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  • #6460

    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    AvatarJib
    Participant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      🧔🌮🔍🔑🏞️

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

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

      #6301
      TracyTracy
      Participant

        The Warrens of Stapenhill

         

        There were so many Warren’s in Stapenhill that it was complicated to work out who was who. I had gone back as far as Samuel Warren marrying Catherine Holland, and this was as far back as my cousin Ian Warren had gone in his research some decades ago as well. The Holland family from Barton under Needwood are particularly interesting, and will be a separate chapter.

        Stapenhill village by John Harden:

        Stapenhill

         

        Resuming the research on the Warrens, Samuel Warren 1771-1837 married Catherine Holland 1775-1861 in 1795 and their son Samuel Warren 1800-1882 married Elizabeth Bridge, whose childless brother Benjamin Bridge left the Warren Brothers Boiler Works in Newhall to his nephews, the Warren brothers.

        Samuel Warren and Catherine Holland marriage licence 1795:

        Samuel Warren Catherine Holland

         

        Samuel (born 1771) was baptised at Stapenhill St Peter and his parents were William and Anne Warren. There were at least three William and Ann Warrens in town at the time. One of those William’s was born in 1744, which would seem to be the right age to be Samuel’s father, and one was born in 1710, which seemed a little too old. Another William, Guiliamos Warren (Latin was often used in early parish registers) was baptised in Stapenhill in 1729.

        Stapenhill St Peter:

        Stapenhill St Peter

         

        William Warren (born 1744) appeared to have been born several months before his parents wedding. William Warren and Ann Insley married 16 July 1744, but the baptism of William in 1744 was 24 February. This seemed unusual ~ children were often born less than nine months after a wedding, but not usually before the wedding! Then I remembered the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1752. Prior to 1752, the first day of the year was Lady Day, March 25th, not January 1st. This meant that the birth in February 1744 was actually after the wedding in July 1744. Now it made sense. The first son was named William, and he was born seven months after the wedding.

        William born in 1744 died intestate in 1822, and his wife Ann made a legal claim to his estate. However he didn’t marry Ann Holland (Ann was Catherines Hollands sister, who married Samuel Warren the year before) until 1796, so this William and Ann were not the parents of Samuel.

        It seemed likely that William born in 1744 was Samuels brother. William Warren and Ann Insley had at least eight children between 1744 and 1771, and it seems that Samuel was their last child, born when William the elder was 61 and his wife Ann was 47.

        It seems it wasn’t unusual for the Warren men to marry rather late in life. William Warren’s (born 1710) parents were William Warren and Elizabeth Hatterton. On the marriage licence in 1702/1703 (it appears to say 1703 but is transcribed as 1702), William was a 40 year old bachelor from Stapenhill, which puts his date of birth at 1662. Elizabeth was considerably younger, aged 19.

        William Warren and Elizabeth Hatterton marriage licence 1703:

        William Warren 1702

         

        These Warren’s were farmers, and they were literate and able to sign their own names on various documents. This is worth noting, as most made the mark of an X.

        I found three Warren and Holland marriages. One was Samuel Warren and Catherine Holland in 1795, then William Warren and Ann Holland in 1796. William Warren and Ann Hollands daughter born in 1799 married John Holland in 1824.

        Elizabeth Hatterton (wife of William Warren who was born circa 1662) was born in Burton upon Trent in 1685. Her parents were Edward Hatterton 1655-1722, and Sara.

        A page from the 1722 will of Edward Hatterton:

        Edward Hatterton 1722

         

        The earliest Warren I found records for was William Warren who married Elizabeth Hatterton in 1703. The marriage licence states his age as 40 and that he was from Stapenhill, but none of the Stapenhill parish records online go back as far as 1662.  On other public trees on ancestry websites, a birth record from Suffolk has been chosen, probably because it was the only record to be found online with the right name and date. Once again, I don’t think that is correct, and perhaps one day I’ll find some earlier Stapenhill records to prove that he was born in locally.

         

        Subsequently, I found a list of the 1662 Hearth Tax for Stapenhill. On it were a number of Warrens, three William Warrens including one who was a constable. One of those William Warrens had a son he named William (as they did, hence the number of William Warrens in the tree) the same year as this hearth tax list.

