Freezing very hard again. Water left outside has ice on it in only an hour or two. The pond by the church will bear my weight, but not that in the field called the Warren. The reservoir is not frozen at all. Turned up 2 rabbits in the field. They have a hole there, but whether used I am not quite certain. On the church wall found a jay & a grey squirrel, presumably shot by somebody & thrown there. Did not know the grey squirrel was found round here or that they came out of hibernation in this weather. Cut down the chrysanthemums. Made several attempts to start a bonfire, but things in frosty weather are not so dry as they look. One or two of the shallots (planted 10.11.39) beginning to show buds. One of the pullets (hatched May) has come into lay.

7 eggs.

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7 Responses to 10.1.40

  1. The weight-bearing capabilities of the ice on a nearby pond versus the lack of ice on the reservoir, two rabbits and a rabbit hole.

    On the church wall found a jay & a grey squirrel, presumably shot by somebody & thrown there. Did not know the grey squirrel was found round here or that they came out of hibernation in this weather.

    Presumably, the jay was from “round here.” Therefore, I choose to presume that the scenario Blair depicts of that frozen Wednesday is the result of a shoot-out over turf.

    I can’t help but wonder who Mr. Blair suspects to be the mysterious shooter who flings his dead prey upon the church wall. Why is Mr. Blair on the church wall in the first place? Is it to ignite the bonfire of the things?

  2. Fay Shirley says:

    Now here are two things that have changed in the last 70 years. Grey squirrels have taken over from red squirrels almost completely in England. I suppose that some people still think of jays as vermin, and that some are still shot to protect young game birds, but mainly people think that seeing one of these beautiful birds is special.

  3. Fay Shirley says:

    Plus – grey squirrel is supposed to be good to eat. Food shortages can’t have been too bad at this point if the squirrel was thrown away.

  4. Greg says:

    Grey squirrels don’t hibernate. They may not choose to spend as much time outside when it is cold, conserving energy while food is scarce.

  5. George~~

    I really appreciate these stream-of-consciousness posts. I still think it is some cryptic coded message, but it is so cleverly incognito that I almost don’t care anymore if I ever find the key I once coveted.

    All kidding aside, with the insightful introduction of this vermin aspect, the plot thickens significantly. The perimeter must be secured. The Egg Count must increase.

    Perhaps this mysterious “somebody” comes to the rescue, on behalf of the hens, in a battle over Ful-O-Pep? Perhaps this mysterious “somebody” is a commando, honing his marksmanship prowess, targeting vermin from 400 meters.

    Could there be “somebody” out there in that field, carefully camouflaged, crawling around with a rifle, stopping occasionally to peer through a telescopic sight and sip on a canteen?

    By the way, has anybody seen Mrs A. lately?

  6. Larkers says:

    Orwell’s ‘nature’ writing was ahead of its time in directness of observation and unsentimentality. He writes somewhere else (in one of his many ‘As I Please’ columns possibly) of the methodical destruction of vast amounts of wild animals considered a ‘threat’ to pheasants, imported to be shot for entertainment on country estates by toffs. Grey Squirrels, like pheasants were imported also, for decorative reasons only and are now seen everywhere. The cure? Shooting apparently.

  7. E.Frank says:

    I just love the idea or Eric running around the countryside testing to see if different ponds will bear his weight. Would love to see the look on his face when he found out the one in the Warren didn’t – wet socks!

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