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.

Sunday 25 November 2012

flooding, tredegar, edward thomas, insecurities, visconti, clair, such a strange experience

The rain was relentless yesterday, pouring down on ground that was already saturated.

The fields and the allotment are awash. On the latter this is a miserable end to a miserable year.

So far, though, no significant flooding of roads in our village or neighbouring ones, apart from some water flowing across the Black Bourton road in Clanfield just beyond the Plough. But only a few inches. The water was lapping over the Shill Brook on Mill Green in Bampton but hopefully this will subside soon--the water does seem to be getting away much quicker than it did during the dreadful floods of 2007 (some 200 houses were flooded then).

As I mentioned on Facebook earlier in the week, I was intrigued to find out that Edward Thomas' father was from Tredegar in the Rhondda Valley. This was where my maternal grandfather came from--also called Thomas, though no relation to the poet that I know of. When I told the author of A Conscious Englishman, Margaret Keeping, about this, she said in passing that she thought that I was 'not unlike' Thomas. Well, if I only had his gifts... But what I do relate to when reading the novel, is his insecurity and lack of confidence. I've sometimes wondered if these are traits that other descendants of people who left Wales feel. I certainly noticed this in my cousins on the Welsh side, who now live in England. In fact I wrote about these issues in The Lock. Gerald's best friend, Jonathan (a Welshman living in Oxford), manifests just such insecurity and lack of confidence, despite being successful (and nearly all my Anglo-Welsh cousins are successful). I don't understand why being of Welsh descent living in England should produce these traits but perhaps it has something to do with feeling deracinated and not fitting in.

Having said that, in the Times' review of The Lock (for those with access beyond the paywall) there was mention of 'hearty northerners', which I think referred to Jonathan--so perhaps I didn't make it clear enough that he was Welsh, after all :-)

Meanwhile I unpacked some paperbacks yesterday that I hadn't seen since January 1978. My reading from the 1970s, including scripts of early Luchino Visconti and RenĂ© Clair films, which I must have been going through shortly before everything was put in store (regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the odd saga that is behind the unpacking of the books). Such a strange experience, seeing them again. Hard to get my head round it.

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