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      Finnley’s been down the cellar for over two months,” Liz said to Godfrey who was still wearing a toga.  “I confess I  hadn’t even noticed, but now that I have, I feel I should investigate her whereabouts and well being, as it were.”

      “All you have to do is write her back in, Liz.”

      Liz thought it was high time Finnley wrote herself back in, but was prepared to be flexible, as usual.


      In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


        Very well, let us focus a bit on an overarching mystery.

        So, Xavier is working on this program he calls AL (for Alternate Life), for a company we know little about.

        Meanwhile, the game they’re playing on, Orbs of Madjourneys seems to direct them to certain quests which subtly influence their activities. For instance, after playing the game, a succession of events got the four of them booking a trip to the Flying fish Inn in the middle of Australian outback (Zara is living in Australia unlike the others).

        Let’s assume the Game had somehow detected some unlawful or immoral activities being conducted, and has started to drop clues to influence these 4 gamers, selected because of their unique connexions and some of their special skills to get to reveal and bring the mystery to light.

        Zara has an explorer mind, free-spirited, jumping right in. It’s suggested she was assigned group leadership for this round of game, while taking care of a group doesn’t come naturally for her. Yasmin is talented and it is said she is the brains of the team and also a competent actress, which may come in play at some point. Youssef is a journalist, and works for Miss Tartiflate, owner of THE Blog, a blog with a soul – unlike rival blog from Botty Banworth, the lady millionaire, who is sponsoring the Carts & Lager festival at the town of the Flying Fish Inn, next to the mines. Xavier has a bit of a monkey mind, but is also good at drawing connections; he’s a programmer for AL.

        Which brings us to the group quest. The current hunch is that there is some shenanigan at play in the old collapsed mines of the town, where some key characters were lost in the past. One of them being Fred, a sci-fi writer who disappeared to Fiji to protect his family (the owners of the Flying Fish Inn) a decade or so ago. It’s suggested by the last poem found in the game that it may have something to do with illegal underground water drilling —possibly for frivolous usages of a select few elite, like maintaining a golf green nearby or other things.

        If that is on the right track, we need to accelerate the path of discovery of these mysteries for our 4 characters. The game will suggest additional clues to their quests, so that they can use their skills during the Carts & Lager Festival to discover the truth, while remaining out of harm’s way.

        Here are some additional clues that the game will suggest to our four characters:


        “To find the truth, you must first seek the light.” 🌞🔍🕯️💡🔦
        “The answer lies beneath the surface.” 🕳️🔍👀🌊💧


        “All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.” 🌍🎭🤹‍♀️👥🕺
        “Sometimes, the truth is hidden in plain sight.” 👀🔍🤫🧐🕵️‍♀️


        “Words have power, and the pen is mightier than the sword.” 📝🗡️💪📚👨‍💻
        “The truth may be hidden in the most unexpected of places.” 🤔🕵️‍♂️🔍🧩🕰️


        “The truth is a puzzle waiting to be solved.” 🧩🔍🤔🕵️‍♂️💡
        “Sometimes, the smallest details can lead to the biggest discoveries.” 🔍👀🔬🧐🔎

        What are potential outcomes for our 4 characters in game and in real life.
        How are they going to work together to unravel the mystery and discover the truth.

        There are several potential outcomes for our 4 characters as they work together to unravel the truth about the collapsed mines and the illegal underground water drilling.

        In the game, they may encounter various obstacles and puzzles to solve, such as deciphering codes and finding hidden passages. They will need to work together and use their unique skills to uncover the truth and prevent any further harm.

        In real life, they may need to conduct research and gather information about the history of the town and its residents. They may also need to interview locals and investigate any suspicious activity related to the water drilling. They will need to be careful not to draw too much attention to themselves, as the perpetrators may try to silence them.

        If they are successful in their quest, they may uncover a conspiracy involving powerful people in the town and beyond who are profiting from the illegal water drilling. They may also discover the fate of Fred, the missing writer, and other key characters. The truth may have a significant impact on the future of the town and its residents.

