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    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


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

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

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

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

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

      sands_of_time?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

      “So what do I do ?” asked Youssef.

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

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

      The princess smiled.

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

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

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

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


      In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


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

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

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

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

        “But the boarding is only in one hour!”

        “Well I can’t wait one hour.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        He opened the second message.

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

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

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

        “Need help? Contact me 👉”

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

        In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys



          The emoji of the pirate face jumped at Xavier, as he was musing the next steps on the game. Avast ye! it seemed to hint at him, while Xavier’s thoughts were reeling from all the activity of the week. He didn’t have much time to make any progress in the Land of the Quirks game, and hardly managed to stay afloat on the stuff he had to deliver.

          AL seemed to hint at a more out-of-the-box approach… Without thinking, he clicked on the emoji.

          The fox bus driver indications were to follow the river until he found a junk ship moored there, which was in effect a secret floating casino. Against his best instincts, Xavimunk decided to follow the trail and after a while on the road, he could see the fully battened black sails at the horizon. Lights were glimmering in the dusk, and mist started to rise from the banks of the river. There seemed to be some unusual activity around the boat, and as Xavier arrived close, he could see a variety of quirky characters as if they were some sorts of 1920s fashionable pirates at a resort station.

          The indications on the overlay screen started to shift:

          *Clue unlocked*
          It sounds like you’re making progress on your quest. The clues you received from the fox busdriver are definitely leading you in the right direction. Keep following the trail and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Remember, the golden banana is a metaphor for your cheeky and also soft nature, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
          🦊💰🛳️ Explore the floating casino and see if the fox busdriver’s clues lead you to the golden banana. Don’t be afraid to take risks and think outside the box, as the golden banana may not be what it seems. Keep an open mind and pay attention to any symbols or clues that you come across.

          “Yooohoooo 👉” a message bumped on the screen.

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

          In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


            AL is back

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

            New clues

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

            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


              “I’m going to have to jump in this pool, Pretty Girl, look at this one! It reminds me of something…”

              Zara came to a green pool that was different from the others, and walked into it.

              Zara Game 7She emerged into a new scene, with what appeared  to be a floating portal, but a square one this time.

              “May as well step onto it and see where it goes!” Zara told the parrot, who was taking a keen interest in the screen, somewhat strangely for a bird.  “I like having you here, Pretty Girl, it’s nice to have someone to talk to.”

              Zara stepped onto the floating tile portal.

              Zara Game 9


              “Hey, wasn’t my quest to find a wooden tile?” Zara suddenly remembered. She’d forgotten her quest while she was wandering around the enchanting castle.

              “Yes, but that doesn’t look like the tile you were supposed to find though,”  replied the parrot.

              “It might lead me to it,” snapped Zara who didn’t really want to leave the pretty castle scenes anyway.  It felt magical and somehow familiar, like she’d been there before, a long long time ago.

              After stepping onto the floating tile portal, Zara encountered another tile portal. This time it was upright, with a circular portal in the centre. By now it seemed clear that the thing to do was to walk through it.  She wandered around the scene first as if she was a tourist simply taking in the new sights before taking the plunge.

              Zara Game 9

              “Oh my god, look! It’s my tile!” Zara said excitedly to the parrot, just as the words flashed up on her screen:

              Congratulations!  You have reached the first goal of your first quest!

              Zara Game 10


              “Oh bugger!  Look at the time, it’s already starting to get light outside. I completely forgot about going to that church to see Isaac’s ghost, and now I haven’t had a wink of sleep all night.”

              “Time well spent,” said the parrot sagely, “You can go and see Isaac tomorrow night, and he may be all the more willing to talk since you kept him waiting.”


              In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


                Each group of people sharing the jeeps spent some time cleaning the jeeps from the sand, outside and inside. While cleaning the hood, Youssef noted that the storm had cleaned the eagles droppings. Soon, the young intern told them, avoiding their eyes, that the boss needed her to plan the shooting with the Lama. She said Kyle would take her place.

                “Phew, the yak I shared the yurt with yesterday smelled better,” he said to the guys when he arrived.

