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    After a long, long-haul flight, Sha was woken up by the ding of the landing announcement. Glor was still snoring loudly spread over the limited space of their economy places, her mouth agape, the armrest dangerously stuck in her ample forms. They were finally landing in Rio for the Carnival!

    Sha: “Glor, Glor! Wake up, love, we’re almost there! Can’t believe that Bingo win’s got us all the way to Rio!”

    Glo: “Eh? Wha’? Oh crikey, we’re not on the number 52 bus to Piccadilly? My bunions were having the most delightful dream.”

    Mavis popped her head from the place behind them. The attendant signaled her with a rude gesture to stay seated, as the engines were stating to roar announcing the close landing.

    Mavis: “Oh, I do hope they have those fancy coxcombs at the carnival. You know, the ones with all the feathers and sparkles. Our Bernard used to say I looked like a proper mopsy with one on me head.”

    Sha: “Now Mavis, don’t you go getting ideas above your station. We’re here for the festivities, not to join the parade! Though, a little samba wouldn’t hurt, eh?”

    Glo: “Samba? I thought that was a kind of sandwich. I ain’t dancing, not with my sciatica. I’ll just sit and supervise, yeah?”

    Mavis: “I brought me camera, you know, the one with the clicky button. Gonna take pictures of all the costumes and such. Might even sneak in a selfie, show it off at the bingo hall.”

    Sha: “Pack it in, you two. Let’s just make sure we find our hotel. You remember what happened last time. Glor here thought the luggage conveyor was a ride and we spent three hours in customs!”

    Glo: “Not my fault, Sha. It was moving and I thought, ‘Why not?’ Adventure is the spice of life, ain’t it?”

    Mavis: “Well, as long as there’s a good cuppa at the end of it, I’m game for anything. Let’s get this carnival caper started, girls!”


    They had to wait for Finnlee to diligently do the first room, her morning routine starting with the hall.
    Malové knew better for her effects than to try to speak in the middle of all that cleaning. Luckily for them, Finnlee was anything but quick and efficient, so it didn’t take long for the sound of the hoover and the slurping noises of the mopping stick to move to another room, resorbing in the background.

    While Malové had made herself comfortable in a neon green armchair with a peppermint tea, the other witches had used the noise coverage to whisper to each other concerns and hypothesis. “So what is this about?…”

    Malové relished in the waiting obviously. After the silence had come back, save from a few clangs and humming cursing sounds in the background, she started to expose the reason they were all here.

    In her most dramatic fashion, Malové began, “Ladies, we’re off to Rio. The Carnival awaits. Get your sequins, feathers, and your most daring dance moves ready.”

    “But why?” Truella asked, her eyes widening. “I mean, I love a good party, but why Rio?”

    “Because, dear Truella,” Malové smirked, “where else can we find such a delicious blend of desire, passion, and pure, unadulterated lust?”

    Jeezel piped in, “You mean we’re going there to… collect?”

    “Oh, we’re going to do more than just collect,” Malové replied, an unruly gleam in her eyes. “We’re going to distill it, bottle it, and use it to create a new line of incense and smokes. These will not just spice up the lives of those around us, but aid in procreation. After all, the world does need a bit of a… boost.”

    “A bit risqué, don’t you think?” Frigella said, raising an eyebrow.

    “Darling, risqué is my middle name,” Malové retorted. “Now, pack your bags. The Carnival won’t wait for us, and we have some serious samba-ing to do.”

    Eris, who had been silent till now, finally spoke, “This could either be the most ingenious plan you’ve ever concocted, or the most disastrous. You surely have heard about the dengue outbreaks?”

    “Well,” Malové smiled, “of course I have. That’s why we’ll have the perfect cover. We will be blending in as nurses part of the relief effort locally. And anyway, there’s only one way to find out. To Rio and the Sambadrome, my witches!”

    The quartet of witches looked at each other, clearly not unhappy to leave behind for some time the chill of Limerick for the wild heat of Rio, the promise of adventure twinkling in their eyes of some.


      write a short story based on the following cloud of words:

      pride bet shouted lit wibberly case highly ours unless paid spend twice gay talking heads elizabeth in entries drink kill baker


      “Gay baker triumphs over adversity”

      Once upon a time, there was a gay baker named Elizabeth who took a great deal of pride in her craft. She spent twice the amount of money on high-quality ingredients and put in extra effort to make her baked goods stand out from the rest. However, her small town was not particularly accepting of the LGBT community, and she often faced discrimination from her neighbors.

      One day, a group of men from the town entered her bakery and began shouting homophobic slurs at her. Elizabeth, feeling hurt and humiliated, decided that she would not let their hateful words get to her. She refused to back down and instead, decided to put all of her energy into creating a spectacular cake for the annual county fair.

