used to brag about your cooking and say that you would run a home
                    like this yourself with perhaps one ‘toto’. Mother replied tartly, “That was very bad of
                    George and not true. If my husband had brought me out here I would not have stayed a
                    month. I think you manage very well.” Which reply made me warm to mother a lot.
                    To complicate things we have a new pup, a little white bull terrier bitch whom
                    George has named Fanny. She is tiny and not yet house trained but seems a plucky
                    and attractive little animal though there is no denying that she does look like a piglet.

                    Very much love to all,

                    Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    Here I am in hospital, comfortably in bed with our new daughter in her basket
                    beside me. She is a lovely little thing, very plump and cuddly and pink and white and
                    her head is covered with tiny curls the colour of Golden Syrup. We meant to call her
                    Margery Kate, after our Marj and my mother-in-law whose name is Catherine.
                    I am enjoying the rest, knowing that George and mother will be coping
                    successfully on the farm. My room is full of flowers, particularly with the roses and
                    carnations which grow so well here. Kate was not due until August 5th but the doctor
                    wanted me to come in good time in view of my tiresome early pregnancy.

                    For weeks beforehand George had tinkered with the A.C. and we started for
                    Mbeya gaily enough on the twenty ninth, however, after going like a dream for a couple
                    of miles, she simply collapsed from exhaustion at the foot of a hill and all the efforts of
                    the farm boys who had been sent ahead for such an emergency failed to start her. So
                    George sent back to the farm for the machila and I sat in the shade of a tree, wondering
                    what would happen if I had the baby there and then, whilst George went on tinkering
                    with the car. Suddenly she sprang into life and we roared up that hill and all the way into
                    Mbeya. The doctor welcomed us pleasantly and we had tea with his family before I
                    settled into my room. Later he examined me and said that it was unlikely that the baby
                    would be born for several days. The new and efficient German nurse said, “Thank
                    goodness for that.” There was a man in hospital dying from a stomach cancer and she
                    had not had a decent nights sleep for three nights.

                    Kate however had other plans. I woke in the early morning with labour pains but
                    anxious not to disturb the nurse, I lay and read or tried to read a book, hoping that I
                    would not have to call the nurse until daybreak. However at four a.m., I went out into the
                    wind which was howling along the open verandah and knocked on the nurse’s door. She
                    got up and very crossly informed me that I was imagining things and should get back to
                    bed at once. She said “It cannot be so. The Doctor has said it.” I said “Of course it is,”
                    and then and there the water broke and clinched my argument. She then went into a flat
                    spin. “But the bed is not ready and my instruments are not ready,” and she flew around
                    to rectify this and also sent an African orderly to call the doctor. I paced the floor saying
                    warningly “Hurry up with that bed. I am going to have the baby now!” She shrieked
                    “Take off your dressing gown.” But I was passed caring. I flung myself on the bed and
                    there was Kate. The nurse had done all that was necessary by the time the doctor

                    A funny thing was, that whilst Kate was being born on the bed, a black cat had
                    kittens under it! The doctor was furious with the nurse but the poor thing must have crept
                    in out of the cold wind when I went to call the nurse. A happy omen I feel for the baby’s
                    future. George had no anxiety this time. He stayed at the hospital with me until ten
                    o’clock when he went down to the hotel to sleep and he received the news in a note
                    from me with his early morning tea. He went to the farm next morning but will return on
                    the sixth to fetch me home.

                    I do feel so happy. A very special husband and three lovely children. What
                    more could anyone possibly want.

                    Lots and lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    Well here we are back at home and all is very well. The new baby is very placid
                    and so pretty. Mother is delighted with her and Ann loved her at sight but Georgie is not
                    so sure. At first he said, “Your baby is no good. Chuck her in the kalonga.” The kalonga
                    being the ravine beside the house , where, I regret to say, much of the kitchen refuse is
                    dumped. he is very jealous when I carry Kate around or feed her but is ready to admire
                    her when she is lying alone in her basket.

                    George walked all the way from the farm to fetch us home. He hired a car and
                    native driver from the hotel, but drove us home himself going with such care over ruts
                    and bumps. We had a great welcome from mother who had had the whole house
                    spring cleaned. However George loyally says it looks just as nice when I am in charge.
                    Mother obviously, had had more than enough of the back of beyond and
                    decided to stay on only one week after my return home. She had gone into the kitchen
                    one day just in time to see the houseboy scooping the custard he had spilt on the table
                    back into the jug with the side of his hand. No doubt it would have been served up
                    without a word. On another occasion she had walked in on the cook’s daily ablutions. He
                    was standing in a small bowl of water in the centre of the kitchen, absolutely naked,
                    enjoying a slipper bath. She left last Wednesday and gave us a big laugh before she
                    left. She never got over her horror of eating food prepared by our cook and used to
                    push it around her plate. Well, when the time came for mother to leave for the plane, she
                    put on the very smart frock in which she had arrived, and then came into the sitting room
                    exclaiming in dismay “Just look what has happened, I must have lost a stone!’ We
                    looked, and sure enough, the dress which had been ankle deep before, now touched
                    the floor. “Good show mother.” said George unfeelingly. “You ought to be jolly grateful,
                    you needed to lose weight and it would have cost you the earth at a beauty parlour to
                    get that sylph-like figure.”

                    When mother left she took, in a perforated matchbox, one of the frilly mantis that
                    live on our roses. She means to keep it in a goldfish bowl in her dining room at home.
                    Georgie and Ann filled another matchbox with dead flies for food for the mantis on the

                    Now that mother has left, Georgie and Ann attach themselves to me and firmly
                    refuse to have anything to do with the ayah,Janey. She in any case now wishes to have
                    a rest. Mother tipped her well and gave her several cotton frocks so I suspect she wants
                    to go back to her hometown in Northern Rhodesia to show off a bit.
                    Georgie has just sidled up with a very roguish look. He asked “You like your
                    baby?” I said “Yes indeed I do.” He said “I’ll prick your baby with a velly big thorn.”

                    Who would be a mother!

                    Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    I have been rather in the wars with toothache and as there is still no dentist at
                    Mbeya to do the fillings, I had to have four molars extracted at the hospital. George
                    says it is fascinating to watch me at mealtimes these days because there is such a gleam
                    of satisfaction in my eye when I do manage to get two teeth to meet on a mouthful.
                    About those scissors Marj sent Ann. It was not such a good idea. First she cut off tufts of
                    George’s hair so that he now looks like a bad case of ringworm and then she cut a scalp
                    lock, a whole fist full of her own shining hair, which George so loves. George scolded
                    Ann and she burst into floods of tears. Such a thing as a scolding from her darling daddy
                    had never happened before. George immediately made a long drooping moustache
                    out of the shorn lock and soon had her smiling again. George is always very gentle with
                    Ann. One has to be , because she is frightfully sensitive to criticism.

                    I am kept pretty busy these days, Janey has left and my houseboy has been ill
                    with pneumonia. I now have to wash all the children’s things and my own, (the cook does
                    George’s clothes) and look after the three children. Believe me, I can hardly keep awake
                    for Kate’s ten o’clock feed.

                    I do hope I shall get some new servants next month because I also got George
                    to give notice to the cook. I intercepted him last week as he was storming down the hill
                    with my large kitchen knife in his hand. “Where are you going with my knife?” I asked.
                    “I’m going to kill a man!” said Alfani, rolling his eyes and looking extremely ferocious. “He
                    has taken my wife.” “Not with my knife”, said I reaching for it. So off Alfani went, bent on
                    vengeance and I returned the knife to the kitchen. Dinner was served and I made no
                    enquiries but I feel that I need someone more restful in the kitchen than our brigand

                    George has been working on the car and has now fitted yet another radiator. This
                    is a lorry one and much too tall to be covered by the A.C.’s elegant bonnet which is
                    secured by an old strap. The poor old A.C. now looks like an ancient shoe with a turned
                    up toe. It only needs me in it with the children to make a fine illustration to the old rhyme!
                    Ann and Georgie are going through a climbing phase. They practically live in
                    trees. I rushed out this morning to investigate loud screams and found Georgie hanging
                    from a fork in a tree by one ankle, whilst Ann stood below on tiptoe with hands stretched
                    upwards to support his head.

                    Do I sound as though I have straws in my hair? I have.
                    Lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    Thank goodness! I have a new ayah name Mary. I had heard that there was a
                    good ayah out of work at Tukuyu 60 miles away so sent a messenger to fetch her. She
                    arrived after dark wearing a bright dress and a cheerful smile and looked very suitable by
                    the light of a storm lamp. I was horrified next morning to see her in daylight. She was
                    dressed all in black and had a rather sinister look. She reminds me rather of your old maid
                    Candace who overheard me laughing a few days before Ann was born and croaked
                    “Yes , Miss Eleanor, today you laugh but next week you might be dead.” Remember
                    how livid you were, dad?

                    I think Mary has the same grim philosophy. Ann took one look at her and said,
                    “What a horrible old lady, mummy.” Georgie just said “Go away”, both in English and Ki-
                    Swahili. Anyway Mary’s references are good so I shall keep her on to help with Kate
                    who is thriving and bonny and placid.

                    Thank you for the offer of toys for Christmas but, if you don’t mind, I’d rather have
                    some clothing for the children. Ann is quite contented with her dolls Barbara and Yvonne.
                    Barbara’s once beautiful face is now pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle having come
                    into contact with Georgie’s ever busy hammer. However Ann says she will love her for
                    ever and she doesn’t want another doll. Yvonne’s hay day is over too. She
                    disappeared for weeks and we think Fanny, the pup, was the culprit. Ann discovered
                    Yvonne one morning in some long wet weeds. Poor Yvonne is now a ghost of her
                    former self. All the sophisticated make up was washed off her papier-mâché face and
                    her hair is decidedly bedraggled, but Ann was radiant as she tucked her back into bed
                    and Yvonne is as precious to Ann as she ever was.

                    Georgie simply does not care for toys. His paint box, hammer and the trenching
                    hoe George gave him for his second birthday are all he wants or needs. Both children
                    love books but I sometimes wonder whether they stimulate Ann’s imagination too much.
                    The characters all become friends of hers and she makes up stories about them to tell
                    Georgie. She adores that illustrated children’s Bible Mummy sent her but you would be
                    astonished at the yarns she spins about “me and my friend Jesus.” She also will call
                    Moses “Old Noses”, and looking at a picture of Jacob’s dream, with the shining angels
                    on the ladder between heaven and earth, she said “Georgie, if you see an angel, don’t
                    touch it, it’s hot.”


                    Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    I take back the disparaging things I said about my new Ayah, because she has
                    proved her worth in an unexpected way. On Wednesday morning I settled Kate in he
                    cot after her ten o’clock feed and sat sewing at the dining room table with Ann and
                    Georgie opposite me, both absorbed in painting pictures in identical seed catalogues.
                    Suddenly there was a terrific bang on the back door, followed by an even heavier blow.
                    The door was just behind me and I got up and opened it. There, almost filling the door
                    frame, stood a huge native with staring eyes and his teeth showing in a mad grimace. In
                    his hand he held a rolled umbrella by the ferrule, the shaft I noticed was unusually long
                    and thick and the handle was a big round knob.

                    I was terrified as you can imagine, especially as, through the gap under the
                    native’s raised arm, I could see the new cook and the kitchen boy running away down to
                    the shamba! I hastily tried to shut and lock the door but the man just brushed me aside.
                    For a moment he stood over me with the umbrella raised as though to strike. Rather
                    fortunately, I now think, I was too petrified to say a word. The children never moved but
                    Tubbage, the Alsatian, got up and jumped out of the window!

                    Then the native turned away and still with the same fixed stare and grimace,
                    began to attack the furniture with his umbrella. Tables and chairs were overturned and
                    books and ornaments scattered on the floor. When the madman had his back turned and
                    was busily bashing the couch, I slipped round the dining room table, took Ann and
                    Georgie by the hand and fled through the front door to the garage where I hid the
                    children in the car. All this took several minutes because naturally the children were
                    terrified. I was worried to death about the baby left alone in the bedroom and as soon
                    as I had Ann and Georgie settled I ran back to the house.

                    I reached the now open front door just as Kianda the houseboy opened the back
                    door of the lounge. He had been away at the river washing clothes but, on hearing of the
                    madman from the kitchen boy he had armed himself with a stout stick and very pluckily,
                    because he is not a robust boy, had returned to the house to eject the intruder. He
                    rushed to attack immediately and I heard a terrific exchange of blows behind me as I
                    opened our bedroom door. You can imagine what my feelings were when I was
                    confronted by an empty cot! Just then there was an uproar inside as all the farm
                    labourers armed with hoes and pangas and sticks, streamed into the living room from the
                    shamba whence they had been summoned by the cook. In no time at all the huge
                    native was hustled out of the house, flung down the front steps, and securely tied up
                    with strips of cloth.

                    In the lull that followed I heard a frightened voice calling from the bathroom.
                    ”Memsahib is that you? The child is here with me.” I hastily opened the bathroom door
                    to find Mary couched in a corner by the bath, shielding Kate with her body. Mary had
                    seen the big native enter the house and her first thought had been for her charge. I
                    thanked her and promised her a reward for her loyalty, and quickly returned to the garage
                    to reassure Ann and Georgie. I met George who looked white and exhausted as well
                    he might having run up hill all the way from the coffee store. The kitchen boy had led him
                    to expect the worst and he was most relieved to find us all unhurt if a bit shaken.
                    We returned to the house by the back way whilst George went to the front and
                    ordered our labourers to take their prisoner and lock him up in the store. George then
                    discussed the whole affair with his Headman and all the labourers after which he reported
                    to me. “The boys say that the bastard is an ex-Askari from Nyasaland. He is not mad as
                    you thought but he smokes bhang and has these attacks. I suppose I should take him to
                    Mbeya and have him up in court. But if I do that you’ll have to give evidence and that will be a nuisance as the car won’t go and there is also the baby to consider.”

                    Eventually we decided to leave the man to sleep off the effects of the Bhang
                    until evening when he would be tried before an impromptu court consisting of George,
                    the local Jumbe(Headman) and village Elders, and our own farm boys and any other
                    interested spectators. It was not long before I knew the verdict because I heard the
                    sound of lashes. I was not sorry at all because I felt the man deserved his punishment
                    and so did all the Africans. They love children and despise anyone who harms or
                    frightens them. With great enthusiasm they frog-marched him off our land, and I sincerely
                    hope that that is the last we see or him. Ann and Georgie don’t seem to brood over this
                    affair at all. The man was naughty and he was spanked, a quite reasonable state of
                    affairs. This morning they hid away in the small thatched chicken house. This is a little brick
                    building about four feet square which Ann covets as a dolls house. They came back
                    covered in stick fleas which I had to remove with paraffin. My hens are laying well but
                    they all have the ‘gapes’! I wouldn’t run a chicken farm for anything, hens are such fussy,
                    squawking things.

                    Now don’t go worrying about my experience with the native. Such things
                    happen only once in a lifetime. We are all very well and happy, and life, apart from the
                    children’s pranks is very tranquil.

                    Lots and lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    The hot winds have dried up the shamba alarmingly and we hope every day for
                    rain. The prices for coffee, on the London market, continue to be low and the local
                    planters are very depressed. Coffee grows well enough here but we are over 400
                    miles from the railway and transport to the railhead by lorry is very expensive. Then, as
                    there is no East African Marketing Board, the coffee must be shipped to England for
                    sale. Unless the coffee fetches at least 90 pounds a ton it simply doesn’t pay to grow it.
                    When we started planting in 1931 coffee was fetching as much as 115 pounds a ton but
                    prices this year were between 45 and 55 pounds. We have practically exhausted our
                    capitol and so have all our neighbours. The Hickson -Woods have been keeping their
                    pot boiling by selling bat guano to the coffee farmers at Mbosi but now everyone is
                    broke and there is not a market for fertilisers. They are offering their farm for sale at a very
                    low price.

