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      Annie Elizabeth Stokes


      “Grandma E”

      Annie Stokes


      Annie, my great grandmother, was born 2 Jan 1871 in Merstow Green, Evesham, Worcestershire.  Her father Fred Stokes was a wheelwright.  On  the 1771 census in Merston Green Annie was 3 months old and there was quite a houseful: Annies parents Fred and Rebecca, Fred’s parents Thomas and Eliza and two of their daughters, three apprentices, a lodger and one of Thomas’s grandsons.

      1771 census Merstow Green, Evesham:

      1771 census


      Annie at school in the early 1870s in Broadway. Annie is in the front on the left and her brother Fred is in the centre of the first seated row:

      Annie 1870s Broadway


      In 1881 Annie was a 10 year old visitor at the Angel Inn, Chipping Camden. A boarder there was 19 year old William Halford, a wheelwright apprentice.  John Such, a 62 year old widower, was the innkeeper. Her parents and two siblings were living at La Quinta, on Main Street in Broadway.

      According to her obituary in 1962, “When the Maxton family visited Broadway to stay with Mr and Madame de Navarro at Court Farm, they offered Annie a family post with them which took her for several years to Paris and other parts of the continent.”

      Mary Anderson was an American theatre actress. In 1890 she married Antonio Fernando de Navarro. She became known as Mary Anderson de Navarro. They settled at Court Farm in the Cotswolds, Broadway, Worcestershire, where she cultivated an interest in music and became a noted hostess with a distinguished circle of musical, literary and ecclesiastical guests. As in the years when Mary lived there, it was often filled with visiting artists and musicians, including Myra Hess and a young Jacqueline du Pré. (via Wikipedia)

      Court Farm, Broadway:

      Court Farm Broadway



      Annie was an assistant to a tobacconist in West Bromwich in 1991, living as a boarder with William Calcutt and family.  He future husband Albert was living in neighbouring Tipton in 1891, working at a pawnbroker apprenticeship.

      Annie married Albert Parker Edwards in 1898 in Evesham. On the 1901 census, she was in hospital in Redditch.

      By 1911, Anne and Albert had five children and were living at the Cricketers Arms in Redditch.

      cricketers arms


      Behind the bar in 1904 shortly after taking over at the Cricketers Arms. From a book on Redditch pubs:



      Annie was referred to in later years as Grandma E, probably to differentiate between her and my fathers Grandma T, as both lived to a great age.

      Annie with her grandson Reg on the left and her daughter in law Peggy on the right, in the early 1950s:

      1950 Annie


      Annie at my christening in 1959:

      1959 christening


      Annie died 30 Dec 1961, aged 90, at Ravenscourt nursing home, Redditch. Her obituary in the Droitwich Guardian in January 1962:

      Annie obit

      Note that this obituary contains an obvious error: Annie’s father was Frederick Stokes, and Thomas was his father.


        The House on Penn Common

        Toi Fang and the Duke of Sutherland





        Penn Common



        Charles Tomlinson (1873-1929) my great grandfather, was born in Wolverhampton in 1873. His father Charles Tomlinson (1847-1907) was a licensed victualler or publican, or alternatively a vet/castrator. He married Emma Grattidge (1853-1911) in 1872. On the 1881 census they were living at The Wheel in Wolverhampton.

        Charles married Nellie Fisher (1877-1956) in Wolverhampton in 1896. In 1901 they were living next to the post office in Upper Penn, with children (Charles) Sidney Tomlinson (1896-1955), and Hilda Tomlinson (1898-1977) . Charles was a vet/castrator working on his own account.

        In 1911 their address was 4, Wakely Hill, Penn, and living with them were their children Hilda, Frank Tomlinson (1901-1975), (Dorothy) Phyllis Tomlinson (1905-1982), Nellie Tomlinson (1906-1978) and May Tomlinson (1910-1983). Charles was a castrator working on his own account.

        Charles and Nellie had a further four children: Charles Fisher Tomlinson (1911-1977), Margaret Tomlinson (1913-1989) (my grandmother Peggy), Major Tomlinson (1916-1984) and Norah Mary Tomlinson (1919-2010).

        My father told me that my grandmother had fallen down the well at the house on Penn Common in 1915 when she was two years old, and sent me a photo of her standing next to the well when she revisted the house at a much later date.

        Peggy next to the well on Penn Common:

        Peggy well Penn


        My grandmother Peggy told me that her father had had a racehorse called Toi Fang. She remembered the racing colours were sky blue and orange, and had a set of racing silks made which she sent to my father.
        Through a DNA match, I met Ian Tomlinson. Ian is the son of my fathers favourite cousin Roger, Frank’s son. Ian found some racing silks and sent a photo to my father (they are now in contact with each other as a result of my DNA match with Ian), wondering what they were.

        Toi Fang


        When Ian sent a photo of these racing silks, I had a look in the newspaper archives. In 1920 there are a number of mentions in the racing news of Mr C Tomlinson’s horse TOI FANG. I have not found any mention of Toi Fang in the newspapers in the following years.

        The Scotsman – Monday 12 July 1920:

        Toi Fang



        The other story that Ian Tomlinson recalled was about the house on Penn Common. Ian said he’d heard that the local titled person took Charles Tomlinson to court over building the house but that Tomlinson won the case because it was built on common land and was the first case of it’s kind.

        Penn Common


        Penn Common Right of Way Case:
        Staffordshire Advertiser March 9, 1912

        In the chancery division, on Tuesday, before Mr Justice Joyce, it was announced that a settlement had been arrived at of the Penn Common Right of Way case, the hearing of which occupied several days last month. The action was brought by the Duke of Sutherland (as Lord of the Manor of Penn) and Mr Harry Sydney Pitt (on behalf of himself and other freeholders of the manor having a right to pasturage on Penn Common) to restrain Mr James Lakin, Carlton House, Penn; Mr Charles Tomlinson, Mayfield Villa, Wakely Hill, Penn; and Mr Joseph Harold Simpkin, Dudley Road, Wolverhampton, from drawing building materials across the common, or otherwise causing injury to the soil.

        The real point in dispute was whether there was a public highway for all purposes running by the side of the defendants land from the Turf Tavern past the golf club to the Barley Mow.
        Mr Hughes, KC for the plaintiffs, now stated that the parties had been in consultation, and had come to terms, the substance of which was that the defendants admitted that there was no public right of way, and that they were granted a private way. This, he thought, would involve the granting of some deed or deeds to express the rights of the parties, and he suggested that the documents should be be settled by some counsel to be mutually agreed upon.

        His lordship observed that the question of coal was probably the important point. Mr Younger said Mr Tomlinson was a freeholder, and the plaintiffs could not mine under him. Mr Hughes: The coal actually under his house is his, and, of course, subsidence might be produced by taking away coal some distance away. I think some document is required to determine his actual rights.
        Mr Younger said he wanted to avoid anything that would increase the costs, but, after further discussion, it was agreed that Mr John Dixon (an expert on mineral rights), or failing him, another counsel satisfactory to both parties, should be invited to settle the terms scheduled in the agreement, in order to prevent any further dispute.


        Penn Common case


        The name of the house is Grassholme.  The address of Mayfield Villas is the house they were living in while building Grassholme, which I assume they had not yet moved in to at the time of the newspaper article in March 1912.



        What my grandmother didn’t tell anyone was how her father died in 1929:


        1929 Charles Tomlinson



        On the 1921 census, Charles, Nellie and eight of their children were living at 269 Coleman Street, Wolverhampton.

        1921 census Tomlinson



        They were living on Coleman Street in 1915 when Charles was fined for staying open late.

        Staffordshire Advertiser – Saturday 13 February 1915:


        1915 butcher fined


        What is not yet clear is why they moved from the house on Penn Common sometime between 1912 and 1915. And why did he have a racehorse in 1920?


          The Grattidge Family


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

          Bessy Buxton’s gravestone:

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

          20 Dec 1840, Ellastone, Staffordshire

          Bessy Buxton


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

          An excerpt from the will:

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

          A page from the 1843 will of Thomas Grattidge:

          1843 Thomas Grattidge


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


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

          Albert Grattidge:

          Albert Grattidge


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

          George Grattidge:

          George Grattidge


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

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

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

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

          The Derby Mercury of 17th November 1869:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


          In this article it says:

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

          Sheffield Independent – Friday 12 November 1869:

          Louisa Cheesborough


            The Hollands of Barton under Needwood


            Samuel Warren of Stapenhill married Catherine Holland of Barton under Needwood in 1795.

            I joined a Barton under Needwood History group and found an incredible amount of information on the Holland family, but first I wanted to make absolutely sure that our Catherine Holland was one of them as there were also Hollands in Newhall. Not only that, on the marriage licence it says that Catherine Holland was from Bretby Park Gate, Stapenhill.

            Then I noticed that one of the witnesses on Samuel’s brother Williams marriage to Ann Holland in 1796 was John Hair. Hannah Hair was the wife of Thomas Holland, and they were the Barton under Needwood parents of Catherine. Catherine was born in 1775, and Ann was born in 1767.

