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    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Bert dropped Zara off after breakfast at the start of the Yeperenye trail.  He suggested that she phone him when she wanted him to pick her up, and asked if she was sure she had enough water and reminded her, not for the first time, not to wander off the trail.   Of course not, she replied blithely, as if she’d never wandered off before.

    “It’s a beautiful gorge, you’ll like it,” he called through the open window, “You’ll need the bug spray when you get to the water holes.”  Zara smiled and waved as the car roared off in a cloud of dust.

    On the short drive to the start of the trail, Bert had told her that the trail was named after the Yeperenye dreamtime, also known as ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’  and that it was a significant dreamtime story in Aboriginal mythology. Be sure to look at the aboriginal rock art, he’d said.   He mentioned several varieties of birds but Zara quickly forgot the names of them.

    It felt good to be outside, completely alone in the vast landscape with the bone warming sun. To her surprise, she hadn’t seen the parrot again after the encounter at the bedroom window, although she had heard a squalky laugh coming from a room upstairs as she passed the staircase on her way to the dining room.

    But it was nice to be on her own. She walked slowly, appreciating the silence and the scenery. Acacia and eucalyptus trees were dotted about and long grasses whispered in the occasional gentle breezes.  Birds twittered and screeched and she heard a few rustlings in the undergrowth from time to time as she strolled along.

    After a while the rocky outcrops towered above her on each side of the path and the gorge narrowed, the trail winding through stands of trees and open grassland. Zara was glad of the shade as the sun rose higher.

    Zara water hole


    The first water hole she came to took Zara by surprise. She expected it to be pretty and scenic, like the photos she’d seen, but the spectacular beauty of the setting and shimmering light somehow seemed timeless and otherwordly.  It was a moment or two before she realized she wasn’t alone.

    It was time to stop for a drink and the sandwich that one of the twins had made for her, and this was the perfect spot, but she wondered if the man would find it intrusive of her to plonk herself down and picnic at the same place as him.  Had he come here for the solitude and would he resent her appearance?

    It is a public trail, she reminded herself not to be silly, but still, she felt uneasy.  The man hadn’t even glanced up as far as Zara could tell. Had he noticed her?

    She found a smooth rock to sit on under a tree and unwrapped her lunch, glancing up from time to time ready to give a cheery wave and shout hi, if he looked up from what he was doing.  But he didn’t look up, and what exactly was he doing? It was hard to say, he was pacing around on the opposite side of the pool, looking intently at the ground.

    When Zara finished her drink, she went behind a bush for a pee, making sure she would not be seen if the man glanced up. When she emerged, the man was gone.  Zara walked slowly around the water hole, taking photos, and keeping an eye out for the man, but he was nowhere to be seen.  When she reached the place where he’d been pacing looking at the ground, she paused and retraced his steps.  Something small and shiny glinted in the sun catching her eye. It was a compass, a gold compass, and quite an unusual one.

    Zara didn’t know what to do, had the man been looking for it?  Should she return it to him?  But who was he and where did he go?  She decided there was no point in leaving it here, so she put it in her pocket. Perhaps she could ask at the inn if there was a lost and found place or something.

    Refreshed from the break, Zara continued her walk. She took the compass out and looked at it, wondering not for the first time how on earth anyone used one to find their way.  She fiddled with it, and the needle kept pointing in the same direction.   What good is it knowing which way north is, if you don’t know where you are anyway? she wondered.

    With a squalk and a beating of wings, Pretty Girl appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.  “It’s not that kind of compass. You’re supposed to follow the pointer.”

    “Am I?  But it’s pointing off the trail, and Bert said don’t go off the trail.”

    “That’s because Bert doesn’t want you to find it,” replied the parrot.

    Intrigued, Zara set off in the direction the compass was pointing towards.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Put your thoughts to sleep. Do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.
    ~ Rumi

    Tired from not having any sleep, Zara had found the suburb of Camden unattractive and boring, and her cousin Bertie, although cheerful and kind and eager to show her around, had become increasingly irritating to her.  She found herself wishing he’d shut up and take her back to the house so she could play the game again.  And then felt even more cranky at how uncomfortable she felt about being so ungrateful.  She wondered if she was going to get addicted and spent the rest of her life with her head bent over a gadget and never look up at the real word again, like boring people moaned about on social media.

