Raw Meat .. Nicola Batty's Newsletter.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

June 2012 Issue 141

Nicola’s Editorial
Is it any wonder that I’m getting so confused these days when such bizarre things happen as my gentle son, Jack, ending up with a broken jaw? When we went over to the hospital to see him I was expecting to find him strapped up with bandages but there was nothing and Jack was sitting up and chatting away quite freely about his horrible operation to pin his jaw back together - so I don’t think there’s too much damage there.
I was reminded of a story I wrote twenty odd years ago, Robespierre getting his jaw shot and getting completely shattered so that it was made to be held together with bandages which were ripped off  by his executioner when he had to finally face the Guillotine, and his broken jaw fell amongst the screaming mob. It’s a wonderful tale which I’d love to share with you as I hope that someone somewhere must take some interest surely? Although I gave up with Jack as he obviously wasn’t interested in his old mum going on about the French Revolution I hope desperately that you would be surely? Although it may take some searching for Andy, I’ll begin by putting my short story Robespierre’s Jaw on my Weblog very soon.
I surely must have told you about the Jerry Farr Travel Award for people with Ataxia? All that’s needed is a crazy travel idea so it was no trouble at all for me to think of a dream of touching elephants on a touching safari in South Africa actually do-able. The safari also includes a ride in a hot air balloon which sounds fantastic, and also touching cheetahs though I hope they won’t be too bitey or I’ll come back minus several fingers. I still can’t believe that this will no longer continue to remain a mere dream as I’ve won the award after several years of trying.
Although Jack was originally going to accompany me on my adventure it now looks more likely that Andy and Brigitte will come with me, most probably in August. I believe the safari is for a week - I’m still having great difficulty believing it will become a reality for us all! I just hope that it won’t be too hot as South Africa in August sounds a pretty red hot time… still, I’m sure it will work out okay. Of course I fully intend to write about my experience as I’m quite sure I’ll have loads to say!
Whilst continuing to battle constantly with confusion, I’m also having trouble with such things as which way to turn the cup whilst drinking and which way to turn the bloody toothbrush every day, making my whole life such a headache, an everlasting struggle with gravity. Maybe that helps to explain why I love the feeling of floating so much in the water.
Speaking of water, I’ve just started going to hydrotherapy with my Mum and Brigitte every few weeks or so. It’s wonderful, the sensation of floating is beautiful, I no longer have to worry about keeping myself upright and all my limbs in place which does my head in! I think that feeling of floating can only otherwise be achieved when you go to sleep and slip into that beautiful other world of dreams. Is it therefore really no wonder that I long to escape forever sometimes into sleep and dream…
It’s been raining recently but May was beautiful, warm and sunny. I went for a wonderful walk  in the woods with Brigitte and her friend Joey, whose a crazy chap. I love  Joey, he’s crazy  but also really sensitive. He makes something as simple as a walk into something really special, and despite walking really fast he also spotted snails in the most unlikely places. He was describing all the butterflies. We promised that we’ll go rowing together this summer, we’re just waiting for the sunshine to return.
Now that Jack has come home, still with pins holding his jaw together, I discovered the story behind it, so here it is. He was in a supermarket with some friends, when a hefty chap came and socked him! It sounds like he was drunk but I don’t think he was arrested, I don’t know why it happened, the whole thing is horrible, poor old Jack ended up in hospital with a broken jaw – it was obviously quite some punch! There was absolutely no fight and Jack was just plain unlucky it seems. He’s okay now, thank goodness, but it’s not something we’re going to forget in a hurry.
A few weeks ago I went to the Ataxia clinic in Sheffield and the doctor there said I might have Sleep Apnoea and may not be taking in enough oxygen to the brain at night, hence the dreams, which are now quite famous. A friend of mine, who also has FA and Sleep Apnoea, has to have an oxygen mask at night and she says she feels like Darth Vader.


