Welcome to justthoughtsnstuff

I started posting to jtns on 20 February 2010 with just one word, 'Mosaic'. This seemed an appropriate introduction to a blog that would juxtapose fragments of memoir and life-writing. Since 1996, I'd been coming to terms with the consequences of emotional and economic abuse that had begun in childhood, and which, amongst other things, had sought to stifle self-expression. While I'd explored some aspects of my life through fiction and, to a lesser extent, journalism, it was only in 2010 that I felt confident enough to write openly about myself. I believed this was an important part of the healing process. Yet within weeks, the final scenes of my family's fifty-year nightmare started to play themselves out and the purpose of the blog became one of survival through writing. Although some posts are about my family's suffering - most explicitly, Life-Writing Talk, with Reference to Trust: A family story - the majority are about happier subjects (including, Bampton in rural west Oxfordshire, where I live, Oxford, where I work, the seasons and the countryside, walking and cycling) and I hope that these, together with their accompanying photos, are enjoyable and positive. Note: In February 2020, on jtns' tenth birthday, I stopped posting to this blog. It is now a contained work of life-writing about ten years of my life. Frank, 21 February 2020.

New blog: morethoughtsnstuff.com.

Friday 26 February 2010


The other morning, while scrolling through twitter, I came across a post from my friend Caroline, who runs rentokil.com. She was saying to this woman that yes, she did agree that Rentokil would have had an adverse effect on Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis... What!

...One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. After a while he noticed that there was a small red dish in the corner of the room containing what looked like breadcrumbs. Yum, he thought. Slowly, and with the greatest difficulty, he wrestled with the bedclothes, legs flailing until plop, he dropped to the floor. Undeterred, he scuttled to the little dish and gobbled up its contents. Suddenly he felt queasy...


With apologies to Franz K, David Wyllie (translator) & Project Gutenberg.

Thursday 25 February 2010

bussing it

This morning I had to drop off a Puerto Rican cookery book at the Central Library and I was boiling in my heavy overcoat when I got back to the Taylor. Things were looking up!

Now on 18 crawling along Woodstock Road (in between sudden leaps forward), damp, cold and shoe-horned into my seat. Am I downhearted? Am I? Am I!

Sort of.

At least I can sit half-across my seat and its twin--it would truly be hell if I had to sit facing forward, knees against my nostrils. Plus, the bus is now racing along A40 (which seems miraculously clear--don't speak too soon!) and the heating feels hotter.

So, after I finish tapping this out, I'll plug in the earphones, select a fav track and listen to whatever Windows Media chooses to shuffle my way--as I drift to sleep, dreaming of this afternoon's Oracle financials training...

...I think I fancy Up the Junction by Squeeze. I remember buying it as a purple 45 when it came out: twice (first one warped when left on Fiesta parcel shelf in the sun then the other got kidnapped because I was playing it so much and driving everyone at Bledisloe Lodge up the wall--never to be seen again). Happy mems.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

wednesday night

Sausages are delicious, especially when the gravy's lamb-shank (though the Heinz ketchup made them--sssh, don't tell Jess).

Watched the last few moments of Vanity Fair on DVD earlier--great until you viewed the bonus material and saw what the ending might have been. Cinema one was fun and upbeat but alternative was moving and profound. Ah well, Reese Witherspoon was brill in both.

Maybe it was the film that made me think of the big break up in my own family--some thirteen years ago now. Looking back, the events that caused the breach were so sad and pointless and, as I've written elsewhere, wholly avoidable. I am still astonished in particular at the absence of love then. I wonder what those involved thought they were doing?

Though I suppose nothing human beings do should surprise anybody!



Having quick coffee in Taylor staff room and posting update on twitter (http://www.twitter.com/frankegerton): Gotta ditch some commitments, free up some time for my own work. Love twitter but when it's the closest you get to writing the next novel...

Outside, sun's out--yeeeha!

Tuesday 23 February 2010


Bedroom is like an ice-cave--without the pretty walls. Well, they are pretty but they don't look like the walls of an ice-cave. That's where the analogy breaks down.

This time last week we had family to stay and ended up sleeping in front of the fire. Hadn't been looking forward to this but when it came to it, I really enjoyed myself. Tempted to throw another few logs on and crash there now.

Heartened to see that Oxfordshire county libraries have just ordered 3 copies of Invisible. Yay!

Monday 22 February 2010

monday night

On S1 to Witney, where I'll get a cab home--no direct Bampton buses after 6 pm. Travel home is one of the trickier aspects of living in west Ox when you've stayed in Oxford for the evening.

Falling asleep on the bus, sailing through Witney and ending up in Carterton is another. Typing might just keep me awake.

Nora's farewell party at Carluccio's was fun. Had a couple of things off the set menu including what looked like a really simple salad. It was DElicious! That lettuce and tomato could taste that good. Also always love the Peroni's you can't get anywhere else--Red tonight. Was tempted by the 'vintage', or whatever it's called, but then remembered it's stonkingly strong and I have minutes to finish at work tomorrow morning...

Had really interesting chats with Argentinean and Polish colleagues, neither of whom I knew well before. It was a really lovely evening and Nora seems amazingly happy about her job.

Witney approaching... Time for a zzz...

Sunday 21 February 2010

sunday night

Getting up at 5 this morning was better than expected. Felt clear-headed, surprisingly, and excited to be up. The radio progs were new--a bit religiousy but some weren't. Fascinating bio of George Papandreou which included his brother's vivid memories of day soldiers stormed the family home when they were boys. Said to be traumatic--it would be.

That sun rose well before 7 made all the difference to my mood during the rest of the day. Having said that, lighter mornings all this week should have cheered me up but didn't. Am aware that I've been moody...

Disappointed that Neil Spencer's horoscopes for this week haven't appeared on Guardian website all day. We can't all be clairvoyant!

Where does the time go, though?

Looking forward to Nora's leaving do at Carluccio's tomorrow night.

(Why does Window's spellchecker always query 'website'!--you invented the flamin' things...Practically :--))


At noon across the street from our study-bedroom
There was the gentle but full sunlight and the daffodil stalks, six inches tall, ringing the plane trees.
Earlier, when the sun had barely risen, I found brittle ice on the pond and the frogs frisky beneath.
5 am starts this weekend, lots of assignments to mark.
Now it is night and I'm in front of a log fire, wood quick to burn since the ash was scooped out.
On the Chatsworth table, great aunt's legacy, lies John Cowper Powys' Maiden Castle,
Macdonald edition, 1966, typewritten review copy slip included;
I noticed this evening how the pages' print is slightly blurred;
Still, a precious book, its first line sunrise.

Saturday 20 February 2010