Injected last Monday, but no change in shoulder condition…the pain is not severe, but continuous and tends, I am afraid, to make me even less easy to live with than I am normally (poor E. wants to natter about the fireplace she has painted, the kitchen walls she wants to paint in the summer holidays; I, after keeping the kids – bless ’em – company till 8.30 p.m., just want to read).
Went to a conference on language teaching, at Woodberry Down, last Tuesday. Opened my mouth -in folly – strange to think that nearly thirty years ago I talked on equal terms with [Abba] Eban and [Victor] Mishcon. I seem to be unable to string half a dozen mediocre sentences together off the cuff. A propos of a concluding remark by Mrs Cox, the formidably efficient (but carefully avoiding any “mannishness” – pearls, soignée) Head of Woodberry Down’s Language Dept., that in translating, elegance (or correctness? – it doesn’t affect the issue) of English should be sacrificed to accuracy, I referred – clumsily – to my professional experience as a translator and said that to an English publisher readability of English was the first consideration; I myself – and others – simply omitted any difficult or uncertain passages. MacGowan [school Inspector] said he thought this was damnable, on a level with the “Daily Express”.
Another of the lecturers took the micky out of the je-coupe-la-banane – type of lesson; one learnt a foreign language to acquire its literary treasures, not to be able to buy shoelaces in the market. He quoted Ruskin on housemaids and queens. His lecture was brilliant entertainment, but I thought that if there were a hiatus in the discussion I would make some crack about the housewife of to-day preferring to converse with a housemaid, if she could get one, to a queen. However, the opportunity did not occur. The last lecture was by a chap who provided an effective contrast to the Ruskin-quoter; he (the last lecturer) had sec. mod. kids to teach and gave them, with plenty of his own duplicated material, stuff of the “Avez-vous dansé le twist” kind. He was a youngish chap, full of enthusiasm,imagination; obviously he just doesn’t potter around when he comes home. Reading The Small Room by one May Sarton, on womens’ college in States.