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.

Tuesday 28 December 2010


An enjoyable late walk to the west of Kelmscott--starting and ending at the Plough; passing the manor; turning onto the Thames path; heading to Eaton weir (no sign of the old flash weir that used to be there up to the 1930s, nor of the inn that was destroyed by fire--'in tragic circumstances' according to the National Trail Guide--just some rather picturesque moorings and a warehouse); then to Buscot lock; up to the Lechlade road and back to Kelmscott for a pint of Marston spiced ale.

The light was fading, even at 3 pm, and there was a mist from the melting snow--this was yesterday. The snow, though, was still very much there, in contrast to today, when, in Bampton at least, all but the deeper traces have gone.

The roads to Kelmscott hadn't been salted and were treacherous despite winter tyres. These tyres are especially good when it's icy but the slush seems to clog them and they slip a bit. There was one abandoned car with its bonnet smashed in and at the pub people talked about other accidents over Christmas.

William Morris' manor was all shut up. I tried to take a photo over the wall but all I got were shrubs with one or two glimpses of the building behind. In the paddock before you got to the manor there was giant bull--red Devon, perhaps. It seemed placid enough.

It was when the Downton Abbey filming started that I last posted a photo of the Plough. That was over six months ago and it was spring. In a way it seems a lifetime away because it was then that I was phoned about family problems that I'd no inkling of before then. Over the summer and into autumn the news got worse and worse--unbelievably so. There was a flare-up over Christmas, as is always said to be the way at this time of year. Some people are their own worst enemies--and I suppose one will never change them, no matter how much one hopes they might change. So sad to think of someone so wilfully isolated and destructive.

Now off to drinks at a house we've always wanted to see inside. How nosy!


  1. I would love to see Kelmscott, but I believe it's not easy to do that!

  2. Well, it's open on just one or two days a week during the summer. You can find out about it on the Society of Antiquaries website (I think). Well worth a visit.