            The 1851 census clinched it: Catherine Warren 74 years old, widow and formerly a farmers wife, was living in the household of her son John Warren, and her place of birth is listed as Barton under Needwood. In 1841 Catherine was a 64 year old widow, her husband Samuel having died in 1837, and she was living with her son Samuel, a farmer. The 1841 census did not list place of birth, however. Catherine died on 31 March 1861 and does not appear on the 1861 census.

            Once I had established that our Catherine Holland was from Barton under Needwood, I had another look at the information available on the Barton under Needwood History group, compiled by local historian Steve Gardner.

            Catherine’s parents were Thomas Holland 1737-1828 and Hannah Hair 1739-1822.

            Steve Gardner had posted a long list of the dates, marriages and children of the Holland family. The earliest entries in parish registers were Thomae Holland 1562-1626 and his wife Eunica Edwardes 1565-1632. They married on 10th July 1582. They were born, married and died in Barton under Needwood. They were direct ancestors of Catherine Holland, and as such my direct ancestors too.

            The known history of the Holland family in Barton under Needwood goes back to Richard De Holland. (Thanks once again to Steve Gardner of the Barton under Needwood History group for this information.)

            “Richard de Holland was the first member of the Holland family to become resident in Barton under Needwood (in about 1312) having been granted lands by the Earl of Lancaster (for whom Richard served as Stud and Stock Keeper of the Peak District) The Holland family stemmed from Upholland in Lancashire and had many family connections working for the Earl of Lancaster, who was one of the biggest Barons in England. Lancaster had his own army and lived at Tutbury Castle, from where he ruled over most of the Midlands area. The Earl of Lancaster was one of the main players in the ‘Barons Rebellion’ and the ensuing Battle of Burton Bridge in 1322. Richard de Holland was very much involved in the proceedings which had so angered Englands King. Holland narrowly escaped with his life, unlike the Earl who was executed.
            From the arrival of that first Holland family member, the Hollands were a mainstay family in the community, and were in Barton under Needwood for over 600 years.”

            Continuing with various items of information regarding the Hollands, thanks to Steve Gardner’s Barton under Needwood history pages:

            “PART 6 (Final Part)
            Some mentions of The Manor of Barton in the Ancient Staffordshire Rolls:
            1330. A Grant was made to Herbert de Ferrars, at le Newland in the Manor of Barton.
            1378. The Inquisitio bonorum – Johannis Holand — an interesting Inventory of his goods and their value and his debts.
            1380. View of Frankpledge ; the Jury found that Richard Holland was feloniously murdered by his wife Joan and Thomas Graunger, who fled. The goods of the deceased were valued at iiij/. iijj. xid. ; one-third went to the dead man, one-third to his son, one- third to the Lord for the wife’s share. Compare 1 H. V. Indictments. (1413.)
            That Thomas Graunger of Barton smyth and Joan the wife of Richard de Holond of Barton on the Feast of St. John the Baptist 10 H. II. (1387) had traitorously killed and murdered at night, at Barton, Richard, the husband of the said Joan. (m. 22.)
            The names of various members of the Holland family appear constantly among the listed Jurors on the manorial records printed below : —
            1539. Richard Holland and Richard Holland the younger are on the Muster Roll of Barton
            1583. Thomas Holland and Unica his wife are living at Barton.
            1663-4. Visitations. — Barton under Needword. Disclaimers. William Holland, Senior, William Holland, Junior.
            1609. Richard Holland, Clerk and Alice, his wife.
            1663-4. Disclaimers at the Visitation. William Holland, Senior, William Holland, Junior.”

            I was able to find considerably more information on the Hollands in the book “Some Records of the Holland Family (The Hollands of Barton under Needwood, Staffordshire, and the Hollands in History)” by William Richard Holland. Luckily the full text of this book can be found online.

            William Richard Holland (Died 1915) An early local Historian and author of the book:

            William Richard Holland


            ‘Holland House’ taken from the Gardens (sadly demolished in the early 60’s):

            Holland House


            Excerpt from the book:

            “The charter, dated 1314, granting Richard rights and privileges in Needwood Forest, reads as follows:

            “Thomas Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, high-steward of England, to whom all these present shall come, greeting: Know ye, that we have given, &c., to Richard Holland of Barton, and his heirs, housboot, heyboot, and fireboot, and common of pasture, in our forest of Needwood, for all his beasts, as well in places fenced as lying open, with 40 hogs, quit of pawnage in our said forest at all times in the year (except hogs only in fence month). All which premises we will warrant, &c. to the said Richard and his heirs against all people for ever”

            “The terms “housboot” “heyboot” and “fireboot” meant that Richard and his heirs were to have the privilege of taking from the Forest, wood needed for house repair and building, hedging material for the repairing of fences, and what was needful for purposes of fuel.”

            Further excerpts from the book:

            “It may here be mentioned that during the renovation of Barton Church, when the stone pillars were being stripped of the plaster which covered them, “William Holland 1617” was found roughly carved on a pillar near to the belfry gallery, obviously the work of a not too devout member of the family, who, seated in the gallery of that time, occupied himself thus during the service. The inscription can still be seen.”

            “The earliest mention of a Holland of Upholland occurs in the reign of John in a Final Concord, made at the Lancashire Assizes, dated November 5th, 1202, in which Uchtred de Chryche, who seems to have had some right in the manor of Upholland, releases his right in fourteen oxgangs* of land to Matthew de Holland, in consideration of the sum of six marks of silver. Thus was planted the Holland Tree, all the early information of which is found in The Victoria County History of Lancaster.

            As time went on, the family acquired more land, and with this, increased position. Thus, in the reign of Edward I, a Robert de Holland, son of Thurstan, son of Robert, became possessed of the manor of Orrell adjoining Upholland and of the lordship of Hale in the parish of Childwall, and, through marriage with Elizabeth de Samlesbury (co-heiress of Sir Wm. de Samlesbury of Samlesbury, Hall, near to Preston), of the moiety of that manor….

            * An oxgang signified the amount of land that could be ploughed by one ox in one day”

            “This Robert de Holland, son of Thurstan, received Knighthood in the reign of Edward I, as did also his brother William, ancestor of that branch of the family which later migrated to Cheshire. Belonging to this branch are such noteworthy personages as Mrs. Gaskell, the talented authoress, her mother being a Holland of this branch, Sir Henry Holland, Physician to Queen Victoria, and his two sons, the first Viscount Knutsford, and Canon Francis Holland ; Sir Henry’s grandson (the present Lord Knutsford), Canon Scott Holland, etc. Captain Frederick Holland, R.N., late of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire, may also be mentioned here.*”

            Thanks to the Barton under Needwood history group for the following:

            WALES END FARM:
            In 1509 it was owned and occupied by Mr Johannes Holland De Wallass end who was a well to do Yeoman Farmer (the origin of the areas name – Wales End).  Part of the building dates to 1490 making it probably the oldest building still standing in the Village:

            Wales End Farm


            I found records for all of the Holland’s listed on the Barton under Needwood History group and added them to my ancestry tree. The earliest will I found was for Eunica Edwardes, then Eunica Holland, who died in 1632.

            A page from the 1632 will and inventory of Eunica (Unice) Holland:

            Unice Holland


            I’d been reading about “pedigree collapse” just before I found out her maiden name of Edwardes. Edwards is my own maiden name.

            “In genealogy, pedigree collapse describes how reproduction between two individuals who knowingly or unknowingly share an ancestor causes the family tree of their offspring to be smaller than it would otherwise be.
            Without pedigree collapse, a person’s ancestor tree is a binary tree, formed by the person, the parents, grandparents, and so on. However, the number of individuals in such a tree grows exponentially and will eventually become impossibly high. For example, a single individual alive today would, over 30 generations going back to the High Middle Ages, have roughly a billion ancestors, more than the total world population at the time. This apparent paradox occurs because the individuals in the binary tree are not distinct: instead, a single individual may occupy multiple places in the binary tree. This typically happens when the parents of an ancestor are cousins (sometimes unbeknownst to themselves). For example, the offspring of two first cousins has at most only six great-grandparents instead of the normal eight. This reduction in the number of ancestors is pedigree collapse. It collapses the binary tree into a directed acyclic graph with two different, directed paths starting from the ancestor who in the binary tree would occupy two places.” via wikipedia

            There is nothing to suggest, however, that Eunica’s family were related to my fathers family, and the only evidence so far in my tree of pedigree collapse are the marriages of Orgill cousins, where two sets of grandparents are repeated.

            A list of Holland ancestors:

            Catherine Holland 1775-1861
            her parents:
            Thomas Holland 1737-1828   Hannah Hair 1739-1832
            Thomas’s parents:
            William Holland 1696-1756   Susannah Whiteing 1715-1752
            William’s parents:
            William Holland 1665-    Elizabeth Higgs 1675-1720
            William’s parents:
            Thomas Holland 1634-1681   Katherine Owen 1634-1728
            Thomas’s parents:
            Thomas Holland 1606-1680   Margaret Belcher 1608-1664
            Thomas’s parents:
            Thomas Holland 1562-1626   Eunice Edwardes 1565- 1632


              Leicestershire Blacksmiths

              The Orgill’s of Measham led me further into Leicestershire as I traveled back in time.

