23.10.38

The water here evidently has some minerals in it which is the cause of the almost continuous belly ache we have had since coming here. Near the Oued Tensift noticed that where the water had receded it had left some white deposit behind. Possibly something akin to Epsom salts – at any rate not an organism as it is not affected by boiling. Arranging to get Marrakech tap water (which is all right & said to come from the Atlas.) Various bottled table-waters impossibly expensive, actually dearer than the cheapest wine.
Soil here is extremely deep, at least 4’ without any change of substance. Rather light & reddish, though it dries into a kind of brick, & said to need a lot of manure.

Some of the small oranges (“mandarins”) are yellowing. Some lemons almost ripe, others only in blossom – different kinds, perhaps.¹

Today the first day we have had when it was cool all the time. Overcast, windy & some rain rather like a damp day in September in England. The day before yesterday a little rain with much thunder.

The doves come to the house from time to time & are very tame, eating from one’s hand with a little persuasion. Saw a partridge in the grounds yesterday.

Today sowed seeds of nasturtiums, phlox D.² & pansies.

Flytox very good & kills flies by the thousand. Otherwise they are utterly intolerable.

Red chilis° spread out to dry in the fields, like huge red carpets.

¹ Orwell was evidently unaware that in the lemon all stages of flowering and fruiting occur at the same time. He does know this later; see Domestic Diary, 4.3.39.

² Perhaps this was the annual phlox drummondii, which is found in several varieties. Peter Davison

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9 Responses to 23.10.38

  1. James Russell says:

    We just need a reference to a Pear Tree in his next entry, and my week will be complete!

    You could even stretch a point with the three French Hens in his post of 18/10/38

  2. Orwell Blog Christmas Code Decrypted!

  3. Alan Evil says:

    What is Flytox?

  4. art brennan says:

    Yesterday I took a walk around Walden Pond and it occurred to me that Henry David Thoreau and George Orwell may have more in common than one might think. In fact, I never compared the two, or ever considered them together in any of my thinking. Is Orwell “retiring to the woods” in some sense? His descriptions of animals and plants and his conclusions remind me of HDT. Fortunately, Orwell doesn’t find it necessary to research and find the Latin names (although the editor does, at least sometimes). I wonder what these men would have thought about one another. Did Orwell ever mention Thoreau? Civil disobedience?

  5. Fly-Tox was an insecticide, apparently similar to FLIT.

  6. Michael says:

    The “Fly Tox” I have seen is a mark / brand of permethryn-based insecticide, i think used normally as a ‘bomb’ treatment indoors. I don’t know if he is using it inside or in the garden, and how it functioned.

    @art – very interesting observation i would also be curious

  7. It’s all just so very surreal, if I may repeat myself yet again once more.

    There’s Orwell, wearing his shades and askew fedora, sitting cross-legged on a rug in the dust and shade beneath the Pepper Tree, watching the traffic on route de Casablanca go by in slow motion as, all the while, doves flutter around him like a cloud, awaiting the opportunity to perch upon one of his outstretched palms.

    I’m seeing this as I am riding by on one of those puny donkeys and thinking to myself, “Is that Voodoo Chile Blues I hear?”

  8. dave says:

    ? sitting cross-legged on a rug drinking bottled water (sans bisphenols), weilding a sprayer of “Flytox”, and a pipeful of “kiff”,counting his chickens and reading up on goat breeding

    GO goes native…

  9. Even the weather is held to the higher standard. I don’t know what it is that I like about that but I have liked it from the time I (age 11-12) followed Hercule Poirot around observing him as he maneuvered through it while keeping to himself the fact that on all levels, without question, All Things Belgian are infinitely superior to that of any pretender.

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