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      Ricardo, my dear, those new reporters are quite the catch.”

      Miss Bossy Pants remarked as she handed him the printed report. “Imagine that, if you can. A preliminary report sent, even before asking, AND with useful details. It’s as though they’re a new generation with improbable traits definitely not inherited from their forebearers…”

      Ricardo scanned the document, a look of intrigue on his face. “Indeed, they seem to have a knack for getting things done. I can’t help but notice that our boy Sproink omitted that Sweet Sophie had used her remote viewing skills to point out something was of interest on the Rock of Gibraltar. I wonder how much that influenced his decision to seek out Dr. Patelonus.”

      Miss Bossy Pants leaned back in her chair, a sly smile creeping across her lips. “Well, don’t quote me later on this, but some level of initiative is a valuable trait in a journalist. We can’t have drones regurgitating soothing nonsense. We need real, we need grit.” She paused in mid sentence. “By the way, heard anything from Hilda & Connie? I do hope they’re getting something back from this terribly long detour in the Nordics.”


      Dear Miss Bossy Pants,

      I am writing to give you a preliminary report on my investigation into the strange occurrences of Barbary macaques in Cartagena, Spain.

      Taking some initiative and straying from your initial instructions, I first traveled to Gibraltar to meet with Dr. Patelonus, an expert in simiantics (the study of ape languages). Dr. Patelonus provided me with valuable insights into the behavior of Barbary macaques, including their typical range and habits and what they may be after. He also mentioned that the recent reports of Barbary macaques venturing further away from their usual habitat in coastal towns like Cartagena is highly unusual, and that he suspects something else is influencing them. He mentioned chatter on the simian news netwoke, that his secretary, a lovely female gorilla by the name of Barbara was kind enough to get translated for us.

      I managed to find a wifi spot to send you this report before I board the next bus to Cartagena, where I plan to collect samples and observe the local macaque population. I have spoken with several tourists in Gib’ who have reported being assaulted and having their shoes stolen by the apes. It is again, a highly unusual behaviour for Barbary macaques, who seem untempted by the food left to appease them as a distraction, and I am currently trying to find out the reason behind this.

      As soon as I gather them, I will send samples collected in situ without delay to my colleague Giles Gibber at the newspaper for analysis. Hopefully, his findings will shed some light on the situation.

      I will continue my investigation and keep you appraised on any new developments.


      Samuel Sproink
      Rim of the Realm Newspaper.


      In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


        Additional clues from AL (based on Xavier’s comment)



        Yasmin was having a hard time with the heavy rains and mosquitoes in the real-world. She couldn’t seem to make a lot of progress on finding the snorting imp, which she was trying to find in the real world rather than in the game. She was feeling discouraged and unsure of what to do next.

        Suddenly, an emoji of a snake appeared on her screen. It seemed to be slithering and wriggling, as if it was trying to grab her attention. Without hesitation, Yasmin clicked on the emoji.

        She was taken to a new area in the game, where the ground was covered in tall grass and the sky was dark and stormy. She could see the snorting imp in the distance, but it was surrounded by a group of dangerous-looking snakes.

        Clue unlocked It sounds like you’re having a hard time in the real world, but don’t let that discourage you in the game. The snorting imp is nearby and it seems like the snakes are guarding it. You’ll have to be brave and quick to catch it. Remember, the snorting imp represents your determination and bravery in real life.

        🐍🔍🐗 Use your skills and abilities to navigate through the tall grass and avoid the snakes. Keep your eyes peeled for any clues or symbols that may help you in your quest. Don’t give up and remember that the snorting imp is a representation of your determination and bravery.

        A message bumped on the screen: “Need help? Contact me 👉”

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



        Youssef has not yet been aware of the quest, since he’s been off the grid in the Gobi desert. But, interestingly, his story unfolds in real-life parallel to his quest. He’s found a strange grumpy shaman at a food booth, and it seems that his natural steps are converging back with the game. His blog website for his boss seems to take most of his attention.

        An emoji of a desert suddenly appeared on his screen. It seemed to be a barren and empty landscape, with sand dunes stretching as far as the eye could see. Without hesitation, Youssef clicked on the emoji.

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

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

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

        A message bumped on the screen: “Need help? Contact me 👉”

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



        Zara looked more advanced [in her explorations – stream breaks – resume conversation]

        Zara had come across a strange and ancient looking mine. It was clear that it had been abandoned for many years, but there were still signs of activity. The entrance was blocked by a large pile of rocks, but she could see a faint light coming from within. She knew that she had to find a way in.

