27.10.38

On Tuesday afternoon (25th) tremendous rain, much as in the tropics except that it was very cold rain. Everything has flooded feet deep, the earth not yet dry. The Oued Tensift is now quite a considerable stream & low ground all round it has turned into marsh. Today near the Oeud Tensift came upon a large pool where there were° a flight of wild ducks swimming about. Managed to scare them onto the wing & after much circling around they came straight overhead. Sixteen in number, & evidently mallards, same as in England, or very similar. Saw another larger flight in the distance afterwards. Almost the first game birds seen here.
Ordinary sparrows fairly common in the garden here. In Marrakech itself one used not to see them.

Large numbers of black beetles, about 1” long, crawling everywhere, evidently brought out by the rain. Have sowed sunflowers, sweet peas & marigolds. The other seeds not up yet, as it has been much cooler (we are having fires every evening.) The ground here is lumpy & unpleasant to work, but at present not many weeds – more when this rain has taken effect, perhaps. Some weeds as in England, eg. bindweed & twitchgrass, but not growing very strongly. Silver poplar or some very similar tree grows here. Tomatoes here are grown in large patches without sticks. Very poor floppy plants & smallish tomatoes, but plenty of them.

Yesterday on milking the brown goat found her milk had gone sour & came out quite thick. This is because she is only being milked once a day & had not been fully milked for two days owing to her restiveness. Squeezed the bad milk onto the ground & tonight her milk was all right again. Another hen bad in the legs this evening. Examined & found enormous black lice. Hope treatment will be effective as before. The stripey goat’s milk increases, but very slightly, still not much over 1/2 pint a day. She is very thin, though she eats well. The present ration of hard food is 2 handfuls of barley & 2 of bran morning & evening, with a mash of boiled maize & bran about once a week.

The doves readily eat maize if it is broken.

Today saw some doves in an aviary which had eggs.

The fountain in front of the house filled up after the rain & mosquito larvae are multiplying rapidly.
One egg (the first) yesterday, none today.

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12 Responses to 27.10.38

  1. Jordi Fibla says:

    The first egg! Congratulations, George. I hope you boil it and eat it with a pinch of salt on your porch while frighten away the mosquitoes. Surely this is one of the most exciting things to do when living in Marrakech.

  2. Delightful entry! You actually care about the goat milk and the mosquitos and the inch-long beetles–because he makes you see them.

  3. James Russell says:

    OK, he is out there in Morocco with his wife. He has only two goats, both of which are being used for milk rather than reared for their meat.

    So why does he still refer to them as “stripey goat” and “brown goat” rather than by name? Has his wife given them embarrassing names that he wishes to disassociate himself from? Or does he think that a diary is not the place for such sentimental rubbish? Do we think that he will slip into using their pet names later on this year?

    Answers on a postcard, please!!

  4. Ed Webb says:

    @James Russell – this is a colonial situation, in which the goats are Others who shall not be given names. Either that, or he keeps forgetting which one is Penelope and which Ermintrude.

  5. CAL says:

    Shouldn’t we be calling him Eric? Why did he write as George Orwell, anyway?
    He is really settled in there — planting flowers in late October, and watching the beetles. I didn’t know that milk would go sour in the udder if a goat wasn’t milked! I, too, wonder why he never mentions his wife.

    The coming war in Europe seems far away from this rural scene.

  6. Jake says:

    Marrakech does not sound very romantic, does it? Nor very interesting. Mysterious maybe what with the storm clouds and all. I didn’t know mother’s milk could go sour. (I know of course we are speaking of goats here.) What must the feminists have to say about that? No slings and arrows please.

  7. dave says:

    Freud says he will name those goats,once their milk comes in,possibly “Mama Mia” and “Big Momma”

    I keep thinking of Robert de Niro in “Meet the Fockers”

    Editor: enough with the milk comments everybody

  8. You can call him George or Eric, just make sure he gets his fresh goat milk.

  9. Dominic says:

    Animal Farm is brewing, bubbling inside of him.

  10. Jill Stevens says:

    I agree. In reading about the close focus on the animals around him you can logically see that it’s not much of a leap to personifying them in Animal Farm. I think this was around when he first conceived on Animal Farm, 7 years before he had written it. It was brewing for a long time.

  11. Billy says:

    It seems to me that his journal has nothing to do with Animal Farm. He wrote Animal Farm with animals obviously because he digs animals. No big Freudian or symbolic mystery. “Write about what you know.” Basic writing 101 kinda stuff. He was obviously a very salt of the earth kind of guy. Obviously his memoirs were never meant for public consumption. Why talk about his wife if he’s seeing her every day. Living with, eating with, working with…Up to this point it appears to me that this is simply a cataloging of his time there. Not a deep record of his personal thoughts about anything let alone his wife. It’s purely clinical flora and fawna. With a dash of pondering why his chickens are sick. I am enjoying it don’t get me wrong. But unless I’m totally missing something (which is possible I grant you)I think some people may be trying a little to hard to read into his journal things that just aren’t there. Dear editor: Aren’t you glad I didn’t mention goat milk.

  12. Patrick says:

    Is there such a thing as an “ovumphile”.

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