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  • #6465

    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    EricEric
    Keymaster

      Given the new scenery unfolding in front of him, it was time for a change into more appropriate garments.

      Luckily, the portal he’d clicked on came with some interesting new goodies. Xavier skimmed over some of the available options, until he found an interesting pair of old boots.

      Looking at the old worn leather boots that had appeared in Xavier’s bag, he felt they would be quite appropriate, and put them on.

      The changes were subtle, but Xavier already felt more in character with the place.
      Suddenly a capuchin monkey jumped on his shoulder and started to pull his ear to make it to the casino boat.

      The too friendly, potentially mischievous pickpocketing monkey seemed a bit of a trope, but Xavier found the creature endearing.

      “Let’s go then! Seems like this party is waiting for us.” he said to the excited monkey.

      He jumped into one of the dinghy doing the rounds to the boat with some of the customers.

      “Ahoy there, matey!” a rather small man with a piercing blue eye and massive top hat said, giving Xavier a sideways glance. He had an eerie presence and seemed very imposing for such a small frame. “The name’s Sproink, and ye be a first-timer, I see.” he said as a casual matter of introduction.

      “Nice to meet you sir” Xavier said distractedly, as he was taking in all the details in the curious boat lit by lanterns dangling in the soft wind.

      “Yer too polite for these parts, me friend,” Sproink guffawed. “But have no fear, Sproink’s got yer back.” He winked at the capuchin, Xavier couldn’t help but notice, and suddenly realised that the monkey truly belonged to Sproink.

      “No need to check yer pockets, matey” Sproink smiled “I have me sights set on far more interesting game than yer trinkets.” He handed him back some of the stuff that the capuchin had managed to spirit away unnoticed. “But watch yerself, matey. Not all the folk here be what they seem.”

      “Point taken!”  Xavimunk was indeed a bit too naive, but if anything, that’d often managed to keep him out of trouble. As the small wiry guy left with his bag of tricks in a springy gait, he turned to check his shoulder, and the monkey had disappeared somewhere on the boat too. Xavier was left wondering if he’d see more of him later.

       

      :fleuron2:

      “Welcome, welcome, me hearties!” a buxom girl of large stature with a baroque assortment of feathers and garish colours was a the entrance chewing on a straw, and looking as though the place belonged to her. But there was something else, she was too playing a part, and didn’t seem from here.

      She leaned conspiratorially towards Xavier, and dragged him in a corner.

      “Yer a naughty monkey, ignoring me prompts,” she said. “Was I too discrete, or what?”

      “Wait, what?” Xavier was confused. Then he remembered the strange message. “Wait a minute… you’re Glimble… something, with unicorns shit or something?” He didn’t have time to entertain the young geek gamers, they were too immature, and well… a lot more invested in the game than he was, they would often turn seriously creepy.

      “Oi, come on now!” she raised her hands and shook herself violently. She had turned into a different version of herself. “Now, is it better? It’s true, them avatars easily turn into ava-tarts if you ask me. But you can’t deny a lady a bit o’ comfort with a wrinkle filter. They went a bit overboard with this one, if you ask me.”

      “Let’s start again. Glimmer Gambol, and nice to meet you young man.”

      #6426

      In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

      EricEric
      Keymaster

        The artificial lights of Berlin were starting to switch off in the horizon, leaving the night plunged in darkness minutes before the sunrise. It was a moment of peace that Xavier enjoyed, although it reminded him of how sleepless his night had been.

        The game had taken a side step, as he’d been pouring all his attention into his daytime job, and his personal project with Artificial Life AL. It was a long way from the little boy at school with dyslexia who was using cheeky jokes as a way to get by the snides. Since then, he’d known some of the unusual super-powers this condition gave him as well. Chiefly: abstract and out-of-the-box thinking, puzzle-solving genius, and an almost other-worldly ability at keeping track of the plot. All these skills were in fact of tremendous help at his work, which was blending traditional areas of technology along with massive amounts of loosely connected data.

        He yawned and went to brush his teeth. His usual meditation routine had also been disrupted by the activity of late, but he just couldn’t go to bed without a little time to cool off and calm down the agitation of his thoughts.

        Sitting on the meditation mat, his thoughts strayed off towards the preparation for the trip. Going to Australia would have seemed exciting a few years back, but the idea of packing a suitcase, and going through the long flight and the logistics involved got him more anxious than excited, despite the contagious enthusiasm of his friends. Since he’d settled in Berlin, after never settling for too long in one place (his job afforded him to work wherever whenever), he’d kind of stopped looking for the next adventure. He hadn’t even looked at flight options yet, and hoped that the building momentum would spur him into this adventure. For now, he needed the rest.

        The quirk quest assigned to his persona in the game was fun. Monkeys and Golden banana to look for, wise owls and sly foxes, the whimsical goofy nature of the quest seemed good for the place he was in.
        AL had been suggesting the players to insert the game elements into their realities, and sometimes its comments or instructions seemed to slip between layers of reality — this was an intriguing mystery to Xavier.
        He’d instructed AL to discreetly assist Youssef with his trouble — the Thi Gang seemed to be an ethical hacker developer company front for more serious business. Chatter on the net had tied it to a network of shell companies involved in some strange activities. A name had popped up, linked to mysterious recluse billionaire Botty Banworth, the owner of Youssef’s boss rival blog named Knoweth.