        As she approached the mine, she noticed a small, carved wooden tile on the ground. It was intricately detailed and seemed to depict a map of some sort. She picked it up and examined it closely. It seemed to show the layout of the mine and possibly the location of the secret room.

        With this new clue in hand, Zara set to work trying to clear the entrance. She used all of her strength to move the rocks, and after a few minutes of hard work, she was able to create an opening large enough for her to squeeze through.

        As she ventured deeper into the mine, she found herself in a large chamber. The walls were lined with strange markings and symbols, and she could see a faint light coming from a small room off to the side. She knew that this must be the secret room she had been searching for.

        Zara approached the room and pushed open the door. Inside, she found a small, dimly lit chamber. In the center of the room stood a large stone altar, and on the altar was a strange, glowing object. She couldn’t quite make out what it was, but she knew that this must be the key to solving the mystery of the mine.

        With a sense of excitement and curiosity, Zara reached out to take the glowing object. As her hand touched it, she felt a strange energy coursing through her body. She knew that her quest was far from over, and that there were many more secrets to uncover in the mine.


        In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


          The vendor was preparing the Lorgh Drülp with the dexterity of a Japanese sushi chef. A piece of yak, tons of spices, minced vegetables, and some other ingredients that Youssef couldn’t recognise. He turned his attention to the shaman’s performance. The team was trying to follow the man’s erratic moves under Miss Tartiflate’s supervision.  Youssef could hear her shouting to Kyle to get closer shots. It reminded him that he had to get an internet connection.

          “Is there a wifi?” asked Youssef to the vendor. The man bobbed his head and pointed at the table with a knife just as big as a machete. Impressed by the size of the blade, Youssef almost didn’t see the tattoo on the vendor’s forearm. The man resumed his cooking swiftly and his long yellow sleeve hid the tattoo. Youssef touched his screen to look at his exchange with Xavier. He searched for the screenshot he had taken of the Thi Gang’s message. There it was. The mummy skull with Darth Vador’s helmet. The same as the man’s tattoo. Xavier’s last message was about the translation being an ancient silk road recipe. They had thought it a fluke in AL’s algorithm. Youssef glanced at the vendor and his knife. Could he be part of Thi Gang?

          Youssef didn’t have time to think of a plan when the vendor put a tray with the Lorgh Drülp and little balls of tsampa on the table. The man pointed with his finger at the menu on the table, uncovering his forearm, it was the same as the Thi Gang logo.

          “Wifi on menu,” the man said. “Tsampa, good for you…”

          A commotion at the market place interrupted them. Apparently Kyle had gone too close and the shaman had crashed into him and the rest of the team. The man was cursing every one of them and Miss Tartiflate was apparently trying to calm him down by offering him snack bars. But the shaman kept brandishing an ugly sceptre that looked like a giant chicken foot covered in greasy fur, while cursing them with broken english. The tourists were all brandishing their phones, not missing a thing, ready to send their videos on TrickTruck. The shaman left angrily, ignoring all attempts at conciliation. There would be no reportage.

          “Hahaha, tourists, they believe anything they see,” said the vendor before returning to his stove and his knife.

          Despite his hunger, Youssef thought he’d better hurry with the wifi, now that the crew was out of work, he would be the target of Miss Tartiflate’s frustration. Furthermore, he wanted to lay low and not attract the vendor’s attention.

          3235 messages from his friends. How would he ever catch up?
          Among them, messages from Xavier. Youssef sighed of relief when he read that his friend had regained full access of the website and updated the system to fix a security flaw that allowed Thi Gang to gain access in the first place. But he growled when his friend continued with the bad news. There was some damage done to the content of THE BLOG.

          To console himself, Youssef started to eat a ball of tsampa. It was sweet and tasted like rose. He took a second and spit it out almost immediately. There was a piece of paper inside. He smoothed it and discovered a series of five pictograms.


          The first one was like a hologram and kept changing into six horizontal bars. The second one, looking like a tako bell, kept reversing side. Youssef raised his head to call the vendor and nobody was there. He got up and looked for the guy, Thi Gang or not, he needed some answers. Voices came from behind the curtain at the back of the stall. Youssef walked around the stall and saw the shaman and the vendor exchanging clothes. The caucasian man was now wearing the colourful costume and the drum. When he saw Youssef, he smiled and waved his hand, making the bells from the hem ring. Then he turned around and left, whistling an air that sounded strangely like the music of the Game. Youssef was about to run after him when a hand grasped his shirt.