    Maybe she should leave tomorrow, even if it meant arriving first at the Flying Fish Inn.  But what about the ghost of Isaac in the church, would she regret later not following that up.  On the other hand, if she went straight to the Inn and had a few days on her own, she could spend as long as she wanted in the game with nobody pestering her.   Zara squirmed mentally when she realized she was translating Berties best efforts at hospitality as pestering.

    Bertie stopped the car at a traffic light and was chatting to the passenger in the next car through his open window.  Zara picked her phone up and checked her daily Call The Whale app for some inspiration.

    Let go of thinking.

    A ragged sigh escaped Zara’s lips, causing Bertie to glance over. She adjusted her facial expression quickly and rustled up a cheery smile and Bertie continued his conversation with the occupants of the other car until the lights changed.

    “I thought you’d like to meet the folks down at the library, they know all the history of Camden,” Bertie said, but Zara interrupted him.

    “Oh Bertie, how kind of you!  But I’ve just had a message and I have to leave tomorrow morning for the rendezvous with my friends. There’s been a change of plans.”  Zara astonished herself that she blurted that out without thinking it through first.   But there. It was said. It was decided.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

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

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

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

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

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

    sands_of_time?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

    “So what do I do ?” asked Youssef.

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

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

    The princess smiled.

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

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

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

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


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

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

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

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

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

    “But the boarding is only in one hour!”

    “Well I can’t wait one hour.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    He opened the second message.

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

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

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

    “Need help? Contact me 👉”

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

    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    The vendor was preparing the Lorgh Drülp with the dexterity of a Japanese sushi chef. A piece of yak, tons of spices, minced vegetables, and some other ingredients that Youssef couldn’t recognise. He turned his attention to the shaman’s performance. The team was trying to follow the man’s erratic moves under Miss Tartiflate’s supervision.  Youssef could hear her shouting to Kyle to get closer shots. It reminded him that he had to get an internet connection.

    “Is there a wifi?” asked Youssef to the vendor. The man bobbed his head and pointed at the table with a knife just as big as a machete. Impressed by the size of the blade, Youssef almost didn’t see the tattoo on the vendor’s forearm. The man resumed his cooking swiftly and his long yellow sleeve hid the tattoo. Youssef touched his screen to look at his exchange with Xavier. He searched for the screenshot he had taken of the Thi Gang’s message. There it was. The mummy skull with Darth Vador’s helmet. The same as the man’s tattoo. Xavier’s last message was about the translation being an ancient silk road recipe. They had thought it a fluke in AL’s algorithm. Youssef glanced at the vendor and his knife. Could he be part of Thi Gang?

    Youssef didn’t have time to think of a plan when the vendor put a tray with the Lorgh Drülp and little balls of tsampa on the table. The man pointed with his finger at the menu on the table, uncovering his forearm, it was the same as the Thi Gang logo.

    “Wifi on menu,” the man said. “Tsampa, good for you…”

    A commotion at the market place interrupted them. Apparently Kyle had gone too close and the shaman had crashed into him and the rest of the team. The man was cursing every one of them and Miss Tartiflate was apparently trying to calm him down by offering him snack bars. But the shaman kept brandishing an ugly sceptre that looked like a giant chicken foot covered in greasy fur, while cursing them with broken english. The tourists were all brandishing their phones, not missing a thing, ready to send their videos on TrickTruck. The shaman left angrily, ignoring all attempts at conciliation. There would be no reportage.

    “Hahaha, tourists, they believe anything they see,” said the vendor before returning to his stove and his knife.

    Despite his hunger, Youssef thought he’d better hurry with the wifi, now that the crew was out of work, he would be the target of Miss Tartiflate’s frustration. Furthermore, he wanted to lay low and not attract the vendor’s attention.

    3235 messages from his friends. How would he ever catch up?
    Among them, messages from Xavier. Youssef sighed of relief when he read that his friend had regained full access of the website and updated the system to fix a security flaw that allowed Thi Gang to gain access in the first place. But he growled when his friend continued with the bad news. There was some damage done to the content of THE BLOG.

