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.

Sunday 27 March 2011

dawn chorus, barn owl, 192, kingcups

Up early this morning because there were assignments to go through.

Went out onto the lawn with a cup of tea to enjoy the twilight. Only to be deafened by the dawn chorus. Retreated to tranquillity of kitchen.

But not before being stunned into complete immobility by the sight of a barn owl perched on our neighbour's fence. Then a particularly loud-voiced sparrow struck up and the owl morphed into a fluffy body and a very feline profile with pointy ears scowling to the left. Can't win em all.

Talking of double-takes, I was surprised to see in one entry on 192.com that the people who sold us the house ten years ago are still here, living with us. I wonder where they are.

After the owl-cat incident I cycled for an hour, coming back along the gated road, where these two pics were taken.

I was especially excited to see the kingcups, which cheered an otherwise fetid-looking ditch, whose surface was stirred by disturbing bubbly burps as I approached.

Friday 25 March 2011

fog, thames and time off

Love this weather. Such a surprise.

Had to be in Oxford for 8 am MSt meeting this morning, so drove rather than bussed it. Stopped to take a couple of pics from Tadpole Bridge looking east along the Thames into the fog and sun.

By the time I crossed the Thames again--on foot over Osney Bridge--the fog had lifted and the city was hotting up.

Great to have afternoon off yesterday and today. I say 'off' but there have been masses of catch-up things to do. Fun, though. Off to dig on allotment shortly.

Sunday 20 March 2011

kelmscott spring walk

Did the Kelmscott circular walk this afternoon--the one that takes you by the Thames to Buscot Lock and back along the Lechlade road. The last time we did it was during the snows in between Christmas and New Year (see post, Tuesday 28th December 2010).

This time, the sun was shining and the land was fresh and new. The banks of the Thames between to boatyard, above, and the lock are lined with reeds.

Sat out in the garden at the Plough. Good pint of Lechlade Thames Tickler.

Friday 18 March 2011

bampton moon

By-the-by a beautiful nearly full moon this evening.

west hanney

Long lie-in. Such a treat on a Friday.

Had a Times Eat Out for £5 lunch at the Plough, West Hanney--a great little pub in a beautiful village. Now in Oxfordshire but before the boundary changes in the 1970s in West Berkshire. Definitely has a West Berks feel--red brick, thatch, dark beamed bar. Delicious lightly malty Vale Brewery Best on handpump.

Lovely walk after lunch, which we first did in late summer last year. Much more stark this time, walking south of the village: a deep field of spring corn, a brake of skeletal trees and the Ridgeway beyond.

The return journey is by a green lane, fallen burdock along its route, fresh grass growing up, a clump of wild-ish daffodils.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

bloomin spring

It's a change not to be reading students' work on the bus to Oxford. I have time to look at the spring landscape.

At Standlake, the meadows by the river Windrush have a fine mist over them, which makes the grass seem even more green than in the sun.

Beyond Northmoor, looking towards the Thames, the mist has turned to fog and the escarpment below Appleton is hidden.

Although much of this year has been dry and not too cold the memory of the snows round Christmas lasts and it seems a relief to feel the days getting warmer. It feels like it's been a long winter. Not one that has left me feeling depleted, as some do, but as if I have been in a state of walking hibernation.

Yesterday lunchtime, I had to drop a letter off at Stanford and went via Queen's Lane. As I rounded one of the sharp bends I suddenly realised that the air above me was alive with buzzing. Masses of tiny bees hovered round the buds of one of the New College trees.

Returning along the High Street, I was excited to see the cherry outside St Mary's, the University Church in flower. I missed it last year. This time it seems earlier than usual.

Meanwhile, in Bampton the daffs that ring the bases of the line of limes in our street are out.