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    In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


      It was not yet 9am and Eusebius Kazandis was already sweating. The morning sun was hitting hard on the tarp of his booth. He put the last cauldron among lines of cauldrons on a sagging table at the summer fair of Innsbruck, Austria. It was a tiny three-legged black cauldron with a simple Celtic knot on one side and a tree on the other side, like all the others. His father’s father’s father used to make cauldrons for a living, the kind you used to distil ouzo or cook meals for an Inn. But as time went by and industrialisation made it easier for cooks, the trade slowly evolved toward smaller cauldrons for modern Wiccans. A modern witch wanted it portable and light, ready to use in everyday life situations, and Eusebius was there to provide it for them.

      Eusebius sat on his chair and sighed. He couldn’t help but notice the woman in colourful dress who had spread a shawl on the grass under the tall sequoia tree. Nobody liked this spot under the branches oozing sticky resin. She didn’t seem to mind. She was arranging small colourful bottles of oil on her shawl. A sign near her said : Massage oils, Fragrant oils, Polishing oils, all with different names evocative of different properties. He hadn’t noticed her yesterday when everybody was installing their stalls. He wondered if she had paid her fee.

      Rosa was smiling as she spread in front of her the meadow flowers she’d picked on her way to the market. It was another beautiful day, under the shade and protection of the big sequoia tree watching over her. She assembled small bouquets and put them in between the vials containing her precious handmade oils. She had noticed people, and especially women, would naturally gather around well dressed stalls and engage conversation. Since she left her hometown of Torino, seven years ago, she’d followed the wind on her journey across Europe. It had led her to Innsbruck and had suddenly stopped blowing. That usually meant she had something to do there, but it also meant that she would have to figure out what she was meant to do before she could go on with her life.

      The stout man waiting behind his dark cauldrons, was watching her again. He looked quite sad, and she couldn’t help but thinking he was not where he needed to be. When she looked at him, she saw Hephaestus whose inner fire had been tamed. His banner was a mishmash of religious stuff, aimed at pagans and budding witches. Although his grim booth would most certainly benefit from a feminine touch, but she didn’t want to offend him by a misplaced suggestion. It was not her place to find his place.

      Rosa, who knew to cultivate any available friendship when she arrived somewhere, waved at the man. Startled, he looked away as if caught doing something inappropriate. Rosa sighed. Maybe she should have bring him some coffee.

      As her first clients arrived, she prayed for a gush of wind to tell her where to go next. But the branches of the old tree remained perfectly still under the scorching sun.


        From Tanganyika with Love

        continued part 9

        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

        Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Lyamungu 14 May 1945

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Lyamungu 19th September 1945

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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


        Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Mbeya 1st November 1946

        Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



          From Tanganyika with Love

          continued part 8

          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

          Morogoro 20th January 1941

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Morogoro 30th July 1941

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


          Morogoro 26th August 1941

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


          Morogoro 25th December 1941

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


          Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


          Morogoro 26th January 1944

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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


          Lyamungu 20th March 1944

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


          Lyamungu 15th May 1944

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


          Lyamungu 18th July 1944

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Lyamungu 16th August 1944

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

          Dearest Mummy,

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

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

          Very much love,

          Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

          Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Much love,



            From Tanganyika with Love

            continued part 7

            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

            Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


            Mbulu. 30th September 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Mbulu. 25th October 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


            Iringa. 30th November 1938

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 14th February 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 28th February 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 25th March 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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


            Nzassa 28th April 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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


            Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Nzassa 5th August 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


            Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 14th September 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 4th November 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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


            Iringa 8th December 1939

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 10th March 1940

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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


            Morogoro 14th July 1940

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


            Morogoro 16th November 1940

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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




              From Tanganyika with Love

              continued  ~ part 6

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              Mchewe 6th June 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              With much love,

              Mchewe 25th June 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

              Lots of love,

              Mchewe 9th July 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe 8th October 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe 17th October 1937

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe 18th November 1937

              My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

              Mchewe 18th November 1937

              Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

              Mchewe 12th February, 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Mbulu 18th March, 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Mbulu 24th March, 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Mbulu 20th June 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Karatu 3rd July 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


              Karatu 12th July 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani. 19th July 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani. 10th August 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani. 20th August 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                From Tanganyika with Love

                continued  ~ part 4

                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                With much love,

                Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                Heaps of love to all,

                Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                With heaps of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

                Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

                Lots and lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                Your very affectionate,

                Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

                With love to you all,

                Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                Much love to you all,

                Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

                Your worried but affectionate,

                Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

                Much love,

                Mchewe. 12th November 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Lots and lots of love to all,

                Chunya 27th November 1936

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Much love to all,



                  From Tanganyika with Love


                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                  Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Very much love,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor Rushby


                  Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Your very loving,

                  Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots and lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to all,

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

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  We all send our love,

                  Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love,

                  Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Much love from a proud mother of two.