    To console himself, Youssef started to eat a ball of tsampa. It was sweet and tasted like rose. He took a second and spit it out almost immediately. There was a piece of paper inside. He smoothed it and discovered a series of five pictograms.


    The first one was like a hologram and kept changing into six horizontal bars. The second one, looking like a tako bell, kept reversing side. Youssef raised his head to call the vendor and nobody was there. He got up and looked for the guy, Thi Gang or not, he needed some answers. Voices came from behind the curtain at the back of the stall. Youssef walked around the stall and saw the shaman and the vendor exchanging clothes. The caucasian man was now wearing the colourful costume and the drum. When he saw Youssef, he smiled and waved his hand, making the bells from the hem ring. Then he turned around and left, whistling an air that sounded strangely like the music of the Game. Youssef was about to run after him when a hand grasped his shirt.

    “Please! Tell me at least that THE BLOG is up and running!” said an angry voice.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “What’s that?” he asked.

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

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


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Have you booked your flight yet?  Zara sent a message to Yasmin. I’m spending a few more days in Camden, probably be at the Flying Fish Inn by the end of the week.

      :yahoo_rolling_eyes: :yahoo_rolling_eyes:    I told you already when my flight is, Air Fiji, remeber?  bloody Sister Finnlie on my case all the time, haven’t had a minute. Zara had to wait over an hour for Yamsin’s reply.

    Took you long enough to reply. Zara replied promptly. Heard nothing from Youssef for ages either, have you heard from him? I’ll be arriving there on my own at this rate.

    :yahoo_rolling_eyes:   Not a word, I expect Xavier’s booked his but he hasn’t said.  Probably doing his secret monkey thing.

    Have you tried the free roaming thing on the game yet?

    :yahoo_rolling_eyes:    I just told you Sister Finnlie hasn’t given me a minute to myself, she’s a right tart! Why, have you?

    Yeah it’s amazing, been checking out the Flying Fish Inn. Looks a bit of a dump. Not much to do around there, well not from what I can see anyway.  But you know what?

    :yahoo_rolling_eyes:   What?

    You’ll lose your eyes in the back of your head one day and look like that AI avatart with the wall eye.  Get this though: we haven’t started the game yet, that quest for quirks thing, I was just having a roman around ha ha typo having a roam around see what’s there and stuff I don’t know anything about online games like you lot and I ended up here.  Zara sent a screenshot of the image she’d seen and added:   Did I already start the game or what, I don’t even know how we actually start the game, I was just wandering around….oh…and happened to chance upon this…


    Zaras Game

    :yahoo_rolling_eyes:   How rude to start playing before us

    I didn’t start playing the game before you, I just told you, I was wandering around playing about waiting for you lot!   Zara thought Yasmin sounded like she needed a holiday.

    :yahoo_rolling_eyes:    Yeah well that was your quest, wasn’t it? To wander around or something?  What’s that silver chest on her back?

    I dunno but looks intriguing eh maybe she’s hidden all her devices and techy gadgets in an antiquey looking box so she doesn’t blow her cover

    Gotta go Sister Finnlie’s coming

    Zara muttered how rude under her breath and put her phone down.  She’d retired to her bedroom early, telling Bertie that she needed an early night but really had wanted some time alone to explore the new game world.  She didn’t want to make mistakes and look daft to her friends when the game started.

    “Too late for that”, Pretty Girl said.

    “SSHHH!” Zara hissed at the parrot. “And stop reading my mind, it’s disconcerting, not to mention rude.”

    She heard the sound of the lavatory flush and Berties bedroom door closing and looked at the time. 23:36.

    Zara decided to give him an hour to make sure he was asleep and then sneak out and go back to that church.


    Miss Bossy sat at her desk, scanning through the stack of papers on her desk. She was searching for the perfect reporter to send on a mission to investigate a mysterious story that had been brought to her attention. Suddenly, her eyes landed on the name of Samuel Sproink. He was new to the Rim of the Realm Newspaper and had a reputation for being a tenacious and resourceful reporter.

