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 17 September 2011

bleak, toadflax, wales, yorkshire, stories

The landscape looked harsh and bleak when I set off cycling this morning, especially to the east, thick cloud dulling the rising sun.

A few miles in, though, the light picked up and I saw a patch of toadflax by Kencot. Toadflax has been plentiful this year. Cheerful flowers.

I'd intended to lift spuds on the allotment this morning but the potato sacks aren't dry yet after I washed them on Thursday. Not that I'll need that many sacks. I dug some Cara last weekend and while the potatoes themselves were great--firm textured and delicious--the yield was poor. The dry start to the summer didn't help. Still, the spuds should be OK in the ground for a couple weeks before the keel slugs start munching them.

When I got home from cycling I was sad to read about the deaths of the four miners in south Wales.

It's a hundred years since my ancestors left Tredegar in the Rhonda for a new life but my mum passed down the old stories about my grandfather when he was a boy and what it was like in the mining villages when she visited Great-Granny Thomas during the thirties. Those stories are part of me somehow, just like the ones my dad told me about growing up in Yorkshire.

I'm grateful for those stories. They are a part of the family culture that withstands life's upsets. A part of me will always be Welsh, will always be Yorkshire, however imaginary that might seem.

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