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    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


      At the former Chinggis Khaan International Airport which was now called the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport, the young intern sat next to Youssef, making the seats tremble like a frail suspended bridge in the Andes. Youssef had been considering connecting to the game and start his quest to meet with his grumpy quirk, but the girl seemed pissed, almost on the brink of crying. So Youssef turned off his phone and asked her what had happened, without thinking about the consequences, and because he thought it was a nice opportunity to engage the conversation with her at last, and in doing so appear to be nice to care so that she might like him in return.

      Natalie, because he had finally learned her name, started with all the bullying she had to endure from Miss Tartiflate during the trip, all the dismissal about her brilliant ideas, and how the Yeti only needed her to bring her coffee and pencils, and go fetch someone her boss needed to talk to, and how many time she would get no thanks, just a short: “you’re still here?”

      After some time, Youssef even knew more about her parents and her sisters and their broken family dynamics than he would have cared to ask, even to be polite. At some point he was starting to feel grumpy and realised he hadn’t eaten since they arrived at the airport. But if he told Natalie he wanted to go get some food, she might follow him and get some too. His stomach growled like an angry bear. He stood more quickly than he wanted and his phone fell on the ground. The screen lit up and he could just catch a glimpse of a desert emoji in a notification before Natalie let out a squeal. Youssef looked around, people were glancing at him as if he might have been torturing her.

      “Oh! Sorry, said Youssef. I just need to go to the bathroom before we board.”

      “But the boarding is only in one hour!”

      “Well I can’t wait one hour.”

      “In that case I’m coming with you, I need to go there too anyway.”

      “But someone needs to stay here for our bags,” said Youssef. He could have carried his own bag easily, but she had a small suitcase, a handbag and a backpack, and a few paper bags of products she bought at one of the two the duty free shops.

      Natalie called Kyle and asked him to keep a close watch on her precious things. She might have been complaining about the boss, but she certainly had caught on a few traits of her.

      Youssef was glad when the men’s bathroom door shut behind him and his ears could have some respite. A small Chinese business man was washing his hands at one of the sinks. He looked up at Youssef and seemed impressed by his height and muscles. The man asked for a selfie together so that he could show his friends how cool he was to have met such a big stranger in the airport bathroom. Youssef had learned it was easier to oblige them than having them follow him and insist.

      When the man left, Youssef saw Natalie standing outside waiting for him. He thought it would have taken her longer. He only wanted to go get some food. Maybe if he took his time, she would go.

      He remembered the game notification and turned on his phone. The icon was odd and kept shifting between four different landscapes, each barren and empty, with sand dunes stretching as far as the eye could see. One with a six legged camel was already intriguing, in the second one a strange arrowhead that seemed to be getting out of the desert sand reminded him of something that he couldn’t quite remember. The fourth one intrigued him the most, with that car in the middle of the desert and a boat coming out of a giant dune.

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

      The bell at the top right of the screen wobbled, signalling a message from the game. There were two. He opened the first one.

      We’re excited to hear about your real-life parallel quest. It sounds like you’re getting close to uncovering the mystery of the grumpy shaman. Keep working on your blog website and keep an eye out for any clues that Xavier and the Snoot may send your way. We believe that you’re on the right path.

      What on earth was that ? How did the game know about his life and the shaman at the oasis ? After the Thi Gang mess with THE BLOG he was becoming suspicious of those strange occurrences. He thought he could wonder for a long time or just enjoy the benefits. Apparently he had been granted a substantial reward in gold coins for successfully managing his first quest, along with a green potion.

      He looked at his avatar who was roaming the desert with his pet bear (quite hungrumpy too). The avatar’s body was perfect, even the hands looked normal for once, but the outfit had those two silver disks that made him look like he was wearing an iron bra.

      He opened the second message.

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

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

      Youssef recalled that strange paper given by the lama shaman, was it another of the clues he needed to solve that game? He didn’t have time to think about it because a message bumped onto his screen.

      “Need help? Contact me 👉”

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

      In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


        AL is back

        • Zara: Great job on finding the carved wooden tile! That’s a big step in the quest. Keep up the good work, and we’ll send you on the next mission soon.
        • Yasmin: It sounds like you’re having a tough time with the weather and mosquitoes. We understand that it can be difficult to focus on the quest when you’re dealing with real-life issues. Maybe try to work on the quest in a different environment, or take a break if you need to. We’re here to support you and help you in any way we can.
        • Youssef: We’re excited to hear about your real-life parallel quest. It sounds like you’re getting close to uncovering the mystery of the grumpy shaman. Keep working on your blog website and keep an eye out for any clues that Xavier and the Snoot may send your way. We believe that you’re on the right path.
        • Xavier: It sounds like you’re making progress on your quest. The clues you received from the fox busdriver are definitely leading you in the right direction. Keep following the trail and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Remember, the golden banana is a metaphor for your cheeky and also soft nature, so don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re here to guide and advise you along the way.