        But was it the William Warren with 2 chimneys, the one with one chimney who was too poor to pay it, or the one who was a constable?

        from the list:
        Will. Warryn 2
        Richard Warryn 1
        William Warren Constable
        These names are not payable by Act:
        Will. Warryn 1
        Richard Warren John Watson
        over seers of the poore and churchwardens

        The Hearth Tax:

        via wiki:
        In England, hearth tax, also known as hearth money, chimney tax, or chimney money, was a tax imposed by Parliament in 1662, to support the Royal Household of King Charles II. Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Parliament calculated that the Royal Household needed an annual income of £1,200,000. The hearth tax was a supplemental tax to make up the shortfall. It was considered easier to establish the number of hearths than the number of heads, hearths forming a more stationary subject for taxation than people. This form of taxation was new to England, but had precedents abroad. It generated considerable debate, but was supported by the economist Sir William Petty, and carried through the Commons by the influential West Country member Sir Courtenay Pole, 2nd Baronet (whose enemies nicknamed him “Sir Chimney Poll” as a result).  The bill received Royal Assent on 19 May 1662, with the first payment due on 29 September 1662, Michaelmas.
        One shilling was liable to be paid for every firehearth or stove, in all dwellings, houses, edifices or lodgings, and was payable at Michaelmas, 29 September and on Lady Day, 25 March. The tax thus amounted to two shillings per hearth or stove per year. The original bill contained a practical shortcoming in that it did not distinguish between owners and occupiers and was potentially a major burden on the poor as there were no exemptions. The bill was subsequently amended so that the tax was paid by the occupier. Further amendments introduced a range of exemptions that ensured that a substantial proportion of the poorer people did not have to pay the tax.

         

        Indeed it seems clear that William Warren the elder came from Stapenhill and not Suffolk, and one of the William Warrens paying hearth tax in 1662 was undoubtedly the father of William Warren who married Elizabeth Hatterton.

        #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.

             

            #6262
            TracyTracy
            Participant

              From Tanganyika with Love

              continued  ~ part 3

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Very much love,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

              your loving but anxious,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              Very much love to all,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              Lots and lots of love,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

              Who would be a mother!
              Eleanor

              Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

              Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Lots and lots of love,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

              With love to all,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

              With love to all,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Eleanor

              Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              Your very loving,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

              Dearest Family,

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

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

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

              With love to all,
              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

                #6260
                TracyTracy
                Participant

                  From Tanganyika with Love

                  With thanks to Mike Rushby.

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

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

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

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

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

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

                   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love my dear,
                  your jubilant
                  Eleanor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Bless you all,
                  Eleanor.

                  S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor Leslie.

                  Eleanor and George Rushby:

                  Eleanor and George Rushby

                  Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Your cave woman
                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Much love to you all,
                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Your loving
                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love,
                  Eleanor.

                  Mbeya 23rd December 1930

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

                  26th December 1930

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

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

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

                  Lots and lots of love,
                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Your loving,
                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Very much love,
                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate 20th April 1931

                  Dearest Family,

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  Mchewe Estate. 20th May 1931

                  Dear Family,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                  Eleanor.

                  #6240
                  TracyTracy
                  Participant

                    Phyllis Ellen Marshall

                    1909 – 1983

                    Phyllis Marshall

                     

                    Phyllis, my grandfather George Marshall’s sister, never married. She lived in her parents home in Love Lane, and spent decades of her later life bedridden, living alone and crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. She had her bed in the front downstairs room, and had cords hanging by her bed to open the curtains, turn on the tv and so on, and she had carers and meals on wheels visit her daily. The room was dark and grim, but Phyllis was always smiling and cheerful.  Phyllis loved the Degas ballerinas and had a couple of prints on the walls.

                    I remember visiting her, but it has only recently registered that this was my great grandparents house. When I was a child, we visited her and she indicated a tin on a chest of drawers and said I could take a biscuit. It was a lemon puff, and was the stalest biscuit I’d ever had. To be polite I ate it. Then she offered me another one! I declined, but she thought I was being polite and said “Go on! You can have another!” I ate another one, and have never eaten a lemon puff since that day.

                    Phyllis’s nephew Bryan Marshall used to visit her regularly. I didn’t realize how close they were until recently, when I resumed contact with Bryan, who emigrated to USA in the 1970s following a successful application for a job selling stained glass windows and church furnishings.

                    I asked on a Stourbridge facebook group if anyone remembered her.

                    AF  Yes I remember her. My friend and I used to go up from Longlands school every Friday afternoon to do jobs for her. I remember she had a record player and we used to put her 45rpm record on Send in the Clowns for her. Such a lovely lady. She had her bed in the front room.

                    KW I remember very clearly a lady in a small house in Love Lane with alley at the left hand.  I was intrigued by this lady who used to sit with the front door open and she was in a large chair of some sort. I used to see people going in and out and the lady was smiling. I was young then (31) and wondered how she coped but my sense was she had lots of help.  I’ve never forgotten that lady in Love Lane sitting in the open door way I suppose when it was warm enough.

                    LR I used to deliver meals on wheels to her lovely lady.

