(Have you found me an 1/1,000,000)
Dear Mum and Dad
Thanks for your letter received today. You will know by now why I was so late writing, and having sent you that letter I now feel I can rise to a longer one.
You know time is roaring past like an express train six feet away – it’s so close then it’s gone. It doesn’t seem like six and a half months since I sailed from England – it is like yesterday. Perhaps it’s always like that here. John Alder used to amuse me (us) by saying The other day “or” just the other day – “when, John?” he’d reply “oh…about three years ago now” and perfectly seriously! That’s how it is – it ALL seems like yesterday. Perhaps it’s because we live so widely – our schemes spread over years, our journeys are often 100 miles at least in a day – and not a thought of, our tours may be a hundred miles away before we start. Speaking of tours, they always mean just so many “last days” which have knocked out of the month. Never 10 days, nooo, 10 days +0! If time flies so fast it’ll be 3 years and home without thinking – I hope so anyway!
You’re right I must write to May. Had a Christmas card. I’ve written to and had letters from Peter Hall, George and Tony Savage.
All thriving. Peter Shortly to set sail in a different kind of craft (incidentally, that’s a very good photo of Gill and he) Tony’s “having a bash” like Bob Bell. It’s good to have info from right inside – I must write Nick and get even more! Thanks for the cutting – I hope Bob does make it. He send me a card, to which I must reply before “the choice”
Looking back at your Christmas time letters I note Which and drawing have been showering presents on dear mamma as usual. Why does it happen to some people?! Also that decoration of the old homestead has made it look “cosy” – I don’t know when it didn’t. Toby Sugs sounds O.K. – Harry did tell me. Tell him from me I might have heard of the band – leader he mentions if only I could decipher the name. He seems to have had a typical Christmas/New Year (did you Harry?!) – as I see you all had. And Aunt Ruth’s cake wasn’t spoiled.
I don’t know where to put all my calenders ! John and Ailsa’s mother sent one, you did and there’s one from a local firm. There are sufficient in my office too!
What is Shesheke like? The river is at the bottom of my garden – very close indeed – The Zambezi. It’s quite a lovely spot. The banks are high – rather like Werheral Woods, only not so steep – it is in some places – with sand in place of rock. The sand is thank goodness much more of a soil than the newark variety and there’s even rock here and there!
I have a garden – but this is not the time of year for vegetables, though the flowers are O.K. – quite an effort poor Shelia Cowie put into them (did I tell you Jim Cowie went to Namibia in my stead?) The house is a big one – bungalow of course – with an immense lounge, a dining room, (cum verandah) and a v.large bedroom and two smaller, a large back verandah where at present my washing is hanging – it’s a useless spot really, 2 stores and a huge kitchen, bathroom and bucket W.C. !!
The place has 5 doors opening outside. I’ve shut off the lounge, turning the bedroom into one, because it got very hot in there from the way it faces – but now of course it’s been raining for 3 0r 4 days and I’m wearing a tie and pullover and sitting in front of a fire tonight. Not to worry. To help you I have drawn a sketch overleaf – so continue reading next page but one.
This is a two man station – the D.C and myself only. He Ian Eldridge – is married with a small son and daughter. They’re very pleasant people )wouldn’t it be hell if they weren’t) Over the river, no bridge, but paddle-barges. I’ve the Magistrate of the Caprivi Strip (Union) and Liz his wife and a Dr. Jameson and his wife – father downstream on the other side and the R.C Mission. Upstream about 4 miles and again on the other side is Katima Malilo, about 31 whites. Here there is a vehicle pontoon much in use as the Livingstone-Sesheke-Senanga-Mongu route of Zambezi River Transport passes across it (ZRT motor transport partly Govt.) You might think life could be pretty lonely – but it isn’t – at the moment! I have more than enough work to do (I’ve just put away the 1953 Prison Return in despair, -what do they want to know!) and I’ve got to get this place really shipshape too. A hen-house – both my chickens (hens) are now laying. I’m wandering which of the cocks to keep! oh – lots of things!
Sesheke District – could include Wales and half of it again. African pop. about 35,000 European about 50-60. Does that sound wild and woolly enough?! I’m off on tour on Thursday, down to Murandi Kuta, a lesser lealui – i.e. the boss-boys hide out, and to do a tour of Mabumbu Silalo. This is the most densely pop. part of the lot – but very close villages, so shouldn’t take long! Down there is like the Bulgi Plain, I believe it’s 60 miles West.
I like this place – it’s been cleared so as to look very like the park of an England country house – well-spaced trees etc.
Au! I’m getting tired. Must be late. Look at those ridiculous photos – I printed Quater-Plate in large letters on the envelope I gave Robin, too.
Stand by for next time- and despite everything I did enjoy my Christmas, and even New Years Eve, mainly because then I almost forgot – it helped pull me through. Anyway, I’m fit and well and happy again, so don’t do any worrying.
Musiale hande ko – meaning stay well over there –