        To work together effectively, each of the characters will need to utilize their unique skills and strengths. Zara’s exploratory nature may help them discover hidden clues and passages, while Yasmin’s intellect and acting abilities may allow her to gain access to key information and people. Youssef’s journalistic skills and connection to Miss Tartiflate may provide them with insider knowledge and resources, and Xavier’s ability to draw connections and work with technology may help them piece together the puzzle.

        Overall, by working together and using their skills in both the game and real life, our 4 characters may uncover a significant truth and make a positive impact on the town and its residents.


        In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


          Youssef offered the following quirk: “unwilling magnet for talkative people in need of listening” (setting in a ghost town).

          Setting: A small ghost town in the middle of the Australian outback. The town was once thriving but now only a few stragglers remain, living in old, decrepit buildings. You find yourself in the town square, surrounded by the old post office, the saloon, and a few other ramshackle buildings.

          Quest: Your task is to find the source of the magnetic pull that attracts talkative people to you. You must find the reason behind it and break the spell, so you can continue your journey in peace.

          Direction to investigate: Start by talking to the residents of the town, they may have some information or insights on the strange happenings in the town. Explore the old post office and the saloon, they might hold the key to breaking the spell.

          Characters to engage: The residents of the town, including the old timer at the saloon and the postmaster at the post office.

          Tile to look for: A silver key in the shape of a tongue, symbolizing the power of speech.

          Proof of insert in real life: Take a picture of yourself holding the key, and send it to the game master as proof of completion.


          In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


            Zara offered the following quirk: “unleash my hidden rudeness”

            Quirk accepted.

            You find yourself in the bustling streets of an old medieval town. The people around you are going about their business, and you see vendors selling goods, street performers entertaining the crowd, and guards patrolling the area. You hear rumors about a secret society of mischievous tricksters who are known for causing trouble and making people’s lives more interesting.

            You decide to investigate these rumors and join the society of tricksters, who call themselves the “Rude Ones.” You are tasked with finding the key to their hideout, a tile with a rude message written on it. To do this, you must complete several challenges and pranks around the town, each more mischievous than the last.

            Your objective is to find the tile, sneak into the Rude Ones’ hideout, and cause as much chaos and trouble as possible. You must also find a way to insert a real-life prank or act of rudeness into your daily life, as proof of your success in the game.

            Possible directions to investigate:

            • Talk to the vendors and street performers to gather information about the Rude Ones.
            • Observe the guards and see if they have any information on the secret society.
            • Explore the different neighborhoods and see if anyone knows about the hideout.

            Possible characters to engage:

            • A mysterious street performer who is rumored to be part of the Rude Ones.
            • A vendor who has a reputation for being rude to customers.
            • A guard who is rumored to be in league with the Rude Ones.

            Look for a tile with a rude message written on it, and capture proof of your real-life prank or act of rudeness. Good luck, and have fun!


              Potential Plot Arch

              The uncovered box in the garden of Bob & Clara is a Time Capsule which was actually buried in the future, but mistakenly sent to the past. It has symbols etched on it, that activate some nano-technology.
              Due to its contact with it, Bob starts recovering his memories, while retaining the hallucinations of his dead wife Jane, which actually become more credible and intense.

              Will Tarkin is actually a time traveler from the future, who came to live a simple life in the past, selling stone gargoyles at the local supermarket and rediscovering the ways of his ancestors.

              With the box being found and opened at the wrong time, it creates unwanted attention from the Time Dragglers who need to intervene to prevent alterations of the timeline.
              Contents of the box are in part encoded books of stories from local families and would have revealed important things about the past, Jane’s death, and Clara’s future.

              With Bob recovering his memories, it’s revealed Jane and Bob were actually also refugees from the future, but had aged naturally in the past, which is why Will seemed to recognize Bob. Bob was living in hiding from the Time Police, but with the box discovery, it changes everything. The box being opened at the wrong time disrupts the natural flow of events and starts causing unexpected consequences. This creates a complex web of relationships and events that must be untangled and understood in order to move forward.