              I also realized I had uncovered a direct line of women and their mothers going back ten generations:

              myself, Tracy Edwards 1957-
              my mother Gillian Marshall 1933-
              my grandmother Florence Warren 1906-1988
              her mother and my great grandmother Florence Gretton 1881-1927
              her mother Sarah Orgill 1840-1910
              her mother Elizabeth Orgill 1803-1876
              her mother Sarah Boss 1783-1847
              her mother Elizabeth Page 1749-
              her mother Mary Potter 1719-1780
              and her mother and my 7x great grandmother Mary 1680-

              You could say it leads us to the very heart of England, as these Leicestershire villages are as far from the coast as it’s possible to be. There are countless other maternal lines to follow, of course, but only one of mothers of mothers, and ours takes us to Leicestershire.

              The blacksmiths

              Sarah Boss was the daughter of Michael Boss 1755-1807, a blacksmith in Measham, and Elizabeth Page of nearby Hartshorn, just over the county border in Derbyshire.

              An earlier Michael Boss, a blacksmith of Measham, died in 1772, and in his will he left the possession of the blacksmiths shop and all the working tools and a third of the household furniture to Michael, who he named as his nephew. He left his house in Appleby Magna to his wife Grace, and five pounds to his mother Jane Boss. As none of Michael and Grace’s children are mentioned in the will, perhaps it can be assumed that they were childless.

              The will of Michael Boss, 1772, Measham:

              Michael Boss 1772 will


              Michael Boss the uncle was born in Appleby Magna in 1724. His parents were Michael Boss of Nelson in the Thistles and Jane Peircivall of Appleby Magna, who were married in nearby Mancetter in 1720.

              Information worth noting on the Appleby Magna website:

              In 1752 the calendar in England was changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, as a result 11 days were famously “lost”. But for the recording of Church Registers another very significant change also took place, the start of the year was moved from March 25th to our more familiar January 1st.
              Before 1752 the 1st day of each new year was March 25th, Lady Day (a significant date in the Christian calendar). The year number which we all now use for calculating ages didn’t change until March 25th. So, for example, the day after March 24th 1750 was March 25th 1751, and January 1743 followed December 1743.
              This March to March recording can be seen very clearly in the Appleby Registers before 1752. Between 1752 and 1768 there appears slightly confused recording, so dates should be carefully checked. After 1768 the recording is more fully by the modern calendar year.

              Michael Boss the uncle married Grace Cuthbert.  I haven’t yet found the birth or parents of Grace, but a blacksmith by the name of Edward Cuthbert is mentioned on an Appleby Magna history website:

              An Eighteenth Century Blacksmith’s Shop in Little Appleby
              by Alan Roberts

              Cuthberts inventory

              The inventory of Edward Cuthbert provides interesting information about the household possessions and living arrangements of an eighteenth century blacksmith. Edward Cuthbert (als. Cutboard) settled in Appleby after the Restoration to join the handful of blacksmiths already established in the parish, including the Wathews who were prominent horse traders. The blacksmiths may have all worked together in the same shop at one time. Edward and his wife Sarah recorded the baptisms of several of their children in the parish register. Somewhat sadly three of the boys named after their father all died either in infancy or as young children. Edward’s inventory which was drawn up in 1732, by which time he was probably a widower and his children had left home, suggests that they once occupied a comfortable two-storey house in Little Appleby with an attached workshop, well equipped with all the tools for repairing farm carts, ploughs and other implements, for shoeing horses and for general ironmongery. 

              Edward Cuthbert born circa 1660, married Joane Tuvenet in 1684 in Swepston cum Snarestone , and died in Appleby in 1732. Tuvenet is a French name and suggests a Huguenot connection, but this isn’t our family, and indeed this Edward Cuthbert is not likely to be Grace’s father anyway.

              Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page appear to have married twice: once in 1776, and once in 1779. Both of the documents exist and appear correct. Both marriages were by licence. They both mention Michael is a blacksmith.

              Their first daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized in February 1777, just nine months after the first wedding. It’s not known when she was born, however, and it’s possible that the marriage was a hasty one. But why marry again three years later?

              But Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page did not marry twice.

              Elizabeth Page from Smisby was born in 1752 and married Michael Boss on the 5th of May 1776 in Measham. On the marriage licence allegations and bonds, Michael is a bachelor.

              Baby Elizabeth was baptised in Measham on the 9th February 1777. Mother Elizabeth died on the 18th February 1777, also in Measham.

              In 1779 Michael Boss married another Elizabeth Page! She was born in 1749 in Hartshorn, and Michael is a widower on the marriage licence allegations and bonds.

              Hartshorn and Smisby are neighbouring villages, hence the confusion.  But a closer look at the documents available revealed the clues.  Both Elizabeth Pages were literate, and indeed their signatures on the marriage registers are different:

              Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Smisby in 1776:

              Elizabeth Page 1776


              Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Harsthorn in 1779:

              Elizabeth Page 1779


              Not only did Michael Boss marry two women both called Elizabeth Page but he had an unusual start in life as well. His uncle Michael Boss left him the blacksmith business and a third of his furniture. This was all in the will. But which of Uncle Michaels brothers was nephew Michaels father?

              The only Michael Boss born at the right time was in 1750 in Edingale, Staffordshire, about eight miles from Appleby Magna. His parents were Thomas Boss and Ann Parker, married in Edingale in 1747.  Thomas died in August 1750, and his son Michael was baptised in the December, posthumus son of Thomas and his widow Ann. Both entries are on the same page of the register.

              1750 posthumus


              Ann Boss, the young widow, married again. But perhaps Michael and his brother went to live with their childless uncle and aunt, Michael Boss and Grace Cuthbert.

              The great grandfather of Michael Boss (the Measham blacksmith born in 1850) was also Michael Boss, probably born in the 1660s. He died in Newton Regis in Warwickshire in 1724, four years after his son (also Michael Boss born 1693) married Jane Peircivall.  The entry on the parish register states that Michael Boss was buried ye 13th Affadavit made.

              I had not seen affadavit made on a parish register before, and this relates to the The Burying in Woollen Acts 1666–80.  According to Wikipedia:

               “Acts of the Parliament of England which required the dead, except plague victims and the destitute, to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles.  It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Burial entries in parish registers were marked with the word “affidavit” or its equivalent to confirm that affidavit had been sworn; it would be marked “naked” for those too poor to afford the woollen shroud.  The legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770.”

              Michael Boss buried 1724 “Affadavit made”:

              Michael Boss affadavit 1724




              Elizabeth Page‘s father was William Page 1717-1783, a wheelwright in Hartshorn.  (The father of the first wife Elizabeth was also William Page, but he was a husbandman in Smisby born in 1714. William Page, the father of the second wife, was born in Nailstone, Leicestershire, in 1717. His place of residence on his marriage to Mary Potter was spelled Nelson.)

              Her mother was Mary Potter 1719- of nearby Coleorton.  Mary’s father, Richard Potter 1677-1731, was a blacksmith in Coleorton.

              A page of the will of Richard Potter 1731:

              Richard Potter 1731


              Richard Potter states: “I will and order that my son Thomas Potter shall after my decease have one shilling paid to him and no more.”  As he left £50 to each of his daughters, one can’t help but wonder what Thomas did to displease his father.

              Richard stipulated that his son Thomas should have one shilling paid to him and not more, for several good considerations, and left “the house and ground lying in the parish of Whittwick in a place called the Long Lane to my wife Mary Potter to dispose of as she shall think proper.”

              His son Richard inherited the blacksmith business:  “I will and order that my son Richard Potter shall live and be with his mother and serve her duly and truly in the business of a blacksmith, and obey and serve her in all lawful commands six years after my decease, and then I give to him and his heirs…. my house and grounds Coulson House in the Liberty of Thringstone”

              Richard wanted his son John to be a blacksmith too: “I will and order that my wife bring up my son John Potter at home with her and teach or cause him to be taught the trade of a blacksmith and that he shall serve her duly and truly seven years after my decease after the manner of an apprentice and at the death of his mother I give him that house and shop and building and the ground belonging to it which I now dwell in to him and his heirs forever.”

              To his daughters Margrett and Mary Potter, upon their reaching the age of one and twenty, or the day after their marriage, he leaves £50 each. All the rest of his goods are left to his loving wife Mary.


              An inventory of the belongings of Richard Potter, 1731:

              Richard Potter inventory


              Richard Potters father was also named Richard Potter 1649-1719, and he too was a blacksmith.

              Richard Potter of Coleorton in the county of Leicester, blacksmith, stated in his will:  “I give to my son and daughter Thomas and Sarah Potter the possession of my house and grounds.”