    She picked up the phone and dialed his number. “Sproink, I have a job for you,” she said in her gruff voice.

    “Yes, Miss Bossy, what can I do for you?” Samuel replied, his voice full of excitement.

    “I want you to go down to Cartagena, Spain, in the Golden Banana off the Mediterranean coast. There have been sightings of Barbary macaques happening there and tourists being assaulted and stolen only their shoes, which is odd of course, and also obviously unusual for the apes to be seen so far off the Strait of Gibraltar. I want you to get to the bottom of it. I need you to find out what’s really going on and report back to me with your findings.”

    “Consider it done, Miss Bossy,” Samuel said confidently. He had always been interested in wildlife and the idea of investigating a mystery involving monkeys was too good to pass up.

    He hang up the phone to go and pack his bags and head to the airport, apparently eager to start his investigation.

    “Apes again?” Ricardo who’s been eavesdropping what surprised at the sudden interest. After that whole story about the orangutan man, he thought they’d be done with the menagerie, but apparently, Miss Bossy had something in mind. He would have to quiz Sweet Sophie to remote view on that and anticipate possible links and knots in the plot.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Youssef wasn’t an expert about sandstorms, but that one surely lasted longer than it should have. It was the middle of the night when the wind stopped blowing and the sand stopped lashing the jeep. Yet, nobody dared open the door or their mouth to see if the storm was gone. Youssef’s bladder was full, and his stomach empty. They both reminded him that one can’t stop life to go on in the midst of adversity. He wondered why nobody moved or spoke, but couldn’t find the motivation to break the silence. He felt a vibration in his pocket and took his phone out.
    A message from an unknown sender. He touched it open.

    Deear Youssef,
    The Snoot is aware of the sandstorm and its whimsical ways. It dances and twirls in the desert, a symphony of wind and sand. It is a force to be reckoned with, but also a force of cleansing and renewal.

    The subsiding of the sandstorm is a fluid and ever-changing process, much like the ebb and flow of the ocean. It ebbs and flows with the whims of the wind and the dance of the desert.

    The best way to predict the subsiding of the sandstorm is to listen to the whispers of the wind and to observe the patterns of the sand. Trust in the natural rhythms and allow yourself to flow with them.

    The Snoot suggests that you seek shelter during the storm, but also to take the time to appreciate the beauty and power of nature.

    Fluidly yours,
    The Snoot. >>>

    Who the f… was the Snot? Youssef wondered if it was another trick from Thi Gang and almost deleted the message, but his bladder reminded him again he needed to do something about all the tea he drank before the sandstorm. He opened the door and got out of the jeep. The storm was gone and the sky was full of stars. The moon was giving enough light for him to move a few steps away from the jeeps while unzipping his pants. He blessed the gods as he relieved himself, strangely feeling part of nature at that very moment.

    The noises of doors opening reminded him he was not alone. Someone came, said: “I see you found a nice spot”. It was Kyle, the cameraman who unzipped himself and peed. That broke the charm, the desert was becoming crowded. But, Youssef was finished, he went back to the cars and started to wonder how he could have received that message in the middle of the desert without a satellite dish.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    The team had to stop when a sandstorm hit them in the middle of the desert. They only had an hour drive left to reach the oasis where Lama Yoneze had been seen last and Miss Tartiflate insisted, like she always did, against the guides advice that they kept on going. She feared the last shaman would be lost in the storm, maybe croak stuffed with that damn dust. But when they lost the satellite dish and a jeep almost rolled down a sand dune, she finally listened to the guides. They had them park the cars close to each other, then checked the straps and urged everyone to stay in their cars until the storm was over.

    Youssef at first thought he was lucky. He managed to get into the same car as Tiff, the young intern he had discussed with the other day. But despite all their precautions, they couldn’t stop the dust to come in. It was everywhere and you had to kept your mouth and eyes shut if you didn’t want to grind your teeth with fine sand. So instead he enjoyed this unexpected respite from his trying to save THE BLOG from the evil Thi Gang, and from Miss Tartiflate’s continuous flow of criticism.

