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 14 September 2013

five alls, lifting spuds, gosford park, dog better, first log fire of autumn

Lovely short break at the beginning of the week. Very much enjoyed having lunch at the Five Alls at Filkins, a neighbouring village, on Tuesday.

The return to work was, of course, busy--but fulfilling.

Today I lifted our spuds on the allotment. They have done amazingly well--not least because they were planted SO late (27th May). There were three varieties, starting from the top: Kestrel, Estima and Desiree (also shown bagged up). The haulms of the last of these were still strong and growing and I wondered if I should leave them for a few weeks. I decided to crop them because time will be precious over the coming month and if the weather is against me I will struggle to get them harvested and the plot dug for autumn. In any case, there were more than enough potatoes for us over the winter today.

During the week, we finished watching the excellent Gosford Park. A proto-Downton, perhaps, being penned by Julian Fellowes, but a tremendous script all the same, with wonderful, subtle direction (and social observation) from the director Robert Altman.

I'm pleased to say that our dog is much, much better after losing his footing, spring down the stairs and spraining his ankle (if dogs have ankles, that is). He's such a brave little dog.

Today, the first log fire of autumn is burning in the grate.


  1. What a marvellous crop of potatoes and in such a short time. We grow just Pink Fir Apple now as they do take up space we need for other things for too long- but perhaps not.
    I enjoyed your blog as always but for one thing in this one - aaagh, how I hate that word 'penned', which seems to be spreading rapidly like a rash. What is wrong with 'written'? Do you think it's because no-one actually uses a pen any more except to sign things? A kind of nostalgia?

  2. Thanks, Margaret. I was astonished by the crop of potatoes, particularly because they were planted so late, as you say. Didn't really think about 'penned' when I used it. I suppose I felt, instinctively, that it was light and tripping enough for the context. Not a word I would use often, I think.

  3. And it's true, in that context - Fellowes, Gosford Park - nostalgia is where it's at.
    On onions, if you left the stalks on you could make a lovely plait on a long loop of string. I have an old Lawrence D. Hills book which shows you how.