Frost again last night. Today still, sunny & fairly warm. Cut the grass, took out some of the worst of the dandelions etc., sowed a few seeds of canary creeper, got places ready to sow clarkia etc. Notice that tobacco powder does not seem very successful in keeping the sparrows off the seeds. A thrush with a white patch on top of its head is always in & out of the garden. When one has some means of identifying a bird one realizes that each bird has its beat & the same individual is always to be seen about the same spot.

16 eggs, Sold 50 @ 3/- a score.

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10 Responses to 17.4.40

  1. Stephen says:

    This was a busy day, as GO also wrote an “Autobiographical Note” for some US publishers of a literary anthology. The Note is reprinted in Vol 2 of Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell and contains some statements which we know to be true:
    “Since that [i.e. the Spanish Civil War], except for spending a winter in Morocco, I cannot honestly say that I have done anything except write books and raise hens and vegetables. … Outside my work the thing I care about most is gardening, especially vegetable gardening. I like English cookery and English beer, French red wines, Spanish white wines, Indian tea, strong tobacco, coal fires, candlelight and comfortable chairs. I dislike big towns, noise, motor cars, the radio, tinned food, central heating and ‘modern’ furniture. My wife’s tastes fit in almost perfectly with my own. My health is wretched, but it has never prevented me from doing anything that I wanted to except, so far, fight in the present war…. I am not at the moment writing a novel, chiefly owing to upsets caused by the war”
    No mention of the jackal head or the goats, sadly.

  2. Thank you, Stephen.

  3. Hugo says:

    Very interesting Stephen.

  4. The British heavy cruiser Suffolk carries out a fairly effective bombardment of the German-held Stavanger airfield but is severely damaged by air attacks while retiring. Late in the day the first British forces land at Andalnses.

    I can imagine the extreme alertness with which millions of ears scan the airwaves for newscasts and the intensity of millions of eyeballs scanning headlines at the newsstand. I imagine these same ears and eyes are also keeping a wary eye on the sky. I imagine these same sensory organs slogging through their daily routines, trying their best not to reveal that they are actually on auto-pilot. I cannot imagine the suspense, the suspense of an entire nation. My mother, a teenager, is still in Russia at this time.

  5. The Ridger says:

    I like to think of him watching that thrush.

  6. BobRocket says:

    # Stephen,


    Apart from my health being good and not wanting to be part of our current war (Afghanistan) and not being able to write, my life has spooky parallels with Georges’ , on His recommendation I dug in the frost on two of my alootment beds, the result is very fine and broken soil, I heeded his warning not to dig in the snow.

    On the one hand I live in the Orwellian distopia of CCTV, Digital Entitlement and ID cards, on the other I live in the Orwellian utopia of vegetables and soon to be Hen books.

  7. 3/- a score! Egg prices are back up again.

    Nice that the hens made it into his biographical note, given how central they seem to be to his life.

    Interesting also that we get utterly no mention of a wife in these journal pages.

  8. Max says:

    I think Eileen does get a couple of mentions in fact. Here’s one, for example:

    ‘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.’

    I imagine the ‘we’ means ‘Eileen and I’ and not ‘the brown hen and I’ or ‘Titley’s donkey and I’. Though come to think of it, there was once a book called ‘The Egg and I’, so I could be wrong.


  9. Transcript of an excerpt of the recording of a telephone conversation between Wallington and London:

    “Eileen, my Darling, oh, how I miss you!”

    “Eric. Oh, Eric.”

  10. Martin Watts says:

    “Late in the day the first British forces land at Andalnses.”

    Including my father, who came close to being interned in Sweden before managing to get on one of the ships evacuating the troops.

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