        He slipped into the bed, careful not to wake up Brytta, who was sleeping tightly. It was her day off, otherwise she would have been gone already to her shift. It would be good to connect in the morning, and enjoy some break from mind stuff. They had planned a visit to Kantonstrasse (the local Chinatown) for Chinese New Year, and he couldn’t wait for it.

        #6392

        In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

        FloveFlove
        Participant

          “I can’t play for a few days,” Zara announced firmly. “I’m doing real world stuff at the moment. I saw a cat up a tree that looked computer generated and I’m concerned about my mental health.”

          “What only just now worried? Just this minute?” asked Xavier, managing to keep his face serious.

          “Quirky Guests,” mused Yasmin.

          The others looked at her.

          “I didn’t mean to say that out loud,” she laughed putting a hand to her mouth. “It’s nothing really … it’s just that every time I looked at the map I thought it said quirky GUESTS.”

          “Guest!”  Zara’s face brightened. “Oh! Maybe guest is a clue … maybe it’s a bleed through from the Flying Fish Inn! You know, it wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL if the key was there.”

          Xavier screwed up his face.

          “What!”  snapped Zara. “Go on, spit it out!”

          “Well it’s sort of RPG meets Cloud Atlas, isn’t it? But each to their own gripshawk and AL will sort it all out anyway.”

          #6345
          TracyTracy
          Participant

            Crime and Punishment in Tetbury

             

            I noticed that there were quite a number of Brownings of Tetbury in the newspaper archives involved in criminal activities while doing a routine newspaper search to supplement the information in the usual ancestry records. I expanded the tree to include cousins, and offsping of cousins, in order to work out who was who and how, if at all, these individuals related to our Browning family.

            I was expecting to find some of our Brownings involved in the Swing Riots in Tetbury in 1830, but did not. Most of our Brownings (including cousins) were stone masons. Most of the rioters in 1830 were agricultural labourers.

            The Browning crimes are varied, and by todays standards, not for the most part terribly serious ~ you would be unlikely to receive a sentence of hard labour for being found in an outhouse with the intent to commit an unlawful act nowadays, or for being drunk.

            The central character in this chapter is Isaac Browning (my 4x great grandfather), who did not appear in any criminal registers, but the following individuals can be identified in the family structure through their relationship to him.

             

            RICHARD LOCK BROWNING born in 1853 was Isaac’s grandson, his son George’s son. Richard was a mason. In 1879 he and Henry Browning of the same age were sentenced to one month hard labour for stealing two pigeons in Tetbury. Henry Browning was Isaac’s nephews son.
            In 1883 Richard Browning, mason of Tetbury, was charged with obtaining food and lodging under false pretences, but was found not guilty and acquitted.
            In 1884 Richard Browning, mason of Tetbury, was sentenced to one month hard labour for game trespass.

            Richard had been fined a number of times in Tetbury:

            Richard Browning

            Richard Lock Browning was five feet eight inches tall, dark hair, grey eyes, an oval face and a dark complexion. He had two cuts on the back of his head (in February 1879) and a scar on his right eyebrow.

             

            HENRY BROWNING, who was stealing pigeons with Richard Lock Browning in 1879, (Isaac’s brother Williams grandson, son of George Browning and his wife Charity) was charged with being drunk in 1882 and ordered to pay a fine of one shilling and costs of fourteen shillings, or seven days hard labour.

            Henry was found guilty of gaming in the highway at Tetbury in 1872 and was sentenced to seven days hard labour. In 1882 Henry (who was also a mason) was charged with assault but discharged.
            Henry was five feet five inches tall, brown hair and brown eyes, a long visage and a fresh complexion.
            Henry emigrated with his daughter to Canada in 1913, and died in Vancouver in 1919.

             

            THOMAS BUCKINGHAM 1808-1846 (Isaacs daughter Janes husband) was charged with stealing a black gelding in Tetbury in 1838. No true bill. (A “no true bill” means the jury did not find probable cause to continue a case.)

            Thomas did however neglect to pay his taxes in 1832:

            Thomas Buckingham

             

            LEWIN BUCKINGHAM (grandson of Isaac, his daughter Jane’s son) was found guilty in 1846 stealing two fowls in Tetbury when he was sixteen years old.
            In 1846 he was sentence to one month hard labour (or pay ten shillings fine and ten shillings costs) for loitering with the intent to trespass in search of conies.
            A year later in 1847, he and three other young men were sentenced to four months hard labour for larceny.
            Lewin was five feet three inches tall, with brown hair and brown eyes, long visage, sallow complexion, and had a scar on his left arm.

             

            JOHN BUCKINGHAM born circa 1832, a Tetbury labourer (Isaac’s grandson, Lewin’s brother) was sentenced to six weeks hard labour for larceny in 1855 for stealing a duck in Cirencester. The notes on the register mention that he had been employed by Mr LOCK, Angel Inn. (John’s grandmother was Mary Lock so this is likely a relative).

            John Buckingham

             

            The previous year in 1854 John was sentenced to one month or a one pound fine for assaulting and beating W. Wood.
            John was five feet eight and three quarter inches tall, light brown hair and grey eyes, an oval visage and a fresh complexion. He had a scar on his left arm and inside his right knee.

             

            JOSEPH PERRET was born circa 1831 and he was a Tetbury labourer. (He was Isaac’s granddaughter Charlotte Buckingham’s husband)
            In 1855 he assaulted William Wood and was sentenced to one month or a two pound ten shilling fine. Was it the same W Wood that his wifes cousin John assaulted the year before?
            In 1869 Joseph was sentenced to one month hard labour for feloniously receiving a cupboard known to be stolen.

