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.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

ash and sycamore, chats, felting repairs, celebration of the life of john bayley, 8th seminar series, bodleian's 12 millionth book, songs of data

It was great to see Frank again on Sunday when he delivered the first load of logs of the season. We have a good system - he unloads a barrowful as I trundle another up the long garden path to the old privy that serves as the woodshed. As we swap full and empty barrows we chat. Four or five deliveries a season, this the fifteenth season. A lot of logs, a lot of chat.

This time the logs were mostly ash and sycamore. The former logs being denser and longer-burning. Amazing the difference in texture and weight.

Some harvesting on the allotment - and some repairs to the felting on the shed roof, after the Saturday gales - but no digging. The rains of last week have saturated the Oxford clay and made it horribly sticky and unworkable. Fortunately, there are only one or two tiny pieces that still need attention and most is ready for the winter,

Yesterday I went to the celebration of the life of John Bayley at St Catherine's College. It was a very genial, warm and nicely humorous event with reminiscences from nine friends from different walks of John's life, including the chef Rick Stein who was a student at New College and was taught by John. Richard Eyre, who made the film of John and Iris, spoke in a pre-recorded video. John Fuller read his witty poem of glimpses of John's life, Haiku for John Bayley (actually a series of stanzas in free Haiku form). Katherine Duncan-Jones gave a lovely account of being interviewed by John for admission to Oxford. The event concluded with an extract taken from John in conversation with Anthony Clare on In the Psychiatrist's Chair.

It was wonderful to be there with people that knew and loved John. As I said in my post, written shortly after he died, 'Thank you, John. Thank you so very much.'

On Thursday, I begin my long fiction seminar series for the Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing. The eighth time I have done this. The time has passed so swiftly. Very much looking forward to meeting this year's students.

Exciting to discover the title of the Bodleian's 12 millionth book!

Signed up for, Songs of data: an introduction to sonification by Iain Emsley at the Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library, Friday 20th November.

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