          “Please! Tell me at least that THE BLOG is up and running!” said an angry voice.


          In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


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


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

            Directions to Investigate

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


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


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



            1st thread’s answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            second thread’s answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



            Deear Francie Mossie Pooh,

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

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

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

            Fluidly and fantastically yours,

            The Snoot.


              Miss Bossy sat at her desk, scanning through the stack of papers on her desk. She was searching for the perfect reporter to send on a mission to investigate a mysterious story that had been brought to her attention. Suddenly, her eyes landed on the name of Samuel Sproink. He was new to the Rim of the Realm Newspaper and had a reputation for being a tenacious and resourceful reporter.

              She picked up the phone and dialed his number. “Sproink, I have a job for you,” she said in her gruff voice.

              “Yes, Miss Bossy, what can I do for you?” Samuel replied, his voice full of excitement.

              “I want you to go down to Cartagena, Spain, in the Golden Banana off the Mediterranean coast. There have been sightings of Barbary macaques happening there and tourists being assaulted and stolen only their shoes, which is odd of course, and also obviously unusual for the apes to be seen so far off the Strait of Gibraltar. I want you to get to the bottom of it. I need you to find out what’s really going on and report back to me with your findings.”

              “Consider it done, Miss Bossy,” Samuel said confidently. He had always been interested in wildlife and the idea of investigating a mystery involving monkeys was too good to pass up.

              He hang up the phone to go and pack his bags and head to the airport, apparently eager to start his investigation.

              “Apes again?” Ricardo who’s been eavesdropping what surprised at the sudden interest. After that whole story about the orangutan man, he thought they’d be done with the menagerie, but apparently, Miss Bossy had something in mind. He would have to quiz Sweet Sophie to remote view on that and anticipate possible links and knots in the plot.


                Aunt Idle:

                You won’t beleive this, I said to Mater, and she said I probably won’t before giving me a chance to finish.  I ignored her as usual and told her about the bookings.   Bookings, she screeched like a demented parrot, bookings? Since when did we have bookings.   She even had the cheek to tell me I was living in the past, imagining we had bookings.  I told her she was the one living in the past, the past when we had no bookings, and that I was living in the present because we had four people booked to stay at the inn, and we did indeed have bookings and that she should take off that old red pantsuit and put something practical on because we had a great deal of cleaning to do.  Then she did her screeching parrot routine with the word cleaning, and I left her to it and went to tell Bert.

                I don’t know what I’d have done without good old Bert over the years. I started to get a bit screechy myself with the panic when I was telling him, but he calmed me right down and started to make a list of the things that needed doing in order of importance.  Start with preparing a bedroom each, he said, and get Mater to go down to the kitchen and make a shopping list.  I said Bert are you sure that’s wise, Mater in charge of supplies, and he said no it aint wise but who else is going to do it?

                I left Bert clanging away with the boiler trying to get some hot water out of it, and went to get some dusters and a broom and had to dust them off a bit, been a long time since anyone looked in the broom cupboard, and lo and behold Mater appears dressed as a 17th century serving wench.  I let that pass without comment, but I did tell her to try and be sensible with the shopping list.


                In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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


                  ghost of Isaac Stokes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                  Ghost of Isaac Stokes


                  In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


                    Zara was long overdue for some holiday time off from her job at the Bungwalley Valley animal rescue centre in New South Wales and the suggestion to meet her online friends at the intriguing sounding Flying Fish Inn to look for clues for their online game couldn’t have come at a better time.  Lucky for her it wasn’t all that far, relatively speaking, although everything is far in Australia, it was closer than coming from Europe.  Xavier would have a much longer trip.  Zara wasn’t quite sure where exactly Yasmin was, but she knew it was somewhere in Asia. It depended on which refugee camp she was assigned to, and Zara had forgotten to ask her recently. All they had talked about was the new online game, and how confusing it all was.

                    The biggest mystery to Zara was why she was the leader in the game.  She was always the one who was wandering off on side trips and forgetting what everyone else was up to. If the other game followers followed her lead there was no telling where they’d all end up!

                    “But it is just a game,” Pretty Girl, the rescue parrot interjected. Zara had known some talking parrots over the years, but never one quite like this one. Usually they repeated any nonsense that they’d heard but this one was different.  She would miss it while she was away on holiday, and for a moment considered taking the talking parrot with her on the trip.  If she did, she’d have to think about changing her name though, Pretty Girl wasn’t a great name but it was hard to keep thinking of names for all the rescue creatures.

