August 29, 1938

Overcast & chilly. Heavy rain last night. Dahlias now in full bloom.


Commenting on the old-time country method of “Fruit Bottling without sugar,” B. A. Crang, Instructress in Fruit and Vegetable Preservation at the University of Bristol, says:
“This is bound to give unsatisfactory results in many cases, as cold water cannot destroy the impurities on the fruit and water itself also contains many impurities. During storage mould will probably grow and the fruit will be spoilt.
“A simple method of bottling fruit is to place the fruit in clean bottles, heat them in a warm oven (about 240 deg F) until the fruit has changed colour and looks cooked. The jars should then be filled quickly with boiling water or syrup, the rubber rings put in position and the lids fixed on securely. If the bottles have sealed correctly, the following day they can be lifted by their lids without the lids coming off.
“Fruit bottled in this way will keep indefinitely.”

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24 Responses to August 29, 1938

  1. Zamboge says:

    I don’t understand why Mr.Blair was bothering to write down these weather reports – what was he trying to record.

  2. thebrix says:

    It’s quite common – Tsar Nicholas II was another recorder of ‘information already known elsewhere’. I know nothing of the psychology of diary-keeping but, if the diary were being shown all pages at once, such repetitions would set a pleasing rhythm …

  3. Jason Anton says:

    I understand now! He found weather the be the ultimate oppressor and fruit preserves to be representative of a free and open society…right? WHY AM I STILL READING THIS?!?!?!?!?!

  4. Joe Henry says:

    Relax. This was a private diary…not intended to be read by anyone. Ever.

    So you have two courses you can follow. You can stop reading, which is perfectly fine, or you can accept that the words Orwell wrote here were not honed, sweated-over, polished. You can accept it for the ultimate in slice-of-life writing, which invariably includes the mundane and banal. But please, for god’s sake, stop whining because the prose in his diary is not of the caliber found in his published works.

  5. Andrew says:

    Girlfriend and I bought a pile of beets once, thinking we’d pickle them. Never made pickles before. That night, once we got around to it, we discovered something or other was missing, and just decided to make borscht. It wasn’t good.

  6. kamelda says:

    ‘I don’t understand why Mr.Blair was bothering to write down these weather reports’ — because he was genuinely interested in the weather, perhaps.

  7. Brandon says:

    You’re reading it because it will get more interesting as we draw closer to WWII… and everyone needs 70 year old weather reports from England. :-P

  8. Alphonse Credenza says:

    Because weather was the only thing delightful happening in his life, other than writing brilliantly and suffering similarly.

  9. Fearless Frank says:

    Zamboge Says:
    August 29, 2008 at 7:38 am

    “I don’t understand why Mr.Blair was bothering to write down these weather reports – what was he trying to record.”

    The Weather – that’s what he was recording!

  10. Fearless Frank says:

    This is the second reference, and newspaper cutting, to do with bottling fruit. Did Eric ever get round preserving any fruit?
    He seems to have been quite a productive gardener when he had he the oportunity – when he kept the shop at Wallington, for instance.
    I guesss most people who are well known for something – writing in Orwell’s case – are also interested in things that might seem surprising.
    I believe Elgar used to mend furniture.

    The weather here (Herts) is ovecast but warm and muggy – lots of people picking blackberries today; a plague of little black flies everywhere, indoors and out, for the past week.

  11. Dave Taylor says:

    When and how did a “Mr.Blair” come in to this?

  12. Dave: ‘George Orwell’ is Eric Blair’s pseudonym.

  13. Yank says:

    Some people use their observations about the weather as well as changes in plant and animal life to measure time. I know, for example, that fall is about to begin where I live because the leaves of the walnut tree are yellowing and falling and the mornings are more crisp.

  14. Well I didn’t know that either.

  15. Samuel Clemence says:

    I should stop reading comments.

  16. Now I know how to can fruit…i think

  17. M. Serapis says:

    The responses of some of the readers has me thinking of recent. Do you not observe the weather daily like the rest of us? Ultimately is not the weather the single most important thing in the world? Famine, drought, floods, storms, etc. are are certainly something to take note of! Those who imagine we have overcome the weather in our race to technological godliness need only look at the news. Further more it is quite pleasant to observe the workings of the world and the turning of the seasons, you should try it.

  18. Loes's Lips says:

    Dear George, thank you for all your thoughts on weather, and the surrounding countryside. It gives me a very good idea, what it was like in your days. As a keen gardener and amateur fruitbottler myself, I understand. Busy with these “trvial “things the mind goes blank, which is what you need at times, when the rest of the time, your head is writing books, and/or you are recovering from a lifethreatening desease in a sanetorium.

  19. LindaH says:

    I cannot help but wonder if the people who don’t understand about the obsession with weather noting and things domestic are from the UK. It seems very normal and familiar to me. Dahlias are in full bloom here in London too, some with heads the size of dinner plates. They really are quite a strange plant and add so little to the garden despite their size.

  20. mike says:

    I suspect the initial cutting (with the method for producing botulinum toxin) may well have been kept in reflection of a mordant eye. This second cutting would tend to reflect that view, as it ripostes the previous poisoner’s potting method.

  21. adrian says:

    Hey, did anyone see the last-but-one issue of Private Eye? There’s a great (and very topical) Orwell quote in there, from 29 August 1939, so you’ll have to wait until 2009 to see it on here…

    “It appears from reliable private information that Sir O. Mosley is a masochist of the extreme type in his sexual life”


    Funny how so many things seem to repeat themselves 60 years later, eh?

  22. Lee says:

    to all american readers….

    weather is just something all brits talk about all the time, get used to it, when its bad we moan, we its good we moan about how it will soon be bad again

  23. M. Morrison says:

    To all British readers…..

    Please do not categorize all Americans to be the same. I refrain from doing that about your own countrymen.

    Thank you.

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