                    Major Jones has got a job working on the district roads and Max Coster talks of
                    returning to his work as a geologist. George says he will have to go gold digging on the
                    Lupa unless there is a big improvement in the market. Luckily we can live quite cheaply
                    here. We have a good vegetable garden, milk is cheap and we have plenty of fruit.
                    There are mulberries, pawpaws, grenadillas, peaches, and wine berries. The wine
                    berries are very pretty but insipid though Ann and Georgie love them. Each morning,
                    before breakfast, the old garden boy brings berries for Ann and Georgie. With a thorn
                    the old man pins a large leaf from a wild fig tree into a cone which he fills with scarlet wine
                    berries. There is always a cone for each child and they wait eagerly outside for the daily
                    ceremony of presentation.

                    The rats are being a nuisance again. Both our cats, Skinny Winnie and Blackboy
                    disappeared a few weeks ago. We think they made a meal for a leopard. I wrote last
                    week to our grocer at Mbalizi asking him whether he could let us have a couple of kittens
                    as I have often seen cats in his store. The messenger returned with a nailed down box.
                    The kitchen boy was called to prize up the lid and the children stood by in eager
                    anticipation. Out jumped two snarling and spitting creatures. One rushed into the kalonga
                    and the other into the house and before they were captured they had drawn blood from
                    several boys. I told the boys to replace the cats in the box as I intended to return them
                    forthwith. They had the colouring, stripes and dispositions of wild cats and I certainly
                    didn’t want them as pets, but before the boys could replace the lid the cats escaped
                    once more into the undergrowth in the kalonga. George fetched his shotgun and said he
                    would shoot the cats on sight or they would kill our chickens. This was more easily said
                    than done because the cats could not be found. However during the night the cats
                    climbed up into the loft af the house and we could hear them moving around on the reed

                    I said to George,”Oh leave the poor things. At least they might frighten the rats
                    away.” That afternoon as we were having tea a thin stream of liquid filtered through the
                    ceiling on George’s head. Oh dear!!! That of course was the end. Some raw meat was
                    put on the lawn for bait and yesterday George shot both cats.

                    I regret to end with the sad story of Mary, heroine in my last letter and outcast in
                    this. She came to work quite drunk two days running and I simply had to get rid of her. I
                    have heard since from Kath Wood that Mary lost her last job at Tukuyu for the same
                    reason. She was ayah to twin girls and one day set their pram on fire.

                    So once again my hands are more than full with three lively children. I did say
                    didn’t I, when Ann was born that I wanted six children?

                    Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

                    Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    To set your minds at rest I must tell you that the native who so frightened me and
                    the children is now in jail for attacking a Greek at Mbalizi. I hear he is to be sent back to
                    Rhodesia when he has finished his sentence.

                    Yesterday we had one of our rare trips to Mbeya. George managed to get a couple of
                    second hand tyres for the old car and had again got her to work so we are celebrating our
                    wedding anniversary by going on an outing. I wore the green and fawn striped silk dress
                    mother bought me and the hat and shoes you sent for my birthday and felt like a million
                    dollars, for a change. The children all wore new clothes too and I felt very proud of them.
                    Ann is still very fair and with her refined little features and straight silky hair she
                    looks like Alice in Wonderland. Georgie is dark and sturdy and looks best in khaki shirt
                    and shorts and sun helmet. Kate is a pink and gold baby and looks good enough to eat.
                    We went straight to the hotel at Mbeya and had the usual warm welcome from
                    Ken and Aunty May Menzies. Aunty May wears her hair cut short like a mans and
                    usually wears shirt and tie and riding breeches and boots. She always looks ready to go
                    on safari at a moments notice as indeed she is. She is often called out to a case of illness
                    at some remote spot.

                    There were lots of people at the hotel from farms in the district and from the
                    diggings. I met women I had not seen for four years. One, a Mrs Masters from Tukuyu,
                    said in the lounge, “My God! Last time I saw you , you were just a girl and here you are
                    now with two children.” To which I replied with pride, “There is another one in a pram on
                    the verandah if you care to look!” Great hilarity in the lounge. The people from the
                    diggings seem to have plenty of money to throw around. There was a big party on the
                    go in the bar.

                    One of our shamba boys died last Friday and all his fellow workers and our
                    house boys had the day off to attend the funeral. From what I can gather the local
                    funerals are quite cheery affairs. The corpse is dressed in his best clothes and laid
                    outside his hut and all who are interested may view the body and pay their respects.
                    The heir then calls upon anyone who had a grudge against the dead man to say his say
                    and thereafter hold his tongue forever. Then all the friends pay tribute to the dead man
                    after which he is buried to the accompaniment of what sounds from a distance, very
                    cheerful keening.

                    Most of our workmen are pagans though there is a Lutheran Mission nearby and
                    a big Roman Catholic Mission in the area too. My present cook, however, claims to be
                    a Christian. He certainly went to a mission school and can read and write and also sing
                    hymns in Ki-Swahili. When I first engaged him I used to find a large open Bible
                    prominently displayed on the kitchen table. The cook is middle aged and arrived here
                    with a sensible matronly wife. To my surprise one day he brought along a young girl,
                    very plump and giggly and announced proudly that she was his new wife, I said,”But I
                    thought you were a Christian Jeremiah? Christians don’t have two wives.” To which he
                    replied, “Oh Memsahib, God won’t mind. He knows an African needs two wives – one
                    to go with him when he goes away to work and one to stay behind at home to cultivate
                    the shamba.

                    Needles to say, it is the old wife who has gone to till the family plot.

                    With love to all,

                    Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    The drought has broken with a bang. We had a heavy storm in the hills behind
                    the house. Hail fell thick and fast. So nice for all the tiny new berries on the coffee! The
                    kids loved the excitement and three times Ann and Georgie ran out for a shower under
                    the eaves and had to be changed. After the third time I was fed up and made them both
                    lie on their beds whilst George and I had lunch in peace. I told Ann to keep the
                    casement shut as otherwise the rain would drive in on her bed. Half way through lunch I
                    heard delighted squeals from Georgie and went into the bedroom to investigate. Ann
                    was standing on the outer sill in the rain but had shut the window as ordered. “Well
                    Mummy , you didn’t say I mustn’t stand on the window sill, and I did shut the window.”
                    George is working so hard on the farm. I have a horrible feeling however that it is
                    what the Africans call ‘Kazi buri’ (waste of effort) as there seems no chance of the price of
                    coffee improving as long as this world depression continues. The worry is that our capitol
                    is nearly exhausted. Food is becoming difficult now that our neighbours have left. I used
                    to buy delicious butter from Kath Hickson-Wood and an African butcher used to kill a
                    beast once a week. Now that we are his only European customers he very rarely kills
                    anything larger than a goat, and though we do eat goat, believe me it is not from choice.
                    We have of course got plenty to eat, but our diet is very monotonous. I was
                    delighted when George shot a large bushbuck last week. What we could not use I cut
                    into strips and the salted strips are now hanging in the open garage to dry.

                    With love to all,

                    Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    We have had a lot of rain and the countryside is lovely and green. Last week
                    George went to Mbeya taking Ann with him. This was a big adventure for Ann because
                    never before had she been anywhere without me. She was in a most blissful state as
                    she drove off in the old car clutching a little basket containing sandwiches and half a bottle
                    of milk. She looked so pretty in a new blue frock and with her tiny plaits tied with
                    matching blue ribbons. When Ann is animated she looks charming because her normally
                    pale cheeks become rosy and she shows her pretty dimples.

                    As I am still without an ayah I rather looked forward to a quiet morning with only
                    Georgie and Margery Kate to care for, but Georgie found it dull without Ann and wanted
                    to be entertained and even the normally placid baby was peevish. Then in mid morning
                    the rain came down in torrents, the result of a cloudburst in the hills directly behind our
                    house. The ravine next to our house was a terrifying sight. It appeared to be a great
                    muddy, roaring waterfall reaching from the very top of the hill to a point about 30 yards
                    behind our house and then the stream rushed on down the gorge in an angry brown
                    flood. The roar of the water was so great that we had to yell at one another to be heard.
                    By lunch time the rain had stopped and I anxiously awaited the return of Ann and
                    George. They returned on foot, drenched and hungry at about 2.30pm . George had
                    had to abandon the car on the main road as the Mchewe River had overflowed and
                    turned the road into a muddy lake. The lower part of the shamba had also been flooded
                    and the water receded leaving branches and driftwood amongst the coffee. This was my
                    first experience of a real tropical storm. I am afraid that after the battering the coffee has
                    had there is little hope of a decent crop next year.

                    Anyway Christmas is coming so we don’t dwell on these mishaps. The children
                    have already chosen their tree from amongst the young cypresses in the vegetable
                    garden. We all send our love and hope that you too will have a Happy Christmas.


                    Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

                    Dearest Family,

                    I’ve been in the wars with my staff. The cook has been away ill for ten days but is
                    back today though shaky and full of self pity. The houseboy, who really has been a brick
                    during the cooks absence has now taken to his bed and I feel like taking to Mine! The
                    children however have the Christmas spirit and are making weird and wonderful paper
                    decorations. George’s contribution was to have the house whitewashed throughout and
                    it looks beautifully fresh.

                    My best bit of news is that my old ayah Janey has been to see me and would
                    like to start working here again on Jan 1st. We are all very well. We meant to give
                    ourselves an outing to Mbeya as a Christmas treat but here there is an outbreak of
                    enteric fever there so will now not go. We have had two visitors from the Diggings this
                    week. The children see so few strangers that they were fascinated and hung around
                    staring. Ann sat down on the arm of the couch beside one and studied his profile.
                    Suddenly she announced in her clear voice, “Mummy do you know, this man has got
                    wax in his ears!” Very awkward pause in the conversation. By the way when I was
                    cleaning out little Kate’s ears with a swab of cotton wool a few days ago, Ann asked
                    “Mummy, do bees have wax in their ears? Well, where do you get beeswax from

                    I meant to keep your Christmas parcel unopened until Christmas Eve but could
                    not resist peeping today. What lovely things! Ann so loves pretties and will be
                    delighted with her frocks. My dress is just right and I love Georgie’s manly little flannel
                    shorts and blue shirt. We have bought them each a watering can. I suppose I shall
                    regret this later. One of your most welcome gifts is the album of nursery rhyme records. I
                    am so fed up with those that we have. Both children love singing. I put a record on the
                    gramophone geared to slow and off they go . Georgie sings more slowly than Ann but
                    much more tunefully. Ann sings in a flat monotone but Georgie with great expression.
                    You ought to hear him render ‘Sing a song of sixpence’. He cannot pronounce an R or
                    an S. Mother has sent a large home made Christmas pudding and a fine Christmas
                    cake and George will shoot some partridges for Christmas dinner.
                    Think of us as I shall certainly think of you.

                    Your very loving,

                    Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

                    Dearest Family,

                    Christmas was fun! The tree looked very gay with its load of tinsel, candles and
                    red crackers and the coloured balloons you sent. All the children got plenty of toys
                    thanks to Grandparents and Aunts. George made Ann a large doll’s bed and I made
                    some elegant bedding, Barbara, the big doll is now permanently bed ridden. Her poor
                    shattered head has come all unstuck and though I have pieced it together again it is a sad
                    sight. If you have not yet chosen a present for her birthday next month would you
                    please get a new head from the Handy House. I enclose measurements. Ann does so
                    love the doll. She always calls her, “My little girl”, and she keeps the doll’s bed beside
                    her own and never fails to kiss her goodnight.

                    We had no guests for Christmas this year but we were quite festive. Ann
                    decorated the dinner table with small pink roses and forget-me-knots and tinsel and the
                    crackers from the tree. It was a wet day but we played the new records and both
                    George and I worked hard to make it a really happy day for the children. The children
                    were hugely delighted when George made himself a revolting set of false teeth out of
                    plasticine and a moustache and beard of paper straw from a chocolate box. “Oh Daddy
                    you look exactly like Father Christmas!” cried an enthralled Ann. Before bedtime we lit
                    all the candles on the tree and sang ‘Away in a Manger’, and then we opened the box of
                    starlights you sent and Ann and Georgie had their first experience of fireworks.
                    After the children went to bed things deteriorated. First George went for his bath
                    and found and killed a large black snake in the bathroom. It must have been in the
                    bathroom when I bathed the children earlier in the evening. Then I developed bad
                    toothache which kept me awake all night and was agonising next day. Unfortunately the
                    bridge between the farm and Mbeya had been washed away and the water was too
                    deep for the car to ford until the 30th when at last I was able to take my poor swollen
                    face to Mbeya. There is now a young German woman dentist working at the hospital.
                    She pulled out the offending molar which had a large abscess attached to it.
                    Whilst the dentist attended to me, Ann and Georgie played happily with the
                    doctor’s children. I wish they could play more often with other children. Dr Eckhardt was
                    very pleased with Margery Kate who at seven months weighs 17 lbs and has lovely
                    rosy cheeks. He admired Ann and told her that she looked just like a German girl. “No I
                    don’t”, cried Ann indignantly, “I’m English!”

                    We were caught in a rain storm going home and as the old car still has no
                    windscreen or side curtains we all got soaked except for the baby who was snugly
                    wrapped in my raincoat. The kids thought it great fun. Ann is growing up fast now. She
                    likes to ‘help mummy’. She is a perfectionist at four years old which is rather trying. She
                    gets so discouraged when things do not turn out as well as she means them to. Sewing
                    is constantly being unpicked and paintings torn up. She is a very sensitive child.
                    Georgie is quite different. He is a man of action, but not silent. He talks incessantly
                    but lisps and stumbles over some words. At one time Ann and Georgie often
                    conversed in Ki-Swahili but they now scorn to do so. If either forgets and uses a Swahili
                    word, the other points a scornful finger and shouts “You black toto”.

                    With love to all,


                      From Tanganyika with Love


                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                      Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                      Dearest Family,

                      You say that you would like to know more about our neighbours. Well there is
                      not much to tell. Kath Wood is very good about coming over to see me. I admire her
                      very much because she is so capable as well as being attractive. She speaks very
                      fluent Ki-Swahili and I envy her the way she can carry on a long conversation with the
                      natives. I am very slow in learning the language possibly because Lamek and the
                      houseboy both speak basic English.

                      I have very little to do with the Africans apart from the house servants, but I do
                      run a sort of clinic for the wives and children of our employees. The children suffer chiefly
                      from sore eyes and worms, and the older ones often have bad ulcers on their legs. All
                      farmers keep a stock of drugs and bandages.

                      George also does a bit of surgery and last month sewed up the sole of the foot
                      of a boy who had trodden on the blade of a panga, a sort of sword the Africans use for
                      hacking down bush. He made an excellent job of it. George tells me that the Africans
                      have wonderful powers of recuperation. Once in his bachelor days, one of his men was
                      disembowelled by an elephant. George washed his “guts” in a weak solution of
                      pot.permang, put them back in the cavity and sewed up the torn flesh and he

                      But to get back to the neighbours. We see less of Hicky Wood than of Kath.
                      Hicky can be charming but is often moody as I believe Irishmen often are.
                      Major Jones is now at home on his shamba, which he leaves from time to time
                      for temporary jobs on the district roads. He walks across fairly regularly and we are
                      always glad to see him for he is a great bearer of news. In this part of Africa there is no
                      knocking or ringing of doorbells. Front doors are always left open and visitors always
                      welcome. When a visitor approaches a house he shouts “Hodi”, and the owner of the
                      house yells “Karibu”, which I believe means “Come near” or approach, and tea is
                      produced in a matter of minutes no matter what hour of the day it is.
                      The road that passes all our farms is the only road to the Gold Diggings and
                      diggers often drop in on the Woods and Major Jones and bring news of the Goldfields.
                      This news is sometimes about gold but quite often about whose wife is living with
                      whom. This is a great country for gossip.

                      Major Jones now has his brother Llewyllen living with him. I drove across with
                      George to be introduced to him. Llewyllen’s health is poor and he looks much older than
                      his years and very like the portrait of Trader Horn. He has the same emaciated features,
                      burning eyes and long beard. He is proud of his Welsh tenor voice and often bursts into

                      Both brothers are excellent conversationalists and George enjoys walking over
                      sometimes on a Sunday for a bit of masculine company. The other day when George
                      walked across to visit the Joneses, he found both brothers in the shamba and Llew in a
                      great rage. They had been stooping to inspect a water furrow when Llew backed into a
                      hornets nest. One furious hornet stung him on the seat and another on the back of his
                      neck. Llew leapt forward and somehow his false teeth shot out into the furrow and were
                      carried along by the water. When George arrived Llew had retrieved his teeth but
                      George swears that, in the commotion, the heavy leather leggings, which Llew always
                      wears, had swivelled around on his thin legs and were calves to the front.
                      George has heard that Major Jones is to sell pert of his land to his Swedish brother-in-law, Max Coster, so we will soon have another couple in the neighbourhood.

