Raw Meat .. Nicola Batty's Newsletter.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

May 2012 Issue 140

Nicola's Editorial

Though it makes quite a nice change I suppose that I can actually remember a few days so I haven’t forgotten any birthdays recently but I’m still finding it rather difficult to wake up properly so that my head seems to be becoming a complete tangle of dreams and reality, memories and the here and now so that it’s like some sort of dense forest full of tangled briars which coil around like snakes with a life of their own - so that they might well even be living and threatening to overcome… so you see that I can’t disentangle myself from this and so I’m never quite sure if I’m awake or asleep.
It’s definitely disturbing even if not down right frightening I suppose as I wonder if I am in fact loosing my sanity? But I don’t feel myself in the same way so that’s rather nice to think of as I feel there’s no danger of me suddenly murdering Andy while he’s asleep which I suppose he’s rather glad to hear. For instance, I dreamt last night about  Andy’s brother, and I thought we must have been in Thailand because it was definitely a warm place… but then also my Mum was involved so that it might have been in a greenhouse but then also my own boy Jack was there so I don’t know exactly what went on so really all I’m certain about is that Andy’s brother was there. Such dreams as these become even more disturbing when I fall asleep and dream really deeply so that I never am really sure whether I’m awake or asleep. Though this ability to dream so deeply is something to be envied I suppose, never the less it takes a sinister quality when it threatens to invade my life.
When I went my Dad’s recently I was surprised to find him talking about him going out to the park on his new scooter which apparently has four wheels, but I can’t visualise it as I didn’t actually see it – or rather touch it, so I’ve got no idea of the dimensions of such a contraption. I don’t know why I never actually got to touch it as now it’s plaguing me… though I did think it might appear to be a sort of buggy – I don’t think it can be like a motorbike, that was that because my Mum told me that it had only one seat when I asked if I could go on it with Dad so it obviously can’t be that big I  feel – so I’ve got absolutely no clear picture in my head. Anyway the main point of this is that my Dad’s okay even though his scooter remains a bit of a mystery to me.
One of my friends was telling me recently that he’s just decided to write his autobiography and so I asked my Dad if he wanted to write his, but he was reluctant to do so as he thought his life was totally too boring  and uninteresting and conventional.
“ Not at all,” I said “ it depends how you write it.”
So I have begun to write a few short stories of my own based on the stories he’s told me in the past about his life which must have left impressions on me because I still remember them even though they were about the bits of his life he may have told me about thirty years ago. I’m going to include the first of these here, The Bullfighter’s Trousers, which I’m still not satisfied with so I hope that you’ll be able help me by sending your criticisms. Here we are then, please do read and send in your reaction and comments as I need them pretty badly.
This is specially for you, Dad
In the 1970’s CJ the accountant lived with his wife and family in the town of Stockport, a suburb of Manchester. He worked for an engineering firm in which he held an important position as a manager, which meant that he needed to travel all over the world. On this occasion he found himself in Madrid where he stayed for a few days in a rather nice hotel. As he was there with a few other chaps he knew, they were having a meal together at the hotel restaurant when a swarthy-faced Spaniard came over and in broken English asked for a light. Though at first they could make head nor tail of what he said, eventually they did and began to chat with him. He was called Manuel and it emerged that he had the room next to CJ, on the fourth floor. CJ was rather surprised to find out that Manuel, who was a good deal shorter than him, had a job as a bullfighter, he didn’t seem to be aggressive enough and CJ found it difficult to imagine Manuel in the ring with all the crowd shouting “Ole” as the tiny figure faced up to the bull.

On the way back to the hotel the following evening CJ had to squeeze between two parked cars and somehow managed to catch his leg on the ariel of  one of them and rip his trousers and also his leg so that the fabric soon became soaked in blood… although CJ managed to stop the blood before it did too much damage his trousers were ruined, so he limped back to the hotel. When he got there he went straight upstairs in the lift to his room and began to feel slightly panic stricken as he had searched in his wardrobe for another pair of trousers; as luck would have it he suddenly remembered that he had an important business meeting the next day and so obviously he needed to look more like a respectable British accountant so he went to the room next to his and tapped urgently on it. Manuel opened it eventually in his pyjama’s as it was pretty early in the morning by then and looked at CJ in surprise.
“Manuel, I need to borrow some trousers quickly!” Said CJ.  Although at first Manuel just stared at CJ, he quickly overcame his surprise and; after some moments of searching in his wardrobe he reappeared at the door and handed CJ a pair of white trousers which the accountant took at once without examining them too much as he was grateful and not to mention a little desperate.

Back in his room CJ simply stuffed the trousers in a drawer and climbed straight into bed for he just wanted to get some sleep before the meeting. The next day he had to rise early and had time to examine the white trousers more closely; they turned out to be extremely tight when he put them on and not at all suitable for his important business meeting - but what could he do? He searched frantically but his own suitcase was just about empty as CJ was one of those who believed in travelling as light as possible. So he was forced to inch along the hotel bedroom and very carefully and daintily taking tiny steps all the way along through the streets to the business centre where the meeting was to take place, very red in the face.

