My Day As A Nurse

As mentioned previously, I work as an actor.

Actually, I think the correct term right now is ‘resting’ actor.

Fuck it, I’m unemployed.

ANYWAY, having endured three long years at drama school (once you have spent a half-hour class ’embodying a piece of bamboo’ you can cope with anything) I graduated in a whirlwind of excitement, ready to seize my career on stage and screen.

Yet, something wasn’t quite right.

Instead of attending castings for films and West End plays, the only audition I landed in 3 months was for the role of a magicians assistant. In an advert for a NORWEGIAN SEWAGE COMPANY.

 This involved pretending to be ‘conjured into a chicken’ (quite what this had to do with sewage I will never know) and crawling around on my hands and knees, loudly clucking, in front of a casting panel of four people.

 I was also sent a script to audition for a new short film. This, rather insultingly, was for the role of ‘an older, more overweight version of Vicky Pollard’. I mean, I was SELECTED to audition for this role. As in, the casting director will have scanned a database of hundreds of faces, stopped at mine and gone ‘FUCK ME, SHE’S A RIGHT MUNTER, ISN’T SHE?!’ and put me forward for the casting.

So things were looking rather bleak.

Meanwhile, I was working full time in a local bar, pouring pints for drunken louts who would shout ‘CAN I GET SOME MORE HEAD WITH THAT PINT, LOVE? WHEEEY!’.

Then, around Christmas time, something miraculous happened. I landed my first proper job, in a popular soap. This was to play the small role of a nurse working in an STI clinic (yes I know, very appropriate, ha de ha ha).

For the sake of my career, im not sure  whether I should name the programme in question, but lets just say that it half-rhymes with JOLLY GROPES. WALLY BLOKES. Or TROLLY JOKES (you get the picture).

My character was called ‘Nurse With No Name’ (it looks stunning on my CV) and had the task of imparting one crucial line: ‘THE TEST WAS NEGATIVE, JON PAUL. YOU DON’T HAVE AIDS’.

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The day of filming dawned.

Having not slept for the entire night, one eye permanently trained on the alarm clock like a keen lizard, I arrived for my 7am make-up call looking a little ‘groggy’. In fact, groggy is an understatement. We are talking shiny skin, wild hair and mad little piggy eyes. Like I had spent the night in a wheelie bin.

This was, of course, when I ran slap bang into my scene partner; the gorgeous actor playing Jon Paul.

Now, I have had fan-like crush on this actor since the age of about 13.

So much so, that I used to have a topless poster of him hugging a baby rabbit, ripped out of a Girl Talk magazine.

 And the problem was, although I was well aware of who HE was, I completely forgot that he had never seen me before in his life.

‘HELLO YOU, OLD SAUCE-POT!!’ I cried, embracing him in a bear like hug and slapping him heartily on the back. ‘How’s your rabbit doing?’.

If slightly shocked as to who this delirious, Hagrid-like girl was cradling him to her breast, he didn’t show it and was perfectly lovely.

‘Looking forward to working with you today’ he smiled.

‘Ahh what a delightful young man’ I thought to myself. ‘Today’s going to be brilliant. A memory that I will fondly cherish forever and ever’.

Little did I know what utter horrors lay before me.

Having left makeup, I was whisked up to costume to put on my ‘nurse attire’.

I had been phoned up by the costume department a few days previously and asked for my dress size.

 ‘Ohhh I’m quite petite. A slip of a thing, really!’ I flagrantly fibbed , fearful that upon learning my real dress size they would cry ‘CHRIST, WE CAN’T HIRE THIS HEFFER!’ and offer the role to someone else.

‘Yes, I think I’m somewhere between a 6 and an 8!’ I trilled.

THIS WAS A BIG FAT LIE.

I stared at my costume in horror.

Laid out in front of me was the teeniest tiniest pair of trousers and shirt I had ever seen before in my life. Something that might just about fit a Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Trying not to hyperventilate, I plastered on a joyous smile.

 ‘Oh thank you SO MUCH! These look PERFECT. I’ll just slip into them and be out in a sec’.

What ensued thereafter, I can only liken to trying  to stuff a large blancmange into a thimble.

I somehow managed to get the clothes on… But any sudden movements and I would have literally EXPLODED out of them. The only way I could physically move in the trousers was to maintain a sort of ‘squatted’ position, like I was about to lay a  large dump.

‘How do the clothes fit?’ called the costume boy through the door.

