7.1.39.

Three eggs. There are now 3 hens broody. The pigeons are all right.

Yesterday saw some men fishing in the Oued Tensift. Miserable little fish about the size of sardines. The bait is a kind of small earthworm which is found in the mud beside the river.

Day before yesterday came on some men waiting with a she-camel which had fallen in the middle of the bridge over the Oued. It was apparently about to have a calf. Belly greatly swollen up, sexual organs bleeding slightly. The creature lay on its side, its head in the air, sniffing, with a kind of air of astonishment, but evidently not in pain. An hour or so later just the same. Today passed that way. Big pool of blood on the ground, & the marks of something bloody being dragged away. Calf probably born dead.

Clear, very fine, cold in the shade, warm in the sun. We now have a hot water bottle every night, & 3 blankets & a rug on the bed.

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15 Responses to 7.1.39.

  1. tuzba says:

    so brutal, so pure

  2. dave says:

    “a rug on the bed”… I live in Canada,but I’ve never tried that….No Sears electric blankets ?

    The Shackelton expedition are now 150 miles from the South Pole… check it out…

  3. “…three hens broody.” Very British-sounding.
    And yes, Tuzba, how perfectly, in so few words, he depicts the hard lives of the natives.

  4. kShaw says:

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    After dealing with a roach infestation at my house I soon started including a roach count into my blog. I think the attention Orwell gives to even a mundane act as the laying of eggs is commendable and shows how much he pays attention to life. How many of us do the same? When he produces entries with more detail like this one, they really are gems.

    I’m also glad it’s a three egg day.

  5. Ed Webb says:

    Miserable small fish,
    The patient, bleeding camel:
    Something dragged away

  6. Paul says:

    Those chickens underproduced ! :-)

  7. Steve says:

    Readers near revolt
    Eggs dull! say modern readers
    George throws us a bone

  8. Also long time reader first time poster: have seen references to the weaving of bed rugs in 18th C America. Must be different from what we put on the floors. All I get Googling “bed run” is pickup truck bedliners.

  9. molly says:

    I’m thinking the rug is a heavy quilt or perhaps a fur rug, which would be nice and toasty. But I don’t know for sure.

    Yet another tragedy in the animal kingdom. At least the chickens and pigeons are all right.

  10. Phil Barker says:

    In British English, especially when Orwell was writing, “rug” could be pretty much synonymous with blanket, especially when used as a “travelling rug”. The OED gives three meanings for rug in order as: 1. a sort of coarse frieze (16th/17thCent); 2. a large woollen coverlet or wrap; 3. a mat for a floor. Try googling for “sleeping rug” for examples of oriental rugs that would make more sense used as bed covers rather than floor covers.

  11. Roving Thundercloud says:

    Too lazy to look it up, but I believe “rug” refers to heavier, sturdier, outdoor-use blankets used to keep warm in open sleighs, carriages (including the horseless variety), on deck chairs at sea, etc.

    e.g. “My, what lovely steamer rugs.” (Katharine Hepburn to Spencer Tracy in “Desk Set”, after a few holiday party drinks and on an imaginary sea cruise.)

  12. Roving Thundercloud says:

    Ah, Phil, you beat me to it! Thanks for the more authoritative detail.

  13. “The pigeons are all right.”

    Early draft of a song by The Who, perhaps?

  14. Ken says:

    Christ

  15. Nicholas Waller says:

    See tartan travel rugs like these: http://www.tartanrugs.com/ . This is the sort of thing children would be sent off to boarding school with as extra warmth for the beds in their dormitories.

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