              With his recovering of mental capacities, Bob partners with Will in order to restore the natural flow of time, even if it means his mental health will deteriorate again, which he is happy to do while continuing to live the rest of his life span with his daughter.

              Potential developments

              Clara Meets the Mysterious Will

              Nora finally reaches the little village where Clara and Bob live and is greeted by a man named Will
              Will seems to know Bob from somewhere
              Clara starts to feel suspicious of Will’s intentions and begins to investigate

              The Power of Memories

              Bob starts to have flashbacks of his past and begins to remember the connection between him, Will, and the mysterious time capsule
              Bob realizes that Jane, his wife, had been keeping something from him and that the time capsule holds the key to unlocking the truth
              Jane appears to Bob and urges him to tell Clara about their past and the significance of the time capsule

              The Truth Behind the Capsule

              Nora, Clara, and Bob finally find the answers they’ve been searching for by opening the time capsule
              The contents of the capsule reveal a shocking truth about Jane’s past and the reason behind her death
              They learn that Jane was part of a secret society that protected ancient knowledge and artifacts and that the time capsule was meant to be opened at a specific time
              The group realizes that they were meant to find the capsule and continue Jane’s work in protecting the knowledge and artifacts

              The Ties Between Living and Dead

              Bob comes to terms with Jane’s death and the role she played in their lives
              Clara and Bob grow closer as they work together to continue Jane’s work and preserve the knowledge and artifacts
              The group encounters obstacles but with the help of the spirits of the past, they are able to overcome them and succeed in their mission

              A Realization of the Past and Present

              Clara, Bob, and Nora come to realize the power of memories and how they shape our present and future
              They also learn that things never truly remain buried and that the past always finds a way to resurface
              The group successfully preserves the knowledge and artifacts, ensuring that they will be passed down for generations to come
              The story ends with Clara, Bob, and Nora sitting by the fire, reflecting on their journey and the lessons they’ve learned.


              In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

              “One of them’s arriving early!” Aunt Idle told Mater who had just come swanning into the kitchen with her long grey hair neatly plaited and tied with a red velvet bow.   Ridiculous being so particular about her hair at her age, Idle thought, whose own hair was an untidy and non too clean looking tangle of long dreadlocks with faded multicolour dyes growing out from her grey scalp.  “Bert’s going to pick her up at seven.”

              “You better get a move on then, the verandah needs sweeping and the dining room needs dusting. Are the bedrooms ready yet?” Mater replied, patting her hair and pulling her cardigan down neatly.

              “Plenty of time, no need to worry!” Idle said, looking worried.  “What on earth was that?”  Something bright caught her eye through the kitchen window.

              “Never mind that, make a start on the cleaning!” Mater said with a loud tut and an eye roll. Always getting distracted, that one, never finishes a job before she’s off sidetracking.  Mater gave her hair another satisfied pat, and put two slices of bread in the toaster.

              But Aunt Idle had gone outside to investigate.  A minute or two later she returned, saying “You’ll never guess what, there’s a tame red parrot sitting on the porch table. And it talks!”

              “So you’re planning to spend the day talking to a parrot, and leave me to do all the dusting, is that it?” Mater said, spreading honey on her toast.

              Pretty Girl at Flying Fish Inn


              In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


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


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

                Directions to Investigate

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


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


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



                1st thread’s answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                second thread’s answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                Deear Francie Mossie Pooh,

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

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

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

                Fluidly and fantastically yours,

                The Snoot.


                In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


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

                  Quirk accepted.

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

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

                  Possible character to engage: The grumpy vendor.

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

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

                  Snoot’s clue: 🧔🌮🔍🔑🏞️


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                  In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


                    Xavier’s quirk offering is being a cheeky monkey

                    Quirk accepted.

                    The initial setting for Xavier’s quest is a lush jungle filled with mischievous monkeys. Your mission is to find the legendary Golden Banana, which is said to grant eternal youth and vitality to whoever finds it. However, be warned as the jungle is also home to a tribe of fierce apes who will stop at nothing to protect the precious fruit.

