My sordid memoir hits the shelves next week, which can only mean one thing… TIME TO GET SHIT-FACED! YIPPEE!
Please come and join me at my launch party on Friday 17th August, at The Bigmoose Cafe, Cardiff.
I’ll be reading, nay PERFORMING, a couple of chapters from the book and sharing my rather eventful experience of writing it. This includes renting a cottage in Cornwall for two weeks on my own, with the romantic notion of writing the whole book whilst gazing out at sea (unfortunately coming down with a raging tooth infection, getting completely mashed off my antibiotics and not once putting pen to paper), hunting down my hero Jilly Cooper and getting in contact with all of my ex-lovers to try and persuade them to sign waivers. HAHA SUCH FUN!
Following this, there shall be a Q+A (poo questions allowed), a book signing and the chance to meet my boyfriend, Nigel.
I do not sew. I get no satisfaction out of cleaning. I have zero interest in gardening, flower arranging or drawing (unless it’s a large cock on a steamed up window).
I still find farts hilarious and am perpetually told off by my parents for ‘poo talk at the dinner table’.
Shopping bores me. Babies scare me.
I don’t watch rom coms, unless they are worthy of a good perv.
(For example, in Pride and Prejudice when Colin Firth emerges all hot and bothered from the lake with his shirt stuck to him- episode 4, 32 minutes in).
I have the alcohol tolerance of an ox and the mouth of a fishwife. I shall never forget the look on my friends face when I casually described a guys penis as his ‘raging bell end’.
However, the one area where I truly fall short in womanhood is the cookery department.
I hate cooking. I simply do not see the joy in it. My few optimistic attempts have resulted in me tearfully smacking the hob with a rolling pin and having to retire to my bed with smelling salts.
Having grown such a complex about my arch nemesis- THE OVEN- that I had started throwing it dirty looks and muttering ‘bitch’ under my breath every time I walked past, I decided it was time to do something about it.
Did I buy a beginners recipe book? No.
Book myself onto a crash cookery course, perhaps? No, no.
I decided that the only logical solution to my problem would be to ENTER A COOKERY COMPETITION ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.
The premise of the programme is simple.
A woman is set up on a blind date with a man and must cook him a three course meal, winning him over with her sparkling wit and dazzling culinary talents.
Oh that man. That poor, poor man.
The thing is, I never expected to get through.
When filling in my application form (fortified by several gins and an uncooked pop tart) I made very clear that the sum total of my cooking experience amounted to that of opening a tin of Chappie for my dog.
And that my last date (in a very posh Japanese restaurant) had resulted in me drunkenly flinging a piece of sushi over my shoulder and tying my napkin round my head to do my impression of Mother Teresa.
But they bloody lapped it up.
During my audition, the cameraman laughed so hard that he actually shot tea out his nose and had to retire to the balcony for some fresh air.
Admittedly, I was a little candid with my answers:
‘Describe your ideal man in two words?’
‘What is your favourite dish?’
‘Fruit salad. But just the grapes. That have been fermented into wine’.
I think it was the final question that finished him off:
‘How far would you be prepared to go for a first date?’
‘Oh gosh I’m not sure, ummm… A kiss and a cheeky finger perhaps?’
‘…. I meant travel wise’
And so I was shortlisted for the programme.
My first task was to compose a winning menu.
‘I’M GOING TO DO A MEXICAN THEME!’ I announced to my friends at the pub, triumphantly slamming my gin down on the table.
‘Good god, think of the possibilities! Sombrero’s, tequila, pinata’s, comedy moustache’s… What’s not to love?’
‘But Gabby, what food are you going to-‘
‘I could even perform an authentic Mexican dance! WITH MARACA’S!’
Blindly ignoring everyone’s protestations, I proceeded to draw up my menu.
Now if there’s one thing I love, it’s a sexual innuendo. I have the body of a young woman paired with the brain of a pervy Uncle.
One of my most mortifying memories is at a job interview to work as a part time receptionist.
‘Now then’ the manager explained ‘Everyone who works here is extremely busy. I won’t be able to be on top of you 24/7’.
‘SAID THE TART TO THE VICAR! HA HA HA’ I nervously blurted out.
Needless to say, I did not receive the job.
And so, sat with a large glass of wine, I proceeded to write the most perverted menu known to mankind. Which was promptly sent back for being ‘too explicit’.
‘How on earth could you think ‘stick your churro in my chocolate sauce’ would be ok?’ my horrified friend asked. ‘And ‘stuff my piñata?!’
Yet by some miracle, after some hasty editing, my sordid little menu was selected.
I WAS GOING ON THE SHOW.
‘You know what?’ I smiled to my housemate ‘This programme could be the making of me. Not only am I FINALLY going to learn how to cook but there’s a slight chance that I might actually meet the man of my dreams. I think this is the best decision that I have ever made’.
Cue one month later.
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAVE I AGREED TO?!!!
It is the night before filming and I am about to have a panic attack.
I have not practised a single dish.
I still don’t know what the fuck a quesadilla is.
The sum total of my ingredients amounts to a bottle of tequila, a piñata and lifesize cut out Mexican man.
The only way that I can stop myself from having a complete nervous breakdown is by watching re-runs of Family Guy, whilst rhythmically stuffing jelly babies up the piñata’s arse.