              He leaves ten pounds each to his daughters Jane and Alice, to his son Francis he gives five pounds, and five shillings to his son Richard. Sons Joseph and William also receive five shillings each. To his daughter Mary, wife of Edward Burton, and her daughter Elizabeth, he gives five shillings each. The rest of his good, chattels and wordly substance he leaves equally between his son and daugter Thomas and Sarah. As there is no mention of his wife, it’s assumed that she predeceased him.

              The will of Richard Potter, 1719:

              Richard Potter 1719


              Richard Potter’s (1649-1719) parents were William Potter and Alse Huldin, both born in the early 1600s.  They were married in 1646 at Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire.  The name Huldin appears to originate in Finland.

              William Potter was a blacksmith. In the 1659 parish registers of Breedon on the Hill, William Potter of Breedon blacksmith buryed the 14th July.


                Purdy Cousins


                My great grandmother Mary Ann Gilman Purdy was one of five children.  Her sister Ellen Purdy was a well traveled nurse, and her sister Kate Rushby was a publican whose son who went to Africa. But what of her eldest sister Elizabeth and her brother Richard?


                Elizabeth Purdy 1869-1905 married Benjamin George Little in 1892 in Basford, Nottinghamshire.  Their first child, Frieda Olive Little, was born in Eastwood in December 1896, and their second daughter Catherine Jane Little was born in Warrington, Cheshire, in 1898. A third daughter, Edna Francis Little was born in 1900, but died three months later.

                When I noticed that this unidentified photograph in our family collection was taken by a photographer in Warrington,  and as no other family has been found in Warrington, I concluded that these two little girls are Frieda and Catherine:

                Catherine and Frieda Little


                Benjamin Little, born in 1869, was the manager of a boot shop, according to the 1901 census, and a boot maker on the 1911 census. I found a photograph of Benjamin and Elizabeth Little on an ancestry website:

                Benjamin and Elizabeth Little


                Frieda Olive Little 1896-1977 married Robert Warburton in 1924.

                Frieda and Robert had two sons and a daughter, although one son died in infancy.  They lived in Leominster, in Herefordshire, but Frieda died in 1977 at Enfield Farm in Warrington, four years after the death of her husband Robert.

                Catherine Jane Little 1899-1975 married Llewelyn Robert Prince 1884-1950.  They do not appear to have had any children.  Llewelyn was manager of the National Provinical Bank at Eltham in London, but died at Brook Cottage in Kingsland, Herefordshire.  His wifes aunt Ellen Purdy the nurse had also lived at Brook Cottage.  Ellen died in 1947, but her husband Frank Garbett was at the funeral:

                Llewelyn Prince


                Richard Purdy 1877-1940

                Richard was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. When his mother Catherine died in 1884 Richard was six years old.  My great grandmother Mary Ann and her sister Ellen went to live with the Gilman’s in Buxton, but Richard and the two older sisters, Elizabeth and Kate, stayed with their father George Purdy, who remarried soon afterwards.

                Richard married Ada Elizabeth Clarke in 1899.  In 1901 Richard was an earthenware packer at a pottery, and on the 1939 census he was a colliery dataller.  A dataller was a day wage man, paid on a daily basis for work done as required.

                Richard and Ada had four children: Richard Baden Purdy 1900-1945, Winifred Maude 1903-1974, John Frederick 1907-1945, and Violet Gertrude 1910-1974.

                Richard Baden Purdy married Ethel May Potter in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1926.  He was listed on the 1939 census as a colliery deputy.  In 1945 Richard Baden Purdy died as a result of injuries in a mine explosion.

                Richard Baden Purdy


                John Frederick Purdy married Iris Merryweather in 1938. On the 1939 census John and Iris live in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, and John’s occupation is a colliery hewer.  Their daughter Barbara Elizabeth was born later that year.  John died in 1945, the same year as his brother Richard Baden Purdy. It is not known without purchasing the death certificate what the cause of death was.

                A memorial was posted in the Nottingham Evening Post on 29 June 1948:

                PURDY, loving memories, Richard Baden, accidentally killed June 29th 1945; John Frederick, died 1 April 1945; Richard Purdy, father, died December 1940. Too dearly loved to be forgotten. Mother, families.

                Violet Gertrude Purdy married Sidney Garland in 1932 in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.  She died in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, in 1974.

                Winifred Maude Purdy married Bernard Fowler in Southwell in 1928.  She also died in 1974, in Mansfield.

                The two brothers died the same year, in 1945, and the two sisters died the same year, in 1974.


                  The Housley Letters 

                  From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters.


                  William Housley (1781-1848) and Ellen Carrington were married on May 30, 1814 at St. Oswald’s church in Ashbourne. William died in 1848 at the age of 67 of “disease of lungs and general debility”. Ellen died in 1872.

                  Marriage of William Housley and Ellen Carrington in Ashbourne in 1814:

                  William and Ellen Marriage


                  Parish records show three children for William and his first wife, Mary, Ellens’ sister, who were married December 29, 1806: Mary Ann, christened in 1808 and mentioned frequently in the letters; Elizabeth, christened in 1810, but never mentioned in any letters; and William, born in 1812, probably referred to as Will in the letters. Mary died in 1813.

                  William and Ellen had ten children: John, Samuel, Edward, Anne, Charles, George, Joseph, Robert, Emma, and Joseph. The first Joseph died at the age of four, and the last son was also named Joseph. Anne never married, Charles emigrated to Australia in 1851, and George to USA, also in 1851. The letters are to George, from his sisters and brothers in England.

                  The following are excerpts of those letters, including excerpts of Barbara Housley’s “Narrative on Historic Letters”. They are grouped according to who they refer to, rather than chronological order.


                  ELLEN HOUSLEY 1795-1872

                  Joseph wrote that when Emma was married, Ellen “broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby didn’t agree with her so she left again leaving her things behind and came to live with John in the new house where she died.” Ellen was listed with John’s household in the 1871 census.
                  In May 1872, the Ilkeston Pioneer carried this notice: “Mr. Hopkins will sell by auction on Saturday next the eleventh of May 1872 the whole of the useful furniture, sewing machine, etc. nearly new on the premises of the late Mrs. Housley at Smalley near Heanor in the county of Derby. Sale at one o’clock in the afternoon.”

                  Ellen’s family was evidently rather prominant in Smalley. Two Carringtons (John and William) served on the Parish Council in 1794. Parish records are full of Carrington marriages and christenings; census records confirm many of the family groupings.

                  In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “Mother looks as well as ever and was told by a lady the other day that she looked handsome.” Later she wrote: “Mother is as stout as ever although she sometimes complains of not being able to do as she used to.”


                  Mary’s children:

                  MARY ANN HOUSLEY  1808-1878

                  There were hard feelings between Mary Ann and Ellen and her children. Anne wrote: “If you remember we were not very friendly when you left. They never came and nothing was too bad for Mary Ann to say of Mother and me, but when Robert died Mother sent for her to the funeral but she did not think well to come so we took no more notice. She would not allow her children to come either.”

                  Mary Ann was unlucky in love! In Anne’s second letter she wrote: “William Carrington is paying Mary Ann great attention. He is living in London but they write to each other….We expect it will be a match.” Apparantly the courtship was stormy for in 1855, Emma wrote: “Mary Ann’s wedding with William Carrington has dropped through after she had prepared everything, dresses and all for the occassion.” Then in 1856, Emma wrote: “William Carrington and Mary Ann are separated. They wore him out with their nonsense.” Whether they ever married is unclear. Joseph wrote in 1872: “Mary Ann was married but her husband has left her. She is in very poor health. She has one daughter and they are living with their mother at Smalley.”

                  Regarding William Carrington, Emma supplied this bit of news: “His sister, Mrs. Lily, has eloped with a married man. Is she not a nice person!”


                  WILLIAM HOUSLEY JR. 1812-1890

                  According to a letter from Anne, Will’s two sons and daughter were sent to learn dancing so they would be “fit for any society.” Will’s wife was Dorothy Palfry. They were married in Denby on October 20, 1836 when Will was 24. According to the 1851 census, Will and Dorothy had three sons: Alfred 14, Edwin 12, and William 10. All three boys were born in Denby.

                  In his letter of May 30, 1872, after just bemoaning that all of his brothers and sisters are gone except Sam and John, Joseph added: “Will is living still.” In another 1872 letter Joseph wrote, “Will is living at Heanor yet and carrying on his cattle dealing.” The 1871 census listed Will, 59, and his son William, 30, of Lascoe Road, Heanor, as cattle dealers.


                  Ellen’s children:

                  JOHN HOUSLEY  1815-1893

                  John married Sarah Baggally in Morely in 1838. They had at least six children. Elizabeth (born 2 May 1838) was “out service” in 1854. In her “third year out,Elizabeth was described by Anne as “a very nice steady girl but quite a woman in appearance.” One of her positions was with a Mrs. Frearson in Heanor. Emma wrote in 1856: Elizabeth is still at Mrs. Frearson. She is such a fine stout girl you would not know her.” Joseph wrote in 1872 that Elizabeth was in service with Mrs. Eliza Sitwell at Derby. (About 1850, Miss Eliza Wilmot-Sitwell provided for a small porch with a handsome Norman doorway at the west end of the St. John the Baptist parish church in Smalley.)