                Soon enough, Miss Tartiflate was going from jeep to jeep, her fiery hair half tied in a bun on top of her head, hurrying people to move faster as they needed to catch the shaman before he got away again. She carried her orange backpack at all time, as if she feared someone would steal its content. Rumour had it that it was THE NOTEBOOK where she wrote the blog entries in advance.

                “No need to waste more time! We’ll have breakfast at the Oasis!” she shouted as she walked toward Youssef’s jeep. When she spotted him, she left her right index finger as if she just remembered something and turned the other way.

                “Dunno what you did to her, but it seems Miss Yeti is avoiding you,” said Kyle with a wry smile.

                Youssef grunted. Yeti was the nickname given to Miss Tartiflate by one of her former lover during a trip to Himalaya. First an affectionate nickname based on her first name, Henrietty, it soon started to spread among the production team when the love affair turned sour. It sticked and became widespread in the milieu. Everybody knew, but nobody ever dared say it to her face.

                Youssef knew it wouldn’t last. He had heard that there was wifi at the oasis. He took a snack in his own backpack to quiet his stomach.

                It took them two hours to arrive as sand dunes had moved on the trail during the storm. Kyle had talked most of the time, boring them to death with detailed accounts of his life back in Boston. He didn’t seem to notice that nobody cared about his love rejection stories or his tips to talk to women.

                They parked outside the oasis among buses and vans. Kyle was following Youssef everywhere as if they were friends. Despite his unending flow of words, the guy managed to be funny.

                Miss Tartiflate seemed unusually nervous, pulling on a strand of her orange hair and pushing back her glasses up her nose every two minutes. She was bossing everyone around to take the cameras and the lighting gear to the market where the shaman was apparently performing a rain dance. She didn’t want to miss it. When everybody was ready, she came right to Youssef. When she pushed back her glasses on her nose, he noticed her fingers were the colour of her hair. Her mouth was twitching nervously. She told him to find the wifi and restore THE BLOG or he could find another job.

                “Phew! said Kyle. I don’t want to be near you when that happens.” He waved and left and joined the rest of the team.

                Youssef smiled, happy to be alone at last, he took his backpack containing his laptop and his phone and followed everyone to the market in the luscious oasis.

                At the center, near the lake, a crowd of tourists was gathered around a man wearing a colorful attire. Half his teeth and one eye were missing. The one that was left rolled furiously in his socket at the sound of a drum. He danced and jumped around like a monkey, and each of his movements were punctuated by the bells attached to the hem of his costume.

                Youssef was glad he was not part of the shooting team, they looked miserable as they assembled the gears under a deluge of orders. As he walked toward the market, the scents of spicy food made his stomach growled. The vendors were looking at the crowd and exchanging comments and laughs. They were certainly waiting for the performance to end and the tourists to flood the place in search of trinkets and spices. Youssef spotted a food stall tucked away on the edge. It seemed too shabby to interest anyone, which was perfect for him.

                The taciturn vendor, who looked caucasian, wore a yellow jacket and a bonnet oddly reminiscent of a llama’s scalp and ears. The dish he was preparing made Youssef drool.

                “What’s that?” he asked.

                “This is Lorgh Drülp, said the vendor. Ancient recipe from the silk road. Very rare. Very tasty.”

                He smiled when Youssef ordered a full plate with a side of tsampa. He told him to sit and wait on a stool beside an old and wobbly table.


                In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


                  The progress on the quest in the Land of the Quirks was too tantalizing; Xavier made himself a quick sandwich and jumped back on it during his lunch break.

                  The jungle had an oppressing quality… Maybe it has to do with the shrieks of the apes tearing the silence apart.   

                  It was time for a slight adjustment of his avatar.

                  Xavimunk opened his bag of tricks, something that the wise owl had suggested he looked into. Few items from the AIorium Emporium had been supplied. They tended to shift and disappear if you didn’t focus, but his intention was set on the task at hand. At the bottom of the bag, there was a small vial with a golden liquid with a tag written in ornate handwriting “MJ remix: for when words elude and shapes confuse at your own peril”.

