This is a letter from Margaret Todd then aged 85 and living in South Africa.

August 8, 1944, Gruisrand, c/- De La Ray Venter?, Colesberg, South Africa.

My dear niece,

Thanks for your nice letter and all the news. So pleased your dear father is with you; fancing him 83, how the years speed past. If God spares me till October, I will be 86 but really I am getting very shaky and stiff and our winter has been so cold, only we are very comfortable. My grand daughter and her husband are good as they visit me and never interfered with us. Our (or their) boy certainly is a treat and growing so fast and bonny. He has a Negro(?) boy to look after him and his name is Nit (?) and is good to Booty (?). He loves to play with the Negro (?). I tell him they are dirty; he says they are Kaffirs, not Negros.  Well, he has another pig and nine little ones and he wants to sell some of them; he is a little warrior. He goes to the phone and rings up his uncle and if the line is engaged, he says, “well, I will wait”. He does not care for the wireless. So your little ones are all getting big. Yes, dear Bella, it’s wonderful how the young grow up. The Castle Douglas ones are much the same, Aunty Dan is very feeble but she has a nice chair and a good housekeeper to look after and my brother which means a lot. Aunty Gracie and her husband live not far away, so they often go in and see them and I get the news which means a lot to me. If we had rain how different the farm would look. Our poultry are doing very badly, eggs are getting cheaper but they are 3s/3 (?). Dan tells me in Castle Douglas our fruit trees are all budding and the plum trees looking so bonnie. Auntie Lizzie in the States lost her husband in January. She has gone to live with her daughter (Norah Keegan) who is married to a doctor. So there is nothing but ups and downs in this weary, wicked world. Now, dear, I shall draw my scribble to a close; my fingers get cramped. I have given up knitting for the soldier boys. Have done 30 pairs since start of January so I have done not so bad. Tell Uncle I am sure he is happy on the farm, it’s a nice, quiet life now dear and with yourself. Love to one and all of your from your old Aunty Maggie.
Oh, dear, I am sending your nice letter to Aunty Dan so she will see the news and she gets tired of writing; not like she used to be. Love from us all on the farm. We are all far apart and no word of this war ending. My grandson is in Nairobi, a smart fellow, he Sergeant?

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Overview of letters

Various letters have come into my possession mainly from my grandmother Isabella Dobbs (nee Silver). Some were written to her father, others came…