                      I’ve had a bit of a pantomime here on the farm. On the day we went to Tukuyu,
                      all our washing was stolen from the clothes line and also our new charcoal iron. George
                      reported the matter to the police and they sent out a plain clothes policeman. He wears
                      the long white Arab gown called a Kanzu much in vogue here amongst the African elite
                      but, alas for secrecy, huge black police boots protrude from beneath the Kanzu and, to
                      add to this revealing clue, the askari springs to attention and salutes each time I pass by.
                      Not much hope of finding out the identity of the thief I fear.

                      George’s furrow was entirely successful and we now have water running behind
                      the kitchen. Our drinking water we get from a lovely little spring on the farm. We boil and
                      filter it for safety’s sake. I don’t think that is necessary. The furrow water is used for
                      washing pots and pans and for bath water.

                      Lots of love,

                      Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                      Dearest Family,

                      I think it is about time I told you that we are going to have a baby. We are both
                      thrilled about it. I have not seen a Doctor but feel very well and you are not to worry. I
                      looked it up in my handbook for wives and reckon that the baby is due about February
                      8th. next year.

                      The announcement came from George, not me! I had been feeling queasy for
                      days and was waiting for the right moment to tell George. You know. Soft lights and
                      music etc. However when I was listlessly poking my food around one lunch time
                      George enquired calmly, “When are you going to tell me about the baby?” Not at all
                      according to the book! The problem is where to have the baby. February is a very wet
                      month and the nearest Doctor is over 50 miles away at Tukuyu. I cannot go to stay at
                      Tukuyu because there is no European accommodation at the hospital, no hotel and no
                      friend with whom I could stay.

                      George thinks I should go South to you but Capetown is so very far away and I
                      love my little home here. Also George says he could not come all the way down with
                      me as he simply must stay here and get the farm on its feet. He would drive me as far
                      as the railway in Northern Rhodesia. It is a difficult decision to take. Write and tell me what
                      you think.

                      The days tick by quietly here. The servants are very willing but have to be
                      supervised and even then a crisis can occur. Last Saturday I was feeling squeamish and
                      decided not to have lunch. I lay reading on the couch whilst George sat down to a
                      solitary curry lunch. Suddenly he gave an exclamation and pushed back his chair. I
                      jumped up to see what was wrong and there, on his plate, gleaming in the curry gravy
                      were small bits of broken glass. I hurried to the kitchen to confront Lamek with the plate.
                      He explained that he had dropped the new and expensive bottle of curry powder on
                      the brick floor of the kitchen. He did not tell me as he thought I would make a “shauri” so
                      he simply scooped up the curry powder, removed the larger pieces of glass and used
                      part of the powder for seasoning the lunch.

                      The weather is getting warmer now. It was very cold in June and July and we had
                      fires in the daytime as well as at night. Now that much of the land has been cleared we
                      are able to go for pleasant walks in the weekends. My favourite spot is a waterfall on the
                      Mchewe River just on the boundary of our land. There is a delightful little pool below the
                      waterfall and one day George intends to stock it with trout.

                      Now that there are more Europeans around to buy meat the natives find it worth
                      their while to kill an occasional beast. Every now and again a native arrives with a large
                      bowl of freshly killed beef for sale. One has no way of knowing whether the animal was
                      healthy and the meat is often still warm and very bloody. I hated handling it at first but am
                      becoming accustomed to it now and have even started a brine tub. There is no other
                      way of keeping meat here and it can only be kept in its raw state for a few hours before
                      going bad. One of the delicacies is the hump which all African cattle have. When corned
                      it is like the best brisket.

                      See what a housewife I am becoming.
                      With much love,

                      Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                      Dearest Family,

                      I have grown to love the life here and am sad to think I shall be leaving
                      Tanganyika soon for several months. Yes I am coming down to have the baby in the
                      bosom of the family. George thinks it best and so does the doctor. I didn’t mention it
                      before but I have never recovered fully from the effects of that bad bout of malaria and
                      so I have been persuaded to leave George and our home and go to the Cape, in the
                      hope that I shall come back here as fit as when I first arrived in the country plus a really
                      healthy and bouncing baby. I am torn two ways, I long to see you all – but how I would
                      love to stay on here.

                      George will drive me down to Northern Rhodesia in early October to catch a
                      South bound train. I’ll telegraph the date of departure when I know it myself. The road is
                      very, very bad and the car has been giving a good deal of trouble so, though the baby
                      is not due until early February, George thinks it best to get the journey over soon as
                      possible, for the rains break in November and the the roads will then be impassable. It
                      may take us five or six days to reach Broken Hill as we will take it slowly. I am looking
                      forward to the drive through new country and to camping out at night.
                      Our days pass quietly by. George is out on the shamba most of the day. He
                      goes out before breakfast on weekdays and spends most of the day working with the
                      men – not only supervising but actually working with his hands and beating the labourers
                      at their own jobs. He comes to the house for meals and tea breaks. I potter around the
                      house and garden, sew, mend and read. Lamek continues to be a treasure. he turns out
                      some surprising dishes. One of his specialities is stuffed chicken. He carefully skins the
                      chicken removing all bones. He then minces all the chicken meat and adds minced onion
                      and potatoes. He then stuffs the chicken skin with the minced meat and carefully sews it
                      together again. The resulting dish is very filling because the boned chicken is twice the
                      size of a normal one. It lies on its back as round as a football with bloated legs in the air.
                      Rather repulsive to look at but Lamek is most proud of his accomplishment.
                      The other day he produced another of his masterpieces – a cooked tortoise. It
                      was served on a dish covered with parsley and crouched there sans shell but, only too
                      obviously, a tortoise. I took one look and fled with heaving diaphragm, but George said
                      it tasted quite good. He tells me that he has had queerer dishes produced by former
                      cooks. He says that once in his hunting days his cook served up a skinned baby
                      monkey with its hands folded on its breast. He says it would take a cannibal to eat that

                      And now for something sad. Poor old Llew died quite suddenly and it was a sad
                      shock to this tiny community. We went across to the funeral and it was a very simple and
                      dignified affair. Llew was buried on Joni’s farm in a grave dug by the farm boys. The
                      body was wrapped in a blanket and bound to some boards and lowered into the
                      ground. There was no service. The men just said “Good-bye Llew.” and “Sleep well
                      Llew”, and things like that. Then Joni and his brother-in-law Max, and George shovelled
                      soil over the body after which the grave was filled in by Joni’s shamba boys. It was a
                      lovely bright afternoon and I thought how simple and sensible a funeral it was.
                      I hope you will be glad to have me home. I bet Dad will be holding thumbs that
                      the baby will be a girl.

                      Very much love,

                      “There are no letters to my family during the period of Sept. 1931 to June 1932
                      because during these months I was living with my parents and sister in a suburb of
                      Cape Town. I had hoped to return to Tanganyika by air with my baby soon after her
                      birth in Feb.1932 but the doctor would not permit this.

                      A month before my baby was born, a company called Imperial Airways, had
                      started the first passenger service between South Africa and England. One of the night
                      stops was at Mbeya near my husband’s coffee farm, and it was my intention to take the
                      train to Broken Hill in Northern Rhodesia and to fly from there to Mbeya with my month
                      old baby. In those days however, commercial flying was still a novelty and the doctor
                      was not sure that flying at a high altitude might not have an adverse effect upon a young

                      He strongly advised me to wait until the baby was four months old and I did this
                      though the long wait was very trying to my husband alone on our farm in Tanganyika,
                      and to me, cherished though I was in my old home.

                      My story, covering those nine long months is soon told. My husband drove me
                      down from Mbeya to Broken Hill in NorthernRhodesia. The journey was tedious as the
                      weather was very hot and dry and the road sandy and rutted, very different from the
                      Great North road as it is today. The wooden wheel spokes of the car became so dry
                      that they rattled and George had to bind wet rags around them. We had several
                      punctures and with one thing and another I was lucky to catch the train.
                      My parents were at Cape Town station to welcome me and I stayed
                      comfortably with them, living very quietly, until my baby was born. She arrived exactly
                      on the appointed day, Feb.8th.

                      I wrote to my husband “Our Charmian Ann is a darling baby. She is very fair and
                      rather pale and has the most exquisite hands, with long tapering fingers. Daddy
                      absolutely dotes on her and so would you, if you were here. I can’t bear to think that you
                      are so terribly far away. Although Ann was born exactly on the day, I was taken quite by
                      surprise. It was awfully hot on the night before, and before going to bed I had a fancy for
                      some water melon. The result was that when I woke in the early morning with labour
                      pains and vomiting I thought it was just an attack of indigestion due to eating too much
                      melon. The result was that I did not wake Marjorie until the pains were pretty frequent.
                      She called our next door neighbour who, in his pyjamas, drove me to the nursing home
                      at breakneck speed. The Matron was very peeved that I had left things so late but all
                      went well and by nine o’clock, Mother, positively twittering with delight, was allowed to
                      see me and her first granddaughter . She told me that poor Dad was in such a state of
                      nerves that he was sick amongst the grapevines. He says that he could not bear to go
                      through such an anxious time again, — so we will have to have our next eleven in

                      The next four months passed rapidly as my time was taken up by the demands
                      of my new baby. Dr. Trudy King’s method of rearing babies was then the vogue and I
                      stuck fanatically to all the rules he laid down, to the intense exasperation of my parents
                      who longed to cuddle the child.

                      As the time of departure drew near my parents became more and more reluctant
                      to allow me to face the journey alone with their adored grandchild, so my brother,
                      Graham, very generously offered to escort us on the train to Broken Hill where he could
                      put us on the plane for Mbeya.

                      Eleanor Rushby


                      Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                      Dearest Family,

                      You’ll be glad to know that we arrived quite safe and sound and very, very
                      happy to be home.The train Journey was uneventful. Ann slept nearly all the way.
                      Graham was very kind and saw to everything. He even sat with the baby whilst I went
                      to meals in the dining car.

                      We were met at Broken Hill by the Thoms who had arranged accommodation for
                      us at the hotel for the night. They also drove us to the aerodrome in the morning where
                      the Airways agent told us that Ann is the first baby to travel by air on this section of the
                      Cape to England route. The plane trip was very bumpy indeed especially between
                      Broken Hill and Mpika. Everyone was ill including poor little Ann who sicked up her milk
                      all over the front of my new coat. I arrived at Mbeya looking a sorry caricature of Radiant
                      Motherhood. I must have been pale green and the baby was snow white. Under the
                      circumstances it was a good thing that George did not meet us. We were met instead
                      by Ken Menzies, the owner of the Mbeya Hotel where we spent the night. Ken was
                      most fatherly and kind and a good nights rest restored Ann and me to our usual robust

                      Mbeya has greatly changed. The hotel is now finished and can accommodate
                      fifty guests. It consists of a large main building housing a large bar and dining room and
                      offices and a number of small cottage bedrooms. It even has electric light. There are
                      several buildings out at the aerodrome and private houses going up in Mbeya.
                      After breakfast Ken Menzies drove us out to the farm where we had a warm
                      welcome from George, who looks well but rather thin. The house was spotless and the
                      new cook, Abel, had made light scones for tea. George had prepared all sorts of lovely
                      surprises. There is a new reed ceiling in the living room and a new dresser gay with
                      willow pattern plates which he had ordered from England. There is also a writing table
                      and a square table by the door for visitors hats. More personal is a lovely model ship
                      which George assembled from one of those Hobbie’s kits. It puts the finishing touch to
                      the rather old world air of our living room.

                      In the bedroom there is a large double bed which George made himself. It has
                      strips of old car tyres nailed to a frame which makes a fine springy mattress and on top
                      of this is a thick mattress of kapok.In the kitchen there is a good wood stove which
                      George salvaged from a Mission dump. It looks a bit battered but works very well. The
                      new cook is excellent. The only blight is that he will wear rubber soled tennis shoes and
                      they smell awful. I daren’t hurt his feelings by pointing this out though. Opposite the
                      kitchen is a new laundry building containing a forty gallon hot water drum and a sink for
                      washing up. Lovely!

                      George has been working very hard. He now has forty acres of coffee seedlings
                      planted out and has also found time to plant a rose garden and fruit trees. There are
                      orange and peach trees, tree tomatoes, paw paws, guavas and berries. He absolutely
                      adores Ann who has been very good and does not seem at all unsettled by the long

                      It is absolutely heavenly to be back and I shall be happier than ever now that I
                      have a baby to play with during the long hours when George is busy on the farm,
                      Thank you for all your love and care during the many months I was with you. Ann
                      sends a special bubble for granddad.

                      Your very loving,

                      Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                      Dearest Family,

                      Ann at five months is enchanting. She is a very good baby, smiles readily and is
                      gaining weight steadily. She doesn’t sleep much during the day but that does not
                      matter, because, apart from washing her little things, I have nothing to do but attend to
                      her. She sleeps very well at night which is a blessing as George has to get up very
                      early to start work on the shamba and needs a good nights rest.
                      My nights are not so good, because we are having a plague of rats which frisk
                      around in the bedroom at night. Great big ones that come up out of the long grass in the
                      gorge beside the house and make cosy homes on our reed ceiling and in the thatch of
                      the roof.

                      We always have a night light burning so that, if necessary, I can attend to Ann
                      with a minimum of fuss, and the things I see in that dim light! There are gaps between
                      the reeds and one night I heard, plop! and there, before my horrified gaze, lay a newly
                      born hairless baby rat on the floor by the bed, plop, plop! and there lay two more.
                      Quite dead, poor things – but what a careless mother.

                      I have also seen rats scampering around on the tops of the mosquito nets and
                      sometimes we have them on our bed. They have a lovely game. They swarm down
                      the cord from which the mosquito net is suspended, leap onto the bed and onto the
                      floor. We do not have our net down now the cold season is here and there are few

                      Last week a rat crept under Ann’s net which hung to the floor and bit her little
                      finger, so now I tuck the net in under the mattress though it makes it difficult for me to
                      attend to her at night. We shall have to get a cat somewhere. Ann’s pram has not yet
                      arrived so George carries her when we go walking – to her great content.
                      The native women around here are most interested in Ann. They come to see
                      her, bearing small gifts, and usually bring a child or two with them. They admire my child
                      and I admire theirs and there is an exchange of gifts. They produce a couple of eggs or
                      a few bananas or perhaps a skinny fowl and I hand over sugar, salt or soap as they
                      value these commodities. The most lavish gift went to the wife of Thomas our headman,
                      who produced twin daughters in the same week as I had Ann.

                      Our neighbours have all been across to welcome me back and to admire the
                      baby. These include Marion Coster who came out to join her husband whilst I was in
                      South Africa. The two Hickson-Wood children came over on a fat old white donkey.
                      They made a pretty picture sitting astride, one behind the other – Maureen with her arms
                      around small Michael’s waist. A native toto led the donkey and the children’ s ayah
                      walked beside it.

                      It is quite cold here now but the sun is bright and the air dry. The whole
                      countryside is beautifully green and we are a very happy little family.

                      Lots and lots of love,

                      Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                      Dearest Family,

                      George has been very unwell for the past week. He had a nasty gash on his
                      knee which went septic. He had a swelling in the groin and a high temperature and could
                      not sleep at night for the pain in his leg. Ann was very wakeful too during the same
                      period, I think she is teething. I luckily have kept fit though rather harassed. Yesterday the
                      leg looked so inflamed that George decided to open up the wound himself. he made
                      quite a big cut in exactly the right place. You should have seen the blackish puss
                      pouring out.