                  He gulped the potion without thinking too much. He felt himself shrink, and his arms elongate a little. There, he thought. Imp-munk’s more suited to the mission. Hope the effects will be temporary…

                  As Xavier mustered the courage to enter through the front gate, monkeys started to become silent. He couldn’t say if it was an ominous sign, or maybe an effect of his adaptation. The temple’s light inside was gorgeous, but nothing seemed to be there.

                  He gestured around, to make the menu appear. He looked again at the instructions on his screen overlay:

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

                  Suddenly a loud monkey honking noise came from outside, distracting him.

                  What the?… Had to be one of Zara’s remixes. He saw the three dots bleeping on the screen.

                  Here’s the Banana bus, hope it helps! Envoy! bugger Enjoy!

                  Yep… With the distinct typo-heavy accent, definitely Zara’s style. Strange idea that AL designated her as the leader… He’d have to roll with it.

                  Suddenly, as the Banana bus parked in front of the Temple, a horde of Italien speaking tourists started to flock in and snap pictures around. The monkeys didn’t know what to do and seemed to build growing and noisy interest in their assortiment of colorful shoes, flip-flops, boots and all.


                  Focus, thought Xavimunk… What did the wise owl say? Look for a guide…
                  Only the huge colorful bus seemed to take the space now… But wait… what if?

                  He walked to the parking spot under the shades of the huge banyan tree next to the temple’s entrance, under which the bus driver had parked it. The driver was still there, napping under a newspaper, his legs on the wheel.
                  “Whatcha lookin’ at?” he said chewing his gum loudly. “Never seen a fox drive a banana bus before?”
                  Xavier smiled. “Any chance you can guide me to the location of the Golden Banana?”
                  “For a price… maybe.” The fox had jumped closely and was considering the strange avatar from head to toe.
                  “Ain’t no usual stuff that got you into this? Got any left? That would be a nice price.”
                  “As it happens…” Xavier smiled.

                  The quest seemed back on track. Xavier looked at the time. Blimmey! already late again. And I promised Brytta to get some Chinese snacks for dinner.


                  In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


                    “I’d advise you not to take the parrot, Zara,” Harry the vet said, “There are restrictions on bringing dogs and other animals into state parks, and you can bet some jobsworth official will insist she stays in a cage at the very least.”

                    “Yeah, you’re right, I guess I’ll leave her here. I want to call in and see my cousin in Camden on the way to the airport in Sydney anyway.   He has dozens of cats, I’d hate for anything to happen to Pretty Girl,” Zara replied.

                    “Is that the distant cousin you met when you were doing your family tree?” Harry asked, glancing up from the stitches he was removing from a wounded wombat.  “There, he’s good to go.  Give him a couple more days, then he can be released back where he came from.”

                    Zara smiled at Harry as she picked up the animal. “Yes!  We haven’t met in person yet, and he’s going to show me the church my ancestor built. He says people have been spotting ghosts there lately, and there are rumours that it’s the ghost of the old convict Isaac who built it.  If I can’t find photos of the ancestors, maybe I can get photos of their ghosts instead,” Zara said with a laugh.

                    “Good luck with that,” Harry replied raising an eyebrow. He liked Zara, she was quirkier than the others.

                    Zara hadn’t found it easy to research her mothers family from Bangalore in India, but her fathers English family had been easy enough.  Although Zara had been born in England and emigrated to Australia in her late 20s, many of her ancestors siblings had emigrated over several generations, and Zara had managed to trace several down and made contact with a few of them.   Isaac Stokes wasn’t a direct ancestor, he was the brother of her fourth great grandfather but his story had intrigued her.  Sentenced to transportation for stealing tools for his work as a stonemason seemed to have worked in his favour.  He built beautiful stone buildings in a tiny new town in the 1800s in the charming style of his home town in England.

                    Zara planned to stay in Camden for a couple of days before meeting the others at the Flying Fish Inn, anticipating a pleasant visit before the crazy adventure started.




                    Zara stepped down from the bus, squinting in the bright sunlight and looking around for her newfound cousin  Bertie.   A lanky middle aged man in dungarees and a red baseball cap came forward with his hand extended.