             

            JAMES BUCKINGAM born circa 1822 in Tetbury was a shoemaker. (Isaac’s nephew, his sister Hannah’s son)
            In 1854 the Tetbury shoemaker was sentenced to four months hard labour for stealing 30 lbs of lead off someones house.
            In 1856 the Tetbury shoemaker received two months hard labour or pay £2 fine and 12 s costs for being found in pursuit of game.
            In 1868 he was sentenced to two months hard labour for stealing a gander. A unspecified previous conviction is noted.
            1871 the Tetbury shoemaker was found in an outhouse for an unlawful purpose and received ten days hard labour. The register notes that his sister is Mrs Cook, the Green, Tetbury. (James sister Prudence married Thomas Cook)
            James sister Charlotte married a shoemaker and moved to UTAH.
            James was five feet eight inches tall, dark hair and blue eyes, a long visage and a florid complexion. He had a scar on his forehead and a mole on the right side of his neck and abdomen, and a scar on the right knee.

            #6268
            TracyTracy
            Participant

              From Tanganyika with Love

              continued part 9

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Lyamungu 14 May 1945

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Lyamungu 19th September 1945

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

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

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

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

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

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

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

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

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Mbeya 1st November 1946

              Dearest Family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              #6267
              TracyTracy
              Participant

                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
                queasy.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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
                mind.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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
                leg.

                Eleanor.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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
                one.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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
                there.

                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.

                Eleanor.

                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,
                Eleanor.

                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
                liquidated.

                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
                beads.

                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
                amusement.

                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
                too.”

                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
                enough.

                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
                it.

                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,
                Eleanor.

                 

                #6266
                TracyTracy
                Participant

                  From Tanganyika with Love

                  continued part 7

                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                  Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Iringa. 30th November 1938

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Nzassa 5th August 1939

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Morogoro 14th September 1939

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Morogoro 4th November 1939

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Iringa 8th December 1939

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Morogoro 10th March 1940

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Morogoro 14th July 1940

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Morogoro 16th November 1940

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                   

                  #6263
                  TracyTracy
                  Participant

                    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
                    whitewashing.

                    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
                    Diggings.

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                    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
                    satisfied.

                    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
                    safaris.

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

                    Heaps of love to all,
                    Eleanor.

                    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
                    are.

                    Lots of love,
                    Eleanor

                    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
                    stones.

                    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
                    now.

                    With heaps of love,
                    Eleanor.

                    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
                    again.

                    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,
                    Eleanor

                    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,
                    Eleanor

                    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
                    action.

                    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
                    fingers!

                    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,
                    Eleanor

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                    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
                    slaughter.

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                    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
                    heaven.

                    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
                    continent.

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                    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,
                    Eleanor.

                     

                    #6261
                    TracyTracy
                    Participant

                      From Tanganyika with Love

                      continued

                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                      Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Lots of love,
                      Eleanor

                      Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                      Very much love,
                      Eleanor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Eleanor Rushby

                       

                      Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Your very loving,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Lots and lots of love,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Much love to all,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      Much love to all,
                      Eleanor.

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

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      We all send our love,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Very much love,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      Much love from a proud mother of two.
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                      Your affectionate,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                      your affectionate,
                      Eleanor

                      Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      Very much love
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

                      Dear Family,

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

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

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

                      Lots and lots of love,
                      Eleanor.

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

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Very much love,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                      Much love to all,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                      Lots of love,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Lots of love to all,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      Much love to you all,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

                      Much love,
                      Eleanor.

                      Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

                      Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                      Lots of love, Eleanor

                      #6259
                      TracyTracy
                      Participant

                        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
                        Africans.

                        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
                        ride!’

                        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
                        Circle.

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

                        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

                        #6222
                        TracyTracy
                        Participant

                          George Gilman Rushby: The Cousin Who Went To Africa

                          The portrait of the woman has “mother of Catherine Housley, Smalley” written on the back, and one of the family photographs has “Francis Purdy” written on the back. My first internet search was “Catherine Housley Smalley Francis Purdy”. Easily found was the family tree of George (Mike) Rushby, on one of the genealogy websites. It seemed that it must be our family, but the African lion hunter seemed unlikely until my mother recalled her father had said that he had a cousin who went to Africa. I also noticed that the lion hunter’s middle name was Gilman ~ the name that Catherine Housley’s daughter ~ my great grandmother, Mary Ann Gilman Purdy ~ adopted, from her aunt and uncle who brought her up.

                          I tried to contact George (Mike) Rushby via the ancestry website, but got no reply. I searched for his name on Facebook and found a photo of a wildfire in a place called Wardell, in Australia, and he was credited with taking the photograph. A comment on the photo, which was a few years old, got no response, so I found a Wardell Community group on Facebook, and joined it. A very small place, population some 700 or so, and I had an immediate response on the group to my question. They knew Mike, exchanged messages, and we were able to start emailing. I was in the chair at the dentist having an exceptionally long canine root canal at the time that I got the message with his email address, and at that moment the song Down in Africa started playing.

                          Mike said it was clever of me to track him down which amused me, coming from the son of an elephant and lion hunter.  He didn’t know why his father’s middle name was Gilman, and was not aware that Catherine Housley’s sister married a Gilman.

