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    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


      The door opened and Youssef saw Natalie, still waiting for him. Indeed, he needed help. He decided to accept  sands_of_time contact request, hopping it was not another Thi Gang trick.

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

      A princess on horse back emerged from the sand. The veil on her hair floated in a wind that soon cleared all the dust from her garment and her mount, revealing a princess with a delicate face and some prominent attributes that didn’t leave Youssef indifferent. She was smiling at him, and her horse, who had six legs and looked a bit like a camel, snorted at the bear.

      “I love doing that, said the princess. At least I don’t get to spit sand afterward like when my sister’s grand-kids want to bury me in the sand at the beach…”

      It broke the charm. It reminded Youssef it was all a game. That princess was an avatar. Was it even a girl on the other side ? And how old ? Youssef, despite his stature, felt as vulnerable as when his mother left him for the afternoon with an old aunt in Sudan when he was five and she kept wanting to dress him with colourful girl outfits. He shivered and the bear growled at the camel-horse, reminding Youssef how hungry he was.

      sands_of_time?” he asked.

      “Yes. I like this AI game. Makes me feel like I’m twenty again. Not as fun as a mushroom trip though, but… with less secondary effects. Anyway, I saw you needed help with that girl. A ‘reel’ nuisance if you ask me, sticky like a sea cucumber.”

      “How do you know ? Did you plant bugs on my phone ? Are you with the Thi Gang ?” 

      The bear moved toward them and roared and the camel-horse did a strange sound. The princess appeased her mount with a touch of her hand.

      “Oh! Boy, calm down your heat. Nothing so prosaic. I have other means, she said with a grin. Call me Sweet Sophie, I’m a real life reporter. Was just laying down on my dream couch looking for clues about a Dr Patelonus, the man’s mixed up in some monkey trafficking business, when I saw that strange llama dressed like a tibetan monk, except it was a bit too mayonnaise for a tibetan monk. Anyway, he led me to you and told me to contact you through this Quirk Quest Game, suggesting you might have some intel for me about that monkey business of mine. So I put on my VR helmet, which actually reminds me of a time at the hair salon, and a gorgeous beehive… but anyway you wouldn’t understand. So I had to accept one of those quests and find you in the game. Which was a lot less easier than RV I can tell you. The only thing, I couldn’t interact with you unless you accepted contact. So here I am, ready for you to tell me about Dr Patelonus. But I can see that first we need to get you out of here.”

      Youssef had no idea about what she was talking about. VR; RV ? one and the same ? He decided not to tell her he knew nothing about monkeys or doctors until he was out of Natalie’s reach. If indeed sands_of_timecould help.

      “So what do I do ?” asked Youssef.

      “Let me first show you my real self. I’ve always wanted to try that. Wait a moment. I need to focus.”

      The princess avatar looked in the distance, her eyes lost beyond this world. Suddenly, Youssef felt a presence creeping into his mind. He heard a laugh and saw an old lady in yoga pants on a couch! He roared and almost let go of his phone again.

      The princess smiled.

      “Now, wouldn’t be fair if only I knew what you looked like in real life. Although you’re pretty close to your avatar… Don’t you seem a tad afraid of experimenting with new things. :yahoo_smug:

      She laughed again, and this time Youssef saw her “real” face superimposed on the princess avatar. It gave him goosebumps.

      “Now’s your opening, she said. The girl’s busy giving directions to someone else. Get out of the bathroom! Now!”

      Youssef had the strangest feeling that the voice had come at the same time from the phone speakers and from inside his head. His body acted on its own as if he was a puppet. He pushed the bathroom door open and rushed outside.


        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


          The team had to stop when a sandstorm hit them in the middle of the desert. They only had an hour drive left to reach the oasis where Lama Yoneze had been seen last and Miss Tartiflate insisted, like she always did, against the guides advice that they kept on going. She feared the last shaman would be lost in the storm, maybe croak stuffed with that damn dust. But when they lost the satellite dish and a jeep almost rolled down a sand dune, she finally listened to the guides. They had them park the cars close to each other, then checked the straps and urged everyone to stay in their cars until the storm was over.

          Youssef at first thought he was lucky. He managed to get into the same car as Tiff, the young intern he had discussed with the other day. But despite all their precautions, they couldn’t stop the dust to come in. It was everywhere and you had to kept your mouth and eyes shut if you didn’t want to grind your teeth with fine sand. So instead he enjoyed this unexpected respite from his trying to save THE BLOG from the evil Thi Gang, and from Miss Tartiflate’s continuous flow of criticism.

          The storm blew off the dish just after Xavier had sent him AL’s answer to the strange glyphs he had received on his phone. When Youssef read the message, he sighed. He had forgotten hope was an illusion. AL was in its infancy and was not a dead language expert. He gave them something fitting Youssef’s current location and the questions about famous alien dishes they asked him last week. It was just an old pot luck recipe from when the Silk Road was passing through the Gobi desert. He just hoped Xavier would have some luck until Youssef found a way to restore the connexion.


          In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud

          Yurara FamelikiYurara Fameliki

            Words from the Cloud prompted me to write a story:

            song stayed act unexpected recall words spears bus learn king expected followed fright hot wore kianda picture walked playing coast dusty

            Once upon a time, in a far-off land, there was a Song that stayed in the hearts of the people. The Song was about an Act of bravery and sacrifice that had taken place many years ago. But one day, an unexpected recall of the Song was issued by the king. He had heard that the Song was not being sung correctly, and he wanted to make sure that the true story was being told. The people were puzzled, as they had learned the Song from their ancestors and had always thought it was accurate. But they followed the king’s orders and set out to learn the correct version of the Song. As they began to recall the words, they realized that there were some discrepancies. They had always sung about the hero wielding a sword, but the true story spoke of him wielding Spears. They were taken aback, but they knew they had to correct the Song. So, they set out on a journey to retrace the hero’s steps.

            As they traveled, they encountered unexpected challenges. They faced a bus that broke down, a coastline that was dusty and treacherous, and even a group of bandits. But they pressed on, determined to learn the truth.

            As they approached the hero’s final battle, they felt a sense of dread. They had heard that the enemy was fierce, and they were not prepared for what they would find. But they followed the path and soon found themselves at the edge of a hot, barren wasteland.

            The heroes wore their Kianda, traditional armor made of woven reeds, and stepped forward, ready for battle. But to their surprise, the enemy was nowhere to be found. Instead, they found a picture etched into the ground, depicting the hero and his enemy locked in a fierce battle.

            The people walked around the picture, marveling at the detail and skill of the artist. And as they looked closer, they saw that the hero was holding Spears, not a sword. They realized that they had learned the true story, and they felt a sense of pride and gratitude.

            With the Song corrected, they returned home, playing the new version for all to hear. And from that day on, the true story of the hero’s bravery and sacrifice was remembered, and the Song stayed in the hearts of the people forevermore.


              The Hamstall Ridware Connection

              Stubbs and Woods

              Hamstall RidwareHamstall Ridware



              Charles Tomlinson‘s (1847-1907) wife Emma Grattidge (1853-1911) was born in Wolverhampton, the daughter and youngest child of William Grattidge (1820-1887) born in Foston, Derbyshire, and Mary Stubbs (1819-1880), born in Burton on Trent, daughter of Solomon Stubbs.

              Solomon Stubbs (1781-1857) was born in Hamstall Ridware in 1781, the son of Samuel and Rebecca.  Samuel Stubbs (1743-) and Rebecca Wood (1754-) married in 1769 in Darlaston.  Samuel and Rebecca had six other children, all born in Darlaston. Sadly four of them died in infancy. Son John was born in 1779 in Darlaston and died two years later in Hamstall Ridware in 1781, the same year that Solomon was born there.

              But why did they move to Hamstall Ridware?

              Samuel Stubbs was born in 1743 in Curdworth, Warwickshire (near to Birmingham).  I had made a mistake on the tree (along with all of the public trees on the Ancestry website) and had Rebecca Wood born in Cheddleton, Staffordshire.  Rebecca Wood from Cheddleton was also born in 1843, the right age for the marriage.  The Rebecca Wood born in Darlaston in 1754 seemed too young, at just fifteen years old at the time of the marriage.  I couldn’t find any explanation for why a woman from Cheddleton would marry in Darlaston and then move to Hamstall Ridware.  People didn’t usually move around much other than intermarriage with neighbouring villages, especially women.  I had a closer look at the Darlaston Rebecca, and did a search on her father William Wood.  I found his 1784 will online in which he mentions his daughter Rebecca, wife of Samuel Stubbs.  Clearly the right Rebecca Wood was the one born in Darlaston, which made much more sense.

              An excerpt from William Wood’s 1784 will mentioning daughter Rebecca married to Samuel Stubbs:

              Wm Wood will


              But why did they move to Hamstall Ridware circa 1780?

              I had not intially noticed that Solomon Stubbs married again the year after his wife Phillis Lomas (1787-1844) died.  Solomon married Charlotte Bell in 1845 in Burton on Trent and on the marriage register, Solomon’s father Samuel Stubbs occupation was mentioned: Samuel was a buckle maker.

              Marriage of Solomon Stubbs and Charlotte Bell, father Samuel Stubbs buckle maker:

              Samuel Stubbs buckle maker


              A rudimentary search on buckle making in the late 1700s provided a possible answer as to why Samuel and Rebecca left Darlaston in 1781.  Shoe buckles had gone out of fashion, and by 1781 there were half as many buckle makers in Wolverhampton as there had been previously.