‘LIKE A BLOODY GLOVE!’ I called back through gritted teeth, panting and sweating with the exertion of trying to do up my fly.

I was already starting to lose the sensation in both my arms. The short cotton sleeves were so tight that they had cut off all circulation. Like some butchers string wrapped around a piece of pork.

‘Ready!’ I cried, walking bow-legged out the door, numb arms swinging wildly.

The poor boy looked completely horrified at my appearance but was clearly too polite to say anything.

The only adjustment he made was to attach a large safety pin across the front of my shirt, which unable to cope with the strain of my heaving breasts, was gaping open like some lardy stripper.

I waddled my way to the set.

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly strong stomached girl. One has to be growing up in rural Wales. Such as the time, aged 12, when my Shetland pony was castrated and the vet HANDED ME THE BALLS TO KEEP.

But if there is one thing that I cannot abide, it’s blood and needles.

I was the girl at school who had to have a crash mat put down when having injections. And fainted whilst dissecting a pigs heart.

I rather disturbed therefore, to be met on set by a real nurse who would be instructing me on how to REALISTICALLY INSERT A NEEDLE AND PERFORM A BLOOD TEST.

Cheerfully, she laid out the instruments of torture on the table- wipes, needles, tubes, cotton wool- and talked me through it step by step.

The room started swaying as I broke into a cold sweat.

‘KEEP IT TOGETHER, GABRIELLE’ I told myself ‘This is your first ever day of filming. Now is NOT the time to faint, throw up or shit yourself’.

Unfortunately, having already lost all sensation in my limbs due to my child-size clothing, I was very near the point of face-planting into the floor.

The cameras started rolling.

Sweating, teeth chattering and body parts inflating in random places due to my restricted blood flow, I descended on Jon Paul with the needle. To be fair to him, he handled it well. It must have been a truly terrifying sight- less jolly nurse, more the angel of death.

 Traumatused, I was driven back to the studio canteen for lunch.

Everybody sat in cliques. It was like Mean Girls. All the make-up women at one table, all the camera crew at another, all the extras… There was nowhere for exploding trouser girl.

I rang my mother from the toilet cubicle.

 ‘I’M ALL ALONE, MUMMY!’ I cried. ‘Everybody knows each other and it’s really intimidating and I can’t really move properly incase I ERUPT FROM THESE CASTRATING TROUSERS!!!’

This is when my mother imparted her usual Marge Simpson- like advice.

‘You stroll on over there’ she instructed ‘And say Hello! My name is Gabrielle and I would like to be your friend! Or perhaps you could hand something around, like a packet of Werther’s Originals’.

‘No, Mum-‘

‘Or I could ring up whoever’s in charge and ask someone to come and sit with you, if you like. I used to do that for you when you were little. I remember when you were at Pony Club and you were too scared to use the portaloo by yourself, so instead chose to defecate in-‘

I think it was at that point that I hung up.

Lunch hour ended and it was time to film the last part of the scene. This involved simply sitting behind a desk and delivering my one line of dialogue-‘The test was negative, Jon Paul. YOU DON’T HAVE AIDS’.

‘Let’s try and get this in one take guys!’ the director called.

I nervously got into position.

‘And… ACTION!’

A dramatic silence fell. Composing my features into what I hoped was an expression of wisdom and authority, I cleared my throat ready to deliver my one, crucial line.

‘The test was negative, Jon Paul. You don’t have- AAAGH!’.

A sudden, sharp pain stabbed into my right boob, followed by a cool gust of air.

I looked down.

Unable to take the strain anymore, my safety pin had snapped, sticking itself into my chest. Therefore allowing the shirt to burst wide open.

There was a horrified silence in the room. We are talking an entire film crew, director and actors all staring in utter disbelief, whilst I casually sat in front of the camera with both tits hanging out.

I kept the transmission date of my episode a dirty secret.

Which is just as well really, as when it aired they chose to cut out my head out from the scene  (By this I mean that my head wasn’t in shot. I don’t mean like a severed head).

Instead, there is just a beautifully filmed shot of my clammy, inflated clown hands, shakily administering a needle.

My friends rang me afterwards with words of encouragement, as a sat necking back gin in horror- ‘We could tell they were your hands, Gab- we recognised your mole!’

I am going to stick to nursing a pint.

G x

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THE MORNING AFTER

Am I dead? I must be.

No human being can physically consume 2 bottles of wine, 5 jagerbombs, 2 mojito’s, 3 tequila shots, an entire pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea and still live to tell the tale.

I feel strangely calm about it all.