                    After Zara had done the routine morning chores of feeding the various animals, changing the water bowls, and cleaning up the less pleasant aspects of the job,  she sat down in the office room of the rescue centre with a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  She was in good physical shape for 57, wiry and energetic, but her back ached at times and a sit down was welcome before the vet arrived to check on all the sick and wounded animals.

                    Pretty Girl flew over from the kennels, and perched outside the office room window.  When the parrot had first been dropped off at the centre, they’d put her in a big cage, but in no uncertain terms Pretty Girl had told them she’d done nothing wrong and was wrongfully imprisoned and to release her at once. It was rather a shock to be addresssed by a parrot in such a way, and it was agreed between the staff and the vet to set her free and see what happened. And Pretty Girl had not flown away.

                    “Hey Pretty Girl, why don’t you give me some advice on this confusing new game I’m playing with my online friends?” Zara asked.

                    “Pretty Girl wants some of your tuna sandwich first,” replied the parrot.  After Zara had obliged, the parrot continued at some surprising length.

                    “My advice would be to not worry too much about getting the small details right. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the creative process.  Just give me a bit more tuna,”  Pretty Girl said, before continuing.

                    “Remember that as a writer, you have the power to shape the story and the characters as you see fit. It’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s okay to not know everything. Allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you and let the story unfold naturally. Trust in your own creativity and don’t be afraid to take risks. And remember, it’s not the small details that make a story great, it’s the emotions and experiences that the characters go through that make it truly memorable.  And always remember to feed the parrot.”

                    “Maybe I should take you on holiday with me after all,” Zara replied. “You really are an amazing bird, aren’t you?”


                    Zara and Pretty Girl Parrot


                    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


                      Youssef was talking with Xavier in a personal chat. He had called his friend for help, because he felt out of his league with the Thi Gang thing. Notifications from the other chat room where Zara and Yasmine were in an eye roll asking questions about the game kept distracting him from his work. There were currently 820 messages of backlog. That was insane. How could he ever catch up with that. He wondered how Xavier could manage the personal chat room with him, trying to solve techy problems, answer Zaraloon and Yasminowl’s questions, and god knows what else from his work at his tech company!

                      “I got an anonymous tip, said Miss Tartiflate dashing into the yurt, almost tearing the curtains off the top of the entrance. Lama Yoneze is in the Gobi dessert! We have to move quick if we want to catch him.”

                      “You mean desert…”

                      “What ?”

                      “Doesn’t matter. But what about THE BLOG? I can’t fix anything if I don’t have an internet connection. I have to stay at the camp.”

                      “In your dreams! I’ve got us jeeps with satellite internet connection. It’s expensive, but I’m worth it. You’ll do it on our way to the deezert.”

                      Youssef rolled his eyes, a trick he learned from Yasmin during one or their online meetings.

                      “Are you sick?” asked Miss Tartiflate.

                      For all answers, Youssef snapped the laptop close and sent a message to Xavier.

                      “We found the Llama. Moving to the desert now. Jeep ride 🤮
                      Getting 😤 but feeling lucky I didn’t have time to eat any
                      Won’t barf up on the laptop. Not done with you yet!”


                        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.

                          The Tetbury Riots


                          While researching the Tetbury riots  (I had found some Browning names in the newspaper archives in association with the uprisings) I came across an article called Elizabeth Parker, the Swing Riots, and the Tetbury parish clerk” by Jill Evans.

                          I noted the name of the parish clerk, Daniel Cole, because I know someone else of that name. The incident in the article was 1830.

                          I found the 1826 marriage in the Tetbury parish registers (where Daniel was the parish clerk) of my 4x great grandmothers sister Hesther Lock. One of the witnesses was her brother Charles, and the other was Daniel Cole, the parish clerk.

                          Marriage of Lewin Chandler and Hesther Lock in 1826:

                          Daniel Cole witness


                          from the article:

                          “The Swing Riots were disturbances which took place in 1830 and 1831, mostly in the southern counties of England. Agricultural labourers, who were already suffering due to low wages and a lack of work after several years of bad harvests, rose up when their employers introduced threshing machines into their workplaces. The riots got their name from the threatening letters which were sent to farmers and other employers, which were signed “Captain Swing.”

