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  • #6494

    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Although not one to remember dreams very often, Zara awoke the next morning with vivid and colourful dream recall.  She wondered if it was something to do with the dreamtime mural on the wall of her room.  If this turned out to be the case, she considered painting some murals on her bedroom wall back at the Bungwalley Valley animal rescue centre when she got home.

    Zara and Idle had hit it off immediately, chatting and laughing on the verandah after supper.   Idle told her a bit about the local area and the mines.  Despite Bert’s warnings, she wanted to see them. They were only an hour away from the inn.

    When she retired to her room for the night, she looked on the internet for more information. The more she read online about the mines, the more intrigued she became.

    “Interestingly there are no actual houses left from the original township. The common explanation is that a rumour spread that there was gold hidden in the walls of the houses and consequently they were knocked down by people believing there was ‘gold in them there walls”. Of course it was only a rumour. No gold was found.”

    “Miners attracted to the area originally by the garnets, found alluvial and reef gold at Arltunga…”

    Garnets!  Zara recalled the story her friend had told her about finding a cursed garnet near a fort in St Augustine in Florida.  Apparently there were a number of mines that one could visit:

    “the MacDonnell Range Reef Mine, the Christmas Reef Mine, the Golden Chance Mine, the Joker Mine and the Great Western Mine all of which are worth a visit.”

    Zara imagined Xavier making a crack about the Joker Mine, and wondered why it had been named that.

    “The whole area is preserved as though the inhabitants simply walked away from it only yesterday. The curious visitor who walks just a little way off the paths will see signs of previous habitation. Old pieces of meat safes, pieces of rusted wire, rusted cans, and pieces of broken glass litter the ground. There is nothing of great importance but each little shard is reminder of the people who once lived and worked here.”

    I wonder if Bert will take me there, Zara wondered. If not, maybe one of the others can pick up a hire car when they arrive at Alice.   Might even be best not to tell anyone at the inn where they were going.  Funny coincidence the nearest town was called Alice ~ it was already beginning to seem like some kind of rabbit hole she was falling into.

    Undecided whether to play some more of the game which had ended abruptly upon encountering the blue robed vendor, Zara decided not to and picked up the book on Dreamtime that was on the bedside table.

    “Some of the ancestors or spirit beings inhabiting the Dreamtime become one with parts of the landscape, such as rocks or trees…”  Flicking through the book, she read random excerpts.   “A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land. Some emerged at their specific sites and stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else. Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories….”

    Thousands of characters. Zara smiled sleepily, recalling the many stories she and her friends had written together over the years.

    “People come and go but the Land, and stories about the Land, stay. This is a wisdom that takes lifetimes of listening, observing and experiencing … There is a deep understanding of human nature and the environment… sites hold ‘feelings’ which cannot be described in physical terms… subtle feelings that resonate through the bodies of these people… It is only when talking and being with these people that these ‘feelings’ can truly be appreciated. This is… the intangible reality of these people…..”

    With such strong ancestral connections to the land, Zara couldn’t help but wonder what the aboriginal people felt about all the mines.   If one of their ancestors had shape changed into rocks, and then some foreignors came along and hacked and blasted their way through, what would they think of that?

    “….many Aboriginal groups widely distributed across the Australian continent all appeared to share variations of a single (common) myth telling of an unusually powerful, often creative, often dangerous snake or serpent of sometimes enormous size closely associated with the rainbows, rain, rivers, and deep waterholes…..”

    She drifted off to sleep thinking of water holes in red rocky gorges, the book laying open in her hand.

    When she awoke the next morning with the slatted morning sun shining through the venetian blinds,  the dream image of the water hole was bright and clear in her minds eye.  But what was that strange character from the game doing in her dream?

    Osnas dreamtime waterhole


    She closed her eyes, remembering more of the strange dream.  Deeply orange red boulders and rocky outcrops, shivering gum trees, and green pools ~ it was coming back to her now, that creature in the blue robes had appeared more than once.  In one scene he appeared with a blue diamond lantern with what looked like a compass inside.

    Osnas lantern compass

    I’ll ask about the hiking trails today, Zara decided, and go for a walk in that gorge I read about yesterday. Bert said there were good hiking trails.   You came here early so you could play the game, she reminded herself.

