In order to write Book Number The Forth (which has a working title, but I don't like it, so I'm not going to mention it here in case the bloody thing sticks) I need to complete some research. A big chunk of this involves learning what sort of whacky japes they get up to in Meat processing plants. It's that kind of story.

In theory this should be an easy enough subject to research -- one phones up the abattoir, tell them that one is an write-ist* and they suddenly come over all enthusiastic and keen to help.

Not this time.

The trouble is that butchers don't do the same kind of work they used to do 20, or even 10 years ago. And that's the time span I need to research. So to find out about this stuff I have to take one step back through the process and speak to the people who perform the happy dispatch upon the moo-cows, fluffy-baa-baa-lamkins, and piggies. Only none of them seem too keen to have a bearded write-ist poke about their slaughterhouse.

So, does anyone out there own, or know someone who owns / has a controlling interest in / can smuggle me into an abattoir? It's a strange thing to ask, but I get the feeling things will get stranger long before I get to the end of this book.

* A fact that can be verified through Google, thus proving I'm not some sort of weird-arsed vegetarian eco-terrorist / veggielante.