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 29 March 2014

bright, misty, allotment, really warm, tables and chairs, novella

Cycled this morning when it was bright and clear in some places and still misty in others.

Later I went to the allotment for the first time this year - apart from when I had to re-felt part of the shed roof in the middle of the winter. The ground remains pretty wet under the surface, although I was able to tackle the rather unsightly heap of old dug-out couch grass roots that I've built up over a couple of years. I shook the roots free of soil and bagged them up - they'll be taken to the tip tomorrow - before levelling the mound of fine soil.

It's a beautiful day - really warm now.

Back at the house I took the table and chairs at the top of the garden off their bricks and brushed them down. Then I got the other table and its chairs out of the shed and brought them to the patio by the house. The set at the top of the garden is made from ship's timbers and survives outside (so long as the legs are up on bricks) whereas the one for the patio is less robust.

During the week, I did more work on the novella. Great to be working on it.

Monday 24 March 2014


Up at 4.30 this morning because I had to catch an early S1 bus from Witney. Due in Oxford for 8 am meeting, although the bus made such good time that I fitted in a walk from Botley to North Hinksey and on into the city along the Willow Walk and across Osney Island.

‎The sun was already melting the sharp frost at 7.15 and the light was gorgeous.

Another early start yesterday because the MSt residence took place over the weekend. Great to catch up with the students I'm supervising.

Taking the photo from the bridge at the start of the Willow Walk (top, above) reminded me of a post I wrote for the precursor to this blog (see http://www.frankegerton.com/scrapbook.html). The walk I posted about had reminded me of, in turn, walks from the mid-90s when  there had been family upsets. Little did I suspect, when I wrote that piece, that soon, in the first months of justthoughtsnstuff (around this time of year in 2010), these old wounds would burst open again catastrophically.

This morning, there were, of course, the overlaying years but also I had the sense of all those sad times having passed and of seeing the key actors with more sympathy and compassion.‎

Last week I had a day off and we walked from Bampton to Old Man's Bridge near Radcot Lock, where we crossed the Thames and circled back to the village. The day was overcast and everything seemed winter-bleak. (It's so strange how the landscape takes its cue from the weather at this time of year - when there is sun, it is spring; when it is grey, it is winter again.) The curlews' calls haunted the watermeadows beside the river. A haunting but nevertheless beautiful sound.

Later we had lunch at the excellent Five Alls at Filkins.

Sunday 16 March 2014

kingcups, cheering, life of tony benn, inspiring

A beautiful morning!

Kingcups out in the ditches along the Clanfield end of Calcroft Lane. Very cheering.

Interesting press coverage of the life of Tony Benn - such an inspiring man.

Frank Egerton

Visit http://www.justthoughtsnstuff.com

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone

Saturday 15 March 2014

new blackberry, spring weather, oclw blog, weald snowdrops

New Blackberry.

Wanted a Q10 because of the keyboard, as much as anything else. I can't get on with the virtual kind.

I was surprised that EE couldn't get me a Q10 and that their independent partners couldn't either. Vodafone came up trumps, though, so I've switched to them.

Rather more virtual features than the Bold but they are well thought-through and I love the improved keyboard and the bigger screen.

I was also able to transfer my calendar across easily, which was a huge relief. Compatibility problems have meant I've had to do this manually when changing smartphones in the past.

Meanwhile, some gorgeous weather this week, which has made me feel much better. Still not right but greatly improved on last weekend.

Btw just had an email reminding me of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing blog. Well worth checking out - obviously:  

Saw this clump of snowdrops near Weald (the hamlet on the Clanfield edge of Bampton) when cycling this morning.

Frank Egerton

Visit http://www.justthoughtsnstuff.com

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone

Sunday 9 March 2014


Great day at Twickenham watching England v Wales (29/18).

Amazing weather - big contrast to England-France more-or-less this time last year when freezing wind scythed the stadium.

The fast-moving first half, teams alternately scoring points, gave way (after, on our part, stilton, dried apricots and tea) to more tactical, less decisive play in the second.

I think it's fair to say that England dominated throughout, though Wales were often spirited.

Bril! Thanks to V and M for inviting us!

See, www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-2576270/LIVE-SIX-NATIONS-England-vs-Wales-Follow-action-happens-Twickenham-updates-World-Cup-winning-coach-Sir-Clive-Woodward.html
http://streetbooks.co.uk website
http://justthoughtsnstuff.com blog

StreetBooks is a micro-publisher based in west Oxfordshire

A Conscious Englishman by Margaret Keeping - StreetBooks Kindle edition published - visit StreetBooks website for details

Sent using BlackBerry® from EE

Saturday 8 March 2014

warm sun, bees buzzing, more tutes, getting strength back, eagle and child, blackcurrant mild, sawlogs

Yesterday I ate my sandwich hastily, reading up for the next meeting between munches, in St Giles' churchyard en route from the Latin American Centre to the Radcliffe Science Library.

It was the first time this spring that there had been real warmth in the sun. I looked up at the blossom on a cherry tree and there were bees buzzing.

A grey start today with some fine rain but it's nevertheless significantly warmer and there is a much more hopeful feel to the air.

Earlier, when I walked up the garden to the woodshed, the frogs were already swimming about in the pond - and this was 5.45 am.

In Oxford now for the last assignment tutes.

A nice end to a working week that has been frantically busy - something not helped by me feeling under the weather still. Though since Thursday I've been getting my strength back.

Met up with friends at the Eagle and Child after work last night. A lovely evening. Delicious venison, pork and red wine sausages - accompanied by blackcurrant mild (surprisingly good).

Photo of sawlogs taken on the Oxford canal about an hour ago.
http://streetbooks.co.uk website
http://justthoughtsnstuff.com blog

StreetBooks is a micro-publisher based in west Oxfordshire

A Conscious Englishman by Margaret Keeping - StreetBooks Kindle edition published - visit StreetBooks website for details

Sent using BlackBerry® from EE

Monday 3 March 2014

water subsiding, moss and lichens, stop-go spring, corrected edition of a conscious englishman, oclw podcasts, birds' nests

The flood waters are subsiding, although grass and crops look sick and moss and lichens are thriving on gates, walls and trees.

Days alternate between beautiful spring sunshine and more heavy showers.

This stop-go spring raises the spirits then lowers them.

Some sort of low-grade flu the past week hasn't helped matters.

Still, good things are happening.  Working on the corrected edition of Margaret Keeping's A Conscious Englishman, which StreetBooks will be publishing very soon.

I was also delighted to receive an email on Friday reminding me of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing podcast archive. There are lots of treats to be had and soon this term's Weinrebe Lectures will be added, so you will be able to listen to that Teddy St Aubyn interview.

Top photo btw shows two birds' nests from our garden, which now live in a basket in the passage between the kitchen and sitting-room. There was lovely spring sunlight streaming through the windows that day - Saturday.