2.12.38

The weather has been much cooler, some days clear & fine, much like English spring, sometimes heavy mist. The day before yesterday fairly heavy rain. On clear days the Atlas mountains look extremely close, so that you can distinguish every contour, on other days completely invisible.

Very poor success with the flower seeds. Only nasturtiums, sweet peas, marigolds, carnations & a very few pinks & clarkia germinated. Phlox, pansies, violas, godetias, poppies & sunflowers failed entirely to come up, though soil conditions etc. were all right. Presumably due to seed having been in stock for years.

Find that the weaker of the two catapults will throw a stone (less satisfactory than buckshot) 90 yards at most. So a powerful catapult ought to throw a buckshot about 150 yards.

Three eggs.

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33 Responses to 2.12.38

  1. Bob O'H says:

    Yay! A three egg day!

    Can’t be bothered to read the rest.

  2. Anil says:

    Wow.. it almost looked like there would be no eggs this time.

  3. Von Wereknel says:

    How far can the catapults throw eggs, however?

  4. flutter says:

    Oh, thank god he included an egg count. I thought for a moment the site might have been hijacked by someone who didn’t care about eggs. What a horrible world that would be!

  5. We’ll be fine even if he doesn’t mention eggs ever again. We’ll just set up an Orwellian Fan Fiction website, and most of the stories will be about counting eggs.

  6. Stephen says:

    Catapults?

  7. dave says:

    He has declared his Villa a” sovereign state”,is preparing defensive positions..

    Eileen is defending the hen house,jackal skull marks the DMZ…

    He seems pretty obsessed by those Atlas mountains..?foreign conquest plans
    brewing as prelude to WW2 ?

    Has been sketching the plans of Marrakesh,with view to “annexation”..? (Prior “sketches” in code?)

  8. cc says:

    @dave, I’m sure he’s just worried about protecting his republic in case the farmer returns! I wonder if he’ll set about building a windmill…

  9. It’s all beginning to make sense now.

    Revealed in a previous thread: they spend a couple of weeks there in the Atlas early next year.

    Also revealed in previous threads: Orwell’s obsession with woodworking tools, pack animals and laborers.

    There can be but one logical conclusion.

    Hint: What does George do when he is not scribbling the fascinating Coming Up for Air or browsing the bazaar or peering under hens?

  10. Red Herring:
    Sprinkle chicken with salt and arrange in baking pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice, coriander, oregano, garlic, and olives. Pour olive oil over it. Cover with lemon slices and bake at 325ºFfor 1 hour. Serve over couscous.

  11. Has anybody written ‘The Orwell Codes’ yet? These Orwell diaries have Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code beaten all ends up.

  12. Ed Webb says:

    A season of mists,
    The distant Atlas calling:
    Catapult me there

  13. Silas says:

    What’s this about a catapult throwing stones? I’m sure he’s not talking about one of those massive catapults that can throw a 100 pound stone at a Castle wall; he’s talking about a slingshot.
    Maybe he’s referring to hunting birds with a slingshot, and he’s calling it a catapult.
    If he wanted to hunt for a bird with his catapult, (slingshot) he has a chicken in the back yard he could hunt. He wouldn’t have to fret over whether it could shoot a stone 90 or 150 yards; he could shoot the chicken at point blank range. But then he wouldn’t have any eggs to occupy his time counting.

  14. Fred says:

    Alas! The hen sees the human prepare for war! A silly catapult. Hen will chew through the binds of this contraption before it is used against her. Where is that burro? He has been cavorting with the camels. The human hadn’t noticed that the seeds that did not grow were eaten. Heh-heh! Hen is clever. Tomorrow only one egg and it will cost him!

  15. Pingback: BlogKade » Blog Archive » Eggcentric

  16. dave says:

    Silas;believe you are correct about slingshot (ref to buckshot…)

    He may still be planning to lay siege to Marrakesh though…

    He’s been smoking “kiff” again………boredom,isolation,loneliness etc

    Fred;” Burro cavorting with camel”…Put your pipe down,this site is partially sponsored by Walt Disney

  17. Everyone likes an egg says:

    To all those confused over slingshot/catapult

    Traditionally a catapult is the Y shaped frame with elastic attached.

    A slingshot is as the name suggests a sling at the end of a length of chord which one swings around there head to build up momentum and then change trajectory suddenly to jar the shot out of the sling and let the payload go.

  18. Fred says:

    Dave, What are you inferring? Cavort, Verb: to skip about, frolic; caper.
    I reference that the hen has lost her ally.
    BTW, Hemingway stole my pipe.

  19. Contrary to popular mythology, the catapult never caught on as mode of transportation, not even with hens.

    Egg-slinging via slingshot was not a popular custom in this region at this time; having already been embarrassingly unpopular for untold mortified generations of traumatized ancestors.

    :shock:

  20. Roving Thundercloud says:

    Catapults?! George, you’ve been holding out on me. No wonder you don’t have time for writing more than the Egg Count. Those things take a lot of practice.

    In the US, the usual name for the Y-shaped handheld weapon is slingshot. “Slingshot” is never used to refer to a sling (a simple strap for slinging stones, etc.). And catapult refers to the counterweighted siege engine, used to launch large stones, rotten pumpkins, small cars, and so on. How the word catapult can be applied to the handheld device mystifies me–the two things are quite unlike each other.