                    I sent Bryan the comments from the Stourbridge group and he replied:

                    Thanks Tracy. I don’t recognize the names here but lovely to see such kind comments.
                    In the early 70’s neighbors on Corser Street, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Braithwaite would pop around with occasional visits and meals. Walter was my piano teacher for awhile when I was in my early twenties. He was a well known music teacher at Rudolph Steiner School (former Elmfield School) on Love Lane. A very fine school. I seem to recall seeing a good article on Walter recently…perhaps on the Stourbridge News website. He was very well known.
                    I’m ruminating about life with my Aunt Phyllis. We were very close. Our extra special time was every Saturday at 5pm (I seem to recall) we’d watch Doctor Who. Right from the first episode. We loved it. Likewise I’d do the children’s crossword out of Woman’s Realm magazine…always looking to win a camera but never did ! She opened my mind to the Bible, music and ballet. She once got tickets and had a taxi take us into Birmingham to see the Bolshoi Ballet…at a time when they rarely left their country. It was a very big deal in the early 60’s. ! I’ve many fond memories about her and grandad which I’ll share in due course. I’d change the steel needle on the old record player, following each play of the 78rpm records…oh my…another world.

                    Bryan continues reminiscing about Phyllis in further correspondence:

                    Yes, I can recall those two Degas prints. I don’t know much of Phyllis’ early history other than she was a hairdresser in Birmingham. I want to say at John Lewis, for some reason (so there must have been a connection and being such a large store I bet they did have a salon?)
                    You will know that she had severe and debilitating rheumatoid arthritis that eventually gnarled her hands and moved through her body. I remember strapping on her leg/foot braces and hearing her writhe in pain as I did so but she wanted to continue walking standing/ getting up as long as she could. I’d take her out in the wheelchair and I can’t believe I say it along …but down Stanley Road!! (I had subsequent nightmares about what could have happened to her, had I tripped or let go!) She loved Mary Stevens Park, the swans, ducks and of course Canadian geese. Was grateful for everything in creation. As I used to go over Hanbury Hill on my visit to Love Lane, she would always remind me to smell the “sea-air” as I crested the hill.
                    In the earlier days she smoked cigarettes with one of those long filters…looking like someone from the twenties.

                    I’ll check on “Send in the clowns”. I do recall that music. I remember also she loved to hear Neil Diamond. Her favorites in classical music gave me an appreciation of Elgar and Delius especially. She also loved ballet music such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker. Scheherazade and La Boutique Fantastic also other gems.
                    When grandad died she and aunt Dorothy shared more about grandma (who died I believe when John and I were nine-months old…therefore early 1951). Grandma (Mary Ann Gilman Purdy) played the piano and loved Strauss and Offenbach. The piano in the picture you sent had a bad (wonky) leg which would fall off and when we had the piano at 4, Mount Road it was rather dangerous. In any event my parents didn’t want me or others “banging on it” for fear of waking the younger brothers so it disappeared at sometime.
                    By the way, the dog, Flossy was always so rambunctious (of course, she was a JRT!) she was put on the stairway which fortunately had a door on it. Having said that I’ve always loved dogs so was very excited to see her and disappointed when she was not around. 

                    Phyllis with her parents William and Mary Marshall, and Flossie the dog in the garden at Love Lane:

                    Phyllis William and Mary Marshall

                     

                    Bryan continues:

                    I’ll always remember the early days with the outside toilet with the overhead cistern caked in active BIG spider webs. I used to have to light a candle to go outside, shielding the flame until destination. In that space I’d set the candle down and watch the eery shadows move from side to side whilst…well anyway! Then I’d run like hell back into the house. Eventually the kitchen wall was broken through so it became an indoor loo. Phew!
                    In the early days the house was rented for ten-shillings a week…I know because I used to take over a ten-bob-note to a grumpy lady next door who used to sign the receipt in the rent book. Then, I think she died and it became available for $600.00 yes…the whole house for $600.00 but it wasn’t purchased then. Eventually aunt Phyllis purchased it some years later…perhaps when grandad died.

                    I used to work much in the back garden which was a lovely walled garden with arch-type decorations in the brickwork and semicircular shaped capping bricks. The abundant apple tree. Raspberry and loganberry canes. A gooseberry bush and huge Victoria plum tree on the wall at the bottom of the garden which became a wonderful attraction for wasps! (grandad called the “whasps”). He would stew apples and fruit daily.
                    Do you remember their black and white cat Twinky? Always sat on the pink-screen TV and when she died they were convinced that “that’s wot got ‘er”. Grandad of course loved all his cats and as he aged, he named them all “Billy”.

                    Have you come across the name “Featherstone” in grandma’s name. I don’t recall any details but Dorothy used to recall this. She did much searching of the family history Such a pity she didn’t hand anything on to anyone. She also said that we had a member of the family who worked with James Watt….but likewise I don’t have details.
                    Gifts of chocolates to Phyllis were regular and I became the recipient of the overflow!

                    What a pity Dorothy’s family history research has disappeared!  I have found the Featherstone’s, and the Purdy who worked with James Watt, but I wonder what else Dorothy knew.

                    I mentioned DH Lawrence to Bryan, and the connection to Eastwood, where Bryan’s grandma (and Phyllis’s mother) Mary Ann Gilman Purdy was born, and shared with him the story about Francis Purdy, the Primitive Methodist minister, and about Francis’s son William who invented the miners lamp.

