Chilly (enough to have a fire), overcast & windy. Some light rain in the evening. Began cleaning out the maincrop potatoes & cutting the haulm preparatory to digging. They may as well however stay in the ground another fortnight to let the skins harden. Titley’s spring cabbages are too young to plant out yet, but will be ready in a fortnight, so about 25.9.39[1] will be the date for this. There should be room for 6 or 7 rows, ie. 100-150 plants. The bullaces only made 4lb. of jam.

Sold the two old boiling fowls, 6/6 for the two, ie. about 7/6 but commission comes off this.

This morning saw what I am virtually certain was a flight of woodcock. Possibly they flock together for migration. About 8.30 a flight of about a dozen birds went over, & by their long beaks & general shape I thought for a moment they were curlews, which are never seen round here. However they were just a little too small for curlews & their flight a little too fast. At a little distance past me they made the characteristic sideways dip, & I realized they were woodcock. The thing that still makes me slightly uncertain is not there being a dozen of them together, but their being so early. Others I have seen just arriving on the Suffolk coast came in October.

NB. To save seed (about 28 lb.) when digging the maincrop potatoes.

9 eggs. (Not listing the pullets’ eggs separately now as they are somewhat larger & sell for the same price. Titley says he is getting 3/4 a score from Moss’s.)

[1] Presumably the date is underlined as a reminder. Orwell was away for the ten days before his diary entry for 28 September, when he records planting sixty spring cabbages. Peter Davison

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2 Responses to 12.9.39

  1. Max says:

    Bullaces, eh? Plums to the rest of us, I think, Eric. And I’ve just realized where the expression ‘an old boiler’ comes from. Dont hear it much any more, but it used to mean a lady of uncertain reputation. We’re obviously too civilized to use it these days.

    And woodcock (trying to look like curlews) on the move! That’s very definitely a sign of things to come – a signal to sit up in the garden and take notice. But just wait tilll the pigs start flying…..

  2. 0830: virtual certainty: a dozen unidentified birds execute the standard sideways dip.

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