                      After he had thoroughly cleaned the wound George sewed it up himself. he has
                      the proper surgical needles and gut. He held the cut together with his left hand and
                      pushed the needle through the flesh with his right. I pulled the needle out and passed it
                      to George for the next stitch. I doubt whether a surgeon could have made a neater job
                      of it. He is still confined to the couch but today his temperature is normal. Some

                      The previous week was hectic in another way. We had a visit from lions! George
                      and I were having supper about 8.30 on Tuesday night when the back verandah was
                      suddenly invaded by women and children from the servants quarters behind the kitchen.
                      They were all yelling “Simba, Simba.” – simba means lions. The door opened suddenly
                      and the houseboy rushed in to say that there were lions at the huts. George got up
                      swiftly, fetched gun and ammunition from the bedroom and with the houseboy carrying
                      the lamp, went off to investigate. I remained at the table, carrying on with my supper as I
                      felt a pioneer’s wife should! Suddenly something big leapt through the open window
                      behind me. You can imagine what I thought! I know now that it is quite true to say one’s
                      hair rises when one is scared. However it was only Kelly, our huge Irish wolfhound,
                      taking cover.

                      George returned quite soon to say that apparently the commotion made by the
                      women and children had frightened the lions off. He found their tracks in the soft earth
                      round the huts and a bag of maize that had been playfully torn open but the lions had
                      moved on.

                      Next day we heard that they had moved to Hickson-Wood’s shamba. Hicky
                      came across to say that the lions had jumped over the wall of his cattle boma and killed
                      both his white Muskat riding donkeys.
                      He and a friend sat up all next night over the remains but the lions did not return to
                      the kill.

                      Apart from the little set back last week, Ann is blooming. She has a cap of very
                      fine fair hair and clear blue eyes under straight brow. She also has lovely dimples in both
                      cheeks. We are very proud of her.

                      Our neighbours are picking coffee but the crops are small and the price is low. I
                      am amazed that they are so optimistic about the future. No one in these parts ever
                      seems to grouse though all are living on capital. They all say “Well if the worst happens
                      we can always go up to the Lupa Diggings.”

                      Don’t worry about us, we have enough to tide us over for some time yet.

                      Much love to all,

                      Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                      Dearest Family,

                      News! News! I’m going to have another baby. George and I are delighted and I
                      hope it will be a boy this time. I shall be able to have him at Mbeya because things are
                      rapidly changing here. Several German families have moved to Mbeya including a
                      German doctor who means to build a hospital there. I expect he will make a very good
                      living because there must now be some hundreds of Europeans within a hundred miles
                      radius of Mbeya. The Europeans are mostly British or German but there are also
                      Greeks and, I believe, several other nationalities are represented on the Lupa Diggings.
                      Ann is blooming and developing according to the Book except that she has no
                      teeth yet! Kath Hickson-Wood has given her a very nice high chair and now she has
                      breakfast and lunch at the table with us. Everything within reach goes on the floor to her
                      amusement and my exasperation!

                      You ask whether we have any Church of England missionaries in our part. No we
                      haven’t though there are Lutheran and Roman Catholic Missions. I have never even
                      heard of a visiting Church of England Clergyman to these parts though there are babies
                      in plenty who have not been baptised. Jolly good thing I had Ann Christened down

                      The R.C. priests in this area are called White Fathers. They all have beards and
                      wear white cassocks and sun helmets. One, called Father Keiling, calls around frequently.
                      Though none of us in this area is Catholic we take it in turn to put him up for the night. The
                      Catholic Fathers in their turn are most hospitable to travellers regardless of their beliefs.
                      Rather a sad thing has happened. Lucas our old chicken-boy is dead. I shall miss
                      his toothy smile. George went to the funeral and fired two farewell shots from his rifle
                      over the grave – a gesture much appreciated by the locals. Lucas in his day was a good

                      Several of the locals own muzzle loading guns but the majority hunt with dogs
                      and spears. The dogs wear bells which make an attractive jingle but I cannot bear the
                      idea of small antelope being run down until they are exhausted before being clubbed of
                      stabbed to death. We seldom eat venison as George does not care to shoot buck.
                      Recently though, he shot an eland and Abel rendered down the fat which is excellent for
                      cooking and very like beef fat.

                      Much love to all,

                      Mchewe Estate. P.O.Mbeya 21st November 1932

                      Dearest Family,

                      George has gone off to the Lupa for a week with John Molteno. John came up
                      here with the idea of buying a coffee farm but he has changed his mind and now thinks of
                      staking some claims on the diggings and also setting up as a gold buyer.

                      Did I tell you about his arrival here? John and George did some elephant hunting
                      together in French Equatorial Africa and when John heard that George had married and
                      settled in Tanganyika, he also decided to come up here. He drove up from Cape Town
                      in a Baby Austin and arrived just as our labourers were going home for the day. The little
                      car stopped half way up our hill and John got out to investigate. You should have heard
                      the astonished exclamations when John got out – all 6 ft 5 ins. of him! He towered over
                      the little car and even to me it seemed impossible for him to have made the long
                      journey in so tiny a car.

                      Kath Wood has been over several times lately. She is slim and looks so right in
                      the shirt and corduroy slacks she almost always wears. She was here yesterday when
                      the shamba boy, digging in the front garden, unearthed a large earthenware cooking pot,
                      sealed at the top. I was greatly excited and had an instant mental image of fabulous
                      wealth. We made the boy bring the pot carefully on to the verandah and opened it in
                      happy anticipation. What do you think was inside? Nothing but a grinning skull! Such a
                      treat for a pregnant female.

                      We have a tree growing here that had lovely straight branches covered by a
                      smooth bark. I got the garden boy to cut several of these branches of a uniform size,
                      peeled off the bark and have made Ann a playpen with the poles which are much like
                      broom sticks. Now I can leave her unattended when I do my chores. The other morning
                      after breakfast I put Ann in her playpen on the verandah and gave her a piece of toast
                      and honey to keep her quiet whilst I laundered a few of her things. When I looked out a
                      little later I was horrified to see a number of bees buzzing around her head whilst she
                      placidly concentrated on her toast. I made a rapid foray and rescued her but I still don’t
                      know whether that was the thing to do.

                      We all send our love,

                      Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                      Dearest Family,

                      Here I am, installed at the very new hospital, built by Dr Eckhardt, awaiting the
                      arrival of the new baby. George has gone back to the farm on foot but will walk in again
                      to spend the weekend with us. Ann is with me and enjoys the novelty of playing with
                      other children. The Eckhardts have two, a pretty little girl of two and a half and a very fair
                      roly poly boy of Ann’s age. Ann at fourteen months is very active. She is quite a little girl
                      now with lovely dimples. She walks well but is backward in teething.

                      George, Ann and I had a couple of days together at the hotel before I moved in
                      here and several of the local women visited me and have promised to visit me in
                      hospital. The trip from farm to town was very entertaining if not very comfortable. There
                      is ten miles of very rough road between our farm and Utengule Mission and beyond the
                      Mission there is a fair thirteen or fourteen mile road to Mbeya.

                      As we have no car now the doctor’s wife offered to drive us from the Mission to
                      Mbeya but she would not risk her car on the road between the Mission and our farm.
                      The upshot was that I rode in the Hickson-Woods machila for that ten mile stretch. The
                      machila is a canopied hammock, slung from a bamboo pole, in which I reclined, not too
                      comfortably in my unwieldy state, with Ann beside me or sometime straddling me. Four
                      of our farm boys carried the machila on their shoulders, two fore and two aft. The relief
                      bearers walked on either side. There must have been a dozen in all and they sang a sort
                      of sea shanty song as they walked. One man would sing a verse and the others took up
                      the chorus. They often improvise as they go. They moaned about my weight (at least
                      George said so! I don’t follow Ki-Swahili well yet) and expressed the hope that I would
                      have a son and that George would reward them handsomely.

                      George and Kelly, the dog, followed close behind the machila and behind
                      George came Abel our cook and his wife and small daughter Annalie, all in their best
                      attire. The cook wore a palm beach suit, large Terai hat and sunglasses and two colour
                      shoes and quite lent a tone to the proceedings! Right at the back came the rag tag and
                      bobtail who joined the procession just for fun.

                      Mrs Eckhardt was already awaiting us at the Mission when we arrived and we had
                      an uneventful trip to the Mbeya Hotel.

                      During my last week at the farm I felt very tired and engaged the cook’s small
                      daughter, Annalie, to amuse Ann for an hour after lunch so that I could have a rest. They
                      played in the small verandah room which adjoins our bedroom and where I keep all my
                      sewing materials. One afternoon I was startled by a scream from Ann. I rushed to the
                      room and found Ann with blood steaming from her cheek. Annalie knelt beside her,
                      looking startled and frightened, with my embroidery scissors in her hand. She had cut off
                      half of the long curling golden lashes on one of Ann’s eyelids and, in trying to finish the
                      job, had cut off a triangular flap of skin off Ann’s cheek bone.

                      I called Abel, the cook, and demanded that he should chastise his daughter there and
                      then and I soon heard loud shrieks from behind the kitchen. He spanked her with a
                      bamboo switch but I am sure not as well as she deserved. Africans are very tolerant
                      towards their children though I have seen husbands and wives fighting furiously.
                      I feel very well but long to have the confinement over.

                      Very much love,

                      Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                      Dearest Family,

                      Little George arrived at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening 29 th. April. George was
                      with me at the time as he had walked in from the farm for news, and what a wonderful bit
                      of luck that was. The doctor was away on a case on the Diggings and I was bathing Ann
                      with George looking on, when the pains started. George dried Ann and gave her
                      supper and put her to bed. Afterwards he sat on the steps outside my room and a
                      great comfort it was to know that he was there.

                      The confinement was short but pretty hectic. The Doctor returned to the Hospital
                      just in time to deliver the baby. He is a grand little boy, beautifully proportioned. The
                      doctor says he has never seen a better formed baby. He is however rather funny
                      looking just now as his head is, very temporarily, egg shaped. He has a shock of black
                      silky hair like a gollywog and believe it or not, he has a slight black moustache.
                      George came in, looked at the baby, looked at me, and we both burst out
                      laughing. The doctor was shocked and said so. He has no sense of humour and couldn’t
                      understand that we, though bursting with pride in our son, could never the less laugh at

                      Friends in Mbeya have sent me the most gorgeous flowers and my room is
                      transformed with delphiniums, roses and carnations. The room would be very austere
                      without the flowers. Curtains, bedspread and enamelware, walls and ceiling are all
                      snowy white.

                      George hired a car and took Ann home next day. I have little George for
                      company during the day but he is removed at night. I am longing to get him home and
                      away from the German nurse who feeds him on black tea when he cries. She insists that
                      tea is a medicine and good for him.

                      Much love from a proud mother of two.

                      Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                      Dearest Family,

                      We are all together at home again and how lovely it feels. Even the house
                      servants seem pleased. The boy had decorated the lounge with sprays of
                      bougainvillaea and Abel had backed one of his good sponge cakes.

                      Ann looked fat and rosy but at first was only moderately interested in me and the
                      new baby but she soon thawed. George is good with her and will continue to dress Ann
                      in the mornings and put her to bed until I am satisfied with Georgie.

                      He, poor mite, has a nasty rash on face and neck. I am sure it is just due to that
                      tea the nurse used to give him at night. He has lost his moustache and is fast loosing his
                      wild black hair and emerging as quite a handsome babe. He is a very masculine looking
                      infant with much more strongly marked eyebrows and a larger nose that Ann had. He is
                      very good and lies quietly in his basket even when awake.

                      George has been making a hatching box for brown trout ova and has set it up in
                      a small clear stream fed by a spring in readiness for the ova which is expected from
                      South Africa by next weeks plane. Some keen fishermen from Mbeya and the District
                      have clubbed together to buy the ova. The fingerlings are later to be transferred to
                      streams in Mbeya and Tukuyu Districts.

                      I shall now have my hands full with the two babies and will not have much time for the
                      garden, or I fear, for writing very long letters. Remember though, that no matter how
                      large my family becomes, I shall always love you as much as ever.

                      Your affectionate,

                      Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                      Dearest Family,

                      The four of us are all well but alas we have lost our dear Kelly. He was rather a
                      silly dog really, although he grew so big he retained all his puppy ways but we were all
                      very fond of him, especially George because Kelly attached himself to George whilst I
                      was away having Ann and from that time on he was George’s shadow. I think he had
                      some form of biliary fever. He died stretched out on the living room couch late last night,
                      with George sitting beside him so that he would not feel alone.

                      The children are growing fast. Georgie is a darling. He now has a fluff of pale
                      brown hair and his eyes are large and dark brown. Ann is very plump and fair.
                      We have had several visitors lately. Apart from neighbours, a car load of diggers
                      arrived one night and John Molteno and his bride were here. She is a very attractive girl
                      but, I should say, more suited to life in civilisation than in this back of beyond. She has
                      gone out to the diggings with her husband and will have to walk a good stretch of the fifty
                      or so miles.

                      The diggers had to sleep in the living room on the couch and on hastily erected
                      camp beds. They arrived late at night and left after breakfast next day. One had half a
                      beard, the other side of his face had been forcibly shaved in the bar the night before.

                      your affectionate,

                      Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                      Dearest Family,

                      George is away on safari with two Indian Army officers. The money he will get for
                      his services will be very welcome because this coffee growing is a slow business, and
                      our capitol is rapidly melting away. The job of acting as White Hunter was unexpected
                      or George would not have taken on the job of hatching the ova which duly arrived from
                      South Africa.

                      George and the District Commissioner, David Pollock, went to meet the plane
                      by which the ova had been consigned but the pilot knew nothing about the package. It
                      came to light in the mail bag with the parcels! However the ova came to no harm. David
                      Pollock and George brought the parcel to the farm and carefully transferred the ova to
                      the hatching box. It was interesting to watch the tiny fry hatch out – a process which took
                      several days. Many died in the process and George removed the dead by sucking
                      them up in a glass tube.

                      When hatched, the tiny fry were fed on ant eggs collected by the boys. I had to
                      take over the job of feeding and removing the dead when George left on safari. The fry
                      have to be fed every four hours, like the baby, so each time I have fed Georgie. I hurry
                      down to feed the trout.

                      The children are very good but keep me busy. Ann can now say several words
                      and understands more. She adores Georgie. I long to show them off to you.

                      Very much love

                      Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                      Dear Family,

                      All just over flu. George and Ann were very poorly. I did not fare so badly and
                      Georgie came off best. He is on a bottle now.

                      There was some excitement here last Wednesday morning. At 6.30 am. I called
                      for boiling water to make Georgie’s food. No water arrived but muffled shouting and the
                      sound of blows came from the kitchen. I went to investigate and found a fierce fight in
                      progress between the house boy and the kitchen boy. In my efforts to make them stop
                      fighting I went too close and got a sharp bang on the mouth with the edge of an
                      enamelled plate the kitchen boy was using as a weapon. My teeth cut my lip inside and
                      the plate cut it outside and blood flowed from mouth to chin. The boys were petrified.
                      By the time I had fed Georgie the lip was stiff and swollen. George went in wrath
                      to the kitchen and by breakfast time both house boy and kitchen boy had swollen faces
                      too. Since then I have a kettle of boiling water to hand almost before the words are out
                      of my mouth. I must say that the fight was because the house boy had clouted the
                      kitchen boy for keeping me waiting! In this land of piece work it is the job of the kitchen
                      boy to light the fire and boil the kettle but the houseboy’s job to carry the kettle to me.
                      I have seen little of Kath Wood or Marion Coster for the past two months. Major
                      Jones is the neighbour who calls most regularly. He has a wireless set and calls on all of
                      us to keep us up to date with world as well as local news. He often brings oranges for
                      Ann who adores him. He is a very nice person but no oil painting and makes no effort to
                      entertain Ann but she thinks he is fine. Perhaps his monocle appeals to her.

                      George has bought a six foot long galvanised bath which is a great improvement
                      on the smaller oval one we have used until now. The smaller one had grown battered
                      from much use and leaks like a sieve. Fortunately our bathroom has a cement floor,
                      because one had to fill the bath to the brim and then bath extremely quickly to avoid
                      being left high and dry.

                      Lots and lots of love,

                      Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 1st December 1933

                      Dearest Family,

                      Ann has not been well. We think she has had malaria. She has grown a good
                      deal lately and looks much thinner and rather pale. Georgie is thriving and has such
                      sparkling brown eyes and a ready smile. He and Ann make a charming pair, one so fair
                      and the other dark.

                      The Moltenos’ spent a few days here and took Georgie and me to Mbeya so
                      that Georgie could be vaccinated. However it was an unsatisfactory trip because the
                      doctor had no vaccine.