                    “Welcome to Camden, Zara I presume! Great to meet you!” he said shaking her hand and taking her rucksack.  Zara was taken aback to see the family resemblance to her grandfather.  So many scattered generations and yet there was still a thread of familiarity.  “I bet you’re hungry, let’s go and get some tucker at Belle’s Cafe, and then I bet you want to see the church first, hey?  Whoa, where’d that dang parrot come from?” Bertie said, ducking quickly as the bird swooped right in between them.

                    “Oh no, it’s Pretty Girl!” exclaimed Zara. “She wasn’t supposed to come with me, I didn’t bring her! How on earth did you fly all this way to get here the same time as me?” she asked the parrot.

                    “Pretty Girl has her ways, don’t forget to feed the parrot,” the bird replied with a squalk that resembled a mirthful guffaw.

                    “That’s one strange parrot you got here, girl!” Bertie said in astonishment.

                    “Well, seeing as you’re here now, Pretty Girl, you better come with us,” Zara said.

                    “Obviously,” replied Pretty Girl.  It was hard to say for sure, but Zara was sure she detected an avian eye roll.




                    They sat outside under a sunshade to eat rather than cause any upset inside the cafe.  Zara fancied an omelette but Pretty Girl objected, so she ordered hash browns instead and a fruit salad for the parrot.  Bertie was a good sport about the strange talking bird after his initial surprise.

                    Bertie told her a bit about the ghost sightings, which had only started quite recently.  They started when I started researching him, Zara thought to herself, almost as if he was reaching out. Her imagination was running riot already.


                    ghost of Isaac Stokes


                    Bertie showed Zara around the church, a small building made of sandstone, but no ghost appeared in the bright heat of the afternoon.  He took her on a little tour of Camden, once a tiny outpost but now a suburb of the city, pointing out all the original buildings, in particular the ones that Isaac had built.  The church was walking distance of Bertie’s house and Zara decided to slip out and stroll over there after everyone had gone to bed.

                    Bertie had kindly allowed Pretty Girl to stay in the guest bedroom with her, safe from the cats, and Zara intended that the parrot stay in the room, but Pretty Girl was having none of it and insisted on joining her.

                    “Alright then, but no talking!  I  don’t want you scaring any ghost away so just keep a low profile!”

                    The moon was nearly full and it was a pleasant walk to the church.   Pretty Girl fluttered from tree to tree along the sidewalk quietly.  Enchanting aromas of exotic scented flowers wafted into her nostrils and Zara felt warmly relaxed and optimistic.

                    Zara was disappointed to find that the church was locked for the night, and realized with a sigh that she should have expected this to be the case.  She wandered around the outside, trying to peer in the windows but there was nothing to be seen as the glass reflected the street lights.   These things are not done in a hurry, she reminded herself, be patient.

                    Sitting under a tree on the grassy lawn attempting to open her mind to receiving ghostly communications (she wasn’t quite sure how to do that on purpose, any ghosts she’d seen previously had always been accidental and unexpected)  Pretty Girl landed on her shoulder rather clumsily, pressing something hard and chill against her cheek.

                    “I told you to keep a low profile!” Zara hissed, as the parrot dropped the key into her lap.  “Oh! is this the key to the church door?”

                    It was hard to see in the dim light but Zara was sure the parrot nodded, and was that another avian eye roll?

                    Zara walked slowly over the grass to the church door, tingling with anticipation.   Pretty Girl hopped along the ground behind her.  She turned the key in the lock and slowly pushed open the heavy door and walked inside and  up the central aisle, looking around.  And then she saw him.

                    Zara gasped. For a breif moment as the spectral wisps cleared, he looked almost solid.  And she could see his tattoos.

                    “Oh my god,” she whispered, “It is really you. I recognize those tattoos from the description in the criminal registers. Some of them anyway, it seems you have a few more tats since you were transported.”

                    “Aye, I did that, wench. I were allays fond o’ me tats, does tha like ’em?”

                    He actually spoke to me!  This was beyond Zara’s wildest hopes. Quick, ask him some questions!

                    “If you don’t mind me asking, Isaac, why did you lie about who your father was on your marriage register?  I almost thought it wasn’t you, you know, that I had the wrong Isaac Stokes.”

                    A deafening rumbling laugh filled the building with echoes and the apparition dispersed in a labyrinthine swirl of tattood wisps.

