13.3.40

Re-opening this diary after a long absence due to ‘flu etc.

The day we left, 30.1.40, the roads were so completely snowed up that of the 31/2 miles to Baldock we were only able to do about 1/2 mile on the road. For the rest we had to strike across the fields, where the snow was frozen hard & there were not so many drifts. In the road they were at least 6’ deep in places. It was sometimes impossible to see where the road lay, as the snow covered the tops of the banks on either side. Flocks of hare, sometimes about 20 together, were wandering over the fields.

As a result of the frost all kinds of cabbage, except a few Brussels sprouts, are completely destroyed. The spring cabbages have not only died but entirely disappeared, no doubt eaten off by the birds. The leeks have survived, though rather sorry for themselves. Most of the wallflowers have survived. Some 2-years old ones which I left in are all dead. The older carnations are also dead, but the young ones are all right. All the rose cuttings have survived except one. Snowdrops are out & some yellow crocuses, a few polyanthi trying to flower, tulips & daffodils showing, rhubarb just sprouting, ditto peonies, black currants budding, red currants not, gooseberries budding. The compost I made with Adco has not rotted down very completely. Grass everywhere brown & sickly-looking. The soil is very fine & friable as a result of the frost.

Have now lost accurate count of the eggs & shall have to close the egg-account book, which however gives an accurate account stretching over 7 months, useful for future reference. From the mikman’s account it appears the hens have laid 270 eggs since 29.1.40 (6 weeks about). Yesterday 10. It is now difficult to sell eggs, as there is a glut, so shall put some in water-glass. The last few days fine spring-like weather. Today colder & this afternoon raining hard.

Did a little digging. Hoed leeks. 14 eggs.

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10 Responses to 13.3.40

  1. mike says:

    Glad to hear Orwell is doing better, but no more egg-account book? Why bother reading anymore?

  2. I, too, am devastated by the Egg-Account Book revelation.

    “14 eggs.” A larger number than we’re used to and an endorsement of Full-O-Pep, but now it almost seems like a curse. Adco is, apparently, not endorsed.

    “Flocks of hare, sometimes about 20 together, were wandering over the fields.” This could be the opening scene in a made-for-cable movie starring Blackadder because Baldock reminded me of Baldrick and co-starring the Liverpudlian slob, Dave Lister.

  3. wordsmithsuk says:

    He gives the reason for his long absence as ‘flu etc’. What is the ‘etc’? Has he really been away from home? Or has he been absent in the sense that he has not been writing his diary?

  4. George~~
    I told you not to go sloshing around in the mud and snow and ice, did you listen? No. I told you to toss some coal in the stove, did you? No. But anyway, thank you very much for Part One of the three-part essay Inside the Whale which came out this month. The concept has an anthropological depth that puts it on a level with gravity as an influential Force of Nature. I’d like to be able to tell you that I have already read all three parts because I am communicating with you from the future, but I can’t.

    Flocks of 20 hare
    wandering over the fields,
    sometimes, together.

  5. The Ridger says:

    No more eggs? And yet the brussels sprouts survive!

  6. Heather says:

    Oh, heavens…sorry to hear you’ve been ill, George.

  7. Stephen says:

    Hearing about the demise of the egg-count makes me feel like one of those cabbages: completely destroyed. But at least his 7 month egg account is accurate and “useful for future reference”. On behaf of the future, George, we’re not sure about useful. But fun, for sure.

  8. I too mourn the loss of the egg cvount and wonder how there can be a glut in the middle of a war, but I digress.

    What really interests me in this post is the image of the leeks feeling “rather sorry for themselves.”

  9. Hazel Sabey says:

    I have a large earthenware bowl that I am told was used to preserve eggs in isinglass during the war. I think this was commonly done.

  10. Pingback: Eggy Apocalypse « Hooting Yard

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