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.

Saturday 27 August 2011

change, time off, kite, witney etc

Two photos of scenes that first appeared in this blog earlier in the year. The top photo shows a recently cultivated field--the picture of the ripening corn that stood here was posted just a few weeks ago. The oak in the lower picture was originally photographed back in March--its bare branches looking like a representation of a brain against the white sky.

The oak stands about two-thirds the way along the gated road towards Broadwell. Oaks are said to indicate good soils. They are noticeably absent from Bampton and the surrounding countryside--only one or two in Hayway Lane about half a mile from Rushey Lock.

The photos above show the changing landscape. Up to now, this summer, I've felt somewhat bewildered by the rate at which things have been changing. I've been so busy with the libraries and teaching that I've lost touch with the allotment and garden, beyond picking veg and mowing the lawn. I've not walked my favourite walks for months. Cycling has kept me sane.

Now, though, I'm taking almost a fortnight off. It's great to stop for a bit. Particularly at this time of year--a time when the countryside seems to slow for a while and take stock. But perhaps I'm projecting the rhythm of my life onto the year!

Be that as it may, it's great to be on holiday. Today when cycling, a red kite flew across the road near Kencot, just after I'd taken the photo above. It was pursued by a crow and was so close it was amazing to be able to see all its plumage and how big a bird it is--its body, as well as its wingspan. The kites that were released in the Chilterns many years ago only appeared as far west as here the year before last but have become an increasingly common sight.

Jess' mum came to stay on Thursday. Visit to Witney Museum yesterday afternoon--a great social history museum--then a late lunch at the Hollybush (excellent that you can eat there all day), and a delicious supper at the Bell at Langford (thanks Jess' mum).

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