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      Isaac Stokes 1804-1877


      Isaac was born in Churchill, Oxfordshire in 1804, and was the youngest brother of my 4X great grandfather Thomas Stokes. The Stokes family were stone masons for generations in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, and Isaac’s occupation was a mason’s labourer in 1834 when he was sentenced at the Lent Assizes in Oxford to fourteen years transportation for stealing tools.

      Churchill where the Stokes stonemasons came from: on 31 July 1684 a fire destroyed 20 houses and many other buildings, and killed four people. The village was rebuilt higher up the hill, with stone houses instead of the old timber-framed and thatched cottages. The fire was apparently caused by a baker who, to avoid chimney tax, had knocked through the wall from her oven to her neighbour’s chimney.

      Isaac stole a pick axe, the value of 2 shillings and the property of Thomas Joyner of Churchill; a kibbeaux and a trowel value 3 shillings the property of Thomas Symms; a hammer and axe value 5 shillings, property of John Keen of Sarsden.

      (The word kibbeaux seems to only exists in relation to Isaac Stokes sentence and whoever was the first to write it was perhaps being creative with the spelling of a kibbo, a miners or a metal bucket. This spelling is repeated in the criminal reports and the newspaper articles about Isaac, but nowhere else).

      In March 1834 the Removal of Convicts was announced in the Oxford University and City Herald: Isaac Stokes and several other prisoners were removed from the Oxford county gaol to the Justitia hulk at Woolwich “persuant to their sentences of transportation at our Lent Assizes”.

      via digitalpanopticon:

      Hulks were decommissioned (and often unseaworthy) ships that were moored in rivers and estuaries and refitted to become floating prisons. The outbreak of war in America in 1775 meant that it was no longer possible to transport British convicts there. Transportation as a form of punishment had started in the late seventeenth century, and following the Transportation Act of 1718, some 44,000 British convicts were sent to the American colonies. The end of this punishment presented a major problem for the authorities in London, since in the decade before 1775, two-thirds of convicts at the Old Bailey received a sentence of transportation – on average 283 convicts a year. As a result, London’s prisons quickly filled to overflowing with convicted prisoners who were sentenced to transportation but had no place to go.

      To increase London’s prison capacity, in 1776 Parliament passed the “Hulks Act” (16 Geo III, c.43). Although overseen by local justices of the peace, the hulks were to be directly managed and maintained by private contractors. The first contract to run a hulk was awarded to Duncan Campbell, a former transportation contractor. In August 1776, the Justicia, a former transportation ship moored in the River Thames, became the first prison hulk. This ship soon became full and Campbell quickly introduced a number of other hulks in London; by 1778 the fleet of hulks on the Thames held 510 prisoners.
      Demand was so great that new hulks were introduced across the country. There were hulks located at Deptford, Chatham, Woolwich, Gosport, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheerness and Cork.

      The Justitia via rmg collections:

      JustitiaConvicts perform hard labour at the Woolwich Warren. The hulk on the river is the ‘Justitia’. Prisoners were kept on board such ships for months awaiting deportation to Australia. The ‘Justitia’ was a 260 ton prison hulk that had been originally moored in the Thames when the American War of Independence put a stop to the transportation of criminals to the former colonies. The ‘Justitia’ belonged to the shipowner Duncan Campbell, who was the Government contractor who organized the prison-hulk system at that time. Campbell was subsequently involved in the shipping of convicts to the penal colony at Botany Bay (in fact Port Jackson, later Sydney, just to the north) in New South Wales, the ‘first fleet’ going out in 1788.


      While searching for records for Isaac Stokes I discovered that another Isaac Stokes was transported to New South Wales in 1835 as well. The other one was a butcher born in 1809, sentenced in London for seven years, and he sailed on the Mary Ann. Our Isaac Stokes sailed on the Lady Nugent, arriving in NSW in April 1835, having set sail from England in December 1834.

      Lady Nugent was built at Bombay in 1813. She made four voyages under contract to the British East India Company (EIC). She then made two voyages transporting convicts to Australia, one to New South Wales and one to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). (via Wikipedia)

      via freesettlerorfelon website:

      On 20 November 1834, 100 male convicts were transferred to the Lady Nugent from the Justitia Hulk and 60 from the Ganymede Hulk at Woolwich, all in apparent good health. The Lady Nugent departed Sheerness on 4 December 1834.