                    He replied:

                    As a nosy young man I was looking through the family bookcase in Love Lane and came across a brown paper covered book. Intrigued, I found “Sons and Lovers” D.H. Lawrence. I knew it was a taboo book (in those days) as I was growing up but now I see the deeper connection. Of course! I know that Phyllis had I think an earlier boyfriend by the name of Maurice who lived in Perry Barr, Birmingham. I think he later married but was always kind enough to send her a book and fond message each birthday (Feb.12). I guess you know grandad’s birthday – July 28. We’d always celebrate those days. I’d usually be the one to go into Oldswinford and get him a cardigan or pullover and later on, his 2oz tins of St. Bruno tobacco for his pipe (I recall the room filled with smoke as he puffed away).
                    Dorothy and Phyllis always spoke of their ancestor’s vocation as a Minister. So glad to have this history! Wow, what a story too. The Lord rescued him from mischief indeed. Just goes to show how God can change hearts…one at a time.
                    So interesting to hear about the Miner’s Lamp. My vicar whilst growing up at St. John’s in Stourbridge was from Durham and each Harvest Festival, there would be a miner’s lamp placed upon the altar as a symbol of the colliery and the bountiful harvest.

                    More recollections from Bryan about the house and garden at Love Lane:

                    I always recall tea around the three legged oak table bedecked with a colorful seersucker cloth. Battenburg cake. Jam Roll. Rich Tea and Digestive biscuits. Mr. Kipling’s exceedingly good cakes! Home-made jam.  Loose tea from the Coronation tin cannister. The ancient mangle outside the back door and the galvanized steel wash tub with hand-operated agitator on the underside of the lid. The hand operated water pump ‘though modernisation allowed for a cold tap only inside, above the single sink and wooden draining board. A small gas stove and very little room for food preparation. Amazing how the Marshalls (×7) managed in this space!

                    The small window over the sink in the kitchen brought in little light since the neighbor built on a bathroom annex at the back of their house, leaving #47 with limited light, much to to upset of grandad and Phyllis. I do recall it being a gloomy place..i.e.the kitchen and back room.

                    The garden was lovely. Long and narrow with privet hedge dividing the properties on the right and the lovely wall on the left. Dorothy planted spectacular lilac bushes against the wall. Vivid blues, purples and whites. Double-flora. Amazing…and with stunning fragrance. Grandad loved older victorian type plants such as foxgloves and comfrey. Forget-me-nots and marigolds (calendulas) in abundance.  Rhubarb stalks. Always plantings of lettuce and other vegetables. Lots of mint too! A large varigated laurel bush outside the front door!

                    Such a pleasant walk through the past. 

                    An autograph book belonging to Phyllis from the 1920s has survived in which each friend painted a little picture, drew a cartoon, or wrote a verse.  This entry is perhaps my favourite:

                    Ripping Time

                    #6185
                    TracyTracy
                    Participant

                      “I’ll be right back!” Nora told Will, who was stirring a big bubbling pot on the stove. “Need to wash my hands.”

                      She had a quick look around the bedroom she’d slept in for her missing phone. Nowhere to be found!  Maybe she could find Will’s phone when he went out to feed the donkey, and call her phone to try and locate it. Damn, that wouldn’t work either. Will had said there was no network here. That would explain why her phone stopped working when she was alone in the dark woods.

                      “Smells delicious!” she said brightly, scraping a chair back across the brick floor and seating herself at the kitchen table.

                      The home made soup was chock full of vegetables and looked and smelled wonderful, but it had a peculiar acrid aftertaste.  Nora tried to ignore it, taking gulps of wine in between each mouthful to eliminate the bitterness.  She wished it wasn’t soup in a way, so that she’d be able to surreptitiously palm some of it off onto the dogs that were waiting hopefully under the table.  If only Will would leave the room for a minute, but he seemed to be watching her every move.

                      “Very tasty, but I can’t manage another mouthful, it’s so filling,” she said, but Will looked so offended that she sighed and carried on eating. He topped up her wine glass.

                      By the time Nora had finished the soup, she felt quite nauseous and stood up quickly to head for the bathroom. The room started to spin and she held on to the edge of the table, but it was no good. The spinning didn’t stop and she crashed to the floor, unconscious.

                      Smiling with satisfaction, Will stood up and walked around the table to where she lay. Shame he’d had to put her to sleep, really she was quite a nice woman and cute, too, in a funny elfin way.  He’d started to like her.  Plenty of time to get to know her now, anyway. She wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile.

                      He picked her up and carried her to the secret room behind his workshop on the other side of the patio.  The walls and floor were thick stone, and there were no windows.  He laid her on the bench, locked the door, and went back in the house to fetch blankets and bedding and a pile of books for her to read when she came round.  Probably not for a good 24 hours he reckoned, somehow she’d managed to eat all the soup.  He would put much less in the next batch, just enough to keep her docile and sleepy.

