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, 24 November 2019

portugal, waterlogged veg, teaching, an imaginary interview with sir thomas bodley







A wonderful break in Portugal - staying near Trancoso and in Porto.

Back to an allotment that isn't as flooded as I expected, although the ground is still sodden. Wondering whether carrots, beetroots, parsnips, chard and leeks will make it to Christmas.

Last of my face-to-face teaching commitments before the new year yesterday. A full but terrific day. Really enjoyed working with this year's students.

I was thrilled that recently two pieces I wrote in the summer were published on the Modern Languages Schools Blog, Adventures on the Bookshelf. One on the amazing Taylor Institution Library and its equally amazing Reader Services team. The other, an imaginary interview with Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian Library (originally published on the estimable Le mot juste en anglais and Clio - la muse de l'histoire websites in California in English and French).

The latter piece was an unexpected commission. I wasn't sure I had done the right thing in accepting at first but once I had completed my research and began to write, the project was incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable.