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.

Monday, 31 December 2018

happy new year!!!!
























Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

last of the beetroot soup























Today we finished the last of the Christmas beetroot soup.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

midwinter harvest, easter?, christmas reading, transformative lighting
























On the allotment earlier, harvested carrots and beetroots for tomorrow's lunch. Afterwards went for a bike ride. Green fields and singing birds - it felt like Easter not Christmas!

Lovely to be spending Christmas and New Year at home! Wonderful to be together. Lots of delicious food and gorgeous long country walks.

Finished - and much enjoyed - moving and thought-provoking Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Have now returned to Jane Eyre - perfect midwinter reading.

The holidays started excellently with Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti performed by Bampton Classical Opera in St Mary's on 21st December. Quite apart from the beautifully emotive music and voices, there was tasty mulled wine - not to mention transformative lighting!

Saturday, 22 December 2018

home for the holidays!























This photo was taken when I was at a bus top in Witney waiting for the S1 to Oxford early yesterday morning.

This was the last time I'll be taking this journey until the new year. I love my job and I love Oxford but it will be so lovely to be at home for a couple of weeks.

The photo shows Densham's Butchers - a shop we go to: https://denshamsbutchers.co.uk. Though in the interests of fairness, Patrick Strainge in Bampton is another excellent butcher: http://www.patrickstrainge-butchers.co.uk!

Our Christmas decorating and shopping are almost done - just cheese and wine to go.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

frosty mornings, christmas parties, trust: a family story - finished?, political shenanigans, escaping...

Lovely walks on frosty mornings.

Happy memories of a weekend spent with family in Kent.

Lots of departmental and college Christmas parties - a consequence of my varied University affiliations. Pacing oneself is an art. Great, though, to spend time with colleagues - such a rarity these days; these busy days.

I confess that it was quite difficult starting work again after our short holiday. It was almost as if my mind had decided that Christmas had come early. Now the mad dash to get everything done before we finish. Apart from one or two things, Christmas shopping remains to be done.

Finished Trust: A family story the week before last. I say finished - and I'm pleased the work is done - but there is still much to do. Rereading the whole work to see how the rewrites and reorderings flow. Not to mention deciding where to take it next.

Things for the new year.

Was fascinated by the recent political shenanigans. Fascinated and appalled. Where are we going? Why? What for? Endless questions without answers.

Like many, I suspect, Christmas will be a period of escaping from it all; like no other, this year. These Brexit days are ones of subdued, numb uncertainty and wishing we had never got ourselves into this mess.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

time off, lovely winter walks, contrast























Had a couple of days off. Lovely winter walks on the Barrington Park Estate and along the Windrush between Burford and Swinbrook. Quite a contrast to this time last year when there was heavy snow.