I broke our toilet last Saturday.
Breaking a toilet is never sexy. It’s probably right up there with sporting a camel toe or farting in a packed out elevator.
And before you ask, no, I didn’t lay some gigantic dump and block the U- bend. After a few too many G+T’s, I rather over-zealously flushed and the whole thing came off in my hand.
Matters were made worse by the fact that I live with two boys. Two sweet, unassuming guys, who I think expected me to bring a touch of femininity to the place- fresh flowers on the table, loaves of homemade bread in the oven, whilst merrily floating around with a duster, trilling ‘I Feel Pretty’.
Instead, they found themselves lumbered with some drunken old soak, who is allergic to housework and has on three seperate occasions managed to set fire to the wok.
Therefore, the following evening- head pounding, room spinning- I was faced with somewhat of a dilemma.
With the toilet rendered completely unusable, I found myself in desperate need to… you know. Download a brownload. Release the chocolate hostages.
I took to Wattsapp for moral support.
‘Hey girls!’ I cheerily wrote ‘No need to panic this time. I’m feeling completely fine and mentally stable… HA HA HA. Just wondered- what are the social implications nowadays of pooing in one’s own garden?’
The answers were varied.
The majority warned that in no way in hell was this acceptable- instead I should find a pub or a cafe somewhere and use their toilet.
Others were a bit more happy-go-lucky in their approach. My friend Erin suggested that I simply ‘shit in a carrier bag and fling it’.
Having ruled out the pub/cafe due to my frightening physical appearance (and abandoned the idea of the shit-bag due to fear of receiving an ASBO), I soon found myself squatting in the dark at the end of our garden, clutching a roll of toilet paper.
‘This is a low point, Gabrielle’ I warned myself.
‘You are behaving like Stig of the Dump. Or rather, Gabrielle of the Gigantic Dump’.
Matters were not helped by the fact that I had been joined by the neighbourhood cat- a large male tabby- who sat opposite me and insisted on watching the entire incident.
‘Oh god, look at the judgement in his eyes’ I thought to myself, fretfully.
‘Look away, you perv! Actually, he probably thinks I’m now feral. Perhaps tonight we’ll go hunting for mice together and then share a bowl of Whiskers’.
Having completed the deadly deed and had a firm word with the cat (‘May we never speak of this again, Jasper’) I scurried inside and poured myself a large gin.
Oh god. What had I become?
As I waited in dread for my shadowy figure to appear on the 6pm news- the Phantom Shepherd’s Bush Shitter- I came up with an action plan.
Time to get some direction in my life.
Should I put myself forward for some rewarding voluntary work? No.
Take my parents up on their offer of a place at finishing school? Hell no.
Instead, I decided that an excellent solution to my problems would be to BOOK A CRYSTAL BALL READING, with a local clairvoyant named Kami*
The day dawned.
Hungover, delirious and once again questioning my mental sanity, I set off in search of Kami’s shop.
It only took me a 4 minute walk to find it. Good god, we were neighbours! This was a sign, surely?
I found myself outside a small green wooden hut, situated behind the local kebab shop. The same kebab shop I had been drunkenly visiting for the past 6 months.
I waited patiently, whilst the familiar smell of meat filled my nostrils and the owner eyed me warily.
I was just about to order an extra large chicken doner and do a runner, when Kami appeared.
I’m not quite sure what I had expected. Some old, withered hag perhaps, with a wandering eye and metal hand- muttering to herself whilst smoking a crack pipe.
Instead, I was greeted by an average middle- aged Indian lady, dressed in jeans and a brown polo neck sweater.
‘Come in’ she whispered, ushering me inside the hut.
‘Now tell me’ she asked ‘How did you manage to find me?’ Her piercing eyes bore into mine.
I didn’t like to point out that there were several socking great signs outside and instead improvised some twoddle about having been ‘drawn by her aura’ and having ‘followed the spinning compass’, vaguely aware that I was now quoting lines from Mother Willow in Pocahontas.
We sat down.
Looking around, I found myself in some elaborate, religious shrine- with burning incense sticks, crucifixes and rosary beads lining the walls. These were dominated by a gigantic, life-sized portrait of Jesus Christ, who bore a striking resemblance to Noel Edmunds.
With a lot of rustling in carrier bags, Kami then proceeded to bring out the crystal ball.
I stifled a small laugh/scream.
The ball itself was outrageously battered and chipped, as if Kami had rather too often dropped it out of her Tesco Bag For Life and had to chase it down Uxbridge High Street. This was held in place by four grotesque, gnarled black plastic hands. It looked very similar to something on sale in the Harry Potter Studio Tour gift shop. In fact, I’m sure it WAS currently on sale in the Harry Potter Studio Tour gift shop.
‘What is your name, child?’ Kami began.
‘Gabriella’ she repeated, jotting it down on a pad of paper.
‘No, no- Gabrielle’ I corrected ‘No A at the end’.
She studiously ignored me.
I fretfully wondered how badly the misspelling was going to affect my reading. Perhaps I would mistakenly receive the predictions for a completely different woman, named Gabriella- some rosy-cheeked vixen who lived in the Scottish Highlands and reared a family of goats.
‘We will now start the reading’ Kami instructed.
She stared deep into the ball, making a low, gurgling sound, like a blocked drain that’s just had a good dosing of Mr Muscle.
‘I’m seeing the letter P’ she suddenly announced. ‘Who in your life has a name beginning in P?’
I wracked my brains. Nobody I knew had a name beginning in P. Seriously, nobody. The only person I could think of was my deceased hamster, Peepo, who died of extreme portliness in 2001, having got stuck in her plastic tubing.
