We sometimes accuse politicians of speaking Greek to us but one Harrow resident has turned the tables - by writing to Boris Johnson in Latin.
Penelope Sherwood, 60, has asked the new Conservative Mayor of London to overturn Harrow Council's approval for the construction of 383 flats in five blocks in Gayton Road, Harrow.
Last month, the Observer revealed that the Greater London Authority, which is headed by the Mayor, refused to veto the scheme despite being unhappy at the low numbers of affordable housing promised.
Undetered, Mrs Sherwood, of Gayton Road, decided to use her language skills to appeal to the Tory politican's understanding and admiration for the classics.
She has an O-level in Latin but has been relearning the dialect from scratch at Harrow University of the Third Age - a lifelong learning programme for mature students based at Harrow Arts Centre in Uxbridge Road, Hatch End - for the past three years.
Mrs Sherwood said: "I'm one of the people who has been objecting all along to the Gayton Road development. If there's a massive influx of people - thousands of people - it will upset the wonderful way residents here get along with each other.
"I thought it was good to bring this to his attention. I wrote the letter in a couple of days but my teacher Barbara Pokorny worked on it for longer than that.
"Latin is a difficult language because you never hear it spoken and it's very grammatical. There was no word for 'car' in Latin so we had to use the word for 'chariot' (currus) instead."
She posted the letter - addressed to 'Bori Filio Johannis' - on Sunday and expects his office to have received it on Tuesday.
Mrs Sherwood said: "It would be nice if he did reply back in Latin. I have my doubts whether he will help our cause, but we can hope."
The Latin letter
Penelope Sherwood Bori Filio Johannis Praefecto Londinii spd
Civis sum Harroviensis. Concilium oppidi decrevit quinque insulas in nostra via brevi angustaeque, herbida arbustaque aedificatum iri, quarum una decem tabulata tenebit atque qui caneculas tricenti sexaginta tres(CCCLXIII) praebebunt. Erunt solum octaginta loca ad currus reliquendum his omnibus cenaculis. In via vetitum est currus relinquere.
Sim iam in hac via octo insulas quattuor tabulatorum. Nimium gentum, nimis alta aedificia.
Volumus concilium persuadere ut legem promulgent ne suburbs urbs fiat, et speramus te nobis auxilium ferre et posse et velle.
Penelope Sherwood to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. Greetings.
I am a citizen of Harrow. The town council has decreed that five blocks of flats will be built in our short, narrow, green and leafy street. One of these will be 10 storeys high and they will provide 383 flats. There will be only 80 parking spaces for all these flats. It is forbidden to park in the street.
There are already eight blocks of flats four storeys high. Too many people, buildings that are too high.
We want to persuade the council to throw out the bill, to prevent the suburbs being turned into a city, and we hope that you will be both able and willing to help us.