The other accountants tried not to stare but CJ was extremely embarrassed as he sat down very carefully at the business table - he kept his eyes downcast the whole time and was almost too embarrassed to get to his feet when it came to his turn to speak and would try his best to give his paper about finance with his tight fitting silk trousers clinging around his bottom all the time - CJ thought he must surely die with shame. After the meeting he inched his way quickly back to the hotel and decided to catch the very next flight home… he was simply unable to go on. When he got back upon British soil he was almost unable to return to work the next day as he was quite sure that all the other accountants at his office had heard about him, and he fully expected to be sacked by his boss - but nothing was said. He wondered why Manuel had worn such a ridiculous pair of trousers at all - though he tried to imagine Manuel in the bullfighters ring facing up to the bull wearing tight white trousers he thought that they must have looked stupid indeed - but there you are, that’s Spanish bullfighters for you, he concluded.


It’s really depressing for me to have to face up to the fact that the confused state of mind I’ve been talking about, has inevitably affected my writing. I’ve found it pretty much impossible to remember quite where I’m up to with things. I’ve been thinking of taking up Ruth’s idea of writing a little bit every day, but I don’t want to make a diary of any sort but something I can keep up with and maybe put straight on my blog. I haven’t really thought about this very much as the idea has only just come to me, so nothing will happen just yet. It was even difficult for me to remember where I was up to in Fireworks, but last week I was able to get myself together enough to pick up the thread again. It was quite enough of a struggle without even being able to think about The Space Between. It’s unthinkable for me to have to leave it unfinished, but things look pretty bleak at the moment and that may be what I’ll have to do in the end, but I don’t intend ever to stop writing all together – it’s impossible for me to live without creating scenarios for characters, some real and some I’ve invented. This is something very much like breathing to me, without it I just can’t face any sort of life.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re all as bored of that subject as I am myself, so back to Fireworks, my short story based very loosely on the gunpowder plot, or rather Antonia Fraser’s wonderful epic upon that subject. So far the extremely tall boy, Guy Fawkes, has moved to London from York where he had lived with his father in his candle shop and where he saw the Irish green angel on the moors. Guy follows the Angel’s orders and goes to London where he meets Robert Catesby. Meanwhile the King has been visited by the Orange Angel at his breakfast table and the angel instructs his to give orders to make everything orange. So this piece is from the fourth chapter, The King’s Purple Wardrobe, and I won’t say anything more but just let you read it.
By the way, both Andy and I are still working on the Ebook of Catching The Light, so keep your eyes peeled for it!


Copyright Nicola Batty © 2012
Early in the morning of the following day the king’s stage coach rolled past the Orange Church very slowly, the king looking carefully out of the window all the time. He was searching for a suitable building in which to make  his purple wardrobe. You see, he had never lost his passion for fine clothes and had decided to build himself a wardrobe where he could  keep all his fine and fancy robes with their sumptuous fur and jewels. He needed a suitably elegant building.
            The king called out to the driver of the royal coach to stop. As he glanced down a jewel on his golden crown sparkled and caught the light from the sun that was still rising in the sky.
“Stop the coach here! I want to examine that building, I think it may make a perfect wardrobe.”
So all the Royal Soldiers obeyed and surrounded the king as he walked slowly around, the fine stone structure. Meanwhile, close by, Guy and Robert worked away, not wishing to attract attention. But the king was more interested in finding a suitable site for his wardrobe.
“Stop! I think this building will do for my wardrobe… I want it to be painted with orange and purple… perhaps stripes would look rather nice,” he told the royal guard, and ordered them to go ahead and begin the work. Guy and Robert continued their own painting nervously.
“Just keep working, quick,” Robert whispered to Guy. “We want to get finished as quick as we can without drawing any attention to ourselves.”
So they continued to paint desperately, but nevertheless one of the kings soldiers stopped them just as he began his own painting as he’d been ordered, with his pot of purple paint in his hand.
“Wait!” he said, “What do you think you’re doing?”
Guy turned round, his brush covered in orange paint, thinking quickly. “I’m just giving this orange church a fresh coat – it was just getting a bit shabby, that’s all,” he said and turned back to his painting as casually as he could.
Within a few hours the king’s new wardrobe was finished – the sunlight caught on the freshly painted purple and orange stripes and caused them to sparkle. It brought out the beauty of the stained glass windows, the red roses and yellow leaves accentuated by the deep purple paint behind the window. The king himself nodded approvingly, even daring to speak to the head of the soldiers quietly.
“You’ve done a very nice job, you must thank every one of your soldiers,” he muttered, aware of his big tongue making his words difficult to understand. The head soldier frowned.
“I’m sorry, your majesty, could you say that once again? Please forgive me but I can’t make head nor tail of what you’re saying, I’m sorry.”
The king sighed heavily, removing his crown and turning it around miserably in his hands. He turned away and went back to his coach where he could shut himself away, pulling the blinds down over the window.
Guy and Robert carried on with their work, greatly relieved.
So the royal soldiers marched away, back to the palace, leaving Guy and Robert to finish their own orange painting.
It took the king several hours to emerge from hiding in his palace to return to his royal wardrobe, taking with him his fine robes, all his clothes requiring a separate carriage of their own. Still, the king remained silent, watching the soldiers carefully as they stopped the carriage and moved all the clothes and stored each item carefully in the new royal wardrobe. The king simply smiled, waving his hand as the last soldier scurried thankfully back out. Robert and Guy looked on as they packed away their orange paint and cleaned their brushes and returned to the tavern at which they had found rooms. 
Welcome to Andy’s bit…
The NaPoWriMo poetry month of April is of course now finished and you can read my thirty entries on my SweetTalkingGuy bloggage.
Over on my Dream Genie blog at Properjoes.blogspot.com there's a little message to anybody who may be interested in the Premiership this season!!!

More from Urban Scrawl Andy in June.

Thanks for reading Raw Meat!!!!

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