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.

Monday 27 May 2013

potatoes, late

Forked through the ground for the potatoes yesterday and planted them today. Last year I said that the spuds were going in late on the 6th May! Little did I know how late they'd be going in this time!

Three varieties planted (thirteen rows in total): Desiree, Estima and Kestrel.

Saturday 25 May 2013

out cycling again, bluebells, whitsun, mild, the national

Out cycling for a bit this morning. Beautiful morning but I'm still getting over the miserable cough and cold that's been around all week.

Saw this patch of bluebells on my way along the Buckland Road to the Isle of Wight Bridge and the Great Brook.

This weekend it's all Whitsun Morris Dancing and folk music in the pubs in Bampton. Delighted to see the excellent Green King mild on, as usual at Whitsun, at the Horseshoe. Mild is a rare but excellent beer.

Meanwhile, downloaded Trouble Will Find Me by the National when it came out on Monday. Terrific. Instant favourite.

Sunday 19 May 2013

heavy cold..., moorhens, may landscape, writers greehouse, red nile - robert twigger, margaret keeping, edward thomas

Two pictures taken a couple of weeks ago. Not out and about much this weekend due to heavy cold that's been doing the rounds at the University. Have to say that I felt a lot better today when I got up and imagined myself doing all sorts of things in the garden and allotment. Mowing the lawn and chopping some kindling, though, finished me off.

The family of moorhens were seen on the Oxford Canal opposite the flats where the old Lucy's foundry used to be. On Friday all members of the family were doing well--the five chicks a lot, lot bigger. The view towards the Cotswolds from near the neighbouring village of Lew is a similar one to that posted on 3rd February, which showed a very bleak landscape with picked-clean hedges and trees. The ground is now being cultivated but is still, I would say, pretty bare--for May!

Meanwhile, I realise so late in the day that I failed as a fiend and Facebook friend to Megan Kerr, who was fundraising for a project recently. Spring was so busy that Facebook pretty much passed me by... Do check out her website The Writers Greenhouse, which includes details of her writing courses. (Sorry, Megan...)

Megan is a member of Writers in Oxford and I'm really pleased that a new book on the River Nile by a friend and former member of the group Robert Twigger, is the lead review in Sunday Times Books today. The Sunday Times is, of course, behind the paywall, so here's a link to the page for Red Nile on his publisher's website, Orion. See also, Robert's blog.

As always, do check out, Margaret Keeping's wonderful blog, Publishing my Edward Thomas, which grows and grows as a terrific Edward Thomas resource.

Saturday 11 May 2013

changeable moods, history thesis fair, late spuds, conted trinity newsletter, horseshoes, cannock chase, b, amok, lie in

Enjoyed cycling this morning. The countryside's moods were changeable as the threat of showers came and went, as the above pics show. Cloudy skies, occasional bursts of sunlight--and lots of beautiful spring blossom.

A busy week, including working bank holiday Monday-see last post--some challenging (though stimulating) meetings and the History Thesis Fair.

A bit of gardening on Tuesday night meant I got some onions in on the allotment. A week or so late but they might come to something. But then the showers started and so planting spuds has been badly delayed. Ah well, all gardening fun.

Meanwhile, was really pleased that StreetBooks and A Conscious Englishman by Margaret Keeping were featured in the University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education Trinity newsletter (page 4).

A friend visited today--great lunch at the Hollybush Witney's sister pub, The Three Horseshoes.  Lovely lunch.

Earlier, when I got up, I enjoyed listening to Open Country on Radio 4, which was all about Cannock Chase. Took me back to days with B during the late 70s, early 80s.

On the bus back from Witney this afternoon, listened to Amok by Atoms for Peace--suitably low-key surreal for the long vistas of the Thames Valley and the scudding skies.

Looking forward to lie in tomorrow.

Monday 6 May 2013

bank holiday, witney walk, s1, allotment, outside, historical novels review, wild flowers, mount owen road

I'm writing this blog post on the S1 bus from Witney to Oxford. Yep, working this bank holiday--the University doesn't have a day off today and students need their libraries.

Actually, quite enjoying the day so far. It's a beautiful sunny morning and I had a lovely walk in near-deserted Witney before catching the first bus. All being well, I'll get another stroll from Botley to the centre of Oxford, via the Willow Walk and Osney.

Started work on the allotment yesterday, having cleared the shed of seven years' worth of junk last Sunday (psychologically, a good beginning; and how lovely it was to open the shed door yesterday and see everything in order). A modest bit of digging got done, it has to be said--it'll take a little while to get allotment-fit again. Still, I did enjoy being up there.

At the house, yesterday, had breakfast outside and sat up the top of the garden later. Also sat out at the Plough at Kelmscott, enjoying a pint of Cotswold Way.

Pleased to see A Conscious Englishman in the Historical Novels Review. Tut-tut, though, Lightning Source, about that faded type on those three pages...

Just passing over the Thames at Swinford toll. Surprised by how full the bus is, now I've looked up from typing.

After the allotment yesterday, I went for a quick cycle. Saw the wild flowers above on the verge alongside Mount Owen Road--a beautiful country lane up and over Bampton's only hill ('Mount' is something of an exaggeration). Not normally keen on dandelions but these were such a rich, vibrant yellow!