              “Where there were 127 buckle makers at work in Wolverhampton, 68 in Bilston and 58 in Birmingham in 1770, their numbers had halved in 1781.”

              via “historywebsite”(museum/metalware/steel)

              Steel buckles had been the height of fashion, and the trade became enormous in Wolverhampton.  Wolverhampton was a steel working town, renowned for its steel jewellery which was probably of many types.  The trade directories show great numbers of “buckle makers”.  Steel buckles were predominantly made in Wolverhampton: “from the late 1760s cut steel comes to the fore, from the thriving industry of the Wolverhampton area”. Bilston was also a great centre of buckle making, and other areas included Walsall. (It should be noted that Darlaston, Walsall, Bilston and Wolverhampton are all part of the same area)

              In 1860, writing in defence of the Wolverhampton Art School, George Wallis talks about the cut steel industry in Wolverhampton.  Referring to “the fine steel workers of the 17th and 18th centuries” he says: “Let them remember that 100 years ago [sc. c. 1760] a large trade existed with France and Spain in the fine steel goods of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, of which the latter were always allowed to be the best both in taste and workmanship.  … A century ago French and Spanish merchants had their houses and agencies at Birmingham for the purchase of the steel goods of Wolverhampton…..The Great Revolution in France put an end to the demand for fine steel goods for a time and hostile tariffs finished what revolution began”.


              The next search on buckle makers, Wolverhampton and Hamstall Ridware revealed an unexpected connecting link.

              In Riotous Assemblies: Popular Protest in Hanoverian England by Adrian Randall:

              Riotous AssemblesHamstall Ridware

              In Walsall in 1750 on “Restoration Day” a crowd numbering 300 assembled, mostly buckle makers,  singing  Jacobite songs and other rebellious and riotous acts.  The government was particularly worried about a curious meeting known as the “Jubilee” in Hamstall Ridware, which may have been part of a conspiracy for a Jacobite uprising.


              But this was thirty years before Samuel and Rebecca moved to Hamstall Ridware and does not help to explain why they moved there around 1780, although it does suggest connecting links.

              Rebecca’s father, William Wood, was a brickmaker.  This was stated at the beginning of his will.  On closer inspection of the will, he was a brickmaker who owned four acres of brick kilns, as well as dwelling houses, shops, barns, stables, a brewhouse, a malthouse, cattle and land.

              A page from the 1784 will of William Wood:

              will Wm Wood


              The 1784 will of William Wood of Darlaston:

              I William Wood the elder of Darlaston in the county of Stafford, brickmaker, being of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding (praised be to god for the same) do make publish and declare my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say) {after debts and funeral expense paid etc} I give to my loving wife Mary the use usage wear interest and enjoyment of all my goods chattels cattle stock in trade ~ money securities for money personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever to hold unto her my said wife for and during the term of her natural life providing she so long continues my widow and unmarried and from or after her decease or intermarriage with any future husband which shall first happen.

              Then I give all the said goods chattels cattle stock in trade money securites for money personal estate and effects unto my son Abraham Wood absolutely and forever. Also I give devise and bequeath unto my said wife Mary all that my messuages tenement or dwelling house together with the malthouse brewhouse barn stableyard garden and premises to the same belonging situate and being at Darlaston aforesaid and now in my own possession. Also all that messuage tenement or dwelling house together with the shop garden and premises with the appurtenances to the same ~ belonging situate in Darlaston aforesaid and now in the several holdings or occupation of George Knowles and Edward Knowles to hold the aforesaid premises and every part thereof with the appurtenances to my said wife Mary for and during the term of her natural life provided she so long continues my widow and unmarried. And from or after her decease or intermarriage with a future husband which shall first happen. Then I give and devise the aforesaid premises and every part thereof with the appurtenances unto my said son Abraham Wood his heirs and assigns forever.

              Also I give unto my said wife all that piece or parcel of land or ground inclosed and taken out of Heath Field in the parish of Darlaston aforesaid containing four acres or thereabouts (be the same more or less) upon which my brick kilns erected and now in my own possession. To hold unto my said wife Mary until my said son Abraham attains his age of twenty one years if she so long continues my widow and unmarried as aforesaid and from and immediately after my said son Abraham attaining his age of twenty one years or my said wife marrying again as aforesaid which shall first happen then I give the said piece or parcel of land or ground and premises unto my said son Abraham his heirs and assigns forever.

              And I do hereby charge all the aforesaid premises with the payment of the sum of twenty pounds a piece to each of my daughters namely Elizabeth the wife of Ambrose Dudall and Rebecca the wife of Samuel Stubbs which said sum of twenty pounds each I devise may be paid to them by my said son Abraham when and so soon as he attains his age of twenty one years provided always and my mind and will is that if my said son Abraham should happen to depart this life without leaving issue of his body lawfully begotten before he attains his age of twenty one years then I give and devise all the aforesaid premises and every part thereof with the appurtenances so given to my said son Abraham as aforesaid unto my said son William Wood and my said daughter Elizabeth Dudall and Rebecca Stubbs their heirs and assigns forever equally divided among them share and share alike as tenants in common and not as joint tenants. And lastly I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said wife Mary and my said son Abraham executrix and executor of this my will.



              The marriage of William Wood (1725-1784) and Mary Clews (1715-1798) in 1749 was in Hamstall Ridware.

              Wm Wood Mary Clews


              Mary was eleven years Williams senior, and it appears that they both came from Hamstall Ridware and moved to Darlaston after they married. Clearly Rebecca had extended family there (notwithstanding any possible connecting links between the Stubbs buckle makers of Darlaston and the Hamstall Ridware Jacobites thirty years prior).  When the buckle trade collapsed in Darlaston, they likely moved to find employment elsewhere, perhaps with the help of Rebecca’s family.

              I have not yet been able to find deaths recorded anywhere for either Samuel or Rebecca (there are a couple of deaths recorded for a Samuel Stubbs, one in 1809 in Wolverhampton, and one in 1810 in Birmingham but impossible to say which, if either, is the right one with the limited information, and difficult to know if they stayed in the Hamstall Ridware area or perhaps moved elsewhere)~ or find a reason for their son Solomon to be in Burton upon Trent, an evidently prosperous man with several properties including an earthenware business, as well as a land carrier business.


              In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


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

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

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

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

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

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


                  Looking for Robert Staley


                  William Warren (1835-1880) of Newhall (Stapenhill) married Elizabeth Staley (1836-1907) in 1858. Elizabeth was born in Newhall, the daughter of John Staley (1795-1876) and Jane Brothers. John was born in Newhall, and Jane was born in Armagh, Ireland, and they were married in Armagh in 1820. Elizabeths older brothers were born in Ireland: William in 1826 and Thomas in Dublin in 1830. Francis was born in Liverpool in 1834, and then Elizabeth in Newhall in 1836; thereafter the children were born in Newhall.

                  Marriage of John Staley and Jane Brothers in 1820:

                  1820 marriage Armagh



                  My grandmother related a story about an Elizabeth Staley who ran away from boarding school and eloped to Ireland, but later returned. The only Irish connection found so far is Jane Brothers, so perhaps she meant Elizabeth Staley’s mother. A boarding school seems unlikely, and it would seem that it was John Staley who went to Ireland.

                  The 1841 census states Jane’s age as 33, which would make her just 12 at the time of her marriage. The 1851 census states her age as 44, making her 13 at the time of her 1820 marriage, and the 1861 census estimates her birth year as a more likely 1804. Birth records in Ireland for her have not been found. It’s possible, perhaps, that she was in service in the Newhall area as a teenager (more likely than boarding school), and that John and Jane ran off to get married in Ireland, although I haven’t found any record of a child born to them early in their marriage. John was an agricultural labourer, and later a coal miner.

                  John Staley was the son of Joseph Staley (1756-1838) and Sarah Dumolo (1764-). Joseph and Sarah were married by licence in Newhall in 1782. Joseph was a carpenter on the marriage licence, but later a collier (although not necessarily a miner).

                  The Derbyshire Record Office holds records of  an “Estimate of Joseph Staley of Newhall for the cost of continuing to work Pisternhill Colliery” dated 1820 and addresssed to Mr Bloud at Calke Abbey (presumably the owner of the mine)

                  Josephs parents were Robert Staley and Elizabeth. I couldn’t find a baptism or birth record for Robert Staley. Other trees on an ancestry site had his birth in Elton, but with no supporting documents. Robert, as stated in his 1795 will, was a Yeoman.

                  “Yeoman: A former class of small freeholders who farm their own land; a commoner of good standing.”
                  “Husbandman: The old word for a farmer below the rank of yeoman. A husbandman usually held his land by copyhold or leasehold tenure and may be regarded as the ‘average farmer in his locality’. The words ‘yeoman’ and ‘husbandman’ were gradually replaced in the later 18th and 19th centuries by ‘farmer’.”

                  He left a number of properties in Newhall and Hartshorne (near Newhall) including dwellings, enclosures, orchards, various yards, barns and acreages. It seemed to me more likely that he had inherited them, rather than moving into the village and buying them.

                  There is a mention of Robert Staley in a 1782 newpaper advertisement.

                  “Fire Engine To Be Sold.  An exceedingly good fire engine, with the boiler, cylinder, etc in good condition. For particulars apply to Mr Burslem at Burton-upon-Trent, or Robert Staley at Newhall near Burton, where the engine may be seen.”

                  fire engine


                  Was the fire engine perhaps connected with a foundry or a coal mine?