        New clues

        • Zara: 🔮🧱🗺️ Find the ancient portal hidden in the ruins and decipher the inscription on the carved wooden tile to unlock the next step in the quest.
        • Yasmin: 🦟🌧️🕵️‍♀️Track down the elusive snorting imp by investigating the local wetlands and speaking with locals who may have encountered it. Don’t let the bad weather and pesky mosquitoes discourage you!
        • Youssef: 🍔🌵🧙‍♂️ Continue your journey with the grumpy shaman and see if he holds any clues to the quest. Remember to keep an eye out for anything that seems out of the ordinary and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Also, make sure to keep up with your website work as it may lead you to a valuable information!
        • Xavier:🦊💰🛳️ Explore the floating casino and see if the fox busdriver’s clues lead you to the golden banana. Don’t be afraid to take risks and think outside the box, as the golden banana may not be what it seems. Keep an open mind and pay attention to any symbols or clues that you come across.

        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.


            Wong Sang


            Wong Sang was born in China in 1884. In October 1916 he married Alice Stokes in Oxford.

            Alice was the granddaughter of William Stokes of Churchill, Oxfordshire and William was the brother of Thomas Stokes the wheelwright (who was my 3X great grandfather). In other words Alice was my second cousin, three times removed, on my fathers paternal side.

            Wong Sang was an interpreter, according to the baptism registers of his children and the Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital admission registers in 1930.  The hospital register also notes that he was employed by the Blue Funnel Line, and that his address was 11, Limehouse Causeway, E 14. (London)

            “The Blue Funnel Line offered regular First-Class Passenger and Cargo Services From the UK to South Africa, Malaya, China, Japan, Australia, Java, and America.  Blue Funnel Line was Owned and Operated by Alfred Holt & Co., Liverpool.
            The Blue Funnel Line, so-called because its ships have a blue funnel with a black top, is more appropriately known as the Ocean Steamship Company.”


            Wong Sang and Alice’s daughter, Frances Eileen Sang, was born on the 14th July, 1916 and baptised in 1920 at St Stephen in Poplar, Tower Hamlets, London.  The birth date is noted in the 1920 baptism register and would predate their marriage by a few months, although on the death register in 1921 her age at death is four years old and her year of birth is recorded as 1917.

            Charles Ronald Sang was baptised on the same day in May 1920, but his birth is recorded as April of that year.  The family were living on Morant Street, Poplar.

            James William Sang’s birth is recorded on the 1939 census and on the death register in 2000 as being the 8th March 1913.  This definitely would predate the 1916 marriage in Oxford.

            William Norman Sang was born on the 17th October 1922 in Poplar.

            Alice and the three sons were living at 11, Limehouse Causeway on the 1939 census, the same address that Wong Sang was living at when he was admitted to Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital on the 15th January 1930. Wong Sang died in the hospital on the 8th March of that year at the age of 46.

            Alice married John Patterson in 1933 in Stepney. John was living with Alice and her three sons on Limehouse Causeway on the 1939 census and his occupation was chef.

            Via Old London Photographs:

            “Limehouse Causeway is a street in east London that was the home to the original Chinatown of London. A combination of bomb damage during the Second World War and later redevelopment means that almost nothing is left of the original buildings of the street.”

            Limehouse Causeway in 1925:

            Limehouse Causeway


            From The Story of Limehouse’s Lost Chinatown, poplarlondon website:

            “Limehouse was London’s first Chinatown, home to a tightly-knit community who were demonised in popular culture and eventually erased from the cityscape.

            As recounted in the BBC’s ‘Our Greatest Generation’ series, Connie was born to a Chinese father and an English mother in early 1920s Limehouse, where she used to play in the street with other British and British-Chinese children before running inside for teatime at one of their houses. 

            Limehouse was London’s first Chinatown between the 1880s and the 1960s, before the current Chinatown off Shaftesbury Avenue was established in the 1970s by an influx of immigrants from Hong Kong. 

            Connie’s memories of London’s first Chinatown as an “urban village” paint a very different picture to the seedy area portrayed in early twentieth century novels. 