                    Possible directions to investigate include

                    • searching for clues in the monkey’s sacred temples hidden deep within the jungle,
                    • or seeking out the help of a wise old owl who is said to know the location of the Golden Banana.

                    As for possible characters to engage, you may come across

                    • a sly fox who claims to know the location of the fruit but will only reveal it in exchange for a favor,
                    • or a brave adventurer who has been searching for the Golden Banana for years and may be willing to team up with you.

                    In regards to the FFI visit in real-life, you may discover a mysterious map hidden within the Inn that leads to the location of the Golden Banana, or overhear a conversation between the Inn’s patrons discussing rumors of a monkey who recently visited and may hold valuable information about the quest.

                    Emoji clue: Xavier: 🐒🍌


                    In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


                      Zara’s first quest:

                      entry level quirk: wandering off the track

                      The initial setting for this quest is a dense forest, where the paths are overgrown and rarely traveled. You find yourself alone and disoriented, with only a rough map and a compass to guide you.

                      Possible directions to investigate include:

                      Following a faint trail of footprints that lead deeper into the forest

                      Climbing a tall tree to get a better view of the surrounding area

                      Searching for a stream or river to use as a guide to find your way out of the forest

                      Possible characters to engage include:

                      A mysterious hermit who lives deep in the forest and is rumored to know the secrets of the land

                      A lost traveler who is also trying to find their way out of the forest

                      A group of bandits who have taken refuge in the forest and may try to steal from you or cause harm

                      Your objective is to find the Wanderlust tile, a small, intricately carved wooden tile depicting a person walking off the beaten path. This tile holds the key to unlocking your inner quirk of wandering off the track.

                      As proof of your progress in the game, you must find a way to incorporate this quirk into your real-life actions by taking a spontaneous detour on your next journey, whether it be physical or mental.

                      For Zara’s quest:

                      As you wander off the track, you come across a strange-looking building in the distance. Upon closer inspection, you realize it is the Flying Fish Inn. As you enter, you are greeted by the friendly owner, Idle. She tells you that she has heard of strange occurrences happening in the surrounding area and offers to help you in your quest

                      Emoji clue:  🐈🌳 :cat_confused:


                      Zara (the character in the game)

                      characteristics from previous prompts:

                      Zara is the leader of the group  :yahoo_thinking:  she is confident, and always ready for an adventure. She is a natural leader and has a strong sense of justice. She is also a tech-savvy person, always carrying a variety of gadgets with her, and is always the first to try out new technology.

                      Zara is the leader of the group, her color is red, her animal is a lion, and her secret name in a funny language is “Zaraloon”


                      Zara (the real life story character)

                      characteristics from previous prompts:

                      Zara Patara-Smythe is a 57-year-old woman of mixed heritage, her mother is Indian and her father is British. She has long, dark hair that she keeps in an untidy ponytail, dark brown eyes and a sharp jawline. She stands at 5’6″ and has a toned and athletic build. She usually wears practical clothing that allows her to move around easily, such as cargo pants and a tank top.

                      prompt quest:

                      Continue to investigate the mysterious cat she saw, possibly seeking out help from local animal experts or veterinarians.
                      Join Xavier and Yasmin in investigating the Flying Fish Inn, looking for clues and exploring the area for any potential leads on the game’s quest.


                      In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


                        Continuing their adventures, offer 2 possible choices of action to each of the characters in real-life: 2 for Zara, 2 for Xavier, 2 for Yasmin and 2 for Youssef in “choose your own adventure” style.


                        1. Continue to investigate the mysterious cat she saw, possibly seeking out help from local animal experts or veterinarians.
                        2. Join Xavier and Yasmin in investigating the Flying Fish Inn, looking for clues and exploring the area for any potential leads on the game’s quest.


                        1. Help Youssef troubleshoot the issues with the blog, possibly reaching out to IT professionals for assistance.
                        2. Join Zara and Yasmin in investigating the Flying Fish Inn, using his knowledge of RPG’s and fantasy literature to assist in the search for clues.


                        1. Take a break from the game and focus on her personal creative projects, such as writing or painting.
                        2. Join Zara and Xavier in investigating the Flying Fish Inn, using her skills in research and analysis to assist in the search for clues.