                  According to Elizabeth’s birth certificate and the 1841 census, John was a butcher. By 1851, the household included a nurse and a servant, and John was listed as a “victular.” Anne wrote in February 1854, John has left the Public House a year and a half ago. He is living where Plumbs (Ann Plumb witnessed William’s death certificate with her mark) did and Thomas Allen has the land. He has been working at James Eley’s all winter.” In 1861, Ellen lived with John and Sarah and the three boys.

                  John sold his share in the inheritance from their mother and disappeared after her death. (He died in Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1893.) At that time Charles, the youngest would have been 21. Indeed, Joseph wrote in July 1872: John’s children are all grown up”.

                  In May 1872, Joseph wrote: “For what do you think, John has sold his share and he has acted very bad since his wife died and at the same time he sold all his furniture. You may guess I have never seen him but once since poor mother’s funeral and he is gone now no one knows where.”

                  In February 1874 Joseph wrote: “You want to know what made John go away. Well, I will give you one reason. I think I told you that when his wife died he persuaded me to leave Derby and come to live with him. Well so we did and dear Harriet to keep his house. Well he insulted my wife and offered things to her that was not proper and my dear wife had the power to resist his unmanly conduct. I did not think he could of served me such a dirty trick so that is one thing dear brother. He could not look me in the face when we met. Then after we left him he got a woman in the house and I suppose they lived as man and wife. She caught the small pox and died and there he was by himself like some wild man. Well dear brother I could not go to him again after he had served me and mine as he had and I believe he was greatly in debt too so that he sold his share out of the property and when he received the money at Belper he went away and has never been seen by any of us since but I have heard of him being at Sheffield enquiring for Sam Caldwell. You will remember him. He worked in the Nag’s Head yard but I have heard nothing no more of him.”

                  A mention of a John Housley of Heanor in the Nottinghma Journal 1875.  I don’t know for sure if the John mentioned here is the brother John who Joseph describes above as behaving improperly to his wife. John Housley had a son Joseph, born in 1840, and John’s wife Sarah died in 1870.

                  John Housley


                  In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


                  SAMUEL HOUSLEY 1816-

                  Sam married Elizabeth Brookes of Sutton Coldfield, and they had three daughters: Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Catherine.  Elizabeth his wife died in 1849, a few months after Samuel’s father William died in 1848. The particular circumstances relating to these individuals have been discussed in previous chapters; the following are letter excerpts relating to them.

                  Death of William Housley 15 Dec 1848, and Elizabeth Housley 5 April 1849, Smalley:

                  Housley Deaths


                  Joseph wrote in December 1872: “I saw one of Sam’s daughters, the youngest Kate, you would remember her a baby I dare say. She is very comfortably married.”

                  In the same letter (December 15, 1872), Joseph wrote:  “I think we have now found all out now that is concerned in the matter for there was only Sam that we did not know his whereabouts but I was informed a week ago that he is dead–died about three years ago in Birmingham Union. Poor Sam. He ought to have come to a better end than that….His daughter and her husband went to Brimingham and also to Sutton Coldfield that is where he married his wife from and found out his wife’s brother. It appears he has been there and at Birmingham ever since he went away but ever fond of drink.”

                  (Sam, however, was still alive in 1871, living as a lodger at the George and Dragon Inn, Henley in Arden. And no trace of Sam has been found since. It would appear that Sam did not want to be found.)


                  EDWARD HOUSLEY 1819-1843

                  Edward died before George left for USA in 1851, and as such there is no mention of him in the letters.


                  ANNE HOUSLEY 1821-1856

                  Anne wrote two letters to her brother George between February 1854 and her death in 1856. Apparently she suffered from a lung disease for she wrote: “I can say you will be surprised I am still living and better but still cough and spit a deal. Can do nothing but sit and sew.” According to the 1851 census, Anne, then 29, was a seamstress. Their friend, Mrs. Davy, wrote in March 1856: “This I send in a box to my Brother….The pincushion cover and pen wiper are Anne’s work–are for thy wife. She would have made it up had she been able.” Anne was not living at home at the time of the 1841 census. She would have been 19 or 20 and perhaps was “out service.”

                  In her second letter Anne wrote: “It is a great trouble now for me to write…as the body weakens so does the mind often. I have been very weak all summer. That I continue is a wonder to all and to spit so much although much better than when you left home.” She also wrote: “You know I had a desire for America years ago. Were I in health and strength, it would be the land of my adoption.”

                  In November 1855, Emma wrote, “Anne has been very ill all summer and has not been able to write or do anything.” Their neighbor Mrs. Davy wrote on March 21, 1856: “I fear Anne will not be long without a change.” In a black-edged letter the following June, Emma wrote: “I need not tell you how happy she was and how calmly and peacefully she died. She only kept in bed two days.”

                  Certainly Anne was a woman of deep faith and strong religious convictions. When she wrote that they were hoping to hear of Charles’ success on the gold fields she added: “But I would rather hear of him having sought and found the Pearl of great price than all the gold Australia can produce, (For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?).” Then she asked George: “I should like to learn how it was you were first led to seek pardon and a savior. I do feel truly rejoiced to hear you have been led to seek and find this Pearl through the workings of the Holy Spirit and I do pray that He who has begun this good work in each of us may fulfill it and carry it on even unto the end and I can never doubt the willingness of Jesus who laid down his life for us. He who said whoever that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”

                  Anne’s will was probated October 14, 1856. Mr. William Davy of Kidsley Park appeared for the family. Her estate was valued at under £20. Emma was to receive fancy needlework, a four post bedstead, feather bed and bedding, a mahogany chest of drawers, plates, linen and china. Emma was also to receive Anne’s writing desk. There was a condition that Ellen would have use of these items until her death.

                  The money that Anne was to receive from her grandfather, William Carrington, and her father, William Housley was to be distributed one third to Joseph, one third to Emma, and one third to be divided between her four neices: John’s daughter Elizabeth, 18, and Sam’s daughters Elizabeth, 10, Mary Ann, 9 and Catharine, age 7 to be paid by the trustees as they think “most useful and proper.” Emma Lyon and Elizabeth Davy were the witnesses.

                  The Carrington Farm:

                  Carringtons Farm


                  CHARLES HOUSLEY 1823-1855

                  Charles went to Australia in 1851, and was last heard from in January 1853. According to the solicitor, who wrote to George on June 3, 1874, Charles had received advances on the settlement of their parent’s estate. “Your promissory note with the two signed by your brother Charles for 20 pounds he received from his father and 20 pounds he received from his mother are now in the possession of the court.”

                  Charles and George were probably quite close friends. Anne wrote in 1854: “Charles inquired very particularly in both his letters after you.”

                  According to Anne, Charles and a friend married two sisters. He and his father-in-law had a farm where they had 130 cows and 60 pigs. Whatever the trade he learned in England, he never worked at it once he reached Australia. While it does not seem that Charles went to Australia because gold had been discovered there, he was soon caught up in “gold fever”. Anne wrote: “I dare say you have heard of the immense gold fields of Australia discovered about the time he went. Thousands have since then emigrated to Australia, both high and low. Such accounts we heard in the papers of people amassing fortunes we could not believe. I asked him when I wrote if it was true. He said this was no exaggeration for people were making their fortune daily and he intended going to the diggings in six weeks for he could stay away no longer so that we are hoping to hear of his success if he is alive.”

                  In March 1856, Mrs. Davy wrote: “I am sorry to tell thee they have had a letter from Charles’s wife giving account of Charles’s death of 6 months consumption at the Victoria diggings. He has left 2 children a boy and a girl William and Ellen.” In June of the same year in a black edged letter, Emma wrote: “I think Mrs. Davy mentioned Charles’s death in her note. His wife wrote to us. They have two children Helen and William. Poor dear little things. How much I should like to see them all. She writes very affectionately.”

                  In December 1872, Joseph wrote: “I’m told that Charles two daughters has wrote to Smalley post office making inquiries about his share….” In January 1876, the solicitor wrote: “Charles Housley’s children have claimed their father’s share.”


                  GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

                  George emigrated to the United states in 1851, arriving in July. The solicitor Abraham John Flint referred in a letter to a 15-pound advance which was made to George on June 9, 1851. This certainly was connected to his journey. George settled along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The letters from the solicitor were addressed to: Lahaska Post Office, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

                  George married Sarah Ann Hill on May 6, 1854 in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In her first letter (February 1854), Anne wrote: “We want to know who and what is this Miss Hill you name in your letter. What age is she? Send us all the particulars but I would advise you not to get married until you have sufficient to make a comfortable home.”

