Joseph Witriol’s Journal – Part 19: Time for curtain lectures

Wednesday, 14th May 1958, 8pm

A pleasant domestic scene – Edith engaged with needle, bath running – now – or rather just now – leaning heavily over me rendering writing of this journal even more difficult than I find it anyway. Edith points out it is 9 o’clock, not 8. I am not in the least angry with her for correcting me in really trivial matters of this kind. Everything is lovey-dovey. How long will it last? How long can it last? My wife called me a cynical old sod – her language leaves much to be desired.

I weighed myself the other day. 14st. 9lb. – on the same machine and in the same clothes on and in which I weighed myself when I started and finished my diet. I’m pretty sure I got down to less than 13½ stone at one time – I have the record somewhere in these pages. I don’t know whether I shall be able to go through with another diet, but feel I ought to get down to 13 stone, and then relax the diet, but revive immediately I passed 13½.

Can think of nothing of interest to record. There is a bus strike, now in its 10th day. Had an unusually good day last Saturday because of it. Omitted usual visits to Mum’s, spent entire day in glorious idleness indoors. I even succeeded in getting halfway through Henry[sic] Pulham, Esq.

Am now getting £2-2-0 per NLJC  [New Liberal Jewish Congregation] session. As a result of our agitation for increased remuneration, Rabbi Kokotek was able to show us our agreed higher rates. He showed me a piece of paper on which 21/- + 10/6 was entered against my name. He asked me if this would be acceptable, I said yes – but then I noticed that against Elsie Brotmacher’s name the sum of £2-2-0 was written. Somme toute, I now get £2-2-0, and even though I shall declare this for tax it will still leave me 7/- better off per Sunday session.

With Edith, Sam & Lily to Golders Green Hippodrome Saturday before last to see Rattigan’s Variations on a Theme – epigonic, if the adjective exists. Edith has just returned from her bath – she insisted on my re-rubbing her back, the first two rubbings were not vigorous enough for her – and has read – very well – some lines from Bunyan.

A desultory day – no “work” done in the evening, but perhaps not unsatisfactory at school [Hargrave, an Islington primary school]. In spite of bad start – wireless next door at 7am, I had to go out and knock up the chap next door (He, lathered: I’m in a hurry, now leave me alone – I: I don’t want to get up when you get up – he aborted the conversation by closing the door forcibly on me) – I felt vigorous enough to take half-a-dozen kids out of Smith’s hymn practice and go through and mark their compositions with them. I could have had this time free – glow of virtue. In the afternoon Heppell came down in my P.E. lesson and after giving the class a curtain lecture did some exercises with them, gave me one or two ideas. Afterwards they did a ball passing game and did it quite well.

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