                  I noticed that Robert Staley was the witness at a 1755 marriage in Stapenhill between Barbara Burslem and Richard Daston the younger esquire. The other witness was signed Burslem Jnr.


                  Looking for Robert Staley


                  I assumed that once again, in the absence of the correct records, a similarly named and aged persons baptism had been added to the tree regardless of accuracy, so I looked through the Stapenhill/Newhall parish register images page by page. There were no Staleys in Newhall at all in the early 1700s, so it seemed that Robert did come from elsewhere and I expected to find the Staleys in a neighbouring parish. But I still didn’t find any Staleys.

                  I spoke to a couple of Staley descendants that I’d met during the family research. I met Carole via a DNA match some months previously and contacted her to ask about the Staleys in Elton. She also had Robert Staley born in Elton (indeed, there were many Staleys in Elton) but she didn’t have any documentation for his birth, and we decided to collaborate and try and find out more.

                  I couldn’t find the earlier Elton parish registers anywhere online, but eventually found the untranscribed microfiche images of the Bishops Transcripts for Elton.

                  via familysearch:
                  “In its most basic sense, a bishop’s transcript is a copy of a parish register. As bishop’s transcripts generally contain more or less the same information as parish registers, they are an invaluable resource when a parish register has been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise lost. Bishop’s transcripts are often of value even when parish registers exist, as priests often recorded either additional or different information in their transcripts than they did in the original registers.”


                  Unfortunately there was a gap in the Bishops Transcripts between 1704 and 1711 ~ exactly where I needed to look. I subsequently found out that the Elton registers were incomplete as they had been damaged by fire.

                  I estimated Robert Staleys date of birth between 1710 and 1715. He died in 1795, and his son Daniel died in 1805: both of these wills were found online. Daniel married Mary Moon in Stapenhill in 1762, making a likely birth date for Daniel around 1740.

                  The marriage of Robert Staley (assuming this was Robert’s father) and Alice Maceland (or Marsland or Marsden, depending on how the parish clerk chose to spell it presumably) was in the Bishops Transcripts for Elton in 1704. They were married in Elton on 26th February. There followed the missing parish register pages and in all likelihood the records of the baptisms of their first children. No doubt Robert was one of them, probably the first male child.

                  (Incidentally, my grandfather’s Marshalls also came from Elton, a small Derbyshire village near Matlock.  The Staley’s are on my grandmothers Warren side.)

                  The parish register pages resume in 1711. One of the first entries was the baptism of Robert Staley in 1711, parents Thomas and Ann. This was surely the one we were looking for, and Roberts parents weren’t Robert and Alice.

                  But then in 1735 a marriage was recorded between Robert son of Robert Staley (and this was unusual, the father of the groom isn’t usually recorded on the parish register) and Elizabeth Milner. They were married on the 9th March 1735. We know that the Robert we were looking for married an Elizabeth, as her name was on the Stapenhill baptisms of their later children, including Joseph Staleys.  The 1735 marriage also fit with the assumed birth date of Daniel, circa 1740. A baptism was found for a Robert Staley in 1738 in the Elton registers, parents Robert and Elizabeth, as well as the baptism in 1736 for Mary, presumably their first child. Her burial is recorded the following year.

                  The marriage of Robert Staley and Elizabeth Milner in 1735:

                  rbt staley marriage 1735


                  There were several other Staley couples of a similar age in Elton, perhaps brothers and cousins. It seemed that Thomas and Ann’s son Robert was a different Robert, and that the one we were looking for was prior to that and on the missing pages.

                  Even so, this doesn’t prove that it was Elizabeth Staleys great grandfather who was born in Elton, but no other birth or baptism for Robert Staley has been found. It doesn’t explain why the Staleys moved to Stapenhill either, although the Enclosures Act and the Industrial Revolution could have been factors.

                  The 18th century saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution and many renowned Derbyshire Industrialists emerged. They created the turning point from what was until then a largely rural economy, to the development of townships based on factory production methods.

                  The Marsden Connection

                  There are some possible clues in the records of the Marsden family.  Robert Staley married Alice Marsden (or Maceland or Marsland) in Elton in 1704.  Robert Staley is mentioned in the 1730 will of John Marsden senior,  of Baslow, Innkeeper (Peacock Inne & Whitlands Farm). He mentions his daughter Alice, wife of Robert Staley.

                  In a 1715 Marsden will there is an intriguing mention of an alias, which might explain the different spellings on various records for the name Marsden:  “MARSDEN alias MASLAND, Christopher – of Baslow, husbandman, 28 Dec 1714. son Robert MARSDEN alias MASLAND….” etc.

                  Some potential reasons for a move from one parish to another are explained in this history of the Marsden family, and indeed this could relate to Robert Staley as he married into the Marsden family and his wife was a beneficiary of a Marsden will.  The Chatsworth Estate, at various times, bought a number of farms in order to extend the park.

                  THE MARSDEN FAMILY
                  OXCLOSE AND PARKGATE
                  In the Parishes of
                  Baslow and Chatsworth

                  David Dalrymple-Smith

                  John Marsden (b1653) another son of Edmund (b1611) faired well. By the time he died in
                  1730 he was publican of the Peacock, the Inn on Church Lane now called the Cavendish
                  Hotel, and the farmer at “Whitlands”, almost certainly Bubnell Cliff Farm.”

                  “Coal mining was well known in the Chesterfield area. The coalfield extends as far as the
                  Gritstone edges, where thin seams outcrop especially in the Baslow area.”

                  “…the occupants were evicted from the farmland below Dobb Edge and
                  the ground carefully cleared of all traces of occupation and farming. Shelter belts were
                  planted especially along the Heathy Lea Brook. An imposing new drive was laid to the
                  Chatsworth House with the Lodges and “The Golden Gates” at its northern end….”

                  Although this particular event was later than any events relating to Robert Staley, it’s an indication of how farms and farmland disappeared, and a reason for families to move to another area:

                  “The Dukes of Devonshire (of Chatsworth)  were major figures in the aristocracy and the government of the
                  time. Such a position demanded a display of wealth and ostentation. The 6th Duke of
                  Devonshire, the Bachelor Duke, was not content with the Chatsworth he inherited in 1811,
                  and immediately started improvements. After major changes around Edensor, he turned his
                  attention at the north end of the Park. In 1820 plans were made extend the Park up to the
                  Baslow parish boundary. As this would involve the destruction of most of the Farm at
                  Oxclose, the farmer at the Higher House Samuel Marsden (b1755) was given the tenancy of
                  Ewe Close a large farm near Bakewell.
                  Plans were revised in 1824 when the Dukes of Devonshire and Rutland “Exchanged Lands”,
                  reputedly during a game of dice. Over 3300 acres were involved in several local parishes, of
                  which 1000 acres were in Baslow. In the deal Devonshire acquired the southeast corner of
                  Baslow Parish.
                  Part of the deal was Gibbet Moor, which was developed for “Sport”. The shelf of land
                  between Parkgate and Robin Hood and a few extra fields was left untouched. The rest,
                  between Dobb Edge and Baslow, was agricultural land with farms, fields and houses. It was
                  this last part that gave the Duke the opportunity to improve the Park beyond his earlier


                  The 1795 will of Robert Staley.

                  Inriguingly, Robert included the children of his son Daniel Staley in his will, but omitted to leave anything to Daniel.  A perusal of Daniels 1808 will sheds some light on this:  Daniel left his property to his six reputed children with Elizabeth Moon, and his reputed daughter Mary Brearly. Daniels wife was Mary Moon, Elizabeths husband William Moons daughter.

                  The will of Robert Staley, 1795:

                  1795 will 21795 Rbt Staley will


                  The 1805 will of Daniel Staley, Robert’s son:

                  This is the last will and testament of me Daniel Staley of the Township of Newhall in the parish of Stapenhill in the County of Derby, Farmer. I will and order all of my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses to be fully paid and satisfied by my executors hereinafter named by and out of my personal estate as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.

                  I give, devise and bequeath to Humphrey Trafford Nadin of Church Gresely in the said County of Derby Esquire and John Wilkinson of Newhall aforesaid yeoman all my messuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments and real and personal estates to hold to them, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns until Richard Moon the youngest of my reputed sons by Elizabeth Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years upon trust that they, my said trustees, (or the survivor of them, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns), shall and do manage and carry on my farm at Newhall aforesaid and pay and apply the rents, issues and profits of all and every of my said real and personal estates in for and towards the support, maintenance and education of all my reputed children by the said Elizabeth Moon until the said Richard Moon my youngest reputed son shall attain his said age of twenty one years and equally share and share and share alike.

                  And it is my will and desire that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall recruit and keep up the stock upon my farm as they in their discretion shall see occasion or think proper and that the same shall not be diminished. And in case any of my said reputed children by the said Elizabeth Moon shall be married before my said reputed youngest son shall attain his age of twenty one years that then it is my will and desire that non of their husbands or wives shall come to my farm or be maintained there or have their abode there. That it is also my will and desire in case my reputed children or any of them shall not be steady to business but instead shall be wild and diminish the stock that then my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall have full power and authority in their discretion to sell and dispose of all or any part of my said personal estate and to put out the money arising from the sale thereof to interest and to pay and apply the interest thereof and also thereunto of the said real estate in for and towards the maintenance, education and support of all my said reputed children by the said
                  Elizabeth Moon as they my said trustees in their discretion that think proper until the said Richard Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years.