      Oliver Sproule kept a Medical Journal from 7 November 1834 to 27 April 1835. He recorded in his journal the weather conditions they experienced in the first two weeks:

      ‘In the course of the first week or ten days at sea, there were eight or nine on the sick list with catarrhal affections and one with dropsy which I attribute to the cold and wet we experienced during that period beating down channel. Indeed the foremost berths in the prison at this time were so wet from leaking in that part of the ship, that I was obliged to issue dry beds and bedding to a great many of the prisoners to preserve their health, but after crossing the Bay of Biscay the weather became fine and we got the damp beds and blankets dried, the leaks partially stopped and the prison well aired and ventilated which, I am happy to say soon manifested a favourable change in the health and appearance of the men.

      Besides the cases given in the journal I had a great many others to treat, some of them similar to those mentioned but the greater part consisted of boils, scalds, and contusions which would not only be too tedious to enter but I fear would be irksome to the reader. There were four births on board during the passage which did well, therefore I did not consider it necessary to give a detailed account of them in my journal the more especially as they were all favourable cases.

      Regularity and cleanliness in the prison, free ventilation and as far as possible dry decks turning all the prisoners up in fine weather as we were lucky enough to have two musicians amongst the convicts, dancing was tolerated every afternoon, strict attention to personal cleanliness and also to the cooking of their victuals with regular hours for their meals, were the only prophylactic means used on this occasion, which I found to answer my expectations to the utmost extent in as much as there was not a single case of contagious or infectious nature during the whole passage with the exception of a few cases of psora which soon yielded to the usual treatment. A few cases of scurvy however appeared on board at rather an early period which I can attribute to nothing else but the wet and hardships the prisoners endured during the first three or four weeks of the passage. I was prompt in my treatment of these cases and they got well, but before we arrived at Sydney I had about thirty others to treat.’

      The Lady Nugent arrived in Port Jackson on 9 April 1835 with 284 male prisoners. Two men had died at sea. The prisoners were landed on 27th April 1835 and marched to Hyde Park Barracks prior to being assigned. Ten were under the age of 14 years.

      The Lady Nugent:

      Lady Nugent


      Isaac’s distinguishing marks are noted on various criminal registers and record books:

      “Height in feet & inches: 5 4; Complexion: Ruddy; Hair: Light brown; Eyes: Hazel; Marks or Scars: Yes [including] DEVIL on lower left arm, TSIS back of left hand, WS lower right arm, MHDW back of right hand.”

      Another includes more detail about Isaac’s tattoos:

      “Two slight scars right side of mouth, 2 moles above right breast, figure of the devil and DEVIL and raised mole, lower left arm; anchor, seven dots half moon, TSIS and cross, back of left hand; a mallet, door post, A, mans bust, sun, WS, lower right arm; woman, MHDW and shut knife, back of right hand.”


      Lady Nugent record book


      From How tattoos became fashionable in Victorian England (2019 article in TheConversation by Robert Shoemaker and Zoe Alkar):

      “Historical tattooing was not restricted to sailors, soldiers and convicts, but was a growing and accepted phenomenon in Victorian England. Tattoos provide an important window into the lives of those who typically left no written records of their own. As a form of “history from below”, they give us a fleeting but intriguing understanding of the identities and emotions of ordinary people in the past.
      As a practice for which typically the only record is the body itself, few systematic records survive before the advent of photography. One exception to this is the written descriptions of tattoos (and even the occasional sketch) that were kept of institutionalised people forced to submit to the recording of information about their bodies as a means of identifying them. This particularly applies to three groups – criminal convicts, soldiers and sailors. Of these, the convict records are the most voluminous and systematic.
      Such records were first kept in large numbers for those who were transported to Australia from 1788 (since Australia was then an open prison) as the authorities needed some means of keeping track of them.”

      On the 1837 census Isaac was working for the government at Illiwarra, New South Wales. This record states that he arrived on the Lady Nugent in 1835. There are three other indent records for an Isaac Stokes in the following years, but the transcriptions don’t provide enough information to determine which Isaac Stokes it was. In April 1837 there was an abscondment, and an arrest/apprehension in May of that year, and in 1843 there was a record of convict indulgences.