    “It’s all a game,” she heard the parrot outside her window.

    “I’d forgotten about the bloody parrot!” Zara said under her breath. “Pretty Girl!” she said, opening the blinds. “We’re going out for a walk today.”


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    It was a pleasant 25 degrees as Zara stepped off the plane. The flat red land stretched as far as the eye could see, and although she prefered a more undulating terrain there was something awe inspiring about this vast landscape. It was quite a contrast from the past few hours spent inside mine tunnels.

    Bert, a weatherbeaten man of indeterminate advanced age, was there to meet her as arranged and led her to the car, a battered old four wheel drive.  Although clearly getting on in years, he was tall and spry and dressed in practical working clothes.

    “Welcome to Alice,” he said, taking her bag and putting in on the back seat.  “I expect you’ll be wanting to know a bit about the place.”

    “How long have you lived here?” Zara asked, as Bert settled into the creaky drivers seat and started the car.

    Bert gave her a funny look and replied “Longer than a ducks ass.”  Zara had never heard that expression before; she assumed it meant a long time but didn’t like to pursue the question.

    “All this land belongs to the Arrernte,” he said, pronouncing it Arrunda.  “The local aboriginals.  1862 when we got here. Well,” Bert turned to give Zara a lopsided smile, “Not me personally, I aint quite that old.”

    Zara chuckled politely as Bert continued, “It got kinda busy around these parts round 1887 with the gold.”

    “Oh, are there mines near here?”  Zara asked with some excitement.

    Bert gave her a sharp look. “Oh there’s mines alright. Abandoned now though, and dangerous. Dangerous places, old mines.  You’ll be more interested in the hiking trails than those old mines, some real nice hiking and rock gorges, and it’s a nice temperature this time of year.”

    Bert lapsed into silence for a few minutes, frowning.

    “If you’da been arriving back then, you’da been on a camel train, that’s how they did it back then. Camel trains.   They do camel tours for tourists nowadays.”

    “Do you get many tourists?”

    “Too dang many tourists if you ask me, Alice is full of them, and Ayers Rock’s crawling with ’em these days. We don’t get many out our way though.” Bert snorted, reminding Zara of Yasmin. “Our visitors like an off the beaten track kind of holiday, know what I mean?” Bert gave Zara another sideways lopsided smile.  “I reckon you’ll like it at The Flying Fish Inn.  Down to earth, know what I mean? Down to earth and off the wall.”  He laughed heartily at that and Zara wasn’t quite sure what to say, so she laughed too.

    “Sounds great.”

    “Family run, see, makes a difference.  No fancy airs and graces, no traffic ~ well, not much of anything really, just beautiful scenery and peace and quiet.  Aunt Idle thinks she’s in charge but me and old Mater do most of it, well Finly does most of it to be honest, and you dropped lucky coming now, the twins have just decorated the bedrooms. Real nice they look now, they fancied doing some dreamtime murials on the walls.  The twins are Idle’s neices, Clove and Corrie, turned out nice girls, despite everything.”

    “Despite ….?”

    “What? Oh, living in the outback. Youngsters usually leave and head for the cities.  Prune’s the youngest gal, she’s a real imp, that one, a real character.  And Devan calls by regular to see Mater, he works at the gas station.”

    “Are they all Idle’s neices and nephews? Where are their parents?”  Perhaps she shouldn’t have asked, Zara thought when she saw Bert’s face.

    “Long gone, mate, long since gone from round here.  We’ve taken good care of ’em.”  Bert turned off the road onto a dirt road.  “Only another five minutes now.  We’re outside the town a bit, but there aint much in town anyway. Population 79, our town. About right for a decent sized town if you ask me.”

    Bert rounded a bend in a eucalyptus grove and announced, “Here we are, then, the Flying Fish Inn.”  He parked the car and retrieved Zara’s bag from the back seat.  “Take a seat on the verandah and I’ll find Idle to show you to your room and get you a drink.  Oh, and don’t be put off by Idle’s appearance, she’s a sweetheart really.”

    Flying Fish Inn


    Aunt Idle was nowhere to be found though, having decided to go for a walk on impulse, quite forgetting the arrival of the first guest.    She saw Bert’s car approaching the hotel from her vantage point on a low hill, which reminded her she should be getting back.  It was a lovely evening and she didn’t rush.

