Going Abroad

Going Abroad

Tim Hughes with his 1929 TR 1,  bought for twelve pounds.

Going Abroad

Tim Hughes took up his father’s offer to attend Kingston Mauward Agricultural College near Dorchester, a palatial manor house and estate.

Going Abroad

Tim excelled at agricultural engineering and the practical farm work.  He soon graduated from a bicycle to a motorbike and then a 1929 Triumph TR 1 sports car which he bought for twelve pounds. He replaced the magneto for fifteen pounds which greatly improved performance. Now he could take out girls.

Barbara said, “The comfortable bench seat in this snug little car is everything a girl could ask for.”

One holiday he joined a local vet on his rounds. He wrote to the Landrover factory at Solihull telling them his two uncles in the bundu in Tanganyika and his father in Rhodesia had six Landrovers between them. They  enrolled him in a week’s course for new owners going on journeys to remote parts of the world. He didn’t have to pay and they provided free accommodation and meals. The course gave him the confidence to pull any vehicle or machine to pieces and repair it.  With Os House an agricultural contractor in Dorset one vac. Os taught him to think laterally, using what was at hand to solve a problem, emphasizing what Ken had demonstrated on the road to Pangani in Tanganyika.

At the end of the year he wrote to his father and got permission to use money from his inheritance from his grandfather, Philip Millard, to stay in England for a second year. He did a specialized course in agricultural engineering at Lackham School of Agriculture in Wiltshire, another old manor house and estate.

Tim and Barbara’s favourite place was Lulworth Cove on the Dorset coast. Just being together was great fun. One day she said,  “I’ve never seen it, but my sister lives with her husband in Rhodesia and hates it. I don’t want to live there.”

Their friendship cooled after that.

He decided to see more of the world before going home to run Melrose Farm. He prepaid his passage from Southampton to Montreal and from Vancouver to Auckland.

He sold his motor bike and the TR 1, packed two light track bags, one for each hand. He even tossed his pyjamas. He said good-bye to all his English friends and sailed for Canada on a P&O liner.

Staying at YMCA’s and friends new and old he criss-crossed between Canada and the US, visiting the Ford  Museum in Detroit, taking temporary jobs on farms as they presented, always on the look out for new methods to apply to Melrose Farm.

He took advantage of an offer in Dawson Creek to go moose hunting three hundred kilometres up the Alaska Highway. The country was frozen solid, mostly flat pine forest with hills in the distance. Tim found it rather boring compared to his African hunting trips. They only saw one moose which they missed much to his disappointment.

Tim’s cruise on the big liner Orcades from Vancouver to San Francisco and on to to New Zealand was loads of fun and having explored New Zealand he arranged a berth on the passenger-cargo ship Tulane, with only 6 passengers on board sailing from Dunedin to Newcastle in Australia and hopefully some warmer weather.

In the Picton Sound to load whale oil they were delayed for three days which gave him a chance to hunt feral goats from a powerful whale chasing launch. The manager drove the boat at an exhilarating thirty knots in the sea close to the cliffs. When a goat was spotted, he slowed down and despite the swells, Tim managed to shoot one.

Tim visited family and friends all around the Australian coast and was thrilled when he got to Queensland to find the Atherton Tableland had red soil: maize, peanuts, sorghum and tobacco being grown.  It was home from home. He studied the ranching methods as he worked odd jobs with the idea that they could be useful in Rhodesia.

There at Toowoomba he found his true love, Eleanor.

Gervas wrote to remind him he had been away for four years.  It was about time his son returned to manage Melrose Farm. Reluctantly Tim went to a travel agent and made a booking to sail for Africa, but not before he bought a brand new blue VW Beetle with the remainder of his share of the Philip Millard Trust. He left it in the tender loving care of Eleanor.

Many of Tim’s adventures as he explored the world can be found in his unpublished manuscript Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s, which may be obtained by request.