      From the Australian government website regarding “convict indulgences”:

      “By the mid-1830s only six per cent of convicts were locked up. The vast majority worked for the government or free settlers and, with good behaviour, could earn a ticket of leave, conditional pardon or and even an absolute pardon. While under such orders convicts could earn their own living.”


      In 1856 in Camden, NSW, Isaac Stokes married Catherine Daly. With no further information on this record it would be impossible to know for sure if this was the right Isaac Stokes. This couple had six children, all in the Camden area, but none of the records provided enough information. No occupation or place or date of birth recorded for Isaac Stokes.

      I wrote to the National Library of Australia about the marriage record, and their reply was a surprise! Issac and Catherine were married on 30 September 1856, at the house of the Rev. Charles William Rigg, a Methodist minister, and it was recorded that Isaac was born in Edinburgh in 1821, to parents James Stokes and Sarah Ellis!  The age at the time of the marriage doesn’t match Isaac’s age at death in 1877, and clearly the place of birth and parents didn’t match either. Only his fathers occupation of stone mason was correct.  I wrote back to the helpful people at the library and they replied that the register was in a very poor condition and that only two and a half entries had survived at all, and that Isaac and Catherines marriage was recorded over two pages.

      I searched for an Isaac Stokes born in 1821 in Edinburgh on the Scotland government website (and on all the other genealogy records sites) and didn’t find it. In fact Stokes was a very uncommon name in Scotland at the time. I also searched Australian immigration and other records for another Isaac Stokes born in Scotland or born in 1821, and found nothing.  I was unable to find a single record to corroborate this mysterious other Isaac Stokes.

      As the age at death in 1877 was correct, I assume that either Isaac was lying, or that some mistake was made either on the register at the home of the Methodist minster, or a subsequent mistranscription or muddle on the remnants of the surviving register.  Therefore I remain convinced that the Camden stonemason Isaac Stokes was indeed our Isaac from Oxfordshire.


      I found a history society newsletter article that mentioned Isaac Stokes, stone mason, had built the Glenmore church, near Camden, in 1859.

      Glenmore Church


      From the Wollondilly museum April 2020 newsletter:

      Glenmore Church Stokes


      From the Camden History website:

      “The stone set over the porch of Glenmore Church gives the date of 1860. The church was begun in 1859 on land given by Joseph Moore. James Rogers of Picton was given the contract to build and local builder, Mr. Stokes, carried out the work. Elizabeth Moore, wife of Edward, laid the foundation stone. The first service was held on 19th March 1860. The cemetery alongside the church contains the headstones and memorials of the areas early pioneers.”


      Isaac died on the 3rd September 1877. The inquest report puts his place of death as Bagdelly, near to Camden, and another death register has put Cambelltown, also very close to Camden.  His age was recorded as 71 and the inquest report states his cause of death was “rupture of one of the large pulmonary vessels of the lung”.  His wife Catherine died in childbirth in 1870 at the age of 43.


      Isaac and Catherine’s children:

      William Stokes 1857-1928

      Catherine Stokes 1859-1846

      Sarah Josephine Stokes 1861-1931

      Ellen Stokes 1863-1932

      Rosanna Stokes 1865-1919

      Louisa Stokes 1868-1844.


      It’s possible that Catherine Daly was a transported convict from Ireland.


        The Tetbury Riots


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

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

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

        Marriage of Lewin Chandler and Hesther Lock in 1826:

        Daniel Cole witness


        from the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Contemporary illustration of the Swing riots:

        Swing Riots


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

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

        Captain Swing


          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.


            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.

            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.



              Ellastone and Mayfield
              Malkins and Woodwards
              Parish Registers


              Jane Woodward

              It’s exciting, as well as enormously frustrating, to see so many Woodward’s in the Ellastone parish registers, and even more so because they go back so far. There are parish registers surviving from the 1500’s: in one, dated 1579, the death of Thomas Woodward was recorded. His father’s name was Humfrey.

              Jane Woodward married Rowland Malkin in 1751, in Thorpe, Ashbourne. Jane was from Mathfield (also known as Mayfield), Ellastone, on the Staffordshire side of the river Dove. Rowland was from Clifton, Ashbourne, on the Derbyshire side of the river. They were neighbouring villages, but in different counties.

