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.

Saturday 3 April 2010

adlestrop, st nick's and the fox

Thanks again to Helen Peacocke for her book Paws Under the Table, 40 dog-friendly walks from Oxford to the Cotswolds (Wychwood Press, ISBN 978 1 902279 35 0).

This time we drove to Lower Oddington, just west of Stow-on-the-Wold and did an hour-and-a-half walk via Adlestrop and Daylesford before downing a pint of Hooky at the Fox, a flagstoned, beamed and inglenooked foodie pub.

And, yes, I took a photocopy of the Edward Thomas' poem Adlestrop with me and read it aloud to Jess and Tufty near the disused station. (Copied from my prized Faber Collected Poems, 1945.)

We also visited St Nicholas' church, Lower Oddington and saw the medieval doom painting that was restored early last century (photo above).

Here is Aldlestrop:

Yes. I remember Adlestrop---
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop---only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and father, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

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