DINNER FATE…RETURNED

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My life has been a series of poor decisions. 

Most recently was my decision to become a weekend van driver. And not just any van driver. Oh no. A van driver entrusted with the task of transporting FIFTEEN DOGS TO AND FROM A DAYCARE CENTRE. 

My trial day was a nightmare.

Sensing my nerves, the dogs were horrendously behaved from start to finish. 

Having spent the entire journey barking and humping on the back seat, they then proceeded to CLIMB INTO THE FRONT WITH ME at the traffic lights; panting in my face, chewing the gearstick and putting their feet up on the dashboard. The only well behaved member of the party was a sweet, old Westie, who curled up quietly on my lap before proceeding to lay a steaming shit down my leg. 

Needless to say, I did not return. 

HOWEVER, by far my most catastrophic decision of the year was applying to go on a daytime dating/cookery programme. 

For those that do not know, this resulted in me face planting into a raw chicken on national television, before being put to bed by the film crew with a cold flannel. 

I WAS RATHER BAFFLED, THEREFORE, to receive a call from from the production company last month inviting me back on the show. 

Having provided them with such comedy gold in the last episode, they were now offering me the coveted role of the ‘picker’. This involved simply going on three blind dates, having three dinners cooked for me and picking the winner at the end. 

Restless, jobless and mentally unstable, I found myself agreeing. 

‘This will be easy!’ I thought. ‘All I have to do is go on the dates, eat the food and have a nice time. I can’t possibly fuck this one up’. 

OH, HOW WRONG I WAS. 

Date Number One- Pete*

2pm

 Most girls would be prepared for this day. They would spend WEEKS preparing themselves. 

 I had envisioned myself undergoing a complete transformation:  hair freshly highlighted, nails manicured, sexy outfits chosen and half a stone lost through a rigorous cabbage soup diet. 

Unfortunately, things did not quite go to plan. 

I have resurrected this morning looking like a hungover gargoyle.

This includes grown-out hair ( even managing to form a DREAD-LOCK at the back, which I have resorted to cutting out with a pair of kitchen scissors, leaving a small, chilly bald patch), a black fingernail which I drunkenly trapped in a toilet door last weekend, 10 pounds of extra weight gained (morphing into 3 extra chins, like Desperate Dan) and not a single outfit to wear. 

‘HELP ME!’ I sobbed down the phone to my friend Rowena. ‘I have nothing to wear. NOTHING. I am morbidly obese. Every dress I try on makes me look like Dame Edna’.

‘What you need’ advised Rowena ‘is those sucky-in pant things. You know, the big, granny elasticated ones. They knock inches off’. 

Transfixed by the vision of my 4 chinned head balancing on the svelte body of Kate Moss , I bought myself a very skimpy, tight playsuit from Topshop before heading to M&S. 

Ignoring the gangs of young, pretty girls pondering over lacy pants with their boyfriends, I doggedly followed the stream of elderly women to the ‘corrective underwear’ section. 

I surveyed the garments in horror. God, they were TERRIFYING. Like some medieval method of torture.

Also what size does one go for? The size one actually is (12) or the size one would ideally like to become after putting them on?! (4-6).

Eventually, I settle on a sturdy looking lycra number, complete with little elasticated legs that extend over the thighs. A bit like an adult babygro, without the arms. 

Excitedly, I dash home to get ready. 

6pm

Problem. Hideous, HIDEOUS problem. 

The legs of the giant pants… extend BEYOND THE LEGS OF THE PLAYSUIT. 

Letting out a strangled scream, I fish out a pair of scissors and begin manically hacking away at them. 

This, it transpires, is a grave error.

Once cut, both knicker legs lose elasticity and ROLL UPWARDS, like a pair of unruly condoms, forming two small sausage rings at the top of my thighs. 

6.30pm

In the taxi.

Dolled up to the nines, I have abandoned the pants and decided to embrace my fat rolls, like a cross-dressing Michelin Man. 

Time to meet the love of my life! HA HA HA. 

We’ve nearly reached the destination when I receive a call from the director. 

‘Gabrielle, I’m so sorry but there’s been a bit of an emergency at your date’s house’ she explains ‘Could you get the taxi to drop you off in a bar and we’ll come and collect you?’

Oh no. Oh sweet Jesus no. 

‘Just the one wine, Gabrielle’ I tell myself sternly, as I climb out of the taxi. ‘There will be plenty of time to drink tonight. Just one little glass of red to see you on your way’. 

10pm 

PHWOOAR the blurry red wine is blurry fantastic, innit?!! WHEEY. Hot diggity damn. Top notch beverage. 

I don’t know where the arsing film crew have got to but I am beyond caring. 

I have befriended a lovely, LOVELY bartender called Greg, who finds my situation hilarious and has been plying me with free tequila shots all night. He’s rather tall with a long, bushy beard; an irresistible cross between Gandalf and Mr Twit. Mmmm. 

I am just on the verge of inviting Greg back to my flat for a game of twister and some ‘hot tea’, when my director pulls up. 

‘I’m so so sorry about the delay. It’s inexcusable’ she pants. ‘The thing is, one of our cameras broke and then- Christ, are you alright?’

She stares at me in horror, as I sway precariously on the pavement. 

‘Hmm? Oh yes. Absolutely dandy’ I slur, trying desperately to focus on one of her six revolving heads. 

I flash what I hope is a sober smile, looking more like a stoned Cheshire Cat, before climbing into the car. 

10.30pm

Nearly 3 hours behind schedule, absolutely trollied and reeking of tequila, I finally knock on the door or my date’s house.

The cameras start rolling. 

‘HELLO!!’ I beam, clutching the doorframe for support. 

Well. He does not look pleased to see me. Quite the opposite in fact. For a second I wonder whether I have been brought to the right house

I’m met by a tall, thin man, dressed in tight black trousers, a black polo neck sweater and a black bowler hat. I feel like he’s going to spontaneously burst into a mime routine. 

Introducing himself as Pete, he eyes me suspiciously before hastily ushering me inside, as if worried that I’m about to take a shit on his doorstep and carve my name in it. 

‘This is lovely!’ I enthuse, as we walk through to the dining room- two plastic garden chairs and a garden table with a curtain thrown over it. Hideous. 

We sit in silence on the sofa. 

Pete does not offer to take my coat or offer me anything to drink. Luckily, I have an emergency bottle of white wine in my handbag, which I pour us two glasses of. 

‘Cheers! Here’s to us’ I beam at him. He stares stonily back. 

Thankfully, we are then separated to film our ‘first impressions’ for the camera. 

‘Well, he’s not my usual type but I’m really looking forward to getting to know him’ I enthuse, deciding to give him the benefit of the doubt ‘I can’t wait to see what the night has in store’.

 Poor Pete, I muse as I’m sent upstairs to wait. Perhaps he’s just shy and not used to having female company. The poor man is clearly so dazzled by my sparkling wit and good looks that he can barely speak! 

Clutching my glass, I creep out to listen at the top of the stairs. 

‘WELL, IT’S SAFE TO SAY THAT I’M NOT ATTRACTED TO HER IN THE SLIGHTEST’ I hear him loudly declare. 

I splutter quietly into my wine. 

‘She seems very… ‘jolly’ but frankly there’s no spark there. Quite the opposite in fact’. 

No spark? No spark?!!!! YOU’RE TELLING ME, LOVE! Christ, getting conversation out of you was like getting blood out of a fucking turnip! 

‘And I didn’t like to say anything…’ Pete continues. ‘But she’s clearly been drinking before she arrived. She’s absolutely plastered’ 

That did it then. 

‘RIGHT! I’M READY FOR MY STARTER!’ I cry, stamping crossly down the stairs and planting myself heavily on the garden chair, nearly falling through it. 

11.30pm

The evening steadily went from bad to worse. 

Pete sullenly brought out each course, whilst I necked back more and more wine in retaliation. Plastered? I’LL SHOW YOU PLASTERED. 

Now, this show is supposed to be a laid back, warm bubble bath of a programme.  It’s aired before the watershed. The height of drama is usually someone not taking their quiche’s out the oven in time. 

The camera team were astounded, therefore, by what followed next. 

‘So, now that the meal is over I would like to say a few things’ announced Pete, placing his knife and fork together.

I smiled encouragingly, thinking he was going to apologise for his bad temper and perhaps whip out a bottle of tequila. 

‘I feel that you’ve been fake laughing the entire evening. And fake smiling. You’ve been mocking me all night’

I stared, flabbergasted. 

 ‘You’ve been drunk and disorderly from start to finish’ he continued ‘You’ve barely touched my food, just knocked back the wine AND I heard you tell the camera that my raspberry coulis looked like a plate of Ribena. I think it’s time that you left’. 

Completely speechless with shock, I was ushered outside to  film my final comments. 

Now I am not a crier. I never have been. But the combination of fresh air, tiredness and 4 litres of wine suddenly got to me. 

‘THAT WAS THE WORST DATE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!’ I cry, bursting into noisy sobs.

‘He was r-really mean a-and his food was h-horrible, I’m t-t-tired, my chins are weighing me down and I- I— I JUST WANT TO ORDER A DOMINOS AND GO HOME!’ 

Date 2- Daniel*

11.30 am

Oh God no. I cannot face going on a another date tonight. No no no. 