      She worked tirelessly on the cake, putting in long hours and experimenting with new flavors and techniques. The day of the fair finally arrived and Elizabeth brought her entry to be judged. To her surprise and delight, her cake was declared the winner and she was awarded a blue ribbon.

      As she stood on stage holding her ribbon, Elizabeth couldn’t help but think about the men who had shouted at her in her bakery. She realized that their words no longer had power over her and she felt a sense of vindication. She knew that she had proven to herself and to her community that she was a skilled baker and a worthy member of society, regardless of her sexual orientation.

      Feeling elated, Elizabeth closed the bakery for the day and went to the local bar where she met her friends, and they all drinks together, she was happy and felt like nothing can bring her down, as she went back home she felt like a new person, someone who has overcome prejudice and discrimination, she felt like a winner not just in the fair but in life.

      The end.


        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 Sang

        1928 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


          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 7

            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

            Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


            Mbulu. 30th September 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Mbulu. 25th October 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


            Iringa. 30th November 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 14th February 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 28th February 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 25th March 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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


            Nzassa 28th April 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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


            Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 5th August 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


            Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 14th September 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 4th November 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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


            Iringa 8th December 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 10th March 1940

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


            Morogoro 14th July 1940

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 16th November 1940

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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




              From Tanganyika with Love

              continued  ~ part 6

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              Mchewe 6th June 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              With much love,

              Mchewe 25th June 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

              Lots of love,

              Mchewe 9th July 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe 8th October 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe 17th October 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe 18th November 1937

              My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

              Mchewe 18th November 1937

              Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

              Mchewe 12th February, 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Mbulu 18th March, 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Mbulu 24th March, 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Mbulu 20th June 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Karatu 3rd July 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


              Karatu 12th July 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani. 19th July 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani. 10th August 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani. 20th August 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                From Tanganyika with Love

                continued  ~ part 4

                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                With much love,

                Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                Heaps of love to all,

                Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                With heaps of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

                Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

                Lots and lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                Your very affectionate,

                Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

                With love to you all,

                Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                Much love to you all,

                Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

                Your worried but affectionate,

                Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

                Much love,

                Mchewe. 12th November 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Lots and lots of love to all,

                Chunya 27th November 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Much love to all,



                  From Tanganyika with Love

                  continued  ~ part 3

                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                  Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Very much love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                  your loving but anxious,

                  Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots and lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Who would be a mother!

                  Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                  Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots and lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  With love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

                  With love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                  Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Your very loving,

                  Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  With love to all,


                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Much love my dear,
                    your jubilant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Bless you all,

                    S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Eleanor Leslie.

                    Eleanor and George Rushby:

                    Eleanor and George Rushby

                    Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your cave woman

                    Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Much love to you all,

                    Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your loving

                    Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Very much love,

                    Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                    26th December 1930

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

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

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

                    Lots and lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your loving,

                    Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                    Very much love,

                    Mchewe Estate 20th April 1931

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                    Mchewe Estate. 20th May 1931

                    Dear Family,

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

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

                    I keep busy so that the days pass quickly enough. I am delighted with the
                    material you sent me for curtains and loose covers and have hired a hand sewing
                    machine from Pedro-of-the-overcoat and am rattling away all day. The machine is an
                    ancient German one and when I say rattle, I mean rattle. It is a most cumbersome, heavy
                    affair of I should say, the same vintage as George Stevenson’s Rocket locomotive.
                    Anyway it sews and I am pleased with my efforts. We made a couch ourselves out of a
                    native bed, a mattress and some planks but all this is hidden under the chintz cover and
                    it looks quite the genuine bought article. I have some diversions too. Small black faced
                    monkeys sit in the trees outside our bedroom window and they are most entertaining to
                    watch. They are very mischievous though. When I went out into the garden this morning
                    before breakfast I found that the monkeys had pulled up all my carnations. There they
                    lay, roots in the air and whether they will take again I don’t know.

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

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

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

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

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

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



                      My Grandparents

                      George Samuel Marshall 1903-1995

                      Florence Noreen Warren (Nora) 1906-1988

                      I always called my grandfather Mop, apparently because I couldn’t say the name Grandpa, but whatever the reason, the name stuck. My younger brother also called him Mop, but our two cousins did not.

                      My earliest memories of my grandparents are the picnics.  Grandma and Mop loved going out in the car for a picnic. Favourite spots were the Clee Hills in Shropshire, North Wales, especially Llanbedr, Malvern, and Derbyshire, and closer to home, the caves and silver birch woods at Kinver Edge, Arley by the river Severn, or Bridgnorth, where Grandma’s sister Hildreds family lived.  Stourbridge was on the western edge of the Black Country in the Midlands, so one was quickly in the countryside heading west.  They went north to Derbyshire less, simply because the first part of the trip entailed driving through Wolverhampton and other built up and not particularly pleasant urban areas.  I’m sure they’d have gone there more often, as they were both born in Derbyshire, if not for that initial stage of the journey.