Undeterred, Kami ploughed on.
‘V? I am strongly getting the letter V’.
I trawled through my memory, panicked. Nope. Not a sausage. Truly, this woman had a gift of predicting the only letters that had no meaning to me whatsoever.
‘J?’ She continued to bulldoze through the alphabet ‘U? E, Q, X, R?’
‘Well my mum is called Rosemary-‘
‘Aha!’ She cried triumphantly ‘I can see that. She is a very strong presence in your life’.
She then stared at me, pointedly.
‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
‘Umm, no, no boyfriend I’m afraid. Loving life though.. Fat, single and ready for a Pringle! HA HA HA’ I laughed nervously into the silence.
‘But why?’ she asked, her green eyes once again penetrating mine ‘Why should such a young, pretty girl have no man?’
‘Well, I’m not sure Kami. I think-‘
‘You don’t want a relationship?’
‘Well, yes. Of course I do. The thing is I think sometimes I-‘
‘Then why are you alone?’
It was at that point that I nearly lost it.
‘I don’t know, Kami!’ I nearly yelled.
‘CHRIST! If I’d wanted an interrogation over my lack of love life, I would have arranged to have Sunday lunch with my parents. You, however, are supposed to be a psychic. USE YOUR SODDING BALL, LOVE!!!’
Sensing that she may have hit upon a sensitive topic, she moved on.
‘The past year has been stressful for you, work wise..’
I fleetingly thought of the past 365 evenings… Largely comprised of gin, one night stands and copious cocktail sausages.
‘Mmm, yes. Rather stressful’ I murmured.
‘But something wonderful will happen to you on May 18th, this year. Your life will change for good’.
Christ, that was very specific wasn’t it?! May 18th. Blimey.
I suddenly had visions of myself winning the lottery rollover or waking up to inexplicably find myself three stone thinner and in bed with Brad Pitt.
Or maybe the change could be something less superficial? Perhaps I will find my spiritual calling working night and day in a soup kitchen. Or take up lessons in the lute, which I shall merrily play on the street to the delight of passers by.
I had barely had time to process this nugget of gold before Kami dropped the next bombshell.
‘You will also be married by the age of 28’ she confirmed.
Bloody hell. 28! That’s a bit soon, isn’t it? Only 4 years away. Quite frankly, I should already be on the Atkins diet and have started choosing the hymns for the service.
‘Yes…’ She continued, staring into the ball. ‘Your husband will be tall, wear brightly coloured clothes and have a huge smile’
I hastily pushed aside the alarming vision of myself stood at the alter with Ronald McDonald.
‘His first name and surname will be compromised from the following letters: D S M P A R C’
I stared at them, entranced. Oo how exciting… An anagram!!
I have since arranged the letters in every possible order and have come up with two conclusions. My future husband is either going to be called Dr Spam… Or Mr Crap.
Staring at the letters, I suddenly noticed the distinct lack of vowels. That can’t be normal, can it? It almost looked Welsh… Or Indian.
Good God… Perhaps Kalyani was planning to set me up with one of her own sons? Was this all an elaborate ruse?!
‘Great news son, I’ve found a lovely new suitor for you… A sweet, slightly unhinged girl by the name of Gabriella. Drop round her flat on May 18th with a bunch of flowers, there’s a dear’.
Kami then moved on to the cheering topic of my death.
‘You will live to a respectable age’ she promised ‘between the ages of 88-90’
Well, this was music to my ears. Having spent the past 6 years smoking and drinking like some lusty, wall-eyed pirate, I had fully expected not to make it past the age of 35.
‘But be careful’ Kami warned ‘You will later suffer problems from high blood pressure and knee stress’.
High blood pressure and knee stress, did she say? Was Kami suggesting that I was going to die… OF OBESITY?! That I will soon be roaring round in a wheelchair, clad in a flowery fat gown and poking stick? Terrorising my beloved Dr Spam into buying me another Cornish beef pasty?
She interrupted my thoughts.
‘What do you do for work?’ She asked, beadily.
‘Um.. Well currently I work as a writer’.
She stared deep into her crystal ball.
‘Mmm. I can see something here. Yes. You’re going to enjoy a successful career… As a writer!’
I stared at her.
‘I’ve just told you that, Kami’
Clearly put out, she gazed moodily back into the ball.
Feeling the stern yet strangely arousing gaze of Noel Edmunds upon me, I also stared into the crystal ball, noticing the words ‘Suitable For Ages 8+’ written on one of the handles.
‘Ahh yes! I see something now’ she suddenly cried.
Oh god, what now? Some sordid affair with a Mr Shit? A star appearance on ‘Extreme Bodies’, as my 86 stone bulk is forklifted out bed by a team of firefighters?
‘Beware.’ She murmured, her face suddenly deathly pale ‘In your life you will have many friends… But many GREAT ENEMIES’.
I jolted to attention.
‘What? What do you mean, great enemies? Who will these enemies be?’
She paused, eyes flashing.
‘I can give you one, crucial piece of advise. And that is-‘
ALL THE SINGLE LADIES! ALL THE SINGLE LADIES! ALL THE SINGLE LADIES! NOW PUT YA HANDS UP!
A sudden blast of Beyoncé from Kami’s phone made us both jump.
‘Ahh there we are. Times up!’ She smiled, breezily.
‘But wait, what about-‘
‘That’s it I’m afraid’
And that was that.
Thirty pounds to be told that I’m destined for a life of obesity, married to some spam obsessed doctor/possible clown.
As for now? Time to treat myself, I think.
Let’s take this new toilet for a spin.