Orwell’s Eggs

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One of the brightest of bright ideas in Interwebshire was the recognition that a blog was the perfect medium for the (re)publication of journals and diaries from the past. I think the first of these was The Diary Of Samuel Pepys, where “a new entry written by Pepys [is] published each day over the course of several years; 1 January 1660 was published on 1 January 2003”. It was followed by, among others, the journals of Gilbert White (now complete) and George Orwell.

Orwell Diaries 1938-1942 is particularly rewarding for the insight it gives us into a great writer. Readers are promised “George Orwell’s domestic and political diary entries, posted 70 years to the day after they were written”, and that is exactly what we get. I have gained an entirely new perspective on the man after reading these complete and unabridged diary entries:

16.11.38 One egg.

17.11.38 One egg.

19.11.38 Two eggs.

21.11.38 Two eggs.

22.11.38 Two eggs.

25.11.38 Two eggs.

27.11.38 One egg.

28.11.38 Two eggs.

29.11.38 One egg.

30.11.38 Two eggs.

4.12.38 Two eggs.

6.12.38 Two eggs. Nights now are distinctly chilly.

10.12.38 One egg.

11.12.38 Two eggs.

13.12.38 Two eggs.

18.12.38 Two eggs.

21.12.38 Two eggs. Finer, cool, a few spots of rain. One of the pigeons is dead – cause unknown.

26-28.12.38 Have been ill. Not certain about number of eggs, but about 9.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

24 thoughts on “Orwell’s Eggs

  1. Gaw
    July 15, 2011 at 07:59

    I think the medicinal role of eggs is unduly disregarded. One suspects Orwell was taking or even applying them rather than merely eating them. Intriguingly, eggs happen to have played an important role in Pepys surgery to have a gall stone removed. Approximately two dozen were employed in a variety of uses.

  2. Worm
    July 15, 2011 at 08:41

    someone should set this to music and release it as an albumen

    • Gaw
      July 15, 2011 at 09:30

      What a hilarious yolk! A cracker.

    • hooting.yard@googlemail.com'
      July 15, 2011 at 10:25

      Worthy of a standing ova-tion

      • Gaw
        July 15, 2011 at 12:33

        You’re egging us on now.

        • hooting.yard@googlemail.com'
          July 15, 2011 at 12:41

          Ghaeuic shjcofu jkshgx vfi99 nj8fbnb ajnjk bhjb … oh dear, it looks as if my witty reply was scrambled.

  3. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    July 15, 2011 at 09:47

    As a man, what was George doing writing a diary, wimmen’s work are diaries, “Dear diary…..”. Very un-alphaish. It could of course be argued that eggs are, after all, a diary product.
    Eggs have far more importance than people give them credit for, Hendersons eggs are famous throughout the islands indeed the Gob-S-Hites would not exist without them, size fives of course.

    It was argued that this made the Gob-S-Hites eggistence eggistential but this of course may or may not be reality and in any case the comment may attract subjective criticism.

    • law@mhbref.com'
      jonathan law
      July 15, 2011 at 17:24

      Wonderful link Malty! I’d never heard of Avery, but apparently he was brought up on Mull, as dreich and unsonsy a place as I have ever had the misfortune to gang. Which might explain a great deal.

      (Avery? Should I make that Ovary?)

      • johngjobling@googlemail.com'
        July 15, 2011 at 18:26

        He is indeed interesting jonathan, came across him at his porridge scoffers gallery of modern art exhibition, weird but fascinating, mind like Spike Milligan I suspect. There is a book, ‘The Islanders’, still available at the gallery and strangely, in Germany.
        The Guardian sort of clung on to him for a bit, not that much of a bit, we will however not hold that against him.

        You may wish to add to your review of Mull the fact that it contains some of Scotland’s most rabid racists or the core support of the Scots Nats as they like to be called.

  4. cas.rs@tiscali.co.uk'
    Carol Sims
    July 15, 2011 at 13:46

    George had taken up keeping hens and this was his record of their laying achievements. (You probably all knew this anyway)

    • Gaw
      July 15, 2011 at 18:32

      Thanks Carol – another demonstration of what a wonderful man he was.

  5. finalcurtain@gmail.com'
    July 15, 2011 at 15:49

    I think this sort of highbrow wordplay is just the sort of thing that scares folk away from this site, and it should be discouraged; at the least, the casual visitor will ovoid making a comment. I think we should encourage lowbrowism whenever possible.

    • Gaw
      July 15, 2011 at 17:08

      True. I think hard-boiled Dabbler readers will cope just fine, but others may well want to whisk themselves away.

      • andrewnixon@blueyonder.co.uk'
        July 15, 2011 at 19:54

        Casual visitors can cluck off.

    • law@mhbref.com'
      jonathan law
      July 15, 2011 at 17:17

      The Dabbler without highbrow wordplay would be Omlet without the Prince of Henmark.

      • johngjobling@googlemail.com'
        July 15, 2011 at 18:11

        “Shell shock widespread among Dabblers” said the Egham Courier in it’s late night eggstra edition.

    • ranee.zaporski@gmail.com'
      July 17, 2011 at 16:42

      I’m a shell of my former self after reading this.

  6. Gaw
    July 15, 2011 at 18:36

    ‘Gallinaceous’ apparently means chicken-like. Anyone care to work that into a pun? It would certainly require more than my poultry talent.

    • andrewnixon@blueyonder.co.uk'
      July 15, 2011 at 20:01

      Did you hear about the girl scout who made a tidy profit flogging ‘free range’ battery eggs at a quid each to gullible townies at the farmer’s market?

      Not bad going for a gal on a shoe-string budget.

      (Ok so you have to stretch the pronunciation a bit.)

      • hooting.yard@googlemail.com'
        July 15, 2011 at 21:09

        I’m sure I’ve heard that before somewhere, Brit – where did you poach it from?

      • johngjobling@googlemail.com'
        July 16, 2011 at 09:34

        One assumes that the subject is now laid to rest.

        • john.hh43@googlemail.com'
          john halliwell
          July 16, 2011 at 10:09

          I think it’s time, Malty: as the great chicken breeder once said: “Don’t pullet, it’ll send you blind!”

Comments are closed.