I think a little rain in the night. All day overcast, with sometimes fine mist almost amounting to rain, but not exactly cold. Mended the fence, which cannot be done completely as there are not enough stakes. Planted out 1 doz. largish lettuces got from T. (2d dozen). Uncovered the little ones. Let the tadpoles go, as not certain how many days I shall be away. Gave the grass a quick cut. Leeks are just showing. Some apple blossom showing in some gardens. Find it is held locally that there is always a frost at the full moon (ie. in May) & people sow their runners with reference to this.
Fly little tadpoles, be free!
(Sadly this may mean for us another gap in the egg count blog…?)
Indeed. Another gap. Sigh.
Meanwhile, the situation has gone horribly grim in Norway on this Tuesday, 30April1940.
There are never enough stakes.
Where have the winds taken him now?
If he lacks stakes, then George is fooling himself to believe he has mended that fence. And he is about to leave!
He “[m]ended the fence, which cannot be done…..” is clear, irrefutable evidence that Orwell was an extra-terrestrial being with great powers such as those which a future person named Hawking would belatedly warn us about.
“Not enough stakes” = in George’s days they hadn’t yet invented stakeholders.
Yes, it’s Sunday, May 5, therefore:
In Norway… The German forces continue to advance north from Trondheim. More Allied troops arrive in the north at Tromso and Harstad. This contingent is from the French Foreign Legion and the exiled Polish forces.
In London… A Norwegian government in exile is set up with British support.
In Ireland… Captain Hermann Goertz, a member of the Abwehr (a German military intelligence organization), lands by parachute near Dublin. He subsequently makes contact with Irish Army officers and members of the IRA. (Goertz is detained by Irish authorities in November 1941.)
May 1940 was sunny, rather warm and dry. There were many dry and fairly sunny days during the early part of May. Temperatures were mostly above average, but on the 11th, the passage of a weak cold front resulted in a maximum temperature of 15.5°C. Plenty of sunshine followed at the end of the second week, and on the 15th, the temperature rose above 23°C. Rather warm and generally sunny weather continued through the third week, but it then became unsettled. On the 22nd, over 19mm of rain fell.
Today is Tuesday, May 7, therefore, there is a major debate in the House of Commons on the conduct of the war and especially of the Norwegian campaign. At the vote Chamberlain’s government has a majority of 281-200 but when compared to former support this is not sufficient to allow the government to continue to claim to be representative. Neville Chamberlain resigns. In fact the errors of the Norwegian campaign have been at least as much Churchill’s as any others. However, in a wider sense the responsibility is Chamberlain’s for failing to to establish a coherent decision-making structure to see that plans were properly coordinated and that subordinates worked sensibly and efficiently.
Eric Blair could not be reached for comment.
JL3, Thanks for your updates on May, 1940. I wonder when EB will return and whether he will ever comment again on events in the news. I do enjoy his agricultural reports, though. He was certainly a hard worker, especially considering the fact that he was in poor health.
Do keep us posted. I look up ORWELL every day.
You’re welcome, CAL.
Unless I’m mistaken, when Eric [and Eileen] return[s] it will be to pack because he’s off to London some time this month. I hope with near desperation that they’ve found a flat with room for a garden out back that faces in the right direction and stuff. He also joins the Local Defense Force or Home Guard or whatever it was called at this early stage. I suspect the tenor of Orwell’s posts will change somewhat.
I get basic Orwell chronological info from here, by the way, and the basic WWII chronological info from here. I know I don’t link to them every time and I should. Full Disclosure: If anything in my comments make sense, it probably didn’t come from me [here in The Wormhole].
May 10, British Local Defense Volunteers, the Home Guard, formed.
10 may 1940: The germans start their attack on Belgium, the Blitzkrieg starts in the west
The centrally-controlled Home Guard was not formed until July when it looked as if the locally-established LDV was tending to become revolutionary.
In lieu of egg counts:
Britain… Recruiting begins for a volunteer home-defense force from men in reserve occupations or too old or young for military service. This force is to be called the Local Defence Volunteers. In July the far more effective title of Home Guard is chosen.
The Home Guard (initially “Local Defence Volunteers” or LDV, or in slang, Look-Duck-Vanish, hence the name change) was a defence organisation of the British Army during the Second World War.
Churchill wrote to Eden stating that, in his opinion, one of the main causes of disciplinary and morale problems stemmed from the uninspiring title of the LDV and suggesting that it be renamed as the ‘Home Guard’. Despite resistance from Eden and other government officials, who noted that one million ‘LDV’ armbands had already been printed and the cost of printing another million ‘Home Guard’ armbands would be excessive, Churchill would not be dissuaded; on 22 July the LDV was officially renamed the Home Guard
I bet someone could make a good story from the idea of using a manipulated Wikipedia to rewrite history. Much more insidious than a blunt-instrument Ministry of Truth. They’d certainly own me.
George, George, what’s going on? How’s the spring weather? Is the rhubarb coming through? Most importantly: who’s counting the eggs?
Missing you heaps ….
brussels has fallen. i hope you’re not in brussels, eric…
I heard a whisper that our hero may be away looking for a new home in London. Can’t believe that he can contemplate leaving all those potatoes and the Clarkia. And what about the hens?
Indeed. The hens will certainly be heartbroken. I wonder if he is still feeding them Full-O-Pep.
If I remember correctly, Eric bagged up 3-400 pounds of potatoes last fall; I wonder what it cost to ship them to London—not to mention hundreds (thousands?) of submerged eggs.
While I’m at it, I wonder how Muriel is doing.
Ah, Muriel. I’m afraid she was probably delicious.
Sunday, May 19, Amsterdam time became MET (Middle European Time).
May 20, Igor Sikorsky unveiled his helicopter invention.
opening day at auschwitz.. hope you’re not in poland, eric…
Now the Nazi machine is really getting going, Prescitt Bush will begin to rake in the great wealth that would fund a political dynasty and establish a family tradition. Some will always do well out of war. Big wars are big business!
So let me get this straight: Prescott Bush is doing business with the Nazis (I forget what kind of business) in the old (1940) now. Meanwhile the Nazis are killing the French, and the Dutch, and starting yesterday, Jews, Catholics, gays, and many others, and scaring the heck out of the Brits. It’s no secret that they’d do the same to the Americans, given the chance.
And Prescott Bush is doing business with the Nazis. Do I have that straight?
Don’t take my word for it. Follow links –
Out of fairness, let’s vilify Neville Chamberlain’s progeny while we’re at it.
Good idea. Another conservative. Go ahead!
God Bless America
That’s a wonderful non sequitur. A great conversation stopper. I must remember that.
God bless the separation of church and state.
Especially in Texas.
Now fellows, I did not mean to start a row.
A patriot can defend Bush, and a patriot can criticize him. But comparing Prescott Bush to Chamberlain is a bad analogy. First, Chamberlain has already been — and continues to be — vilified. Second, Chamberlain and his family did not use his status or profits from the war to continue to influence six decades of government. Third, Chamberlain is the only one whose decisions led to a disastrous war…wait, strike that last one.
I wasn’t making a comparison nor an analogy, though you did underscore my point which was, “What’s the point?”
Yeah! What’s the point of anything? Unscrupulous capitalists – War – War profits – Power – More unscrupulous c’s etc etc. etc. All history is bunk! Do we want to learn from it? No say all of us. The last one to bury his head in the sand is a cissy!
Okay. I regret my comment in reply to your comment with all my being. It is with deep remorse that I now realize my error; not for the comment itself, but for the less-than-concise manner in which I expressed myself.
I just don’t see the point in resuscitating the gratuitous, worn-out, progressive Bush/Hitler meme. Frankly, I don’t care if Prescott Bush was a direct descendant of Attila the Hun; the list is long.
Currently (now/then), George Orwell and I have other, far more pressing, matters to react to in our respective countries. Hence, my reaction, which obviously lacked cognitive intervention and harshed the mellow of “all of us.” I will seek to restrain myself in the future.
Good luck to you and George! By the way, what year are you/he/we in exactly – and on whiat planet?
And, when you have a moment to spare, ask him what he thinks about war profiteers and the mayhem they make possible. He might also have a view about the Iraq war and who profits/profited from that.
Here comes the circus! The merry-go-round of history, with prizes for some, but only some. Rollup! Roll up! What goes round come around.
Never a dull moment.
I think there is a reasonably well-established link between fascism and corporate hegemony. A number of U.S. industrialists were sympathetic with, or at a minimum, willing to trade with, Hitler’s regime.
From the perspective of the present discussion, the relevant issue is, was Eric aware of this, and if so, how aware? Orwell’s books are famously anti-communist – does that mean he simply doesn’t see the other side? Or can we find some sense of awareness, if not in the current Diary (with its wholesome focus on eggs) then in some other of his writing?
I’ve no idea. Perhaps someone has come across something suggesting he was aware of the capitalist backing of Hitler. But if he had known that American money could be behind the bombs that would soon be falling on London he’d have surely had something to say about it. bb
the germans are coming! hope you’re not in dunkirk, eric…
No, he certainly sees the other side. His writings are also, perhaps less famously, quite socialist, or perhaps social democratic depending on what those terms mean. For example, I just finished reading Homage to Catalonia (quite a good book, by the way–well worth your time and money), and he openly states that he is very sympathetic with the ideals of the Communists, and the other Socialist and Anarchist parties in Spain at the time. He may have become more anti-Communist as time went on (even in Homage he isn’t very friendly to the PSUC–that is, the Spanish Communist Party), but he never abandoned Socialism.
The point of his books was to demonstrate how Stalinism poisoned and betrayed the ideals of Marxism & Communism.
Andrew: Eric wasn’t at Dunkirk, but sadly his brother-in-law Laurence O’Shaughnessy died while treating wounded soldiers there.
Stephen, The only place where Orwell writes about capitalist support of fascism (that I can find*) is in chapter 12 of the Road to Wigan Pier. You can read it at http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79r/chapter12.html
He is mostly complaining about “socialists” (not socialism!), but seems to take capitalist support for facism as a given: “Fascism is written off as a manoeuvre of the ‘ruling class’, which at bottom it is.” and “The capitalist-imperialist governments, even though they themselves are about to be plundered, will not fight with any conviction against Fascism as such. Our rulers, those of them who understand the issue, would probably prefer to hand over every square inch of the British Empire to Italy, Germany, and Japan than to see Socialism triumphant.”
(* I use http://www.pjjk.net/orwellsearch/ to search Orwell’s works)
In his 1938 essay “Why I joined the Independent Labour Party”, published in the ILP-affiliated New Leader, Orwell wrote:
For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me several pounds a week for writing books against capitalism. But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs is going to last forever … the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer – that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.