1.1.40

Freezing again last night. Today thawing in the sun but freezing in the shade. Some children able to slide on the ice of one of the ponds. They are ploughing in places, which the earth is not too hard for with a tractor plough. Frost turning into the soil said to be good for it, but snow is bad (ie. presumably bad for heavy soil). The £2 an acre subsidy for ploughing up grassland said to cover the costs of ploughing including labour. Tractor said to use about 10 galls. paraffin to plough an acre.

3 eggs!

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10 Responses to 1.1.40

  1. yarb says:

    I’m getting scepticism from those last two sentences.

    In 1940 if they wanted to know whether the lake was frozen, they just threw some kids on it! You wouldn’t get away with that today, not even in Canada.

  2. Happy New Year to Everybody Everywhere. May God Bless You All.

  3. BobRocket says:

    As per the advice given in early december https://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/7-12-39/#comments I have been digging the frost into my allotment* today, the ground is frozen to a depth of about 2 inches (10cm) which makes it a bit hard going. I’m still a bit sceptical as to the benefit of this strategy and so I have only dug the frost into two beds.

    An inch and a half of snow (7cm) has fallen this evening and given Georges warning on this matter I will only dig in one bed of this tomorrow to see what happens.

    *allotment, a piece of land rented from the local council for the purpose of growing veg. Mine is approx 30 yards by 20 (27mt x 18mt) and costs me 32 UK pounds per year.

    Talking of money, in Georges day, here in the UK we used to have ‘old’ money. That was Pounds, Shillings and Pence (denoted LSD), in 1971 we decimalised and changed the currency to Pounds and New Pence (it was about 20 years before the prefix ‘New’ was dropped)

    Old money.

    Farthing – a quarter of an old penny, had a picture of a wren (small bird) on the back
    Ha’penny – half a penny (pronounced with the ‘a’ as in late), picture of sailing ship on the back I think.
    Penny – denoted with a lower case ‘d’ (probably from the roman dinari), Brittania on the back.
    Threepenny bit – worth 3d, George would have seen both the old small silver coin and the newly (1936) introduced 12 sided brass ‘threpny bit’ that I remember.
    Sixpence – worth 6d and made famous in many songs :)
    Shilling – worth 12d, written 1/- and is the S in Lsd and was commonly called a ‘bob’
    Florin – worth 2s, written 2/-
    Half-Crown – worth 2/6 (2 shillings and 6 pence)
    Crown – worth 5 shillings

    That was the coinage, we also had a 10 shilling note (also called a ten bob note, which spawned the phrase ‘went off like a 10 bob rocket’ :), a 1 pound note and a 5 pound note (these were rare and beautifuly crafted pieces of artwork also known as a ‘white £5’)

  4. BobRocket says:

    1st January 1940 – New Year’s Day

    Never during my lifetime have I viewed a New Year with more unrelieved gloomy prospects than 1940. I have never been much of a one to look into the future, and although I always at these times wonder whether each successive New Year’s Day is the last I shall see, I have never before felt so sure that it may really be the last. If I see New Year’s Day 1941, still in the place I am now, I shall regard it as no less than a miracle. As for myself, were it not for the war, I should be considerably prosperous. I have about £200 in cash, £90 in superannuation fund, books etc. worth at least another £50. Taking everything into account I may be worth £400, with a steady job. The joke is that within 6 months it is not improbable that I shall have lost my job, and be coughing my life out in some remote barracks, while my £200 rusts in the Bank.

    Hull is still away ill. The Museum is dreadfully cold, as we are unable to get enough coke. The weather is very bad.

    Announcements today of a new Royal Proclamation calling up men from 21-27 inclusive. Grim forebodings.

    From http://wwar2homefront.blogspot.com/

  5. BobRocket~~

    Thank you for the currency info (I still don’t get it) and, also, for the link to that other Eric’s diary which is now one of my feeds.

    Interestingly, here in the USA, carpenters still describe nails as in terms of pennies.

    Nails are usually sold by weight either in bulk or in boxes. In the US, the length of a nail is designated by its penny size. The term “penny” in relation to nail size is based on the old custom in England of selling nails by the hundred. A hundred nails that sold for six pence were “six penny” nails. The larger the nail, the more a hundred nails would cost. Thus the larger nails have a larger number for its penny size.[2] This classification system was still used in England into the 20th century, but is obsolete there today.

    I’m going to forget what year I’m actually in at this rate.

  6. BobRocket says:

    JamiesonLewis3rd ~

    The old money was good for doing maths in your head and slicing things into fractions.

    240 pennies in a pound allows (d = pennies)

    eigtieth = 3d (three pence, thre’pny bit)
    fortieth = 6d (six pence, sixpenny bit)
    twentieth = 12d (1 shilling)
    sixteenths = 15d (1s and 3d, there was no coin for this)
    twelths = 24d (2 shillings, florins)
    eigths = 30d (2 shiilings and 6 pennies, half crowns)
    quarters = 60d (5 shillings, crowns)
    halves = 120d (10 shillings, ten bob notes)

    12 pennies in a shilling allows
    quarters = 3d
    thirds = 4d (there was apparently a coin of this value in the 1700s)
    halves = 6d

    1 penny could be divided into

    half = ha’penny
    quarter = farthing

    So.. in an old (georges) pound there are

    960 farthings
    480 ha’pennies
    240 pennies
    80 the’penny bits
    40 sixpences
    20 shillings
    10 florins
    8 half crowns
    4 crowns
    2 ten bob notes
    (and a partridge in a pear tree :)

    There is also the Guinea which is 21 shillings and race horses are still sold using this valuation.

    There was a method in their madness, at some point I may get round to explaining how we get more mpg than you do :)

    Glad you liked the link to the other Eric.

  7. Alexander says:

    They used paraffin in engines? Should be lots of fun when it clogs all the pipes.

  8. The paraffin he is referring to is known as kerosene here in the USA.

  9. Larkers says:

    “Ha’penny – half a penny (pronounced with the ‘a’ as in late), picture of sailing ship on the back I think.” – BobRocket

    It was the Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake’s ship. In that he sailed around the world, including to San Francisco. Good Luck!

    The coinage today has no genuine connection with English or even British culture (nothing eccentric) and has been designed by people for whom allegiance is a Mission Statement at best.

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