                        1. Focus on resolving the issues with the blog, possibly seeking out help from a hacker or cybersecurity expert to uncover the source of the problem.
                        2. Join Zara, Xavier and Yasmin in investigating the Flying Fish Inn, using his knowledge of the game and the AI technology behind it to assist in the search for clues.

                          try another short story, with a bit of drama with the following words:

                          road form charlton smooth everyone cottage hanging rush offer agree subject district included appear sha returning grattidge nottingham 848 tetbury chicken

                          It was a cold and gloomy day in the small village of Tetbury, nestled in the picturesque Cotswolds district. A young woman named Sha was returning home to her cottage after a long and tiring journey. She had been away visiting her family in Nottingham and was looking forward to relaxing in her cozy home.

                          As she walked down the dirt road that led to her cottage, she couldn’t help but notice that something was off. Her neighbor, Mr. Charlton, was outside hanging laundry and he didn’t acknowledge her as she walked by. Sha thought it was strange, as he was usually a friendly and sociable person.

                          When Sha arrived at her cottage, she was shocked to find that it had been broken into. The front door was ajar and the inside of her home had been ransacked. Sha immediately panicked and called the police, who arrived on the scene shortly thereafter.

                          The police officers, including Inspector Grattidge, took Sha’s statement and began to investigate the crime. They discovered that a group of burglars had been operating in the area, targeting homes and businesses in the district. The burglars had been known for their smooth operations and their ability to strike quickly, which led to their nickname “The Smooth Operators”.

                          As Sha waited for the police to finish their investigation, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was not right. She had always thought of Tetbury as a safe and friendly place, and she couldn’t believe that something like this could happen in her community.

                          As the investigation went on, the police found out that the Smooth operators have been targeting houses with no security cameras, but Sha’s cottage was an exception, the police were able to find out that the group offered to pay a considerable sum of money to the people who reported the locations of the houses that had no cameras, and it was Mr. Charlton who was the informant and he even rushed to Sha’s cottage as soon as he knew the police was investigating the case, He was arrested for the crime and Sha was heartbroken to find out that her once friendly neighbor had betrayed her.

                          Feeling violated and betrayed, Sha decided that she could no longer stay in the village and she put her cottage up for sale. She packed up her belongings and moved away, leaving behind the memories of her peaceful home and the community she had once thought of as her own. The end.


                            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 3

                                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                  Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                  Very much love,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                  Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                                  your loving but anxious,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                  Very much love to all,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                  Lots and lots of love,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                  Who would be a mother!

                                  Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                  Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                  Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                  Lots and lots of love,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                  Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

                                  Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                  With love to all,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

                                  With love to all,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                  Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                  Your very loving,

                                  Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                  With love to all,


                                    From Tanganyika with Love


                                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                    Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Lots of love,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                    Very much love,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Eleanor Rushby


                                    Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Your very loving,

                                    Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Lots and lots of love,

                                    Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love to all,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love to all,

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

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    We all send our love,

                                    Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Very much love,

                                    Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love from a proud mother of two.

                                    Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Your affectionate,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                    your affectionate,

                                    Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    Very much love

                                    Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                                    Dear Family,

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

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

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

                                    Lots and lots of love,

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

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Very much love,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love to all,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                    Lots of love,

                                    Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Lots of love to all,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Much love to you all,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                    Much love,

                                    Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Lots of love, Eleanor


                                      The following stories started with a single question.

                                      Who was Catherine Housley’s mother?

                                      But one question leads to another, and another, and so this book will never be finished.  This is the first in a collection of stories of a family history research project, not a complete family history.  There will always be more questions and more searches, and each new find presents more questions.

                                      A list of names and dates is only moderately interesting, and doesn’t mean much unless you get to know the characters along the way.   For example, a cousin on my fathers side has already done a great deal of thorough and accurate family research. I copied one branch of the family onto my tree, going back to the 1500’s, but lost interest in it after about an hour or so, because I didn’t feel I knew any of the individuals.