    The storm blew off the dish just after Xavier had sent him AL’s answer to the strange glyphs he had received on his phone. When Youssef read the message, he sighed. He had forgotten hope was an illusion. AL was in its infancy and was not a dead language expert. He gave them something fitting Youssef’s current location and the questions about famous alien dishes they asked him last week. It was just an old pot luck recipe from when the Silk Road was passing through the Gobi desert. He just hoped Xavier would have some luck until Youssef found a way to restore the connexion.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    “What the…..!” Youssef exclaimed, almost throwing his phone to the ground for a second time that morning.  As if he wasn’t having enough trouble already without his phone sending him these messages.  But then an idea occurred to him, and he had another look at it.

    “Ah, now I see! Glimmer has intercepted the message from Gang Thi!”  Youssef smiled for the first time that day.  He still couldn’t decipher the strange script though, and wondered if it had been a mistake to not include her on the trip in the first place. He had thought her to be foolish and gaudy and not much practical use, but now he wasn’t so sure. He certainly hadn’t expected her to show up so soon, and in such an unexpected way.

    message from Glimmer


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Youssef woke up with a hangover. The guy from the restaurant had put fermented horse milk in his yak butter tea and he was already drunk before he could realize it. Apparently it had been a joke played on him by some of the team members he suspected didn’t quite like the humour of his real life shirt collection. Especially the one with the man shouting at his newspaper on his toilets.
    As soon as he had gotten out of the yurt, before he could go have some breakfast, his boss, Miss Tartiflate, pounced on him because there was something wrong with THE BLOG. And Youssef was the one in charge of it. And it was important because people in the world were expecting her posts about the shooting everyday. Truth is, since they couldn’t find the last Mongolian shaman, who apparently called himself Lama Yoneze, and the views had dropped dramatically. Youssef suspected Miss Tartiflate was not as ignorante as she wanted him to believe and had broken the blog on purpose so that her own boss wouldn’t accuse her of being lazy.

    “I have a reputation, you know!”

    She had said that looking like he didn’t have one, and nobody cared anyway.

    Youssef looked at the clock on his phone. They were supposed to meet with Zara, Xavier and Yasmine in thirty minutes. He had tried to sort out THE BLOG problem, but nothing seemed to work, and time was running out. Despite all being ok on the admin console, nothing was showing up on the page. He had called Gang Thi, the Nepalese company in charge of the blog, three times. Each time the receptionist hang up on him while attempting to put him on hold, or so she said. Now, nobody even bother to answer the damn phone.

    Miss Tartiflate passed her head between the curtains of the yurt.

    “Are you finished yet ?” she asked that as if he was on the throne.


    “What!? How? Do you have sausage fingers? My 5 years old daughter is more nimble than you with computers.”

    “Well, you should have brought her with us then,” said Youssef with an irritated smile, fed up by her constant useless interruptions.

    She grunted and closed the curtains angrily. Youssef growled like a bear, showing his bare teeth. Everybody knew why she jumped on the occasion for this trip: needed some fresh air from her nimble daughter and her husband.

    An alert showed up on his phone : “You’ve got a message from 💣Gang Thi💣”. The bomb in the title looked suspicious, and his stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten this morning. He clicked to open it.

    The face of a mummy looking like Darth Vader and laughing like the Joker jumped on his screen. After a few seconds a message started to appear in a tongue he couldn’t decipher.

    Youssef looked at the clock and almost threw his phone on the ground as the mummy started to laugh again.
    He would definitely have to miss the meeting with his friends.


      Wong Sang


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

      Via Old London Photographs:

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

      Limehouse Causeway in 1925:

      Limehouse Causeway


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Chinese migration to Limehouse 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The real Chinatown 

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

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

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

      Why did Chinatown disappear? 

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

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

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

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


      Wong Sang 1884-1930

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

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

      Chrisp Street


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

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

      1918 Wong Sang


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

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

      1918 Wong Sang 2


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

      London and China Express – Thursday 09 February 1922:

      1922 Wong Sang

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

      Chee Kong Tong


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

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

      1928 Wong Sang

      1928 Wong Sang 2

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


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

      1917 Alice Wong Sang



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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

      Wong Sang


      Alice Stokes


      In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg

      After her visit to the witch of the woods to get some medicine for her Mum who still had bouts of fatigue from her last encounter with the flu, the little Maryechka went back home as instructed.