              Jane Woodward was born in 1726 according to the marriage transcription. No record of the baptism can be found for her, despite there having been at least four other Woodward couples in Ellastone and Mayfield baptizing babies in the 1720’s and 1730’s.  Without finding out the baptism with her parents names on the parish register, it’s impossible to know which is the correct line to follow back to the earlier records.

              I found a Mayfield history group on Facebook and asked if there were parish records existing that were not yet online. A member responded that she had a set on microfiche and had looked through the relevant years and didn’t see a Jane Woodward, but she did say that some of the pages were illegible.

              The Ellasone parish records from the 1500s surviving at all, considering the events in 1673, is remarkable. To be so close, but for one indecipherable page from the 1700s, to tracing the family back to the 1500s! The search for the connecting link to the earlier records continues.

              Some key events in the history of parish registers from familysearch:

              In medieval times there were no parish registers. For some years before the Reformation, monastic houses (especially the smaller ones) the parish priest had been developing the custom of noting in an album or on the margins of the service books, the births and deaths of the leading local families.
              1538 – Through the efforts of Thomas Cromwell a mandate was issued by Henry VIII to keep parish registers. This order that every parson, vicar or curate was to enter in a book every wedding, christening and burial in his parish. The parish was to provide a sure coffer with two locks, the parson having the custody of one key, the wardens the others. The entries were to be made each Sunday after the service in the presence of one of the wardens.
              1642-60 – During the Civil War registers were neglected and Bishop Transcripts were not required.
              1650 – In the restoration of Charles they went back to the church to keep christenings, marriages and burial. The civil records that were kept were filed in with the parish in their registers. it is quite usual to find entries explaining the situation during the Interregnum. One rector stated that on 23 April 1643 “Our church was defaced our font thrown down and new forms of prayer appointed”. Another minister not quite so bold wrote “When the war, more than a civil war was raging most grimly between royalists and parliamentarians throughout the greatest part of England, I lived well because I lay low”.
              1653 – Cromwell, whose army had defeated the Royalists, was made Lord Protector and acted as king. He was a Puritan. The parish church of England was disorganized, many ministers fled for their lives, some were able to hide their registers and other registers were destroyed. Cromwell ruled that there would be no one religion in England all religions could be practiced. The government took away from the ministers not only the custody of the registers, but even the solemnization of the marriage ceremony. The marriage ceremony was entrusted to the justices to form a new Parish Register (not Registrar) elected by all the ratepayers in a parish, and sworn before and approved by a magistrate.. Parish clerks of the church were made a civil parish clerk and they recorded deaths, births and marriages in the civil parishes.



              “Ellastone features as ‘Hayslope’ in George Eliot’s Adam Bede, published in 1859. It earned this recognition because the author’s father spent the early part of his life in the village working as a carpenter.”

              Adam Bede Cottage, Ellastone:

              Ellasone Adam Bede

              “It was at Ellastone that Robert Evans, George Eliot’s father, passed his early years and worked as a carpenter with his brother Samuel; and it was partly from reminiscences of her father’s talk and from her uncle Samuel’s wife’s preaching experiences that the author constructed the very powerful and moving story of Adam Bede.”


              Mary Malkin


              Ellen Carrington’s mother was Mary Malkin.






              Ashbourn the 31st day of May in the year of our Lord 1751.  The marriage of Rowland Malkin and Jane Woodward:

              Rowland Malkin marriage 1751


                From Tanganyika with Love

                continued part 9

                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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


                Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Mbeya 1st November 1946

                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                  From Tanganyika with Love

                  continued part 8

                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                  Morogoro 20th January 1941

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                  Morogoro 30th July 1941

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                  Morogoro 26th August 1941

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                  Morogoro 25th December 1941

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                  Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                  Morogoro 26th January 1944

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                  Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                  Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                  Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                  Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

                  Dearest Mummy,

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

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

                  Very much love,

                  Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                  Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love,



                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    continued part 7

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                    Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                    Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                    Iringa. 30th November 1938

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                    Dearest Family,

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

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


                    Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                    Dearest Family,

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


                    Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Nzassa 5th August 1939

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                    Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 14th September 1939

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 4th November 1939

                    Dearest Family,

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

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


                    Iringa 8th December 1939

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 10th March 1940

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 14th July 1940

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 16th November 1940

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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




