Have just heard, though it is not in the papers, that Italy has declared war…. The Allied troops are withdrawing from Norway, the reason given being that they can be used elsewhere and Narvik after its capture was rendered useless to the Germans. But in fact Narvik will not be necessary to them till the winter, it wouldn’t have been much use anyway when Norway had ceased to be neutral, and I shouldn’t have thought that the Allies had enough troops in Norway to make much difference. The real reason is probably so as not to have to waste warships.
This afternoon I remembered very vividly that incident with the taxi-driver in Paris in 1936, and was going to have written something about it in this diary. But now I feel so saddened that I can’t write it. Everything is disintegrating. It makes me writhe to be writing book-reviews etc. at such a time, and even angers me that such time-wasting should still be permitted. The interview at the War Office on Saturday may come to something, if I am clever at faking my way past the doctor. If once in the army, I know by the analogy of the Spanish war that I shall cease to care about public events. At present I feel as I felt in 1936 when the Fascists were closing in on Madrid, only far worse. But I will write about the taxi driver some time.
 Orwell eventually did so, in ‘As I Please,’ 42, Tribune, 15 September 1944. Peter Davison