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 22 October 2011

digging, luxury uptake, football, che guevara, apex

Up to the allotment early. Dug over the last bit--although there are a few yards in front of the compost bins that I turned in September, which could do with going over again because the hot weather has made the couch sprout. I'll see. It wouldn't be a disaster if I couldn't dig this corner again before the inevitable November rains (the allotment, being on Oxford clay, holds water and some parts, including the area with the couch, soon become quicksand). I say 'the inevitable November rains' but what happened to the inevitable October ones?

I also spread some of the ash from the rubbish heap fire over the ground I was digging. That part had some ash on it a couple of years ago. Hope I'm not overdoing things. I have a dim memory of Mr Wiseman, our plant husbandry lecturer at Cirencester, talking about 'luxury uptake of potash'. Not sure if this was good or bad and how it came about. Fingers crossed.

The area to the right of the ash heap, by the way, is left as couch nowadays because the eucalyptus that overshadows it (the tree's on our neighbour's plot) has rendered it pretty much useless for growing anything else. I think the trees leach goodness out or maybe change the pH of the soil. Anyway, they're quite selfish, eucalyptuses--though I do like the tree being there. The only tree on the whole allotment site. Sometimes in late spring or summer, when you've been working hard, it's nice to step under the tree's shade and cool down.

The first shed picture shows the patched roof pitch--it'll do, I reckon--whereas the second one shows the felt I put on the other pitch last autumn.

Earlier in the week, I went for a walk in the University Parks in Oxford after my lunchtime sandwich. Some students were playing football and as I passed, the ball came bouncing towards me. I tried to ignore it but none of the players were chasing after it. Clearly they were hoping that I might kick it back. I felt the coercion of their gazes and decided that I couldn't just walk on. But then memories of school football started filling my brain and I could hear the sickening thud of a mis-kick, and see the ball either leaping into the air and thudding to a standstill a yard away, or else bananaing into an impenetrable clump of bushes. What was I doing even trying this? And when I kicked this ball I was actually looking at the impenetrable clump of bushes off to the side in full anticipation of disaster. Doc Marten connected with plastic. The ball curved gracefully up and flew towards the students. Amazing! Cries of thanks followed and someone punched the air with what looked like a Che Guevara salute.

I wondered what they thought. Some middle aged office worker in his blue overcoat reliving the glittering football career of his boyhood? No, they'd seen the apex of my footballing career!

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