                                      Parish registers, the census every ten years, birth, death and marriage certificates can tell you so much, but they can’t tell you why.  They don’t tell you why parents chose the names they did for their children, or why they moved, or why they married in another town.  They don’t tell you why a person lived in another household, or for how long. The census every ten years doesn’t tell you what people were doing in the intervening years, and in the case of the UK and the hundred year privacy rule, we can’t even use those for the past century.  The first census was in 1831 in England, prior to that all we have are parish registers. An astonishing amount of them have survived and have been transcribed and are one way or another available to see, both transcriptions and microfiche images.  Not all of them survived, however. Sometimes the writing has faded to white, sometimes pages are missing, and in some case the entire register is lost or damaged.

                                      Sometimes if you are lucky, you may find mention of an ancestor in an obscure little local history book or a journal or diary.  Wills, court cases, and newspaper archives often provide interesting information. Town memories and history groups on social media are another excellent source of information, from old photographs of the area, old maps, local history, and of course, distantly related relatives still living in the area.  Local history societies can be useful, and some if not all are very helpful.

                                      If you’re very lucky indeed, you might find a distant relative in another country whose grandparents saved and transcribed bundles of old letters found in the attic, from the family in England to the brother who emigrated, written in the 1800s.  More on this later, as it merits its own chapter as the most exciting find so far.

                                      The social history of the time and place is important and provides many clues as to why people moved and why the family professions and occupations changed over generations.  The Enclosures Act and the Industrial Revolution in England created difficulties for rural farmers, factories replaced cottage industries, and the sons of land owning farmers became shop keepers and miners in the local towns.  For the most part (at least in my own research) people didn’t move around much unless there was a reason.  There are no reasons mentioned in the various registers, records and documents, but with a little reading of social history you can sometimes make a good guess.  Samuel Housley, for example, a plumber, probably moved from rural Derbyshire to urban Wolverhampton, when there was a big project to install indoor plumbing to areas of the city in the early 1800s.  Derbyshire nailmakers were offered a job and a house if they moved to Wolverhampton a generation earlier.

                                      Occasionally a couple would marry in another parish, although usually they married in their own. Again, there was often a reason.  William Housley and Ellen Carrington married in Ashbourne, not in Smalley.  In this case, William’s first wife was Mary Carrington, Ellen’s sister.  It was not uncommon for a man to marry a deceased wife’s sister, but it wasn’t strictly speaking legal.  This caused some problems later when William died, as the children of the first wife contested the will, on the grounds of the second marriage being illegal.

                                      Needless to say, there are always questions remaining, and often a fresh pair of eyes can help find a vital piece of information that has escaped you.  In one case, I’d been looking for the death of a widow, Mary Anne Gilman, and had failed to notice that she remarried at a late age. Her death was easy to find, once I searched for it with her second husbands name.

                                      This brings me to the topic of maternal family lines. One tends to think of their lineage with the focus on paternal surnames, but very quickly the number of surnames increases, and all of the maternal lines are directly related as much as the paternal name.  This is of course obvious, if you start from the beginning with yourself and work back.  In other words, there is not much point in simply looking for your fathers name hundreds of years ago because there are hundreds of other names that are equally your own family ancestors. And in my case, although not intentionally, I’ve investigated far more maternal lines than paternal.

                                      This book, which I hope will be the first of several, will concentrate on my mothers family: The story so far that started with the portrait of Catherine Housley’s mother.

                                      Elizabeth Brookes


                                      This painting, now in my mothers house, used to hang over the piano in the home of her grandparents.   It says on the back “Catherine Housley’s mother, Smalley”.

                                      The portrait of Catherine Housley’s mother can be seen above the piano. Back row Ronald Marshall, my grandfathers brother, William Marshall, my great grandfather, Mary Ann Gilman Purdy Marshall in the middle, my great grandmother, with her daughters Dorothy on the left and Phyllis on the right, at the Marshall’s house on Love Lane in Stourbridge.