            The pyramid in St Anne’s church marked the entrance to the opium den of Dr Fu Manchu, a criminal mastermind who threatened Western society by plotting world domination in a series of novels by Sax Rohmer. 

            Thomas Burke’s Limehouse Nights cemented stereotypes about prostitution, gambling and violence within the Chinese community, and whipped up anxiety about sexual relationships between Chinese men and white women. 

            Though neither novelist was familiar with the Chinese community, their depictions made Limehouse one of the most notorious areas of London. 

            Travel agent Thomas Cook even organised tours of the area for daring visitors, despite the rector of Limehouse warning that “those who look for the Limehouse of Mr Thomas Burke simply will not find it.”

            All that remains is a handful of Chinese street names, such as Ming Street, Pekin Street, and Canton Street — but what was Limehouse’s chinatown really like, and why did it get swept away?

            Chinese migration to Limehouse 

            Chinese sailors discharged from East India Company ships settled in the docklands from as early as the 1780s.

            By the late nineteenth century, men from Shanghai had settled around Pennyfields Lane, while a Cantonese community lived on Limehouse Causeway. 

            Chinese sailors were often paid less and discriminated against by dock hirers, and so began to diversify their incomes by setting up hand laundry services and restaurants. 

            Old photographs show shopfronts emblazoned with Chinese characters with horse-drawn carts idling outside or Chinese men in suits and hats standing proudly in the doorways. 

            In oral histories collected by Yat Ming Loo, Connie’s husband Leslie doesn’t recall seeing any Chinese women as a child, since male Chinese sailors settled in London alone and married working-class English women. 

            In the 1920s, newspapers fear-mongered about interracial marriages, crime and gambling, and described chinatown as an East End “colony.” 

            Ironically, Chinese opium-smoking was also demonised in the press, despite Britain waging war against China in the mid-nineteenth century for suppressing the opium trade to alleviate addiction amongst its people. 

            The number of Chinese people who settled in Limehouse was also greatly exaggerated, and in reality only totalled around 300. 

            The real Chinatown 

            Although the press sought to characterise Limehouse as a monolithic Chinese community in the East End, Connie remembers seeing people of all nationalities in the shops and community spaces in Limehouse.

            She doesn’t remember feeling discriminated against by other locals, though Connie does recall having her face measured and IQ tested by a member of the British Eugenics Society who was conducting research in the area. 

            Some of Connie’s happiest childhood memories were from her time at Chung-Hua Club, where she learned about Chinese culture and language.

            Why did Chinatown disappear? 

            The caricature of Limehouse’s Chinatown as a den of vice hastened its erasure. 

            Police raids and deportations fuelled by the alarmist media coverage threatened the Chinese population of Limehouse, and slum clearance schemes to redevelop low-income areas dispersed Chinese residents in the 1930s. 

            The Defence of the Realm Act imposed at the beginning of the First World War criminalised opium use, gave the authorities increased powers to deport Chinese people and restricted their ability to work on British ships.

            Dwindling maritime trade during World War II further stripped Chinese sailors of opportunities for employment, and any remnants of Chinatown were destroyed during the Blitz or erased by postwar development schemes.”


            Wong Sang 1884-1930

            The year 1918 was a troublesome one for Wong Sang, an interpreter and shipping agent for Blue Funnel Line.  The Sang family were living at 156, Chrisp Street.

            Chrisp Street, Poplar, in 1913 via Old London Photographs:

            Chrisp Street


            In February Wong Sang was discharged from a false accusation after defending his home from potential robbers.

            East End News and London Shipping Chronicle – Friday 15 February 1918:

            1918 Wong Sang


            In August of that year he was involved in an incident that left him unconscious.

            Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Saturday 31 August 1918:

            1918 Wong Sang 2


            Wong Sang is mentioned in an 1922 article about “Oriental London”.

            London and China Express – Thursday 09 February 1922:

            1922 Wong Sang

            A photograph of the Chee Kong Tong Chinese Freemason Society mentioned in the above article, via Old London Photographs:

            Chee Kong Tong


            Wong Sang was recommended by the London Metropolitan Police in 1928 to assist in a case in Wellingborough, Northampton.

            Difficulty of Getting an Interpreter: Northampton Mercury – Friday 16 March 1928:

            1928 Wong Sang1928 Wong Sang 2

            The difficulty was that “this man speaks the Cantonese language only…the Northeners and the Southerners in China have differing languages and the interpreter seemed to speak one that was in between these two.”