It’s the morning after and I am sat on the bathroom floor, hugging the toilet bowl. 

Last night keeps coming back in a series of hideous flashbacks. The argument. The tears. The drunken review I wrote of my Uber driver, detailing how he was ‘a wise, witty and beautiful man, with an excellent command of the steering wheel’. 

6.30pm

Having had a very boozy lunch with my friend Henry, who convinced me that last nights date was an utter pillock, I set off for my second date in much higher spirits. 

The cameras start rolling as I knock on the door. It opens.

’SHIT A BRICK!  I cry out, involuntarily. 

This guy is hot. Actually hot. A real fitty. 

I am quickly taken off to film my first impressions for the camera, before my loins catch fire. 

I don’t know whether it is the stress, the hangover or the sexual frustration but I inexplicably turn into an aroused grandmother. 

‘Well… Ding dong!’ I whistle, heavily winking for the camera. ‘Sizzle my sausage! He’s a bit of a humdinger, isn’t he? Twit twoo. MOTHER MAY I!’ 

The beauty of my evening with Daniel is that he got equally as slaughtered as I did. 

‘Time for the third bottle!!’ he cried, stumbling through to the kitchen, followed by the sound of crashing pans and gushing water. 

It was at that point that I realised I had absolutely no idea what his name was. 

’Shit, what was it?’ I whisper to the camera, snorting with laughter. ‘Draco? Derek?… Domino? Oh god knows. COME ON DESMOND, BRING THAT WINE THROUGH!’ 

Clearly thrilled that we had hit it off, the director then asked if I was going to give him a goodnight kiss. 

‘A kiss? I’ll be doing more than that, love!’ I cackle ‘PANTS DOWN, DONALD!’ 

Date 3- Raymond*

6.30pm

Hungover, bloated and tired, I wearily set off to meet my final man.

If I have taken anything away from this experience it is that I never want to date again in my life.

I don’t want to truss myself up like some prize Christmas turkey and think up interesting conversation all evening.

I want to be sat in my pyjamas, watching The Apprentice and steadily working my way through a bottle of gin. 

‘Now just to let you know, Raymond is very nervous’ the director warned me at the door. ‘So just be your usual bubbly, witty self’

‘Oh brilliant’ I thought, darkly. This is just what I need. I feel about as witty as a pile of sick.

Raymond did indeed look like he was about to shit his pants as he answered the door.

‘Right. This is going to need two large doses of wine, swiftly followed by several shots’ I thought sagely to myself, diagnosing the situation like some alcoholic doctor. 

I reach into my bag for my emergency wine bottle.

Amazingly, the emergency bottle was not needed. Raymond had laid on enough alcohol to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. 

He wasn’t even repulsed when I’d lapped him by three glasses of prosecco, instead handing me the bottle to finish. 

‘This is smashing’ I beamed at the camera, merrily filling up my glass, ‘I’m not sure I fancy him but he’s made such an effort. There are flowers on all the tables. And candles in the loo. And he’s promised me that I can take the remaining wine home for the taxi ride!’. 

The evening got steadily better and better from this point.

Raymond was indeed the perfect gentleman- filling up my glass as soon as it was empty (no easy task) and not seeming to mind when I barely ate any of his food.

He wasn’t even offended when I got the giggles at his mother’s prized portrait on the wall (it was HILARIOUS- a painting of Raymond as a baby, lying coquettishly on a velvet cushion and wearing nothing but a golden dock leaf), laughing so hard that I shot wine out my nose.

By the end of the night I was in such raring spirits that I even agreed to Skype his mother with him. 

‘HELLO MRS RAYMOND!’ I beamed drunkenly down the lens, swinging my bottle of prosecco.

‘I would just to congratulate you on raising such a lovely, LOVELY young man. So kind and considerate, with such excellent taste in wine and a delicate hand at flower arranging’ 

‘That portrait hanging on the wall is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. What a strapping young baby you bore. I myself would be honoured to have a copy one day to hang on my own wall-‘

Realising that I was starting to talk completely out my arse, I hastily said my goodbyes and got in the taxi home. 

In tearing spirits, myself and the taxi driver sang raucously to Magic FM, whilst I dished the dirt on my three dates. 

’THE FIRST ONE HAD SUCH A STICK UP HIS ARSE, I’M SURPRISED IT DIDN’T POKE OUT THE TOP OF HIS HEAD LIKE A TELLY TUBBIE AERIAL’ I cackled. 

It was only when I got home that I discovered 5 missed calls on my mobile and a hysterical voicemail from the director saying that I had spent the entire journey with my microphone still attached. 

Conclusion

I will not spoil the surprise by admitting who I chose, but quite obviously it was between dates 2 and 3. 

