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 August 2015

thames-side walk to work, past-what-past?, marking, time off, kitchen nearly there, yay!

The bus was early yesterday and I was due at the Latin American Centre rather than the Taylor, so I walked from the Woodstock Road to Godstow, then along the Thames to Binsey, down fisherman's walk and through the streets to work.

It was a beautiful morning.

I remember now, at my laptop keyboard, that this time last year, more or less (see 23rd August 2014), I recalled having walked the part of Port Meadow beyond Godstow Abbey in the 80s as therapy and how odd it was to have been walking the same stretch in the years following 2010, still  haunted by the past. Well, I was able to report last year that on that occasion I was at peace with the past. Yesterday, the past didn't feature at all, only the beauty, then and there.

Some more marking to do. Then I'm taking time off for closed week and St Giles' Fair. Bliss after a busy, busy summer. The kitchen's near-enough finished too. Yay!

Saturday 22 August 2015

brief light mist, creative writing work, typesetting, poem

There was a brief, light mist as I left the village on the bike this morning. Very localised.

A lot of creative writing work has to be completed before I take a break in September.

Also working on the typesetting for I Am the Man Who Lives in a Shoe (formerly Trust: A family story) and Facing the Strange.

In respect of the former, I'm pleased with the order that I placed the narratives, blog posts and other material in. There needs to be some copy editing and a touch of rewriting but it is nearly as I want it. Then I can get feedback from colleagues.

Oxford is very quiet just now.

And here is a poem, or whatever. [Sunday 23rd August: now becoming a work in progress...]

Children Playing

Berry-brown boys and girls
Play in the evening sun.
A woman enters the scene.
'Come on, bed now please. Girls. Boys.'

Fizzing excitement accompanies the children,
Making sleep
At least for ten minutes.

In the garden,
Energy and sheer love of life
Out here and ‎deep inside memory's honeycomb.

Saturday 15 August 2015

summer school closing reception and dinner, peter kemp, very enjoyable three weeks, beautiful thames-side walk, blackberries ripening, americano, library shift

The summer school ended yesterday with the reception in the Rector's Garden and formal dinner in hall, at the end of which the students were presented with their certificates by the guest of honour, Peter Kemp.

‎It was a lovely evening after three very interesting and enjoyable weeks of working with the students!

Back in Oxford this morning for my Saturday shift at the library.

A beautiful walk from Wolvercote to Godstow then the Thames path to the city centre. Blackberries ripening!

Now, an Americano before starting work.

Frank Egerton

Visit http://www.justthoughtsnstuff.com

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone

Saturday 8 August 2015

drought, poor harvests, courgette and runner bean stars, maize thriving, loving summer school

The drought continues. Only some fine misty rain early Thursday but it came to nothing.

The shallot, onion and spud harvests will be poor this year. The rows of beetroot and carrots are meagre; parsnips better. Our allotment stars are courgettes and runner beans. It's often difficult to make time to get up there and water at the moment.

The maize along Calcroft Lane looks at home in these conditions!

Loving working with the summer school group.

Saturday 1 August 2015

chilly start, vapour trails, summer school, greek dancing, kitchen refurb, conted open days 2015, teymour shahabi, courgettes

Last night's clear skies and full moon brought a chilly start today. Out cycling the cold air streamed down from the north. Only after a while was it refreshing.

Heading towards Black Bourton, I looked up and saw this grid of vapour trails across the rising sun.

A lovely reception and formal dinner at Exeter College last Sunday to mark the beginning of the Creative Writing Summer School. A pleasure to work with the students this week.

There was a wonderful library staff party on Thursday - such a relaxed and warm atmosphere. Shame I left to catch my bus before the Scottish and Greek dancing!

At home, it's the kitchen refurb. Inevitably a bit of dust, the dry mealy smell of the wet plaster and that strange echoey emptiness of the room. We're camping in the rest of the house, which is filled with all the kitchen stuff that is spread everywhere and you just can't understand where it's come from and how it fitted in. It's a tiny kitchen!

And sometimes in the early morning, the theatre of the kitchen seems to have deserted it. It's just this impermanent-seeming space that could be cardboard. Cardboard skimmed with milk-chocolate plaster and daubed with paint samples. The old lino so obviously worn and dented. It's extraordinary how much life all that stuff gives the room; how much it absorbs the kettle's pop as it is about to boil, which now rings in your ears like a gunshot. Still it has been fun to select the floor tiles and decide on the paints. Soon it will be a new, almost unfamiliar place to explore and make our own.

It's also great to see Billy again - the renaissance man, who, as well as painting and decorating, made our pond, redesigned the garden and sorts roofs, fences and plumbing emergencies.

Yesterday, I sent off the title and description of my session at the Department for Continuing Education's Open Days (25th and 26th September). The programme goes live soon.

Meantime, I've been following the YouTube videos of Oxford alumnus and aspiring New York self-publishing author, Teymour Shahabi - @teymourshahabi.

This afternoon, catching up with the allotment and wondering what to do with all those courgettes!