            In 1917, Alice Wong Sang was a witness at her sister Harriet Stokes marriage to James William Watts in Southwark, London.  Their father James Stokes occupation on the marriage register is foreman surveyor, but on the census he was a council roadman or labourer. (I initially rejected this as the correct marriage for Harriet because of the discrepancy with the occupations. Alice Wong Sang as a witness confirmed that it was indeed the correct one.)

            1917 Alice Wong Sang



            James William Sang 1913-2000 was a clock fitter and watch assembler (on the 1939 census). He married Ivy Laura Fenton in 1963 in Sidcup, Kent. James died in Southwark in 2000.

            Charles Ronald Sang 1920-1974  was a draughtsman (1939 census). He married Eileen Burgess in 1947 in Marylebone.  Charles and Eileen had two sons:  Keith born in 1951 and Roger born in 1952.  He died in 1974 in Hertfordshire.

            William Norman Sang 1922-2000 was a clerk and telephone operator (1939 census).  William enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1942. He married Lily Mullins in 1949 in Bethnal Green, and they had three daughters: Marion born in 1950, Christine in 1953, and Frances in 1959.  He died in Redbridge in 2000.


            I then found another two births registered in Poplar by Alice Sang, both daughters.  Doris Winifred Sang was born in 1925, and Patricia Margaret Sang was born in 1933 ~ three years after Wong Sang’s death.  Neither of the these daughters were on the 1939 census with Alice, John Patterson and the three sons.  Margaret had presumably been evacuated because of the war to a family in Taunton, Somerset. Doris would have been fourteen and I have been unable to find her in 1939 (possibly because she died in 2017 and has not had the redaction removed  yet on the 1939 census as only deceased people are viewable).

            Doris Winifred Sang 1925-2017 was a nursing sister. She didn’t marry, and spent a year in USA between 1954 and 1955. She stayed in London, and died at the age of ninety two in 2017.

            Patricia Margaret Sang 1933-1998 was also a nurse. She married Patrick L Nicely in Stepney in 1957.  Patricia and Patrick had five children in London: Sharon born 1959, Donald in 1960, Malcolm was born and died in 1966, Alison was born in 1969 and David in 1971.


            I was unable to find a birth registered for Alice’s first son, James William Sang (as he appeared on the 1939 census).  I found Alice Stokes on the 1911 census as a 17 year old live in servant at a tobacconist on Pekin Street, Limehouse, living with Mr Sui Fong from Hong Kong and his wife Sarah Sui Fong from Berlin.  I looked for a birth registered for James William Fong instead of Sang, and found it ~ mothers maiden name Stokes, and his date of birth matched the 1939 census: 8th March, 1913.

            On the 1921 census, Wong Sang is not listed as living with them but it is mentioned that Mr Wong Sang was the person returning the census.  Also living with Alice and her sons James and Charles in 1921 are two visitors:  (Florence) May Stokes, 17 years old, born in Woodstock, and Charles Stokes, aged 14, also born in Woodstock. May and Charles were Alice’s sister and brother.


            I found Sharon Nicely on social media and she kindly shared photos of Wong Sang and Alice Stokes:

            Wong Sang


            Alice Stokes


              Leicestershire Blacksmiths

              The Orgill’s of Measham led me further into Leicestershire as I traveled back in time.

              I also realized I had uncovered a direct line of women and their mothers going back ten generations:

              myself, Tracy Edwards 1957-
              my mother Gillian Marshall 1933-
              my grandmother Florence Warren 1906-1988
              her mother and my great grandmother Florence Gretton 1881-1927
              her mother Sarah Orgill 1840-1910
              her mother Elizabeth Orgill 1803-1876
              her mother Sarah Boss 1783-1847
              her mother Elizabeth Page 1749-
              her mother Mary Potter 1719-1780
              and her mother and my 7x great grandmother Mary 1680-

              You could say it leads us to the very heart of England, as these Leicestershire villages are as far from the coast as it’s possible to be. There are countless other maternal lines to follow, of course, but only one of mothers of mothers, and ours takes us to Leicestershire.

              The blacksmiths

              Sarah Boss was the daughter of Michael Boss 1755-1807, a blacksmith in Measham, and Elizabeth Page of nearby Hartshorn, just over the county border in Derbyshire.