I quite fancied turning up on date 1’s doorstep, just to annoy him- ‘Congratulations… you’ve won ANOTHER EVENING WITH ME!!!’ but decided against it. 

Either way you are in for a corker of an episode. Whilst I shall be forced to emigrate abroad. 

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The Wedding

The dresses had arrived. The hymns had been selected. The letter of apology had been sent to St David’s Hotel and Spa.

It was time for Sarah to get married.

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The Rehearsal

I drove home to Wales and headed straight to the gin cabinet.

I say gin cabinet… I have now learnt to refer to it as the ELDERFLOWER cabinet.

‘Just pouring myself a refreshing elderflower cordial!’ I smiled breezily at my parents, unscrewing the cordial bottle with my right hand whilst surreptitiously pouring Gordon’s with my left. It is a skilful act that has taken many attempts to master. Like an alcoholic Jackie Chan.

‘Are you sure that tonic water and limes really go with-‘

‘WHY YES! That’s the beauty of elderflower… It goes with everything!’

I then charged off to my bedroom before I could be questioned further.

I stared at my flushed and slightly mad reflection in the mirror.

Sarah is getting married. MARRIED. Is this the end of life as she knows it? Good God, what if she gets a perm? And starts going to oven glove conventions?

KEEP YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, GABRIELLE. Now is not the time for the bridesmaid to get cold feet.

I must accept that my partner in crime is moving on.

The final parting of Pegleg and Bitchtits.

(Note: for those that don’t know, the nicknames Pegleg and Bitchtits stem from a girls holiday we took to Magaluf in 2010. Along with the entire population of Bridgend. Hundreds of rowdy Welsh eighteen year olds keen to drink their own body weight, sleep with strangers and stick fireworks up their arses.

Sarah badly sprained her ankle one night and needed to be taken to A&E.

However, we chose not take that option… As that would waste precious drinking time! WHEEEY!

Instead we decided to fashion her a homemade splint, consisting of ripped up bed sheets, kirby grips and TWIGS.

The result was outstanding- Sarah mincing around the clubs in a little mini dress, with a gigantic club foot.

I don’t remember how I acquired the name Bitchtits but suspect it has something to do with my penchant for tossing my bra off in clubs and lassoing it around my head. Or the time I whipped both my breasts out on the dance floor and banged them together like a pair of bellows).

Five hours later and it was time to head to church for the rehearsal.

Unfortunately, I was also seven elderflower’s down and could barely see straight.

‘I’M OFF TO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD!’ I called cheerfully to my parents, doing my very elaborate ‘sober’ walk down the driveway, which looks rather like I’ve soiled myself.

I arrived to find Sarah and the three other bridesmaid’s huddled outside, looking rather stressed.

Apparently some prankster had managed to blow the fuse in the church, so we would be conducting the entire rehearsal via candle light and the torches on our iPhones.

I could feel a horrendous bout of ‘church giggles’ rising up inside me, a condition stemming from my school days.
For instance, the time when the vicar read out the Bible story of ‘The Miraculous Catch of Fish’ and referred to how Jesus ‘seized his tackle’.

We were ushered inside.

Now, our local reverend is a lovely man…. But one gets the impression that he is not actually a real vicar. More like an actor playing the role of a vicar in a Carry On film.

‘Right then!’ he cried, rubbing his hands in excitement.

‘I’m going to start the service by revving up the audience!’

‘The congregation, Allen’ Sarah’s mother worriedly corrected ‘We’re in the house of God’.

‘Yes, that’s the badger!’ He beamed, bounding up the aisle.

‘And then I’m going to take to the stage-‘

‘The pulpit’

‘Yes, yes PULPIT’.

By this point, us bridesmaids were finding it very hard to keep things together and had resulted to quietly crying tears of laughter behind our Bible’s.

It was during the vows, when the vicar instructed Sarah and Alex to hold hands, adding ‘I’m a two-hander man myself!’ that I completely lost it and had to call it a day.

The Night Before

Armed with dresses, hair products and 40 tonnes of make up, we arrived at Sarah’s mother’s house to stay the night.

A strict two drink rule had been installed (‘There’s nothing worse than a drunk bride, Sarah!’) so I had taken it upon myself to smuggle us in a bottle of vodka in an Evian bottle.

Like a scene from Malory Towers, we sat in our matching pyjamas, sniggering and taking it in turns to have a swig.

Just before bed, I blearily peered my head round the door of Sarah’s old bedroom, a place where I had spent half my childhood.

Dear God, the antics that went on inside these four walls.

The time aged seven, when we laughed so hard at a ghost story we made up- ‘The Haunting of the Naughty Teapot’- that I physically wet myself and had to ask for some spare pyjamas.