                      George went to the Lupa with the Moltenos and returned to the farm in their Baby
                      Austin which they have lent to us for a week. This was to enable me to go to Mbeya to
                      have a couple of teeth filled by a visiting dentist.

                      We went to Mbeya in the car on Saturday. It was quite a squash with the four of
                      us on the front seat of the tiny car. Once George grabbed the babies foot instead of the
                      gear knob! We had Georgie vaccinated at the hospital and then went to the hotel where
                      the dentist was installed. Mr Dare, the dentist, had few instruments and they were very
                      tarnished. I sat uncomfortably on a kitchen chair whilst he tinkered with my teeth. He filled
                      three but two of the fillings came out that night. This meant another trip to Mbeya in the
                      Baby Austin but this time they seem all right.

                      The weather is very hot and dry and the garden a mess. We are having trouble
                      with the young coffee trees too. Cut worms are killing off seedlings in the nursery and
                      there is a borer beetle in the planted out coffee.

                      George bought a large grey donkey from some wandering Masai and we hope
                      the children will enjoy riding it later on.

                      Very much love,

                      Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                      Dearest Family,

                      You will be sorry to hear that little Ann has been very ill, indeed we were terribly
                      afraid that we were going to lose her. She enjoyed her birthday on the 8th. All the toys
                      you, and her English granny, sent were unwrapped with such delight. However next
                      day she seemed listless and a bit feverish so I tucked her up in bed after lunch. I dosed
                      her with quinine and aspirin and she slept fitfully. At about eleven o’clock I was
                      awakened by a strange little cry. I turned up the night light and was horrified to see that
                      Ann was in a convulsion. I awakened George who, as always in an emergency, was
                      perfectly calm and practical. He filled the small bath with very warm water and emersed
                      Ann in it, placing a cold wet cloth on her head. We then wrapped her in blankets and
                      gave her an enema and she settled down to sleep. A few hours later we had the same
                      thing over again.

                      At first light we sent a runner to Mbeya to fetch the doctor but waited all day in
                      vain and in the evening the runner returned to say that the doctor had gone to a case on
                      the diggings. Ann had been feverish all day with two or three convulsions. Neither
                      George or I wished to leave the bedroom, but there was Georgie to consider, and in
                      the afternoon I took him out in the garden for a while whilst George sat with Ann.
                      That night we both sat up all night and again Ann had those wretched attacks of
                      convulsions. George and I were worn out with anxiety by the time the doctor arrived the
                      next afternoon. Ann had not been able to keep down any quinine and had had only
                      small sips of water since the onset of the attack.

                      The doctor at once diagnosed the trouble as malaria aggravated by teething.
                      George held Ann whilst the Doctor gave her an injection. At the first attempt the needle
                      bent into a bow, George was furious! The second attempt worked and after a few hours
                      Ann’s temperature dropped and though she was ill for two days afterwards she is now
                      up and about. She has also cut the last of her baby teeth, thank God. She looks thin and
                      white, but should soon pick up. It has all been a great strain to both of us. Georgie
                      behaved like an angel throughout. He played happily in his cot and did not seem to
                      sense any tension as people say, babies do. Our baby was cheerful and not at all

                      This is the rainy season and it is a good thing that some work has been done on
                      our road or the doctor might not have got through.

                      Much love to all,

                      Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                      Dearest Family,

                      We are all well now, thank goodness, but last week Georgie gave us such a
                      fright. I was sitting on the verandah, busy with some sewing and not watching Ann and
                      Georgie, who were trying to reach a bunch of bananas which hung on a rope from a
                      beam of the verandah. Suddenly I heard a crash, Georgie had fallen backward over the
                      edge of the verandah and hit the back of his head on the edge of the brick furrow which
                      carries away the rainwater. He lay flat on his back with his arms spread out and did not
                      move or cry. When I picked him up he gave a little whimper, I carried him to his cot and
                      bathed his face and soon he began sitting up and appeared quite normal. The trouble
                      began after he had vomited up his lunch. He began to whimper and bang his head
                      against the cot.

                      George and I were very worried because we have no transport so we could not
                      take Georgie to the doctor and we could not bear to go through again what we had gone
                      through with Ann earlier in the year. Then, in the late afternoon, a miracle happened. Two
                      men George hardly knew, and complete strangers to me, called in on their way from the
                      diggings to Mbeya and they kindly drove Georgie and me to the hospital. The Doctor
                      allowed me to stay with Georgie and we spent five days there. Luckily he responded to
                      treatment and is now as alive as ever. Children do put years on one!

                      There is nothing much else to report. We have a new vegetable garden which is
                      doing well but the earth here is strange. Gardens seem to do well for two years but by
                      that time the soil is exhausted and one must move the garden somewhere else. The
                      coffee looks well but it will be another year before we can expect even a few bags of
                      coffee and prices are still low. Anyway by next year George should have some good
                      return for all his hard work.

                      Lots of love,

                      Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                      Dearest Family,

                      George is home from his White Hunting safari looking very sunburnt and well.
                      The elderly American, who was his client this time, called in here at the farm to meet me
                      and the children. It is amazing what spirit these old lads have! This one looked as though
                      he should be thinking in terms of slippers and an armchair but no, he thinks in terms of
                      high powered rifles with telescopic sights.

                      It is lovely being together again and the children are delighted to have their Dad
                      home. Things are always exciting when George is around. The day after his return
                      George said at breakfast, “We can’t go on like this. You and the kids never get off the
                      shamba. We’ll simply have to get a car.” You should have heard the excitement. “Get a
                      car Daddy?’” cried Ann jumping in her chair so that her plaits bounced. “Get a car
                      Daddy?” echoed Georgie his brown eyes sparkling. “A car,” said I startled, “However
                      can we afford one?”

                      “Well,” said George, “on my way back from Safari I heard that a car is to be sold
                      this week at the Tukuyu Court, diseased estate or bankruptcy or something, I might get it
                      cheap and it is an A.C.” The name meant nothing to me, but George explained that an
                      A.C. is first cousin to a Rolls Royce.

                      So off he went to the sale and next day the children and I listened all afternoon for
                      the sound of an approaching car. We had many false alarms but, towards evening we
                      heard what appeared to be the roar of an aeroplane engine. It was the A.C. roaring her
                      way up our steep hill with a long plume of steam waving gaily above her radiator.
                      Out jumped my beaming husband and in no time at all, he was showing off her
                      points to an admiring family. Her lines are faultless and seats though worn are most
                      comfortable. She has a most elegant air so what does it matter that the radiator leaks like
                      a sieve, her exhaust pipe has broken off, her tyres are worn almost to the canvas and
                      she has no windscreen. She goes, and she cost only five pounds.

                      Next afternoon George, the kids and I piled into the car and drove along the road
                      on lookout for guinea fowl. All went well on the outward journey but on the homeward
                      one the poor A.C. simply gasped and died. So I carried the shot gun and George
                      carried both children and we trailed sadly home. This morning George went with a bunch
                      of farmhands and brought her home. Truly temperamental, she came home literally
                      under her own steam.

                      George now plans to get a second hand engine and radiator for her but it won’t
                      be an A.C. engine. I think she is the only one of her kind in the country.
                      I am delighted to hear, dad, that you are sending a bridle for Joseph for
                      Christmas. I am busy making a saddle out of an old piece of tent canvas stuffed with
                      kapok, some webbing and some old rug straps. A car and a riding donkey! We’re
                      definitely carriage folk now.

                      Lots of love to all,

                      Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                      Dearest Family,

                      Thank you for the wonderful Christmas parcel. My frock is a splendid fit. George
                      declares that no one can knit socks like Mummy and the children love their toys and new

                      Joseph, the donkey, took his bit with an air of bored resignation and Ann now
                      rides proudly on his back. Joseph is a big strong animal with the looks and disposition of
                      a mule. he will not go at all unless a native ‘toto’ walks before him and when he does go
                      he wears a pained expression as though he were carrying fourteen stone instead of
                      Ann’s fly weight. I walk beside the donkey carrying Georgie and our cat, ‘Skinny Winnie’,
                      follows behind. Quite a cavalcade. The other day I got so exasperated with Joseph that
                      I took Ann off and I got on. Joseph tottered a few paces and sat down! to the huge
                      delight of our farm labourers who were going home from work. Anyway, one good thing,
                      the donkey is so lazy that there is little chance of him bolting with Ann.

                      The Moltenos spent Christmas with us and left for the Lupa Diggings yesterday.
                      They arrived on the 22nd. with gifts for the children and chocolates and beer. That very
                      afternoon George and John Molteno left for Ivuna, near Lake Ruckwa, to shoot some
                      guinea fowl and perhaps a goose for our Christmas dinner. We expected the menfolk
                      back on Christmas Eve and Anne and I spent a busy day making mince pies and
                      sausage rolls. Why I don’t know, because I am sure Abel could have made them better.
                      We decorated the Christmas tree and sat up very late but no husbands turned up.
                      Christmas day passed but still no husbands came. Anne, like me, is expecting a baby
                      and we both felt pretty forlorn and cross. Anne was certain that they had been caught up
                      in a party somewhere and had forgotten all about us and I must say when Boxing Day
                      went by and still George and John did not show up I felt ready to agree with her.
                      They turned up towards evening and explained that on the homeward trip the car
                      had bogged down in the mud and that they had spent a miserable Christmas. Anne
                      refused to believe their story so George, to prove their case, got the game bag and
                      tipped the contents on to the dining room table. Out fell several guinea fowl, long past
                      being edible, followed by a large goose so high that it was green and blue where all the
                      feathers had rotted off.

                      The stench was too much for two pregnant girls. I shot out of the front door
                      closely followed by Anne and we were both sick in the garden.

                      I could not face food that evening but Anne is made of stronger stuff and ate her
                      belated Christmas dinner with relish.

                      I am looking forward enormously to having Marjorie here with us. She will be able
                      to carry back to you an eyewitness account of our home and way of life.

                      Much love to you all,

                      Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                      Dearest Family,

                      You cannot imagine how lovely it is to have Marjorie here. She came just in time
                      because I have had pernicious vomiting and have lost a great deal of weight and she
                      took charge of the children and made me spend three days in hospital having treatment.
                      George took me to the hospital on the afternoon of New Years Eve and decided
                      to spend the night at the hotel and join in the New Years Eve celebrations. I had several
                      visitors at the hospital that evening and George actually managed to get some imported
                      grapes for me. He returned to the farm next morning and fetched me from the hospital
                      four days later. Of course the old A.C. just had to play up. About half way home the
                      back axle gave in and we had to send a passing native some miles back to a place
                      called Mbalizi to hire a lorry from a Greek trader to tow us home to the farm.
                      The children looked well and were full of beans. I think Marjorie was thankful to
                      hand them over to me. She is delighted with Ann’s motherly little ways but Georgie she
                      calls “a really wild child”. He isn’t, just has such an astonishing amount of energy and is
                      always up to mischief. Marjorie brought us all lovely presents. I am so thrilled with my
                      sewing machine. It may be an old model but it sews marvellously. We now have an
                      Alsatian pup as well as Joseph the donkey and the two cats.

                      Marjorie had a midnight encounter with Joseph which gave her quite a shock but
                      we had a good laugh about it next day. Some months ago George replaced our wattle
                      and daub outside pit lavatory by a substantial brick one, so large that Joseph is being
                      temporarily stabled in it at night. We neglected to warn Marj about this and one night,
                      storm lamp in hand, she opened the door and Joseph walked out braying his thanks.
                      I am afraid Marjorie is having a quiet time, a shame when the journey from Cape
                      Town is so expensive. The doctor has told me to rest as much as I can, so it is
                      impossible for us to take Marj on sight seeing trips.

                      I hate to think that she will be leaving in ten days time.

                      Much love,

                      Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                      Dearest Family,

                      You must be able to visualise our life here quite well now that Marj is back and
                      has no doubt filled in all the details I forget to mention in my letters. What a journey we
                      had in the A.C. when we took her to the plane. George, the children and I sat in front and
                      Marj sat behind with numerous four gallon tins of water for the insatiable radiator. It was
                      raining and the canvas hood was up but part of the side flaps are missing and as there is
                      no glass in the windscreen the rain blew in on us. George got fed up with constantly
                      removing the hot radiator cap so simply stuffed a bit of rag in instead. When enough
                      steam had built up in the radiator behind the rag it blew out and we started all over again.
                      The car still roars like an aeroplane engine and yet has little power so that George sent
                      gangs of boys to the steep hills between the farm and the Mission to give us a push if
                      necessary. Fortunately this time it was not, and the boys cheered us on our way. We
                      needed their help on the homeward journey however.

                      George has now bought an old Chev engine which he means to install before I
                      have to go to hospital to have my new baby. It will be quite an engineering feet as
                      George has few tools.

                      I am sorry to say that I am still not well, something to do with kidneys or bladder.
                      George bought me some pills from one of the several small shops which have opened
                      in Mbeya and Ann is most interested in the result. She said seriously to Kath Wood,
                      “Oh my Mummy is a very clever Mummy. She can do blue wee and green wee as well
                      as yellow wee.” I simply can no longer manage the children without help and have
                      engaged the cook’s wife, Janey, to help. The children are by no means thrilled. I plead in
                      vain that I am not well enough to go for walks. Ann says firmly, “Ann doesn’t want to go
                      for a walk. Ann will look after you.” Funny, though she speaks well for a three year old,
                      she never uses the first person. Georgie say he would much rather walk with
                      Keshokutwa, the kitchen boy. His name by the way, means day-after-tomorrow and it
                      suits him down to the ground, Kath Wood walks over sometimes with offers of help and Ann will gladly go walking with her but Georgie won’t. He on the other hand will walk with Anne Molteno
                      and Ann won’t. They are obstinate kids. Ann has developed a very fertile imagination.
                      She has probably been looking at too many of those nice women’s magazines you
                      sent. A few days ago she said, “You are sick Mummy, but Ann’s got another Mummy.
                      She’s not sick, and my other mummy (very smugly) has lovely golden hair”. This
                      morning’ not ten minutes after I had dressed her, she came in with her frock wet and
                      muddy. I said in exasperation, “Oh Ann, you are naughty.” To which she instantly
                      returned, “My other Mummy doesn’t think I am naughty. She thinks I am very nice.” It
                      strikes me I shall have to get better soon so that I can be gay once more and compete
                      with that phantom golden haired paragon.

                      We had a very heavy storm over the farm last week. There was heavy rain with
                      hail which stripped some of the coffee trees and the Mchewe River flooded and the
                      water swept through the lower part of the shamba. After the water had receded George
                      picked up a fine young trout which had been stranded. This was one of some he had
                      put into the river when Georgie was a few months old.

                      The trials of a coffee farmer are legion. We now have a plague of snails. They
                      ring bark the young trees and leave trails of slime on the glossy leaves. All the ring
                      barked trees will have to be cut right back and this is heartbreaking as they are bearing
                      berries for the first time. The snails are collected by native children, piled upon the
                      ground and bashed to a pulp which gives off a sickening stench. I am sorry for the local
                      Africans. Locusts ate up their maize and now they are losing their bean crop to the snails.

                      Lots of love, Eleanor


                        From Tanganyika with Love

                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                        • “The letters of Eleanor Dunbar Leslie to her parents and her sister in South Africa
                          concerning her life with George Gilman Rushby of Tanganyika, and the trials and
                          joys of bringing up a family in pioneering conditions.

                        These letters were transcribed from copies of letters typed by Eleanor Rushby from
                        the originals which were in the estate of Marjorie Leslie, Eleanor’s sister. Eleanor
                        kept no diary of her life in Tanganyika, so these letters were the living record of an
                        important part of her life.

                        Having walked across Africa from the East coast to Ubangi Shauri Chad
                        in French Equatorial Africa, hunting elephant all the way, George Rushby
                        made his way down the Congo to Leopoldville. He then caught a ship to
                        Europe and had a holiday in Brussels and Paris before visiting his family
                        in England. He developed blackwater fever and was extremely ill for a
                        while. When he recovered he went to London to arrange his return to

                        Whilst staying at the Overseas Club he met Eileen Graham who had come
                        to England from Cape Town to study music. On hearing that George was
                        sailing for Cape Town she arranged to introduce him to her friend
                        Eleanor Dunbar Leslie. “You’ll need someone lively to show you around,”
                        she said. “She’s as smart as paint, a keen mountaineer, a very good school
                        teacher, and she’s attractive. You can’t miss her, because her father is a
                        well known Cape Town Magistrate. And,” she added “I’ve already written
                        and told her what ship you are arriving on.”

