Have not been able to keep up the diary, as I have been away[1]. The eggs are, however, entered in the hen book, though I think a certain number were not recorded.

Typical autumn weather, except that of late the mornings have not been very misty. Nights very clear, & the moon, which is a little past full, very fine. A certain amount of leaves yellowing.

Today planted out 60 spring cabbages. Paid 2d score for plants. Continued clearing front flower bed. The chief difficulty is the loganberry against the fence, which is now presumably too old to move. Some of the stems have grown to 15 or 20 feet. Michaelmas daisies in flower, chrysanthemums not yet. The pumpkin is about the size of a football, but I am afraid is going to ripen at that size, as the leaves are turning a little. Most of the young broccoli etc. doing well. E. gave them superphosphate last week. Made another 31/2lb. apple jelly.

Decided after all not to get rid of the older hens. Shall reduce size of the run the young ones are in now & use it for a breeding pen (Leghorn & Rhode) in the spring if we are here. The other part can be dug over for potatoes. If actually here we might also go in for rabbits & bees. Rabbits are not to be rationed. The butcher says that people will not as a rule buy tame rabbits for eating but their ideas change when meat gets short. Titley says he made a lot of money out of rabbits at the end of the last war.

4 eggs! (To date this week, including today, 36).

Field & others are still getting in hay which has only just been cut, & say it still has some nutritive value in it.

[1] It is not known where Orwell was, nor what he had been doing. However, in his letter to Leonard Moore of 6 October 1939, he writes that Eileen has found a job in a government office, but ‘I have so far failed to do so’; see 572. On 9 September he had offered his services (see 571), so perhaps he was away seeking war work. Peter Davison

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9 Responses to 28.9.39

  1. Donna says:

    I truly cannot believe I’m reading a 60 year old blog. I went for a stroll earlier, I too noticed the leaves were yellowing! Great stuff…

  2. S says:

    “a certain number were not recorded,” “a certain amount of leaves yellowing” . . .

    “. . . there are other word and phrases which obviously deserve to go on the scrap-heap, but which continues to be used because there seems to be no convenient substitute. An example is the word ‘certain’. We say, for instance, ‘After a certain age one’s hair turns grey’, or ‘There will probably be a certain amount of snow in February’. In all such sentences ‘certain’ means uncertain. Why do we have to use this word in two opposite meanings? And yet, unless one pedantically says ‘after an uncertain age’, etc., there appears to be no other word which will exactly cover the required meaning.”

    — As I Please, January 7, 1947

  3. Wait… there’s a hen book? Why were we not told?

  4. timothyMN says:

    Does anyone know if the hen book has survived? And what treasures does it hold?

  5. The Ridger says:

    The older hens must be rejoicing. Especially about the breeding pen.

    I too rejoice (though like Donna I can’t quite believe it). The leaves have just started turning here – a very few. This morning the mist was hanging over the big field – I noticed it especially – but the moon was hidden behind clouds last night, and set about 1:30…

  6. Conversely, one can only assume that the hens are listed in the Egg Book and that this is as brilliant an example of subterfuge as any the world has ever known. This is especially true when coupled with the knowledge of the rumors regarding the Blair family’s alleged clandestine encounter with an unknown species of leviathan.

    …..in the spring if we are here…..If actually here we might also…..

  7. Abbey Nationalist says:

    Which came first, the Hen Book or the Egg Book?

  8. Malcolm says:

    I too want to join the requests for more information on the hen book.

    Why are we wasting our time with these blog posts when Orwell has distilled the most vital information into a single hen book? genius!

  9. Abbey Nationalist says:

    …and why didn’t Victor Gollancz publish it?

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