                  Then I give to my grandson Daniel Staley the sum of ten pounds and to each and every of my sons and daughters namely Daniel Staley, Benjamin Staley, John Staley, William Staley, Elizabeth Dent and Sarah Orme and to my niece Ann Brearly the sum of five pounds apiece.

                  I give to my youngest reputed son Richard Moon one share in the Ashby Canal Navigation and I direct that my said trustees or trustee for the time being shall have full power and authority to pay and apply all or any part of the fortune or legacy hereby intended for my youngest reputed son Richard Moon in placing him out to any trade, business or profession as they in their discretion shall think proper.
                  And I direct that to my said sons and daughters by my late wife and my said niece shall by wholly paid by my said reputed son Richard Moon out of the fortune herby given him. And it is my will and desire that my said reputed children shall deliver into the hands of my executors all the monies that shall arise from the carrying on of my business that is not wanted to carry on the same unto my acting executor and shall keep a just and true account of all disbursements and receipts of the said business and deliver up the same to my acting executor in order that there may not be any embezzlement or defraud amongst them and from and immediately after my said reputed youngest son Richard Moon shall attain his age of twenty one years then I give, devise and bequeath all my real estate and all the residue and remainder of my personal estate of what nature and kind whatsoever and wheresoever unto and amongst all and every my said reputed sons and daughters namely William Moon, Thomas Moon, Joseph Moon, Richard Moon, Ann Moon, Margaret Moon and to my reputed daughter Mary Brearly to hold to them and their respective heirs, executors, administrator and assigns for ever according to the nature and tenure of the same estates respectively to take the same as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

                  And lastly I nominate and appoint the said Humphrey Trafford Nadin and John Wilkinson executors of this my last will and testament and guardians of all my reputed children who are under age during their respective minorities hereby revoking all former and other wills by me heretofore made and declaring this only to be my last will.

                  In witness whereof I the said Daniel Staley the testator have to this my last will and testament set my hand and seal the eleventh day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five.



                    “Ever get the feeling you’re talking to yourself?” Liz said to herself.

                    “YOU TART!!!”

                    Liz swung round, wondering where the dreadful shreik came from. The little black communication device on her desk was vibrating madly, causing the tea in her cup to slosh over the side into the saucer.

                    “Good Godfrey!” exclaimed Liz, visibly shaken.

                    “You rang?” smiled Godfrey, crawling out from under the desk.

                    “You were under my desk the whole time?” Liz was shocked.

                    “Allo allo allo!”

                    Roberto! You were under my desk the entire time too?”

                    “Zere iz a zecret door under ze desk, madame, you did not know zis?”

                    Fanella!  Good lord, not you as well!”

                    Fanella grinned sheepishly. “I ‘ave come to ‘elp Finnley wiz ze bedding.”

                    Liz bent down and peered under her desk. Who else was under there? But it was dark as a black hole, and covered in cobwebs.

                    Fanella, do you know where Finnley is?” asked Liz.  “I miss her terribly. Everything is so dreadfully dusty without her.”

                    Fanella shrugged.  “She was drugged, Madame.  It was when she tried to put a bug under the rug, someone ‘hit ‘er on ze ‘ead wiz a mug, and lugged her to a zecret location and filled her wiz drugs.” Fanella shrugged again. “Zis is why I ‘ave come to ‘elp.”


                      To Australia


                      Charles Herbert Gretton 1876-1954

                      Charles Gretton, my great grandmothers youngest brother, arrived in Sydney Australia on 12 February 1912, having set sail on 5 January 1912 from London. His occupation on the passenger list was stockman, and he was traveling alone.  Later that year, in October, his wife and two sons sailed out to join him.

                      Gretton 1912 passenger


                      Charles was born in Swadlincote.  He married Mary Anne Illsley, a local girl from nearby Church Gresley, in 1898. Their first son, Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton, was born in 1900 in Church Gresley, and their second son, George Herbert Gretton, was born in 1910 in Swadlincote.  In 1901 Charles was a colliery worker, and on the 1911 census, his occupation was a sanitary ware packer.

                      Charles and Mary Anne had two more sons, both born in Footscray:  Frank Orgill Gretton in 1914, and Arthur Ernest Gretton in 1920.

                      On the Australian 1914 electoral rolls, Charles and Mary Ann were living at 72 Moreland Street, Footscray, and in 1919 at 134 Cowper Street, Footscray, and Charles was a labourer.  In 1924, Charles was a sub foreman, living at 3, Ryan Street E, Footscray, Australia.  On a later electoral register, Charles was a foreman.  Footscray is a suburb of Melbourne, and developed into an industrial zone in the second half of the nineteenth century.

                      Charles died in Victoria in 1954 at the age of 77. His wife Mary Ann died in 1958.

                      Gretton obit 1954


                      Charles and Mary Ann Gretton:

                      Charles and Mary Ann Gretton


                      Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton 1900-1955

                      Leslie was an electrician.   He married Ethel Christine Halliday, born in 1900 in Footscray, in 1927.  They had four children: Tom, Claire, Nancy and Frank. By 1943 they were living in Yallourn.  Yallourn, Victoria was a company town in Victoria, Australia built between the 1920s and 1950s to house employees of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, who operated the nearby Yallourn Power Station complex. However, expansion of the adjacent open-cut brown coal mine led to the closure and removal of the town in the 1980s.

                      On the 1954 electoral registers, daughter Claire Elizabeth Gretton, occupation teacher, was living at the same address as Leslie and Ethel.

                      Leslie died in Yallourn in 1955, and Ethel nine years later in 1964, also in Yallourn.


                      George Herbert Gretton 1910-1970

                      George married Florence May Hall in 1934 in Victoria, Australia.  In 1942 George was listed on the electoral roll as a grocer, likewise in 1949. In 1963 his occupation was a process worker, and in 1968 in Flinders, a horticultural advisor.

                      George died in Lang Lang, not far from Melbourne, in 1970.


                      Frank Orgill Gretton 1914-

                      Arthur Ernest Gretton 1920-



                      John Orgill 1835-1911

                      John Orgill was Charles Herbert Gretton’s uncle.  He emigrated to Australia in 1865, and married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone 1845-1926 in Victoria in 1870. Their first child was born in December that year, in Dandenong. They had seven children, and their three sons all have the middle name Gladstone.

                      John Orgill was a councillor for the Shire of Dandenong in 1873, and between 1876 and 1879.

                      John Orgill:

                      John Orgill


                      John Orgill obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 21 December 1911:

                      John Orgill obit



                      John’s wife Elizabeth Orgill, a teacher and a “a public spirited lady” according to newspaper articles, opened a hydropathic hospital in Dandenong called Gladstone House.

                      Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill:

                      Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill


                      On the Old Dandenong website:

                      Gladstone House hydropathic hospital on the corner of Langhorne and Foster streets (153 Foster Street) Dandenong opened in 1896, working on the theory of water therapy, no medicine or operations. Her husband passed away in 1911 at 77, around similar time Dr Barclay Thompson obtained control of the practice. Mrs Orgill remaining on in some capacity.

                      Elizabeth Mary Orgill (nee Gladstone) operated Gladstone House until at least 1911, along with another hydropathic hospital (Birthwood) on Cheltenham road. She was the daughter of William Gladstone (Nephew of William Ewart Gladstone, UK prime minister in 1874).

                      Around 1912 Dr A. E. Taylor took over the location from Dr. Barclay Thompson. Mrs Orgill was still working here but no longer controlled the practice, having given it up to Barclay. Taylor served as medical officer for the Shire for before his death in 1939. After Taylor’s death Dr. T. C. Reeves bought his practice in 1939, later that year being appointed medical officer,

                      Gladstone Road in Dandenong is named after her family, who owned and occupied a farming paddock in the area on former Police Paddock ground, the Police reserve having earlier been reduced back to Stud Road.

                      Hydropathy (now known as Hydrotherapy) and also called water cure, is a part of medicine and alternative medicine, in particular of naturopathy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment.

                      Gladstone House, Dandenong:

                      Gladstone House



                      John’s brother Robert Orgill 1830-1915 also emigrated to Australia. I met (online) his great great grand daughter Lidya Orgill via the Old Dandenong facebook group.

                      John’s other brother Thomas Orgill 1833-1908 also emigrated to the same part of Australia.

                      Thomas Orgill:

                      Thomas Orgill


                      One of Thomas Orgills sons was George Albert Orgill 1880-1949:

                      George Albert Orgill


                      A letter was published in The South Bourke & Mornington Journal (Richmond, Victoria, Australia) on 17 Jun 1915, to Tom Orgill, Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) from hospital by his brother George Albert Orgill (4th Pioneers) describing landing of Covering Party prior to dawn invasion of Gallipoli:

                      George Albert Orgill letter


                      Another brother Henry Orgill 1837-1916 was born in Measham and died in Dandenong, Australia. Henry was a bricklayer living in Measham on the 1861 census. Also living with his widowed mother Elizabeth at that address was his sister Sarah and her husband Richard Gretton, the baker (my great great grandparents). In October of that year he sailed to Melbourne.  His occupation was bricklayer on his death records in 1916.

                      Two of Henry’s sons, Arthur Garfield Orgill born 1888 and Ernest Alfred Orgill born 1880 were killed in action in 1917 and buried in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Another son, Frederick Stanley Orgill, died in 1897 at the age of seven.