                          The riots spread into Gloucestershire in November 1830, with the Tetbury area seeing the worst of the disturbances. Amongst the many people arrested afterwards was one woman, Elizabeth Parker. She has sometimes been cited as one of only two females who were transported for taking part in the Swing Riots. In fact, she was sentenced to be transported for this crime, but never sailed, as she was pardoned a few months after being convicted. However, less than a year after being released from Gloucester Gaol, she was back, awaiting trial for another offence. The circumstances in both of the cases she was tried for reveal an intriguing relationship with one Daniel Cole, parish clerk and assistant poor law officer in Tetbury….

                          ….Elizabeth Parker was committed to Gloucester Gaol on 4 December 1830. In the Gaol Registers, she was described as being 23 and a “labourer”. She was in fact a prostitute, and she was unusual for the time in that she could read and write. She was charged on the oaths of Daniel Cole and others with having been among a mob which destroyed a threshing machine belonging to Jacob Hayward, at his farm in Beverstone, on 26 November.

                          …..Elizabeth Parker was granted royal clemency in July 1831 and was released from prison. She returned to Tetbury and presumably continued in her usual occupation, but on 27 March 1832, she was committed to Gloucester Gaol again. This time, she was charged with stealing 2 five pound notes, 5 sovereigns and 5 half sovereigns, from the person of Daniel Cole.

                          Elizabeth was tried at the Lent Assizes which began on 28 March, 1832. The details of her trial were reported in the Morning Post. Daniel Cole was in the “Boat Inn” (meaning the Boot Inn, I think) in Tetbury, when Elizabeth Parker came in. Cole “accompanied her down the yard”, where he stayed with her for about half an hour. The next morning, he realised that all his money was gone. One of his five pound notes was identified by him in a shop, where Parker had bought some items.

                          Under cross-examination, Cole said he was the assistant overseer of the poor and collector of public taxes of the parish of Tetbury. He was married with one child. He went in to the inn at about 9 pm, and stayed about 2 hours, drinking in the parlour, with the landlord, Elizabeth Parker, and two others. He was not drunk, but he was “rather fresh.” He gave the prisoner no money. He saw Elizabeth Parker next morning at the Prince and Princess public house. He didn’t drink with her or give her any money. He did give her a shilling after she was committed. He never said that he would not have prosecuted her “if it was not for her own tongue”. (Presumably meaning he couldn’t trust her to keep her mouth shut.)”

                          Contemporary illustration of the Swing riots:

                          Swing Riots


                          Captain Swing was the imaginary leader agricultural labourers who set fire to barns and haystacks in the southern and eastern counties of England from 1830. Although the riots were ruthlessly put down (19 hanged, 644 imprisoned and 481 transported), the rural agitation led the new Whig government to establish a Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and its report provided the basis for the 1834 New Poor Law enacted after the Great Reform Bills of 1833.

                          An original portrait of Captain Swing hand coloured lithograph circa 1830:

                          Captain Swing


                            Brownings of Tetbury

                            Tetbury 1839


                            Isaac Browning (1784-1848) married Mary Lock (1787-1870) in Tetbury in 1806. Both of them were born in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Isaac was a stone mason. Between 1807 and 1832 they baptised fourteen children in Tetbury, and on 8 Nov 1829 Isaac and Mary baptised five daughters all on the same day.

                            I considered that they may have been quintuplets, with only the last born surviving, which would have answered my question about the name of the house La Quinta in Broadway, the home of Eliza Browning and Thomas Stokes son Fred. However, the other four daughters were found in various records and they were not all born the same year. (So I still don’t know why the house in Broadway had such an unusual name).

                            Their son George was born and baptised in 1827, but Louisa born 1821, Susan born 1822, Hesther born 1823 and Mary born 1826, were not baptised until 1829 along with Charlotte born in 1828. (These birth dates are guesswork based on the age on later censuses.) Perhaps George was baptised promptly because he was sickly and not expected to survive. Isaac and Mary had a son George born in 1814 who died in 1823. Presumably the five girls were healthy and could wait to be done as a job lot on the same day later.

                            Eliza Browning (1814-1886), my great great great grandmother, had a baby six years before she married Thomas Stokes. Her name was Ellen Harding Browning, which suggests that her fathers name was Harding. On the 1841 census seven year old Ellen was living with her grandfather Isaac Browning in Tetbury. Ellen Harding Browning married William Dee in Tetbury in 1857, and they moved to Western Australia.

                            Ellen Harding Browning Dee: (photo found on ancestry website)

                            Ellen Harding Browning

                            OBITUARY. MRS. ELLEN DEE.
                            A very old and respected resident of Dongarra, in the person of Mrs. Ellen Dee, passed peacefully away on Sept. 27, at the advanced age of 74 years.