                  Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Your affectionate,

                  Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  your affectionate,

                  Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love

                  Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                  Dear Family,

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

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

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

                  Lots and lots of love,

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

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Lots of love,

                  Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots of love to all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to you all,

                  Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Much love,

                  Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Lots of love, Eleanor


                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Much love my dear,
                    your jubilant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Bless you all,

                    S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Eleanor Leslie.

                    Eleanor and George Rushby:

                    Eleanor and George Rushby

                    Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your cave woman

                    Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Much love to you all,

                    Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your loving

                    Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Very much love,

                    Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                    26th December 1930

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

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

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

                    Lots and lots of love,

                    Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Your loving,

                    Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                    Very much love,

                    Mchewe Estate 20th April 1931

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                    Mchewe Estate. 20th May 1931

                    Dear Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                      My Grandparents

                      George Samuel Marshall 1903-1995

                      Florence Noreen Warren (Nora) 1906-1988

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


                        “He said he would come in 3 days only.” Fox said, not knowing whether it was too early or too late to rejoice.
                        “That would have been Lheimoong’s birthday, the great Tribeltian philosopher.” Glynis said, as she tasted the sour milk from Emma the goat. She made a face. It was perfectly tart to mature into a fine cheese.
                        “Pity though,” she mused licking her finger, “he’s been oddly quiet lately, though I’m sure his wisdom continues to guide us.”


                          The Doctor was at times confused about his own plan. Well, most of the time if felt clear and perfectly diabolical, and he could easily understand why at times lesser minds could get confused about the twists and turns —and to those lesser minds, it would usually suffice to say “don’t worry, it’s all part of the Plan.” It was difficult to properly phrase the sentence so that the Plan doesn’t get too easily confused with any plan. But he was expert in conveying that it wasn’t a mere plan.

                          After having tried and used old or elaborate devices beyond known technology like alleged alien crystal skulls to outcomes of various satisfaction in the past, he’d realized that those so called AI technologies were a silent gangrene for the mind. By becoming more tech-savvy, people lost their savoir and their savour by relying too much on external support. People were becoming malleable, predictable, and replaceable.

                          His bloody assistant was a sad testament to the downward evolution humanity was rushing towards. It was a strange and sad irony, that by enhancing their ineptitude, he was actually working to the perfection of the human race.

                          “Ah yes! Evolution!” That was his legacy, and he was of course profoundly misunderstood.

                          This whole sad business with the chase after the dolls and the keys and the remote control of magpies, and the psychic blasts, beauty treatments and Barbara enhancements, all that made sense once you showed it in the proper light. These were the catalyst to the real and interesting events. The ones which mattered.

                          It all started after the Army got him out of his prison rot in exchange for his work on some special science experiments. Top-secret, evidently. His handler, a certain nobody by the name of Fergus, was assigning him the experiments.
                          While he was dutifully working on his assigned projects, he quickly realized that he was given vast funding which would have taken him more time to gather on his own, so he did his part, all while experimenting and honing his skills. Clearly, the Army lacked any vision beyond the confines of “find a better way to torture, maim or kill mass amount of individuals.” Primates. Luckily, their experiments with remote control, brainwashing, and body modelage were less gory than the average science experiments, and far more into his own area of expertise.

                          It took him 5 years to escape. This plan (a smaller plan, part of the Plan which had not yet fully hatched at the time) — this plan for an escape started to form when Fergus let slip important bits of information, which seemed insignificant taken in isolation, but meant a whole new area of discoveries when put together by a brilliant mind like his own.
                          Fergus started to gloat about securing some secrets as a blackmail or fail-safe policy in case the Army’s “hired help” misbehaved. This part was known for a long time, it was what was called our ‘retirement plan’ in the contract we signed. What was more peculiar was when he started to let details slip about the method. All thanks to little doses of hypnotic potion in spiked shared drinks, courtesy of the Doctor. It seemed clear that this elaborate scheming of keys and dolls was child’s play and nothing particularly genius, however what was more interesting was when Fergus started to realize that the dolls his niece had made somehow matched certain persons of interest without her conscious knowing. There was a deeper mystery to be cracked, and even Fergus wondered if the Army had not tempered with his family genetics to induce certain characteristics or something of the like. Well, all ramblings of a simpleton you would say, but maybe it wasn’t.
                          After all these searches to externalize certain abilities of the mind, the Doctor was starting to get fascinated by people exhibiting these qualities naturally.

                          The appearance of this strange red crystal seems to confirm these doubts. There are untapped forces at play, and maybe doors that could be opened.

                          Barbara suddenly irrupted into the room “Our guests are coming, just received a text!”

                          The Doctor sighed thinking some doors should remain closed.