                      A fifth brother, William Orgill 1842-   sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1861, at 19 years of age. Four years later in 1865 he sailed from Victoria, Australia to New Zealand.


                      I assumed I had found all of the Orgill brothers who went to Australia, and resumed research on the Orgills in Measham, in England. A search in the British Newspaper Archives for Orgills in Measham revealed yet another Orgill brother who had gone to Australia.

                      Matthew Orgill 1828-1907 went to South Africa and to Australia, but returned to Measham.

                      The Orgill brothers had two sisters. One was my great great great grandmother Sarah, and the other was Hannah.  Hannah married Francis Hart in Measham. One of her sons, John Orgill Hart 1862-1909, was born in Measham.  On the 1881 census he was a 19 year old carpenters apprentice.  Two years later in 1883 he was listed as a joiner on the passenger list of the ship Illawarra, bound for Australia.   His occupation at the time of his death in Dandenong in 1909 was contractor.

                      An additional coincidental note about Dandenong: my step daughter Emily’s Australian partner is from Dandenong.




                      Charles Housley 1823-1856

                      Charles Housley emigrated to Australia in 1851, the same year that his brother George emigrated to USA.  Charles is mentioned in the Narrative on the Letters by Barbara Housley, and appears in the Housley Letters chapters.



                      George “Mike” Rushby 1933-

                      Mike moved to Australia from South Africa. His story is a separate chapter.


                        The Housley Letters 

                        From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters.


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

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

                        William and Ellen Marriage


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

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

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


                        ELLEN HOUSLEY 1795-1872

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

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

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


                        Mary’s children:

                        MARY ANN HOUSLEY  1808-1878

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

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

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


                        WILLIAM HOUSLEY JR. 1812-1890

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

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


                        Ellen’s children:

                        JOHN HOUSLEY  1815-1893

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        John Housley


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


                        SAMUEL HOUSLEY 1816-

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

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

                        Housley Deaths


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

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

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


                        EDWARD HOUSLEY 1819-1843

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


                        ANNE HOUSLEY 1821-1856

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        The Carrington Farm:

                        Carringtons Farm


                        CHARLES HOUSLEY 1823-1855

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

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

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

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

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


                        GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                        ROBERT HOUSLEY 1832-1851

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

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

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

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


                        EMMA HOUSLEY 1836-1871

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

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

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

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

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

                        Emma Housley and Edwin Welch Harvey wedding, 1858:

                        Emma Housley wedding


                        JOSEPH HOUSLEY 1838-1893

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        Joseph Housley and the Kiddsley cottages:

                        Joseph Housley


                          From Tanganyika with Love

                          continued part 9

                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                          Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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


                          Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Mbeya 1st November 1946

                          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                            From Tanganyika with Love

                            continued part 8

                            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                            Morogoro 20th January 1941

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                            Morogoro 30th July 1941

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                            Morogoro 26th August 1941

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                            Morogoro 25th December 1941

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                            Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                            Morogoro 26th January 1944

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                            Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                            Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                            Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                            Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

                            Dearest Mummy,

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

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

                            Very much love,

                            Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                            Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Much love,



                              From Tanganyika with Love

                              continued part 7

                              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                              Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                              Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                              Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                              Iringa. 30th November 1938

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                              Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                              Dearest Family,

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

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


                              Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                              Dearest Family,

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


                              Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Nzassa 5th August 1939

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                              Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Morogoro 14th September 1939

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                              Morogoro 4th November 1939

                              Dearest Family,

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

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


                              Iringa 8th December 1939

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                              Morogoro 10th March 1940

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                              Morogoro 14th July 1940

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                              Morogoro 16th November 1940

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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




                                From Tanganyika with Love

                                continued  ~ part 6

                                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                Mchewe 6th June 1937

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                With much love,

                                Mchewe 25th June 1937

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                Lots of love,

                                Mchewe 9th July 1937

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Mchewe 8th October 1937

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                Mchewe 17th October 1937

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Mchewe 18th November 1937

                                My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

                                Mchewe 18th November 1937

                                Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

                                Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                Mbulu 20th June 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Karatu 3rd July 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                Karatu 12th July 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                                  From Tanganyika with Love

                                  continued  ~ part 5

                                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                  Chunya 16th December 1936

                                  Dearest Family,

                                  Since last I wrote I have visited Chunya and met several of the diggers wives.
                                  On the whole I have been greatly disappointed because there is nothing very colourful
                                  about either township or women. I suppose I was really expecting something more like
                                  the goldrush towns and women I have so often seen on the cinema screen.
                                  Chunya consists of just the usual sun-dried brick Indian shops though there are
                                  one or two double storied buildings. Most of the life in the place centres on the
                                  Goldfields Hotel but we did not call there. From the store opposite I could hear sounds
                                  of revelry though it was very early in the afternoon. I saw only one sight which was quite
                                  new to me, some elegantly dressed African women, with high heels and lipsticked
                                  mouths teetered by on their way to the silk store. “Native Tarts,” said George in answer
                                  to my enquiry.

                                  Several women have called on me and when I say ‘called’ I mean called. I have
                                  grown so used to going without stockings and wearing home made dresses that it was
                                  quite a shock to me to entertain these ladies dressed to the nines in smart frocks, silk
                                  stockings and high heeled shoes, handbags, makeup and whatnot. I feel like some
                                  female Rip van Winkle. Most of the women have a smart line in conversation and their
                                  talk and views on life would make your nice straight hair curl Mummy. They make me feel
                                  very unsophisticated and dowdy but George says he has a weakness for such types
                                  and I am to stay exactly as I am. I still do not use any makeup. George says ‘It’s all right
                                  for them. They need it poor things, you don’t.” Which, though flattering, is hardly true.
                                  I prefer the men visitors, though they also are quite unlike what I had expected
                                  diggers to be. Those whom George brings home are all well educated and well
                                  groomed and I enjoy listening to their discussion of the world situation, sport and books.
                                  They are extremely polite to me and gentle with the children though I believe that after a
                                  few drinks at the pub tempers often run high. There were great arguments on the night
                                  following the abdication of Edward VIII. Not that the diggers were particularly attached to
                                  him as a person, but these men are all great individualists and believe in freedom of
                                  choice. George, rather to my surprise, strongly supported Edward. I did not.

                                  Many of the diggers have wireless sets and so we keep up to date with the
                                  news. I seldom leave camp. I have my hands full with the three children during the day
                                  and, even though Janey is a reliable ayah, I would not care to leave the children at night
                                  in these grass roofed huts. Having experienced that fire on the farm, I know just how
                                  unlikely it would be that the children would be rescued in time in case of fire. The other
                                  women on the diggings think I’m crazy. They leave their children almost entirely to ayahs
                                  and I must confess that the children I have seen look very well and happy. The thing is
                                  that I simply would not enjoy parties at the hotel or club, miles away from the children
                                  and I much prefer to stay at home with a book.

                                  I love hearing all about the parties from George who likes an occasional ‘boose
                                  up’ with the boys and is terribly popular with everyone – not only the British but with the
                                  Germans, Scandinavians and even the Afrikaans types. One Afrikaans woman said “Jou
                                  man is ‘n man, al is hy ‘n Engelsman.” Another more sophisticated woman said, “George
                                  is a handsome devil. Aren’t you scared to let him run around on his own?” – but I’m not. I
                                  usually wait up for George with sandwiches and something hot to drink and that way I
                                  get all the news red hot.

                                  There is very little gold coming in. The rains have just started and digging is
                                  temporarily at a standstill. It is too wet for dry blowing and not yet enough water for
                                  panning and sluicing. As this camp is some considerable distance from the claims, all I see of the process is the weighing of the daily taking of gold dust and tiny nuggets.
                                  Unless our luck changes I do not think we will stay on here after John Molteno returns.
                                  George does not care for the life and prefers a more constructive occupation.
                                  Ann and young George still search optimistically for gold. We were all saddened
                                  last week by the death of Fanny, our bull terrier. She went down to the shopping centre
                                  with us and we were standing on the verandah of a store when a lorry passed with its
                                  canvas cover flapping. This excited Fanny who rushed out into the street and the back
                                  wheel of the lorry passed right over her, killing her instantly. Ann was very shocked so I
                                  soothed her by telling her that Fanny had gone to Heaven. When I went to bed that
                                  night I found Ann still awake and she asked anxiously, “Mummy, do you think God
                                  remembered to give Fanny her bone tonight?”

                                  Much love to all,

                                  Itewe, Chunya 23rd December 1936

                                  Dearest Family,

                                  Your Christmas parcel arrived this morning. Thank you very much for all the
                                  clothing for all of us and for the lovely toys for the children. George means to go hunting
                                  for a young buffalo this afternoon so that we will have some fresh beef for Christmas for
                                  ourselves and our boys and enough for friends too.

                                  I had a fright this morning. Ann and Georgie were, as usual, searching for gold
                                  whilst I sat sewing in the living room with Kate toddling around. She wandered through
                                  the curtained doorway into the store and I heard her playing with the paraffin pump. At
                                  first it did not bother me because I knew the tin was empty but after ten minutes or so I
                                  became irritated by the noise and went to stop her. Imagine my horror when I drew the
                                  curtain aside and saw my fat little toddler fiddling happily with the pump whilst, curled up
                                  behind the tin and clearly visible to me lay the largest puffadder I have ever seen.
                                  Luckily I acted instinctively and scooped Kate up from behind and darted back into the
                                  living room without disturbing the snake. The houseboy and cook rushed in with sticks
                                  and killed the snake and then turned the whole storeroom upside down to make sure
                                  there were no more.

