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 16 December 2012

frozen oxford canal, east oxford art & book fair, brian levison, yehuda amichai, fox at great barrington, sir bradley

Warm today but SO cold earlier in the week!

Oxford canal froze over (above)--a very different scene at the last lock before the city centre to the one a couple of months ago, let alone the one that was used as a basis for the cover of the Kindle edition of The Lock.

StreetBooks was at the first East Oxford Art & Book Fair yesterday, which was an excellent event. In the photo above, Margaret Keeping signs a copy of her wonderful novel about Edward Thomas, A Conscious Englishman. It was also lovely to see friends there, including many fellow members of Writers in Oxford. The event was opened by Brian Aldiss. It was nice to talk to him and to remember the extraordinary fox sighting before the Writers in Oxford twentieth anniversary party.

Thrilled to buy a copy of Adding An A by my friend Brian Levison at the fair. The estimable Henry Shukman said of this poetry collection, 'This is a warm-hearted, good-humoured collection that both celebrates everyday pleasures and explores common tragedies with wit, candour, and a delightful fluency.'  When I was editor of the Oxford Writer, I was proud to include one of the poems, At a lecture on Yehuda Amichai. These are lines from the poem:

'...I stare through the pages at the Old City
smelling the narrow alleys, old stoves and simmering pans
dazzled by the light bouncing off buildings
obliterating for a moment
the mortar and bullet marks,
picked scabs on the face of the walls.'

Today, we were supposed to be walking near Hay-on-Wye but sadly this mini-break fell through when the hotel's boiler packed up... Very disappointing. Although the walk we did near the Barringtons and Windrush village did a lot to make up for it! Beautiful unspoilt countryside round there. The walk only marred by a nasty incident when Tufty was attacked by a vicious bull terrier. He seems OK now, though, thank goodness. Nice to round off the walk with a pint of Donnnington BB at the Fox at Great Barrington.

PS Ace that cyclist Bradley Wiggins has just won Sports Personality of the Year.

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