    Aunt Idle walk


    Bert found Mater in the dining room gazing out of the window.  “Where the bloody hell is Idle? The guest’s outside on the verandah.”

    “She’s taken herself off for a walk, can you believe it?” sighed Mater.

    “Yep” Bert replied, “I can.  Which room’s she in? Can you show her to her room?”

    “Yes of course, Bert. Perhaps you’d see to getting a drink for her.”

    Mater dining room


      I’ve always felt like the odd one out in my family. Growing up at the Flying Fish Inn, I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in. My mother left when I was young, and my father disappeared not long after. I’ve always felt like I was the only one who didn’t fit in with the craziness of my family.

      I’ve always tried to keep my distance with the others. I didn’t want to get too involved, take sides about petty things, like growing weed in the backyard, making psychedelic termite honey, or trying to influence the twins to buy proper clothes. But truth is, you can’t get too far away. Town’s too small. Family always get back to you, and manage to get you involved in their shit, one way or another, even if you don’t say anything. That’s how it works. They don’t need my participation to use me as an argument.

      So I stopped paying attention, almost stopped caring. I lived my life working at the gas station, and drinking beers with my buddies Joe and Jasper, living in a semi-comatose state. I learned that word today when I came bringing little honey buns to mater. I know she secretly likes them, even if she pretend she doesn’t in front of Idle. But I can see the breadcrumbs on her cardigan when I come say hi at the end of the day. This morning, Idle was rocking in her favourite chair on the porch, looking at the clouds behind her mirrored sunglasses. Prune was talking to her, I saw she was angry because of the contraction of the muscles of her jaw and her eyes were darker than usual. She was saying to Idle that she was always in a semi-comatose state and doing nothing useful for the Inn when we had a bunch of tourists arriving. And something about the twins redecorating the rooms without proper design knowledge. Idle did what she usually does. She ignored the comment and kept on looking at the clouds. I’m not even sure she heard or understood that word that Prune said. Semi-comatose. It sounds like glucose. That’s how I’m spending my life between the Inn, the gas station and my buddies.

      But things changed today when I got back to my apartment for lunch. You can call it a hunch or a coincidence. But as we talked with Joe about that time when my dad left, making me think we were doing hide and seek, and he left me a note saying he would be back someday. I don’t know why I felt the need to go search that note afterwards. So I went back to the apartment and opened the mailbox. Among the bills and ads, I found a postcard with a few words written on the image and nothing except my address on the back. I knew it was from my dad.

      It was not signed or anything, but still I was sure it was his handwriting. I would recognise it anywhere. I went and took the shoebox I keep hidden on top of the kitchen closet, because I saw people do that in movies. That’s not very original, I know, but I’m not too bright either. I opened the box and took the note my dad left me when he disappeared.

      I put the card on the desk near the note. The handwritings matched. I felt so excited, and confused.

      A few words at the bottom of the card said : “Memories from the coldest place on Earth…”

      Why would dad go to such a place to send me a postcard after all those years ? Just to say that.

      That’s when I recalled what Prune had told me once as we were watching a detective movie : “Read everything with care and always double check your information.”

      On the back, it said that the image was from a scientific station in Antartica, but the stamp indicated it had been posted from a floating post office in the North Pole. I turned the card and looked at the text again. Above the station, a few words were written that sounded like a riddle.

      > A mine, a tile, dust piled high,
      Together they rest, yet always outside.
      One misstep, and you’ll surely fall,
      Into the depths, where danger lies all.

      It sure sounds like a warning. But I’m not too good with riddles. No need to worry Mater about that, in case of false hope and all that. Idle ? Don’t even think about it. She won’t believe me when I say it’s from dad. She never does believe me. And she’ll keep playing with the words trying to find her answer in the shape of smoke. The twins, they are a riddle on their own.

      No. It’s Prune’s help I need.


      In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Pretty Girl at Flying Fish Inn


      In reply to: 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 7

        She 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 Sang

            1928 Wong Sang 2

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


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

            1917 Alice Wong Sang



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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

            Wong Sang


            Alice Stokes


              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.


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