Our elaborate games of truth and dare- such as when Sarah dared me to go outside and walk bare foot across the garden thorn bush. Which I did and promptly fainted when having my foot seen to with tweezers.

The pillow fight, where I overzealously hurled a cushion through the air, with all the strength of a male shot putter, managing to take the bedroom light out clean from its hinges.

Or as thirteen year olds, when we made a ‘snogging scale’. This hideous piece of work was a scale of how far we had ‘been’ with boys, ranging from a peck on the cheek to a cheeky finger.
It was unfortunate that Sarah accidentally wrote this on the back of a piece of Religious Studies homework, that she later asked her mother to help her with.

Ahh, fond memories.

The Wedding

The day had dawned.

I mean, I may be biased but she looked achingly beautiful. Some people are just made to pull off a wedding dress and Sarah is one of them.

I fear that I would end up looking like a baked potato wrapped in a doily. And probably stumble up the aisle with a fag in my mouth.

Stood outside the church with my fellow bridesmaids, a crowd of onlookers and the vicar (who was doing vocal warm ups) we eagerly awaited her arrival.

‘Can ducks change sex?’ piped up the vicar behind me.

‘P-pardon, Allen?’

‘Because I’m looking at that duck pond, see. And there were most definitely three girl ducks there last night. But now there’s one girl and two boys.’

‘Allen, now’s really not the time for-‘

‘THE ROLLS ROYCE WONT START!’ came a cry from the distance.

The beautiful old car intended to take Sarah to the church had given up the ghost right at the crucial moment.

‘I know!’ piped up a helpful villager. ‘It’s a downhill stretch from the house to the church… We’ll roll it!’

Horrific visions of Sarah hurtling down the lane and straight into the duck pond flashed before my eyes.

Panic stations set in.

I then decided that I desperately needed to pee and wondered whether I would go to hell for squatting behind a gravestone.

However, just as I was hitching up my dress and handing myself over to Satan, the Rolls started and Sarah arrived. A smiling vision in white, linked arm in arm with her older brother.

Now, I am not a crier. I never have been.

As a toddler, my parents took me to see The Lion King at the cinema. Apparently, the gut-wrenching scene where Simba’s father dies caused me to burst into such raucous laughter that I had to be taken out.

But looking at Sarah and Alex stood reading their vows, I suddenly found the floodgates opening.

‘DEAR GOD, WHAT’S HAPPENING?’ I whispered to the girls, as snot violently cascaded from my nose.

The best man valiantly reached for the tissue in his breast pocket, before realising that it was actually sewn in.

‘And now, Gabrielle will do the reading’ smiled the vicar.

I looked at him with a mixture of panic and hysteria, before deciding to blow my nose in my flower bouquet.

I slowly climbed the pulpit.

‘Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl’ I began in a shaking voice.

‘And her laughter was a question that he wanted to spend his whole life answering’.

I then proceeded to make a strange strangled sound, somewhere between a honk and a moo, before stumbling through the rest of the poem.

Then they did it. They tied the knot.

Before we knew it, we were heading out into the sunshine, throwing confetti onto the newly wed couple (which unfortunately got stuck to my sweaty palm and ended up being thrown over myself).

‘That vicar was brilliant’ beamed my father ‘We’ve already booked him for your wedding’.

‘OH HA DE HA HA’ I crossly replied, cannoning off in search of booze.

It was a dazzling reception. The worlds biggest marquet, decked with flowers and copious amounts of champagne.

Alex had written such a moving speech- detailing how Sarah used to run away from him in town, throwing her chips at him, that she had to read it for him.

There was also a blinder of a slideshow, including a rather embarrassing photo of me sat fully clothed in the bath, clutching a bottle of red wine. Followed by my red thong being publicly returned to me, that I had lost on the hen do.

I wish I could remember more of the night but I apparently consumed two hog roasts before passing out at the buffet table.

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Bridesmaid down

God knows what I was dreaming of,  but when my friend woke me with a cry of ‘Gabby, get up! It’s Sarah’s wedding for God sake!’ I replied with ‘IT’S IN THE CUPBOARD UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK’ before passing out stone cold again.

My dearest Pegleg. In the words of Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice- ‘I cannot believe that anyone could deserve you. But I heartily give my consent’.

Or perhaps a W.C. Fields quote would be more appropriate- ‘Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer’.

Your faithful hound, Bitchtits xx

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SCURVY

I have just come back from a long awaited trip to Ibiza with my favourite group of Welsh girls. Three blissful days of sun, sea and spewing in a bin to the sound of David Guetta.

Is what I would like to be writing.