                      It would only be for a few days, just long enough for him to find that box and move it to a safer location. He’d been entrusted to make sure the contents of the box were preserved for the people in the future, and he was a man of his word.

                      If they had listened to him in the first place this would never have happened.  Burying a box was a risk: all kinds of possibilities existed for a buried box to be accidentally unearthed.   He had suggested encasing the contents inside a concrete statue, but they’d ignored him. Well, now was his chance.  He was looking forward to making a new statue.

                      #6164
                      EricEric
                      Keymaster

                        VanGogh was sniffing frantically on the patio outside the house, a usual indication that he’d found the perfect spot for a healthy stool, but this time, as soon as Clara had looked the other way to take care of the sautéed mushrooms on the stove, he darted for the shed where the odd big toy had been unearthed and stored out of sight.

                        His tail wagged frantically as he pushed the door open, and slid underneath the tarpaulin behind the sleeping lawn-eater.

                        He started to scratch the box, the way he usually tried to open the puzzle ball Clara would fill with some kibble. It didn’t roll like the ball-that-dispensed-kibble. In frustration, VanGogh started to push his paws on the sleek smooth surface, near the curious indentations.

                        Something clicked open.

                        “VanGogh! Where are you boy?! Come!”

                        Suddenly distracted from this puzzling quest, he rushed to the kitchen for dinner.

                        #5667

                        In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

                        TracyTracy
                        Participant

                          The house was dark when Vince got home, not like it used to be when Uncle Basil was there. He’d have had something simmering on the stove and the curtains closed, the lamps lit.  “Gin and tonic?” he’d call out from the kitchen table, more often than not, sitting with a pile of books and a glass of sherry.

                          If only I hadn’t kept making fun of his books, Vince thought, not for the first time. If only I’d made him feel comfortable here in his own home with all that stuff instead of ridiculing him, he wouldn’t have gone.

                          What if he sells the house?  Vince sighed and flipped on the lights.  As soon as those people found out he had property, and money, well it didn’t bear thinking about. Vince would be out on his ear.

                          #4725
                          EricEric
                          Keymaster

                            A wild eyed crow was cawing relentlessly since the wee hours of the dawn.
                            Nothing much had moved since everyone arrived at the Inn, and in contrast with the hot days, the cool night had sent everyone shivering under the thin woolen blankets that smelled of naphthalene.
                            Deep down, Bert was glad to see the old Inn come back to life, even if for a little while. He was weary of the witch though. She wouldn’t be here without some supernatural mischief afoot.
                            He glanced in the empty hall, putting his muddy pair of boots outside, not to incur the fury of Finly. He almost started calling to see if anybody was home, but thought better of it. Speaking of the devil, Finly was already up and busy at the small kitchen stove, and had done some outstanding croissants. In truth, despite all her flaws, he liked her; she was a capable lady, although never big on sweet talks. No wonder she and Mater did get along well.
                            Bert started to walk along the hall towards the hangar, where he knew old cases where stored, one with a particular book that he needed. It was hard to guess what would happen next. He found the book, that was hidden on the side of the case, and scratched his head while smiling a big wide grin.
                            He was feeling alive with the kind of energy that could be a poor advisor were his mind not sharp as a gator’s tooth.

                            The book had a lot of gibberish in it, like it was written in a sort of automatic writing. For some reason, after the termite honey episode, Idle had started to collect odd books, and she was starting to see spy games hidden in the strangest patterns.
                            Despite being a lazy pothead, the girl was smart, though. Some of her books were codes.

                            Bert’s had his fair run with those during his early years in the military. So he’d hidden the most dangerous ones that Idle had unwittingly found, so that she and the rest of the family wouldn’t run into trouble.
                            Most of the time, she’d simply forget about having bought or bargained for them, but in some cases, there was a silly obsession with her that rendered her crazy about some of those books. Usually the girls, especially the twins, would get the blame for what was thought a child’s prank. Luckily her anger wouldn’t last long.

                            This book though was a bit different. Bert had never found the coding pattern, nor the logic about it. And some bits of it looked like it talked about the Inn. “Encoded pattern from the future”, “remote viewing from the past”, Idle’s suggestions would have run wild with imaginative solutions. Maybe she was onto something…

                            He looked a two bits, struck by some of the parts:

                            The inn had been open for a long time before any of the tenants had come, and it had been full of people once it had been full all day long.
                            She had gone back after a while and opened up the little room for the evening and people could be seen milling about.
                            The rest of the tenants had remained out on their respective streets and were quiet and peaceful.
                            ‘So it’s the end of a cold year.’
                            The woman with golden hair and green eyes seemed to have no intention of staying in the inn as well; she was already preparing for the next year.
                            When the cold dawn had started to rise the door to the inn had been open all night long. The young man with red hair sitting on a nearby bench had watched a few times before opening his eyes to see the man that had followed him home.

