The Askari rushed along the front of the building and stuck his
bayonet into one of the Commodore's arse cheeks. The sentry casually
stood by whilst the wounded officer was attended to. The building
was in uproar. 'Jolly Jack' was convulsed with laughter. Everyone
had rushed to the windows to see the fun. The Commodore wasn't very
The English Sergeant was sent for, but he was on leave in Nairobi,
non of the native troops could speak English - an impasse. The officer
had been taken to hospital, a new sergeant appeared and the Askaris
were replaced by British troops.
Some time before these events I had been promoted to office tea
boy - the Indian tea boy was being replaced as they had decided
it wasn't fit for the natives to make tea for the British, so I
was elected. I think this was some form of punishment as my attitude
towards the officers was somewhat cavalier. However, one job was
as good as another and I made no objections.
I felt rather sorry for the native bloke whose job I was taking,
but he appeared to be quite pleased as he said he had managed to
milk the bwanas of much loot. He had bought the cheapest tea dust
and didn't always use cow's milk, believing that buffalo milk was
just as good. His one real expense was having to purchase white
The tea was made in what had been the girl's outside toilets. These
were beautifully appointed with plenty of washbasins upon which
planks were laid and tea was brewed. I went down to meet the Indian
who ran the operation - he bought the supplies and kept the charges
as his wages and as the tea was very cheap everyone was satisfied.
He was a jolly looking man and showed me what to do. The stuff he
used was tea dust, the cheapest, with buffalo milk. He boiled the
water on a smallish oil cooker, owned by the Royal Navy.
I used to brew the tea, pour it through a strainer then take into
the office and leave it on a table. This was done at regular intervals
during the day. Two ratings were detailed to dish it out and I got
All went as merry as a wedding bell until the arrival of the wrens.
They arrived out of the blue from the U. K., accompanied by an officer.
She made it plain that they were out of bounds to all but officers
and she also took over the tea. She didn't much like the whole operation
and I quickly found myself out of a job - however, I was quite pleased
with the money I had made.