                      From Tanganyika with Love

                      continued  ~ part 6

                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                      Mchewe 6th June 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                      With much love,

                      Mchewe 25th June 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      Lots of love,

                      Mchewe 9th July 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Mchewe 8th October 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mchewe 17th October 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Mchewe 18th November 1937

                      My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

                      Mchewe 18th November 1937

                      Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

                      Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mbulu 20th June 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Karatu 3rd July 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                      Karatu 12th July 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                        From Tanganyika with Love

                        continued  ~ part 4

                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                        Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                        With much love,

                        Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                        Heaps of love to all,

                        Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        Lots of love,

                        Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        With heaps of love,

                        Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

                        Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

                        Lots and lots of love,

                        Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                        Your very affectionate,

                        Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

                        With love to you all,

                        Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                        Much love to you all,

                        Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

                        Your worried but affectionate,

                        Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

                        Much love,

                        Mchewe. 12th November 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        Lots and lots of love to all,

                        Chunya 27th November 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        Much love to all,



                          From Tanganyika with Love

                          continued  ~ part 3

                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                          Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          Very much love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                          your loving but anxious,

                          Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Very much love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Lots and lots of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                          Who would be a mother!

                          Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                          Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Lots and lots of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

                          Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          With love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

                          With love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                          Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          Your very loving,

                          Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          With love to all,


                            From Tanganyika with Love

                            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                            • “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 George Stevenson’s Rocket locomotive.
                            Anyway it sews and I am pleased with my efforts. We made a couch ourselves out of a
                            native bed, a mattress and some planks but all this is hidden under the chintz cover and
                            it looks quite the genuine bought article. I have some diversions too. Small black faced
                            monkeys sit in the trees outside our bedroom window and they are most entertaining to
                            watch. They are very mischievous though. When I went out into the garden this morning
                            before breakfast I found that the monkeys had pulled up all my carnations. There they
                            lay, roots in the air and whether they will take again I don’t know.

                            I like the monkeys but hate the big mountain baboons that come and hang
                            around our chicken house. I am terrified that they will tear our pup into bits because he is
                            a plucky young thing and will rush out to bark at the baboons.

                            George usually returns for the weekends but last time he did not because he had
                            a touch of malaria. He sent a boy down for the mail and some fresh bread. Old Lucas
                            arrived with chickens just as the messenger was setting off with mail and bread in a
                            haversack on his back. I thought it might be a good idea to send a chicken to George so
                            I selected a spry young rooster which I handed to the messenger. He, however,
                            complained that he needed both hands for climbing. I then had one of my bright ideas
                            and, putting a layer of newspaper over the bread, I tucked the rooster into the haversack
                            and buckled down the flap so only his head protruded.

                            I thought no more about it until two days later when the messenger again
                            appeared for fresh bread. He brought a rather terse note from George saying that the
                            previous bread was uneatable as the rooster had eaten some of it and messed on the
                            rest. Ah me!

                            The previous weekend the Hickson-Woods, Stewarts and ourselves, went
                            across to Tukuyu to attend a dance at the club there. the dance was very pleasant. All
                            the men wore dinner jackets and the ladies wore long frocks. As there were about
                            twenty men and only seven ladies we women danced every dance whilst the surplus
                            men got into a huddle around the bar. George and I spent the night with the Agricultural
                            Officer, Mr Eustace, and I met his fiancee, Lillian Austin from South Africa, to whom I took
                            a great liking. She is Governess to the children of Major Masters who has a farm in the
                            Tukuyu district.

                            On the Sunday morning we had a look at the township. The Boma was an old German one and was once fortified as the Africans in this district are a very warlike tribe.
                            They are fine looking people. The men wear sort of togas and bands of cloth around
                            their heads and look like Roman Senators, but the women go naked except for a belt
                            from which two broad straps hang down, one in front and another behind. Not a graceful
                            garb I assure you.

                            We also spent a pleasant hour in the Botanical Gardens, laid out during the last
                            war by the District Commissioner, Major Wells, with German prisoner of war labour.
                            There are beautiful lawns and beds of roses and other flowers and shady palm lined
                            walks and banana groves. The gardens are terraced with flights of brick steps connecting
                            the different levels and there is a large artificial pond with little islands in it. I believe Major
                            Wells designed the lake to resemble in miniature, the Lakes of Killarney.
                            I enjoyed the trip very much. We got home at 8 pm to find the front door locked
                            and the kitchen boy fast asleep on my newly covered couch! I hastily retreated to the
                            bedroom whilst George handled the situation.