I wrote this piece of creative writing for my Dad – it’s one of his memories which he told me about many years ago. When he was a boy, my Dad lived with his grandfather who was a hairdresser above a shop in Plymouth, where he used to spend hours reading books on astronomy and science. I remember a story he told me about his grandmother, who was dead. Some people used to believe that she had been poisoned by her husband’s second wife, who didn’t like her and so did away with her. Whether there’s any truth in this I don’t know but that’s how the story goes.
Another dream I had, it feels like years ago, but I can’t get it out of my head is a painting of a woman in conventional Victorian dress standing alone on a hillside holding a shepherd’s crook in one hand, it’s called unnecessarily, The Shepherdess my dream told me it was by, Shannon although I’ve never seen the painting before, at least I don’t remember doing so, but it’s completely without colour which means that I must have seen  it in a book somewhere. Does anyone recognise it?  As it’s driving me mad!
I’m afraid I haven’t been terribly creative lately it’s about as much as I can do to keep my poor old brain in some sort of order. What with the continuing battle with my bloody body, just that is quite enough said, but I still remain at heart a creature of deep imagination. I’m constantly having really vivid dreams which become so mixed up with reality that I’m in danger of going completely mad, but then I’m not too worried about this. Although, I don’t know how long this is going to last?
As for The Space Between I just can’t cope with completing it by myself so I’ve handed it over to Suzanne because I trust her as she’s a creative writer herself and actually a poet of some experience and also she knows me and understands what I’m trying to say. So far I’ve given it to her to read and we’ll take it from there.
Need I say that we would appreciate any comments and suggestions from you as Suzanne produces each chapter.
It's a good one, this - the first part of Chapter Six of Killing Time is on my Weblog Without Boundaries. So please do keep those comments coming they're welcome, thank you!
Welcome to Andy's bit...
May I take this opportunity to congratulate Nicola on winning the Jerry Farr travel award this year. It's an amazing thing set up by the family of Jerry Farr. So a very big thank you to Jerry Farr's family and all those involved in the award at Ataxia UK.

Just when I was getting really fed up with the winter, I discovered some great news – that the Jerry Farr travel award is open again this year. This was totally unexpected to me, because I thought the award was just a one off… but apparently not, maybe until the money runs out. Anyway, I’m going to apply for my Tahiti expedition again, only this time, making it a shade less ambitious by sticking just to Tahiti!! I’m ruling out flying round the world!! Hopefully I’ll have more luck getting in touch with the campsite. I thought briefly of completely rethinking my travel plans… perhaps Tahiti was just too far, and I should go for somewhere in Europe, a bit more realistic. But why should I ?? I’ve always dreamed of going to the South Seas, and with my particular obsession with Gauguin, Tahiti’s still my first choice and it seems perfectly realistic so far… so why not aim for the top, and dream? Better luck this time.
(MARCH 2011)
Although I was going to make my application for the Jerry Farr travel award for a Ziggy safari this year, so far things don’t look totally hopeful as far as safaris go - basically they are too expensive, way beyond the five thousand pounds limit. It’s a shame , as I was quite into the sound of these safaris which cater also for people with sight problems - and include things like elephant interaction and touching the cheetahs which sound amazing! As this award is open to all applicants who have Ataxia, I’ve asked my friend Sue for any more ideas… I feel a bit stuck as to what to do now, I’m wondering whether to completely forget the idea of touching safaris and go instead for a straight holiday in the Bahamas, or whether to try for another idea I came across when making my application last year… this one was for a Ziggy jungle trip in Brazil, staying in a hotel in the middle of the jungle which sounded pretty freaky. Although I’d much rather camp in the jungle, maybe that’s pushing it a bit…
(MAY 2011) 
Last week I found out I didn’t get lucky with the Jerry Farr application… which means there will be no touching Elephants or Cheetah’s. Naturally I’m really pissed off about this, as I was really looking forward to this Touching Safari in South Africa… though I suppose it was pretty inevitable in a way. The letter from the Jerry Farr organisation said that the standard of applications was very high which made it difficult to choose. Andy’s just told me that the organisers only received eight applications from all over the country, which I find absolutely incredible. I would have thought most Ataxia people would have applied again this year, especially because the project limit has gone up. I can’t see any reason why everyone shouldn’t apply for such a great idea as the Jerry Farr Memorial Fund… can you?
And from Andy's bit...
(MAY 2011)
I was sorry to hear that Nic failed to win the Jerry Farr travel award again this year. After missing out last year and the year before with her proposal to go to Tahiti, (which is something she still wants to do) she simplified her application this year proposing an African Touching Safari, for blind people. When we found out that there were only eight applicants and that the standard of the proposals was very high, I said maybe they should have given the prize to the worst entry as they obviously need the break, whereas somebody who is able to put together a winning entry is probably able to find the funding from elsewhere. Anyway… Congratulations to the winner, I sincerely hope they have a fantastic holiday.

Don't forget to read Nic's Online novel Killing Time. You can clink~this~link.
Thats all folks! Many thanks for reading Raw Meat!

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