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.

Monday 27 December 2010

shifford walk

Surprisingly chipper today after long, long Christmas day.

Went to Morris Clown at lunchtime yesterday, which was, as usual, great.

Today, the temperature didn't get above freezing, although we had a wonderful walk from Tadpole Bridge to the weir to the south of Shifford Lock.

Just after the bridge (above), half-way along, we met a friend and watched a barn owl working Chimney Meadows nature reserve.

A feature of the nature reserve--and other stretches of the Thames hereabouts (frozen over in parts, incidentally)--are the World War II pillboxes. These seem so out of place now--brutal concrete polygons with mean gun-slits--but there must have been a strategic reason for them years ago.

After the walk we had a pint at the Trout at Tadpole, a pub which was immortalised by the brilliant travel writer and illustrator, Robert Gibbings. I think he would still recognise the place, though some walls have been knocked out and the intimacy he describes has gone.

Later, at home, we watched more of Downton Abbey--so gripping! It's amazing but my blog got masses of hits during the broadcast of the series, because of one or two of my photos, but I've not seen the programme because we don't have a TV. Terrific to catch up. The village streets seem really spacious--no cars parked in them.

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