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, 28 August 2016

wittenham clumps, sherborne, great barrington, upton smokery, millets, the maybush, time off, blight...




Brilliant walk around Wittenham Clumps earlier in the week. And terrific walks near Sherborne and Great Barrington before that.

It will amaze Hannah R that it has taken this long for me to do the Wittenham walks! They were amazing!

Delicious after-walk lunches bought from the Upton Smokery and Millets Farm shop. Also a great pint sitting out on the terrace overlooking the Thames at the Maybush, Newbridge.

So good to have some time off from the Relocation, which was carried on during the week by Management Team colleagues J, J and S!

Tomatoes have succumbed to blight but the fruits have been picked and put into a drawer to ripen. Potato haulms have been cut back to avoid blight.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

rain, move, facing the strange by sb sweeney, olympians, shark alley by stephen carver



Got a bit soaked this morning when I set off on my cycle ride - although the rain soon stopped.

Lots of lovely rain yesterday too!

Just as well because the allotment was utterly parched when I was up there on Thursday evening. I've been trying to water whenever I can but it's not the same as rain.

A pity that today's rain never came to much in the end.

Allotmenting apart, it's been a busy week as the Slavonic library move enters its last phase.

In the evenings I've been doing some work on the forthcoming publication of SB Sweeney's terrific novel Facing the Strange ('One great long drunken rambling guitar solo of a novel!' Tim Pears) - see the updated StreetBooks website: www.streetbooks.co.uk.

Just amazed by Team GB's performance in the Olympics!

Reflected glory...: amazing Kellogg College alum Olympians: Paul Bennett winning a gold in the men's eight rowing and Tom Mitchell captaining the rugby sevens to a silver. Also, I remember coming across that Nick Skelton when I was working on the farm up in Shropshire back in 1978... He was a bit focused and a bit serious-minded and not all that keen on coming down the disco with us lot in Shrewsbury. Well, the dedication certainly paid off! :-) Amazing gold!

Meantime, check out this fascinating and exciting novel Shark Alley by Stephen Carver, which is published - with wonderful illustrations - both in print and as an online serial: http://jackvincentpapers.com. See also this article from the Eastern Daily Press.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

spin-painting delights, summer school farewell dinner, peter kemp, catching up


Convolvulus, the weed, is, as I have said before, pernicious. On the allotment, the roots go on for ever and the tendrils strangle the vegetables. It seems impossible to eradicate.

But now we grow garden varieties of convolvulus, which are constant spin-painting delights.

Last night the summer school ended with the reception on the lawn of the Exeter College Fellows' Garden and the formal dinner in hall. Peter Kemp, chief fiction reviewer for the Sunday Times, was the guest speaker - and an excellent witty speech he gave too.

What fun the summer school was - from my point of view (hope my students enjoyed the seminars as much as I did) - and how quickly the days sped by!

Today is a time of taking stock and catching up.

Monday, 8 August 2016

astilbes, wild and hugely fun, enjoyable questions, courgette glut



Love astilbes - they are so feathery and somehow not flower like, while being magical because they are flowers.

A wild and hugely fun Saturday with family. A quieter Sunday - in preparation for the last week of the summer school. Can't believe where the time goes.

Enjoyed answering the questions that followed my talk on Digital Innovations and the Creative Writer last week.

A bit of a courgette glut on the allotment. And the blackcurrants are still delicious.