                            There was a young red hair boy that had arrived. He was curious as to the man following.

                            The other random bit talked about something else. Like a stuff of nightmares. And his name was on it.

                            The small girl stood beside him, still covered with her night clothes. She felt naked by the side of the road. There was nothing else to do.
                            In the distance, Bert could faintly hear the howling of the woods, as two large, black dogs pounced, their jaws ready to tear her to pieces. The young girl stared in wonder and fear before the dog, before biting it, then she was gone. She ran off through the bushes. “Ah…” she whispered to herself. “Why am I not alive?” She thought to herself: this is all I need.
                            If I am here, they’ll kill or hurt my kids. They won’t miss me for nothing.
                            She ran the last few kilometers to her little cottage; not long after, Bert heard the sound of the forest. He was glad it was.

                            Maybe the witch was not here for nothing after all.

                            #4718
                            AvatarJib
                            Participant

                              “Tsk tsk,” said Rukshan when he heard that the carpenter hadn’t done anything yet.
                              “At least the joiner came and fixed the mirror in the bathroom,” said Fox trying to sound positive.
                              They were in the kitchen and Glynis was brewing a chicken stew in Margorrit’s old purple clay pot.
                              Fox seemed distracted with saliva gathering at the corner of his mouth. Rukshan realised it was not the best of places to explain his plan with all the smells and spells of Glynis’ spices.
                              “Let’s go outside it’ll be best to tell you where we are going,” said Rukshan.
                              Fox nodded his consent with great effort.

                              “If you go out, just tell Olli to bring in more dry wood for the stove,” said Glynis as they left.

                              They took the Troll’s path, a sandy track leading in the thick of the forest.
                              “Are you sure we’ll find him there?” asked Rukshan.
                              “Trust me,” said Fox pointing at his nose.
                              “I thought you had abandoned the shapeshifting and using your fox’s smelling sense?”
                              “Well if you want to know, Olli is quite predictable, he’s always at the Young Maid’s pond.

                              “I realise I haven’t seen the lad in months,” said Rukshan.
                              Fox shrugged. “He’s grown up, like all kids do.”

                              They arrived at the pond where Olli was sculpting a branch of wood in an undefinable shape. Rukshan had almost a shock when he saw how much little Olli had changed. He was different, almost another person physically. Taller and with a man’s body. It took the Fae some time when he had to tell himself that the person in front of him was the boy that had helped them in the mountain. But Rukshan was not the kind to show many emotions so he just said.

                              “You’ve grown boy.”
                              Olli shrugged and stopped what he was doing.
                              “I’ve heard so,” he said. “She wants more wood?”
                              “Yeah,” said Fox with a knowing grin.
                              “Okay.”
                              Olliver sighed and left with supple movements.

                              When the young man was gone, Fox turned towards the Fae, whose eyes seemed lost in the misty mountains.
                              “So, what is the plan?”
                              “I’m thinking of a new plan that shall make use of everyone’s potential and save a young man from boredom.”

                              #4253
                              FloveFlove
                              Participant

                                Slowly and methodically, Glynis cleared away the rest of the broken glass. Her morning porage, one of the small luxuries she purchased with the coins she received for her potions, was bubbling gently on the stove top. A cup of rosemary tea sat brewing on the kitchen table.

                                Next to the map.

                                Glynis was not a believer in coincidence. She knew there were some who might say the picture had just happened to fall from the wall that morning. Perhaps the hook which for all these years held on so stoically was weakened over time and had chosen that moment —that very moment— to finally give in.

                                Yes for sure, this is what some would say, shaking their heads at any superstitious nonsense about things being ‘meant to be’.

                                But Glynis was not one of those people. As a child growing up she had been fed magic the way other children might be fed bread. And though there were times she had battled it, she knew magic was embedded in her heart, in every breath she took.

                                “I breathe the Wisdom of Ages,” she said quietly, comforted by the words.

                                She had sensed for a while that things were moving. She would wake in the morning, still fatigued from restless uneasy dreams, and know that all was no longer well with her world.

                                Could she resist that call? she wondered. What would happen if she just ignored it? Would the heavens open and lightening strike her? Or would she just slowly wither away and become the old crone others already saw?

                                And what would it matter anyway?

                                She touched her face with her hand, tracing the outlines of the scales. Nausea rose in her gut and she felt her chest constrict.

                                Breathe.

                                Breathe.

                                Calming herself, Glynis sat down at the table with her porage and rosemary tea to inspect the map.

                                #4243
                                EricEric
                                Keymaster

                                  There was one inn he knew about, the last one before the haunted bamboo forest. It served a solid but plain mountain meal, enough to be worth your coins, and carry you through the rigours of the cold ahead.