‘At least she died doing what she loved’ they will say. ‘Getting off her tits’.

I am ready. Take my hand, oh Lord and lead me through those pearly gates!

Let me feed you grapes and plait your beard. Sit on your lap and confess to you my sins.

(I don’t mean that in a prozzy, lap-dancey sort of way. That would be totally wrong. I mean like innocently sitting on Santa Claus’ lap. A family friendly Santa. Not the perverted kind, where people pay to be put on the ‘naughty list’ and be beaten over the bottom with a candy cane).

Blearily, I peel open one burning eye.

Well I must say, heaven isn’t quite how I expected.

There are no angels, for starters. No fat cherub plucking a harp. No Elvis Presley donning a loin cloth and singing ‘A Big Hunk O’Love’.

Instead, I am staring into the eye of a battered sausage. A half-eaten battered sausage.

Whilst lying spread eagled on my kitchen floor.

Oh god. This is not death. This is something far, far worse.

This is the hangover from hell.

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I’m not talking the bearable kind, where you pop a couple of painkillers, untag the photo of you shitting in a bus shelter and head off for brunch.

Oh no.

We are talking the type of hangover sent by Lucifer himself.

The sort where every limb feels like it’s been through a Christmas tree shredder. Like a small family of possums have curled up and died in your mouth. A group of primary school children have just learnt to make scrambled eggs. WITH YOUR BRAIN.

I also appear to be stark bollock naked, bar my ancient pair of Winnie the Pooh pants, which depict a map of the 100 Acre Wood. They are by far the most shameful item of lingerie I own and are only worn in times of desperation.

Oh please, God. Please say I didn’t bring a man home in these. Right now, I have about the sex appeal of a courgette.

I peel my head from the floor and look towards the door.

Mens shoes. Oh god. Big brown suede ones. That will be him. They are bloody huge actually, aren’t they? Like flippers. Maybe I brought back a clown. Or a walrus.

Oh Christ. Did I choose to be rogered in my own kitchen? Perform some hideous striptease for him, wearing nothing but stiletto’s a pair of oven gloves? Bend myself over the hob and demand a good porking?

I don’t know who this man is, or where he has come from but fear it has something to do with the battered sausage.

I sometimes find it hard to believe that life has turned out this way.

I led a very sheltered childhood.

A proper country bumpkin, who’s favourite hobbies included bailing hay and accompanying my father to the rubbish dump.

‘Why would I choose to drink alcohol when I can get FRESH MILK from our very own cow?’

‘You’re all going down the park to do balloons and poppers? Oh goody, I LOVE poppers! I’ll bring the paper hats. And know how to make a balloon stegosaurus!’

‘Sorry Ben, it’s really sweet of you to invite me to the party tonight but Mum’s making me my favourite casserole. With EXTRA DUMPLINGS!’

I drove a tractor . I sang in the church choir. I owned a pig.

I didn’t care much for clubs and would rather make my own fun on a Friday night. Such as farting in the bath and pretending it’s a jacuzzi.

But then I moved to London. And all hell broke lose.

It started with the fags.

I had previously written off smoking as a filthy habit.

‘Why would anybody choose to deliberately knock years off their life?!’ I cried to my mother, whilst she vacuumed the dog.

‘I cannot WAIT to grow old. I can watch Miss Marple. Eat biscuits. And sit on a COMMODE! That’s a chair that you can actually poo in!’.

(As a toddler I used to have daily ‘potty and video’ time. This involved being sat in front of my favourite show, usually Playdays, whilst cheerfully laying a gigantic dump. It remains one of my fondest childhood memories. So the thought that I could go full circle in about 80 years time was all too much).

But at uni, my opinion on smoking started to change. Due to one, small fact:

ALL THE FIT MEN WERE IN THE SMOKING AREA.

Like, seriously. All of them.

I soon realised that this dirty, glorious little death stick was my one way ticket to a giant cock fest.

And I was diving in head first.

Being a smoking novice, there were some slight mishaps along the way.

Such as the time I borrowed a guys lighter, locking eyes over the flame in what I considered to be a sultry manner and inadvertently set my fringe on fire.

Or the time I nervously rolled a fag in front of the guy I really fancied, realising too late that I had licked the wrong side of the paper. Therefore making the cigarette baggy and completely un-smokable. Determined not to lose face, I casually took a drag and managed to actually INHALE THE FILTER. As in, it shot straight out the back of the cigarette and down my throat.

It is quite hard to look sexy whilst being given the heimlich manoeuvre.