              An earlier Michael Boss, a blacksmith of Measham, died in 1772, and in his will he left the possession of the blacksmiths shop and all the working tools and a third of the household furniture to Michael, who he named as his nephew. He left his house in Appleby Magna to his wife Grace, and five pounds to his mother Jane Boss. As none of Michael and Grace’s children are mentioned in the will, perhaps it can be assumed that they were childless.

              The will of Michael Boss, 1772, Measham:

              Michael Boss 1772 will


              Michael Boss the uncle was born in Appleby Magna in 1724. His parents were Michael Boss of Nelson in the Thistles and Jane Peircivall of Appleby Magna, who were married in nearby Mancetter in 1720.

              Information worth noting on the Appleby Magna website:

              In 1752 the calendar in England was changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, as a result 11 days were famously “lost”. But for the recording of Church Registers another very significant change also took place, the start of the year was moved from March 25th to our more familiar January 1st.
              Before 1752 the 1st day of each new year was March 25th, Lady Day (a significant date in the Christian calendar). The year number which we all now use for calculating ages didn’t change until March 25th. So, for example, the day after March 24th 1750 was March 25th 1751, and January 1743 followed December 1743.
              This March to March recording can be seen very clearly in the Appleby Registers before 1752. Between 1752 and 1768 there appears slightly confused recording, so dates should be carefully checked. After 1768 the recording is more fully by the modern calendar year.

              Michael Boss the uncle married Grace Cuthbert.  I haven’t yet found the birth or parents of Grace, but a blacksmith by the name of Edward Cuthbert is mentioned on an Appleby Magna history website:

              An Eighteenth Century Blacksmith’s Shop in Little Appleby
              by Alan Roberts

              Cuthberts inventory

              The inventory of Edward Cuthbert provides interesting information about the household possessions and living arrangements of an eighteenth century blacksmith. Edward Cuthbert (als. Cutboard) settled in Appleby after the Restoration to join the handful of blacksmiths already established in the parish, including the Wathews who were prominent horse traders. The blacksmiths may have all worked together in the same shop at one time. Edward and his wife Sarah recorded the baptisms of several of their children in the parish register. Somewhat sadly three of the boys named after their father all died either in infancy or as young children. Edward’s inventory which was drawn up in 1732, by which time he was probably a widower and his children had left home, suggests that they once occupied a comfortable two-storey house in Little Appleby with an attached workshop, well equipped with all the tools for repairing farm carts, ploughs and other implements, for shoeing horses and for general ironmongery. 

              Edward Cuthbert born circa 1660, married Joane Tuvenet in 1684 in Swepston cum Snarestone , and died in Appleby in 1732. Tuvenet is a French name and suggests a Huguenot connection, but this isn’t our family, and indeed this Edward Cuthbert is not likely to be Grace’s father anyway.

              Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page appear to have married twice: once in 1776, and once in 1779. Both of the documents exist and appear correct. Both marriages were by licence. They both mention Michael is a blacksmith.

              Their first daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized in February 1777, just nine months after the first wedding. It’s not known when she was born, however, and it’s possible that the marriage was a hasty one. But why marry again three years later?

              But Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page did not marry twice.

              Elizabeth Page from Smisby was born in 1752 and married Michael Boss on the 5th of May 1776 in Measham. On the marriage licence allegations and bonds, Michael is a bachelor.

              Baby Elizabeth was baptised in Measham on the 9th February 1777. Mother Elizabeth died on the 18th February 1777, also in Measham.

              In 1779 Michael Boss married another Elizabeth Page! She was born in 1749 in Hartshorn, and Michael is a widower on the marriage licence allegations and bonds.

              Hartshorn and Smisby are neighbouring villages, hence the confusion.  But a closer look at the documents available revealed the clues.  Both Elizabeth Pages were literate, and indeed their signatures on the marriage registers are different:

              Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Smisby in 1776:

              Elizabeth Page 1776


              Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Harsthorn in 1779:

              Elizabeth Page 1779


              Not only did Michael Boss marry two women both called Elizabeth Page but he had an unusual start in life as well. His uncle Michael Boss left him the blacksmith business and a third of his furniture. This was all in the will. But which of Uncle Michaels brothers was nephew Michaels father?

              The only Michael Boss born at the right time was in 1750 in Edingale, Staffordshire, about eight miles from Appleby Magna. His parents were Thomas Boss and Ann Parker, married in Edingale in 1747.  Thomas died in August 1750, and his son Michael was baptised in the December, posthumus son of Thomas and his widow Ann. Both entries are on the same page of the register.