                        Eleanor duly met the ship. She and George immediately fell in love.
                        Within thirty six hours he had proposed marriage and was accepted
                        despite the misgivings of her parents. As she was under contract to her
                        High School, she remained in South Africa for several months whilst
                        George headed for Tanganyika looking for a farm where he could build
                        their home.

                        These details are a summary of chapter thirteen of the Biography of
                        George Gilman Rushby ‘The Hunter is Death “ by T.V.Bulpin.


                        Dearest Marj,
                        Terrifically exciting news! I’ve just become engaged to an Englishman whom I
                        met last Monday. The result is a family upheaval which you will have no difficulty in

                        The Aunts think it all highly romantic and cry in delight “Now isn’t that just like our
                        El!” Mummy says she doesn’t know what to think, that anyway I was always a harum
                        scarum and she rather expected something like this to happen. However I know that
                        she thinks George highly attractive. “Such a nice smile and gentle manner, and such
                        good hands“ she murmurs appreciatively. “But WHY AN ELEPHANT HUNTER?” she
                        ends in a wail, as though elephant hunting was an unmentionable profession.
                        Anyway I don’t think so. Anyone can marry a bank clerk or a lawyer or even a
                        millionaire – but whoever heard of anyone marrying anyone as exciting as an elephant
                        hunter? I’m thrilled to bits.

                        Daddy also takes a dim view of George’s profession, and of George himself as
                        a husband for me. He says that I am so impulsive and have such wild enthusiasms that I
                        need someone conservative and steady to give me some serenity and some ballast.
                        Dad says George is a handsome fellow and a good enough chap he is sure, but
                        he is obviously a man of the world and hints darkly at a possible PAST. George says
                        he has nothing of the kind and anyway I’m the first girl he has asked to marry him. I don’t
                        care anyway, I’d gladly marry him tomorrow, but Dad has other ideas.

                        He sat in his armchair to deliver his verdict, wearing the same look he must wear
                        on the bench. If we marry, and he doesn’t think it would be a good thing, George must
                        buy a comfortable house for me in Central Africa where I can stay safely when he goes
                        hunting. I interrupted to say “But I’m going too”, but dad snubbed me saying that in no
                        time at all I’ll have a family and one can’t go dragging babies around in the African Bush.”
                        George takes his lectures with surprising calm. He says he can see Dad’s point of
                        view much better than I can. He told the parents today that he plans to buy a small
                        coffee farm in the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika and will build a cosy cottage which
                        will be a proper home for both of us, and that he will only hunt occasionally to keep the
                        pot boiling.

                        Mummy, of course, just had to spill the beans. She said to George, “I suppose
                        you know that Eleanor knows very little about house keeping and can’t cook at all.” a fact
                        that I was keeping a dark secret. But George just said, “Oh she won’t have to work. The
                        boys do all that sort of thing. She can lie on a couch all day and read if she likes.” Well
                        you always did say that I was a “Lily of the field,” and what a good thing! If I were one of
                        those terribly capable women I’d probably die of frustration because it seems that
                        African house boys feel that they have lost face if their Memsahibs do anything but the
                        most gracious chores.

                        George is absolutely marvellous. He is strong and gentle and awfully good
                        looking too. He is about 5 ft 10 ins tall and very broad. He wears his curly brown hair cut
                        very short and has a close clipped moustache. He has strongly marked eyebrows and
                        very striking blue eyes which sometimes turn grey or green. His teeth are strong and
                        even and he has a quiet voice.

                        I expect all this sounds too good to be true, but come home quickly and see for
                        yourself. George is off to East Africa in three weeks time to buy our farm. I shall follow as
                        soon as he has bought it and we will be married in Dar es Salaam.

                        Dad has taken George for a walk “to get to know him” and that’s why I have time
                        to write such a long screed. They should be back any minute now and I must fly and
                        apply a bit of glamour.

                        Much love my dear,
                        your jubilant

                        S.S.Timavo. Durban. 28th.October. 1930.

                        Dearest Family,
                        Thank you for the lovely send off. I do wish you were all on board with me and
                        could come and dance with me at my wedding. We are having a very comfortable
                        voyage. There were only four of the passengers as far as Durban, all of them women,
                        but I believe we are taking on more here. I have a most comfortable deck cabin to
                        myself and the use of a sumptuous bathroom. No one is interested in deck games and I
                        am having a lazy time, just sunbathing and reading.

                        I sit at the Captain’s table and the meals are delicious – beautifully served. The
                        butter for instance, is moulded into sprays of roses, most exquisitely done, and as for
                        the ice-cream, I’ve never tasted anything like them.

                        The meals are continental type and we have hors d’oeuvre in a great variety
                        served on large round trays. The Italians souse theirs with oil, Ugh! We also of course
                        get lots of spaghetti which I have some difficulty in eating. However this presents no
                        problem to the Chief Engineer who sits opposite to me. He simply rolls it around his
                        fork and somehow the spaghetti flows effortlessly from fork to mouth exactly like an
                        ascending escalator. Wine is served at lunch and dinner – very mild and pleasant stuff.
                        Of the women passengers the one i liked best was a young German widow
                        from South west Africa who left the ship at East London to marry a man she had never
                        met. She told me he owned a drapers shop and she was very happy at the prospect
                        of starting a new life, as her previous marriage had ended tragically with the death of her
                        husband and only child in an accident.

                        I was most interested to see the bridegroom and stood at the rail beside the gay
                        young widow when we docked at East London. I picked him out, without any difficulty,
                        from the small group on the quay. He was a tall thin man in a smart grey suit and with a
                        grey hat perched primly on his head. You can always tell from hats can’t you? I wasn’t
                        surprised to see, when this German raised his head, that he looked just like the Kaiser’s
                        “Little Willie”. Long thin nose and cold grey eyes and no smile of welcome on his tight
                        mouth for the cheery little body beside me. I quite expected him to jerk his thumb and
                        stalk off, expecting her to trot at his heel.

                        However she went off blithely enough. Next day before the ship sailed, she
                        was back and I saw her talking to the Captain. She began to cry and soon after the
                        Captain patted her on the shoulder and escorted her to the gangway. Later the Captain
                        told me that the girl had come to ask him to allow her to work her passage back to
                        Germany where she had some relations. She had married the man the day before but
                        she disliked him because he had deceived her by pretending that he owned a shop
                        whereas he was only a window dresser. Bad show for both.

                        The Captain and the Chief Engineer are the only officers who mix socially with
                        the passengers. The captain seems rather a melancholy type with, I should say, no
                        sense of humour. He speaks fair English with an American accent. He tells me that he
                        was on the San Francisco run during Prohibition years in America and saw many Film
                        Stars chiefly “under the influence” as they used to flock on board to drink. The Chief
                        Engineer is big and fat and cheerful. His English is anything but fluent but he makes up
                        for it in mime.

                        I visited the relations and friends at Port Elizabeth and East London, and here at
                        Durban. I stayed with the Trotters and Swans and enjoyed myself very much at both
                        places. I have collected numerous wedding presents, china and cutlery, coffee
                        percolator and ornaments, and where I shall pack all these things I don’t know. Everyone has been terribly kind and I feel extremely well and happy.

                        At the start of the voyage I had a bit of bad luck. You will remember that a
                        perfectly foul South Easter was blowing. Some men were busy working on a deck
                        engine and I stopped to watch and a tiny fragment of steel blew into my eye. There is
                        no doctor on board so the stewardess put some oil into the eye and bandaged it up.
                        The eye grew more and more painful and inflamed and when when we reached Port
                        Elizabeth the Captain asked the Port Doctor to look at it. The Doctor said it was a job for
                        an eye specialist and telephoned from the ship to make an appointment. Luckily for me,
                        Vincent Tofts turned up at the ship just then and took me off to the specialist and waited
                        whilst he extracted the fragment with a giant magnet. The specialist said that I was very
                        lucky as the thing just missed the pupil of my eye so my sight will not be affected. I was
                        temporarily blinded by the Belladona the eye-man put in my eye so he fitted me with a
                        pair of black goggles and Vincent escorted me back to the ship. Don’t worry the eye is
                        now as good as ever and George will not have to take a one-eyed bride for better or

                        I have one worry and that is that the ship is going to be very much overdue by
                        the time we reach Dar es Salaam. She is taking on a big wool cargo and we were held
                        up for three days in East london and have been here in Durban for five days.
                        Today is the ninth Anniversary of the Fascist Movement and the ship was
                        dressed with bunting and flags. I must now go and dress for the gala dinner.

                        Bless you all,

                        S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                        Dearest Family,

                        Nearly there now. We called in at Lourenco Marques, Beira, Mozambique and
                        Port Amelia. I was the only one of the original passengers left after Durban but there we
                        took on a Mrs Croxford and her mother and two men passengers. Mrs C must have
                        something, certainly not looks. She has a flat figure, heavily mascared eyes and crooked
                        mouth thickly coated with lipstick. But her rather sweet old mother-black-pearls-type tells
                        me they are worn out travelling around the world trying to shake off an admirer who
                        pursues Mrs C everywhere.

                        The one male passenger is very quiet and pleasant. The old lady tells me that he
                        has recently lost his wife. The other passenger is a horribly bumptious type.
                        I had my hair beautifully shingled at Lourenco Marques, but what an experience it
                        was. Before we docked I asked the Captain whether he knew of a hairdresser, but he
                        said he did not and would have to ask the agent when he came aboard. The agent was
                        a very suave Asian. He said “Sure he did” and offered to take me in his car. I rather
                        doubtfully agreed — such a swarthy gentleman — and was driven, not to a hairdressing
                        establishment, but to his office. Then he spoke to someone on the telephone and in no
                        time at all a most dago-y type arrived carrying a little black bag. He was all patent
                        leather, hair, and flashing smile, and greeted me like an old and valued friend.
                        Before I had collected my scattered wits tthe Agent had flung open a door and
                        ushered me through, and I found myself seated before an ornate mirror in what was only
                        too obviously a bedroom. It was a bedroom with a difference though. The unmade bed
                        had no legs but hung from the ceiling on brass chains.

                        The agent beamingly shut the door behind him and I was left with my imagination
                        and the afore mentioned oily hairdresser. He however was very business like. Before I
                        could say knife he had shingled my hair with a cut throat razor and then, before I could
                        protest, had smothered my neck in stinking pink powder applied with an enormous and
                        filthy swansdown powder puff. He held up a mirror for me to admire his handiwork but I
                        was aware only of the enormous bed reflected in it, and hurriedly murmuring “very nice,
                        very nice” I made my escape to the outer office where, to my relief, I found the Chief
                        Engineer who escorted me back to the ship.

                        In the afternoon Mrs Coxford and the old lady and I hired a taxi and went to the
                        Polana Hotel for tea. Very swish but I like our Cape Peninsula beaches better.
                        At Lorenco Marques we took on more passengers. The Governor of
                        Portuguese Nyasaland and his wife and baby son. He was a large middle aged man,
                        very friendly and unassuming and spoke perfect English. His wife was German and
                        exquisite, as fragile looking and with the delicate colouring of a Dresden figurine. She
                        looked about 18 but she told me she was 28 and showed me photographs of two
                        other sons – hefty youngsters, whom she had left behind in Portugal and was missing
                        very much.

                        It was frightfully hot at Beira and as I had no money left I did not go up to the
                        town, but Mrs Croxford and I spent a pleasant hour on the beach under the Casurina

                        The Governor and his wife left the ship at Mozambique. He looked very
                        imposing in his starched uniform and she more Dresden Sheperdish than ever in a
                        flowered frock. There was a guard of honour and all the trimmings. They bade me a warm farewell and invited George and me to stay at any time.

                        The German ship “Watussi” was anchored in the Bay and I decided to visit her
                        and try and have my hair washed and set. I had no sooner stepped on board when a
                        lady came up to me and said “Surely you are Beeba Leslie.” It was Mrs Egan and she
                        had Molly with her. Considering Mrs Egan had not seen me since I was five I think it was
                        jolly clever of her to recognise me. Molly is charming and was most friendly. She fixed
                        things with the hairdresser and sat with me until the job was done. Afterwards I had tea
                        with them.

                        Port Amelia was our last stop. In fact the only person to go ashore was Mr
                        Taylor, the unpleasant man, and he returned at sunset very drunk indeed.
                        We reached Port Amelia on the 3rd – my birthday. The boat had anchored by
                        the time I was dressed and when I went on deck I saw several row boats cluttered
                        around the gangway and in them were natives with cages of wild birds for sale. Such tiny
                        crowded cages. I was furious, you know me. I bought three cages, carried them out on
                        to the open deck and released the birds. I expected them to fly to the land but they flew
                        straight up into the rigging.

                        The quiet male passenger wandered up and asked me what I was doing. I said
                        “I’m giving myself a birthday treat, I hate to see caged birds.” So next thing there he
                        was buying birds which he presented to me with “Happy Birthday.” I gladly set those
                        birds free too and they joined the others in the rigging.

                        Then a grinning steward came up with three more cages. “For the lady with
                        compliments of the Captain.” They lost no time in joining their friends.
                        It had given me so much pleasure to free the birds that I was only a little
                        discouraged when the quiet man said thoughtfully “This should encourage those bird
                        catchers you know, they are sold out. When evening came and we were due to sail I
                        was sure those birds would fly home, but no, they are still there and they will probably
                        remain until we dock at Dar es Salaam.

                        During the morning the Captain came up and asked me what my Christian name
                        is. He looked as grave as ever and I couldn’t think why it should interest him but said “the
                        name is Eleanor.” That night at dinner there was a large iced cake in the centre of the
                        table with “HELENA” in a delicate wreath of pink icing roses on the top. We had
                        champagne and everyone congratulated me and wished me good luck in my marriage.
                        A very nice gesture don’t you think. The unpleasant character had not put in an
                        appearance at dinner which made the party all the nicer

                        I sat up rather late in the lounge reading a book and by the time I went to bed
                        there was not a soul around. I bathed and changed into my nighty,walked into my cabin,
                        shed my dressing gown, and pottered around. When I was ready for bed I put out my
                        hand to draw the curtains back and a hand grasped my wrist. It was that wretched
                        creature outside my window on the deck, still very drunk. Luckily I was wearing that
                        heavy lilac silk nighty. I was livid. “Let go at once”, I said, but he only grinned stupidly.
                        “I’m not hurting you” he said, “only looking”. “I’ll ring for the steward” said I, and by
                        stretching I managed to press the bell with my free hand. I rang and rang but no one
                        came and he just giggled. Then I said furiously, “Remember this name, George
                        Rushby, he is a fine boxer and he hates specimens like you. When he meets me at Dar
                        es Salaam I shall tell him about this and I bet you will be sorry.” However he still held on
                        so I turned and knocked hard on the adjoining wall which divided my cabin from Mrs
                        Croxfords. Soon Mrs Croxford and the old lady appeared in dressing gowns . This
                        seemed to amuse the drunk even more though he let go my wrist. So whilst the old
                        lady stayed with me, Mrs C fetched the quiet passenger who soon hustled him off. He has kept out of my way ever since. However I still mean to tell George because I feel
                        the fellow got off far too lightly. I reported the matter to the Captain but he just remarked
                        that he always knew the man was low class because he never wears a jacket to meals.
                        This is my last night on board and we again had free champagne and I was given
                        some tooled leather work by the Captain and a pair of good paste earrings by the old
                        lady. I have invited them and Mrs Croxford, the Chief Engineer, and the quiet
                        passenger to the wedding.

                        This may be my last night as Eleanor Leslie and I have spent this long while
                        writing to you just as a little token of my affection and gratitude for all the years of your
                        love and care. I shall post this letter on the ship and must turn now and get some beauty
                        sleep. We have been told that we shall be in Dar es Salaam by 9 am. I am so excited
                        that I shall not sleep.