                          Mike Rushby kindly gave me permission to include his family history research in my book.  This is the story of my grandfather George Marshall’s cousin.  A detailed account of George Gilman Rushby’s years in Africa can be found in another chapter called From Tanganyika With Love; the letters Eleanor wrote to her family.

                          George Gilman Rushby:

                          George Gilman Rushby

                           

                          The story of George Gilman Rushby 1900-1969, as told by his son Mike:

                          George Gilman Rushby:
                          Elephant hunter,poacher, prospector, farmer, forestry officer, game ranger, husband to Eleanor, and father of 6 children who now live around the world.

                          George Gilman Rushby was born in Nottingham on 28 Feb 1900 the son of Catherine Purdy and John Henry Payling Rushby. But John Henry died when his son was only one and a half years old, and George shunned his drunken bullying stepfather Frank Freer and was brought up by Gypsies who taught him how to fight and took him on regular poaching trips. His love of adventure and his ability to hunt were nurtured at an early stage of his life.
                          The family moved to Eastwood, where his mother Catherine owned and managed The Three Tuns Inn, but when his stepfather died in mysterious circumstances, his mother married a wealthy bookmaker named Gregory Simpson. He could afford to send George to Worksop College and to Rugby School. This was excellent schooling for George, but the boarding school environment, and the lack of a stable home life, contributed to his desire to go out in the world and do his own thing. When he finished school his first job was as a trainee electrician with Oaks & Co at Pye Bridge. He also worked part time as a motor cycle mechanic and as a professional boxer to raise the money for a voyage to South Africa.

                          In May 1920 George arrived in Durban destitute and, like many others, living on the beach and dependant upon the Salvation Army for a daily meal. However he soon got work as an electrical mechanic, and after a couple of months had earned enough money to make the next move North. He went to Lourenco Marques where he was appointed shift engineer for the town’s power station. However he was still restless and left the comfort of Lourenco Marques for Beira in August 1921.

                          Beira was the start point of the new railway being built from the coast to Nyasaland. George became a professional hunter providing essential meat for the gangs of construction workers building the railway. He was a self employed contractor with his own support crew of African men and began to build up a satisfactory business. However, following an incident where he had to shoot and kill a man who attacked him with a spear in middle of the night whilst he was sleeping, George left the lower Zambezi and took a paddle steamer to Nyasaland (Malawi). On his arrival in Karongo he was encouraged to shoot elephant which had reached plague proportions in the area – wrecking African homes and crops, and threatening the lives of those who opposed them.

                          His next move was to travel by canoe the five hundred kilometre length of Lake Nyasa to Tanganyika, where he hunted for a while in the Lake Rukwa area, before walking through Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to the Congo. Hunting his way he overachieved his quota of ivory resulting in his being charged with trespass, the confiscation of his rifles, and a fine of one thousand francs. He hunted his way through the Congo to Leopoldville then on to the Portuguese enclave, near the mouth of the mighty river, where he worked as a barman in a rough and tough bar until he received a message that his old friend Lumb had found gold at Lupa near Chunya. George set sail on the next boat for Antwerp in Belgium, then crossed to England and spent a few weeks with his family in Jacksdale before returning by sea to Dar es Salaam. Arriving at the gold fields he pegged his claim and almost immediately went down with blackwater fever – an illness that used to kill three out of four within a week.

                          When he recovered from his fever, George exchanged his gold lease for a double barrelled .577 elephant rifle and took out a special elephant control licence with the Tanganyika Government. He then headed for the Congo again and poached elephant in Northern Rhodesia from a base in the Congo. He was known by the Africans as “iNyathi”, or the Buffalo, because he was the most dangerous in the long grass. After a profitable hunting expedition in his favourite hunting ground of the Kilombera River he returned to the Congo via Dar es Salaam and Mombassa. He was after the Kabalo district elephant, but hunting was restricted, so he set up his base in The Central African Republic at a place called Obo on the Congo tributary named the M’bomu River. From there he could make poaching raids into the Congo and the Upper Nile regions of the Sudan. He hunted there for two and a half years. He seldom came across other Europeans; hunters kept their own districts and guarded their own territories. But they respected one another and he made good and lasting friendships with members of that small select band of adventurers.

                          Leaving for Europe via the Congo, George enjoyed a short holiday in Jacksdale with his mother. On his return trip to East Africa he met his future bride in Cape Town. She was 24 year old Eleanor Dunbar Leslie; a high school teacher and daughter of a magistrate who spent her spare time mountaineering, racing ocean yachts, and riding horses. After a whirlwind romance, they were betrothed within 36 hours.

                          On 25 July 1930 George landed back in Dar es Salaam. He went directly to the Mbeya district to find a home. For one hundred pounds he purchased the Waizneker’s farm on the banks of the Mntshewe Stream. Eleanor, who had been delayed due to her contract as a teacher, followed in November. Her ship docked in Dar es Salaam on 7 Nov 1930, and they were married that day. At Mchewe Estate, their newly acquired farm, they lived in a tent whilst George with some help built their first home – a lovely mud-brick cottage with a thatched roof. George and Eleanor set about developing a coffee plantation out of a bush block. It was a very happy time for them. There was no electricity, no radio, and no telephone. Newspapers came from London every two months. There were a couple of neighbours within twenty miles, but visitors were seldom seen. The farm was a haven for wild life including snakes, monkeys and leopards. Eleanor had to go South all the way to Capetown for the birth of her first child Ann, but with the onset of civilisation, their first son George was born at a new German Mission hospital that had opened in Mbeya.