                                  I have met some more picturesque characters since I last wrote. One is a man
                                  called Bishop whom George has known for many years having first met him in the
                                  Congo. I believe he was originally a sailor but for many years he has wandered around
                                  Central Africa trying his hand at trading, prospecting, a bit of elephant hunting and ivory
                                  poaching. He is now keeping himself by doing ‘Sign Writing”. Bish is a gentle and
                                  dignified personality. When we visited his camp he carefully dusted a seat for me and
                                  called me ‘Marm’, quite ye olde world. The only thing is he did spit.

                                  Another spitter is the Frenchman in a neighbouring camp. He is in bed with bad
                                  rheumatism and George has been going across twice a day to help him and cheer him
                                  up. Once when George was out on the claim I went across to the Frenchman’s camp in
                                  response to an SOS, but I think he was just lonely. He showed me snapshots of his
                                  two daughters, lovely girls and extremely smart, and he chatted away telling me his life
                                  history. He punctuated his remarks by spitting to right and left of the bed, everywhere in
                                  fact, except actually at me.

                                  George took me and the children to visit a couple called Bert and Hilda Farham.
                                  They have a small gold reef which is worked by a very ‘Heath Robinson’ type of
                                  machinery designed and erected by Bert who is reputed to be a clever engineer though
                                  eccentric. He is rather a handsome man who always looks very spruce and neat and
                                  wears a Captain Kettle beard. Hilda is from Johannesburg and quite a character. She
                                  has a most generous figure and literally masses of beetroot red hair, but she also has a
                                  warm deep voice and a most generous disposition. The Farhams have built
                                  themselves a more permanent camp than most. They have a brick cottage with proper
                                  doors and windows and have made it attractive with furniture contrived from petrol
                                  boxes. They have no children but Hilda lavishes a great deal of affection on a pet
                                  monkey. Sometimes they do quite well out of their gold and then they have a terrific
                                  celebration at the Club or Pub and Hilda has an orgy of shopping. At other times they
                                  are completely broke but Hilda takes disasters as well as triumphs all in her stride. She
                                  says, “My dear, when we’re broke we just live on tea and cigarettes.”

                                  I have met a young woman whom I would like as a friend. She has a dear little
                                  baby, but unfortunately she has a very wet husband who is also a dreadful bore. I can’t
                                  imagine George taking me to their camp very often. When they came to visit us George
                                  just sat and smoked and said,”Oh really?” to any remark this man made until I felt quite
                                  hysterical. George looks very young and fit and the children are lively and well too. I ,
                                  however, am definitely showing signs of wear and tear though George says,
                                  “Nonsense, to me you look the same as you always did.” This I may say, I do not
                                  regard as a compliment to the young Eleanor.

                                  Anyway, even though our future looks somewhat unsettled, we are all together
                                  and very happy.

                                  With love,

                                  Itewe, Chunya 30th December 1936

                                  Dearest Family,

                                  We had a very cheery Christmas. The children loved the toys and are so proud
                                  of their new clothes. They wore them when we went to Christmas lunch to the
                                  Cresswell-Georges. The C-Gs have been doing pretty well lately and they have a
                                  comfortable brick house and a large wireless set. The living room was gaily decorated
                                  with bought garlands and streamers and balloons. We had an excellent lunch cooked by
                                  our ex cook Abel who now works for the Cresswell-Georges. We had turkey with
                                  trimmings and plum pudding followed by nuts and raisons and chocolates and sweets
                                  galore. There was also a large variety of drinks including champagne!

                                  There were presents for all of us and, in addition, Georgie and Ann each got a
                                  large tin of chocolates. Kate was much admired. She was a picture in her new party frock
                                  with her bright hair and rosy cheeks. There were other guests beside ourselves and
                                  they were already there having drinks when we arrived. Someone said “What a lovely
                                  child!” “Yes” said George with pride, “She’s a Marie Stopes baby.” “Truby King!” said I
                                  quickly and firmly, but too late to stop the roar of laughter.

                                  Our children played amicably with the C-G’s three, but young George was
                                  unusually quiet and surprised me by bringing me his unopened tin of chocolates to keep
                                  for him. Normally he is a glutton for sweets. I might have guessed he was sickening for
                                  something. That night he vomited and had diarrhoea and has had an upset tummy and a
                                  slight temperature ever since.

                                  Janey is also ill. She says she has malaria and has taken to her bed. I am dosing
                                  her with quinine and hope she will soon be better as I badly need her help. Not only is
                                  young George off his food and peevish but Kate has a cold and Ann sore eyes and
                                  they all want love and attention. To complicate things it has been raining heavily and I
                                  must entertain the children indoors.


                                  Itewe, Chunya 19th January 1937

                                  Dearest Family,

                                  So sorry I have not written before but we have been in the wars and I have had neither
                                  the time nor the heart to write. However the worst is now over. Young George and
                                  Janey are both recovering from Typhoid Fever. The doctor had Janey moved to the
                                  native hospital at Chunya but I nursed young George here in the camp.

                                  As I told you young George’s tummy trouble started on Christmas day. At first I
                                  thought it was only a protracted bilious attack due to eating too much unaccustomed rich
                                  food and treated him accordingly but when his temperature persisted I thought that the
                                  trouble might be malaria and kept him in bed and increased the daily dose of quinine.
                                  He ate less and less as the days passed and on New Years Day he seemed very
                                  weak and his stomach tender to the touch.

                                  George fetched the doctor who examined small George and said he had a very
                                  large liver due no doubt to malaria. He gave the child injections of emertine and quinine
                                  and told me to give young George frequent and copious drinks of water and bi-carb of
                                  soda. This was more easily said than done. Young George refused to drink this mixture
                                  and vomited up the lime juice and water the doctor had suggested as an alternative.
                                  The doctor called every day and gave George further injections and advised me
                                  to give him frequent sips of water from a spoon. After three days the child was very
                                  weak and weepy but Dr Spiers still thought he had malaria. During those anxious days I
                                  also worried about Janey who appeared to be getting worse rather that better and on
                                  January the 3rd I asked the doctor to look at her. The next thing I knew, the doctor had
                                  put Janey in his car and driven her off to hospital. When he called next morning he
                                  looked very grave and said he wished to talk to my husband. I said that George was out
                                  on the claim but if what he wished to say concerned young George’s condition he might
                                  just as well tell me.

                                  With a good deal of reluctance Dr Spiers then told me that Janey showed all the
                                  symptoms of Typhoid Fever and that he was very much afraid that young George had
                                  contracted it from her. He added that George should be taken to the Mbeya Hospital
                                  where he could have the professional nursing so necessary in typhoid cases. I said “Oh
                                  no,I’d never allow that. The child had never been away from his family before and it
                                  would frighten him to death to be sick and alone amongst strangers.” Also I was sure that
                                  the fifty mile drive over the mountains in his weak condition would harm him more than
                                  my amateur nursing would. The doctor returned to the camp that afternoon to urge
                                  George to send our son to hospital but George staunchly supported my argument that
                                  young George would stand a much better chance of recovery if we nursed him at home.
                                  I must say Dr Spiers took our refusal very well and gave young George every attention
                                  coming twice a day to see him.

                                  For some days the child was very ill. He could not keep down any food or liquid
                                  in any quantity so all day long, and when he woke at night, I gave him a few drops of
                                  water at a time from a teaspoon. His only nourishment came from sucking Macintosh’s
                                  toffees. Young George sweated copiously especially at night when it was difficult to
                                  change his clothes and sponge him in the draughty room with the rain teeming down
                                  outside. I think I told you that the bedroom is a sort of shed with only openings in the wall
                                  for windows and doors, and with one wall built only a couple of feet high leaving a six
                                  foot gap for air and light. The roof leaked and the damp air blew in but somehow young
                                  George pulled through.

                                  Only when he was really on the mend did the doctor tell us that whilst he had
                                  been attending George, he had also been called in to attend to another little boy of the same age who also had typhoid. He had been called in too late and the other little boy,
                                  an only child, had died. Young George, thank God, is convalescent now, though still on a
                                  milk diet. He is cheerful enough when he has company but very peevish when left
                                  alone. Poor little lad, he is all hair, eyes, and teeth, or as Ann says” Georgie is all ribs ribs
                                  now-a-days Mummy.” He shares my room, Ann and Kate are together in the little room.
                                  Anyway the doctor says he should be up and around in about a week or ten days time.
                                  We were all inoculated against typhoid on the day the doctor made the diagnosis
                                  so it is unlikely that any of us will develop it. Dr Spiers was most impressed by Ann’s
                                  unconcern when she was inoculated. She looks gentle and timid but has always been
                                  very brave. Funny thing when young George was very ill he used to wail if I left the
                                  room, but now that he is convalescent he greatly prefers his dad’s company. So now I
                                  have been able to take the girls for walks in the late afternoons whilst big George
                                  entertains small George. This he does with the minimum of effort, either he gets out
                                  cartons of ammunition with which young George builds endless forts, or else he just sits
                                  beside the bed and cleans one of his guns whilst small George watches with absorbed

                                  The Doctor tells us that Janey is also now convalescent. He says that exhusband
                                  Abel has been most attentive and appeared daily at the hospital with a tray of
                                  food that made his, the doctor’s, mouth water. All I dare say, pinched from Mrs

                                  I’ll write again soon. Lots of love to all,

                                  Chunya 29th January 1937

                                  Dearest Family,

                                  Georgie is up and about but still tires very easily. At first his legs were so weak
                                  that George used to carry him around on his shoulders. The doctor says that what the
                                  child really needs is a long holiday out of the Tropics so that Mrs Thomas’ offer, to pay all
                                  our fares to Cape Town as well as lending us her seaside cottage for a month, came as
                                  a Godsend. Luckily my passport is in order. When George was in Mbeya he booked
                                  seats for the children and me on the first available plane. We will fly to Broken Hill and go
                                  on to Cape Town from there by train.