                                  He doubted the oiliphant would carry him further through the thickly planted bamboos, so he would have to let her go for now, let her return to one of the secret entrances to the Forest, and be one again with the wild and her own.
                                  Already the little crowd following them was getting thinner and thinner. After a while, the spell of novelty wore off, and they would realise where the enormous beast was walking toward. Very few wanted to have anything to do with the place. Rukshan wasn’t sure how such legend had spread about the bamboo forest behind haunted, as he would as a youngling find the crackling and wooshing sounds in the large plants rather soothing. Of course, as of all places, it was dangerous to venture there mindlessly, but he’d found the spirits dwelling there usually rarely ill disposed towards visitors, unlike deeper and higher in the mountains were some evils would ride the wind to great distances.

                                  Not without feeling a small pinch in his chest, he said a last goodbye to his oiliphant friend, and went in the direction of the inn as the sun was already low on the horizon. The distinct sound of the bamboos could be heard from miles away, and there was only a few people left looking at the beast. His goodbye seemed to have lifted the last of the trance, and they suddenly woke up to where they were, some with an instant recoil on their faces. After a few minutes, he was alone once more.

                                  Strangely, the fence had continued for longer than he’d thought. It wasn’t very high, more like a little nuisance really, but the complete oddity of its presence was enough to grate his nerves. He was reminded of something his master had told him For every inside, there is an outside, and every outside, there is an inside. And though they are different, they go together. The secret of all insides and outsides is this – they look a different as possible, but underneath are the same, for you cannot find one without the other. It made him realise that he couldn’t tell where the people who’d built the fence were from – the city or the forest. He’d immediately assumed something, while it could have been easily the reverse.
                                  Now he looked at the fence itself, it was quite an ingenious piece of work, trying as much as possible to reuse local and discarded materials. Maybe it was more a tentative of a connective tissue rather than a fence…

                                  It was in this more peaceful mood that he reached the inn, just an hour before nightfall, as he could tell from the sun. Lanterns were already lit outside of the inn, and although he’d expected it to be empty of customers as often was the case, it seemed to have another guest. He wouldn’t mind a little company, maybe they could enlighten him about the nature of this new boundary.

                                  “My name is Lhamom” the traveler said to him with an inviting grin and slim beaming face. She wore a deerskin hat, and a patchwork of tribal clothes from villages around the mountains in the manner of an explorer of old times. She was already drinking the local woolly goat butter milk tea, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy every mouthful.
                                  Rukshan would only bear it with enough spices to soften the strong taste. Nonetheless, he took polite sips of the offered beverage, and listened to the pleasant stories of the nearby and faraway countries she would eagerly tell about.
                                  Now, curled up near the burning woodstove, enjoying a simple meal and simple everyday stories, after a lovely day riding above troubles, he would already feel complete, and closer to the magic he sought.

                                  #4217
                                  TracyTracy
                                  Participant

                                    The fire in the wood stove had gone out when Eleri awoke but she didn’t rekindle it. The dream of the girl with the dragon face filled her thoughts, and the mundane actions of the morning were not a primary interest yet. The face was perfect to replicate into stone, with an interesting texture that would lend itself perfectly to her paint effects, but no extreme protuberances to cause potential problems during the process. The inch long horns would not present too much of a problem, provided they didn’t grow too much. (and what was that in centimeters anyway, she wondered, and why was she dreaming in imperial measures? Perhaps it was a clue to the location of the owner of the dragon face.) But how was she to find that face? And if she found it, would she be able to take a mold of it? There must be a way, she pondered, to take a rubber mold of a dream character somehow.

                                    Rousing herself, she decided to ask Yorath about it. He was always full of surprises, and knew so much more than one ever imagined about multitudes of diverse topics. Eleri started to become excited at the thought of what this could mean to the development of her project. With the addition of the anti gravity animating ingredient, she could bring dream characters to life in a way never seen before in the physical world.

                                    And Yorath had returned as promised, and just at the right time. Despite doubting her abilities to use the elerium when he first introduced her to it, she had developed a simple enough technique to incorporate it into the statues.

                                    It was good to see him again, although she was disappointed to see he was not wearing that red silk jacket this time. But he had the goods, and that was the important thing. And he might have an idea about the dream casting. She would treat him to a breakfast of fresh picked mushrooms and then ask him.

                                    #4200
                                    TracyTracy
                                    Participant

                                      When Eleri’s little dog started coughing and wheezing again her first reaction was to snap at him. Irritating though it inevitably was, once again she realized she’d been holding her breath somehow, or probably more accurately, holding her energy. Or holding everyone elses, like a brick layers hod carrier, weighed down with blocks from other peoples walls.

                                      “It’s too hot in here, come outside,” she said to the scruffy mongrel. The cozy warmth of the wood stoves had become stifling. She slipped through the door into the cool night.

                                      Breathe, she said to herself, momentarily forgetting the gasping dog. Her hunched shoulders descended jerkily as she inhaled the sodden air, wondering about ozone or ions, what was it people said about the air after the rain? Whatever it was, it was good for something, good for the heart and soul of mortal humans.

