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The air patterns in this bedsit are very odd. If I turn the gas fire on, the room gets colder, though if the gas fire is full on then the room does eventually warm up. And this morning I've discovered that if the gas fire is on and I open both the windows wide, the room gets warmer, though the area immediately by the window is cold.

I do half an hour of reading Latin every day, and the Latin I am learning is starting to get more complicated. I still refuse to learn grammar, because then when translating in my head, I get so stuck on the grammar, I forget what it is I am trying to translate. I'm hoping to learn it as I did English and Spanish grammar: through sheer usage. I really like this method of learning: starting off with very simple Latin phrases, which gradually add in new vocabulary which you eventually figure out from context and illustration.

The new daily self-improvement habit is press-ups, which I've never yet been able to do even when fit and strong and well. Oxfordgirl showed me a method of getting there gradually, so I'm doing, at the moment, a few reps of wall-pressups before breakfast. Nothing challenging, but even so my arms already do not love me. This means progress, right?

The other thing I am doing is reading old magazines. At the moment, it's Britannia and Eve from October 1936. There's enough dense reading matter in this one magazine to keep me reading for a couple of weeks. They literally don't make them like that any more. Articles are all novella length in very tiny print. The later magazines, which were published during rationing, are much slimmer. It's amusing to be reading the exact sort of adverts detailed in Dorothy L Sayer's 'Murder Must Advertise'. Also, the stories are surprising: single women could be alone in their bedroom with a man, even several men, of an evening and nobody batting an eyelid. One always gets the impression that pre-War society was incredibly strait-laced. Also, there was a nice article on travels around Leninist Russia, before Stalin took over and led to the privations and hardship we associate with the USSR. I want more old magazines now.

The magazine from 1945, which I've glanced through but not properly read, is really saddening. The articles are about making do and mending, but the adverts are particularly heartbreaking. 'There is no Ovaltine, but there will be soon!' 'Our lamps are helping our boys abroad, but one day you can enjoy their superior light!' sort of thing. And the one from the Ministry saying please don't steal rations from your children, in the nicest possible way.

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May 2014

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