2.1.40

No thaw. Fallen ash-boughs all stripped & gnawed by rabbits. Pan of water left out all day is thickly frozen by evening.

6 eggs.

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24 Responses to 2.1.40

  1. Frozen mud footprints
    hidden beneath stripped ash-boughs
    thirsty rabbits gnaw

  2. Alexander says:

    orwll-ku (n.):variant on haiku that ends with an eggcount.

  3. Stephen says:

    George: Keep up the good work, man. How was New year’s Eve?

  4. The passage of time
    revealed that FDR was
    somewhat secretive.

  5. Heather says:

    Happy new year, George!

  6. Max says:

    And how secretive is Prescott Bush being now? There’ll be good returns for his investments soon, I imagine,

  7. Prescott Bush and I are from the same town, Columbus OH, home of The Ohio State Buckeyes. I never knew that, thank you.

    Reminder: This coming Monday (08JAN1940) the bacon ration is to be introduced—fixed at four ounces per person per week.

    Today is Thursday, so Hermann Goring is given overall control of German war industry.

  8. Steve says:

    Speaking of the Buckeyes and the Rose Bowl, a few days ago in 1940 USC beat Tennessee 14-0.

    Regarding Prescott Bush, here is another point of view: http://www.romm.org/prescott.html. Most likely he was not palling around with Nazis at the Rose Bowl, but he was definitely palling around with Nazis.

  9. James Russell says:

    Speaking of Eric’s mysterious trip to London:

    Watching QI the other day (supposedly intellectual panel quiz show for those not in the UK), and Stephen Fry mentioned that the UK set up an elite corps of the Home Guard (Dad’s Army), with the aim of disrupting any attempts by an invading force to form a government. They were to operate under cover, and were given only 20 days of rations, not expecting to last any longer. Anyway, Stephen mentioned that one of those recruited to this elite force was George Orwell.

    So is that what he has been up to in those missing days?

  10. According to Wikipedia, the Home Guard was active 14 May 1940 – 3 December 1944.

    According to some recess in my brain, Inside the Whale is published in March and Eric Blair moves to London in May.

    Orwell’s participation in covert Home Guard black-ops is therefore (in my opinion) inferred by his exquisite cover story wherein he poses as a reviewer for Time and Tide and Tribune. This is the logical conclusion considering Blair’s stay in Marrakech and his commiserations with Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Robert Ludlum, John LeCarre, Elisha Cook Jr., Dashiell Hammett, et al.

  11. Max says:

    The Home Guard was not formed till July 1940. Prior to that it was the Local Defence Volunteers and Orwell did not join that until 12 June 1940. It became the Home Guard shortly afterwards.

    My guess is that he was spending the New Year with Eileen’s family at Greenwich.

  12. Martin Watts says:

    This is a reference to the “Auxiliary Units”. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxiliary_units

  13. That’s it! George Orwell was a Commando!

  14. Alexander says:

    His diary sure convincingly suggests a different lifestyle. Which proves
    – what a great writer George was to make us believe his life was infinitely boring
    – what an extreme sense of proffesionality he must have had as a secret commando that he kept up his false appearances even in his private diary.

    But me, I knew it all along didn’t I.

  15. Stephen says:

    @James Russell
    Thanks for this extraordinary snippet. Orwell a secretly commissioned fight-to-the-death loyalist commando! I must say having Stephen Fry as the source makes me just a little dubious since he is such a loose wheel himself.

    But this is just the kind of last-ditch, steely sangfroid, ex-Burma ex-Spain role that GO would relish – and in fact be pretty suitable for.

    Plus the 20-day food ration constraint certainly explains why he is boosting the egg supply!

  16. Fay Shirley says:

    January 6, 1940 I’d like to wish my parents a happy wedding day!

    Apart from a feeling I’ve have heard it before I can’t find any mention of the Auxiliary Units being called the Scallywags (that is before the QI mention). Can anybody point me at a reference?

  17. Alexander says:

    Actually Orwell was part of the “killing joke” task force. Luckily as soon as a few working solutions were found (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gpjk_MaCGM) the attention switched to delivering the payload, much to the relief of the remainder of the team.

  18. In order to view the video, remove the parenthesis from the end of the link.

  19. Alexander says:

    Yes, sorry about that. On another note, I’d appreciate it if someone could give me a few links to relevant timelines. Not just the war in general, but events in England and known activities of Orwell, articles he published.

  20. Larkers says:

    According to a variety of sources quoted in the biographies, Orwell, despite his own valuation of his militay qualities, was a liability. One claimed he was kept at arm’s length by his Home Guard unit because of doubts over his attitude towards safety and weapons. I too heard the Fry comments on ‘Q.I.’ and discount them. When there were many mre able who could be called upon to do the deed I see no reason for the ‘authorites’to turn to Orwell or Michael Foot to carry out assassinations of ‘possible’ defectors or collaborators with any invading Nazis force. I rather doubt there was any such intention existing. Gentlemen do not stoop to that sort of thing and killing someone in cold blood is not as easy as it sounds. More probable was that the authorities wished to keep an eye on known ‘subversives’ and chose a devious scheme by which to do this. By the end of 1940 well known how many French ‘communists’ had suddenly become enthusiasts for Hitler when they saw German tanks in Paris. Any invasion of Britain would have produced chaos and central organisation would be difficult in any case. However, psychologically, it was either necessary to spread or invent such stories and I have heard a few down the years.

  21. Alexander says:

    Thanks Jameson, I’m sure you’ve made many people happy .

  22. Steve says:

    The BBC has a WWII section in its “On This Day” feature: BBC BBC World War II

    Looks like we’ve got a very eventful year coming up. For example, on 10 May: “Eight eggs.” On 4 June: “5 eggs.”

  23. Arrived here while researching Home Guard Scallywags. Serendipitous discovery of orwll-ku forced me to try my hand.


    Early morning light
    touches bowl, milk, whisk, butter,
    cheese, omelet pan.

    three eggs.


    Soon the robin’s nest
    will be loft for high hymning
    of a chirping choir.

    five eggs.

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