                  Upon learning of George’s marriage, Anne wrote: “I hope dear brother you may be happy with your wife….I hope you will be as a son to her parents. Mother unites with me in kind love to you both and to your father and mother with best wishes for your health and happiness.” In 1872 (December) Joseph wrote: “I am sorry to hear that sister’s father is so ill. It is what we must all come to some time and hope we shall meet where there is no more trouble.”

                  Emma wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

                  In September 1872, Joseph wrote, “I was very sorry to hear that John your oldest had met with such a sad accident but I hope he is got alright again by this time.” In the same letter, Joseph asked: “Now I want to know what sort of a town you are living in or village. How far is it from New York? Now send me all particulars if you please.”

                  In March 1873 Harriet asked Sarah Ann: “And will you please send me all the news at the place and what it is like for it seems to me that it is a wild place but you must tell me what it is like….”.  The question of whether she was referring to Bucks County, Pennsylvania or some other place is raised in Joseph’s letter of the same week.
                  On March 17, 1873, Joseph wrote: “I was surprised to hear that you had gone so far away west. Now dear brother what ever are you doing there so far away from home and family–looking out for something better I suppose.”

                  The solicitor wrote on May 23, 1874: “Lately I have not written because I was not certain of your address and because I doubted I had much interesting news to tell you.” Later, Joseph wrote concerning the problems settling the estate, “You see dear brother there is only me here on our side and I cannot do much. I wish you were here to help me a bit and if you think of going for another summer trip this turn you might as well run over here.”

                  Apparently, George had indicated he might return to England for a visit in 1856. Emma wrote concerning the portrait of their mother which had been sent to George: “I hope you like mother’s portrait. I did not see it but I suppose it was not quite perfect about the eyes….Joseph and I intend having ours taken for you when you come over….Do come over before very long.”

                  In March 1873, Joseph wrote: “You ask me what I think of you coming to England. I think as you have given the trustee power to sign for you I think you could do no good but I should like to see you once again for all that. I can’t say whether there would be anything amiss if you did come as you say it would be throwing good money after bad.”

                  On June 10, 1875, the solicitor wrote: “I have been expecting to hear from you for some time past. Please let me hear what you are doing and where you are living and how I must send you your money.” George’s big news at that time was that on May 3, 1875, he had become a naturalized citizen “renouncing and abjuring all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state and sovereignity whatsoever, and particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain of whom he was before a subject.”


                  ROBERT HOUSLEY 1832-1851

                  In 1854, Anne wrote: “Poor Robert. He died in August after you left he broke a blood vessel in the lung.”
                  From Joseph’s first letter we learn that Robert was 19 when he died: “Dear brother there have been a great many changes in the family since you left us. All is gone except myself and John and Sam–we have heard nothing of him since he left. Robert died first when he was 19 years of age. Then Anne and Charles too died in Australia and then a number of years elapsed before anyone else. Then John lost his wife, then Emma, and last poor dear mother died last January on the 11th.”

                  Anne described Robert’s death in this way: “He had thrown up blood many times before in the spring but the last attack weakened him that he only lived a fortnight after. He died at Derby. Mother was with him. Although he suffered much he never uttered a murmur or regret and always a smile on his face for everyone that saw him. He will be regretted by all that knew him”.

                  Robert died a resident of St. Peter’s Parish, Derby, but was buried in Smalley on August 16, 1851.
                  Apparently Robert was apprenticed to be a joiner for, according to Anne, Joseph took his place: “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after and is there still.”

                  In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


                  EMMA HOUSLEY 1836-1871

                  Emma was not mentioned in Anne’s first letter. In the second, Anne wrote that Emma was living at Spondon with two ladies in her “third situation,” and added, “She is grown a bouncing woman.” Anne described her sister well. Emma wrote in her first letter (November 12, 1855): “I must tell you that I am just 21 and we had my pudding last Sunday. I wish I could send you a piece.”

                  From Emma’s letters we learn that she was living in Derby from May until November 1855 with Mr. Haywood, an iron merchant. She explained, “He has failed and I have been obliged to leave,” adding, “I expect going to a new situation very soon. It is at Belper.” In 1851 records, William Haywood, age 22, was listed as an iron foundry worker. In the 1857 Derby Directory, James and George were listed as iron and brass founders and ironmongers with an address at 9 Market Place, Derby.

                  In June 1856, Emma wrote from “The Cedars, Ashbourne Road” where she was working for Mr. Handysides.
                  While she was working for Mr. Handysides, Emma wrote: “Mother is thinking of coming to live at Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I.”

                  Friargate and Ashbourne Road were located in St. Werburgh’s Parish. (In fact, St. Werburgh’s vicarage was at 185 Surrey Street. This clue led to the discovery of the record of Emma’s marriage on May 6, 1858, to Edwin Welch Harvey, son of Samuel Harvey in St. Werburgh’s.)

                  In 1872, Joseph wrote: “Our sister Emma, she died at Derby at her own home for she was married. She has left two young children behind. The husband was the son of the man that I went apprentice to and has caused a great deal of trouble to our family and I believe hastened poor Mother’s death….”.   Joseph added that he believed Emma’s “complaint” was consumption and that she was sick a good bit. Joseph wrote: “Mother was living with John when I came home (from Ascension Island around 1867? or to Smalley from Derby around 1870?) for when Emma was married she broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby did not agree with her so she had to leave it again but left all her things there.”

                  Emma Housley and Edwin Welch Harvey wedding, 1858:

                  Emma Housley wedding


                  JOSEPH HOUSLEY 1838-1893

                  We first hear of Joseph in a letter from Anne to George in 1854. “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after (probably 1851) and is there still. He is grown as tall as you I think quite a man.” Emma concurred in her first letter: “He is quite a man in his appearance and quite as tall as you.”

                  From Emma we learn in 1855: “Joseph has left Mr. Harvey. He had not work to employ him. So mother thought he had better leave his indenture and be at liberty at once than wait for Harvey to be a bankrupt. He has got a very good place of work now and is very steady.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote “Joseph and I intend to have our portraits taken for you when you come over….Mother is thinking of coming to Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I. Joseph is very hearty I am happy to say.”

                  According to Joseph’s letters, he was married to Harriet Ballard. Joseph described their miraculous reunion in this way: “I must tell you that I have been abroad myself to the Island of Ascension. (Elsewhere he wrote that he was on the island when the American civil war broke out). I went as a Royal Marine and worked at my trade and saved a bit of money–enough to buy my discharge and enough to get married with but while I was out on the island who should I meet with there but my dear wife’s sister. (On two occasions Joseph and Harriet sent George the name and address of Harriet’s sister, Mrs. Brooks, in Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, but it is not clear whether this was the same sister.) She was lady’s maid to the captain’s wife. Though I had never seen her before we got to know each other somehow so from that me and my wife recommenced our correspondence and you may be sure I wanted to get home to her. But as soon as I did get home that is to England I was not long before I was married and I have not regretted yet for we are very comfortable as well as circumstances will allow for I am only a journeyman joiner.”

                  Proudly, Joseph wrote: “My little family consists of three nice children–John, Joseph and Susy Annie.” On her birth certificate, Susy Ann’s birthdate is listed as 1871. Parish records list a Lucy Annie christened in 1873. The boys were born in Derby, John in 1868 and Joseph in 1869. In his second letter, Joseph repeated: “I have got three nice children, a good wife and I often think is more than I have deserved.” On August 6, 1873, Joseph and Harriet wrote: “We both thank you dear sister for the pieces of money you sent for the children. I don’t know as I have ever see any before.” Joseph ended another letter: “Now I must close with our kindest love to you all and kisses from the children.”

                  In Harriet’s letter to Sarah Ann (March 19, 1873), she promised: “I will send you myself and as soon as the weather gets warm as I can take the children to Derby, I will have them taken and send them, but it is too cold yet for we have had a very cold winter and a great deal of rain.” At this time, the children were all under 6 and the baby was not yet two.

                  In March 1873 Joseph wrote: “I have been working down at Heanor gate there is a joiner shop there where Kings used to live I have been working there this winter and part of last summer but the wages is very low but it is near home that is one comfort.” (Heanor Gate is about 1/4 mile from Kidsley Grange. There was a school and industrial park there in 1988.) At this time Joseph and his family were living in “the big house–in Old Betty Hanson’s house.” The address in the 1871 census was Smalley Lane.

                  A glimpse into Joseph’s personality is revealed by this remark to George in an 1872 letter: “Many thanks for your portrait and will send ours when we can get them taken for I never had but one taken and that was in my old clothes and dear Harriet is not willing to part with that. I tell her she ought to be satisfied with the original.”

                  On one occasion Joseph and Harriet both sent seeds. (Marks are still visible on the paper.) Joseph sent “the best cow cabbage seed in the country–Robinson Champion,” and Harriet sent red cabbage–Shaw’s Improved Red. Possibly cow cabbage was also known as ox cabbage: “I hope you will have some good cabbages for the Ox cabbage takes all the prizes here. I suppose you will be taking the prizes out there with them.” Joseph wrote that he would put the name of the seeds by each “but I should think that will not matter. You will tell the difference when they come up.”

