January 12th, 2006

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Actually did some flute practice yesterday for the first time in years. Ow. Not only am I badly out of practice (obviously), but all the assorted reflexes & muscle development have vanished totally. By the end of ~45 minutes playing my lips, arms, fingers & diaphragm were all letting me know they'd had enough. And whilst I knew what my fingers should be doing they weren't actually doing it with anything like the precision & speed they "should've" been. Still, it'll get better over time ... given I used to only practice ~15 minutes a week, if I can practice for some time every day then I'll get back up to standard a lot quicker than I got there in the first place ;)

Read a couple of chapters of my new book ("What Great Paintings Say") at lunchtime - read about the Papyrus of Ani (an Egyptian book of the dead detailing the trials to come in the afterlife) and about the mosaic of the Empress Theodora with her Retinue in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna (which I already knew a bit about because sienamystic had written about the church & mosaics a little while ago). Amusingly for a book with the subtitle "From the Bayeux Tapestry to Diego Rivera" it starts with two chapters about things before the Bayeux Tapestry ;) And I read about the Medieval economy in my historical atlas ... with maps of things like taxable wealth per square mile, showing how south-east England in the early 14th Century was already significantly more wealthy than the rest of the British Isles, and England was in general more wealthy than the other countries (except for a bit of the east coast of Scotland between Aberdeen & Berwick).

The bulk of the late afternoon and evening was spent reading the newest Robert Jordan book, in which stuff seems to be happening! Though not lots of stuff yet, but there's a sense of progression in the plotlines - I'm hoping for some resolution on some of them by the end of the book (like the Perrin/Faile thing, as it irritates me - in GRRM's books people die but I don't necessarily want them to, in RJ's books there are characters I want to diediediediedie but they don't seem to oblige). Reading it straight after the new GRRM I'm particularly struck by the shallowness of some of the characterisation (Elayne in particular is currently 'psycho mood-swingy irrational pregnant bitch', with little else to her personality).