                    “A story for another day,” whispered Zara,  “Time to go back to Berties. Come on Pretty Girl. And put that key back where you found it.”


                    Ghost of Isaac Stokes


                    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys


                      Zara was long overdue for some holiday time off from her job at the Bungwalley Valley animal rescue centre in New South Wales and the suggestion to meet her online friends at the intriguing sounding Flying Fish Inn to look for clues for their online game couldn’t have come at a better time.  Lucky for her it wasn’t all that far, relatively speaking, although everything is far in Australia, it was closer than coming from Europe.  Xavier would have a much longer trip.  Zara wasn’t quite sure where exactly Yasmin was, but she knew it was somewhere in Asia. It depended on which refugee camp she was assigned to, and Zara had forgotten to ask her recently. All they had talked about was the new online game, and how confusing it all was.

                      The biggest mystery to Zara was why she was the leader in the game.  She was always the one who was wandering off on side trips and forgetting what everyone else was up to. If the other game followers followed her lead there was no telling where they’d all end up!

                      “But it is just a game,” Pretty Girl, the rescue parrot interjected. Zara had known some talking parrots over the years, but never one quite like this one. Usually they repeated any nonsense that they’d heard but this one was different.  She would miss it while she was away on holiday, and for a moment considered taking the talking parrot with her on the trip.  If she did, she’d have to think about changing her name though, Pretty Girl wasn’t a great name but it was hard to keep thinking of names for all the rescue creatures.

                      After Zara had done the routine morning chores of feeding the various animals, changing the water bowls, and cleaning up the less pleasant aspects of the job,  she sat down in the office room of the rescue centre with a cup of coffee and a sandwich.  She was in good physical shape for 57, wiry and energetic, but her back ached at times and a sit down was welcome before the vet arrived to check on all the sick and wounded animals.

                      Pretty Girl flew over from the kennels, and perched outside the office room window.  When the parrot had first been dropped off at the centre, they’d put her in a big cage, but in no uncertain terms Pretty Girl had told them she’d done nothing wrong and was wrongfully imprisoned and to release her at once. It was rather a shock to be addresssed by a parrot in such a way, and it was agreed between the staff and the vet to set her free and see what happened. And Pretty Girl had not flown away.

                      “Hey Pretty Girl, why don’t you give me some advice on this confusing new game I’m playing with my online friends?” Zara asked.

                      “Pretty Girl wants some of your tuna sandwich first,” replied the parrot.  After Zara had obliged, the parrot continued at some surprising length.

                      “My advice would be to not worry too much about getting the small details right. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the creative process.  Just give me a bit more tuna,”  Pretty Girl said, before continuing.

                      “Remember that as a writer, you have the power to shape the story and the characters as you see fit. It’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s okay to not know everything. Allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you and let the story unfold naturally. Trust in your own creativity and don’t be afraid to take risks. And remember, it’s not the small details that make a story great, it’s the emotions and experiences that the characters go through that make it truly memorable.  And always remember to feed the parrot.”

                      “Maybe I should take you on holiday with me after all,” Zara replied. “You really are an amazing bird, aren’t you?”


                      Zara and Pretty Girl Parrot


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          Wong Sang


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Via Old London Photographs:

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

                          Limehouse Causeway in 1925:

                          Limehouse Causeway


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Chinese migration to Limehouse 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          The real Chinatown 

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

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

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

                          Why did Chinatown disappear? 

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

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

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

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


                          Wong Sang 1884-1930

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

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

                          Chrisp Street


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

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

                          1918 Wong Sang


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

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

                          1918 Wong Sang 2


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

                          London and China Express – Thursday 09 February 1922:

                          1922 Wong Sang

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

                          Chee Kong Tong


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

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

                          1928 Wong Sang1928 Wong Sang 2

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


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

                          1917 Alice Wong Sang



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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

                          Wong Sang


                          Alice Stokes


                            The Grattidge Family


                            The first Grattidge to appear in our tree was Emma Grattidge (1853-1911) who married Charles Tomlinson (1847-1907) in 1872.