  21. dave says:

    Fred: Hemingway gave up kiff,gave his pipe to “Q” (@Bletchley 1941),…maybe JL3 has it …

    Julia Child wasalso there @ the time..maybe she has it…

  22. Alexander says:

    An egg is code for one german warship spotted – obviously. Wait till he starts distinguishing between brown and white eggs.
    2 eggs, dropped one, but salvaged it. Lots of yolk. One spotted egg, the other one had chickenshit on it.

  23. Bonnie says:

    This might be of interest to you, but sorry no eggs are mentioned:

    2 December 1938
    Boite Postale 48 Gueliz Marrakech French Morocco

    Dear Father,

    I am glad to hear from Mother that you have been a little better and getting up occasionally. If your appetite is very bad, did you ever think of trying Haliborange? I have taken it occasionally, and it is not at all unpleasant to take, nourishing in itself and seems to improve one’s appetite after a while. I should think Doctor Collings would approve of it. It’s only halibut’s liver oil flavoured with orange and a few other things.

    The weather here has got a lot cooler and is rather like the cold weather in Upper Burma, generally fine and sunny but not hot. We have a fire most days, which one doesn’t actually need till the evening, but it is nice to have it. There is no coal in this country, all the fires are wood and they use charcoal to cook on. We have tried to do a bit of gardening but not been very successful because it’s hard to get seed to germinate, I suppose because it is generally so dry. Most English flowers do pretty well here once they are established, and at the same time there are tropical plants like Bougainvillea. The peasants are just getting in their crops of chilis, like the ones they used to grow in Burma. The people here live in villages which are surrounded by mud walls about ten feet high, I suppose as a protection against robbers, and inside they have miserable little straw huts about ten feet wide which they live in. It is a very bare country, parts of it almost desert, though it’s not what is considered true desert. The people take their flocks of sheep, goats, camels and so forth out to graze on places where there seems nothing to eat at all, and the wretched brutes nose about and find little dried up weeds under the stones. The children seem to start work when they are five or six. They are extraordinarily obedient, and stay out all day herding the goats and keeping the birds off the olive trees.

    I think the climate is going me good. I was a little unwell last week, but on the whole feel much better and am putting on a little weight. I have done quite a lot of work. We are going to take some more photographs, including some of the house, and will send them to you when developed. Look after yourself and get well soon.

    With love
    Eric

  24. Roving Thundercloud says:

    Thank you Bonnie, for that letter!

    Haliborange?! Bad enough that it’s halibut liver oil flavored with orange (shudder), but that’s the best name they could come up with?

  25. muriel says:

    wow… three eggs? Could it be his hen motivated by the prospect of a good farm like in the novel?

  26. dave says:

    Bonnie; Wow…whats your source? Are you working @ UK National Archives or something?

    Have you got any other bits?

    Anyone going to give me odds on a double yolked egg???

  27. Bonnie says:

    Roving Thundercloud – umm, oranghalibut? O-oil? ^_^
    Notice though how Orwell says that it is not at all unpleasant to take. This from the man whose favourite dishes involved kippers, black pudding, or boiled cod.

    dave – yes I have many other bits. In fact, all. This letter (and indeed the entire Orwell Diaries thus far) is from Facing Unpleasant Facts 1937-1939, volume XI of The Complete Works of George Orwell.

  28. Egg Syntax says:

    @daniel — I bet we could do generative Orwell fanfic (cf http://www.brown.edu/Research/dichtung-digital/2005/1/Balpe/index.htm )

  29. CAL says:

    Bonnie — thanks for the letter. It fills in some of the personal background that I’d been wondering about. Glad to know that his parents are alive and that he writes good letters to them.

    All the egg comments are amusing, but I’ve had about enough. I am intrigued by his sudden discussion of catapults. They must be what I would call slingshots. What is he trying to hit? Birds? Invading animals of some sort?

  30. rickl says:

    Roving Thundercloud Says:
    In the US, the usual name for the Y-shaped handheld weapon is slingshot. “Slingshot” is never used to refer to a sling (a simple strap for slinging stones, etc.). And catapult refers to the counterweighted siege engine, used to launch large stones, rotten pumpkins, small cars, and so on. How the word catapult can be applied to the handheld device mystifies me–the two things are quite unlike each other.

    You’re right except for the bolded phrase. Catapults operated by storing energy via tension, usually by twisting ropes or sinews. They date back at least to Roman times. The siege engines that used counterweights were called trebuchets, and they are a much more recent innovation. They were invented during the Middle Ages.

    So I can see how a slingshot could be called a catapult, since they work on similar principles. I have no idea if they are actually called catapults in England, though.

  31. Arnold Mousetrouser says:

    Rickl: Yes they are called catapults in England, or used to be when I were a lad in the 1930s-40s. Most of us had a catty in the back pocket when out and about, and made them ourselves from carefully selected forked sticks. From Greek kata pulao, “throw down”, or close enough. AM

  32. Roving Thundercloud says:

    Oh Rickl! Thanks for the correction. As I read it I thought, “Oh yeah–of course.” And it does *sort of* excuse the British stretching (pun intended) of the word ‘catapult’.

    That’s what comes of shooting from the hip. (Or the back pocket.)

  33. Dominic says:

    Three eggs laid by hens. Three eg.’s written by George.

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