Unfortunately, the night before my flight, I casually showed my parents the horrific black and blue bruises covering the length of my limbs (‘I can’t be QUITE sure Mother, but I think I may have drunkenly fallen down a wishing well!’) and was promptly dispatched to the doctors.

Here is how my conversation at the doctors went:

Doctor (quite young and very fit): These are severe bruises.

Me: Mmm, yes Doctor. Very severe indeed. That’s a lovely strong pair of biceps you have, do you-

Doctor: Have you been experiencing any chest pain at all?

Me: No.

Doctor: Fainting or dizzy spells?

Me: No, no dizziness. Only when I look at you! Tee hee! I don’t suppose you would like to accompany me to-

Doctor: Any painful flatulence?

(Silence)

Me: P…p… PAINFUL FLATULENCE?

(Cue me going bright red and deliriously fanning myself with the nearest pamphlet, entitled ‘Understanding Your Haemorrhoids’)

‘Doctor, please!! Flatulence indeed! Ha ha ha! A LADY NEVER TELLS!’

It eventually transpired that my balanced diet of gin and jam roly-poly had let me to develop a severe vitamin deficiency, similar to that of SCURVY.

A condition normally sported by SIXTEENTH CENTURY PIRATES.

‘Now then’ the doctor continued ‘I’m afraid that this is going to mean absolutely no alcohol for a week’.

There was a stunned pause.

‘Oh right!’ I replied ‘So just softer drinks, such as white wine, sangria-‘

‘I said no alcohol’.

‘Oh! You mean more like beers, cider, the occasional sherry-‘

‘NO ALCOHOL!’

 

(Yes, that is a Doctor Who dressing gown)

 

And so on Friday night, instead of dancing in the Ibiza sun and getting so off my tits that I become convinced that I’m a piece of battered fish (true story), I spent it in Wales. With my parents. Drinking a glass of MILK.

MILK! On a Friday!! I haven’t drunk milk since I was about 4 years old! My RDA of calcium comes from Pina Coladas and the occasional Dairylea triangle!

I was quite worried that my body would actually REJECT the milk and I’d start foaming at the mouth, whilst my head did a 360. Like a human cappuccino machine.

Having hidden the gin from me (I have searched the house high and low and have come to the conclusion that they must have BURIED it) my parents then took it upon themselves to throw me an equally fun filled weekend… VILLAGE STYLE!

Such rip-roaring activities included:

1. TAKING OUR DOG TO THE VETS TO GET HIS TICK REMOVED.

(By tick, I mean one of those insects that attach themselves to animals fur. He doesn’t have Tourette’s Syndrome).

2. ATTENDING THE VILLAGE W.I CRAFT AND PRODUCE SHOW.

Oh, this was a hell-bender!!

Please find below the programme for the fiercely battled vegetable competition. The thrilling categories include: A SINGLE ONION and THREE COURGETTES.

Hotly followed by category 6, for the hard-core, all-rounder, ‘fuck the system’ kind of woman: A SELECTION OF 5 VEGETABLES.

This was followed by the annual ‘Swede Rolling Competition’- the terrifying sight of 20 farmers hurling 4 stone swede’s down a hill then furiously chasing after them.

(I originally misread this in the programme as SUEDE rolling and completely lost my shit- ‘Oh we’re all going to ROLL SOME MATERIAL ARE WE?!!! OH JOY UNBOUNDED!!!!  Let me just get my trusty rolling pin out my bag and JOIN IN THE RUDDY FUN!!!’).

3. A 7AM CAR BOOT SALE 

This was a rather terrifying experience.

I had cleaned out my room and agreed to part with several items of clothing and a few members of my beloved cuddly toy collection.

(Even as an adult, I still have a weird fetish for cuddly toys. I will often walk past a selection of stuffed animals and develop this sort of nervous hysteria, like sweating palms and heart palpitations, until before I know it I’m stood at the counter buying 3 teddy bears and a life-size toy sheep).

I had originally laughed when my mother warned me to ‘have your wits about you’ but, dear God, nothing could have prepared me for what ensued.

People started circling the car and staring in through the windows BEFORE WE HAD EVEN PARKED.

At one point a man RAN OFF WITH OUR SCREWDRIVER, claiming casually ‘Oh sorry love, I thought it was going free!’.

However, the most traumatic moment came when I eventually parted with my beloved cuddly toy flamingo, Larry.

I finally agreed to sell it to a friendly looking woman, whom I imagined treasuring him and lovingly cradling him to her breast each night.

I tearfully handed Larry over.

‘Take good care of him’ I smiled at the woman, wiping my eyes. ‘He bought me many years of joy and happiness’.

‘Thanks, love’ she replied, grabbing him ‘IT’S FOR THE DOG TO CHEW’.