                            “Look” Fox said to Glynis, not a little proud of his accomplishment.

                            The frame now hanged above the missing toilet seat was already giving the privy a little more cosy look. Of course, the smell of the room with the open hole was still making his nose wrinkle inwards, but the framed dried roses were a nice touch.
                            He was particularly happy about the clever no-nail solution he’d found. Crushing together two spiky caterpillars and sticking them at both sides of the back of the frame — it kept the frame stuck nicely, and it could be re-positioned and readjusted to be perfectly level.

                            Lost in admiration of his work, he was dragged out of his thoughts by a thunderous sneeze.

                            “Good flovious! That flu looks nasty Glynis, you should get some rest, dear.”

                            Glynis almost rip-snotted her kerchief in half while blowing her nose.

                            “But who will do all the cleaning?” she asked plaintively.


                              Granola, with all the expounding of new information felt a bit dizzy and in need of a quiet recap.
                              The squishy giraffe was a place as good as any for a bit of rest, but to be perfectly honest, the pets around the place didn’t make the greatest conversationists. And she didn’t want to look like she didn’t do her homework and get admonished by her bleu friend.

                              “Think,” she said “by now, you can go about any place in their expansively creative stories.” —which was actually, like travelling inside her friends’ memories, considering the time they all spent in these universes, they were almost real, quite tangible.
                              “Think about one of their character, one who always seems to hold answers…”

                              Bam swoosh

                              “It didn’t take long.”

                              She could squint in the dark and see a faint glow. “Wait… Don’t tell me I’m in one of these… kluknish… what’s these bat things with the impossible name…”

                              It’s glükenitch actually the voice was coming from below, but speaking directly in her head. And you don’t have to hide in one, really. Don’t you have some better character to be?

                              She recognized the dragon. “Shit,” she muttered, “that’s not the one I was thinking about; always answering in riddles, that much I remember; don’t need to add more confusion! As if speaking through the whale last time wasn’t messy enough.”

                              True, but you got a glimpse of one of the keys, haven’t you?

                              She froze in her tracks. “What do you know about these keys?”

                              Not much, I’m loath to say. Besides, what should I know about it, I’m not from this world, am I now?

                              “Damn riddles,” she said. But the dragon had a point. She wasn’t in the right world to check on her friends.

                              “Can you tell me something useful at least?” she asked the dragon before deciding to pop-out.

                              Maybe, yes… See, you pop-in naturally where the action is. It’s only natural that the bigger the action, the stronger the pull…

                              Granola hadn’t thought of that. She had been a bit too focused in getting more physical and interacting outside. But the last week (in her friends’ time continuity), there has been more targeted jumps, less chaotic, and more frequent. It’s like she could tune in.
                              And for now, the pull was in Australia.
                              Come to think of it, she may have had a concurrent focus there. She only had to believe she could be there, right place, right time, right person… An Aboriginal woman, what was her name?



                                “Good lord, is that little dog still coughing?” Eleri asked, disentangling herself from Alexandria’s dreadlocks which had wrapped themselves around her bowler hat as they embraced and kissed a greeting. “After all this time?”

                                “He’s been waiting for you to come home,” Alexandria said reproachfully, making Eleri feel guilty and defensive.

                                “I had a terrible bout of memory flu, and forgot all about him,” she replied with a pang in the region of her heart. How on earth did I completely forget I left that little dog here? she wondered.

                                “Well, never mind,” Alexandria said, softening. “He’s been well looked after, and I’ve enjoyed staying here while you’ve been away. I’ve been wondering if you’d mind if I stayed on here, what with all the trouble with Leroway. Makes me feel ill, all that division and fighting; I just don’t want to go back.”

                                Eleri beamed at her old friend. “I think that would work out perfectly! That little dogs cough isn’t driving you mad, though?”

                                “Oh he does a bit, sure, but there are worse things in life, eh,” she said with a rueful grin. “But come, you must be hungry and thirsty after your journey home, come inside, come inside.”


                                  In the white silence of the mountains, Rukshan was on his knees on a yakult wool rug pouring blue sand from a small pouch on a tricky part of the mandala that looked like a small person lifting his arms upwards. Rukshan was just in the right state of mind, peaceful and intensely focused, in the moment.
                                  It was more instinct than intellect that guided his hands, and when he felt inside him something click, he stopped pouring the sand. He didn’t take the time to check if it was right, he trusted his guts.
                                  He held the pouch to his right and said: “White”. Olliver took the pouch of blue and replaced it with another. Rukshan resumed pouring and white sand flew in a thin stream on the next part of the mandala.

                                  After a few hours of the same routine, only broken by the occasional refreshments and drinks that Olliver brought him, the mandala was finished and Rukshan stood up to look at the result. He moved his shoulders to help relieve the tensions accumulated during the hard day of labor. He felt like an old man. His throat was dry with thirst but his eyes gleamed with joy at the result of hours of hard concentration.