                        Very much love, and just for fun I’ll sign my full name for the last time.
                        with my “bes respeks”,

                        Eleanor Leslie.

                        Eleanor and George Rushby:

                        Eleanor and George Rushby

                        Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                        Dearest Family,

                        I’m writing this in the bedroom whilst George is out buying a tin trunk in which to
                        pack all our wedding presents. I expect he will be gone a long time because he has
                        gone out with Hicky Wood and, though our wedding was four days ago, it’s still an
                        excuse for a party. People are all very cheery and friendly here.
                        I am wearing only pants and slip but am still hot. One swelters here in the
                        mornings, but a fresh sea breeze blows in the late afternoons and then Dar es Salaam is

                        We arrived in Dar es Salaam harbour very early on Friday morning (7 th Nov).
                        The previous night the Captain had said we might not reach Dar. until 9 am, and certainly
                        no one would be allowed on board before 8 am. So I dawdled on the deck in my
                        dressing gown and watched the green coastline and the islands slipping by. I stood on
                        the deck outside my cabin and was not aware that I was looking out at the wrong side of
                        the landlocked harbour. Quite unknown to me George and some friends, the Hickson
                        Woods, were standing on the Gymkhana Beach on the opposite side of the channel
                        anxiously scanning the ship for a sign of me. George says he had a horrible idea I had
                        missed the ship. Blissfully unconscious of his anxiety I wandered into the bathroom
                        prepared for a good soak. The anchor went down when I was in the bath and suddenly
                        there was a sharp wrap on the door and I heard Mrs Croxford say “There’s a man in a
                        boat outside. He is looking out for someone and I’m sure it’s your George. I flung on
                        some clothes and rushed on deck with tousled hair and bare feet and it was George.
                        We had a marvellous reunion. George was wearing shorts and bush shirt and
                        looked just like the strong silent types one reads about in novels. I finished dressing then
                        George helped me bundle all the wedding presents I had collected en route into my
                        travelling rug and we went into the bar lounge to join the Hickson Woods. They are the
                        couple from whom George bought the land which is to be our coffee farm Hicky-Wood
                        was laughing when we joined them. he said he had called a chap to bring a couple of
                        beers thinking he was the steward but it turned out to be the Captain. He does wear
                        such a very plain uniform that I suppose it was easy to make the mistake, but Hicky
                        says he was not amused.

                        Anyway as the H-W’s are to be our neighbours I’d better describe them. Kath
                        Wood is very attractive, dark Irish, with curly black hair and big brown eyes. She was
                        married before to Viv Lumb a great friend of George’s who died some years ago of
                        blackwater fever. They had one little girl, Maureen, and Kath and Hicky have a small son
                        of three called Michael. Hicky is slightly below average height and very neat and dapper
                        though well built. He is a great one for a party and good fun but George says he can be
                        bad tempered.

                        Anyway we all filed off the ship and Hicky and Cath went on to the hotel whilst
                        George and I went through customs. Passing the customs was easy. Everyone
                        seemed to know George and that it was his wedding day and I just sailed through,
                        except for the little matter of the rug coming undone when George and I had to scramble
                        on the floor for candlesticks and fruit knives and a wooden nut bowl.
                        Outside the customs shed we were mobbed by a crowd of jabbering Africans
                        offering their services as porters, and soon my luggage was piled in one rickshaw whilst
                        George and I climbed into another and we were born smoothly away on rubber shod
                        wheels to the Splendid Hotel. The motion was pleasing enough but it seemed weird to
                        be pulled along by one human being whilst another pushed behind.  We turned up a street called Acacia Avenue which, as its name implies, is lined
                        with flamboyant acacia trees now in the full glory of scarlet and gold. The rickshaw
                        stopped before the Splendid Hotel and I was taken upstairs into a pleasant room which
                        had its own private balcony overlooking the busy street.

                        Here George broke the news that we were to be married in less than an hours
                        time. He would have to dash off and change and then go straight to the church. I would
                        be quite all right, Kath would be looking in and friends would fetch me.
                        I started to dress and soon there was a tap at the door and Mrs Hickson-Wood
                        came in with my bouquet. It was a lovely bunch of carnations and frangipani with lots of
                        asparagus fern and it went well with my primrose yellow frock. She admired my frock
                        and Leghorn hat and told me that her little girl Maureen was to be my flower girl. Then
                        she too left for the church.

                        I was fully dressed when there was another knock on the door and I opened it to
                        be confronted by a Police Officer in a starched white uniform. I’m McCallum”, he said,
                        “I’ve come to drive you to the church.” Downstairs he introduced me to a big man in a
                        tussore silk suit. “This is Dr Shicore”, said McCallum, “He is going to give you away.”
                        Honestly, I felt exactly like Alice in Wonderland. Wouldn’t have been at all surprised if
                        the White Rabbit had popped up and said he was going to be my page.

                        I walked out of the hotel and across the pavement in a dream and there, by the
                        curb, was a big dark blue police car decorated with white ribbons and with a tall African
                        Police Ascari holding the door open for me. I had hardly time to wonder what next when
                        the car drew up before a tall German looking church. It was in fact the Lutheran Church in
                        the days when Tanganyika was German East Africa.

                        Mrs Hickson-Wood, very smart in mushroom coloured georgette and lace, and
                        her small daughter were waiting in the porch, so in we went. I was glad to notice my
                        friends from the boat sitting behind George’s friends who were all complete strangers to
                        me. The aisle seemed very long but at last I reached George waiting in the chancel with
                        Hicky-Wood, looking unfamiliar in a smart tussore suit. However this feeling of unreality
                        passed when he turned his head and smiled at me.

                        In the vestry after the ceremony I was kissed affectionately by several complete
                        strangers and I felt happy and accepted by George’s friends. Outside the church,
                        standing apart from the rest of the guests, the Italian Captain and Chief Engineer were
                        waiting. They came up and kissed my hand, and murmured felicitations, but regretted
                        they could not spare the time to come to the reception. Really it was just as well
                        because they would not have fitted in at all well.

                        Dr Shircore is the Director of Medical Services and he had very kindly lent his
                        large house for the reception. It was quite a party. The guests were mainly men with a
                        small sprinkling of wives. Champagne corks popped and there was an enormous cake
                        and soon voices were raised in song. The chief one was ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’
                        and I shall remember it for ever.

                        The party was still in full swing when George and I left. The old lady from the ship
                        enjoyed it hugely. She came in an all black outfit with a corsage of artificial Lily-of-the-
                        Valley. Later I saw one of the men wearing the corsage in his buttonhole and the old
                        lady was wearing a carnation.

                        When George and I got back to the hotel,I found that my luggage had been
                        moved to George’s room by his cook Lamek, who was squatting on his haunches and
                        clapped his hands in greeting. My dears, you should see Lamek – exactly like a
                        chimpanzee – receding forehead, wide flat nose, and long lip, and such splayed feet. It was quite a strain not to laugh, especially when he produced a gift for me. I have not yet
                        discovered where he acquired it. It was a faded mauve straw toque of the kind worn by
                        Queen Mary. I asked George to tell Lamek that I was touched by his generosity but felt
                        that I could not accept his gift. He did not mind at all especially as George gave him a
                        generous tip there and then.

                        I changed into a cotton frock and shady straw hat and George changed into shorts
                        and bush shirt once more. We then sneaked into the dining room for lunch avoiding our
                        wedding guests who were carrying on the party in the lounge.

                        After lunch we rejoined them and they all came down to the jetty to wave goodbye
                        as we set out by motor launch for Honeymoon Island. I enjoyed the launch trip very
                        much. The sea was calm and very blue and the palm fringed beaches of Dar es Salaam
                        are as romantic as any bride could wish. There are small coral islands dotted around the
                        Bay of which Honeymoon Island is the loveliest. I believe at one time it bore the less
                        romantic name of Quarantine Island. Near the Island, in the shallows, the sea is brilliant
                        green and I saw two pink jellyfish drifting by.

                        There is no jetty on the island so the boat was stopped in shallow water and
                        George carried me ashore. I was enchanted with the Island and in no hurry to go to the
                        bungalow, so George and I took our bathing costumes from our suitcases and sent the
                        luggage up to the house together with a box of provisions.

                        We bathed and lazed on the beach and suddenly it was sunset and it began to
                        get dark. We walked up the beach to the bungalow and began to unpack the stores,
                        tea, sugar, condensed milk, bread and butter, sardines and a large tin of ham. There
                        were also cups and saucers and plates and cutlery.

                        We decided to have an early meal and George called out to the caretaker, “Boy
                        letta chai”. Thereupon the ‘boy’ materialised and jabbered to George in Ki-Swaheli. It
                        appeared he had no utensil in which to boil water. George, ever resourceful, removed
                        the ham from the tin and gave him that. We had our tea all right but next day the ham
                        was bad.

                        Then came bed time. I took a hurricane lamp in one hand and my suitcase in the
                        other and wandered into the bedroom whilst George vanished into the bathroom. To
                        my astonishment I saw two perfectly bare iron bedsteads – no mattress or pillows. We
                        had brought sheets and mosquito nets but, believe me, they are a poor substitute for a

                        Anyway I arrayed myself in my pale yellow satin nightie and sat gingerly down
                        on the iron edge of the bed to await my groom who eventually appeared in a
                        handsome suit of silk pyjamas. His expression, as he took in the situation, was too much
                        for me and I burst out laughing and so did he.

                        Somewhere in the small hours I woke up. The breeze had dropped and the
                        room was unbearably stuffy. I felt as dry as a bone. The lamp had been turned very
                        low and had gone out, but I remembered seeing a water tank in the yard and I decided
                        to go out in the dark and drink from the tap. In the dark I could not find my slippers so I
                        slipped my feet into George’s shoes, picked up his matches and groped my way out
                        of the room. I found the tank all right and with one hand on the tap and one cupped for
                        water I stooped to drink. Just then I heard a scratchy noise and sensed movements
                        around my feet. I struck a match and oh horrors! found that the damp spot on which I was
                        standing was alive with white crabs. In my hurry to escape I took a clumsy step, put
                        George’s big toe on the hem of my nightie and down I went on top of the crabs. I need
                        hardly say that George was awakened by an appalling shriek and came rushing to my
                        aid like a knight of old.  Anyway, alarms and excursions not withstanding, we had a wonderful weekend on the island and I was sorry to return to the heat of Dar es Salaam, though the evenings
                        here are lovely and it is heavenly driving along the coast road by car or in a rickshaw.
                        I was surprised to find so many Indians here. Most of the shops, large and small,
                        seem to be owned by Indians and the place teems with them. The women wear
                        colourful saris and their hair in long black plaits reaching to their waists. Many wear baggy
                        trousers of silk or satin. They give a carnival air to the sea front towards sunset.
                        This long letter has been written in instalments throughout the day. My first break
                        was when I heard the sound of a band and rushed to the balcony in time to see The
                        Kings African Rifles band and Askaris march down the Avenue on their way to an
                        Armistice Memorial Service. They looked magnificent.

                        I must end on a note of most primitive pride. George returned from his shopping
                        expedition and beamingly informed me that he had thrashed the man who annoyed me
                        on the ship. I felt extremely delighted and pressed for details. George told me that
                        when he went out shopping he noticed to his surprise that the ‘Timavo” was still in the
                        harbour. He went across to the Agents office and there saw a man who answered to the
                        description I had given. George said to him “Is your name Taylor?”, and when he said
                        “yes”, George said “Well my name is George Rushby”, whereupon he hit Taylor on the
                        jaw so that he sailed over the counter and down the other side. Very satisfactory, I feel.
                        With much love to all.

                        Your cave woman

                        Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                        Dearest Family,

                        Well here we are at our Country Seat, Mchewe Estate. (pronounced
                        Mn,-che’-we) but I will start at the beginning of our journey and describe the farm later.
                        We left the hotel at Dar es Salaam for the station in a taxi crowded with baggage
                        and at the last moment Keith Wood ran out with the unwrapped bottom layer of our
                        wedding cake. It remained in its naked state from there to here travelling for two days in
                        the train on the luggage rack, four days in the car on my knee, reposing at night on the
                        roof of the car exposed to the winds of Heaven, and now rests beside me in the tent
                        looking like an old old tombstone. We have no tin large enough to hold it and one
                        simply can’t throw away ones wedding cake so, as George does not eat cake, I can see
                        myself eating wedding cake for tea for months to come, ants permitting.

                        We travelled up by train from Dar to Dodoma, first through the lush vegetation of
                        the coastal belt to Morogoro, then through sisal plantations now very overgrown with
                        weeds owing to the slump in prices, and then on to the arid area around Dodoma. This
                        part of the country is very dry at this time of the year and not unlike parts of our Karoo.
                        The train journey was comfortable enough but slow as the engines here are fed with
                        wood and not coal as in South Africa.

                        Dodoma is the nearest point on the railway to Mbeya so we left the train there to
                        continue our journey by road. We arrived at the one and only hotel in the early hours and
                        whilst someone went to rout out the night watchman the rest of us sat on the dismal
                        verandah amongst a litter of broken glass. Some bright spark remarked on the obvious –
                        that there had been a party the night before.

                        When we were shown to a room I thought I rather preferred the verandah,
                        because the beds had not yet been made up and there was a bucket of vomit beside
                        the old fashioned washstand. However George soon got the boys to clean up the
                        room and I fell asleep to be awakened by George with an invitation to come and see
                        our car before breakfast.

                        Yes, we have our own car. It is a Chev, with what is called a box body. That
                        means that sides, roof and doors are made by a local Indian carpenter. There is just the
                        one front seat with a kapok mattress on it. The tools are kept in a sort of cupboard fixed
                        to the side so there is a big space for carrying “safari kit” behind the cab seat.
                        Lamek, who had travelled up on the same train, appeared after breakfast, and
                        helped George to pack all our luggage into the back of the car. Besides our suitcases
                        there was a huge bedroll, kitchen utensils and a box of provisions, tins of petrol and
                        water and all Lamek’s bits and pieces which included three chickens in a wicker cage and
                        an enormous bunch of bananas about 3 ft long.

                        When all theses things were packed there remained only a small space between
                        goods and ceiling and into this Lamek squeezed. He lay on his back with his horny feet a
                        mere inch or so from the back of my head. In this way we travelled 400 miles over
                        bumpy earth roads and crude pole bridges, but whenever we stopped for a meal
                        Lamek wriggled out and, like Aladdin’s genie, produced good meals in no time at all.
                        In the afternoon we reached a large river called the Ruaha. Workmen were busy
                        building a large bridge across it but it is not yet ready so we crossed by a ford below
                        the bridge. George told me that the river was full of crocodiles but though I looked hard, I
                        did not see any. This is also elephant country but I did not see any of those either, only
                        piles of droppings on the road. I must tell you that the natives around these parts are called Wahehe and the river is Ruaha – enough to make a cat laugh. We saw some Wahehe out hunting with spears
                        and bows and arrows. They live in long low houses with the tiniest shuttered windows
                        and rounded roofs covered with earth.

                        Near the river we also saw a few Masai herding cattle. They are rather terrifying to
                        look at – tall, angular, and very aloof. They wear nothing but a blanket knotted on one
                        shoulder, concealing nothing, and all carried one or two spears.
                        The road climbs steeply on the far side of the Ruaha and one has the most
                        tremendous views over the plains. We spent our first night up there in the high country.
                        Everything was taken out of the car, the bed roll opened up and George and I slept
                        comfortably in the back of the car whilst Lamek, rolled in a blanket, slept soundly by a
                        small fire nearby. Next morning we reached our first township, Iringa, and put up at the
                        Colonist Hotel. We had a comfortable room in the annex overlooking the golf course.
                        our room had its own little dressing room which was also the bathroom because, when
                        ordered to do so, the room boy carried in an oval galvanised bath and filled it with hot
                        water which he carried in a four gallon petrol tin.

                        When we crossed to the main building for lunch, George was immediately hailed
                        by several men who wanted to meet the bride. I was paid some handsome
                        compliments but was not sure whether they were sincere or the result of a nice alcoholic
                        glow. Anyhow every one was very friendly.