And then I met him.

They say that love can strike from anywhere. I didn’t believe them till it happened.

Gordon was more than just a lover- he was a soulmate. The ying to my yang. The bean to my burrito.

Someone who warmed me through cold winter nights, lay down with me on hot summer days, and came as my date to every party.

And he went with so much. Tonic water. Elderflower. Orange juice. Cucumber. I’ve even tried him with dried mango, which I would thoroughly recommend.

Ahh that beautiful, strong bottle in that murky green shade.

God, I want my wedding dress to be that shade of green. And my husband’s suit. In fact fuck it, I don’t even want a husband. I will happily walk down the aisle pulling along a bottle of Gordon’s on wheels. Exchange rings. Read vows. Sing from hymn books. Or should I say gin books. HA HA HA.

I’m going mad. I need to get up off this kitchen floor and stick my head in the fridge.

I’m unsure at this point exactly who lies behind my bedroom door, but judging from my recent conquests it will be one of three types of men:

  1. An arrogant suit wanker, who secretly gets spray tans and lives with his mother.
  2. A balding man wearing a yellow anorak and waterproof trousers, which I thought last night to be funny and ironic. But now just realise that he loves wet weather gear. And is planning on taking me fishing.
  3. A genuinely lovely, normal man, who took one look at my 100 Acre Wood pants and ran straight out the door, not bothering to take his shoes.

G x

MIDNIGHT SAUSAGE

I grew up in a family of vegetarians.

There was actually a stage in which my older brother turned us all VEGAN (it remains one of the most traumatic periods of my life), so as a family we were forced into drinking rice milk and couldn’t eat Cheerios because THE HONEY WAS CRUEL TO THE BEES.

(I should point out that my brother was heavily influenced at the time by his meek, mild, TREE-HUGGER of a girlfriend, who didn’t believe in drinking and used to carry a spade in her handbag so she could dig a hole and shit in the woods. We never quite got along).

Anyway, being a big animal lover, I trundled along quite nicely as a vegetarian over the years. Why would I want to eat a cow? So sweet! SO FURRY! Awww look at that adorable chicken! LET ME PICK IT UP AND GIVE IT A GIANT KISSY!

However, at the age of 20, I left my home in Wales and moved to London.

And something… happened. Something dark. Something disturbing.

It would turn midnight, I’d have sunk a few bottles of gin, when I would start to get these… how can I put this lightly… RAW BLOODIED MEAT CRAVINGS.

It became a dirty secret. Ostentatiously picking off the pieces of pepperoni from a shared pizza, then secreting them in my handbag to gorge on later. Leaving the flat under cover of darkness (If I had owned a balaclava I would have worn it) to get my sick thrills at the local kebab shop.

But things really hit a low point when I went back to my parents house for Christmas and went out clubbing with the girls. Oh that night. GOD FORGIVE THAT FATEFUL NIGHT.

Bursting home at 4am, wild-eyed and smelling of tequila, I cavorted to the kitchen looking for my fix. The meat. WHERE IN THE LOVE OF GOD WAS I GOING TO FIND ANY MEAT?!!

And then it hit me. Freddie. Our puppy. Freddie, our adorable little cocker spaniel puppy. He was in the process of being trained and some meaty, puppy training treats in the fridge (you thought I was going to say that I ate Freddie, didn’t you?)

So I did it. Sat at the kitchen table, I ate Freddie’s puppy training treats. Looking at the packet, they were described as containing ‘meat-based matter’. I can’t quite bring myself to think of what that matter may be.

Morning comes. Mother bursts in. ‘SOMEBODYS EATEN FREDDIE’S TRAINING TREATS!!!!!’ she cries.

‘CHRIST ON A BLUE BIKE!!’ I reply, trying to match her tone and stifle a meat-based matter burp.

Freddie, looking on in disgust.

We never did get to the bottom of where Freddie’s treats went. My suggestion that perhaps Freddie opened the fridge and helped himself- ‘GOOD GOD, THE DOG’S A GENIUS, MOTHER!’ wasn’t met with much enthusiasm.

Now, the fact that I still insist on being a vegetarian has become somewhat of a running joke amongst my friends.

And now of course, I’m going on a bloody cookery programme. Where I shall probably get drunk and ask my date to ‘slip me some sausage under the table’ and promptly be arrested.

G xx

P.S thank you SO MUCH to whoever has followed or liked this blog so far, absolute legends. When I reach 500 followers we are all having a massive party.