G xx

FAT CAMP

In my first year of college, I gained what is commonly known as the Freshman 15.

Except in my case, it was more like the Freshman 475.

Having been kept on a rather healthy, regimented diet by my mother over the years, when I moved away from home I went slightly AWOL.

‘What is FUN about a fun-sized mars bar? I’ll tell you what will be fun… WHEN YOU WATCH ME EAT SIX!’

‘Awww don’t you just LOVE potato smiley’s? That cheeky, impish grin gets me everytime! DON’T WORRY LADS, I’M COMING FOR YOU!!!’

‘Oh dear, I appear to have put my knickers on backwards… Oh no wait, it’s just that my arse has grown. OH WELL, IT MUST BE GODS WILL! Let me celebrate the nature of the Lord by cracking open this pound of brie!’

Things reached a head when I came home for the summer and one of my best friends Andrew tentatively asked if I was ‘still eating fruit’.

‘Still eating fruit? STILL EATING FRUIT?!! I may be carrying a bit of extra timber Andrew but of course I’m STILL EATING FRUIT. Only last week I had a Terry’s chocolate orange! JESUS!!!’

‘That’s not quite what I-‘

‘I’M JUST CARRYING A BIT OF CHRISTMAS CHEER!!!’

‘Gabby, it’s July’.

So I took myself in hand. Having always been a ‘go hard or go home’ sort of girl, I signed myself up for 5 days at Army Camp. Which was basically intensive Fat Camp in disguise.

Please find below an account that I kept of my ordeal. IMG_2875-1

Day 1

KILL ME NOW.

I cannot move my arms. Or face. I don’t even know if I own legs anymore.

You know how in the novel 1984 Winston is taken to Room 101 to face his ultimate fear of rats? I THINK MINE RIGHT NOW WOULD BE AN EXERCISE BIKE.

We started off in a team of 15 women but three have left already so we are down to the final 12. I am also the youngest by about 20 years.

On the plus side, the staff are all ex-Army men and are smoking hot. At least I think they are. Frankly, it’s a choice between them and a border collie named Albert so the selection is a little limited.

The exercise is horrific.

We got up at 5am (I have never seen this hour sober before) for an hours run, followed by an hours boxing, an hours circuit training and an hours life coaching.

I CANNOT take the life coaching seriously. It’s run by this bat-shit crazy woman called Mary- Lou, who looks a cross between Pat Butcher and a boiled egg.

I spent a ridiculous half an hour with her intensely probing me, DESPERATE to find out some shred of dark, juicy information.

‘So Gabrielle.. WHY do you think that you’re here? Do you think it’s possibly some DEEPLY ROOTED, DARK CHILDHOOD TRAUMA that makes it difficult for you to accept your body the way it is?’

‘Err no Mary- Lou, I think that I’ve just eaten too many pies’.

‘Ahh! Do you think these PIES you speak of could symbolise the PIE OF TURMOIL COOKING IN THE OVEN OF YOUR SOUL, FILLED WITH THE SECRET AGONY OVER THE LIFE THAT YOU ARE NOT FULFILLING?’

In the end, I got so racked off with the whole thing that I blurted out ‘Well frankly, I’m a little constipated right now, Mary-Lou’.

She leapt on this like a fly to shit (sorry).

‘CONSTIPATION!!!!!!!! Oh Gabrielle, I’m so glad that you have finally shared this. This ‘feaces’ that you are holding inside you is your bodies way of clinging on to past regrets and pain! Let it go! Let it go! Let the universe claim back what is rightfully theirs!!’

In the end I asked her to give me a bloody Senakot and leave me alone.

The day ended with 2 hours of ‘team games’, an hour of Zumba and an hours hike.

At the end of the hike a mini-bus came to collect us.

‘OH THANK JESUS!’ I cried, plonking myself in and doing up my seatbelt.

The army men absolutely fell about laughing.

‘No, no love… You’re PUSHING the bus home!’

They were not joking.

Day 2

Went for a 5am run and promptly threw up in a bush.

The army men appear to find my pain hilarious and refused my request to carry me home (in hindsight, they were probably scared that they would put their backs out).

Staff Langley (our team leader) has also changed my name from Gabby to Gobby, which I think is distinctly out of order.

Then followed a monstrous blur of boxing, circuit training (which is seriously getting on my tits now), an ab class, an hours stretching and another 1.5 hours ‘team games’, which involved crawling through the mud with a pretend rifle. I have worryingly taken quite a shine to the rifle training. Probably because I’m fantasying about shooting myself with it. Or Mary-Lou.

The meals are quite nice but TEENY TINY ANOREXIC HAMSTER PORTIONS.

Which is made even more fun by the fact that we have to eat our food face down on the plate, as everyone’s arms are too stiff to move their hands up to their mouths.

