Devoted Hooting Yardists will be familiar with the contents of Key’s Cupboard this week, where I bring to the attention of Dabbler readers the egg-counting antics of George Orwell. I often reflect – and by “often” I mean daily, daily – on the fact that two titanic figures in the cultural landscape of the twentieth century had such wildly divergent attitudes to eggs. There is Orwell, thin and wiry, with his love of eggs, and Alfred Hitchcock, plump and bloated, who was terrified of them.
It could be argued that Orwell was not an egg lover as such, that he merely had a mania for counting them, a mania that could have found expression in the counting of other farm (or smallholding) produce. Frankly I cannot be bothered to do the biographical research which would be necessary to write a monograph entitled George Orwell’s Attitude Towards Eggs. Perhaps someone else could take on that important task.
Given his authorship of Animal Farm, Orwell surely meant something by his counting of eggs.