Raw Meat .. Nicola Batty's Newsletter.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

April 2012 Issue 139

Nicola's Editorial
SPRING?
Sorry if I’m a little late with this issue - I only just remembered it was Raw Meat time once again… but by now you’ll probably be well used to my bad memory which may be simply the first sign of a decaying brain - otherwise know as Old Age. Depressing really as I’m not actually that old at all… let’s just forget that particular subject altogether and move quickly along onto more interesting things like Spring. At one stage recently it felt actually warm enough to venture outside without a coat which now seems absolutely incredible as that horrible cold wind has returned form the north pole and quite blown all the warmth away. So we’re back to coats and hats and even putting the heating on… April too… sigh
SPRING? INTO SPRING
It suddenly dawned upon me that it’s Easter weekend which seems incredible to believe, but there you are. Tomorrow is Good Friday which always brings back vivid memories of my grandmother who died on Good Friday about 13 years ago. It was really ironic because she always loved the spring time, so everybody decorated her coffin with loads of Daffodils, Hyacinths, May blossom… other such smelly flowers which everyone also brought to the church, so that her whole funeral was wonderfully smelly. So this time always makes me think of her… her name was Henrietta Honey, a beautiful name… and even though all the time that I knew her hair was quite grey my granddad told me that she used to have beautiful long auburn hair which was the envy of all the other girls back in the 1920’s and 30’s. My granddad’s now dead only a few years ago actually, as he lived to the incredible age of 95. He used to be a sailor and in the war he was a gunner on a ship down in Plymouth. My mum grew up by the sea and so quite naturally loves the sea and has lots of memories about going out fishing with her dad in her small rowing boat. They used to catch lots of Bream and Cod and then row back to shore in time for my mum to go to school in the morning. Enough of such memories as they are making me feel rather sad though I’m not quite sure why exactly. Anyway here I am now nothing much seems to be going on as we’re all still waiting for the spring to come and the winter to well and truly pack it’s bags and be gone. Still waiting though…
CONFUSION
As always, I’m continuing to struggle to keep my head in some sort of order in my battle with my old enemy, confusion… though by now were on such close terms that I suppose I could call him “friend” or at least “ acquaintance”. I suppose I can blame most of this on my hearing which has recently become pretty useless, or at least not as good as before and as it’s always been something of a problem it becomes even more so even though I certainly wouldn’t call myself deaf by any means - so I suppose I shouldn’t really complain too much. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. It’s just that I’m becoming so mixed up… I start talking about one thing and then start another - making my dictation while trying to write something extremely difficult to understand… not just for the reader but also for me! Also I keep forgetting things so that I’m constantly rewriting what I’ve already started so that the whole thing becomes an entire jumble! Therefore, I apologise very much if any of this issue is at all repetitive or mixed up… please just indulge my state of mind as I can only hope it will improve!
EASTER
As I said, confusion remains, and so I’m having difficulty remembering anything much that’s been going on lately but one thing I remember clearly - and that’s the Easter weekend. I remember this clearly, because it was really special for me as on Easter Saturday I saw my good friend from Norfolk, Sally. I very rarely manage to meet up with her now-a-days as she’s a busy school teacher and is one of those people who always seems to be too busy to see you. So it was really good simply to sit and have a good old natter… or at least as close as I’ll ever be able to come to such a thing these days, now that it’s become so very difficult for me to manage to exchange any information with people because of both speech and hearing problems. Then later on I went down to my Mums near Nantwich where it was lovely to be able to see my Dad who’s become pretty much housebound these days due to his chest condition which is getting worse, as he has great trouble with breathing. My dad will always remain one of my most intimate friends, no matter what happens - we’re looking forward to our forthcoming trip up Snowdon which mum and I gave dad as a birthday present last month. But back to Easter - mum and I went to Nantwich where there was a small zoo with such animals as lizards, snakes and frogs - it was just a shame that I couldn’t hold them! Still, I really enjoyed it - simply spending time with my parents was a pleasure. Of course we had Easter eggs in plenty along with a dinner that my brother cooked, before coming home.