                      There was predominantly grey tartan car rug in the car for picnics, and a couple of folding chairs.  There were always a couple of cushions on the back seat, and I fell asleep in the back more times than I can remember, despite intending to look at the scenery.  On the way home Grandma would always sing,  “Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed, I had a little drink about an hour ago, And it’s gone right to my head.”  I’ve looked online for that song, and have not found it anywhere!

                      Grandma didn’t just make sandwiches for picnics, there were extra containers of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and so on.  I used to love to wash up the picnic plates in the little brook on the Clee Hills, near Cleeton St Mary.  The close cropped grass was ideal for picnics, and Mop and the sheep would Baaa at each other.

                      Mop would base the days outting on the weather forcast, but Grandma often used to say he always chose the opposite of what was suggested. She said if you want to go to Derbyshire, tell him you want to go to Wales.  I recall him often saying, on a gloomy day, Look, there’s a bit of clear sky over there.  Mop always did the driving as Grandma never learned to drive. Often she’d dust the dashboard with a tissue as we drove along.

                      My brother and I often spent the weekend at our grandparents house, so that our parents could go out on a Saturday night.  They gave us 5 shillings pocket money, which I used to spend on two Ladybird books at 2 shillings and sixpence each.  We had far too many sweets while watching telly in the evening ~ in the dark, as they always turned the lights off to watch television.  The lemonade and pop was Corona, and came in returnable glass bottles.  We had Woodpecker cider too, even though it had a bit of an alcohol content.

                      Mop smoked Kensitas and Grandma smoked Sovereign cigarettes, or No6, and the packets came with coupons.  They often let me choose something for myself out of the catalogue when there were enough coupons saved up.

                      When I had my first garden, in a rented house a short walk from theirs, they took me to garden nurseries and taught me all about gardening.  In their garden they had berberis across the front of the house under the window, and cotoneaster all along the side of the garage wall. The silver birth tree on the lawn had been purloined as a sapling from Kinver edge, when they first moved into the house.  (they lived in that house on Park Road for more than 60 years).  There were perennials and flowering shrubs along the sides of the back garden, and behind the silver birch, and behind that was the vegeatable garden.  Right at the back was an Anderson shelter turned into a shed, the rhubarb, and the washing line, and the canes for the runner beans in front of those.  There was a little rose covered arch on the path on the left, and privet hedges all around the perimeter.

                      My grandfather was a dental technician. He worked for various dentists on their premises over the years, but he always had a little workshop of his own at the back of his garage. His garage was full to the brim of anything that might potentially useful, but it was not chaotic. He knew exactly where to find anything, from the tiniest screw for spectacles to a useful bit of wire. He was “mechanicaly minded” and could always fix things like sewing machines and cars and so on.

                      Mop used to let me sit with him in his workshop, and make things out of the pink wax he used for gums to embed the false teeth into prior to making the plaster casts. The porcelain teeth came on cards, and were strung in place by means of little holes on the back end of the teeth. I still have a necklace I made by threading teeth onto a string. There was a foot pedal operated drill in there as well, possibly it was a dentists drill previously, that he used with miniature grinding or polishing attachments. Sometimes I made things out of the pink acrylic used for the final denture, which had a strong smell and used to harden quickly, so you had to work fast. Initially, the workshop was to do the work for Uncle Ralph, Grandmas’s sisters husband, who was a dentist. In later years after Ralph retired, I recall a nice man called Claude used to come in the evening to collect the dentures for another dental laboratory. Mop always called his place of work the laboratory.

                      Grandma loved books and was always reading, in her armchair next to the gas fire. I don’t recall seeing Mop reading a book, but he was amazingly well informed about countless topics.
                      At family gatherings, Mops favourite topic of conversation after dinner was the atrocities committed over the centuries by organized religion.

                      My grandfather played snooker in his younger years at the Conservative club. I recall my father assuming he voted Conservative, and Mop told him in no uncertain terms that he’s always voted Labour. When asked why he played snooker at the Conservative club and not the Labour club, he said with a grin that “it was a better class of people”, but that he’d never vote Conservative because it was of no benefit to the likes of us working people.