                                  Ann and George are wildly thrilled at the idea of flying but I am not. I remember
                                  only too well how airsick I was on the old Hannibal when I flew home with the baby Ann.
                                  I am longing to see you all and it will be heaven to give the children their first seaside

                                  I mean to return with Kate after three months but, if you will have him, I shall leave
                                  George behind with you for a year. You said you would all be delighted to have Ann so
                                  I do hope you will also be happy to have young George. Together they are no trouble
                                  at all. They amuse themselves and are very independent and loveable.
                                  George and I have discussed the matter taking into consideration the letters from
                                  you and George’s Mother on the subject. If you keep Ann and George for a year, my
                                  mother-in-law will go to Cape Town next year and fetch them. They will live in England
                                  with her until they are fit enough to return to the Tropics. After the children and I have left
                                  on this holiday, George will be able to move around and look for a job that will pay
                                  sufficiently to enable us to go to England in a few years time to fetch our children home.
                                  We both feel very sad at the prospect of this parting but the children’s health
                                  comes before any other consideration. I hope Kate will stand up better to the Tropics.
                                  She is plump and rosy and could not look more bonny if she lived in a temperate

                                  We should be with you in three weeks time!

                                  Very much love,

                                  Broken Hill, N Rhodesia 11th February 1937

                                  Dearest Family,

                                  Well here we are safe and sound at the Great Northern Hotel, Broken Hill, all
                                  ready to board the South bound train tonight.

                                  We were still on the diggings on Ann’s birthday, February 8th, when George had
                                  a letter from Mbeya to say that our seats were booked on the plane leaving Mbeya on
                                  the 10th! What a rush we had packing up. Ann was in bed with malaria so we just
                                  bundled her up in blankets and set out in John Molteno’s car for the farm. We arrived that
                                  night and spent the next day on the farm sorting things out. Ann and George wanted to
                                  take so many of their treasures and it was difficult for them to make a small selection. In
                                  the end young George’s most treasured possession, his sturdy little boots, were left

                                  Before leaving home on the morning of the tenth I took some snaps of Ann and
                                  young George in the garden and one of them with their father. He looked so sad. After
                                  putting us on the plane, George planned to go to the fishing camp for a day or two
                                  before returning to the empty house on the farm.

                                  John Molteno returned from the Cape by plane just before we took off, so he
                                  will take over the running of his claims once more. I told John that I dreaded the plane trip
                                  on account of air sickness so he gave me two pills which I took then and there. Oh dear!
                                  How I wished later that I had not done so. We had an extremely bumpy trip and
                                  everyone on the plane was sick except for small George who loved every moment.
                                  Poor Ann had a dreadful time but coped very well and never complained. I did not
                                  actually puke until shortly before we landed at Broken Hill but felt dreadfully ill all the way.
                                  Kate remained rosy and cheerful almost to the end. She sat on my lap throughout the
                                  trip because, being under age, she travelled as baggage and was not entitled to a seat.
                                  Shortly before we reached Broken Hill a smartly dressed youngish man came up
                                  to me and said, “You look so poorly, please let me take the baby, I have children of my
                                  own and know how to handle them.” Kate made no protest and off they went to the
                                  back of the plane whilst I tried to relax and concentrate on not getting sick. However,
                                  within five minutes the man was back. Kate had been thoroughly sick all over his collar
                                  and jacket.

                                  I took Kate back on my lap and then was violently sick myself, so much so that
                                  when we touched down at Broken Hill I was unable to speak to the Immigration Officer.
                                  He was so kind. He sat beside me until I got my diaphragm under control and then
                                  drove me up to the hotel in his own car.

                                  We soon recovered of course and ate a hearty dinner. This morning after
                                  breakfast I sallied out to look for a Bank where I could exchange some money into
                                  Rhodesian and South African currency and for the Post Office so that I could telegraph
                                  to George and to you. What a picnic that trip was! It was a terribly hot day and there was
                                  no shade. By the time we had done our chores, the children were hot, and cross, and
                                  tired and so indeed was I. As I had no push chair for Kate I had to carry her and she is
                                  pretty heavy for eighteen months. George, who is still not strong, clung to my free arm
                                  whilst Ann complained bitterly that no one was helping her.

                                  Eventually Ann simply sat down on the pavement and declared that she could
                                  not go another step, whereupon George of course decided that he also had reached his
                                  limit and sat down too. Neither pleading no threats would move them so I had to resort
                                  to bribery and had to promise that when we reached the hotel they could have cool
                                  drinks and ice-cream. This promise got the children moving once more but I am determined that nothing will induce me to stir again until the taxi arrives to take us to the

                                  This letter will go by air and will reach you before we do. How I am longing for
                                  journeys end.

                                  With love to you all,

                                  Leaving home 10th February 1937,  George Gilman Rushby with Ann and Georgie (Mike) Rushby:

                                  George Rushby Ann and Georgie

                                  We had a very warm welcome to the family home at Plumstead Cape Town.
                                  After ten days with my family we moved to Hout Bay where Mrs Thomas lent us her
                                  delightful seaside cottage. She also provided us with two excellent maids so I had
                                  nothing to do but rest and play on the beach with the children.

                                  After a month at the sea George had fully recovered his health though not his
                                  former gay spirits. After another six months with my parents I set off for home with Kate,
                                  leaving Ann and George in my parent’s home under the care of my elder sister,

                                  One or two incidents during that visit remain clearly in my memory. Our children
                                  had never met elderly people and were astonished at the manifestations of age. One
                                  morning an elderly lady came around to collect church dues. She was thin and stooped
                                  and Ann surveyed her with awe. She turned to me with a puzzled expression and
                                  asked in her clear voice, “Mummy, why has that old lady got a moustache – oh and a
                                  beard?’ The old lady in question was very annoyed indeed and said, “What a rude little
                                  girl.” Ann could not understand this, she said, “But Mummy, I only said she had a
                                  moustache and a beard and she has.” So I explained as best I could that when people
                                  have defects of this kind they are hurt if anyone mentions them.

                                  A few days later a strange young woman came to tea. I had been told that she
                                  had a most disfiguring birthmark on her cheek and warned Ann that she must not
                                  comment on it. Alas! with the kindest intentions Ann once again caused me acute
                                  embarrassment. The young woman was hardly seated when Ann went up to her and
                                  gently patted the disfiguring mark saying sweetly, “Oh, I do like this horrible mark on your

                                  I remember also the afternoon when Kate and George were christened. My
                                  mother had given George a white silk shirt for the occasion and he wore it with intense
                                  pride. Kate was baptised first without incident except that she was lost in admiration of a
                                  gold bracelet given her that day by her Godmother and exclaimed happily, “My
                                  bangle, look my bangle,” throughout the ceremony. When George’s turn came the
                                  clergyman held his head over the font and poured water on George’s forehead. Some
                                  splashed on his shirt and George protested angrily, “Mum, he has wet my shirt!” over
                                  and over again whilst I led him hurriedly outside.

                                  My last memory of all is at the railway station. The time had come for Kate and
                                  me to get into our compartment. My sisters stood on the platform with Ann and George.
                                  Ann was resigned to our going, George was not so, at the last moment Sylvia, my
                                  younger sister, took him off to see the engine. The whistle blew and I said good-bye to
                                  my gallant little Ann. “Mummy”, she said urgently to me, “Don’t forget to wave to

                                  And so I waved good-bye to my children, never dreaming that a war would
                                  intervene and it would be eight long years before I saw them again.


                                    From Tanganyika with Love

                                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love my dear,
                                    your jubilant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Bless you all,

                                    S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Eleanor Leslie.

                                    Eleanor and George Rushby:

                                    Eleanor and George Rushby

                                    Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Your cave woman

                                    Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love to you all,

                                    Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Your loving

                                    Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Very much love,

                                    Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    26th December 1930

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

                                    I went across to our house in the car this morning. George usually walks across to
                                    save petrol which is very expensive here. He takes a short cut and wades through the
                                    river. The distance by road is very much longer than the short cut. The men are now
                                    thatching the roof of our cottage and it looks charming. It consists of a very large living
                                    room-dinning room with a large inglenook fireplace at one end. The bedroom is a large
                                    square room with a smaller verandah room adjoining it. There is a wide verandah in the
                                    front, from which one has a glorious view over a wide valley to the Livingstone
                                    Mountains on the horizon. Bathroom and storeroom are on the back verandah and the
                                    kitchen is some distance behind the house to minimise the risk of fire.

