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. 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 nightmares 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, the seasons and the countryside, walking and cycling) and I hope that these, together with their accompanying photos, are enjoyable and positive. In February 2020, jtns will be ten years old and there will be no further posts. It will then become a contained work of life-writing about me and the past ten years of my life. Frank, December 2019

Sunday, 22 May 2016

potato dibber's annual outing, thames-side roots, lasa nyc, 70,000th pageview

The potato dibber had its annual outing this week - a few days earlier than last year. Ten and a half rows of Desiree, Estima and Kestrel are now sown and ridged up. About the only thing that has been sown so far - late year. Brought back some spinach that had overwintered, though, for Sunday lunch earlier.

Saw the roots growing through the wall yesterday when I was walking to work through St Thomas's. They are reaching into one of the Thames streams that flow through the city. This one passes the remains of Oxford castle just down from where the photo was taken.

Off to my third LASA congress mid-week. This time it's in NYC. Can't wait.

Meantime jtns had its 70,000th pageview the other day.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

warm and beautiful day, trust: a family story finished!, logic of the season, sabina murray, valiant gentlemen, cotswolds, kirby hall




A surprisingly warm and beautiful day, after the warnings of precipitous drops in temperature earlier in the week. There is summer-seeming sun and real warmth out of the breeze (at the top of the garden, for example).

Finished editing Trust: A family story this morning. Yes, finished! I can't quite believe that but it's true! While 10k was written back in 1998, I've been working on the other 60k since Easter 2012. And now it's done.

Just the cover to commission.

The book will be published as a limited edition print run of one hundred numbered copies to begin with.

After finishing, I went to the allotment and did some more strimming and ‎forking through. So late to be prepping the ground but I tell myself that I am going with the logic of the season and in places the earth is still sopping.

On Thursday I attended a talk by Sabina Murray at the Kellogg College Centre for Creative Writing. She has written a novel (Valiant Gentlemen) about the humanitarian Sir Roger Casement, who was hanged by the British Government for gun-running for the Irish Nationalists in 1916. It was a wonderful talk - quite mesmerising, in fact - which was followed by a terrific guest dinner at the college and the chance to chat with Sabina and creative writing colleagues.

Took the top two photos in the Cotswolds this afternoon‎. The bottom one is of a tiny watercolour done by a relative in the early twentieth century. It shows Kirby Hall lake with the house in the background. The house, an ancestral home in Yorkshire, was pulled down after the First World War. Only the stable block, a couple of lodges and the mausoleum remain. My parents are buried in the family plot by the mausoleum.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

swan's nest, allotments, horrendously late, eucalyptus, trust: a family story



Came across this swan's nest - as hundreds of people must do each day - when I was walking round the pond in the University Parks in Oxford.

The nest is really close to the path but the swan seems oblivious to passers by.

(It's often difficult to photograph white images in direct sunlight using a phone camera - the detail gets bleached out.)

This morning I cycled to the allotments early to start forking through what is to be the potato area. Horrendously late to be doing this but the clay was sodden till recently and then there's been work to do at home... I don't think this year's harvest is going to be that great!

The other photo shows the eucalyptus tree that overshadows a corner of our allotment. It's a landmark that I can see from quite far away when I'm cycling along Mount Owen Road. It's nice to have the tree there to look at but eucalyptuses are said to put a stop to things growing near them. That certainly seems to be the case here.

Reading some MSt work this morning then completing the rewriting and editing of Trust: A family story. I've cut about 10,000 words, so it'll come in at 70k. Then it's the final read through and cover design (latter won't be done by me, although I know what I want to have photographed and who I would like to do the work).