                      Grandma and her sister in law Marie had a little grocers shop on Brettel Lane in Amblecote for a few years but I have no personal recollection of that as it was during the years we lived in USA. I don’t recall her working other than that. She had a pastry making day once a week, and made Bakewell tart, apple pie, a meat pie, and her own style of pizza. She had an old black hand operated sewing machine, and made curtains and loose covers for the chairs and sofa, but I don’t think she made her own clothes, at least not in later years. I have her sewing machine here in Spain.
                      At regular intervals she’d move all the furniture around and change the front room into the living room and the back into the dining room and vice versa. In later years Mop always had the back bedroom (although when I lived with them aged 14, I had the back bedroom, and painted the entire room including the ceiling purple). He had a very lumpy mattress but he said it fit his bad hip perfectly.

                      Grandma used to alternate between the tiny bedroom and the big bedroom at the front. (this is in later years, obviously) The wardrobes and chests of drawers never changed, they were oak and substantial, but rather dated in appearance. They had a grandfather clock with a brass face and a grandmother clock. Over the fireplace in the living room was a Utrillo print. The bathroom and lavatory were separate rooms, and the old claw foot bath had wood panels around it to make it look more modern. There was a big hot water geyser above it. Grandma was fond of using stick on Fablon tile effects to try to improve and update the appearance of the bathroom and kitchen. Mop was a generous man, but would not replace household items that continued to function perfectly well. There were electric heaters in all the rooms, of varying designs, and gas fires in living room and dining room. The coal house on the outside wall was later turned into a downstairs shower room, when Mop moved his bedroom downstairs into the front dining room, after Grandma had died and he was getting on.


                      Mop was 91 when he told me he wouldn’t be growing any vegetables that year. He said the sad thing was that he knew he’d never grow vegetables again. He worked part time until he was in his early 80s.


                        My Grandparents Kitchen

                        My grandmother used to have golden syrup in her larder, hanging on the white plastic coated storage rack that was screwed to the inside of the larder door. Mostly the larder door was left propped open with an old flat iron, so you could see the Heinz ketchup and home made picallilli (she made a particularly good picallili), the Worcester sauce and the jar of pickled onions, as you sat at the kitchen table.

                        If you were sitting to the right of the kitchen table you could see an assortment of mismatched crockery, cups and bowls, shoe cleaning brushes, and at the back, tiny tins of baked beans and big ones of plum tomatoes,  and normal sized tins of vegetable and mushroom soup.  Underneath the little shelves that housed the tins was a blue plastic washing up bowl with a few onions, some in, some out of the yellow string bag they came home from the expensive little village supermarket in.

                        There was much more to the left in the awkward triangular shape under the stairs, but you couldn’t see under there from your seat at the kitchen table.  You could see the shelf above the larder door which held an ugly china teapot of graceless modern lines, gazed with metallic silver which was wearing off in places. Beside the teapot sat a serving bowl, squat and shapely with little handles, like a flattened Greek urn, in white and reddish brown with flecks of faded gilt. A plain white teapot completed the trio, a large cylindrical one with neat vertical ridges and grooves.

                        There were two fridges under the high shallow wooden wall cupboard.  A waist high bulbous old green one with a big handle that pulled out with a clunk, and a chest high sleek white one with a small freezer at the top with a door of its own.  On the top of the fridges were biscuit and cracker tins, big black keys, pencils and brittle yellow notepads, rubber bands and aspirin value packs and a bottle of Brufen.  There was a battered old maroon spectacle case and a whicker letter rack, letters crammed in and fanning over the top.  There was always a pile of glossy advertising pamphlets and flyers on top of the fridges, of the sort that were best put straight into the tiny pedal bin.

                        My grandmother never lined the pedal bin with a used plastic bag, nor with a specially designed plastic bin liner. The bin was so small that the flip top lid was often gaping, resting on a mound of cauliflower greens and soup tins.  Behind the pedal bin, but on the outer aspect of the kitchen wall, was the big black dustbin with the rubbery lid. More often than not, the lid was thrust upwards. If Thursday when the dustbin men came was several days away, you’d wish you hadn’t put those newspapers in, or those old shoes!  You stood in the softly drizzling rain in your slippers, the rubbery sheild of a lid in your left hand and the overflowing pedal bin in the other.  The contents of the pedal bin are not going to fit into the dustbin.  You sigh, put the pedal bin and the dustbin lid down, and roll up your sleeves ~ carefully, because you’ve poked your fingers into a porridge covered teabag.  You grab the sides of the protruding black sack and heave. All being well,  the contents should settle and you should have several inches more of plastic bag above the rim of the dustbin.  Unless of course it’s a poor quality plastic bag in which case your fingernail will go through and a horizontal slash will appear just below rubbish level.  Eventually you upend the pedal bin and scrape the cigarette ash covered potato peelings into the dustbin with your fingers. By now the fibres of your Shetland wool jumper are heavy with damp, just like the fuzzy split ends that curl round your pale frowning brow.  You may push back your hair with your forearm causing the moisture to bead and trickle down your face, as you turn the brass doorknob with your palm and wrist, tea leaves and cigarette ash clinging unpleasantly to your fingers.