                                  “It’s beautiful,” said Olliver with awe in his voice.
                                  “It is, isn’t it?” said Rukshan. He accepted a cup of warm and steaming yakult tea that Olliver handed him and looked at the boy. It was the first time that Olliver had spoken during the whole process.
                                  “Thanks, Olli,” said Rukshan, “you’ve been very helpful the whole time. I’m a little bit ashamed to have taken your whole time like that and make you stand in the cold without rest.”
                                  “Oh! Don’t worry,” said the boy, “I enjoyed watching you. Maybe one day you can teach me how to do this.”
                                  Rukshan looked thoughtfully at the boy. The mandala drew its power from the fae’s nature. There could certainly be no danger in showing the technique to the boy. It could be a nice piece of art.
                                  “Sure!” he said. “Once we are back. I promise to show you.”
                                  A smile bloomed on Olliver’s face.


                                  In the white silence of the mountain, Lhamom sat on a thick rug of yakult wool in front of a makeshift fireplace. She had finished packing their belongings, which were now securely loaded on the hellishcarpet, and decided it was cooking time. For that she had enrolled the young lad, Olliver, to keep her company instead of running around and disturbing Rukshan. The poor man… the poor manfae, Lhamom corrected, had such a difficult task that he needed all his concentration and peace of mind.

                                  Lhamom stirred the content of the cauldron in a slow and regular motion. She smiled because she was also proud of her idea of a screen made of yakult wool and bamboo poles, cut from the haunted bamboo forest. It was as much to protect from the wind as it was for the fae’s privacy and peace of mind.

                                  “It smells good,” said Olliver, looking with hungry eyes at what Lhamom was doing.
                                  “I know,” she said with pride. “It’s a specialty I learned during the ice trek.”
                                  “Can you teach me?” ask Olliver.
                                  “Yes, sure.” She winked. “You need a special blend of spiced roots, and use pootatoes and crabbage. The secret is to make them melt in yakult salted butter for ten minutes before adding the meat and a bucket of fresh snow.”

                                  They continued to cook and talk far all the afternoon, and when dusk came Lhamom heard Rukshan talk behind his screen. He must have finished the mandala, she thought. She smiled at Olliver, and she felt very pleased that she had kept the boy out of the manfae’s way.


                                  Fox listened to the white silence of the mountain during that brief moment, just after the dogs had made it clear, despite all the promises of food, that they would not help the two-leggeds with their plan.

                                  Fox sighed. For an instant, all felt still and quiet, all was perfectly where it ought to be.

                                  The instant was brief, quickly interrupted by a first growl, joined by a second and a third, and soon the entire pack of mountain dogs walked, all teeth out, towards a surrounded Fox. He looked around. There was no escape route. He had no escape plan. His stomach reminded him that instant that he was still sick. He looked at the mad eyes of the dogs. They hadn’t even left the bones from the meat he gave them earlier. He gulped in an attempt to remove the lump of anguish stuck in his throat. There would be no trace of him left either. Just maybe some red on the snow.

                                  He suddenly felt full of resolve and camped himself on his four legs; he would not go without a fight. His only regret was that he couldn’t help his friends go home.
                                  We’ll meet in another life, he thought. Feeling wolfish he howled in defiance to the dogs.
                                  They had stopped and were looking uncertain of what to do next. Fox couldn’t believe he had impressed them.

                                  “Come,” said a voice behind him. Fox turned surprised. On the pile of his clothes stood Olliver.
                                  How did you,” he yelped before remembering the boy could not understand him.
                                  “Hurry! I can teleport us back to the camp,” said the boy with his arms opened.

                                  Without a second thought Fox jumped in Olliver’s arms and the next thing he knew was that they were back at the camp. But something was off. Fox could see Rukshan busy making his mandala and Olliver was helping him with the sand. Then he could see Lhamom cooking with the help of another Olliver.
                                  Fox thought it might be some case of post teleportation confusion. He looked at the Olliver who helped him escape an imminent death, the fox head slightly tilted on the side, the question obvious in its eyes.
                                  “Please don’t tell them,” said Olliver, his eyes pleading. “It just happened. I felt a little forgotten and wanted so much to be useful.”

                                  Fox turned back into a human, too surprised to feel the bite of the cold air.
                                  “Oh! Your clothes,” said Olliver before he disappeared. Fox didn’t have time to clear his mind before the boy was back with the clothes.


                                    Fortunately the aging spell didn’t last long and they returned to normal.
                                    The missing teeth had not grown back, but Liz had had perfect new teeth installed in place of the old ones. They were shinier and could even sparkle under full moon light. Of course,