                          Occasionally George had to leave the farm in Eleanor’s care whilst he went off hunting to make his living. Having run the coffee plantation for five years with considerable establishment costs and as yet no return, George reluctantly started taking paying clients on hunting safaris as a “white hunter”. This was an occupation George didn’t enjoy. but it brought him an income in the days when social security didn’t exist. Taking wealthy clients on hunting trips to kill animals for trophies and for pleasure didn’t amuse George who hunted for a business and for a way of life. When one of George’s trackers was killed by a leopard that had been wounded by a careless client, George was particularly upset.
                          The coffee plantation was approaching the time of its first harvest when it was suddenly attacked by plagues of borer beetles and ring barking snails. At the same time severe hail storms shredded the crop. The pressure of the need for an income forced George back to the Lupa gold fields. He was unlucky in his gold discoveries, but luck came in a different form when he was offered a job with the Forestry Department. The offer had been made in recognition of his initiation and management of Tanganyika’s rainbow trout project. George spent most of his short time with the Forestry Department encouraging the indigenous people to conserve their native forests.

                          In November 1938 he transferred to the Game Department as Ranger for the Eastern Province of Tanganyika, and over several years was based at Nzasa near Dar es Salaam, at the old German town of Morogoro, and at lovely Lyamungu on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Then the call came for him to be transferred to Mbeya in the Southern Province for there was a serious problem in the Njombe district, and George was selected by the Department as the only man who could possibly fix the problem.

                          Over a period of several years, people were being attacked and killed by marauding man-eating lions. In the Wagingombe area alone 230 people were listed as having been killed. In the Njombe district, which covered an area about 200 km by 300 km some 1500 people had been killed. Not only was the rural population being decimated, but the morale of the survivors was so low, that many of them believed that the lions were not real. Many thought that evil witch doctors were controlling the lions, or that lion-men were changing form to kill their enemies. Indeed some wichdoctors took advantage of the disarray to settle scores and to kill for reward.

                          By hunting down and killing the man-eaters, and by showing the flesh and blood to the doubting tribes people, George was able to instil some confidence into the villagers. However the Africans attributed the return of peace and safety, not to the efforts of George Rushby, but to the reinstallation of their deposed chief Matamula Mangera who had previously been stood down for corruption. It was Matamula , in their eyes, who had called off the lions.

                          Soon after this adventure, George was appointed Deputy Game Warden for Tanganyika, and was based in Arusha. He retired in 1956 to the Njombe district where he developed a coffee plantation, and was one of the first in Tanganyika to plant tea as a major crop. However he sensed a swing in the political fortunes of his beloved Tanganyika, and so sold the plantation and settled in a cottage high on a hill overlooking the Navel Base at Simonstown in the Cape. It was whilst he was there that TV Bulpin wrote his biography “The Hunter is Death” and George wrote his book “No More The Tusker”. He died in the Cape, and his youngest son Henry scattered his ashes at the Southern most tip of Africa where the currents of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet .

                          George Gilman Rushby:

                          #6131

                          In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

                          TracyTracy
                          Participant

                            “It’s Thursday today,” remarked Star.

                            “Special subject the bloody obvious?” Tara replied rudely.   “You should be on Mastermind.”

                            “Well, we were wondering what we were going to do to pass the time until Thursday, and here we are. It’s Thursday!”

                            “Are you losing your marbles?”

                            “Actually it’s you losing your memory,” Star sighed.  “Remember the case?”

                            “What case?”

                            “The case we were working on!”

                            “Oh, that case! Well you can hardly expect me to remember that when it’s been such a strange week!” Tara was starting to get tearful and agitated.

                            “Look, Tara, the tests came back negative. You can stop worrying about it now.  We can go back to normal now and carry on. And just in time for the rendezvous at the cafe on Main Street.” Star patted Tara’s arm encouragingly.  “And what timing! If the results hadn’t come back yet, or we’d tested positive, we wouldn’t have been able to go to the cafe.”

                            “Well we could have gone and just not said anything about the tests,” sniffed Tara.  “Everyone else seems to be doing what they want regardless.”

                            “Yes, but we’re not as morally bankrupt as them,” retorted Star.

                            Tara giggled. “But we used to work for Madame Limonella.”

                            “That’s an entirely different kind of morals,” Star replied, but chose not to pursue the issue. She was relieved to see Tara’s mood lighten.  “What are you going to wear to the cafe?”

                            “Is it a fancy dress party? I could wear my plague doctor outfit.”

                            Star rolled her eyes. “No! We have to dress appropriately, something subtle and serious.  A dark suit perhaps.”

                            “Oh like my Ace of Spades T shirt?”

                            This is going nowhere fast, Star thought, but then had a revelation.  A moment later, she had forgotten what the revelation was when the door burst open.

                            “Ta Da!” shouted Rosamund, entering the office with two middle aged ladies in tow.  “I nabbed them both, they were lurking in the queue for the food bank! And I single handedly brought then back.  Can we talk about my bonus now?”

                            Both Tara and Star were frowning at the two unfamiliar ladies. “Yes but who are these two middle aged ladies?”

                            One of the ladies piped up, “She said you’d be taking us out for afternoon tea at a nice cafe!”

                            The other one added, “We haven’t eaten for days, we’re starving!”