                        The pedal bin needs rinsing in the kitchen sink, but the sink is full of mismatched saucepans, some new in shades of harvest gold, some battered and mishapen in stainless steel and aluminium, bits of mashed potato stuck to them like concrete pebbledash. There is a pale pink octagonally ovoid shallow serving dish and a little grey soup bowl with a handle like a miniature pottery saucepan decorated with kitcheny motifs.

                        The water for the coffee bubbles in a suacepan on the cream enamelled gas cooker. My grandmother never used a kettle, although I do remember a heavy flame orange one. The little pan for boiling water had a lip for easy pouring and a black plastic handle.

                        The steam has caused the condensation on the window over the sink to race in rivulets down to the fablon coated windowsill.  The yellow gingham curtains hang limply, the left one tucked behind the back of the cooker.

                        You put the pedal bin back it it’s place below the tea towel holder, and rinse your mucky fingers under the tap. The gas water heater on the wall above you roars into life just as you turn the tap off, and disappointed, subsides.

                        As you lean over to turn the cooker knob, the heat from the oven warms your arm. The gas oven was almost always on, the oven door open with clean tea towels and sometimes large white pants folded over it to air.

                        The oven wasn’t the only heat in my grandparents kitchen. There was an electric bar fire near the red formica table which used to burn your legs. The kitchen table was extended by means of a flap at each side. When I was small I wasn’t allowed to snap the hinge underneath shut as my grandmother had pinched the skin of her palm once.

                        The electric fire was plugged into the same socket as the radio. The radio took a minute or two to warm up when you switched it on, a bulky thing with sharp seventies edges and a reddish wood effect veneer and big knobs.  The light for my grandfathers workshop behind the garage (where he made dentures) was plugged into the same socket, which had a big heavy white three way adaptor in. The plug for the washing machine was hooked by means of a bit of string onto a nail or hook so that it didn’t fall down behing the washing machine when it wasn’t plugged in. Everything was unplugged when it wasn’t in use.  Sometimes there was a shrivelled Christmas cactus on top of the radio, but it couldn’t hide the adaptor and all those plugs.

                        Above the washing machine was a rhomboid wooden wall cupboard with sliding frsoted glass doors.  It was painted creamy gold, the colour of a nicotine stained pub ceiling, and held packets of Paxo stuffing and little jars of Bovril and Marmite, packets of Bisto and a jar of improbably red Maraschino cherries.

                        The nicotine coloured cupboard on the opposite wall had half a dozen large hooks screwed under the bottom shelf. A variety of mugs and cups hung there when they weren’t in the bowl waiting to be washed up. Those cupboard doors seemed flimsy for their size, and the thin beading on the edge of one door had come unstuck at the bottom and snapped back if you caught it with your sleeve.  The doors fastened with a little click in the centre, and the bottom of the door reverberated slightly as you yanked it open. There were always crumbs in the cupboard from the numerous packets of bisucits and crackers and there was always an Allbran packet with the top folded over to squeeze it onto the shelf. The sugar bowl was in there, sticky grains like sandpaper among the biscuit crumbs.

                        Half of one of the shelves was devoted to medicines: grave looking bottles of codeine linctus with no nonsense labels,  brown glass bottles with pills for rheumatism and angina.  Often you would find a large bottle, nearly full, of Brewers yeast or vitamin supplements with a dollar price tag, souvenirs of the familys last visit.  Above the medicines you’d find a faded packet of Napolitana pasta bows or a dusty packet of muesli. My grandparents never used them but she left them in the cupboard. Perhaps the dollar price tags and foreign foods reminded her of her children.

                        If there had been a recent visit you would see monstrous jars of Sanka and Maxwell House coffee in there too, but they always used the coffee.  They liked evaporated milk in their coffee, and used tins and tins of “evap” as they called it. They would pour it over tinned fruit, or rhubard crumble or stewed apples.

                        When there was just the two of them, or when I was there as well, they’d eat at the kitchen table. The table would be covered in a white embroidered cloth and the food served in mismatched serving dishes. The cutlery was large and bent, the knife handles in varying shades of bone. My grandfathers favourite fork had the tip of each prong bent in a different direction. He reckoned it was more efficient that way to spear his meat.  He often used to chew his meat and then spit it out onto the side of his plate. Not in company, of course.  I can understand why he did that, not having eaten meat myself for so long. You could chew a piece of meat for several hours and still have a stringy lump between your cheek and your teeth.