                  George apparently would have liked Joseph to come to him as early as 1854. Anne wrote: “As to his coming to you that must be left for the present.” In 1872, Joseph wrote: “I have been thinking of making a move from here for some time before I heard from you for it is living from hand to mouth and never certain of a job long either.” Joseph then made plans to come to the United States in the spring of 1873. “For I intend all being well leaving England in the spring. Many thanks for your kind offer but I hope we shall be able to get a comfortable place before we have been out long.” Joseph promised to bring some things George wanted and asked: “What sort of things would be the best to bring out there for I don’t want to bring a lot that is useless.” Joseph’s plans are confirmed in a letter from the solicitor May 23, 1874: “I trust you are prospering and in good health. Joseph seems desirous of coming out to you when this is settled.”

                  George must have been reminiscing about gooseberries (Heanor has an annual gooseberry show–one was held July 28, 1872) and Joseph promised to bring cuttings when they came: “Dear Brother, I could not get the gooseberries for they was all gathered when I received your letter but we shall be able to get some seed out the first chance and I shall try to bring some cuttings out along.” In the same letter that he sent the cabbage seeds Joseph wrote: “I have got some gooseberries drying this year for you. They are very fine ones but I have only four as yet but I was promised some more when they were ripe.” In another letter Joseph sent gooseberry seeds and wrote their names: Victoria, Gharibaldi and Globe.

                  In September 1872 Joseph wrote; “My wife is anxious to come. I hope it will suit her health for she is not over strong.” Elsewhere Joseph wrote that Harriet was “middling sometimes. She is subject to sick headaches. It knocks her up completely when they come on.” In December 1872 Joseph wrote, “Now dear brother about us coming to America you know we shall have to wait until this affair is settled and if it is not settled and thrown into Chancery I’m afraid we shall have to stay in England for I shall never be able to save money enough to bring me out and my family but I hope of better things.”

                  On July 19, 1875 Abraham Flint (the solicitor) wrote: “Joseph Housley has removed from Smalley and is working on some new foundry buildings at Little Chester near Derby. He lives at a village called Little Eaton near Derby. If you address your letter to him as Joseph Housley, carpenter, Little Eaton near Derby that will no doubt find him.”

                  George did not save any letters from Joseph after 1874, hopefully he did reach him at Little Eaton. Joseph and his family are not listed in either Little Eaton or Derby on the 1881 census.

                  In his last letter (February 11, 1874), Joseph sounded very discouraged and wrote that Harriet’s parents were very poorly and both had been “in bed for a long time.” In addition, Harriet and the children had been ill.
                  The move to Little Eaton may indicate that Joseph received his settlement because in August, 1873, he wrote: “I think this is bad news enough and bad luck too, but I have had little else since I came to live at Kiddsley cottages but perhaps it is all for the best if one could only think so. I have begun to think there will be no chance for us coming over to you for I am afraid there will not be so much left as will bring us out without it is settled very shortly but I don’t intend leaving this house until it is settled either one way or the other. “

                  Joseph Housley and the Kiddsley cottages:

                  Joseph Housley


                    From Tanganyika with Love

                    continued part 8

                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                    Morogoro 20th January 1941

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 30th July 1941

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 26th August 1941

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 25th December 1941

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                    Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                    Morogoro 26th January 1944

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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


                    Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                    Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                    Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                    Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                    Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


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

                    Dearest Mummy,

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

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

                    Very much love,

                    Safari in Masailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                    Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                    Much love,



                      From Tanganyika with Love

                      continued  ~ part 6

                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                      Mchewe 6th June 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                      With much love,

                      Mchewe 25th June 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      Lots of love,

                      Mchewe 9th July 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Mchewe 8th October 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mchewe 17th October 1937

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Mchewe 18th November 1937

                      My darling Ann,

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

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

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

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

                      Mchewe 18th November 1937

                      Hello George Darling,

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

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

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

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

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

                      Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Mbulu 20th June 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Karatu 3rd July 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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


                      Karatu 12th July 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                      Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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



                        From Tanganyika with Love

                        continued  ~ part 5

                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                        Chunya 16th December 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                        Much love to all,

                        Itewe, Chunya 23rd December 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        With love,

                        Itewe, Chunya 30th December 1936

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                        Itewe, Chunya 19th January 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        Chunya 29th January 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                        We should be with you in three weeks time!

                        Very much love,

                        Broken Hill, N Rhodesia 11th February 1937

                        Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        With love to you all,

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

                        George Rushby Ann and Georgie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          From Tanganyika with Love

                          continued  ~ part 4

                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                          Mchewe Estate. 31st January 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          With much love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 9th February 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Heaps of love to all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 27th February 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Lots of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 12th March 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          With heaps of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 24th March 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Heaps of love from a sadder but wiser,

                          Mchewe Estate. 3rd April 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          The wet season is definitely the time to stay home.

                          Lots and lots of love,

                          Mchewe Estate. 30th April 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                          Your very affectionate,

                          Mchewe Estate. 17th September 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

                          With love to you all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 2nd October 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                          Much love to you all,

                          Mchewe Estate. 10th October 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

                          Your worried but affectionate,

                          Tukuyu. 23rd October 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

                          Much love,

                          Mchewe. 12th November 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Lots and lots of love to all,

                          Chunya 27th November 1936

                          Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                          Much love to all,



                            From Tanganyika with Love

                            continued  ~ part 3

                            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                            Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                            Very much love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                            Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

                            your loving but anxious,

                            Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                            Very much love to all,

                            Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                            Lots and lots of love,

                            Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                            Who would be a mother!

                            Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                            Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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


                            Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

                            Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                            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


                                  The USA Housley’s

                                  This chapter is copied from Barbara Housley’s Narrative on Historic Letters, with thanks to her brother Howard Housley for sharing it with me.  Interesting to note that Housley descendants  (on the Marshall paternal side) and Gretton descendants (on the Warren maternal side) were both living in Trenton, New Jersey at the same time.

                                  GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

                                  George emigrated to the United states in 1851, arriving in July. The solicitor Abraham John Flint referred in a letter to a 15-pound advance which was made to George on June 9, 1851. This certainly was connected to his journey. George settled along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The letters from the solicitor were addressed to: Lahaska Post Office, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. George married Sarah Ann Hill on May 6, 1854 in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The service was performed by Attorney James Gilkyson.


                                  In her first letter (February 1854), Anne (George’s sister in Smalley, Derbyshire) wrote: “We want to know who and what is this Miss Hill you name in your letter. What age is she? Send us all the particulars but I would advise you not to get married until you have sufficient to make a comfortable home.”

                                  Upon learning of George’s marriage, Anne wrote: “I hope dear brother you may be happy with your wife….I hope you will be as a son to her parents. Mother unites with me in kind love to you both and to your father and mother with best wishes for your health and happiness.”  In 1872 (December) Joseph (George’s brother) wrote: “I am sorry to hear that sister’s father is so ill. It is what we must all come to some time and hope we shall meet where there is no more trouble.”

                                  Emma (George’s sister) wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

                                  According to his obituary, John Eley was born at Wrightstown and “removed” to Lumberville at the age of 19. John was married first to Lucy Wilson with whom he had three sons: George Wilson (1883), Howard (1893) and Raymond (1895); and then to Elizabeth Kilmer with whom he had one son Albert Kilmer (1907). John Eley Housley died November 20, 1926 at the age of 71. For many years he had worked for John R. Johnson who owned a store. According to his son Albert, John was responsible for caring for Johnson’s horses. One named Rex was considered to be quite wild, but was docile in John’s hands. When John would take orders, he would leave the wagon at the first house and walk along the backs of the houses so that he would have access to the kitchens. When he reached the seventh house he would climb back over the fence to the road and whistle for the horses who would come to meet him. John could not attend church on Sunday mornings because he was working with the horses and occasionally Albert could convince his mother that he was needed also. According to Albert, John was regular in attendance at church on Sunday evenings.

                                  John was a member of the Carversville Lodge 261 IOOF and the Carversville Lodge Knights of Pythias. Internment was in the Carversville cemetery; not, however, in the plot owned by his father. In addition to his sons, he was survived by his second wife Elizabeth who lived to be 80 and three grandchildren: George’s sons, Kenneth Worman and Morris Wilson and Raymond’s daughter Miriam Louise. George had married Katie Worman about the time John Eley married Elizabeth Kilmer. Howard’s first wife Mary Brink and daughter Florence had died and he remarried Elsa Heed who also lived into her eighties. Raymond’s wife was Fanny Culver.

