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, 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.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

oxford clay, first cycle ride of the year, hedging, allotment, spuds and squash




















The above pics were taken during my walk yesterday morning. The water meadow beyond Glebelands was flooded in places and sticky with Oxford clay nearly everywhere. The higher fields weren't much better. Some strikingly vivid skies, though.

Today I went on my first cycle ride of the year. I didn't go out on the bike before now because of the frosts that seemed to coincide with the weekends when I could have gone and because of the lovely long walks to Clanfield J and I did every Sunday for the past three weekends.

Today's cycle was pretty short - just towards Brize (via the allotment), to Lew and back to Bampton over Mount Owen. The last of these was a touch challenging but I have to say that when I got back I knew what I had been missing. Wonderfully energising and refreshing exercise!

It was also great to see the landscape again from the perspective of a cyclist. Was intrigued to see some more hedging being done along the western edge of a paddock at the bottom of Mount Owen road. The person does a little bit every year - see post of January 2012 - and has now almost finished the whole hedge.

On the allotment, all is pretty much finished now. I pulled some beetroot last weekend but only one was any good - the others had been too badly frosted. Carrots have been eaten by rabbits and the slugs are getting everything else. Still, it was fun going to the shed at the house earlier for pink fir apples, kestrel spuds and a squash from the hessian sacks hanging from the rafters.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

mist wisping and puffing, memories of the mull of galloway, hazel catkins, digital humanities project



















A chilly start to the day with mist wisping and puffing from the ground when I set off on my walk at around seven. The mist seemed only to rise a little before dispersing and was soon all gone. A beautiful clear light followed that occasionally triggered a memory of September lights on the Mull of Galloway in the mid-eighties.

A joy, seeing hazel catkins in abundance in the Millennium Wood.

A week of library work and finding out more for my Digital Humanities project.

Friday, 6 February 2015

inspiring meeting at oerc, mst promo video














Lots going on this week.

Libraries busy. A fascinating and inspiring meeting at the Oxford e-Research Centre about the Digital Humanities fiction project I'm interested in doing. Assignment tutorials during the week and tomorrow.

This week I also learned that the promotional video for the Master of Studies in Creative Writing has been launched. Loved seeing colleagues and former students on film. For myself - well, this was done before the sideburns came off. Quite weird seeing them again!

The above pic shows Stephanie Scott who won the AM Heath Prize and whose short story, Pulau Brani, recently won the Writers’ Village International Short Fiction Award.