                            “But neither of you is April!” exclaimed Tara.

                            The first middle aged lady said, “Oh no dear, it’s September. I’m quite sure of that.”

                            #6123

                            In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

                            TracyTracy
                            Participant

                              “Did someone say drinks are on the house?” asked Rosamund, pushing past the burly bouncer as she entered the pub.  “What’s your name, handsome?”

                              “Percival,” the bouncer replied with a wry grin.  “Yeah I know, doesn’t fit the image.”

                              Rosamund looked him up and down while simultaneously flicking a bit of food from between her teeth with a credit card.  “I keep forgetting to buy dental floss,” she said.

                              “Is that really necessary?” hissed Tara. “Is that moving the plot forward?”

                              “Careful now,” Star said, “Your Liz is showing.”

                              “I’ll be away for a while on an important mission,” Rosamund said to Percival, “But give me your number and I’ll call you when I get back.”

                              “The trip is cancelled, you’re not going anywhere,” Star told her, “Except to the shop to buy dental floss.”

                              “Will someone please tell me why we’re talking about dental floss when we have this serious case to solve?” Tara sounded exasperated, and glared at Rosamund.  What a brazen hussy she was!

                              “I’m glad you mentioned it!” piped up a middle aged lady sitting at the corner table. “I have run out of dental floss too.”

                              “See?” said Rosamund.  “You never can tell how helpful you are when you just act yourself and let it flow.  Now tell me why I’m not going to New Zealand? I already packed my suitcase!”

                              “Because it seems that New Zealand has come to us,” replied Star, “Or should I say, the signs of the cult are everywhere.  It’s not so much a case of finding the cult as a case of, well finding somewhere the cult hasn’t already infected.  And as for April,” she continued, “She changes her story every five minutes, I think we should ignore everything she says from now on. Nothing but a distraction.”

                              “That’s it!” exclaimed Tara. “Exactly! Distraction tactics!  A well known ruse, tried and tested.  She has been sent to us to distract us from the case. She isn’t a new client. She’s a red herring for the old clients enemies.”

                              “Oh, good one, Tara,” Star was impressed. Tara could be an abusive drunk, but some of the things she blurted out were pure gold.  Or had a grain of gold in them, it would be more accurate to say. A certain perspicacity shone through at times when she was well lubricated.  “Perhaps we should lock her back in the wardrobe for the time being until we’ve worked out what to do with her.”

                              “You’re right, Star, we must restrain her….oy! oy!  Percival, catch that fleeing aunt at once!”  April had made a dash for it out of the pub door.  The burly bouncer missed his chance. April legged it up the road and disappeared round the corner.

                              “That’s entirely your fault, Rosamund,” Tara spat, “Distracting the man from his duties, you rancid little strumpet!”

                              “Oh I say, that’s going a bit far,” interjected the middle aged lady sitting at the corner table.

                              “What’s it got to do with you?” Tara turned on her.

                              “This,” the woman replied with a smugly Trumpish smile. She pulled her trouser leg up to reveal a bell bird tattoo.

                              “Oh my fucking god,” Tara was close to tears again.

                              #6078
                              AvatarJib
                              Participant

                                “You really know your trade, Fuyi,” said Rukshan. “You’ve built the most exquisite and comfortable place. And I think the empty dishes speak aplenty about the quality of the food and the pleasure we took in this shared meal. Now, let us help you with the dishes,” said Rukshan.

                                “Ach! Don’t be so polite,” said Fuyi. “I’ll have plenty of time after yar departure tomorrow. It’s not like the inn is full. Just enjoy an evening together, discuss yar plans, and have some rest. I know that life. Take the chance when it presents itself!”

                                Rushan nodded and looked at Kumihimo. Fox sighed with relief. His belly was full and round, and he didn’t want to disturbed his digestion with some chore.

                                The Sinese food made by the innkeeper had been delicious and quite a first for most of them. Tak had particularly enjoyed the crunchy texture of the stir fried vegetables flavoured with the famous five spices sauce. Nesy had preferred the algae and chili dishes while Fox, who ate a red hot pepper thinking it was bell pepper, had stuffed himself with juicy pork buns to put out the fire in his mouth.

                                Gorrash, befuddled by the novelty, had been at a loss of labels, good or bad. He simply chose to welcome the new experiences and body reactions to flavours and textures. As for Olliver, he gave up the chopsticks when he saw how fast Fox made the food disappear from the dishes.

                                Now that the dishes were empty, the children and Gorrash had left the table and were playing near the fireplace. Olliver was looking at the trio with envy, split between the desire to play and enjoy the simplicity of the moment, and the desire to be taken more seriously which meant participate in the conversation with the adults.

                                “We have plenty to discuss, Fae,” said Kumihimo.

                                Fuyi looked at Olliver, recognising the conundrum. “That’s settled, then,” he said to the group. Then turning toward Olliver: “Boy! I’m sure the start of the conversation will be boring for a young mind. Let’s join the others for a story of my own. You can still come back later and they’ll fill you in on the details.”

                                Fuyi and Olliver moved to the fireplace. The innkeeper threw cushions on the floor and sat on a wooden rocking chair. At the mention of a story, Tak, Nesy and Gorrash couldn’t contain their exuberant joy and gathered all ears around Admirable Fuyi. As he rocked, the chair creaked. He waited until they all calmed down. And when he was satisfied he started.

