It’s a true pleasure to welcome Lynne Blackwood to the sett today, especially as her short – Remember Me – won the Style of Wight writing competition last week – here’s the link [The Badger hugs Lynne, who squirms to get out of his grasp as his breath reeks of earthworms and his claws need clipping]

Remember Me by Lynne Blackwood

Lynne is the first female to enter the sett since Belinda left, so I’ve tidied up and promised not to scratch myself inappropriately while she’s here. I’ll let Lynne introduce herself as I’m off to grab a slug snack – take it away Lynne!

I’m working on a supernatural mystery novel set in Paris. It’s about Guy, a man who is bored and ‘wants more’. He meets an enigmatic woman, Liana, who draws him into her very strange world. Guy finally loses touch with reality, only to be rescued in extremis by his long-standing friend, Marc.

There is a moral tale about being happy with what you already have that I’d like the readers to experience, as the novel becomes denser in atmosphere and Guy nears the demise of his own making. But I won’t say anymore apart from the title: CATOPSIS!

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

The second encounter was equally intense.  After-office socialising was an almost daily event in Paris and I sometimes wondered if people actually slept in that city.  I was drinking myself into oblivion at one of those falsely intellectual art exhibition openings, where well-dressed creatures swanned elegantly from one canvas to another, purring with suavity at some extravagantly gaudy painting posturing as the latest art scene discovery.

Champagne flowed, lubricating cheque book hinges and enticing well to do attendees into a competition of who would buy that wonderful painting every one wanted so badly. Several overflowing champagne glasses and an empty stomach had done wonders for my mood and I delighted in observing, cynically dissecting these caricatured creatures around me.  I wasn’t part of their world, just a visitor when it suited, an outsider by choice because I had always wanted more, so much more.

 She was almost diaphanous, a translucent shade, only her shimmering light brown, waist-length hair betrayed her presence.  I saw her and was immediately drawn to her.  The same odour as in the hot boulevard but this time distinct, uniquely hers, exuded by her present and visible body, unadulterated by the distracting influences of that first fleeting encounter.  My eyes could now take her all in.  Slender, fine-boned yet there was underlying strength in her sinewy limbs. Her breasts were heavy, disproportionate, reminding me of an ancient ship’s wooden prow figure with bust thrust forward, chin lifted to the wind and hair flowing behind.  Despite her seeming fragility there was a magnetic force so subtle that it pulled you in, the trap closing quietly without a sound or whimper.

…What a wonderful image, she reminds me of Belinda [Badger sniffs as he chews] You know if you dip the slugs in the salt spillage in the picnic area, they fizz in your mouth – well cool! So, Lynne, can you tell us what you’ll be working on next, what can we expect from Lynne Blackwood in the future?

I’m actually working on reviewing and collating my seventy odd poems. Yes, I write poetry as well! I’m trying to pull an anthology or pamphlet together and attempting to publish it, probably in the autumn. I‘ve also started a collection of short stories on the theme of ‘Strange Happenings,’ (provisional title) drawn from my own and other people’s supernatural and spiritual experiences. No publishing date for that yet, probably in 2013. My priority is to finish ‘Catopsis’ and ‘get my work out there,’ as they say!

I’ve had to get the ‘wok out of there’ once when I was searching for scraps around the bins of the local Chinese. The same guy had an issue with me for dangling my plums in the sauce when I broke into the kitchens too – good job it was off the heat is all I can say. You’re a poet Lynne – if I wrote a poem about soreberries, I mean strawberries, would I refer to it as a sonnet or a punnet?

Well, I’m not sure – how about a sunnet or ponnet? I mean, a ponnet of strawberries or a sunnet of strawberries? A sunnet of strawberries is a bit of a (delicious) mouthful, isn’t it!

Talking of delicious – Is the gorgeous Elke Summers an actress or merely a moose on holiday?

Both. One’s a blonde moose and the other an actress with antlers and a big flobbery mouth…and both eat lichen all day!

I’m a likin’ your answer there, Lynne. Belinda, my estranged wife – who I don’t like to talk about – used to be an actress. She was an extra in Watership Down and she had a bit part in an independent wildlife documentary about Badger gambling, you know cards, dominoes and bridge that sort of thing. I just wondered though, have you ever burnt your bridges? If so, how many did you own? Where were they located and why did you burn them…god damn it! Why?

Loads; mainly in France, but the biggest was the Channel Bridge after leaving France – I secretly have a stash of C4 at home for further detonations. I did try Tower Bridge but they sentenced me to a lifetime of writing.

