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, 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.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

cycling, rewrites, reading, port of destiny - "peace"























Joyful late autumn day. Loved cycling through the west Oxfordshire countryside.

I've had some time on the bus to and from work recently to continue with the Trust rewrites. About 85% done now, though the bits I'm focusing on involve painstaking work. Sometimes it's just a couple of hundred words in an hour.

It's funny but when I finished this section I thought it worked really well. Even when I first re-read it some six months later it still flowed. But when I re-read it again a year ago, after I'd received feedback from colleagues and friends, I realised how much needed doing. There's some excellent passages but the structure and integrity of the sections was weak and tenuous. I'm enjoying the process of the work nevertheless. It's exciting to work at something and gradually come up with solutions to problems.

Returned to Jane Ayre a few weeks ago but then got distracted by Traumnovelle by Arthur Schnitzler, which I was inspired to read by Eyes Wide Shut, which we were watching at the time. Both film and novella intrigue but are rather soulless in the end. The former more than the latter, perhaps. Now reading Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Quite slow to get going but when it does it is so compelling. Exquisite precision to characterisation.

Currently watching Night of the Hunter. Saw most of it years ago but have wanted to watch the whole things ever since. Is there any wonder that Cahiers du cinéma voted it the second best film of all time (after Citizen Kane).

Very much enjoyed attending the Latin American Centre's screening of Port of Destiny - "Peace" during the week and the question time with former President Santos afterwards.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

in memoriam























In memory of my great-uncle, Claude Meysey-Thompson, who died in France in 1915 and whose body was brought back by my great-grandfather and buried in the family plot at Little Ouseburn in Yorkshire.

On his gravestone is written: "In Loving Memory of Captain The Hon.Claude Henry Meysey Meysey-Thompson, 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade. Only Son of 1st Lord Knaresborough. Born 5th April,1887. Wounded in the Trenches near Ypres 6th June, 1915. Died at Bailleul in France 17th June, 1915 in the presence of his father who brought back the body to England and it was interred here on the 22nd June, 1915."

With thanks to this thread on the Great War Forum for information about Claude. In the thread it is pointed out that his body was probably one of the last to be brought home for family burial because this was stopped by the government. There was an interesting article in the Times this week that discussed people's outrage at not being able to bring the remains of their loved ones home, entitled 'Don’t bury our brave boys like dogs'.

The article begins:

'"Is it not enough to have our boys dragged from us and butchered without being deprived of their poor remains?"

So pleaded one bereaved mother during the First World War, joining thousands in expressing outrage that the bodies of fallen soldiers would be buried in mass cemeteries abroad rather than returned home for private family burials.'

Sunday, 4 November 2018

bruton catch-up





...Some pics of our escape to Somerset in September. Someone said there wasn't much to see in Bruton but we loved the little tucked away places there.

And there are tons of other things to enjoy. See this Evening Standard piece, 10 reasons why you should visit Bruton, Somerset from 2016. (We had an excellent al fresco lunch At The Chapel.) Then there's Godminster cheese!

It was At The Chapel that we saw the wood wasp coming and going.