              1750 posthumus


              Ann Boss, the young widow, married again. But perhaps Michael and his brother went to live with their childless uncle and aunt, Michael Boss and Grace Cuthbert.

              The great grandfather of Michael Boss (the Measham blacksmith born in 1850) was also Michael Boss, probably born in the 1660s. He died in Newton Regis in Warwickshire in 1724, four years after his son (also Michael Boss born 1693) married Jane Peircivall.  The entry on the parish register states that Michael Boss was buried ye 13th Affadavit made.

              I had not seen affadavit made on a parish register before, and this relates to the The Burying in Woollen Acts 1666–80.  According to Wikipedia:

               “Acts of the Parliament of England which required the dead, except plague victims and the destitute, to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles.  It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Burial entries in parish registers were marked with the word “affidavit” or its equivalent to confirm that affidavit had been sworn; it would be marked “naked” for those too poor to afford the woollen shroud.  The legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770.”

              Michael Boss buried 1724 “Affadavit made”:

              Michael Boss affadavit 1724




              Elizabeth Page‘s father was William Page 1717-1783, a wheelwright in Hartshorn.  (The father of the first wife Elizabeth was also William Page, but he was a husbandman in Smisby born in 1714. William Page, the father of the second wife, was born in Nailstone, Leicestershire, in 1717. His place of residence on his marriage to Mary Potter was spelled Nelson.)

              Her mother was Mary Potter 1719- of nearby Coleorton.  Mary’s father, Richard Potter 1677-1731, was a blacksmith in Coleorton.

              A page of the will of Richard Potter 1731:

              Richard Potter 1731


              Richard Potter states: “I will and order that my son Thomas Potter shall after my decease have one shilling paid to him and no more.”  As he left £50 to each of his daughters, one can’t help but wonder what Thomas did to displease his father.

              Richard stipulated that his son Thomas should have one shilling paid to him and not more, for several good considerations, and left “the house and ground lying in the parish of Whittwick in a place called the Long Lane to my wife Mary Potter to dispose of as she shall think proper.”

              His son Richard inherited the blacksmith business:  “I will and order that my son Richard Potter shall live and be with his mother and serve her duly and truly in the business of a blacksmith, and obey and serve her in all lawful commands six years after my decease, and then I give to him and his heirs…. my house and grounds Coulson House in the Liberty of Thringstone”

              Richard wanted his son John to be a blacksmith too: “I will and order that my wife bring up my son John Potter at home with her and teach or cause him to be taught the trade of a blacksmith and that he shall serve her duly and truly seven years after my decease after the manner of an apprentice and at the death of his mother I give him that house and shop and building and the ground belonging to it which I now dwell in to him and his heirs forever.”

              To his daughters Margrett and Mary Potter, upon their reaching the age of one and twenty, or the day after their marriage, he leaves £50 each. All the rest of his goods are left to his loving wife Mary.


              An inventory of the belongings of Richard Potter, 1731:

              Richard Potter inventory


              Richard Potters father was also named Richard Potter 1649-1719, and he too was a blacksmith.

              Richard Potter of Coleorton in the county of Leicester, blacksmith, stated in his will:  “I give to my son and daughter Thomas and Sarah Potter the possession of my house and grounds.”

              He leaves ten pounds each to his daughters Jane and Alice, to his son Francis he gives five pounds, and five shillings to his son Richard. Sons Joseph and William also receive five shillings each. To his daughter Mary, wife of Edward Burton, and her daughter Elizabeth, he gives five shillings each. The rest of his good, chattels and wordly substance he leaves equally between his son and daugter Thomas and Sarah. As there is no mention of his wife, it’s assumed that she predeceased him.

              The will of Richard Potter, 1719:

              Richard Potter 1719


              Richard Potter’s (1649-1719) parents were William Potter and Alse Huldin, both born in the early 1600s.  They were married in 1646 at Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire.  The name Huldin appears to originate in Finland.

              William Potter was a blacksmith. In the 1659 parish registers of Breedon on the Hill, William Potter of Breedon blacksmith buryed the 14th July.


                The Measham Thatchers

                Orgills, Finches and Wards

                Measham is a large village in north west Leicestershire, England, near the Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire boundaries. Our family has a penchant for border straddling, and the Orgill’s of Measham take this a step further living on the boundaries of four counties.  Historically it was in an exclave of Derbyshire absorbed into Leicestershire in 1897, so once again we have two sets of county records to search.


                Richard Gretton, the baker of Swadlincote and my great grandmother Florence Nightingale Grettons’ father, married Sarah Orgill (1840-1910) in 1861.