                                    You can imagine how much I am looking forward to moving in. We have some
                                    furniture which was made by an Indian carpenter at Iringa, refrectory dining table and
                                    chairs, some small tables and two armchairs and two cupboards and a meatsafe. Other
                                    things like bookshelves and extra cupboards we will have to make ourselves. George
                                    has also bought a portable gramophone and records which will be a boon.
                                    We also have an Irish wolfhound puppy, a skinny little chap with enormous feet
                                    who keeps me company all day whilst George is across at our farm working on the

                                    Lots and lots of love,

                                    Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

                                    Dearest Family,

                                    Alas, I have lost my little companion. The Doctor called in here on Boxing night
                                    and ran over and killed Paddy, our pup. It was not his fault but I was very distressed
                                    about it and George has promised to try and get another pup from the same litter.
                                    The Hickson-Woods returned home on the 29th December so we decided to
                                    move across to our nearly finished house on the 1st January. Hicky Wood decided that
                                    we needed something special to mark the occasion so he went off and killed a sucking
                                    pig behind the kitchen. The piglet’s screams were terrible and I felt that I would not be
                                    able to touch any dinner. Lamek cooked and served sucking pig up in the traditional way
                                    but it was high and quite literally, it stank. Our first meal in our own home was not a

                                    However next day all was forgotten and I had something useful to do. George
                                    hung doors and I held the tools and I also planted rose cuttings I had brought from
                                    Mbeya and sowed several boxes with seeds.

                                    Dad asked me about the other farms in the area. I haven’t visited any but there
                                    are five besides ours. One belongs to the Lutheran Mission at Utengule, a few miles
                                    from here. The others all belong to British owners. Nearest to Mbeya, at the foot of a
                                    very high peak which gives Mbeya its name, are two farms, one belonging to a South
                                    African mining engineer named Griffiths, the other to I.G.Stewart who was an officer in the
                                    Kings African Rifles. Stewart has a young woman called Queenie living with him. We are
                                    some miles further along the range of hills and are some 23 miles from Mbeya by road.
                                    The Mchewe River divides our land from the Hickson-Woods and beyond their farm is
                                    Major Jones.

                                    All these people have been away from their farms for some time but have now
                                    returned so we will have some neighbours in future. However although the houses are
                                    not far apart as the crow flies, they are all built high in the foothills and it is impossible to
                                    connect the houses because of the rivers and gorges in between. One has to drive right
                                    down to the main road and then up again so I do not suppose we will go visiting very
                                    often as the roads are very bumpy and eroded and petrol is so expensive that we all
                                    save it for occasional trips to Mbeya.

                                    The rains are on and George has started to plant out some coffee seedlings. The
                                    rains here are strange. One can hear the rain coming as it moves like a curtain along the
                                    range of hills. It comes suddenly, pours for a little while and passes on and the sun
                                    shines again.

                                    I do like it here and I wish you could see or dear little home.

                                    Your loving,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

                                    Dearest Family,

                                    Everything is now running very smoothly in our home. Lamek continues to
                                    produce palatable meals and makes wonderful bread which he bakes in a four gallon
                                    petrol tin as we have no stove yet. He puts wood coals on the brick floor of the kitchen,
                                    lays the tin lengh-wise on the coals and heaps more on top. The bread tins are then put
                                    in the petrol tin, which has one end cut away, and the open end is covered by a flat
                                    piece of tin held in place by a brick. Cakes are also backed in this make-shift oven and I
                                    have never known Lamek to have a failure yet.

                                    Lamek has a helper, known as the ‘mpishi boy’ , who does most of the hard
                                    work, cleans pots and pans and chops the firewood etc. Another of the mpishi boy’s
                                    chores is to kill the two chickens we eat each day. The chickens run wild during the day
                                    but are herded into a small chicken house at night. One of the kitchen boy’s first duties is
                                    to let the chickens out first thing in the early morning. Some time after breakfast it dawns
                                    on Lamek that he will need a chicken for lunch. he informs the kitchen boy who selects a
                                    chicken and starts to chase it in which he is enthusiastically joined by our new Irish
                                    wolfhound pup, Kelly. Together they race after the frantic fowl, over the flower beds and
                                    around the house until finally the chicken collapses from sheer exhaustion. The kitchen
                                    boy then hands it over to Lamek who murders it with the kitchen knife and then pops the
                                    corpse into boiling water so the feathers can be stripped off with ease.

                                    I pointed out in vain, that it would be far simpler if the doomed chickens were kept
                                    in the chicken house in the mornings when the others were let out and also that the correct
                                    way to pluck chickens is when they are dry. Lamek just smiled kindly and said that that
                                    may be so in Europe but that his way is the African way and none of his previous
                                    Memsahibs has complained.

                                    My houseboy, named James, is clean and capable in the house and also a
                                    good ‘dhobi’ or washboy. He takes the washing down to the river and probably
                                    pounds it with stones, but I prefer not to look. The ironing is done with a charcoal iron
                                    only we have no charcoal and he uses bits of wood from the kitchen fire but so far there
                                    has not been a mishap.

                                    It gets dark here soon after sunset and then George lights the oil lamps and we
                                    have tea and toast in front of the log fire which burns brightly in our inglenook. This is my
                                    favourite hour of the day. Later George goes for his bath. I have mine in the mornings
                                    and we have dinner at half past eight. Then we talk a bit and read a bit and sometimes
                                    play the gramophone. I expect it all sounds pretty unexciting but it doesn’t seem so to

                                    Very much love,

                                    Mchewe Estate 20th April 1931

                                    Dearest Family,

                                    It is still raining here and the countryside looks very lush and green, very different
                                    from the Mbeya district I first knew, when plains and hills were covered in long brown
                                    grass – very course stuff that grows shoulder high.

                                    Most of the labourers are hill men and one can see little patches of cultivation in
                                    the hills. Others live in small villages near by, each consisting of a cluster of thatched huts
                                    and a few maize fields and perhaps a patch of bananas. We do not have labour lines on
                                    the farm because our men all live within easy walking distance. Each worker has a labour
                                    card with thirty little squares on it. One of these squares is crossed off for each days work
                                    and when all thirty are marked in this way the labourer draws his pay and hies himself off
                                    to the nearest small store and blows the lot. The card system is necessary because
                                    these Africans are by no means slaves to work. They work only when they feel like it or
                                    when someone in the family requires a new garment, or when they need a few shillings
                                    to pay their annual tax. Their fields, chickens and goats provide them with the food they
                                    need but they draw rations of maize meal beans and salt. Only our headman is on a
                                    salary. His name is Thomas and he looks exactly like the statues of Julius Caesar, the
                                    same bald head and muscular neck and sardonic expression. He comes from Northern
                                    Rhodesia and is more intelligent than the locals.

                                    We still live mainly on chickens. We have a boy whose job it is to scour the
                                    countryside for reasonable fat ones. His name is Lucas and he is quite a character. He
                                    has such long horse teeth that he does not seem able to close his mouth and wears a
                                    perpetual amiable smile. He brings his chickens in beehive shaped wicker baskets
                                    which are suspended on a pole which Lucas carries on his shoulder.

                                    We buy our groceries in bulk from Mbeya, our vegetables come from our
                                    garden by the river and our butter from Kath Wood. Our fresh milk we buy from the
                                    natives. It is brought each morning by three little totos each carrying one bottle on his
                                    shaven head. Did I tell you that the local Wasafwa file their teeth to points. These kids
                                    grin at one with their little sharks teeth – quite an “all-ready-to-eat-you-with-my-dear” look.
                                    A few nights ago a message arrived from Kath Wood to say that Queenie
                                    Stewart was very ill and would George drive her across to the Doctor at Tukuyu. I
                                    wanted George to wait until morning because it was pouring with rain, and the mountain
                                    road to Tukuyu is tricky even in dry weather, but he said it is dangerous to delay with any
                                    kind of fever in Africa and he would have to start at once. So off he drove in the rain and I
                                    did not see him again until the following night.

                                    George said that it had been a nightmare trip. Queenie had a high temperature
                                    and it was lucky that Kath was able to go to attend to her. George needed all his
                                    attention on the road which was officially closed to traffic, and very slippery, and in some
                                    places badly eroded. In some places the decking of bridges had been removed and
                                    George had to get out in the rain and replace it. As he had nothing with which to fasten
                                    the decking to the runners it was a dangerous undertaking to cross the bridges especially
                                    as the rivers are now in flood and flowing strongly. However they reached Tukuyu safely
                                    and it was just as well they went because the Doctor diagnosed Queenies illness as
                                    Spirillium Tick Fever which is a very nasty illness indeed.


                                    Mchewe Estate. 20th May 1931

                                    Dear Family,

                                    I’m feeling fit and very happy though a bit lonely sometimes because George
                                    spends much of his time away in the hills cutting a furrow miles long to bring water to the
                                    house and to the upper part of the shamba so that he will be able to irrigate the coffee
                                    during the dry season.

                                    It will be quite an engineering feat when it is done as George only has makeshift
                                    surveying instruments. He has mounted an ordinary cheap spirit level on an old camera
                                    tripod and has tacked two gramophone needles into the spirit level to give him a line.
                                    The other day part of a bank gave way and practically buried two of George’s labourers
                                    but they were quickly rescued and no harm was done. However he will not let them
                                    work unless he is there to supervise.

                                    I keep busy so that the days pass quickly enough. I am delighted with the
                                    material you sent me for curtains and loose covers and have hired a hand sewing
                                    machine from Pedro-of-the-overcoat and am rattling away all day. The machine is an
                                    ancient German one and when I say rattle, I mean rattle. It is a most cumbersome, heavy
                                    affair of I should say, the same vintage as