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, 20 April 2011

woodstock, blenheim rules, shifford insect lodge

Stayed in Woodstock last night. Had supper at a pub that was an intriguing mix of traditional English and downtown midwest USA.

Tried to get into Blenheim grounds this morning to do walk we did years ago. But when Jess showed her RHS card she was told that 'Blenheim rules' mean that only the RHS member can enter the grounds for free. The second person has to pay over £11.

Decided to return to Bampton and have a drink in the garden at the Trout at Tadpole, then walk to Shifford lock. Not before, though, calling in at the Woodstock Bookshop (http://www.woodstockbookshop.co.uk) to ask if they would be interested in stocking Invisible. Rachel Phipps said yes, which is great!

On the way to the bookshop we passed Brotherton's, where I used to work as barman back in the 80s.

Along the Thames path to Shifford, we saw a swallow, some reed buntings and a cormorant, and heard some reed warblers. Loved the bulrushes above and the fascinating insect lodge at Shifford lock.

Extraordinarily hot today--certainly didn't feel like April.

A terrific day--though spoilt at various times by the never-ending family problems.

Some behind-the-scenes photos of Downton Abbey filming tomorrow.

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