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 16 November 2013

malcolm parkes

On my way to Oxford and the memorial service for Malcolm Parkes (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Parkes) who taught me when I was at Keble.

Malcolm was one of two tutors who interviewed me for a place at Keble. For much of that half-hour, though, it was difficult to see him. He was seated in a bay window smoking his pipe and it was only when he wanted to ask a question that his hand batted away the smoke and his face appeared momentarily.

I owe Malcolm, Stephen Wall and Frank Cottrell Boyce (who marked one of my two entrance papers) so much. Sitting the Oxford entrance exam and those thirty minutes being interviewed by Malcolm and Stephen were events that changed my life.

Malcolm was a hugely inspiring academic but also a very warm, kind man. I remember how he arrived at my door the day before my first-year exams (moderations) and handed me a packet of sweets and wished me good luck.

As a tutor, he gave me a love of Anglo-Saxon and Middle English literature that will stay with me always.

The last time we met, I heard his voice first as he called out his habitual greeting, 'Hello squire!' While he was frailer than even a year before, which was a shock, he was in good spirits and it was lovely to see him. We were in Sainsbury's in Kidlington.

It's a grey misty, cocooning day in west Oxfordshire as the 18 bus carries me through the autumn countryside. A melancholy day, perhaps, when I think of how long ago that interview was. Yet a beautiful day too - and I try to remember that my time at Keble taught me to value every day and all the opportunities it offers.
http://frankegerton.com (website)
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A Conscious Englishman by Magaret Keeping - StreetBooks Kindle edition published 16.08.13 - visit http://www.streetbooks.co.uk for details

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1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your beautiful words about Malcolm Parkes. Like you, I read English at Keble. Gentlemen are required to translate the Life of King Edmund... A truly humane, considerate and talented teacher.