Day 3

Can you build up muscle in your fingers?! Because my fingers have most definitely inflated over night. To the point where they are starting to resemble giant clown hands.

It is absolutely sheeting down with rain here. BUT THAT’S FINE BECAUSE THE MORNING STARTED WITH 3 HOURS OF OUTDOOR ‘FUN AND GAMES’!!! WHOOPIE! This involved throwing 10 pound sandbags and chasing after them. Oh, what larks.

There was a distinct air of depression in the room at lunch, so the staff decided to cheer us up with the reward of a ‘dessert’. This caused great excitement. What would it be? Eton Mess? A nice bowl of sticky toffee pudding, perhaps?

Oh silly me! A quarter of an apple and a singular acorn. I kid you not.

The weather brightened up a bit after lunch, so we were taken out on a joyful 23 mile cycle ride.

Staff Langley told us that we would need padded cycling shorts and if we didn’t have them then we would need to line the crotch of our leggings with a flannel or small towel.

This caused great hysteria (we have basically all gone mad with lack of food). One woman came downstairs with a gigantic beach towel stuffed into her trousers and cried ‘SADDLE ME UP LANGLEY, I’M READY FOR A LONG RIDE!!’

The bike ride was actually a hoot. We are talking twelve delirious woman pumping up a hill with our padded crotches, florescent bibs and special ’emergency bells’. I’m sure I heard someone ask if we were out on day release.

Tempers ran high half way through, with one of our team jumping off and shouting ‘I’M GOING TO CHUCK THIS BIKE AT A FUCKING WALL!!!’

One of the army men, Staff Shenton, appears to have taken a bit of a shine to me. To the point where he insisted on cycling behind me the whole way and valiantly pushing me up the hills. I would normally be flattered but frankly I’m too exhausted to flirt and starting to get a bit racked off with him.

THEN, when we stopped for a break he went off and PICKED ME A DAISY!!! Everybody thought it was incredibly sweet. I was nearly sick in my mouth.

Day 4

Oh god. Something rather disturbing happened last night. It was 10pm and we were all walking to our beds ready for the hell to restart at 5am.

I say walking- what I really mean is WADDLING. I have basically become so stiff that the only way I can physically move is to walk in a ‘squatted’ position, like I’m riding a small invisible pig.

Suddenly, Staff Shenton popped out from around the wall and pulled me aside.

‘There’s a pub down the road’ he said in a furtive whisper, his mad piggy eyes darting back and forth. ‘They do an offer… two pints and a pie for ten pounds. Meet me there in half an hour’.

For a second I was too stunned to speak.

‘Sorry’ I spluttered ‘SORRY STAFF LANGLEY? You think you can tempt me out of fat camp…WITH A PIE?!!! Christ! It’s like some sordid Enid Blyton novel! What were you going to do next? Carve out a love letter for me in mashed potato? Lower me out my bedroom window tonight by a string of Cumberland sausages? Leave me a trail of chocolate bon bons leading to YOUR COCK?!!’

Day 5

The end. IT’S THE BEAUTIFUL END.

After the final morning of torture, we lined up one by one to be weighed and measured like prized pigs.

Having not had any mirrors at the camp, it was rather hard to estimate just how much weight we had lost. But judging by my level of fatigue and starvation I was imagining a hell of a bloody lot.

First woman came out- 8 pounds in 5 days. Not bad, not bad.

Second woman- 10 POUNDS IN 5 DAYS. This was getting rather exciting.

By now, I was starting to envisage having to buy a whole new wardrobe for myself. Golly, maybe even I was TOO thin?! Could people actually see me if I stood sideways? Perhaps I will have to go to another fat camp.. To get FATTER!

Smiling dazedly, I skipped into the room and onto the scales.

‘Congratulations’ smiled Staff Langley ‘You’ve lost a pound!’

I’m not sure quite sure what expression I was pulling at this point but I can only imagine it was rather terrifying.

‘I know it doesn’t sound a lot’ he reassured me, looking slightly nervous ‘But the great thing is you are young so will have built up loads of muscle!’

I finally managed to form words.

‘P..p…a pound?’ I stuttered ‘A pound?!!! I COULD SHIT A POUND, LOVE!

‘But Gobby, the muscles-‘

‘I don’t want the muscles!!!! Take them back!! I wanted to come out of here looking waif-like and gaunt! NOT RIPPED LIKE FLAMING POPEYE!!!!!!!!’

Needless to say, I have never been back.

G x

P.S WELCOME to the rush of new followers, very excited to have you in my clutches!

Myself and Nigel had a candle lit dinner together to celebrate your arrival (it was a rather one sided conversation). IMG_3202