                                      The Search for Samuel Housley

                                      As soon as the search for Catherine Housley’s mother was resolved, achieved by ordering a paper copy of her birth certificate, the search for Catherine Housley’s father commenced. We know he was born in Smalley in 1816, son of William Housley and Ellen Carrington, and that he married Elizabeth Brookes in Wolverhampton in 1844. He was a plumber and glazier. His three daughters born between 1845 and 1849 were born in Smalley. Elizabeth died in 1849 of consumption, but Samuel didn’t register her death. A 20 year old neighbour called Aaron Wadkinson did.

                                      Elizabeth death


                                      Where was Samuel?

                                      On the 1851 census, two of Samuel’s daughters were listed as inmates in the Belper Workhouse, and the third, 2 year old Catherine, was listed as living with John Benniston and his family in nearby Heanor.  Benniston was a framework knitter.

                                      Where was Samuel?

                                      A long search through the microfiche workhouse registers provided an answer. The reason for Elizabeth and Mary Anne’s admission in June 1850 was given as “father in prison”. In May 1850, Samuel Housley was sentenced to one month hard labour at Derby Gaol for failing to maintain his three children. What happened to those little girls in the year after their mothers death, before their father was sentenced, and they entered the workhouse? Where did Catherine go, a six week old baby? We have yet to find out.

                                      Samuel Housley 1850


                                      And where was Samuel Housley in 1851? He hasn’t appeared on any census.

                                      According to the Belper workhouse registers, Mary Anne was discharged on trial as a servant February 1860. She was readmitted a month later in March 1860, the reason given: unwell.

                                      Belper Workhouse:

                                      Belper Workhouse

                                      Eventually, Mary Anne and Elizabeth were discharged, in April 1860, with an aunt and uncle. The workhouse register doesn’t name the aunt and uncle. One can only wonder why it took them so long.
                                      On the 1861 census, Elizabeth, 16 years old, is a servant in St Peters, Derby, and Mary Anne, 15 years old, is a servant in St Werburghs, Derby.

                                      But where was Samuel?

                                      After some considerable searching, we found him, despite a mistranscription of his name, on the 1861 census, living as a lodger and plumber in Darlaston, Walsall.
                                      Eventually we found him on a 1871 census living as a lodger at the George and Dragon in Henley in Arden. The age is not exactly right, but close enough, he is listed as an unmarried painter, also close enough, and his birth is listed as Kidsley, Derbyshire. He was born at Kidsley Grange Farm. We can assume that he was probably alive in 1872, the year his mother died, and the following year, 1873, during the Kerry vs Housley court case.

                                      Samuel Housley 1871


                                      I found some living Housley descendants in USA. Samuel Housley’s brother George emigrated there in 1851. The Housley’s in USA found letters in the attic, from the family in Smalley ~ written between 1851 and 1870s. They sent me a “Narrative on the Letters” with many letter excerpts.

                                      The Housley family were embroiled in a complicated will and court case in the early 1870s. In December 15, 1872, Joseph (Samuel’s brother) wrote to George:

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

                                      No record of Samuel Housley’s death can be found for the Birmingham Union in 1869 or thereabouts.

                                      But if he was alive in 1871 in Henley In Arden…..
                                      Did Samuel tell his wife’s brother to tell them he was dead? Or did the brothers say he was dead so they could have his share?

                                      We still haven’t found a death for Samuel Housley.




                                      There was a screeching sound in the warehouse.

                                      “Purple & Glitter Alert, Purple & Glitter Alert!” the junior drag-queen in training howled to wake up the troops. “Briefing in Linda Pol’s office, now!”

                                      Linda Pol was busy e-zapping motes and dust bunnies when the last one of them entered and closed the room silently.

                                      She pushed her fancy glasses up her nose and pointed at the screen. “Girdle your loins, ladies! There’s been a potential breach in the timelines at this particular junction point, the Universe may be in grave danger. We need volunteers to go and investigate.”

                                      Someone raised their hand “Can’t we wait until 2021? 2020 was such a nasty year, it is known. Major jinxy vibes. Everything you do goes to poo-poo on this year.”

                                      “Thank you for the history course Bubbles, and glad you volunteered. Anyone else?”

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