Welcome to justthoughtsnstuff

Welcome to justthoughtsnstuff.com (jtns), which I've been writing since 2010. Most of its 680 or so posts are about day to day things - highlights from the previous week, books read, places visited - accompanied by photos of what I've seen. There are some posts, though, that deal with emotional and economic abuse that went on for several decades and that came to a head in autumn 2010. Writing jtns became in part a way of coping with the consequences of the abuse and exploring them openly. This aspect of jtns is discussed in jtns an introduction and life-writing talk, with reference to trust: a family story. Writing jtns has also helped me to keep going. Now that the pain of the past years is easing, the frequency of jtns posts is beginning to lessen and in 2020, when the blog turns ten years old, they will stop. I hope that visitors enjoy reading the posts and looking at the photos and take a little from them. Frank, October 2018
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Sunday, 11 November 2018

in memoriam























In memory of my great-uncle, Claude Meysey-Thompson, who died in France in 1915 and whose body was brought back by my great-grandfather and buried in the family plot at Little Ouseburn in Yorkshire.

On his gravestone is written: "In Loving Memory of Captain The Hon.Claude Henry Meysey Meysey-Thompson, 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade. Only Son of 1st Lord Knaresborough. Born 5th April,1887. Wounded in the Trenches near Ypres 6th June, 1915. Died at Bailleul in France 17th June, 1915 in the presence of his father who brought back the body to England and it was interred here on the 22nd June, 1915."

With thanks to this thread on the Great War Forum for information about Claude. In the thread it is pointed out that his body was probably one of the last to be brought home for family burial because this was stopped by the government. There was an interesting article in the Times this week that discussed people's outrage at not being able to bring the remains of their loved ones home, entitled 'Don’t bury our brave boys like dogs'.

The article begins:

'"Is it not enough to have our boys dragged from us and butchered without being deprived of their poor remains?"

So pleaded one bereaved mother during the First World War, joining thousands in expressing outrage that the bodies of fallen soldiers would be buried in mass cemeteries abroad rather than returned home for private family burials.'

Sunday, 4 November 2018

bruton catch-up





...Some pics of our escape to Somerset in September. Someone said there wasn't much to see in Bruton but we loved the little tucked away places there.

And there are tons of other things to enjoy. See this Evening Standard piece, 10 reasons why you should visit Bruton, Somerset from 2016. (We had an excellent al fresco lunch At The Chapel.) Then there's Godminster cheese!

It was At The Chapel that we saw the wood wasp coming and going.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

st margaret's, binsey























On Saturday I worked in Oxford.

My walk took me to St Margaret's, Binsey, where we were married. I haven't revisited the country lane (that is both within the ring road and outside time) that leads from the hamlet to the church for quite a while.

What a beautiful place! Especially on a bright sunny frosty morning in October.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

giant beetroots and carrots!








The carrots and beetroots on the allotment have come - more than - good, putting on astonishing growth in the late summer after going nowhere for months!

last alpine holiday snaps, happy memories, gentians, spruce needle anthills!





These are the last pics from our holiday in the French Alps.

Such happy memories of seeing our friends and of walking in the forests and on the hillsides above La Chapelle-d'Abondance.

Loved seeing wild mushrooms and flowers, including gentians.

The extraordinary ant hills made of spruce needles were amazing. I can find articles about forest ants in the Jura and Swizerland but clearly they are found in the French Alps too!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

propelled, summer memories, the future























It almost seems a lifetime since I last posted.

The Michaelmas 0th and 1st Week turbines have propelled me from the lingerings of late summer to the supercharged pace of the academic year.

Suddenly the town is teeming with new students and there are inductions to do. The old year's finals papers tumble through the letterbox for marking.

The patterns of working are refound, hopefully with new ideas that have suggested themselves unconsciously over the last twelve months.

This October everything is heightened by a summer that refuses to yield fully and the memories of unending sunny days. Evenings spent at the top of the garden: drinking wine at the old table above our pond (that table has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember); reading; watching the bats and listening to the owls as the light faded. Of holidays in the Alps and Somerset. Of eating apples picked from our trees.

This weekend there is a brief moment or two at dawn, as I write, to savour the future - brim full of concealed potential - and the past, as the trees sough in the gales outside.

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The last of the Alpine photos and some from the Somerset trip to follow.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

anna beer's patriot or traitor: the life and death of sir walter ralegh, osney memories























Outstanding in-depth Times review today of my friend and colleague Anna Beer's Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh.

Today's post first appeared on the jtns Instagram account earlier (above photo: Osney allotments from across the Thames).

It's a long time ago that we left Osney Island, where we were members of the local allotment association. In those days I was a citizen of west Oxford, in between leaving the University and being reclaimed by it to work as a librarian and to teach. The Island was a different world to ts expensive exclusive present incarnation. There were two pubs and a bakery-cum-village shop. Memories of collecting the bread early in the morning and the smell of the baking in the frosty air. And the floury-browed baker in his cap and apron. There were residents who had been born on the Island. The author John Wain used to walk to the Waterman's Arms from Wolvercote for a pint - his Where the Rivers Meet trilogy was about the two sons of a fictional Waterman's lanlord, one a don the other working at the car plant at Cowley pre WWII. Parts of my first novel were also set in a fictional Waterman's. Coincidentally it was to be published by an imprint founded by John Wain's son. The allotments flooded every second or third spring and the Thames seemed to bring fertility. We were members of the committee and each September I would help take the rents, recording the payments in a ledger. Our allotment neighbour was a former trades unionist and City Mayor. We learnt much from him about local politics and local history. I think he hoped I might go into local politics and I attended some meetings. But I'm not a political person. I'm a floating voter - a much derided sort of voter. Yet democracy assumes floating voters and what would it be without them?