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.

Friday 6 April 2012

holiday, oilseed rape, drought, kelmscott, willow bark

Can't quite believe it's Easter yet. Not least because it's holiday-time. The whole of next week off.

I'm not quite so shattered as I was at the start of the Xmas holiday but then the work schedule in Michaelmas Term was mad. I'm pleased I rationalised things a little for Hilary.

Dad's death was, of course, something that I could never have prepared for. It's not just the fact that he is dead that has been so shocking but the way his death acts on my mind and how all the awfulness of the past however many years is now suddenly put into relief--or should that be perspective. I'm not sure. In any event, I've started to write about life from 1988 onwards, which is so far, an unsettling, though therapeutic activity. It is something, come what come may, that I feel is necessary.

The holiday got off to a lovely start with a drinks party here last night. A low key but warm and enlivening evening.

This morning was unexpectedly sunny. I mowed the lawn before I set off on my cycle ride--how late I was in doing this, this year. Most people mowed their lawn for the first time two or three weeks ago.

Cycling was great--sometimes cycling involves being relaxed in quite a disciplined, forced way because it's time snatched from a busy schedule. But today felt luxurious. In the countryside around the village, a lot of winter oilseed rape is coming into flower. A striking but still, I feel, a synthetic-looking crop, somehow. Maybe my view of it is because I can remember it first appearing in the landscape. When I was a boy, a yellow field meant a mustard crop and was very rarely seen.

The middle photo above, shows that rather strange moaty pond down by the Thames near Tadpole bridge. Regular readers of this blog might recall other photos of this feature last year--see 12th January 2011, 10th April 2011, and 15th May 2011. If you click on the above photo, I think it's clear that the water level is low now and reflects the severity of the drought that has led to the hosepipe ban. The land generally round here looks like it's not doing well--struggling, I would say.

After a late breakfast we headed for Kelmscott for a walk and a pint of Hooky at the Plough. The bark of a huge willow near William Morris's manor is shown above.

When we got home, we watched the last few minutes of Four Weddings and Funeral on DVD (ace film) and the start of Sunset Boulevard. I remember we were allowed to watch the start of the latter film when I was at Heatherdown in about 1970. We were all sitting in the old library in our dressing gowns on a spring evening but had to go to the dormitories after about three-quarters of an hour. I've wanted to know what happened ever since but have never got round to finding out. I still don't know but hopefully over the next few days I will.

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