It's a shame, then, that I keep coming across things that are far more interesting than tidying. Today's pick is a wee book that must have been my grandmother's, called 'English papers for preparation or homework'. Published in 1931, it provides all the practice a young 'un could need in identifying famous quotations, paraphrasing great works in a third of the length, and memorising at which school great English leaders were educated.
It also contains the following serious and thought-provoking exercises
* Write a dialogue between a cow and a cabbage, on the subject of vegetarianism
* Name six things besides cigars which should be kept in a dry place
* Write a short essay on the relative advantages of living a short gay life, and a long serious one
* Write a short essay on the uses of indiarubber
* Describe all that you could procure from an ideal penny-slot machine
* Suggest, and illustrate by a drawing, how a petrol-station might be in no way disfiguring to a picturesque country road
* Draw a picture in pencil or colours to illustrate the following incident from Plutarch's "Life of Antony"...
* Suggest two wireless programmes, to be obtainable concurrently, so that a highbrow and a lowbrow listener can each be satisfied