 CONVERSATION WITH SUN-HYAE

One date I actually remembered just in the nick of time was April the 5th, the birthday of Sun-Hyae my friend from South Korea who I met about 13 years ago,  I think it must be at least, but in the days when I used to have a community service volunteer - a sort of live in helper. I remember she had her own little room which Andy built, and she and I developed a very close friendship which is just as well really, as I can remember there were other CSV people who I didn’t get on with at all or were not so close and remained merely acquaintances from the past. Sun-Hyae and I still write regularly on the internet, a few  years ago she actually came over from her flat in the city of Seoul to stay with us for a few months. She’s a good deal younger than I am, hence she’s quite physically strong and used to be able to help completely which I valued a lot as it gave me independence I was craving so much. She also managed to get along fine with Andy which is much easier than getting on with me I’ll admit quite readily. One of the most exciting things we did was to drive with both Andy and Jack who was about six all the way to Venice, stopping a few times on the way in France, Switzerland and finally Italy where we both camped and stayed at a hotel at one point in the Swiss mountains, though this was a last minute decision as Andy had been driving for about ten hours or something stupid after we lost our way and were going around for ages going up and down the mountains trying to find the bloody campsite. I still remember this clearly… Andy’s frustration and my increasing nervousness that we were going to break down - or have an accident and be stuck there, unable to contact anyone for help. These were the days before the mobile phone so… you can understand my worry especially as my young son Jack - who was hardly more than a baby then and so completely reliant on his mum. I remember that it was near Zurich, where we only stayed for one night as we couldn’t afford any more than this! Sun-Hyae enjoyed the comfort and was extremely reluctant to leave it I remember but she had no choice really and so climbed back in our trusty car and we drove on to the next stop in the Jura Mountains to a really big camp site where we stayed for several days. This was a wonderful countryside site set on the side of the mountains amongst lakes where we both canoed and went rowing… these were back in the days when Andy was much more adventurous than he is now I suppose. After this we stayed on the edge of  Lake Garda for a few days before the final stop at Venice itself on a massive campsite… actually it was just outside Venice I remember,  we had to get a ferry to take us over the water which Jack loved. Venice itself  was so busy with tourists I found it a bit too much and preferred the back streets from where  the coastline of Yugoslavia was visible. I still have such vivid memories of us buying a present for Jack to keep him occupied which was a string puppet of Pinocchio and the incredible sense of failure I felt when he burst into tears and wouldn’t accept it! Thank god that he’s matured somewhat now and we get along quite happily despite everything. Anyway, the point of all this that I’m trying to make is that through all this my constant friend was Sun-Hyae, she and I were even closer than I was to Andy back then. Now I’ve become much closer to Andy and quite naturally turn to him for support through my troubles at the moment. So Sun-Hyae and I still keep in touch regularly thanks to the internet and I still look back on that holiday over three weeks and covering a distance of two thousand miles with great fondness and gratitude to Sun-Hyae. In fact I’d like to dedicate this issue to her as a belated birthday present… many thanks  and even love to you Sun-Hyae!

RAW MATERIALS

KILLING TIME
I do hope that some of you have been following Catching the Light which I’ve been serialising on my blog every week… well, now this little story has come to an end it’s time to begin presenting my novel Killing Time chapter by chapter. Although I wrote this novel some time ago, I still think it’s not bad at all if just a little ambitious. One of my friends who read it called it “sensational!" which was quite a compliment… or at least I took it as such!
FIREWORKS
Copyright Nicola Batty © 2002
I’m including here the latest bit I’ve written - I think the chapter we’re on at the moment is called “The Green Tattoo” though I’m not quite sure what number the chapter is - you’ll have to forgive my confusion - hopefully it’s only a temporary thing or at least I hope so. Anyway, here’s an extract:
THE GREEN TATTOO
It was warm inside the stable, the horses breathing and moving gently from side to side as they waited patiently for their next meal of carrots to arrive. Robert stroked the nose of the nearest horse and rolled up his sleeve to reveal the green flame tattoo.
“What do you think, Andrew? It’s great, isn’t it?”
The Orange Priest stared silently at the tattoo, frowning. Although Andrew Catesby resembled his brother in many ways – like him, he was also very tall, but he was thin with small spectacles that magnified his tiny, black eyes. He turned away, returning to his task of getting the horses’ food thankfully.
“I don’t know, Robert… it’s a bit too blatant for my liking. You’re playing with fire, I think. Mind you, you have always been a bit… unsubtle, shall we say.”
Robert gave a tut of impatience and covering up his tattoo.
“I should have known I’d get such a negative reaction from you… it’s those orange robes that are beginning to affect you. Can’t you get back on green territory?” Without further ado Andrew began to remove his orange robes and replace them with green ones. He dropped the orange ones to the floor and Robert lifted it in disgust, using the toe of his boot.
“Yuck… horrible things, these… I hate having to wear them every day at the Orange Church.” He removed his spectacles and began to clean them, sighing as he did so. “The whole thing is such a charade… it’s all a game I’m playing. I just hope the royal soldiers don’t realise that the orange flame we’re burning isn’t real, just a fake.” Robert rubbed the arm of his brother’s green robe reassuringly. He picked up the green lantern and lit the green flame which burst instantly to life, filling the entire stables with a sense of safety and strength. Even the horses seemed to quieten and become calm, even though they were getting hungry by now. Robert placed the lantern on a shelf beside the harnesses, which hung on the wall. The two things seemed to go together perfectly without any trouble.
“I wouldn’t worry about that, Andrew… you’ve got no reason to concern yourself as long as you keep playing the game.” He began to help Andrew feed the horses. “Just keep on dressing as an orange priest for a while… it doesn’t have to mean anything at all to you, you’ll always be a green priest underneath. Like these horses… they’ll always remain green horses.”
URBAN
SCRAWL!!
Welcome to Andy's bit...
KILLING TIME
The big thing right now is Nic's novel Killing Time which we are starting to serialise on her weblog Without Boundaries. The introduction and The Prologue are already Online along with the wonderful cover which was designed for her by the fabulous Gary Parkinson. It's well worth clinking~the~link below and taking a look for yourself. We will be adding a chapter (or part chapter) each week. Here's the introduction to Nic's novel Killing Time.
NaPoWriMo 2012
Thirty poems in thirty days is the theme once again for National Poetry Writing Month, you can see my entries on my SweetTalkingGuy bloggage.
Many thanks for reading Raw Meat!!!

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