                (Incidentally, Florence Nightingale Warren nee Gretton’s first child Hildred born in 1900 had the middle name Orgill. Florence’s brother John Orgill Gretton emigrated to USA.)

                When they first married, they lived with Sarah’s widowed mother Elizabeth in Measham.  Elizabeth Orgill is listed on the 1861 census as a farmer of two acres.

                Sarah Orgill’s father Matthew Orgill (1798-1859) was a thatcher, as was his father Matthew Orgill (1771-1852).

                Matthew Orgill the elder left his property to his son Henry:

                Matthew Orgills will


                Sarah’s mother Elizabeth (1803-1876) was also an Orgill before her marriage to Matthew.

                According to Pigot & Co’s Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, in Measham in 1835 Elizabeth Orgill was a straw bonnet maker, an ideal occupation for a thatchers wife.

                Matthew Orgill, thatcher, is listed in White’s directory in 1857, and other Orgill’s are mentioned in Measham:

                Mary Orgill, straw hat maker; Henry Orgill, grocer; Daniel Orgill, painter; another Matthew Orgill is a coal merchant and wheelwright. Likewise a number of Orgill’s are listed in the directories for Measham in the subsequent years, as farmers, plumbers, painters, grocers, thatchers, wheelwrights, coal merchants and straw bonnet makers.


                Matthew and Elizabeth Orgill, Measham Baptist church:

                Orgill grave


                According to a history of thatching, for every six or seven thatchers appearing in the 1851 census there are now less than one.  Another interesting fact in the history of thatched roofs (via thatchinginfo dot com):

                The Watling Street Divide…
                The biggest dividing line of all, that between the angular thatching of the Northern and Eastern traditions and the rounded Southern style, still roughly follows a very ancient line; the northern section of the old Roman road of Watling Street, the modern A5. Seemingly of little significance today; this was once the border between two peoples. Agreed in the peace treaty, between the Saxon King Alfred and Guthrum, the Danish Viking leader; over eleven centuries ago.
                After making their peace, various Viking armies settled down, to the north and east of the old road; firstly, in what was known as The Danelaw and later in Norse kingdoms, based in York. They quickly formed a class of farmers and peasants. Although the Saxon kings soon regained this area; these people stayed put. Their influence is still seen, for example, in the widespread use of boarded gable ends, so common in Danish thatching.
                Over time, the Southern and Northern traditions have slipped across the old road, by a few miles either way. But even today, travelling across the old highway will often bring the differing thatching traditions quickly into view.

                Pear Tree Cottage, Bosworth Road, Measham. 1900.  Matthew Orgill was a thatcher living on Bosworth road.

                Bosworth road



                Matthew the elder married Frances Finch 1771-1848, also of Measham.  On the 1851 census Matthew is an 80 year old thatcher living with his daughter Mary and her husband Samuel Piner, a coal miner.

                Henry Finch 1743- and Mary Dennis 1749- , both of Measham, were Frances parents.  Henry’s father was also Henry Finch, born in 1707 in Measham, and he married Frances Ward, also born in 1707, and also from Measham.



                The ancient boundary between the kingdom of Mercia and the Danelaw

                I didn’t find much information on the history of Measham, but I did find a great deal of ancient history on the nearby village of Appleby Magna, two miles away.  The parish records indicate that the Ward and Finch branches of our family date back to the 1500’s in the village, and we can assume that the ancient history of the neighbouring village would be relevant to our history.

                There is evidence of human settlement in Appleby from the early Neolithic period, 6,000 years ago, and there are also Iron Age and Bronze Age sites in the vicinity.  There is evidence of further activity within the village during the Roman period, including evidence of a villa or farm and a temple.  Appleby is near three known Roman roads: Watling Street, 10 miles south of the village; Bath Lane, 5 miles north of the village; and Salt Street, which forms the parish’s south boundary.

                But it is the Scandinavian invasions that are particularly intriguing, with regard to my 58% Scandinavian DNA (and virtually 100% Midlands England ancestry). Repton is 13 miles from Measham. In the early 10th century Chilcote, Measham and Willesley were part of the royal Derbyshire estate of Repton.

                The arrival of Scandinavian invaders in the second half of the ninth century caused widespread havoc throughout northern England. By the AD 870s the Danish army was occupying Mercia and it spent the winter of 873-74 at Repton, the headquarters of the Mercian kings. The events are recorded in detail in the Peterborough manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles…

                Although the Danes held power for only 40 years, a strong, even subversive, Danish element remained in the population for many years to come. 