I bet your name was mud when you left France. Hey, I know there’s a rock group called Mud, but can you name a song about soil?

How about The Hippopotamus Song, better known as Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud? Flanders & Swann, I believe, though my recollections are of Rolf Harris singing it. That shows my old age, doesn’t it!

God, that brings back some unwanted memories [Badger’s eye begins to twitch and his back leg begins to shake] just having a flashback from when me and Belinda turned up at that weird club in Australia where they tied that Kangaroo down. That was when we met Jake Peg too, he had a wooden…guitar, which reminds me – what tune would you chose for the title track if your book were made into a movie?

Not sure about this one. I hadn’t even though of it! But it would have to have a sense of mystery and drums. Something like Dead Can Dance’s ‘Indus’, without the vocals.

Dead Can Dance ‘Indus’

That’s that human who sings on that Gladiator film isn’t it! Me and Belinda saw that when we snuck into that building where humans throw all their food on the floor and watch the giant telly – love that place! The name of the tune reminds me of the maker of the Crispy Pancake, which me and Belinda used to schnaffle out of the school bins at the back of the wood. That’s also where my parents found a copy of Animal Farm, which was my favourite book as a cub – what’s the best book you read as a child?

None were the best. They were all great. But a few worth mentioning. King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard. And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov. Also, The Complete Works of Shakespeare. I was about 9/10 when I read these. Yes! Really! Interesting to see I was already on a multicultural bender, eh?! When I was younger, I devoured all the works of Rudyard Kipling, including the poems. Dad was Anglo-Indian and had the full collection! Oh yes, and Edward Lear!

We have our very own Edward ‘Leer’ in the wood. ‘Teddy’ as we call him was done for stalking some female hunters last week down by the river – you have to love the irony, but he’s such a furry old letch of a bear. Love Rudyard Kipling’s poem about setting fire to tigers and the one about his exceedingly good cakes. I’ve been doing some baking recently, but ran out of foil to wrap round the soil, far too much toil, but how much oil would a gumboil boil, if a gumboil could boil oil? In litres please.

All conjecture, but maybe the gumboil could boil a gum’s worth of oil, which would make it a mouthful to speak and in quantity – approximately an eighth of a litre?

I’m no good with measurements, but I like words. I like ‘tearfully’ a lot at the moment – what’s your favourite adverb?

Cool! The question is cool and I am drinking a cool beer between cool sheets on a hot summer evening, so cool!

You’re drinking a bear? How is that possible? Ah, you mean that stuff that makes the humans go crazy when they drink it – got ya! I used to share a sett with a boozy badger named Edgar Allan and I once trod in his poo! Have you encountered a similar experience?

Oh Poe and Poo! He’s my blood friend, you know. He was my Great-Grandfather’s cousin’s (Algernon Blackwood ) friend. I did have a nasty black and white TV encounter with one of Poe’s stories when I was a child. It was probably ‘The Tell Tale Heart.’ I nearly Pooed myself out of fear!

Yes, well last week, as you know, I had a bit of a sticky situation after my beetle breakfast gave me the runs. So, I had to go to the new comb-out salon in the wood to sort my fur out – those Hedgehog’s are prepared to do anything for snails! One of them even makes reed cages to stop cuckoo’s laying their eggs in the warbler nests which brings me onto the final question – who’s your favourite reader? No pressure!

Maybe you….?? J Probably you? J YES! It IS you!

Wow! That’s very kind Lynne, considering we’ve only just met. In that case I will instantly award you your peanut treat!

You know I haven’t thought about Belinda for at least a couple of minutes today. I’ve not heard from my cousin Brock either, which is a bit weird! He was always at the sett, talking to Belinda when I got back from work, but I rarely see him now! He’s probably busy chasing some of the young sows around – he’s a right lothario! Thanks for taking my mind of Belinda though, Lynne. I’m really pleased you came by today. Let me just pop some music on and then we can work on some poetry together…er, Lynne? Lynne? She must have popped out for a bit of fresh air. I’m sure she’ll be back in a minute…

[The sounds of eastern European gypsy jazz from Emir Kusturica’s ‘Unza Unza Time’ linger in the wood as Lynne makes her escape through the trees. Back at the sett, Badger is staring at a picture of Belinda. He stands back and urinates on it. He’s not bitter – he’s just a badger.]

Now Lynne has Unza, Unza, Time on her hands, you can catch up with her on-line.

Facebook: Lynne on Facebook (the photo of me is atrocious but never mind!)

Email: Lynne’s E-mail

Twitter:  Lynne’s Tweets

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