                            Charles Tomlinson (1873-1929) was their son and he married my great grandmother Nellie Fisher. Their daughter Margaret (later Peggy Edwards) was my grandmother on my fathers side.

                            Emma Grattidge was born in Wolverhampton, the daughter and youngest child of William Grattidge (1820-1887) born in Foston, Derbyshire, and Mary Stubbs, born in Burton on Trent, daughter of Solomon Stubbs, a land carrier. William and Mary married at St Modwens church, Burton on Trent, in 1839. It’s unclear why they moved to Wolverhampton. On the 1841 census William was employed as an agent, and their first son William was nine months old. Thereafter, William was a licensed victuallar or innkeeper.

                            William Grattidge was born in Foston, Derbyshire in 1820. His parents were Thomas Grattidge, farmer (1779-1843) and Ann Gerrard (1789-1822) from Ellastone. Thomas and Ann married in 1813 in Ellastone. They had five children before Ann died at the age of 25:

                            Bessy was born in 1815, Thomas in 1818, William in 1820, and Daniel Augustus and Frederick were twins born in 1822. They were all born in Foston. (records say Foston, Foston and Scropton, or Scropton)

                            On the 1841 census Thomas had nine people additional to family living at the farm in Foston, presumably agricultural labourers and help.

                            After Ann died, Thomas had three children with Kezia Gibbs (30 years his junior) before marrying her in 1836, then had a further four with her before dying in 1843. Then Kezia married Thomas’s nephew Frederick Augustus Grattidge (born in 1816 in Stafford) in London in 1847 and had two more!


                            The siblings of William Grattidge (my 3x great grandfather):


                            Frederick Grattidge (1822-1872) was a schoolmaster and never married. He died at the age of 49 in Tamworth at his twin brother Daniels address.

                            Daniel Augustus Grattidge (1822-1903) was a grocer at Gungate in Tamworth.

                            Thomas Grattidge (1818-1871) married in Derby, and then emigrated to Illinois, USA.

                            Bessy Grattidge  (1815-1840) married John Buxton, farmer, in Ellastone in January 1838. They had three children before Bessy died in December 1840 at the age of 25: Henry in 1838, John in 1839, and Bessy Buxton in 1840. Bessy was baptised in January 1841. Presumably the birth of Bessy caused the death of Bessy the mother.

                            Bessy Buxton’s gravestone:

                            “Sacred to the memory of Bessy Buxton, the affectionate wife of John Buxton of Stanton She departed this life December 20th 1840, aged 25 years. “Husband, Farewell my life is Past, I loved you while life did last. Think on my children for my sake, And ever of them with I take.”

                            20 Dec 1840, Ellastone, Staffordshire

                            Bessy Buxton


                            In the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge, farmer of Foston, he leaves fifth shares of his estate, including freehold real estate at Findern,  to his wife Kezia, and sons William, Daniel, Frederick and Thomas. He mentions that the children of his late daughter Bessy, wife of John Buxton, will be taken care of by their father.  He leaves the farm to Keziah in confidence that she will maintain, support and educate his children with her.

                            An excerpt from the will:

                            I give and bequeath unto my dear wife Keziah Grattidge all my household goods and furniture, wearing apparel and plate and plated articles, linen, books, china, glass, and other household effects whatsoever, and also all my implements of husbandry, horses, cattle, hay, corn, crops and live and dead stock whatsoever, and also all the ready money that may be about my person or in my dwelling house at the time of my decease, …I also give my said wife the tenant right and possession of the farm in my occupation….

                            A page from the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge:

                            1843 Thomas Grattidge


                            William Grattidges half siblings (the offspring of Thomas Grattidge and Kezia Gibbs):


                            Albert Grattidge (1842-1914) was a railway engine driver in Derby. In 1884 he was driving the train when an unfortunate accident occured outside Ambergate. Three children were blackberrying and crossed the rails in front of the train, and one little girl died.

                            Albert Grattidge:

                            Albert Grattidge


                            George Grattidge (1826-1876) was baptised Gibbs as this was before Thomas married Kezia. He was a police inspector in Derby.

                            George Grattidge:

                            George Grattidge


                            Edwin Grattidge (1837-1852) died at just 15 years old.