                                      Feeling better with every breath, Eleri noticed the olive branches rustling wetly overhead. The olive tree had been planted too close to the fig tree ~ wasn’t that always the way, forgetting how large things grow when one plants a seed or a sapling. As the old fig tree had broadened it’s sheltering canopy, the olive sapling had reached out an an angle to find the sun, and sprinted upwards in a most un olive like manner. This reminded her of the straight little sapling story, which had always irritated her. What was commendable about a row of straight little soldier saplings anyway? All neat and tidy and oh so boring, none of them stepping out of line with a twist here or a gnarl there. No character! But the olive tree, in it’s race towards the light, leaned over the gable end of the dwelling as if spreading it’s arms protectively over the roof. A regimental straight sapling would have simply withered in among the fig leaves, whereas this one had the feel of a grandfatherly embrace of benevolent support.

                                      What was it she’d heard about trees and oxygen? They exhaled the stuff that we wanted and inhaled the stuff we didn’t want, that was about as technical as she could muster, and it was enough. She breathed in tandem with the trembling rain sparkled leaves. In. And out. In, and out. Deeper breaths. Damn, it was good! That was good air to be breathing, what with the rain and the trees doing their thing. And there for the taking, no strings attached.

                                      When the oven timer interrupted her sojourn in the night air, Eleri noticed that the little dog had stopped coughing. On her way back inside, she noticed the new mermaids patiently awaiting a coat or two of sea green paint and wondered if she would ever find a dragon to replicate. She was sure they’d be popular, if only she could find one.

                                      #3764

                                      In reply to: The Hosts of Mars

                                      FloveFlove
                                      Participant

                                        Kale yawned and, pouring himself a large cup of steaming hot coffee which was already brewing on the stove, asked Flynn to check the situations vacant. Kale had built Flynn himself in 7 days —7 long days living off sleep and coffee and not much else. Sure, Flynn might not be as pretty or as high tech as some of the robots out there nowadays but he sure did the job. He was a dab hand at research and could communicate with other robots on the network system. He would watch the house when Kale was away, start appliances, open doors and of course make the coffee. Also, most of the time, Flynn was damn good company.

                                        “I thought you might be interested in this,” said Flynn. “In fact, I hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty of sending in your application.”

                                        Kale did mind a bit and wondered if Flynn might need some rewiring. That was tricky—last time he had done some maintenance work Flynn had sulked for days.

                                        Still, he had to admit after hearing the ad, the job sounded intriguing.

                                        ARE YOU SPECIAL?
                                        We are looking for special people to join our team.
                                        We need people who love travel, are flexible, physically agile and have a passion for adventure.
                                        This is a short term position initially, but could lead to permanent work in the future.
                                        We are an innovative company with big ideas, and we are looking for special people to help us get there.
                                        All applications will be treated in strictest confidence.

                                        #3540
                                        EricEric
                                        Keymaster

                                          That Liz had started to become a few sandwiches short of a picnic when she’d hit her 57th birthday was an open secret.
                                          Her editor had to personally recruit frequent replacements for her dame de compagnie, whom, no matter how different they looked, she would invariably call ‘cleaning lady Finnley’, stuck with her remembrance of a certain period of her life.

                                          Godfrey often had wondered… were he to resign, and be replaced like so many Finnleys before this one, would she also call his replacement “Godfrey”? The though made him titter, as he put the kettle on the stove.
                                          At times he wanted to scream that he wasn’t her bloody man-servant, but her personal doctor had made a point to explain to him that Elizabeth’s frail grasp on reality would only be strengthened if everyone continued to play the charade of her life.

                                          Truth was, she really did seem to grow younger as the years passed, and as she was bossing around everyone with great enjoyment, Godfrey had often wondered if she wasn’t in cahoots with her physician to have everyone believe she was truly losing it.
                                          He had to admit, she was doing a terrific job at it.

                                          #2844

                                          In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves

                                          TracyTracy
                                          Participant

                                            Well trained by the dictates of his religion, Luigi was unaccustomed to listening to his intuition (it was the work of the devil and the weakness of his sinful self, he believed), but as he mopped up the spilled coffee, he had an impulse so strong that he was unable to control it, and picked the book up and stuffed it into the inside pocket of his jacket. He checked his watch ~ what! it was 7:57 already! Where had the time gone? Five minutes later he emerged into the rosy glow of the early morning sunshine, making his way accross the square to the cafe where he customarily had coffee after his night shift at the Library. The occupants of the tents in the square were rustling about inside the tents, some of the early risers were sitting on folding chairs brewing up coffee on primus camping stoves. As Petronella poked her tousled head out of her tent, dreams of banana puddings in polystyrene cups still in her head, an old man shuffled past. A flock of pigeons swooped down at that moment, causing the old man to lurch. A book slid to the ground from under his jacket but he didn’t notice as he carried on accross the square. Petronella picked the book up, and retreated back into her tent.

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