August 30, 1938

Leaves of the tulip tree beginning to turn yellow. Sunflowers & gladioli in full bloom. Godetias getting past their best. Mantbretias° coming into full bloom. Elderberries now ripe & bird-shit everywhere deep purple. Purple stains on logs etc. where they have been. Seems difficult to believe that birds digest much of what they eat. The man who keeps the guinea pigs here seems uncertain whether or not they sleep. Says they close their eyes sometimes, but it is uncertain whether they are asleep. First English eating pears today.

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19 Responses to August 30, 1938

  1. Well, now I know why my herd of guinea pigs is always yawning and cranky.

  2. I am finding it hard to digest that one of my “heroes” seems only interested in the weather and the state of his garden most of the time. I would have thought he would have been preoccupied with the world situation at the time – but maybe concentrating on his garden is a way of practising displacement therapy?

  3. MarshLooker says:

    The summer 70 years ago in Kent seems to have been as bad as this year of 2008 – very rainy, cloudy and cold, in 2008 a very cold wind through the “summer”. An old Elder tree in my garden in Kent, about 40 miles north of where Orwell was staying, this year has many less berries than usual. Starlings arrive en masse at this time of year to swoop together onto the hanging bunches of elderberries to devour them.It is an important source of food for birds. The tree is no doubt a survival from the time before the houses were built (in the 1860s), and as it overhangs a path can drop in purple patches for people to walk on. A neighbour would like the tree cut down – an accountant who cares for nothing except money – but the scent and beauty of the elderflowers in early summer alone make it a treasure

  4. LindaH says:

    I love the idea of trying to work out if they are actually asleep or just resting their eyes. I think watching them carefully might not be enough, some sort of experiment might need to be devised. You need some guinea pigs of course…

  5. I wonder what Orwell would say about the selection of Sarah Palin as American VP candidate. In his “today” of 70 years ago, he writes about bird shit–hey, it would fit right in!

  6. Julian says:

    Just fulfilling the requirements of BlogDay 2008. I’ve pointed a few readers your way.

  7. Anders says:

    I am sincerely disappointed to find that this entry has not been tagged “bird-shit”.

  8. amy says:

    Guinea pigs generally sleep with their eyes open, George! Unless they are particularly at ease…

  9. Fearless Frank says:

    Well I suppose one reason for recording the weather (continuing with a theme in yesterday’s comments) is that people in, say, 70 years’ time will know what the weather was like on, for instance, august 30 2008. It could be useful if you were writing a historical novel, or seeking evidence of climate change.
    Which is why it would be very wrong of me to write:
    “Bitterly cold, lashing rain turning to snow in places. Relentless North wind has brought with it a plague of grass snakes, rarely seen in these parts (Herts).
    “They stuff their jaws with the few remaining blackberries and carry them with them as they head in search of warmer weather.
    “Elderberries turning to wine on the branch, causing an outbreak of public drunkenness generally unknown in this country (except among women).
    “The news that Shilpa Shetty is to be Vice President has prompted a spontaneous surge of demonstrations in towns across the country by the Free Jade Goody campaign.”

    Well, that was life back in 2008…

  10. Over the years, I’ve transformed my postage stamp-sized backyard into a pleasant (to me, anyway) garden area; inspired by, but not imitating (I’m in Texas), the wonderful little British gardens I’ve read about and seen on film.

    What meager success I’ve had came by trial and error and by observation. I regret not having jotted some notes in a journal.

  11. Mark says:

    Four o’clocks happily blooming and opening with regularity. Seeds are beginning to be available for planting in the adjacent flowerbed. Lawn grasses are tall on account of recent seasonal rains; the period between recent, heavy scattered showers being five days or less. Fairly light on the relative humidity today given the season. Constant and loud chorus of cicadas (/chē-‘chă-dăs/ in the local tongue) makes the rounds through the avenue’s oaks. It is a pleasing sound that penetrates the house entirely. (South Texas)

  12. Jude Cowell says:

    End of Aug 2008, Athens, GA, USA: Last of the pink begonias blooming in reaction to several inches of rain this week compliments of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Fay…Gustav on verge of drenching New Orleans which goodness knows has seen enough water, mold, and mildew to last 70 years…

    Love this blog!

  13. My tulip tree’s leaves started turning yellow last week. We picked the pears on Tuesday.

  14. Simon says:

    Birds sleeps half a brain at a time.

  15. Toiski says:

    Cold and overcast in Helsinki. First flocks of geese come down from the north, preparing to make their anual southward escape from the freezing winters. Sucks to be working outside.

  16. Angela says:

    I’ve always been interested in G. Orwell’s writings. It would be interesting to read about his other writings…

  17. Gwen says:

    My godetia were past their peak a good three weeks past, and the montbretia (crocosmia) flowered several weeks ago as well. Does just a few degrees difference in latitude make that much difference?

  18. Pingback: Orwell Goodness « Nightmares of David Bowie’s Package

  19. Anders Says:
    I am sincerely disappointed to find that this entry has not been tagged “bird-shit”.

    Yeah, me too. You never know when you might want to come back to this site and relive all those great bird shit moments.

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