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.

Sunday 22 January 2017

frosty fields, day full of hope and life, facing the strange by sb sweeney - paperback live on amazon uk, roger ashton-griffiths, launch of jane draycott's the occupant

Amazing walk across the frosty fields! I was up early because I have work to do today - till 4 pm, that is. Then I can enjoy the rest of the weekend properly.

Though the walk was certainly enjoying the weekend properly! Much colder even than yesterday, although somehow the day seems full of hope and life. The birds are much more active - friskily playful, in fact (the great tits in particular - chasing each other round the rose bush outside the back door!).

The paperback edition of Facing the Strange has just gone live on Amazon UK! 'It’s La bohème meets Trainspotting, with the structure of a dream; a hole in the wall of the ordinary, an extraordinary landscape beyond.' Roger Ashton-Griffiths: Actor and Writer.

Meant to say in yesterday's post that I really enjoyed attending the launch of Jane Draycott's new collection of poetry The Occupant at the Albion Beatnik in Oxford on Thursday. Lovely to hear her read and to see so many old friends.

Saturday 21 January 2017

thin chill, trees seared gold, beating the lingering pull of mid-winter torpor..., facing the strange by sb sweeney on amazon!, deb googe

A cold few days, despite the welcome sun. With daytime temperatures only a few degrees above freezing, the air and land gain barely any warmth and a thin chill pervades.

Beautiful lights, beautiful scenes, though, such as the time, earlier in the week, when I was walking to work and the trees beyond the mouth of Tumbling Bay were seared gold briefly by the not-long-risen sun.

Oxford First Week and the University bursts into life, despite the lingering pull of mid-winter torpor.

Excited that SB Sweeney's fine first novel, Facing the Strange, showed on Amazon and other online retail sites throughout the world a few days ago!

Although not officially published in the UK till the 9th February, it can be pre-ordered on Amazon. (And is available from the StreetBooks website at a pre-publication discount!). The paperback is already on sale in the US and other territories. The Kindle ebook is available in both the UK, the US and elsewhere.

For more information about this outrageously good book, see the Facing the Strange page on the StreetBooks website.

'SB Sweeney writes with a clarity and wit that brings to life the less glossy side of the eighties: a world of squats, bedroom bands and cheap drugs, where a CV most likely meant a pint of cider and Vimto. The intriguing and intertwining tales make an addictive read...' Deb Googe: My Bloody Valentine and The Thurston Moore Group.

Sunday 8 January 2017

the irrepressible gold of lichen, fresh new-year grass

The days alternate:
Vivid, beautiful sunlit ones,
When the landscape cannot but be alive;
Ones when the grey sky appears to leach
All colour from the countryside.

This morning, I cycled through this dead land -
Yet here was the irrepressible gold of lichen,
The bright burgundy of brambles and, yes,
The unnoticed emerald of fresh new-year grass.

Thursday 5 January 2017


Brrrr! This morning. But rather dazzling.

Sunday 1 January 2017

beauty and the chill‎, reviving trad beetroot soup, slug attack, quiet night in, meeting friends, happy new year!!, touch

The, at times, quite beautiful misty walk along the Thames led to a chill and a couple of somewhat lost days of holiday...

‎Though I was revived by bowls delicious beetroot soup which has been a staple of our Christmases and New Years since we first took an allotment in 1989.

This year's crop of beets took a long time to get going but in August suddenly grew full and strong. The vegetables kept healthy right up to about ten days before Christmas. I went up to the allotment to attend to something and looked across at the crop - only to see that about two-thirds of it had been chomped, well and truly, by slugs. The surviving beets were immediately harvested and J's soup is one of the best ever.

A quiet end and beginning to the New Year last night, spent at home, watching episodes of Mr Selfridge on DVD.

It was lovely to meet with old friends this lunchtime.

Happy New Year!‎!



The infinity of touch
Reassures that all will be well.
As much of an illusion, perhaps,
As everything good in this world,
Which seems tilted
Towards evil and madness.
Yet can anyone deny the transcendence
Of touch?
And that has to be good.