                        My grandfather would always have a bowl of Allbran with some Froment wheat germ for his breakfast, while reading the Daily Mail at the kitchen table.  He never worse slippers, always shoes indoors,  and always wore a tie.  He had lots of ties but always wore a plain maroon one.  His shirts were always cream and buttoned at throat and cuff, and eventually started wearing shirts without detachable collars. He wore greeny grey trousers and a cardigan of the same shade most of the time, the same colour as a damp English garden.

                        The same colour as the slimy green wooden clothes pegs that I threw away and replaced with mauve and fuschia pink plastic ones.  “They’re a bit bright for up the garden, aren’t they,” he said.  He was right. I should have ignored the green peg stains on the laundry.  An English garden should be shades of moss and grassy green, rich umber soil and brick red walls weighed down with an atmosphere of dense and heavy greyish white.

                        After Grandma died and Mop had retired (I always called him Mop, nobody knows why) at 10:00am precisely Mop would  have a cup of instant coffee with evap. At lunch, a bowl of tinned vegetable soup in his special soup bowl, and a couple of Krackawheat crackers and a lump of mature Cheddar. It was a job these days to find a tasty cheddar, he’d say.

                        When he was working, and he worked until well into his seventies, he took sandwiches. Every day he had the same sandwich filling: a combination of cheese, peanut butter and marmite.  It was an unusal choice for an otherwise conventional man.  He loved my grandmothers cooking, which wasn’t brilliant but was never awful. She was always generous with the cheese in cheese sauces and the meat in meat pies. She overcooked the cauliflower, but everyone did then. She made her gravy in the roasting pan, and made onion sauce, bread sauce, parsley sauce and chestnut stuffing.  She had her own version of cosmopolitan favourites, and called her quiche a quiche when everyone was still calling it egg and bacon pie. She used to like Auntie Daphne’s ratatouille, rather exotic back then, and pronounced it Ratta Twa.  She made pizza unlike any other, with shortcrust pastry smeared with tomato puree from a tube, sprinkled with oregano and great slabs of cheddar.

                        The roast was always overdone. “We like our meat well done” she’d say. She’d walk up the garden to get fresh mint for the mint sauce and would announce with pride “these runner beans are out of the garding”. They always grew vegetables at the top of the garden, behind the lawn and the silver birch tree.  There was always a pudding: a slice of almond tart (always with home made pastry), a crumble or stewed fruit. Topped with evap, of course.


                        “Hyvää päivää hyvät naiset.”

                        “Bwawhahahaa” the three ladies rolled in fits of hysterical laughter.

                        “God dag damer?”

                        “OOooooh, AAAhhahaha.”

                        “I should have guessed they weren’t models enough to be Finns or Swedes.” muttered Barbara under her chin hair, readjusting her beehive ‘do. She almost regretted all the time spent learning the languages through the Fuertolingo app.

                        “Come right this way ladies, there are some measurements to be done, and extension works needed on the machines. I’m afraid the cryogenic caisson wasn’t sized for… your accomplishments.”

                        “Isn’t she a peach, bwahaha, wot nonsense! Let’s follow that moppet, your augustancies! Ooohuhuhu!” Sharon hooted all wobbly.


                          Jerk was back at the mall from a week’s holiday break. He was surprised to notice the moderation queue to be almost empty. Usually, he would have found AT LEAST three comments a day to moderate.

                          “Well, pity that.” he said, sipping his cold peppermint tea. “Summer is a slow season.”

                          All his neighbours seemed still gone to some far away places, the residential building was almost empty, if not for the Pekinese dog regularly peeing in front of Lucinda’s door. He’d heard it was probably the stress of his owner being gone for so long. Lucinda didn’t seem to mind the piss stench —her mopping was overall quite modest.

                          Good thing there was a misplaced comment. In two clicks, it was promptly rethreaded to the proper place. Of course the author of said comment would have argued with the whole logic, but she probably wouldn’t notice.


                          While she was posing for Maeve’s sketches this first afternoon before the Landlady’s theatrical entrance, Arona had felt her usual distrust towards strangers melt.

                          Her magical senses told her she could trust this girl. Maeve herself seemed still a bit on the fence, as though she was guarding a heavy secret, but she seemed to have moments of unexplained boldness and was not shy to engage either.

                          Without thinking twice, Arona had drawn her key out, and produced it in front of Maeve’s almond shaped eyes.

                          “Something tells me this is familiar to you; me and my friends are looking for what it is locking away.”

                          Maeve initial reaction was shocked and her composure seemed to be shaken for a moment.

                          Mandrake, be nice to Maeve!” Arona called, as the cat had jumped on Mave’s lap and was starting to pur.

                          “Don’t worry, I’m going to relax this precious moppet.” he replied back in purring meows only Arona could understand. “I heard that’s what cats do in this dimension when they don’t sleep.”

