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Aug. 17th, 2008

Several days past uncertain weather, rainy & sometimes hot. Most of the wheat & barley now cut & stacked. Children picking more or less ripe blackberries two days ago.

Saw a white owl two nights ago – the first in about two years. Also in the distance another bird probably a little owl.

Horse-chestnuts full-size but not ripe yet. Hops about the size of hazel-nuts. Yesterday went to the Zoo* again. Another litter of lion-cubs, which are a bit bigger than a domestic cat & spotted all over. Those born just a year ago are about the size of a St. Bernard dog. The ration of meat for a lion – I suppose its only meal in the day – seems to be about 6 or 7 lbs.

The Sardinian mouflon sheep¹ has a large udder like a goat & would probably yield a pint or more. I notice that the zebra’s hooves, at least the front ones, are quite perpendicular, but those of the ass-zebra hybrid are like those of a horse. The hybrid has very slightly larger ears, otherwise so far as the shape goes almost exactly like the zebra.

*ie. near Maidstone [Orwell’s own note].

¹A wild sheep found in the mountains of Sardinia and Corsica but, by extension, any large, wild, big-horned sheep.

В прошедшие несколько дней стоит изменчивая погода, дождливо и иногда жарко. Большая часть пшеницы и ячменя сейчас скошена и уложена в стога. Дети два дня собирают более-менее спелую  ежевику. 

Увидел белую сову две ночи назад - впервые за два года. И вдали другую птицу, скорее всего маленькую сову.

Каштаны уже полностью выросли, но еще не созрели. Плоды хмеля размером с лесной орех. Вчера снова пошли в зоопарк. Новый приплод львят, которые чуть больше домашней кошки, тановятся пятнистыми все больше. Рожденные только год назад сейчас размером с сенбернара. Порция мяса для льва, я думаю, что это его единственная еда в день, составляет 6 или 7 фунтов.

Aug. 12th, 2008

August 12

Very hot in the morning. In the afternoon sudden thunder-storm & very heavy rain. About 50 yards from the gate the road & pavement flooded a foot deep after only 1 1/2 hours rain.

Blackberries beginning to redden.

Август 12

Очень жарко с утра. После обеда неожиданная гроза с очень сильным дождем.Около 50 ярдов от ворот и тратуар затоплены на фут, всего лишь через полтора часа ливня.

Ежевика начала краснеть.

Aug. 12th, 2008

August 11

This morning all surfaces, even indoors, damp as a result of mist. A curious deposit all over my snuff-box, evidently residue of moisture acting on lacquer.

Very hot, but rain in afternoon.

Am told the men caught another snake this morning – definitely a grass snake this time. The man who saw them said they had tied a string round its neck & were trying to cut out its tongue with a knife, the idea being that after this it could not “sting.”¹

The first Beauty of Bath apples today.

¹See note 2, August 9 1938.

August 10

Drizzly. Dense mist in evening. Yellow moon.

Август 10

Моросит. Густой туман вечером. Желтая луна.

August 9, 1938

Caught a large snake in the herbaceous border beside the drive. About 2’ 6” long, grey colour, black markings on belly but none on back except, on the neck, a mark resembling an arrow head (ñ) all down the back. Did not care to handle it too recklessly, so only picked it up by extreme tip of tail. Held thus it could nearly turn far enough to bite my hand, but not quite. Marx¹ interested at first, but after smelling it was frightened & ran away. The people here normally kill all snakes. As usual, the tongue referred to as “fangs”².


Notes by Peter Davison, from the Complete Works:

¹The Orwells’ dog.

²It was an ancient belief that a poisonous snake injects its poison by means of a forked tongue and not, as is the case, through two fangs. So Shakespeare in Richard II, 3.20 – 22.

            Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder

            Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch

            Throw death upon thy sovereign’s enemies.

See also 11.8.38.



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