                                “I was young and still a fresh recruit in the Sinese army,” started Fuyi. “We were stationed at the western frontier just below the high plateaus and I hadn’t participated in any battle yet. With the folly of youth I thought that our weapons and the bond we shared with my fellow soldiers were enough to defeat anything.”

                                #5964
                                AvatarJib
                                Participant

                                  They walked through a labyrinth of tunnels which seemed to have been carved into a rocky mountain. The clicks and clacks of their high heels echoed in the cold silence meeting all of Sophie’s questions, leaving her wondering where they could be. Tightly held by her rompers she felt her fat mass wobbling like jelly around her skeleton. It didn’t help clear her mind which was still confused by the environment and the apparent memory loss concerning how she arrived there.

                                  Sophie couldn’t tell how many turns they took before Barbara put her six fingers hand on a flat rock at shoulders height. The rock around the hand turned green and glowed for two seconds; then a big chunk of rock slid to the side revealing a well designed modern style room.

                                  “Doctor, Sophie is here,” said Barbara when they entered.

                                  A little man was working at his desk. At least Sophie assumed it was his desk and that he was working. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and bermudas. The computer screen he was looking at projected a greenish tint onto his face, and it made him look just like the green man icon. Sophie cackled, a little at first.

                                  The Doctor’s hand tensed on the mouse and his eyebrows gathered like angry caterpillars ready to fight. He must have made a wrong move because a cascade of sound ending in a flop indicated he just died a death, most certainly on one of those facegoat addictive games.

                                  That certainly didn’t help muffle Sophie’s cackle until she felt Barbara’s six fingers seizing her shoulders as if for a Vulcan nerve pinch. Sophie expected to lose consciousness, but the hand was mostly warm, except for that extra finger which was cold and buzzing. The contact of the hand upon the latex gave off little squeaky sounds that made Sophie feel uncomfortable. She swallowed her anxiety and wished for the woman to remove her hand. But as she had  noticed more than once, wishes could take time and twists before they could be fulfilled.

                                  “Why do you have to ruin everything every time?” asked the Doctor. His face was now red and distorted.

                                  “Every time?” said Sophie confused.

                                  “Yes! You took your sleeper agent role too seriously. We couldn’t get any valuable intel and the whole doll operation was a fiasco. We almost lost the magpies. And now, your taste for uncharted drugs, which as a parenthesis I confess I admire your dedication to explore unknown territories for science… Anyway, you were all day locked up into your boudoir trying to contact me while I just needed you to look at computer screens and attend to meetings.”

                                  Sophie was too shocked to believe it. How could the man be so misinformed. She never liked computers and meetings, except maybe while looking online for conspiracy theories and aliens and going to comiccons. But…

                                  “Now you’re so addict to the drugs that you’re useless until you follow our rehab program.”

                                  “A rehab program?” asked Sophie, her voice shaking. “But…” That certainly was the spookiest thing she had heard since she had arrived to this place, and this made her speechless, but certainly not optionless. Without thinking she tried a move she had seen in movies. She turned and threw her mass into Barbara. The two women fell on the cold floor. Sophie heard a crack before she felt the pain in her right arm. She thought she ought to have persevered in her combat training course after the first week. But life is never perfect.

                                  “Suffice!” said the Doctor from above. “You’ll like it with the other guests, you’ll see. All you have to do is follow the protocol we’ll give you each day and read the documentation that Barbara will give you.”

                                  Sophie tried a witty answer but the pain was too much and it ended in a desperate moan.

                                  #5832
                                  EricEric
                                  Keymaster

                                    “What are you two conspiring again behind my back?” Liz barged in, with a few patches of nicotine across her face.

                                    “It better be good.” she leaned towards Godfrey who was always incapable of lying properly.

                                    “It just… that… ouch!” he started hesitantly, while Finnley elbowed him vigorously. She also knew he wouldn’t pass a serious questioning without ratting them out. She questioned why in the first place he got her involved with his flimsy start of a plan.

                                    “What about?” Liz continued, her face nervously twitching. She coughed raucously.

                                    “THERE! Told you!” Godfrey couldn’t contain himself. “We should confine you, at your age, it could be dangerous!”

                                    At the mention of Liz’s age, all hell broke loose in the mansion.

                                    #5655
                                    prUneprUne
                                    Participant

                                      I don’t know if that’s a second youth or what, but getting to that 100 line has put Mater in an energetic frenzy. She’s been putting her things in order, like she said.

                                      My studies on machine learning and artificial intelligence are keeping me away for now. I’ve been studying hard for that Mars program selection, but it looks like it’s hopeless. Anyway, I had the good idea to put nannycams in all the hidden spots of the Inn. It’s not been as much fun as I’d hoped, spying on Aunt Idle and her manic ramblings. You would think she’s drunk all the time, but for all the recordings, I’d be damned if I’ve caught her yet on tape with a bottle. I guess her body just distills it on its own…

                                      So, I’ve kept an eye on Mater too; she’s been acting funny at the mention of Jasper. And I found her quick to put a tight lid back on the topic.

                                      I’m not even mentioning the dubious trails of “Uncles” of late: the Fergus, Basil or otherwise. She’d known quite a few of these in her days, although she’s claimed to have been a paragon of matrimonial virtue, being single woman with kids in these parts must have been rough after she lost Pater.

                                      I think I finally caught something between all the cloak and dagger mascarades, tatty letters and all. Digital footprint isn’t big, but it may be something tangible to begin with.