                            The deceased had been ailing for some time, but was about and actively employed until Wednesday, Sept. 20, whenn she was heard groaning by some neighbours, who immediately entered her place and found her lying beside the fireplace. Tho deceased had been to bed over night, and had evidently been in the act of lighting thc fire, when she had a seizure. For some hours she was conscious, but had lost the power of speech, and later on became unconscious, in which state she remained until her death.

                            The deceased was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1833, was married to William Dee in Tetbury Church 23 years later. Within a month she left England with her husband for Western Australian in the ship City oí Bristol. She resided in Fremantle for six months, then in Greenough for a short time, and afterwards (for 42 years) in Dongarra. She was, therefore, a colonist of about 51 years. She had a family of four girls and three boys, and five of her children survive her, also 35 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. She was very highly respected, and her sudden collapse came as a great shock to many.


                            Eliza married Thomas Stokes (1816-1885) in September 1840 in Hempstead, Gloucestershire. On the 1841 census, Eliza and her mother Mary Browning (nee Lock) were staying with Thomas Lock and family in Cirencester. Strangely, Thomas Stokes has not been found thus far on the 1841 census, and Thomas and Eliza’s first child William James Stokes birth was registered in Witham, in Essex, on the 6th of September 1841.

                            I don’t know why William James was born in Witham, or where Thomas was at the time of the census in 1841. One possibility is that as Thomas Stokes did a considerable amount of work with circus waggons, circus shooting galleries and so on as a journeyman carpenter initially and then later wheelwright, perhaps he was working with a traveling circus at the time.

                            But back to the Brownings ~ more on William James Stokes to follow.

                            One of Isaac and Mary’s fourteen children died in infancy:  Ann was baptised and died in 1811. Two of their children died at nine years old: the first George, and Mary who died in 1835.  Matilda was 21 years old when she died in 1844.

                            Jane Browning (1808-)  married Thomas Buckingham in 1830 in Tetbury. In August 1838 Thomas was charged with feloniously stealing a black gelding.

                            Susan Browning (1822-1879) married William Cleaver in November 1844 in Tetbury. Oddly thereafter they use the name Bowman on the census. On the 1851 census Mary Browning (Susan’s mother), widow, has grandson George Bowman born in 1844 living with her. The confusion with the Bowman and Cleaver names was clarified upon finding the criminal registers:

                            30 January 1834. Offender: William Cleaver alias Bowman, Richard Bunting alias Barnfield and Jeremiah Cox, labourers of Tetbury. Crime: Stealing part of a dead fence from a rick barton in Tetbury, the property of Robert Tanner, farmer.


                            And again in 1836:

                            29 March 1836 Bowman, William alias Cleaver, of Tetbury, labourer age 18; 5’2.5” tall, brown hair, grey eyes, round visage with fresh complexion; several moles on left cheek, mole on right breast. Charged on the oath of Ann Washbourn & others that on the morning of the 31 March at Tetbury feloniously stolen a lead spout affixed to the dwelling of the said Ann Washbourn, her property. Found guilty 31 March 1836; Sentenced to 6 months.

                            On the 1851 census Susan Bowman was a servant living in at a large drapery shop in Cheltenham. She was listed as 29 years old, married and born in Tetbury, so although it was unusual for a married woman not to be living with her husband, (or her son for that matter, who was living with his grandmother Mary Browning), perhaps her husband William Bowman alias Cleaver was in trouble again. By 1861 they are both living together in Tetbury: William was a plasterer, and they had three year old Isaac and Thomas, one year old. In 1871 William was still a plasterer in Tetbury, living with wife Susan, and sons Isaac and Thomas. Interestingly, a William Cleaver is living next door but one!

                            Susan was 56 when she died in Tetbury in 1879.


                            Three of the Browning daughters went to London.

                            Louisa Browning (1821-1873) married Robert Claxton, coachman, in 1848 in Bryanston Square, Westminster, London. Ester Browning was a witness.

                            Ester Browning (1823-1893)(or Hester) married Charles Hudson Sealey, cabinet maker, in Bethnal Green, London, in 1854. Charles was born in Tetbury. Charlotte Browning was a witness.

                            Charlotte Browning (1828-1867?) was admitted to St Marylebone workhouse in London for “parturition”, or childbirth, in 1860. She was 33 years old.  A birth was registered for a Charlotte Browning, no mothers maiden name listed, in 1860 in Marylebone. A death was registered in Camden, buried in Marylebone, for a Charlotte Browning in 1867 but no age was recorded.  As the age and parents were usually recorded for a childs death, I assume this was Charlotte the mother.