                              George “Mike” Rushby

                              A short autobiography of George Gilman Rushby’s son, published in the Blackwall Bugle, Australia.

                              Early in 2009, Ballina Shire Council Strategic and
                              Community Services Group Manager, Steve Barnier,
                              suggested that it would be a good idea for the Wardell
                              and District community to put out a bi-monthly
                              newsletter. I put my hand up to edit the publication and
                              since then, over 50 issues of “The Blackwall Bugle”
                              have been produced, encouraged by Ballina Shire
                              Council who host the newsletter on their website.
                              Because I usually write the stories that other people
                              generously share with me, I have been asked by several
                              community members to let them know who I am. Here is
                              my attempt to let you know!

                              My father, George Gilman Rushby was born in England
                              in 1900. An Electrician, he migrated to Africa as a young
                              man to hunt and to prospect for gold. He met Eleanor
                              Dunbar Leslie who was a high school teacher in Cape
                              Town. They later married in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika.
                              I was the second child and first son and was born in a
                              mud hut in Tanganyika in 1933. I spent my first years on
                              a coffee plantation. When four years old, and with
                              parents and elder sister on a remote goldfield, I caught
                              typhoid fever. I was seriously ill and had no access to
                              proper medical facilities. My paternal grandmother
                              sailed out to Africa from England on a steam ship and
                              took me back to England for medical treatment. My
                              sister Ann came too. Then Adolf Hitler started WWII and
                              Ann and I were separated from our parents for 9 years.

                              Sister Ann and I were not to see him or our mother for
                              nine years because of the war. Dad served as a Captain in
                              the King’s African Rifles operating in the North African
                              desert, while our Mum managed the coffee plantation at
                              home in Tanganyika.

                              Ann and I lived with our Grandmother and went to
                              school in Nottingham England. In 1946 the family was
                              reunited. We lived in Mbeya in Southern Tanganyika
                              where my father was then the District Manager of the
                              National Parks and Wildlife Authority. There was no
                              high school in Tanganyika so I had to go to school in
                              Nairobi, Kenya. It took five days travelling each way by
                              train and bus including two days on a steamer crossing
                              Lake Victoria.

                              However, the school year was only two terms with long
                              holidays in between.

                              When I was seventeen, I left high school. There was
                              then no university in East Africa. There was no work
                              around as Tanganyika was about to become
                              independent of the British Empire and become
                              Tanzania. Consequently jobs were reserved for

                              A war had broken out in Korea. I took a day off from
                              high school and visited the British Army headquarters
                              in Nairobi. I signed up for military service intending to
                              go to Korea. The army flew me to England. During
                              Army basic training I was nicknamed ‘Mike’ and have
                              been called Mike ever since. I never got to Korea!
                              After my basic training I volunteered for the Parachute
                              Regiment and the army sent me to Egypt where the
                              Suez Canal was under threat. I carried out parachute
                              operations in the Sinai Desert and in Cyprus and
                              Jordan. I was then selected for officer training and was
                              sent to England to the Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School
                              in Cheshire. Whilst in Cheshire, I met my future wife
                              Jeanette. I graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the
                              Royal Lincolnshire Regiment and was posted to West
                              Berlin, which was then one hundred miles behind the
                              Iron Curtain. My duties included patrolling the
                              demarcation line that separated the allies from the
                              Russian forces. The Berlin Wall was yet to be built. I
                              also did occasional duty as guard commander of the
                              guard at Spandau Prison where Adolf Hitler’s deputy
                              Rudolf Hess was the only prisoner.

                              From Berlin, my Regiment was sent to Malaya to
                              undertake deep jungle operations against communist
                              terrorists that were attempting to overthrow the
                              Malayan Government. I was then a Lieutenant in
                              command of a platoon of about 40 men which would go
                              into the jungle for three weeks to a month with only air
                              re-supply to keep us going. On completion of my jungle
                              service, I returned to England and married Jeanette. I
                              had to stand up throughout the church wedding
                              ceremony because I had damaged my right knee in a
                              competitive cross-country motorcycle race and wore a
                              splint and restrictive bandage for the occasion!
                              At this point I took a career change and transferred
                              from the infantry to the Royal Military Police. I was in
                              charge of the security of British, French and American
                              troops using the autobahn link from West Germany to
                              the isolated Berlin. Whilst in Germany and Austria I
                              took up snow skiing as a sport.