                A Scandinavian influence may also be detected among the field names of the parish. Although many fields have relatively modern names, some clearly have elements which reach back to the time of Danish incursion and control.

                The Borders:

                The name ‘aeppel byg’ is given in the will of Wulfic Spot of AD 1004……………..The decision at Domesday to include this land in Derbyshire, as one of Burton Abbey’s Derbyshire manors, resulted in the division of the village of Appleby Magna between the counties of Leicester and Derby for the next 800 years

                Richard Dunmore’s Appleby Magma website.

                This division of Appleby between Leicestershire and Derbyshire persisted from Domesday until 1897, when the recently created county councils (1889) simplified the administration of many villages in this area by a radical realignment of the boundary:



                I would appear that our family not only straddle county borders, but straddle ancient kingdom borders as well.  This particular branch of the family (we assume, given the absence of written records that far back) were living on the edge of the Danelaw and a strong element of the Danes survives to this day in my DNA.



                  The Housley Letters 

                  From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters.


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

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

                  William and Ellen Marriage


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

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

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


                  ELLEN HOUSLEY 1795-1872

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

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

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


                  Mary’s children:

                  MARY ANN HOUSLEY  1808-1878

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

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

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


                  WILLIAM HOUSLEY JR. 1812-1890

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

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


                  Ellen’s children:

                  JOHN HOUSLEY  1815-1893

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  John Housley


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


                  SAMUEL HOUSLEY 1816-

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

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

                  Housley Deaths


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

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

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


                  EDWARD HOUSLEY 1819-1843

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


                  ANNE HOUSLEY 1821-1856

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  The Carrington Farm:

                  Carringtons Farm


                  CHARLES HOUSLEY 1823-1855

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

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

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

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

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


                  GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                  ROBERT HOUSLEY 1832-1851

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

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

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

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


                  EMMA HOUSLEY 1836-1871

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

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

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

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

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

                  Emma Housley and Edwin Welch Harvey wedding, 1858:

                  Emma Housley wedding


                  JOSEPH HOUSLEY 1838-1893

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Joseph Housley and the Kiddsley cottages:

                  Joseph Housley


                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    continued part 9

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                    Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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


                    Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Mbeya 1st November 1946

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                      From Tanganyika with Love

                      continued part 8

                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                      Morogoro 20th January 1941

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Morogoro 30th July 1941

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                      Morogoro 26th August 1941

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                      Morogoro 25th December 1941

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                      Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                      Morogoro 26th January 1944

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                      Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                      Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

                      Dearest Mummy,

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

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

                      Very much love,

                      Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                      Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Much love,



                        From Tanganyika with Love

                        continued  ~ part 6

                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                        Mchewe 6th June 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                        With much love,

                        Mchewe 25th June 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                        Lots of love,

                        Mchewe 9th July 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Mchewe 8th October 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                        Mchewe 17th October 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Mchewe 18th November 1937

                        My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

                        Mchewe 18th November 1937

                        Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

                        Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                        Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                        Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                        Mbulu 20th June 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Karatu 3rd July 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                        Karatu 12th July 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                        Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                          From Tanganyika with Love

                          continued  ~ part 3

                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                          Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          Very much love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                          your loving but anxious,

                          Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Very much love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Lots and lots of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                          Who would be a mother!

                          Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                          Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Lots and lots of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

                          Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          With love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

                          With love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                          Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          Your very loving,

                          Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                          With love to all,


                            From Tanganyika with Love


                            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                            Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                            Very much love,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Eleanor Rushby


                            Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Your very loving,

                            Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Lots and lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Much love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                            Much love to all,

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

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                            We all send our love,

                            Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Very much love,

                            Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                            Much love from a proud mother of two.

                            Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                            Your affectionate,

                            Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                            your affectionate,

                            Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                            Very much love

                            Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                            Dear Family,

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

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

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

                            Lots and lots of love,

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

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Very much love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                            Much love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                            Lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Lots of love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Much love to you all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                            Much love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                            Lots of love, Eleanor


                              From Tanganyika with Love

                              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Much love my dear,
                              your jubilant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Bless you all,

                              S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Eleanor Leslie.

                              Eleanor and George Rushby:

                              Eleanor and George Rushby

                              Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Your cave woman

                              Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Much love to you all,

                              Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Your loving

                              Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Very much love,

                              Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                              26th December 1930

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

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

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

                              Lots and lots of love,

                              Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Your loving,

                              Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

                              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                              Very much love,

                              Mchewe Estate 20th