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 3 December 2016

walking sane, osney, 'houseboats', time passing, trust feedback, facing the strange by sb sweeney, end of term, news from nowhere

Walking to work from the outskirts of Botley each day keeps me sane.

I love the climb up Cumnor Hill to Raleigh Park, the descent to the ring road and the underpass and the gentler incline to Osney and the Thames. After Osney, there are three routes to choose from, depending on how much time I've got. My favourite is following the river to Bossoms boatyard, crossing Port Meadow then entering the city centre by way of the canal and Jericho. (Always tricky, seeing the 'houseboats' by Jericho. Lives I can't imagine - lives with their own order and ways of life.)

I remember walking the Thames from Osney to Port Meadow before I moved into the flat on the Island, imagining Sunday strolls to the Perch at Binsey and returning to Sunday lunches at h‎ome. We loved Osney and the Thames paths.

How much time has passed since then, though! Hard to imagine.

Very grateful to two friends for some uplifting and constructive feedback about Trust this week.

Also, extremely pleased when I bumped into a colleague the other evening and she heaped fantastic praise on SB Sweeney's Facing the Strange. It is a remarkable novel indeed! If your youth was mis-spent on fantasies of making it big in the music biz, ‎FtS might just be the perfect Christmas gift for you. It captures brilliantly an early 1990s world that is so different from our own now, for better or for worse.

The best ever Latin American Centre Christmas party towards the end of the week in the St Hugh's Fellows breakfast room, and a pint with Taylor colleagues after work to mark the end of Michaelmas Term last night. The festivities have started!

And another thing, which I'm sure you'll find hard to believe. At lunchtime, I realised that I needed a book in order to accomplish certain tasks. My first thought was, of course, Amazon. But then it occurred to me that the Witney bookshop, Waterstones, might have the title. It was a long shot and I doubted they would but I nevertheless picked up the landline handset on my desk, which I hardly ever use, and dialled their number - local, without the area code - and, after a bit of searching, yes, they had the book! They put it on reserve and, as we were heading into Witney for a late lunch, I collected it at 3.30 pm - having received a Society of Authors member discount (hurrah!) - from a real-life bookshop that was... humming! Gosh, how wonderful to see! I felt like William Morris in News From Nowhere, falling asleep and waking in this strange, medieval-seeming land!

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