September 14, 1938, Marrakech

Birds seen on railway journey Tangier-Casablanca-Marrakech. Ibis extremely numerous, Kestrels fairly common & also two larger kinds of hawk or kite, a few solitary crows very similar to the English bird. No storks, tho’ said to exist here. A very few partridges. Goldfinches, apparently identical with the English bird, common in Marrakesh.¹ Saw a man carrying a hare, otherwise no wild quadrupeds at all. There are said to be literally none, except a few hares and jackals, in Fr. Morrocco°. A few camels in Sp. Morocco, but not common till south of Casablanca. In general a camel seems to stand about 18 hands high. All are extremely lean & have calloused patches on all joints. Most are muzzled. Donkies° in Marrakesh slightly less overloaded & slightly less docile than in Tangier.

Dates are now almost ripe. The partially ripe dates are bright yellow & hang in thick clusters on stems of their own just where the crown of the palm joins the trunk. There are generally about 6 clusters per tree & the whole would weigh about 1/2 hundredweight. The fallen date looks just like an acorn without its cup. Apparently there are several varieties of date palm including a dwarf one.

The peppercorns on the pepper trees just about ripe. Apparently these are known as “false peppers”, although it can be used in the ordinary way. Walnuts, evidently local, just ripe. Pears & peaches rather under-ripe. Lemons here are round & green, more like the Indian lime, only larger & thicker skinned. Wine grapes in great profusion & very cheap.

The marine life at Casablanca seemed almost exactly the same as in England. Winkles, limpets, barnacles, land-crabs & one kind of anemone apparently identical. Saw no gulls, however. Forgot to mention that at Tangier there were catches of very large mackerel.

Rosemary grows well in Marrakech. Roses do well, petunias grow into huge bushes, as in India. Zinnias also thrive. Apparently good grass can be grown if there is sufficient water.

¹ Orwell sometimes writes ‘Marrakech’ and sometimes ‘Marrakesh.’ It is not always clear whether ‘c’ or ‘s’ is intended. The name is given here as Marrakech when there is doubt. Peter Davison

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11 Responses to September 14, 1938, Marrakech

  1. Brian B says:

    The diary is now much fuller and informative. However the more I read the more I am puzzled by what is not there.

    Orwell writes about climate, fruit, crops, animals, child beggars etc but not one word about his fellow passengers or people he talked to. To have the information he puts in the diary he must have spoken to many.

    The most puzzling of all is that to read the diary you would assume that he was a single traveller. No doubt I will be corrected if wrong but I believe he was accompanied by his wife Eileen.

  2. M.Serapis says:

    If I were journaling it would be similar. To me, a journal is a personal matter, about my inner experiences, my inmost thoughts. Quite truthfully, these are the innermost things in my mind; the scenery, the animals, the weather. The other things are more forward, they are the issues of the day, the things that bear discussing with another person. But these matters are more personal. To many these types of inner thought seem absurd. I on the overhand cannot fathom a person who would not think these things. It’s individual character.

  3. Rumor has it that George attempted several times to record each and every event and thought and peripheral detail of every passing second of his waking life, but was plagued by annoying cramps in his wrists, steam whistles blaring out of his ears and bleeding eyeballs.

  4. Pingback: George Orwell, Blogger « Laura Nathan | Writer & Editor

  5. Lange says:

    Really, I never heard that before. No wonder he passed away early, probably from loss of blood.
    I wonder how he saw to write, with his eyes bleeding and all.

  6. Brian B says:

    Orwell was a writer – a novelist – however on the evidence of the diaries so far he shows little sign of interest in people as individuals.
    This does not tally with the impression of him I have obtained from reading his books

    From recent entries he might almost be making notes for a series of articles in a gardening magazine.

    Perhaps later in the diary he will not be so impersonal as I presume the diaries were private and not meant for publication

  7. Hieronymous says:

    His “peppercorns” are not black pepper, but a South American tree: unrelated to the peppercorn given in the link.

  8. Arthur H Pemmington says:

    I enjoy this diary and it’s interesting about Orwell trying to record every detail, thought and event in his life. I do the EXACT same thing. I record everything I watch read, who I talk to, what about, what I write about, where I go, what I eat etc. Plus I saved every online chat I have as well as every e-mail. I imagine Georgie boy would have liked the internet’s capasity to save everything like this. Can definately relate, it is time consuming but well worth the effort IMO. However I also keep very detailed record of my dreams including when I wake up from them etc. It would have been interesting if Orwell kept a dream journal as well.

  9. Dominic says:

    I’ve heard of looking at the world through rose-colored glassing – but bleeding eyes? Yikes!

  10. Pingback: Orwell não tinha medo do colesterol «

  11. Pingback: Camel synchronicity | The Celsius1414 Journal

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