                            Ann Grattidge (1835-) married Charles Fletcher, stone mason, and lived in Derby.

                            Louisa Victoria Grattidge (1840-1869) was sadly another Grattidge woman who died young. Louisa married Emmanuel Brunt Cheesborough in 1860 in Derby. In 1861 Louisa and Emmanuel were living with her mother Kezia in Derby, with their two children Frederick and Ann Louisa. Emmanuel’s occupation was sawyer. (Kezia Gibbs second husband Frederick Augustus Grattidge was a timber merchant in Derby)

                            At the time of her death in 1869, Emmanuel was the landlord of the White Hart public house at Bridgegate in Derby.

                            The Derby Mercury of 17th November 1869:

                            “On Wednesday morning Mr Coroner Vallack held an inquest in the Grand
                            Jury-room, Town-hall, on the body of Louisa Victoria Cheeseborough, aged
                            33, the wife of the landlord of the White Hart, Bridge-gate, who committed
                            suicide by poisoning at an early hour on Sunday morning. The following
                            evidence was taken:

                            Mr Frederick Borough, surgeon, practising in Derby, deposed that he was
                            called in to see the deceased about four o’clock on Sunday morning last. He
                            accordingly examined the deceased and found the body quite warm, but dead.
                            He afterwards made enquiries of the husband, who said that he was afraid
                            that his wife had taken poison, also giving him at the same time the
                            remains of some blue material in a cup. The aunt of the deceased’s husband
                            told him that she had seen Mrs Cheeseborough put down a cup in the
                            club-room, as though she had just taken it from her mouth. The witness took
                            the liquid home with him, and informed them that an inquest would
                            necessarily have to be held on Monday. He had made a post mortem
                            examination of the body, and found that in the stomach there was a great
                            deal of congestion. There were remains of food in the stomach and, having
                            put the contents into a bottle, he took the stomach away. He also examined
                            the heart and found it very pale and flabby. All the other organs were
                            comparatively healthy; the liver was friable.

                            Hannah Stone, aunt of the deceased’s husband, said she acted as a servant
                            in the house. On Saturday evening, while they were going to bed and whilst
                            witness was undressing, the deceased came into the room, went up to the
                            bedside, awoke her daughter, and whispered to her. but what she said the
                            witness did not know. The child jumped out of bed, but the deceased closed
                            the door and went away. The child followed her mother, and she also
                            followed them to the deceased’s bed-room, but the door being closed, they
                            then went to the club-room door and opening it they saw the deceased
                            standing with a candle in one hand. The daughter stayed with her in the
                            room whilst the witness went downstairs to fetch a candle for herself, and
                            as she was returning up again she saw the deceased put a teacup on the
                            table. The little girl began to scream, saying “Oh aunt, my mother is
                            going, but don’t let her go”. The deceased then walked into her bed-room,
                            and they went and stood at the door whilst the deceased undressed herself.
                            The daughter and the witness then returned to their bed-room. Presently
                            they went to see if the deceased was in bed, but she was sitting on the
                            floor her arms on the bedside. Her husband was sitting in a chair fast
                            asleep. The witness pulled her on the bed as well as she could.
                            Ann Louisa Cheesborough, a little girl, said that the deceased was her
                            mother. On Saturday evening last, about twenty minutes before eleven
                            o’clock, she went to bed, leaving her mother and aunt downstairs. Her aunt
                            came to bed as usual. By and bye, her mother came into her room – before
                            the aunt had retired to rest – and awoke her. She told the witness, in a
                            low voice, ‘that she should have all that she had got, adding that she
                            should also leave her her watch, as she was going to die’. She did not tell
                            her aunt what her mother had said, but followed her directly into the
                            club-room, where she saw her drink something from a cup, which she
                            afterwards placed on the table. Her mother then went into her own room and
                            shut the door. She screamed and called her father, who was downstairs. He
                            came up and went into her room. The witness then went to bed and fell
                            asleep. She did not hear any noise or quarrelling in the house after going
                            to bed.

