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.

Monday 29 February 2016

walk with a difference, arresting, work of art or...?

A sunlit walk along the Oxford canal this morning. Though with a difference just to the south of Wolvercote.

Arresting, certainly.

Work of art? Or act of arboreal vandalism?

Sunday 28 February 2016

cross-country, clanfield tavern, marston's el dorado, late afternoon sun

Walked cross-country to Clanfield this afternoon.

Had a delicious pint of Marston's El Dorado single hop craft beer at the Clanfield Tavern. The El Dorado hop comes from the US and gives the beer an apricoty flavour. Reminded me of a beer I had in San Franciso once. The beer is one of a number of Marston's Single Hop cask ales.

When we walked to Clanfield the weather was dull and wintry but on the way back the late afternoon sun lit up the landscape with sharpness and vibrancy.

Saturday 27 February 2016

oxford, mud-free, swan, haldane lecture and guest dinner

Working in Oxford today.

The light but relentless wind that has been blowing for the last week has dried out the canal towpath, so I joined it at Wolvercote and had a chilly but enjoyable - mud-free - walk.

Came across the swan just north of where the old Lucy ironworks used to stand.

Loved the Haldane Lecture on Thursday evening and the fantastic guest dinner afterwards. Thanks so much T and R, H and J.

Thursday 25 February 2016

frosty fields, larks, haldane lecture

Went for a cheering walk across the frosty fields before work this morning.

I also recorded the larks signing in the background when I took this photo - available on SoundCloud.

Very much looking forward to this evening's Haldane Lecture at Wolfson.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

welsh borders wedding, st mary's whitewell, iscoyd park, beloved family and friends, cholmondeley arms

Travelled to the Welsh borders near Whitchurch at the weekend for a family wedding.

What a wonderful occasion it was! Amazing service at St Mary's, Whitewell, and a fantastic reception at Iscoyd Park.

The dancing was especially fun!

It was lovely to see the bride and groom so happy and to be with beloved family and friends.

Stayed at the estimable Cholmondeley Arms, where we used to break our journey years ago when coming back from Scotland. Now under different management, it was still recognisably the place we once knew but in a fresh and vibrant new guise.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

canal, crumbs, frost, smoke

Usually at this time of year I can't walk into town along the canal towpath because it gets too muddy and I end up leaving trails of earthy crumbs throughout the library.

The first time this happened, I wondered who was making such a mess everywhere, until I realised it was me.

But on frosty days the mud freezes and I can cut down to the canal from the top of the Woodstock Road and take a crunchy walk and see what's been happening while I've been away.

This morning the ground was hard, although even at 8.30 am little patches were thawing where the sun fell in open spaces.

I always like passing the narrowboats near Elizabeth Jennings Way when the fires are lit and the smoke hangs in the air amongst the sunbeams.

Sunday 14 February 2016

mosses, cherwell boathouse, david bowie, better camera, e j moeran

A dark Valentine's eve. The brightest things were the mosses. Loved the patterns the twigs and bleached grass stalks made.

Off to Oxford on the bus earlier for a wonderful meal at the Cherwell Boathouse.

Have been listening to The Man Who Sold the World (J's choice) and Hunky Dory (my choice).

Upgraded my phone last week - better camera.

Have downloaded E J Moeran's Symphony in G minor, which I used to have on CD and now can't find (in a box somewhere, no doubt - but where?). A brilliant piece of music that I wanted to have close by again. Excellent version can be listened to here: http://www.moeran.net/Audio/Symphony.html.

Tuesday 9 February 2016

curious, hawthorn in leaf - in january, tree down, daffodils up, great brook, chill wind, it's all happening

What a curious winter.

At the end of January, we saw a hawthorn in leaf near Weald - fresh, slightly waxy-looking leaves.

At Black Bourton the recent gales brought down a tree on the wilder side of the village green. Yet the daffodils growing on its roots soon righted themselves.

Heavy rains overnight on Saturday left the Great Brook, half-way between Cote and Chimney, full and brown.

Today there is a chill wind, which slips easily through the curtains and darts around the house, mocking the central heating and the log fire. A day that leaves you feeling tired and sickening for something, though I'm determined not to succumb.

In so many ways, it's all happening in 2016!