                          Maeve replied “Don’t worry, I quite like animals, he seems well behaved too. And he’s so cute with his tiny boots.”

                          Only momentarily distracted, and mildly relaxed by the cat’s purring, Maeve asked “how did you come by this key? It was not supposed to be found. I don’t know what it’s supposed to open, I suspect it was a fail-safe for my uncle, and I hid them in my dolls for safe-keeping.”

                          “Them?” Arona asked, rather as a validation to herself.
                          “As you suspected. There are more.” purred the cat harder.

                          Maeve leaned in close, almost dropping her sketchbook’s coloured pencils on the floor, “I think some bad people are after it. I suspect that my Uncle sent me those tickets to Australia so I could retrieve this one before the bad people arrive to snatch it.”

                          She jumped a little, realizing too late. “Wait? You don’t seem to be one of them… But what about all these other guests?”


                          Margoritt looked at the spot where Tak was nestled, under her desk, with a concerned puzzled look albeit mixed with a repressed laughter sparkling beneath the surface.
                          No matter how stern she wanted to look, she had a soft spot for the antics of the youngling.
                          “What have you done this time, dear? You have as guilty a face upon you as when you pilfered the raw mangoes that Mr Minn brought us, and got yourself an indigestion as a result…” she almost chuckled, but paused and squinted her eyes.
                          “Well except you didn’t look so… green.”

                          She craned her neck to see better the little face behind the mop of tangled hair.

                          “My, my, my… what have we got here!”


                          With a spring in her step that she had all but forgotten she possessed, Eleri set off on her trip to speak to her old friend Jolly about her husband Leroway’s latest plan that was causing some considerable controversy among the locals. Eleri planned to make the visit a short one, and to hasten back to Margoritt’s cottage in time for the departure of the expedition ~ because she surely wanted to be a part of that. But first, she had to see Jolly, and not just about Leroway. There was a sense of a stirring, or a quickening ~ it was hard to name precisely but there was a feeling of impending movement, that was wider than the expedition plans. Was Jolly feeling it, would she be considering it too? And if not, Eleri would bid her farewell, and make arrangements with her to send a caretaker down to her cottage. And what, she wondered, would happen about care taking the cottage if Jolly’s villagers were on the move again? Eleri frowned. How much did it matter? Perhaps a stranger would find it and choose to stay there, and make of it what they wished. But what about all her statues and ingredients? Eleri felt her steps falter on the old rocky road as her mind became crowded with all manner of things relating to the cottage, and her work.

                          You don’t have to plan every little thing! she reminded herself sternly. None of that has to be decided now anyway! It’s wonderful day to be out walking, hark: the rustling in the undergrowth, and the distant moo and clang of a cow bell.

                          The dreadful flu she’d had after the drenching had left her weakly despondent and not her usual self at all. But she’d heard the others talking while she’d been moping about and it was as if a little light had come on inside her.

                          She still had trouble remembering all their names: ever since the flu, she had a sort of memory weakness and a peculiar inability to recall timelines correctly. Mr Minn (ah, she noted that she had not forgotten his name!) said not to worry, it was a well known side effect of that particular virus, and that as all time was simultaneous anyway, and all beings were essentially one, it hardly mattered. But Mr Minn, Eleri had replied, It makes it a devil of a job to write a story, to which he enigmatically replied, Not necessarily!

                          Someone had asked, Who do we want to come on the expedition, or perhaps they said Who wants to come on the expedition, but Eleri had heard it as Who wants to be a person who wants to go on an expedition, or perhaps, what kind of person do the others want as an expedition companion. But whatever it was, it made Eleri stop and realize that she wasn’t even enjoying the morose despondent helpless feeling glump that she has turned into of late, and that it was only a feeling after all and if she couldn’t change that herself, then who the devil else was going to do it for her, and so she did, bit by bit. It might feel a bit fake at first, someone had said. And it did, somewhat, but it really wasn’t long before it felt quite natural, as it used to be. It was astonishing how quickly it worked, once she had put her mind to it. Less than a week of a determined intention to appreciate the simple things of the day. Such a simple recipe. One can only wonder in amazement at such a simple thing being forgotten so easily. But perhaps that was a side effect of some virus, caught long ago.

                          Enjoying the feeling of warm sun on her face, interspersed with moments of cool thanks to passing clouds, Eleri noticed the wildflowers along the way, abundant thanks to all the rain and all flowering at once it seemed, instead of the more usual sequence and succession. Briefly she wondered is this was a side effect of the virus, and another manifestation of the continuity and timeline issues. Even the wildflowers had all come at once this year. She had not noticed all those yellow ones flowering at the same time as all those pink ones in previous years, but a splendid riot they were and a feast for the eyes.

