9th February 1942: A visit to Mersea Island

Went down to Mersea this afternoon with Capt. Folkard and Nott. Went down to North Farm by Shop Lane. Walked along the cart-track, all ice and snow, though thawing a little now. Some of our men were hedging by the lane, and a little further on the three old Woods brothers were clearing out a ditch, watched from the hedge bank by their little dog and cat, who follow them everywhere.

As we came away I saw the sails of a barge just coming in over Colne Bar, faint and ghostly in the mist, looking as if she were sailing silently across the next meadow. There were cries of gulls and curlews from down on the saltings. A man hedging said there were many geese just over the sea-wall.

Checked up the Committee’s horses. All Suffolks, called Dodman, Boxer, Pride, and Prince. Poetical names. I wonder why Dodman? Perhaps “slow”, derived from “hodmedod”?

Back home at 5.30. Most enjoyable day though cold.

In Suffolk dialect a snail is referred to as a 'Hodmedod' whilst in Norfolk it is known as a 'Dodman' thus providing an appropriate name for the slow and steady Suffolk Punch Horse. CP


Barbara Critchley said...

Most interesting about the Suffolk dialect and also, that there is a horse called Boxer. Boxer was the name of the horse sent to the knackers in George Orwell's Animal Farm, published in 1945. I wonder if it was a common name for Suffolk Punch horses in the 1940s.

E J Rudsdale said...

Thanks Barbara - that's a good point about Boxer and the Orwell connection. Perhaps George Orwell drew his inspiration from a Suffolk Punch horse? CP

Barbara Critchley said...

Eric Arthur Blair chose his pen name from the Orwell river. I wonder if there are many other Suffolk connections in his books. Perhaps the Ministry of Defense operations at Orfordness informed 1984!

E J Rudsdale said...

Hopefully the George Orwell experts will be able to advise us on these Suffolk connections. I have enjoyed reading Eric Blair's wartime diaries for his keen observations and comparisons with Eric Rudsdale's blog (http://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/) There must be something about Erics and diaries! CP