                            Police-constable Webster was on duty in Bridge-gate on Saturday evening
                            last, about twenty minutes to one o’clock. He knew the White Hart
                            public-house in Bridge-gate, and as he was approaching that place, he heard
                            a woman scream as though at the back side of the house. The witness went to
                            the door and heard the deceased keep saying ‘Will you be quiet and go to
                            bed’. The reply was most disgusting, and the language which the
                            police-constable said was uttered by the husband of the deceased, was
                            immoral in the extreme. He heard the poor woman keep pressing her husband
                            to go to bed quietly, and eventually he saw him through the keyhole of the
                            door pass and go upstairs. his wife having gone up a minute or so before.
                            Inspector Fearn deposed that on Sunday morning last, after he had heard of
                            the deceased’s death from supposed poisoning, he went to Cheeseborough’s
                            public house, and found in the club-room two nearly empty packets of
                            Battie’s Lincoln Vermin Killer – each labelled poison.

                            Several of the Jury here intimated that they had seen some marks on the
                            deceased’s neck, as of blows, and expressing a desire that the surgeon
                            should return, and re-examine the body. This was accordingly done, after
                            which the following evidence was taken:

                            Mr Borough said that he had examined the body of the deceased and observed
                            a mark on the left side of the neck, which he considered had come on since
                            death. He thought it was the commencement of decomposition.
                            This was the evidence, after which the jury returned a verdict “that the
                            deceased took poison whilst of unsound mind” and requested the Coroner to
                            censure the deceased’s husband.

                            The Coroner told Cheeseborough that he was a disgusting brute and that the
                            jury only regretted that the law could not reach his brutal conduct.
                            However he had had a narrow escape. It was their belief that his poor
                            wife, who was driven to her own destruction by his brutal treatment, would
                            have been a living woman that day except for his cowardly conduct towards

                            The inquiry, which had lasted a considerable time, then closed.”


                            In this article it says:

                            “it was the “fourth or fifth remarkable and tragical event – some of which were of the worst description – that has taken place within the last twelve years at the White Hart and in the very room in which the unfortunate Louisa Cheesborough drew her last breath.”

                            Sheffield Independent – Friday 12 November 1869:

                            Louisa Cheesborough


                              From Tanganyika with Love

                              continued part 9

                              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                              Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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


                              Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              Mbeya 1st November 1946

                              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                                From Tanganyika with Love

                                continued part 8

                                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                Morogoro 20th January 1941

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Morogoro 30th July 1941

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                Morogoro 26th August 1941

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                Morogoro 25th December 1941

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                Morogoro 26th January 1944

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

                                Dearest Mummy,

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

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

                                Very much love,

                                Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                                Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                Much love,



                                  From Tanganyika with Love

                                  continued part 7

                                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                  Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                  Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Iringa. 30th November 1938

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                  Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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


                                  Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                                  Dearest Family,

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


                                  Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Nzassa 5th August 1939

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                  Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                  Morogoro 14th September 1939

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                  Morogoro 4th November 1939

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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


                                  Iringa 8th December 1939

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                  Morogoro 10th March 1940

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                                  Morogoro 14th July 1940

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                  Morogoro 16th November 1940

                                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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




                                    From Tanganyika with Love

                                    continued  ~ part 6

                                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                    Mchewe 6th June 1937

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                    With much love,

                                    Mchewe 25th June 1937

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                                    Lots of love,

                                    Mchewe 9th July 1937

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                    Mchewe 8th October 1937

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Mchewe 17th October 1937

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                    Mchewe 18th November 1937

                                    My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

                                    Mchewe 18th November 1937

                                    Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Mbulu 20th June 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                    Karatu 3rd July 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Karatu 12th July 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                    Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                    Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                    Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                    Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                                      From Tanganyika with Love

                                      continued  ~ part 5

                                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                      Chunya 16th December 1936

                                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                                      Much love to all,

                                      Itewe, Chunya 23rd December 1936

                                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                      With love,

                                      Itewe, Chunya 30th December 1936

                                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                                      Itewe, Chunya 19th January 1937

                                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                      Chunya 29th January 1937

                                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                                      We should be with you in three weeks time!

                                      Very much love,

                                      Broken Hill, N Rhodesia 11th February 1937

                                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                      With love to you all,

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

                                      George Rushby Ann and Georgie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                        From Tanganyika with Love

                                        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.”