                          The puffy clouds drifting past across the sun were joining invisible hands together and forming a crowd, and it began to look like rain again. Eleri felt a little frown start to form and quickly changed it to a beaming smile, remembering the handy weightless impermeability shield that someone (who? Glynnis?) had given her for the trip. She would not catch another dose of the drenching memory flu again, not with the handy shield.

                          The raindrops started spattering the path in front of her, spotting the dusty ground, and Eleri activated the device, and became quite entranced with the effects of the droplets hitting the shield and dispersing.


                          Rukshan woke up early. A fine drizzle was almost in suspension in the air, and already the sounds of nature were heard all around the inn.
                          They shared breakfast with Lahmom who was packing to join a group for a trek high in the mountains. He wasn’t going in the same direction —the rain shadow and high plateaus of the mountainous ranges were not as attractive as the green slopes, and in winter, the treks were perilous.

                          The inn-keeper fed them an honest and nourishing breakfast, and after eating it in silent contentment, they went on their separate way, happy for the moment of companionship.

                          The entrance to the bamboo forest was easy to find, there were many stone sculptures almost all made from the same molds on either sides, many were propitiation offerings, that were clothed in red more often than not.
                          Once inside the bamboos, it was as though all sounds from outside had disappeared. It was only the omnipresent forest breathing slowly.

                          The path was narrow, and required some concentration to not miss the fading marks along the way. It had not been trodden for a while, it was obvious from the thick layers of brown leaves covering the ground.

                          After an hour or so of walking, he was already deep inside the forest, slowly on his way up to the slopes of the mountain forest where the Hermit and some relatives lived.

                          There was a soft cry that caught his attention. It wasn’t unusual to find all sorts of creatures in the woods, normally they would leave you alone if you did the same. But the sounds were like a calling for help, full of sadness.
                          It would surely mean a detour, but again, after that fence business, he may as well have been guided here for some unfathomable purpose. He walked resolutely toward the sound, and after a short walk in the sodden earth, he found the origin of the sound.

                          There was a small hole made of bamboo leaves, and in it he could see that there was a dying mother gibbon. Rukshan knew some stories about them, and his people had great respect for the peaceful apes. He move calmly to the side of the ape so as not to frighten her. She had an infant cradled in her arms, and she didn’t seem surprised to see him.
                          There were no words between them, but with her touch she told him all he needed to know. She was dying, and he could do nothing about it. She wanted for her boy to be taken care of. He already knew how to change his appearance to that of a young boy, but would need to be taught in the ways of humans. That was what many gibbons were doing, trying to live among humans. There was no turning back to the old ways, it was the way for her kind to survive, and she was too old for it.

                          Rukshan waited at her side, until she was ready to peacefully go. He closed her eyes gently, and when he was done, turned around to notice the baby ape had turned into a little silent boy with deep sad eyes and a thick mop of silvery hair. As he was standing naked in the misty forest, Rukshan’s first thought was to tear a piece of cloth from his cape to make a sort of tunic for the boy. Braiding some dry leaves of bamboos made a small rope he could use as a belt.

                          With that done, and last silent respects paid to the mother, he took the boy’s hand into his own, and went back to find the path he’d left.


                          But he was not speechless for long.

                          “Or was he?” asked an irritating voice from seemingly nowhere.

                          Because as luck would have it, Funley the cleaner popped her head in the door to see if the bin needed emptying and overheard Evangeline’s ill-timed and thoughtless words.

                          Snooty tart and what a bloody mess there will be to clean up tonight after the party.

                          “Don’t worry, Mr Steam, I will untangle this tangled web of threads for you! And I can mop your sweaty brow,” she added sarcastically, rolling her eyes at Evangeline.


                          Ed Steam was all but overwhelmed by the complexity of the situation.

                          He was up to his moustache in paperwork as he attempted to resolve the thread entanglement dilemma. At the same time he was striving to keep tabs on the various cacklers and manage the PR for the crowd gas experiments.

                          “What a jolly brouhaha,” he moaned.

                          “I am sorry to add to your woes,” said Evangeline cheerfully, “but there have been recent reports of a Cautacious Cackler cackling in various threads, although this may just be a typo for the Audacious Cackler or another strong possibility put forward by the experts is that the Cautacious Cackler has been confused for the Contumacious Cackler.“

                          She paused to see the effect this information was having on Ed, noting with pleasure the drops of sweat forming on his brow. She leaned over the desk and gently mopped them away with her handkerchief.

                          “And there have been unverified reports of a possible granite termitation on this thread,” she said softly.

                          It was too much for Ed.

                          “I want you to trace it back to when the first signs of entanglement began,” he screamed at Evangeline.

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