      She found her home empty. Her parents were busy in the fields, as the time of harvest was near, and much remained to be done to prepare, and workers were limited.

      She left the pouch of dried herbs in the cabinet, and wondered if she should study. The schools were closed for early holidays, and they didn’t really bother with giving them much homework. She could see the teachers’ minds were worried with other things.

      Unlike other children of her age, she wasn’t interested in all the activities online, phone-stuff. The other gen-alpha kids didn’t even bother mocking her “IRL”, glued to their screens while she instead enjoyed looking at the clear blue sky. For all she knew they didn’t even realize they were living in the same world. Now, they were probably over-stressed looking at all the news on replay.
      For Maryechka, the war felt far away, even if you could see some of its impacts, with people moving about the nearby town.

      Looking as it was still early in the day, and she had plenty more time left before having to prepare for dinner, she thought it’d be nice to go and visit her grand-parent and their friends at the old people’s home. They always had nice stale biscuits to share, and they told the strangest stories all the time.

      It was just a 15 min walk from the farm, so she’d be there and back in no time.


        From Tanganyika with Love

        continued part 7

        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

        Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


        Mbulu. 30th September 1938

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


        Mbulu. 25th October 1938

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


        Iringa. 30th November 1938

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


        Nzassa 14th February 1939.

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Nzassa 28th February 1939.

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Nzassa 25th March 1939.

        Dearest Family,

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

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


        Nzassa 28th April 1939.

        Dearest Family,

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


        Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Nzassa 5th August 1939

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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


        Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


        Morogoro 14th September 1939

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


        Morogoro 4th November 1939

        Dearest Family,

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

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


        Iringa 8th December 1939

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


        Morogoro 10th March 1940

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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


        Morogoro 14th July 1940

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


        Morogoro 16th November 1940

        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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




          From Tanganyika with Love

          continued  ~ part 6

          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

          Mchewe 6th June 1937

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

          With much love,

          Mchewe 25th June 1937

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

          Lots of love,

          Mchewe 9th July 1937

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Mchewe 8th October 1937

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


          Mchewe 17th October 1937

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Mchewe 18th November 1937

          My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

          Mchewe 18th November 1937

          Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

          Mchewe 12th February, 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


          Mbulu 18th March, 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


          Mbulu 24th March, 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


          Mbulu 20th June 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Karatu 3rd July 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


          Karatu 12th July 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


          Oldeani. 19th July 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Oldeani. 10th August 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Oldeani. 20th August 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


          Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



            From Tanganyika with Love

            continued  ~ part 4

            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

            Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

            With much love,

            Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

            Heaps of love to all,

            Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Lots of love,

            Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            With heaps of love,

            Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

            Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

            Lots and lots of love,

            Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

            Your very affectionate,

            Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

            With love to you all,

            Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

            Much love to you all,

            Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

            Your worried but affectionate,

            Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

            Much love,

            Mchewe. 12th November 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Lots and lots of love to all,

            Chunya 27th November 1936

            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Much love to all,



              From Tanganyika with Love

              continued  ~ part 3

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Very much love,

              Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

              your loving but anxious,

              Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              Very much love to all,

              Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              Lots and lots of love,

              Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

              Who would be a mother!

              Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


              Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Lots and lots of love,

              Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

              With love to all,

              Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

              With love to all,

              Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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


              Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Your very loving,

              Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              With love to all,


                From Tanganyika with Love

                With thanks to Mike Rushby.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Much love my dear,
                your jubilant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Bless you all,

                S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Eleanor Leslie.

                Eleanor and George Rushby:

                Eleanor and George Rushby

                Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Your cave woman

                Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Much love to you all,

                Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Your loving

                Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Very much love,

                Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                26th December 1930

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

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

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

                Lots and lots of love,

                Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                Your loving,

                Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                Very much love,

                Mchewe Estate 20th April 1931

                Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                Mchewe Estate. 20th May 1931

                Dear Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



                  George “Mike” Rushby

                  A short autobiography of George Gilman Rushby’s son, published in the Blackwall Bugle, Australia.