                            I found Charlotte on the 1851 census by chance while researching her mother Mary Lock’s siblings.  Hesther Lock married Lewin Chandler, and they were living in Stepney, London.  Charlotte is listed as a neice. Although Browning is mistranscribed as Broomey, the original page says Browning. Another mistranscription on this record is Hesthers birthplace which is transcribed as Yorkshire. The original image shows Gloucestershire.


                            Isaac and Mary’s first son was John Browning (1807-1860). John married Hannah Coates in 1834. John’s brother Charles Browning (1819-1853) married Eliza Coates in 1842. Perhaps they were sisters. On the 1861 census Hannah Browning, John’s wife, was a visitor in the Harding household in a village called Coates near Tetbury. Thomas Harding born in 1801 was the head of the household. Perhaps he was the father of Ellen Harding Browning.

                            George Browning (1828-1870) married Louisa Gainey in Tetbury, and died in Tetbury at the age of 42.  Their son Richard Lock Browning, a 32 year old mason, was sentenced to one month hard labour for game tresspass in Tetbury in 1884.

                            Isaac Browning (1832-1857) was the youngest son of Isaac and Mary. He was just 25 years old when he died in Tetbury.


                              The Grattidge Family


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

                              Bessy Buxton’s gravestone:

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

                              20 Dec 1840, Ellastone, Staffordshire

                              Bessy Buxton


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

                              An excerpt from the will:

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

                              A page from the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge:

                              1843 Thomas Grattidge


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


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

                              Albert Grattidge:

                              Albert Grattidge


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

                              George Grattidge:

                              George Grattidge


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

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

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

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

                              The Derby Mercury of 17th November 1869:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              In this article it says:

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

                              Sheffield Independent – Friday 12 November 1869:

                              Louisa Cheesborough


                              My Fathers Family

                              Edwards ~ Tomlinson ~ Stokes ~ Fisher


                              Reginald Garnet Edwards was born on 2 April 1934 at the Worcester Cross pub in Kidderminster.

                              The X on right is the room he was born in:


                              Worcester Cross


                              I hadn’t done much research on the Edwards family because my fathers cousin, Paul Weaver, had already done it and had an excellent website online.  I decided to start from scratch and do it all myself because it’s so much more interesting to do the research myself than look at lists of names and dates that don’t really mean anything.  Immediately after I decided to do this, I found that Paul’s family tree website was no longer online to refer to anyway!


                              I started with the Edwards family in Birmingham and immediately had a problem: there were far too many John Edwards in Birmingham at the time.  I’ll return to the Edwards in a later chapter, and start with my fathers mothers mothers family, the Fishers.






                              In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


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

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

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

                                “Yes?” She glowered at Egbert.

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

                                “No,” Olga started to close the door.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                “What? Spit it out, Old Man.”

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

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

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

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

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


                                In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


                                  After her visit to the witch of the woods to get some medicine for her Mum who still had bouts of fatigue from her last encounter with the flu, the little Maryechka went back home as instructed.

                                  She found her home empty. Her parents were busy in the fields, as the time of harvest was near, and much remained to be done to prepare, and workers were limited.

                                  She left the pouch of dried herbs in the cabinet, and wondered if she should study. The schools were closed for early holidays, and they didn’t really bother with giving them much homework. She could see the teachers’ minds were worried with other things.

                                  Unlike other children of her age, she wasn’t interested in all the activities online, phone-stuff. The other gen-alpha kids didn’t even bother mocking her “IRL”, glued to their screens while she instead enjoyed looking at the clear blue sky. For all she knew they didn’t even realize they were living in the same world. Now, they were probably over-stressed looking at all the news on replay.
                                  For Maryechka, the war felt far away, even if you could see some of its impacts, with people moving about the nearby town.

                                  Looking as it was still early in the day, and she had plenty more time left before having to prepare for dinner, she thought it’d be nice to go and visit her grand-parent and their friends at the old people’s home. They always had nice stale biscuits to share, and they told the strangest stories all the time.

                                  It was just a 15 min walk from the farm, so she’d be there and back in no time.


                                    Purdy Cousins


                                    My great grandmother Mary Ann Gilman Purdy was one of five children.  Her sister Ellen Purdy was a well traveled nurse, and her sister Kate Rushby was a publican whose son who went to Africa. But what of her eldest sister Elizabeth and her brother Richard?


