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 17 December 2010

ice flowing, party season, nearly xmas

Spent the weekend in Hay on Wye. It was good to get away for a few days--during term it's Oxford, Oxford. Great city but it's nice to rediscover favourite not-Oxford places.

Saw swans grazing a field of roots on the first day's walking. It was strange how some suddenly started striding into flight and then another group. The line creaked round in a broad circle before a few curved back to the field, landing in almost the same place they'd started from. The others headed off along the river then banked inland, white kites running against the slate sky.

Also saw a broad ribbon of ice flowing down the Wye off the Warren. The slabs were tight-packed up to the weir then a loose and orderly file, save for when one or two got snagged on branches or an islet. In the middle of them one time was a football, looking out of place but cheerful somehow.

The Sunday was beautiful sunshine and clear reviving air.

In Oxford it's party time this week. It's great to catch up with old friends and spend time with colleagues. Wednesday night was the Taylor dinner at the University Club--a warm, lovely evening. Today it's the St Antony's drinks and lunch, followed by the librarian in charge's party at the Taylor. Then... Well then I'm at work tomorrow... Will have to pace myself.

This morning the Nokia shuffle has turned up rather more Star Sailor than is comfortable. I remember one moody winter lying in front of the fire nights and near-drowning in Star Sailor's complimenting melancholy. Well, that was then. Now the music's a bit of pain to be quite honest. And mannered--once you can see how music's done; when it's all just sound and form and no emotion, it's had it. Ah, what's this, Distant Dreamer? Phew!

So, nearly Xmas. So looking forward to the break!


  1. Have a good Christmas and thank you for keeping this expat aware of England's charm!

  2. Thanks, Rupert. Today's snowy charms would be many were it not for travelling! Biggest fear is being marooned in Oxford... You too have a good Christmas!