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.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

snow, ice, things

The last ten days of freezing conditions have been such a shock. Somehow you don't expect weather like this until after Christmas. The day the big freeze started, I was all set to spend Friday afternoon digging the allotment. I couldn't believe it when I got off the bus back from Oxford and found the ground in Bampton was frozen solid.

One very sad thing has been losing several frogs. We've been melting holes in the ice with a coffee maker before it gets light to let in air and then keeping these ice-free throughout the day. All seemed well till the incredibly severe frost on Thursday night. On Friday morning two frogs were dead and more have died since. I don't understand why. Is it the cold or is it some illness brought on by the cold? Melting holes in the ice like this has worked in past years. You might lose one or two frogs but never this many.

Meanwhile, on a selfish note, I'm hoping that there will be a thaw round Christmas time so we can lift the carrots, swede and parsnips.

Teaching is winding up now and I'm looking forward to a nice break before the mad fortnight of launching the online courses and marking diploma assignments from 10th January...2011. Can't believe it's nearly 2011. For some reason 2011 seems so much further into the 'new' century than 2010.

I was interviewed by the Oxford Times about Invisible and StreetBooks the other day. I don't know whether I said anything interesting--or embarrassing. I just remember feeling numb with cold. Not sure when the piece is coming out.

This morning on the radio there was the usual 'on this day' feature at 5.40 and one of the events was the shooting of John Lennon. I remember driving to Chestall to see Belinda and Radio 1 being wall-to-wall John Lennon songs. It was very cold that year too. It doesn't seem long ago at all. Yikes!

This morning they played this clip from his last interview in which he said how safe he felt walking the New York streets. Maybe they play this clip every year but I don't remember hearing it before.

On Monday it was the Latin American Centre Christmas party. It was great to get together with everyone. Lovely atmosphere, as always. Quite a few parties coming up, which I'm really looking forward to.

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