To Orwell Today,
re: the Jura diaries


I read in a scrapbook at Barnhill that Orwell's Jura diaries were published in 1998. Do you happen to know where to find them? Are they part of a larger collection of essays/diaries?

Peter Sibley

Greetings Peter,

How is it that you came to be in Barnhill? It would be nice to hear about it.

All the best,
Jackie Jura


My wife and I splurged for a week at the old manse earlier this month. It was pretty expensive: about $1,000, but irresistible in terms of its location and remoteness. I wouldn't say we're hermits, but ... well, you can understand the allure. We used it as a staging point for treks to the island's west coast - Glen Batrick, Glen Garrisdale and the like. The weather was lovely five days out of six. We saw seals, an otter, and many strange birds and insects. And when the wind is just right, one of the agitation points in the Corryvreckan forms a perfect circle. I'd love to send you a picture once it's been scanned.

Before going there, I had read about your near-religious pilgrimage to Barnhill - VISITING ORWELL'S BARNHILL - so I felt like I knew the place before ever setting foot there. The quality of sleep there is unmatched. A fellow named Thurston Clarke, who had visited Damaris and Jamie at Barnhill for a few days, wrote of the house's "lunar" silences. I thought that was an apt description. It would be easy to sleep 12 or 15 hours uninterrupted.

And doing the little things we take for granted were fun. Fetching coal for the Rayburn, maintaining the generator. I hope you can go back and spend more time there, if you haven't already!

Now about those diaries ...

Hello Peter,

At this very moment I am continuing with the writing of my last summer's PILGRIMAGE TO ORWELL and so it is very apt to be receiving your email with comments on your having read the part about Barnhill.

But I have ONE more question.

Was there a copy of my Homage to Orwell book there and an Orwell Today T-shirt? I hope so as Jamie and Demaris said that they would leave them at Barnhill as part of the memorabilia. I'll be sending them a book of the Pilgrimage to Orwell once I get it finished (very soon).

Jackie Jura


I believe your "Homage to Orwell" book was on a small table to the left of the fireplace. I regret not reading it, but there's still time for that. The Orwell Today T-shirt I didn't see, but then we were just two people in a five-bedroom house, and we didn't rummage about much...

And if you'd be so kind, I'd love to know where Orwell's Jura Diaries can be found. There's no book title, to my knowledge, including the words "Orwell" and "Jura," and I figured that if anyone knew, it would be you.

I look forward to reading more about your pilgrimage. Your passion is infectious.

Peter S.

Hello Peter,

Well, I can't imagine a more perfect place for my book Homage to Orwell to be than on a table by the fireplace with a photo of Orwell looking down from the mantel. Maybe Jamie's wearing the T-shirt and that's why you didn't see it. I hope so.

Actually, as I say, I'm busy at the moment writing the rest of the Pilgrimage and don't have time to research the Jura Diaries but off the top of my head all I can recall about Orwell's Wallington and Jura diaries is that they consist entirely of domestic matters concerned with when he put the garden in, what kind of bird he saw that day etc etc. I can't remember if he wrote much of even that while he was on Jura.

I know that is a let-down of an answer but for now that's all I've got. When I get back to normal Orwell Today work and come across something tangible (I'll look in the indexes of the biographies) I'll let you know.

I better dash now so that there will be more of the Pilgrimage for you to read. It's nice to hear that you are enjoying it.

Anytime you want to tell me more about your week on Barnhill I'd love to hear and share it with the readers and please do send that Corryvreckan whirlpool photo when it's scanned.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

PS - I have just now finished the next chapter of my Pilgrimage to Orwell. You can be one of the first to read it - ORWELL'S WHITE HORSE


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~