                                      Meanwhile, we’ll have to get started getting the invitation list in order; Mater’s contemporaries are falling by the minute, and Aunt Dido’s braincells are probably dying as fast as that— it won’t be easy to get a complete list. I know I should enlist Devan, I even put him on that family group thing, but he’s not big with all the tech stuff. As for the twins, well… We still have to hear about their stories. At this rate, might be faster to learn to telepathically tack on Dodo’s brainwaves. She says to whomever wants to hear she’s got direct connection to them… Would sound cultish to me, if I didn’t know better about the sisters! I’ll be worried when Mater starts to take this woowoo seriously.

                                      #5636

                                      In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

                                      TracyTracy
                                      Participant

                                        “We’ll start as soon as we get our first client, Tara,” replied Star, “And don’t keep calling me a tart. You had better get out of the habit or you might do it accidentally when we’re working on a case.”

                                        “What if we don’t get any clients? We’ve advertised everywhere we can think of. Once we get started, we’ll get recommendations, we’ll probably have to take on staff, we’ll be so busy.” A wistful look crept into Tara’s eye. She’d never been a boss, never been in the position of telling a subordinate what to do. It had a certain appeal.  “Anyway, you are a tart.”

                                        “Was, Tara, was. We are not tarts now, and nobody needs to know what we did for a living before.  Nothing shameful in it of course, but people have such antiquated ideas; it might put them off. They don’t need to know that we might be able to use our skills to our advantage to solve cases.”

                                        “I’d rather solve cases with our new skills,” said Tara.  “Remote viewing, out of body travel, lucid dreaming, that sort of thing.”

                                        “Never a bad thing to have an assorted tool box,” replied Star. “We have unique skills compared to most private investigators. Just thank your lucky stars that we escaped the eagle eye of Madame Limonella.  She’ll never think to look for us in here in Melbourne, she’s probably thinking we’ll fetch up in some back street dive in Perth, desperate for our jobs back.”

                                        “Well it might come to that if we don’t get any cases to solve,” Tara said glumly, “And on less money too, we’re not spring chickens any more.”

                                        “Don’t be silly,” Star snapped. “We’re not even 40 yet. If we were too young we wouldn’t be taken seriously.”

                                        “Not even close to 40,” replied Tara, who was 33. “You are, though,” she said to Star, who was sensitive about being 39.

                                        Star was just about to call her a rude tart when the phone rang.

                                        #5627
                                        EricEric
                                        Keymaster

                                          “Don’t you realize we’re in trouble June?” April had sobered up quickly. June looked at her suspiciously, it’s been months she suspected April to swap her vodka drinks with plain water to avoid getting drunk.
                                          June! Are you listening?!”
                                          “Of course I am, stop bawling like that horrid baby, I’m no deaf.”
                                          “Speaking of which, I’m glad we’re rid of them. Leave it to May to handle, or the new maid?”
                                          “What new maid?”
                                          “The one who’s been pillaging your cognac’s stash, I though you knew her?”
                                          “No I don’t. She’s been way too cosy here… you know her? She some of August’s little afternoon delights?”
                                          “Stop with that, you know August is a married man, his wife’s so scary he wouldn’t…”
                                          “Must you always kill the mood April, let me enjoy a little sneaky gossiping.”

                                          April looked at June all serious.

                                          “We must go to his last known location, find the boy!”
                                          “Are you kidding? Old South USA? And I thought it couldn’t get worse than Washingtown. And in case you’ve all forgotten, I’m still wanted in so many places, even that splendulous new hairdo isn’t going to hide me forever. And how are we going to hire muscle, genius? As you must have noticed, all his security details have followed Gollump for his impricotment hearings.”
                                          “I had a brainwave.”
                                          “Oh, that’ll be grand, do tell. Are you proposing one of your remove throwing session from your little art club?”
                                          “It’s remote viewing! — and yes,… no! Not yet. I was thinking of his mother, Mellie Noma; she loathes the oaf as much as she loves her spawn. She may lend us some resources.”
                                          “Yeah, right… And you’re going to bribe her with?”
                                          “Oh I have the perfect idea. You know how fashion vane she is.”

                                          June had a realization which turned into a horror face. “No way! Not my pith helmet!!”

                                          #5626
                                          EricEric
                                          Keymaster

                                            When Barron woke up, he quickly realized he’d been double-crossed, or maybe triple-crossed.

                                            His captors were discussing loudly at the front how they could get a larger cut from an unknown bidder.
                                            He was incensed and almost threw a tantrum but realized it would be best to keep quiet for now.

                                            Suspicions were racing in his mind, who could it be? The Russians… or the Chinese maybe? His father had made so many ennemies, it could well be the nannies for all he knew. The thought almost made him giggle. These two inept nannies had been carefully chosen by him, there were little chances they would be able to concoct any sensible plan with more than an hour execution span. His parents were infuriated and almost despaired when he’d shouted, spat and cried like a devil at all the nannies they carefully selected for him. But they all looked too smart, too serious, too careful to please, there was no way his plan of escape would work with them. But Joo and Ape, well, that was something else. With them, the world was his oyster. Or Bob his uncle like the loud one liked to say when she faked a British accent. Evil sounded so much more delightful when spoken in British English.

                                            The van stopped. They’d arrived. Strong smells of alcohol,… and something… French? Was it rillettes? A clandestine distillery. Maybe it was the French mafia after all.

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