                              Jeanette and I seemed to attract unusual little
                              adventures along the way — each adventure trivial in
                              itself but adding up to give us a ‘different’ path through
                              life. Having climbed Mount Snowdon up the ‘easy way’
                              we were witness to a serious climbing accident where a
                              member of the staff of a Cunard Shipping Line
                              expedition fell and suffered serious injury. It was
                              Sunday a long time ago. The funicular railway was
                              closed. There was no telephone. So I ran all the way
                              down Mount Snowdon to raise the alarm.

                              On a road trip from Verden in Germany to Berlin with
                              our old Opel Kapitan motor car stacked to the roof with
                              all our worldly possessions, we broke down on the ice and snow covered autobahn. We still had a hundred kilometres to go.

                              A motorcycle patrolman flagged down a B-Double
                              tanker. He hooked us to the tanker with a very short tow
                              cable and off we went. The truck driver couldn’t see us
                              because we were too close and his truck threw up a
                              constant deluge of ice and snow so we couldn’t see
                              anyway. We survived the hundred kilometre ‘sleigh

                              I then went back to the other side of the world where I
                              carried out military police duties in Singapore and
                              Malaya for three years. I took up scuba diving and
                              loved the ocean. Jeanette and I, with our two little
                              daughters, took a holiday to South Africa to see my
                              parents. We sailed on a ship of the Holland-Afrika Line.
                              It broke down for four days and drifted uncontrollably
                              in dangerous waters off the Skeleton Coast of Namibia
                              until the crew could get the ship’s motor running again.
                              Then, in Cape Town, we were walking the beach near
                              Hermanus with my youngest brother and my parents,
                              when we found the dead body of a man who had thrown
                              himself off a cliff. The police came and secured the site.
                              Back with the army, I was promoted to Major and
                              appointed Provost Marshal of the ACE Mobile Force
                              (Allied Command Europe) with dual headquarters in
                              Salisbury, England and Heidelberg, Germany. The cold
                              war was at its height and I was on operations in Greece,
                              Denmark and Norway including the Arctic. I had
                              Norwegian, Danish, Italian and American troops in my
                              unit and I was then also the Winter Warfare Instructor
                              for the British contingent to the Allied Command
                              Europe Mobile Force that operated north of the Arctic

                              The reason for being in the Arctic Circle? From there
                              our special forces could look down into northern

                              I was not seeing much of my two young daughters. A
                              desk job was looming my way and I decided to leave
                              the army and migrate to Australia. Why Australia?
                              Well, I didn’t want to go back to Africa, which
                              seemed politically unstable and the people I most
                              liked working with in the army, were the Australian
                              troops I had met in Malaya.

                              I migrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1970 and started
                              working for Woolworths. After management training,
                              I worked at Garden City and Brookside then became
                              the manager in turn of Woolworths stores at
                              Paddington, George Street and Redcliff. I was also the
                              first Director of FAUI Queensland (The Federation of
                              Underwater Diving Instructors) and spent my spare
                              time on the Great Barrier Reef. After 8 years with
                              Woollies, I opted for a sea change.

                              I moved with my family to Evans Head where I
                              converted a convenience store into a mini
                              supermarket. When IGA moved into town, I decided
                              to take up beef cattle farming and bought a cattle
                              property at Collins Creek Kyogle in 1990. I loved
                              everything about the farm — the Charolais cattle, my
                              horses, my kelpie dogs, the open air, fresh water
                              creek, the freedom, the lifestyle. I also became a
                              volunteer fire fighter with the Green Pigeon Brigade.
                              In 2004 I sold our farm and moved to Wardell.
                              My wife Jeanette and I have been married for 60 years
                              and are now retired. We have two lovely married
                              daughters and three fine grandchildren. We live in the
                              greatest part of the world where we have been warmly
                              welcomed by the Wardell community and by the
                              Wardell Brigade of the Rural Fire Service. We are
                              very happy here.

                              Mike Rushby

                              A short article sent to Jacksdale in England from Mike Rushby in Australia:

                              Rushby Family