                        After lunch I went back to the bedroom leaving George chatting away. I waited and
                        waited – no George. I got awfully tired of waiting and thought I’d give him a fright so I
                        walked out onto the deserted golf course and hid behind some large boulders. Soon I
                        saw George returning to the room and the boy followed with a tea tray. Ah, now the hue
                        and cry will start, thought I, but no, no George appeared nor could I hear any despairing
                        cry. When sunset came I trailed crossly back to our hotel room where George lay
                        innocently asleep on his bed, hands folded on his chest like a crusader on his tomb. In a
                        moment he opened his eyes, smiled sleepily and said kindly, “Did you have a nice walk
                        my love?” So of course I couldn’t play the neglected wife as he obviously didn’t think
                        me one and we had a very pleasant dinner and party in the hotel that evening.
                        Next day we continued our journey but turned aside to visit the farm of a sprightly
                        old man named St.Leger Seaton whom George had known for many years, so it was
                        after dark before George decided that we had covered our quota of miles for the day.
                        Whilst he and Lamek unpacked I wandered off to a stream to cool my hot feet which had
                        baked all day on the floor boards of the car. In the rather dim moonlight I sat down on the
                        grassy bank and gratefully dabbled my feet in the cold water. A few minutes later I
                        started up with a shriek – I had the sensation of red hot pins being dug into all my most
                        sensitive parts. I started clawing my clothes off and, by the time George came to the
                        rescue with the lamp, I was practically in the nude. “Only Siafu ants,” said George calmly.
                        Take off all your clothes and get right in the water.” So I had a bathe whilst George
                        picked the ants off my clothes by the light of the lamp turned very low for modesty’s
                        sake. Siafu ants are beastly things. They are black ants with outsized heads and
                        pinchers. I shall be very, very careful where I sit in future.

                        The next day was even hotter. There was no great variety in the scenery. Most
                        of the country was covered by a tree called Miombo, which is very ordinary when the
                        foliage is a mature deep green, but when in new leaf the trees look absolutely beautiful
                        as the leaves,surprisingly, are soft pastel shades of red and yellow.

                        Once again we turned aside from the main road to visit one of George’s friends.
                        This man Major Hugh Jones MC, has a farm only a few miles from ours but just now he is supervising the making of an airstrip. Major Jones is quite a character. He is below
                        average height and skinny with an almost bald head and one nearly blind eye into which
                        he screws a monocle. He is a cultured person and will, I am sure, make an interesting
                        neighbour. George and Major Jones’ friends call him ‘Joni’ but he is generally known in
                        this country as ‘Ropesoles’ – as he is partial to that type of footwear.
                        We passed through Mbeya township after dark so I have no idea what the place
                        is like. The last 100 miles of our journey was very dusty and the last 15 miles extremely
                        bumpy. The road is used so little that in some places we had to plow our way through
                        long grass and I was delighted when at last George turned into a side road and said
                        “This is our place.” We drove along the bank of the Mchewe River, then up a hill and
                        stopped at a tent which was pitched beside the half built walls of our new home. We
                        were expected so there was hot water for baths and after a supper of tinned food and
                        good hot tea, I climbed thankfully into bed.

                        Next morning I was awakened by the chattering of the African workmen and was
                        soon out to inspect the new surroundings. Our farm was once part of Hickson Wood’s
                        land and is separated from theirs by a river. Our houses cannot be more than a few
                        hundred yards apart as the crow flies but as both are built on the slopes of a long range
                        of high hills, and one can only cross the river at the foot of the slopes, it will be quite a
                        safari to go visiting on foot . Most of our land is covered with shoulder high grass but it
                        has been partly cleared of trees and scrub. Down by the river George has made a long
                        coffee nursery and a large vegetable garden but both coffee and vegetable seedlings
                        are too small to be of use.

                        George has spared all the trees that will make good shade for the coffee later on.
                        There are several huge wild fig trees as big as oaks but with smooth silvery-green trunks
                        and branches and there are lots of acacia thorn trees with flat tops like Japanese sun
                        shades. I’ve seen lovely birds in the fig trees, Louries with bright plumage and crested
                        heads, and Blue Rollers, and in the grasslands there are widow birds with incredibly long
                        black tail feathers.

                        There are monkeys too and horrible but fascinating tree lizards with blue bodies
                        and orange heads. There are so many, many things to tell you but they must wait for
                        another time as James, the house boy, has been to say “Bafu tiari” and if I don’t go at
                        once, the bath will be cold.

                        I am very very happy and terribly interested in this new life so please don’t
                        worry about me.

                        Much love to you all,

                        Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                        Dearest Family,

                        I’ve lots of time to write letters just now because George is busy supervising the
                        building of the house from early morning to late afternoon – with a break for lunch of

                        On our second day here our tent was moved from the house site to a small
                        clearing further down the slope of our hill. Next to it the labourers built a ‘banda’ , which is
                        a three sided grass hut with thatched roof – much cooler than the tent in this weather.
                        There is also a little grass lav. so you see we have every convenience. I spend most of
                        my day in the banda reading or writing letters. Occasionally I wander up to the house site
                        and watch the building, but mostly I just sit.

                        I did try exploring once. I wandered down a narrow path towards the river. I
                        thought I might paddle and explore the river a little but I came round a bend and there,
                        facing me, was a crocodile. At least for a moment I thought it was and my adrenaline
                        glands got very busy indeed. But it was only an enormous monitor lizard, four or five
                        feet long. It must have been as scared as I was because it turned and rushed off through
                        the grass. I turned and walked hastily back to the camp and as I passed the house site I
                        saw some boys killing a large puff adder. Now I do my walking in the evenings with
                        George. Nothing alarming ever seems to happen when he is around.

                        It is interesting to watch the boys making bricks for the house. They make a pile
                        of mud which they trample with their feet until it is the right consistency. Then they fill
                        wooden moulds with the clayey mud, and press it down well and turn out beautiful shiny,
                        dark brown bricks which are laid out in rows and covered with grass to bake slowly in the

                        Most of the materials for the building are right here at hand. The walls will be sun
                        dried bricks and there is a white clay which will make a good whitewash for the inside
                        walls. The chimney and walls will be of burnt brick and tiles and George is now busy
                        building a kiln for this purpose. Poles for the roof are being cut in the hills behind the
                        house and every day women come along with large bundles of thatching grass on their
                        heads. Our windows are modern steel casement ones and the doors have been made
                        at a mission in the district. George does some of the bricklaying himself. The other
                        bricklayer is an African from Northern Rhodesia called Pedro. It makes me perspire just
                        to look at Pedro who wears an overcoat all day in the very hot sun.
                        Lamek continues to please. He turns out excellent meals, chicken soup followed
                        by roast chicken, vegetables from the Hickson-Woods garden and a steamed pudding
                        or fruit to wind up the meal. I enjoy the chicken but George is fed up with it and longs for
                        good red meat. The chickens are only about as large as a partridge but then they cost
                        only sixpence each.

                        I had my first visit to Mbeya two days ago. I put on my very best trousseau frock
                        for the occasion- that yellow striped silk one – and wore my wedding hat. George didn’t
                        comment, but I saw later that I was dreadfully overdressed.
                        Mbeya at the moment is a very small settlement consisting of a bundle of small
                        Indian shops – Dukas they call them, which stock European tinned foods and native soft
                        goods which seem to be mainly of Japanese origin. There is a one storied Government
                        office called the Boma and two attractive gabled houses of burnt brick which house the
                        District Officer and his Assistant. Both these houses have lovely gardens but i saw them
                        only from the outside as we did not call. After buying our stores George said “Lets go to the pub, I want you to meet Mrs Menzies.” Well the pub turned out to be just three or four grass rondavels on a bare
                        plot. The proprietor, Ken Menzies, came out to welcome us. I took to him at once
                        because he has the same bush sandy eyebrows as you have Dad. He told me that
                        unfortunately his wife is away at the coast, and then he ushered me through the door
                        saying “Here’s George with his bride.” then followed the Iringa welcome all over again,
                        only more so, because the room was full of diggers from the Lupa Goldfields about fifty
                        miles away.

                        Champagne corks popped as I shook hands all around and George was
                        clapped on the back. I could see he was a favourite with everyone and I tried not to be
                        gauche and let him down. These men were all most kind and most appeared to be men
                        of more than average education. However several were unshaven and looked as
                        though they had slept in their clothes as I suppose they had. When they have a little luck
                        on the diggings they come in here to Menzies pub and spend the lot. George says
                        they bring their gold dust and small nuggets in tobacco tins or Kruschen salts jars and
                        hand them over to Ken Menzies saying “Tell me when I’ve spent the lot.” Ken then
                        weighs the gold and estimates its value and does exactly what the digger wants.
                        However the Diggers get good value for their money because besides the drink
                        they get companionship and good food and nursing if they need it. Mrs Menzies is a
                        trained nurse and most kind and capable from what I was told. There is no doctor or
                        hospital here so her experience as a nursing sister is invaluable.
                        We had lunch at the Hotel and afterwards I poured tea as I was the only female
                        present. Once the shyness had worn off I rather enjoyed myself.

                        Now to end off I must tell you a funny story of how I found out that George likes
                        his women to be feminine. You will remember those dashing black silk pyjamas Aunt
                        Mary gave me, with flowered “happy coat” to match. Well last night I thought I’d give
                        George a treat and when the boy called me for my bath I left George in the ‘banda’
                        reading the London Times. After my bath I put on my Japanese pyjamas and coat,
                        peered into the shaving mirror which hangs from the tent pole and brushed my hair until it
                        shone. I must confess that with my fringe and shingled hair I thought I made quite a
                        glamourous Japanese girl. I walked coyly across to the ‘banda’. Alas no compliment.
                        George just glanced up from the Times and went on reading.
                        He was away rather a long time when it came to his turn to bath. I glanced up
                        when he came back and had a slight concussion. George, if you please, was arrayed in
                        my very best pale yellow satin nightie. The one with the lace and ribbon sash and little
                        bows on the shoulder. I knew exactly what he meant to convey. I was not to wear the
                        trousers in the family. I seethed inwardly, but pretending not to notice, I said calmly “shall
                        I call for food?” In this garb George sat down to dinner and it says a great deal for African
                        phlegm that the boy did not drop the dishes.

                        We conversed politely about this and that, and then, as usual, George went off
                        to bed. I appeared to be engrossed in my book and did not stir. When I went to the
                        tent some time later George lay fast asleep still in my nightie, though all I could see of it
                        was the little ribbon bows looking farcically out of place on his broad shoulders.
                        This morning neither of us mentioned the incident, George was up and dressed
                        by the time I woke up but I have been smiling all day to think what a ridiculous picture
                        we made at dinner. So farewell to pyjamas and hey for ribbons and bows.

                        Your loving

                        Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                        Dearest Family,

                        A mere shadow of her former buxom self lifts a languid pen to write to you. I’m
                        convalescing after my first and I hope my last attack of malaria. It was a beastly
                        experience but all is now well and I am eating like a horse and will soon regain my

                        I took ill on the evening of the day I wrote my last letter to you. It started with a
                        splitting headache and fits of shivering. The symptoms were all too familiar to George
                        who got me into bed and filled me up with quinine. He then piled on all the available
                        blankets and packed me in hot water bottles. I thought I’d explode and said so and
                        George said just to lie still and I’d soon break into a good sweat. However nothing of the
                        kind happened and next day my temperature was 105 degrees. Instead of feeling
                        miserable as I had done at the onset, I now felt very merry and most chatty. George
                        now tells me I sang the most bawdy songs but I hardly think it likely. Do you?
                        You cannot imagine how tenderly George nursed me, not only that day but
                        throughout the whole eight days I was ill. As we do not employ any African house
                        women, and there are no white women in the neighbourhood at present to whom we
                        could appeal for help, George had to do everything for me. It was unbearably hot in the
                        tent so George decided to move me across to the Hickson-Woods vacant house. They
                        have not yet returned from the coast.

                        George decided I was too weak to make the trip in the car so he sent a
                        messenger over to the Woods’ house for their Machila. A Machila is a canopied canvas
                        hammock slung from a bamboo pole and carried by four bearers. The Machila duly
                        arrived and I attempted to walk to it, clinging to George’s arm, but collapsed in a faint so
                        the trip was postponed to the next morning when I felt rather better. Being carried by
                        Machila is quite pleasant but I was in no shape to enjoy anything and got thankfully into
                        bed in the Hickson-Woods large, cool and rather dark bedroom. My condition did not
                        improve and George decided to send a runner for the Government Doctor at Tukuyu
                        about 60 miles away. Two days later Dr Theis arrived by car and gave me two
                        injections of quinine which reduced the fever. However I still felt very weak and had to
                        spend a further four days in bed.

                        We have now decided to stay on here until the Hickson-Woods return by which
                        time our own house should be ready. George goes off each morning and does not
                        return until late afternoon. However don’t think “poor Eleanor” because I am very
                        comfortable here and there are lots of books to read and the days seem to pass very

                        The Hickson-Wood’s house was built by Major Jones and I believe the one on
                        his shamba is just like it. It is a square red brick building with a wide verandah all around
                        and, rather astonishingly, a conical thatched roof. There is a beautiful view from the front
                        of the house and a nice flower garden. The coffee shamba is lower down on the hill.
                        Mrs Wood’s first husband, George’s friend Vi Lumb, is buried in the flower
                        garden. He died of blackwater fever about five years ago. I’m told that before her
                        second marriage Kath lived here alone with her little daughter, Maureen, and ran the farm
                        entirely on her own. She must be quite a person. I bet she didn’t go and get malaria
                        within a few weeks of her marriage.

                        The native tribe around here are called Wasafwa. They are pretty primitive but
                        seem amiable people. Most of the men, when they start work, wear nothing but some
                        kind of sheet of unbleached calico wrapped round their waists and hanging to mid calf. As soon as they have drawn their wages they go off to a duka and buy a pair of khaki
                        shorts for five or six shillings. Their women folk wear very short beaded skirts. I think the
                        base is goat skin but have never got close enough for a good look. They are very shy.
                        I hear from George that they have started on the roof of our house but I have not
                        seen it myself since the day I was carried here by Machila. My letters by the way go to
                        the Post Office by runner. George’s farm labourers take it in turn to act in this capacity.
                        The mail bag is given to them on Friday afternoon and by Saturday evening they are
                        back with our very welcome mail.

                        Very much love,

                        Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                        Dearest Family,

                        George drove to Mbeya for stores last week and met Col. Sherwood-Kelly VC.
                        who has been sent by the Government to Mbeya as Game Ranger. His job will be to
                        protect native crops from raiding elephants and hippo etc., and to protect game from
                        poachers. He has had no training for this so he has asked George to go with him on his
                        first elephant safari to show him the ropes.

                        George likes Col. Kelly and was quite willing to go on safari but not willing to
                        leave me alone on the farm as I am still rather shaky after malaria. So it was arranged that
                        I should go to Mbeya and stay with Mrs Harmer, the wife of the newly appointed Lands
                        and Mines Officer, whose husband was away on safari.

                        So here I am in Mbeya staying in the Harmers temporary wattle and daub
                        house. Unfortunately I had a relapse of the malaria and stayed in bed for three days with
                        a temperature. Poor Mrs Harmer had her hands full because in the room next to mine
                        she was nursing a digger with blackwater fever. I could hear his delirious babble through
                        the thin wall – very distressing. He died poor fellow , and leaves a wife and seven

                        I feel better than I have done for weeks and this afternoon I walked down to the
                        store. There are great signs of activity and people say that Mbeya will grow rapidly now
                        owing to the boom on the gold fields and also to the fact that a large aerodrome is to be
                        built here. Mbeya is to be a night stop on the proposed air service between England
                        and South Africa. I seem to be the last of the pioneers. If all these schemes come about
                        Mbeya will become quite suburban.

                        26th December 1930

                        George, Col. Kelly and Mr Harmer all returned to Mbeya on Christmas Eve and
                        it was decided that we should stay and have midday Christmas dinner with the
                        Harmers. Col. Kelly and the Assistant District Commissioner came too and it was quite a
                        festive occasion, We left Mbeya in the early afternoon and had our evening meal here at
                        Hickson-Wood’s farm. I wore my wedding dress.

                        I went across to our house in the car this morning. George usually walks across to
                        save petrol which is very expensive here. He takes a short cut and wades through the
                        river. The distance by road is very much longer than the short cut. The men are now
                        thatching the roof of