                                  Two more sons followed: Joseph Sackett, who was known as Sackett, September 12, 1856 and Edwin or Edward Rose, November 11, 1858. Joseph Sackett Housley married Anna Hubbs of Plumsteadville on January 17, 1880. They had one son Nelson DeC. who in turn had two daughters, Eleanor Mary and Ruth Anna, and lived on Bert Avenue in Trenton N.J. near St. Francis Hospital. Nelson, who was an engineer and built the first cement road in New Jersey, died at the age of 51. His daughters were both single at the time of his death. However, when his widow, the former Eva M. Edwards, died some years later, her survivors included daughters, Mrs. Herbert D. VanSciver and Mrs. James J. McCarrell and four grandchildren. One of the daughters (the younger) was quite crippled in later years and would come to visit her great-aunt Elizabeth (John’s widow) in a chauffeur driven car. Sackett died in 1929 at the age of 70. He was a member of the Warrington Lodge IOOF of Jamison PA, the Uncas tribe and the Uncas Hayloft 102 ORM of Trenton, New Jersey. The interment was in Greenwood cemetery where he had been caretaker since his retirement from one of the oldest manufacturing plants in Trenton (made milk separators for one thing). Sackett also was the caretaker for two other cemeteries one located near the Clinton Street station and the other called Riverside.

                                  Ed’s wife was named Lydia. They had two daughters, Mary and Margaret and a third child who died in infancy. Mary had seven children–one was named for his grandfather–and settled in lower Bucks county. Margaret never married. She worked for Woolworths in Flemington, N. J. and then was made manager in Somerville, N.J., where she lived until her death. Ed survived both of his brothers, and at the time of Sackett’s death was living in Flemington, New Jersey where he had worked as a grocery clerk.

                                  In September 1872, Joseph wrote, “I was very sorry to hear that John your oldest had met with such a sad accident but I hope he is got alright again by this time.” In the same letter, Joseph asked: “Now I want to know what sort of a town you are living in or village. How far is it from New York? Now send me all particulars if you please.”

                                  In March 1873 Harriet asked Sarah Ann: “And will you please send me all the news at the place and what it is like for it seems to me that it is a wild place but you must tell me what it is like….” The question of whether she was referring to Bucks County, Pennsylvania or some other place is raised in Joseph’s letter of the same week.

                                  On March 17, 1873, Joseph wrote: “I was surprised to hear that you had gone so far away west. Now dear brother what ever are you doing there so far away from home and family–looking out for something better I suppose.” The solicitor wrote on May 23, 1874: “Lately I have not written because I was not certain of your address and because I doubted I had much interesting news to tell you.” Later, Joseph wrote concerning the problems settling the estate, “You see dear brother there is only me here on our side and I cannot do much. I wish you were here to help me a bit and if you think of going for another summer trip this turn you might as well run over here.”

                                  Apparently, George had indicated he might return to England for a visit in 1856. Emma wrote concerning the portrait of their mother which had been sent to George: “I hope you like mother’s portrait. I did not see it but I suppose it was not quite perfect about the eyes….Joseph and I intend having ours taken for you when you come over….Do come over before very long.”

                                  In March 1873, Joseph wrote: “You ask me what I think of you coming to England. I think as you have given the trustee power to sign for you I think you could do no good but I should like to see you once again for all that. I can’t say whether there would be anything amiss if you did come as you say it would be throwing good money after bad.”

                                  On June 10, 1875, the solicitor wrote: “I have been expecting to hear from you for some time past. Please let me hear what you are doing and where you are living and how I must send you your money.” George’s big news at that time was that on May 3, 1875, he had become a naturalized citizen “renouncing and abjuring all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state and sovereignity whatsoever, and particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain of whom he was before a subject.”

                                  Another matter which George took care of during the years the estate was being settled was the purchase of a cemetery plot! On March 24, 1873, George purchased plot 67 section 19 division 2 in the Carversville (Bucks County PA) Cemetery (incorporated 1859). The plot cost $15.00, and was located at the very edge of the cemetery. It was in this cemetery, in 1991, while attending the funeral of Sarah Lord Housley, wife of Albert Kilmer Housley, that sixteen month old Laura Ann visited the graves of her great-great-great grandparents, George and Sarah Ann Hill Housley.

                                  George died on August 13, 1877 and was buried three days later. The text for the funeral sermon was Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”


                                    Florence Nightingale Gretton


                                    Florence’s father was Richard Gretton, a baker in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. When Richard married Sarah Orgill in 1861, they lived with her mother, a widow, in Measham, Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire. On the 1861 census Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth, is a farmer of two acres.

                                    (Swadlincote and Ashby de la Zouch are on the Derbyshire Leicestershire border and not far from each other. Swadlincote is near to Burton upon Trent which is sometimes in Staffordshire, sometimes in Derbyshire. Newhall, Church Gresley, and Swadlincote are all very close to each other or districts in the same town.)

                                    Ten years later in 1871 Richard and Sarah have their own place in Swadlincote, he is a baker, and they have four children. A fourteen year old apprentice or servant is living with them.

                                    In the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Gazette on 28 February 1880, it was reported that Richard Gretton, baker, of Swadlincote, was charged by Captain Bandys with carrying bread in a cart for sale, the said cart not being provided with scales and weights, according to the requirements of the Act, on the 17th January last.—Defendant pleaded guilty, but urged in extenuation of the offence that in the hurry he had forgotten to put the scales in the cart before his son started.—The Bench took this view of the case, regarding it as an oversight, and fined him one shilling only and costs.  This was not his only offence.

                                    In 1883, he was fined twenty shillings, and ten shillings and sixpence costs.

                                    Richard Gretton

                                    By 1881 they have 4 more children, and Florence Nightingale is the youngest at four months. Richard is 48 by now, and Sarah is 44. Florence’s older brother William is a blacksmith.

                                    Interestingly on the same census page, two doors down Thomas and Selina Warren live at the Stanhope Arms.  Richards son John Gretton lives at the pub, a 13 year old servant. Incidentally, I noticed on Thomas and Selena’s marriage register that Richard and Sarah Gretton were the witnesses at the wedding.

                                    Ten years later in 1891, Florence Nightingale and her sister Clara are living with Selina Warren, widow, retired innkeeper, one door down from the Stanhope Arms. Florence is ten, Clara twelve and they are scholars.
                                    Richard and Sarah are still living three doors up on the other side of the Stanhope Arms, with three of their sons. But the two girls lived up the road with the Warren widow!

                                    The Stanhope Arms, Swadlincote: it’s possible that the shop with the awning was Richard Gretton’s bakers shop (although not at the time of this later photo).

                                    Stanhope Arms


                                    Richard died in 1898, a year before Florence married Samuel Warren.

                                    Sarah is a widowed 60 year old baker on the 1901 census. Her son 26 year old son Alf, also a baker,  lives at the same address, as does her 22 year old daughter Clara who is a district nurse.

                                    Clara Gretton and family, photo found online:

                                    Clara Gretton


                                    In 1901 Florence Nightingale (who we don’t have a photograph of!) is now married and is Florrie Warren on the census, and she, her husband Samuel, and their one year old daughter Hildred are visitors at the address of  Elizabeth (Staley)Warren, 60 year old widow and Samuel’s mother, and Samuel’s 36 year old brother William. Samuel and William are engineers.

                                    Samuel and Florrie had ten children between 1900 and 1925 (and all but two of them used their middle name and not first name: my mother and I had no idea until I found all the records.  My grandmother Florence Noreen was known as Nora, which we knew of course, uncle Jack was actually Douglas John, and so on).

                                    Hildred, Clara, Billy, and Nora were born in Swadlincote. Sometime between my grandmother’s birth in 1907 and Kay’s birth in 1911, the family moved to Oldswinford, in Stourbridge. Later they moved to Market Street.

                                    1911 census, Oldswinford, Stourbridge:

                                    Oldswinford 1911


                                    Oddly, nobody knew when Florrie Warren died. My mothers cousin Ian Warren researched the Warren family some years ago, while my grandmother was still alive. She contributed family stories and information, but couldn’t remember if her mother died in 1929 or 1927.  A recent search of records confirmed that it was the 12th November 1927.

                                    She was 46 years old. We were curious to know how she died, so my mother ordered a paper copy of her death certificate. It said she died at 31 Market Street, Stourbridge at the age of 47. Clara May Warren, her daughter, was in attendance. Her husband Samuel Warren was a motor mechanic. The Post mortem was by Percival Evans, coroner for Worcestershire, who clarified the cause of death as vascular disease of the heart. There was no inquest. The death was registered on 15 Nov 1927.

                                    I looked for a photo of 31 Market Street in Stourbridge, and was astonished to see that it was the house next door to one I lived in breifly in the 1980s.  We didn’t know that the Warren’s lived in Market Street until we started searching the records.

                                    Market Street, Stourbridge. I lived in the one on the corner on the far right, my great grandmother died in the one next door.

                                    Market Street


                                    I found some hitherto unknown emigrants in the family. Florence Nightingale Grettons eldest brother William 1861-1940 stayed in Swadlincote. John Orgill Gretton born in 1868 moved to Trenton New Jersey USA in 1888, married in 1892 and died in 1949 in USA. Michael Thomas born in 1870 married in New York in 1893 and died in Trenton in 1940. Alfred born 1875 stayed in Swadlincote. Charles Herbert born 1876 married locally and then moved to Australia in 1912, and died in Victoria in 1954. Clara Elizabeth was a district nurse, married locally and died at the age of 99.