                  Early in 2009, Ballina Shire Council Strategic and
                  Community Services Group Manager, Steve Barnier,
                  suggested that it would be a good idea for the Wardell
                  and District community to put out a bi-monthly
                  newsletter. I put my hand up to edit the publication and
                  since then, over 50 issues of “The Blackwall Bugle”
                  have been produced, encouraged by Ballina Shire
                  Council who host the newsletter on their website.
                  Because I usually write the stories that other people
                  generously share with me, I have been asked by several
                  community members to let them know who I am. Here is
                  my attempt to let you know!

                  My father, George Gilman Rushby was born in England
                  in 1900. An Electrician, he migrated to Africa as a young
                  man to hunt and to prospect for gold. He met Eleanor
                  Dunbar Leslie who was a high school teacher in Cape
                  Town. They later married in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika.
                  I was the second child and first son and was born in a
                  mud hut in Tanganyika in 1933. I spent my first years on
                  a coffee plantation. When four years old, and with
                  parents and elder sister on a remote goldfield, I caught
                  typhoid fever. I was seriously ill and had no access to
                  proper medical facilities. My paternal grandmother
                  sailed out to Africa from England on a steam ship and
                  took me back to England for medical treatment. My
                  sister Ann came too. Then Adolf Hitler started WWII and
                  Ann and I were separated from our parents for 9 years.

                  Sister Ann and I were not to see him or our mother for
                  nine years because of the war. Dad served as a Captain in
                  the King’s African Rifles operating in the North African
                  desert, while our Mum managed the coffee plantation at
                  home in Tanganyika.

                  Ann and I lived with our Grandmother and went to
                  school in Nottingham England. In 1946 the family was
                  reunited. We lived in Mbeya in Southern Tanganyika
                  where my father was then the District Manager of the
                  National Parks and Wildlife Authority. There was no
                  high school in Tanganyika so I had to go to school in
                  Nairobi, Kenya. It took five days travelling each way by
                  train and bus including two days on a steamer crossing
                  Lake Victoria.

                  However, the school year was only two terms with long
                  holidays in between.

                  When I was seventeen, I left high school. There was
                  then no university in East Africa. There was no work
                  around as Tanganyika was about to become
                  independent of the British Empire and become
                  Tanzania. Consequently jobs were reserved for

                  A war had broken out in Korea. I took a day off from
                  high school and visited the British Army headquarters
                  in Nairobi. I signed up for military service intending to
                  go to Korea. The army flew me to England. During
                  Army basic training I was nicknamed ‘Mike’ and have
                  been called Mike ever since. I never got to Korea!
                  After my basic training I volunteered for the Parachute
                  Regiment and the army sent me to Egypt where the
                  Suez Canal was under threat. I carried out parachute
                  operations in the Sinai Desert and in Cyprus and
                  Jordan. I was then selected for officer training and was
                  sent to England to the Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School
                  in Cheshire. Whilst in Cheshire, I met my future wife
                  Jeanette. I graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the
                  Royal Lincolnshire Regiment and was posted to West
                  Berlin, which was then one hundred miles behind the
                  Iron Curtain. My duties included patrolling the
                  demarcation line that separated the allies from the
                  Russian forces. The Berlin Wall was yet to be built. I
                  also did occasional duty as guard commander of the
                  guard at Spandau Prison where Adolf Hitler’s deputy
                  Rudolf Hess was the only prisoner.

                  From Berlin, my Regiment was sent to Malaya to
                  undertake deep jungle operations against communist
                  terrorists that were attempting to overthrow the
                  Malayan Government. I was then a Lieutenant in
                  command of a platoon of about 40 men which would go
                  into the jungle for three weeks to a month with only air
                  re-supply to keep us going. On completion of my jungle
                  service, I returned to England and married Jeanette. I
                  had to stand up throughout the church wedding
                  ceremony because I had damaged my right knee in a
                  competitive cross-country motorcycle race and wore a
                  splint and restrictive bandage for the occasion!
                  At this point I took a career change and transferred
                  from the infantry to the Royal Military Police. I was in
                  charge of the security of British, French and American
                  troops using the autobahn link from West Germany to
                  the isolated Berlin. Whilst in Germany and Austria I
                  took up snow skiing as a sport.