                                    Elizabeth Purdy 1869-1905 married Benjamin George Little in 1892 in Basford, Nottinghamshire.  Their first child, Frieda Olive Little, was born in Eastwood in December 1896, and their second daughter Catherine Jane Little was born in Warrington, Cheshire, in 1898. A third daughter, Edna Francis Little was born in 1900, but died three months later.

                                    When I noticed that this unidentified photograph in our family collection was taken by a photographer in Warrington,  and as no other family has been found in Warrington, I concluded that these two little girls are Frieda and Catherine:

                                    Catherine and Frieda Little


                                    Benjamin Little, born in 1869, was the manager of a boot shop, according to the 1901 census, and a boot maker on the 1911 census. I found a photograph of Benjamin and Elizabeth Little on an ancestry website:

                                    Benjamin and Elizabeth Little


                                    Frieda Olive Little 1896-1977 married Robert Warburton in 1924.

                                    Frieda and Robert had two sons and a daughter, although one son died in infancy.  They lived in Leominster, in Herefordshire, but Frieda died in 1977 at Enfield Farm in Warrington, four years after the death of her husband Robert.

                                    Catherine Jane Little 1899-1975 married Llewelyn Robert Prince 1884-1950.  They do not appear to have had any children.  Llewelyn was manager of the National Provinical Bank at Eltham in London, but died at Brook Cottage in Kingsland, Herefordshire.  His wifes aunt Ellen Purdy the nurse had also lived at Brook Cottage.  Ellen died in 1947, but her husband Frank Garbett was at the funeral:

                                    Llewelyn Prince


                                    Richard Purdy 1877-1940

                                    Richard was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. When his mother Catherine died in 1884 Richard was six years old.  My great grandmother Mary Ann and her sister Ellen went to live with the Gilman’s in Buxton, but Richard and the two older sisters, Elizabeth and Kate, stayed with their father George Purdy, who remarried soon afterwards.

                                    Richard married Ada Elizabeth Clarke in 1899.  In 1901 Richard was an earthenware packer at a pottery, and on the 1939 census he was a colliery dataller.  A dataller was a day wage man, paid on a daily basis for work done as required.

                                    Richard and Ada had four children: Richard Baden Purdy 1900-1945, Winifred Maude 1903-1974, John Frederick 1907-1945, and Violet Gertrude 1910-1974.

                                    Richard Baden Purdy married Ethel May Potter in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1926.  He was listed on the 1939 census as a colliery deputy.  In 1945 Richard Baden Purdy died as a result of injuries in a mine explosion.

                                    Richard Baden Purdy


                                    John Frederick Purdy married Iris Merryweather in 1938. On the 1939 census John and Iris live in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, and John’s occupation is a colliery hewer.  Their daughter Barbara Elizabeth was born later that year.  John died in 1945, the same year as his brother Richard Baden Purdy. It is not known without purchasing the death certificate what the cause of death was.

                                    A memorial was posted in the Nottingham Evening Post on 29 June 1948:

                                    PURDY, loving memories, Richard Baden, accidentally killed June 29th 1945; John Frederick, died 1 April 1945; Richard Purdy, father, died December 1940. Too dearly loved to be forgotten. Mother, families.

                                    Violet Gertrude Purdy married Sidney Garland in 1932 in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.  She died in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, in 1974.

                                    Winifred Maude Purdy married Bernard Fowler in Southwell in 1928.  She also died in 1974, in Mansfield.

                                    The two brothers died the same year, in 1945, and the two sisters died the same year, in 1974.


                                      From Tanganyika with Love

                                      continued part 9

                                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                      Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                      Mbeya 1st November 1946

                                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                                        From Tanganyika with Love

                                        continued part 8

                                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                        Morogoro 20th January 1941

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                        Morogoro 30th July 1941

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                        Morogoro 26th August 1941

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                        Morogoro 25th December 1941

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                        Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                        Morogoro 26th January 1944

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                        Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                        Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                        Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                        Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

                                        Dearest Mummy,

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

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

                                        Very much love,

                                        Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                        Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                                        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                        Much love,



                                          From Tanganyika with Love

                                          continued part 7

                                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                          Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                          Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Iringa. 30th November 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                          Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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


                                          Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                                          Dearest Family,

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


                                          Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Nzassa 5th August 1939

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                          Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                          Morogoro 14th September 1939

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                          Morogoro 4th November 1939

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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


                                          Iringa 8th December 1939

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                          Morogoro 10th March 1940

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                          Morogoro 14th July 1940

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                          Morogoro 16th November 1940

                                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



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