                  Jeanette and I seemed to attract unusual little
                  adventures along the way — each adventure trivial in
                  itself but adding up to give us a ‘different’ path through
                  life. Having climbed Mount Snowdon up the ‘easy way’
                  we were witness to a serious climbing accident where a
                  member of the staff of a Cunard Shipping Line
                  expedition fell and suffered serious injury. It was
                  Sunday a long time ago. The funicular railway was
                  closed. There was no telephone. So I ran all the way
                  down Mount Snowdon to raise the alarm.

                  On a road trip from Verden in Germany to Berlin with
                  our old Opel Kapitan motor car stacked to the roof with
                  all our worldly possessions, we broke down on the ice and snow covered autobahn. We still had a hundred kilometres to go.

                  A motorcycle patrolman flagged down a B-Double
                  tanker. He hooked us to the tanker with a very short tow
                  cable and off we went. The truck driver couldn’t see us
                  because we were too close and his truck threw up a
                  constant deluge of ice and snow so we couldn’t see
                  anyway. We survived the hundred kilometre ‘sleigh

                  I then went back to the other side of the world where I
                  carried out military police duties in Singapore and
                  Malaya for three years. I took up scuba diving and
                  loved the ocean. Jeanette and I, with our two little
                  daughters, took a holiday to South Africa to see my
                  parents. We sailed on a ship of the Holland-Afrika Line.
                  It broke down for four days and drifted uncontrollably
                  in dangerous waters off the Skeleton Coast of Namibia
                  until the crew could get the ship’s motor running again.
                  Then, in Cape Town, we were walking the beach near
                  Hermanus with my youngest brother and my parents,
                  when we found the dead body of a man who had thrown
                  himself off a cliff. The police came and secured the site.
                  Back with the army, I was promoted to Major and
                  appointed Provost Marshal of the ACE Mobile Force
                  (Allied Command Europe) with dual headquarters in
                  Salisbury, England and Heidelberg, Germany. The cold
                  war was at its height and I was on operations in Greece,
                  Denmark and Norway including the Arctic. I had
                  Norwegian, Danish, Italian and American troops in my
                  unit and I was then also the Winter Warfare Instructor
                  for the British contingent to the Allied Command
                  Europe Mobile Force that operated north of the Arctic

                  The reason for being in the Arctic Circle? From there
                  our special forces could look down into northern

                  I was not seeing much of my two young daughters. A
                  desk job was looming my way and I decided to leave
                  the army and migrate to Australia. Why Australia?
                  Well, I didn’t want to go back to Africa, which
                  seemed politically unstable and the people I most
                  liked working with in the army, were the Australian
                  troops I had met in Malaya.

                  I migrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1970 and started
                  working for Woolworths. After management training,
                  I worked at Garden City and Brookside then became
                  the manager in turn of Woolworths stores at
                  Paddington, George Street and Redcliff. I was also the
                  first Director of FAUI Queensland (The Federation of
                  Underwater Diving Instructors) and spent my spare
                  time on the Great Barrier Reef. After 8 years with
                  Woollies, I opted for a sea change.

                  I moved with my family to Evans Head where I
                  converted a convenience store into a mini
                  supermarket. When IGA moved into town, I decided
                  to take up beef cattle farming and bought a cattle
                  property at Collins Creek Kyogle in 1990. I loved
                  everything about the farm — the Charolais cattle, my
                  horses, my kelpie dogs, the open air, fresh water
                  creek, the freedom, the lifestyle. I also became a
                  volunteer fire fighter with the Green Pigeon Brigade.
                  In 2004 I sold our farm and moved to Wardell.
                  My wife Jeanette and I have been married for 60 years
                  and are now retired. We have two lovely married
                  daughters and three fine grandchildren. We live in the
                  greatest part of the world where we have been warmly
                  welcomed by the Wardell community and by the
                  Wardell Brigade of the Rural Fire Service. We are
                  very happy here.

                  Mike Rushby

                  A short article sent to Jacksdale in England from Mike Rushby in Australia:

                  Rushby Family

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