After a hasty ASDA shop and a fitful nights sleep, where I dreamt that my arms turned into giant burritos, the dreaded morning came.
To start with, I kept it together pretty well.
I confidently arranged all my saucepans on the counter and weighed out the ingredients as if I had a clue as to what the hell I was doing.
Then things got a little… feverish.
With three large lights trained on me and all the windows shut in the flat (to drown out the noise of the sailing club opposite blaring out ‘YMCA’) the temperature in the flat had risen to about 30 degrees. And I was getting a little flustered.
‘I will start by getting my chicken out the fridge’ I smiled confidently at the camera, sticking my head inside for a moments blessed relief.
The thing is, I had never actually handled a raw chicken before.
And it REPULSED me.
I felt my stomach do a worrying flip.
‘I’m going to be cutting the chicken into bite-size chunks for my fajita mix’ I explained, trying to ignore the assortment of black spots appearing in front of my eyes.
I shakily layed out the wobbling monstrosity on the chopping board and stared at it for a few seconds, breathing deeply.
A dark fog started to descend.
‘And now’ I smiled deliriously at the cameraman through chattering teeth ‘I shall slice the chicken with my trusty carving knife!’
The next thing I remember is being hauled up from the chopping board by the director, with a chunk of raw chicken swinging jauntily from my fringe.
The lovely camera team then proceeded to carry me to my bedroom, with a cold flannel.
This is where the further embarrassment lay.
I normally keep my bedroom in reasonably good shape.
But lately, things had got a little ‘slack’. To the point where Stig of the Dump would not have been seen dead in it.
‘JESUS’ the cameraman swore, skidding on an old plate of spaghetti.
Another stifled a small scream at the sight of the very life-like stuffed gorilla sat in the corner of the room.
‘Oh, don’t mind Nigel!’ I smiled, hastily shoving a packet of Wind-Eaze into my bedside draw and turning over a framed photo of me cradling our prized family pig.
I never got to meet my date.
I was instead driven in the back of the film van to the nearest walk in clinic to get my head looked at. (By that, I mean the bump on my head. Not my mental state. Although that is probably something that I should also look into).
I have taken three things away from this experience.
1. I must never again attempt to cook a raw chicken. I am going to stick to what I know- cuddling them, brushing them and thinking up hilarious pet names for them, such as Princess Layer.
2. I am quite possibly a sexual pervert and need to seek professional help.
3. I must hastily retract my application to appear on Masterchef.
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?
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?
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-‘
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?!!’
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.
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).
I recently spent two nights in Amsterdam with my ultimate good-time girl, Flora.
Flora and I formed an unbreakable bond when we were both fired from our jobs as wine advisors, ironically, for sharing a bottle of red wine on shift.
I’m not sure I can even begin to convey what happened to us in Amsterdam, but I will attempt to explain it in this post.
Having arrived at Gatwick airport at 8am, had a leisurely Full English breakfast and 4 Bloody Mary’s (‘It’s 12pm somewhere, Flora! HA HA HA’) we realised that we were actually cutting it slightly fine for our 10am flight and charged through to security.
Instead of being met by an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING we were made to present our passports to one of those scary robot machines that scans your face.
Neither of us could get through.
‘Excuse me, sir!’ I called to the security man
‘KIND SIR!!!!! Yes, hello. UNFORTUNATELY your machine doesn’t appear to be working, which is a bit of a sticky wicket as we are both VERY LATE FOR OUR FLIGHT. Could you be a darling and let us through?’
The security man took my boarding pass, then gave me a look somewhere between withering and murderous.
‘You’re in the wrong building, love. Your flight goes from the North Terminal’.
‘GABBY, DO YOU HAVE ANY LIQUIDS?!!’ Flora shouted as we eventually arrived at the North, desperately stuffing an array of items into a clear bag.
‘Only my antibacterial hand gel!’ I cried ‘YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO PREPARED!!!’ and sent my bag through on the conveyer.
I was pulled over by 3 members of security almost immediately.
‘Excuse me madam, I need to check your bag for any liquids of dangerous items’ said the rather straight laced, humourless woman.
‘I don’t have anything, I promise!’ I protested, stifling a burp of Bloody Mary.
‘I learned to pack light! I WAS IN THE BROWNIES!’
What then ensued was a tad embarrassing.
One by one she pulled out every item in my bag, including a bottle of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hair oil, suntan cream, a gigantic razor, nail scissors, my extremely large ‘travel knickers’ (‘They’re not mine, I promise!!’ I cried) and a row of AA batteries which looked rather like bullets.
Traumatised and shaking, we boarded the plane.
We then sat on it, delayed in the boiling heat, for an hour and a half.
Flora (a nervous flyer) completely lost her shit, pouring my bottle of Evian over her head and shouting ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHERE IS THE WINE TROLLY???!!’
We eventually set off and I took it upon myself to be the calming influence, murmuring relaxing endearments such as ‘Everything is going to be fine, Flora’ and ‘Oh look a blue tit just flew past!’
The plane rose steadily in the air… Before casually dropping about 40 foot.
‘HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!!!!’ I screamed, forgetting that I was supposed to be the calming influence.
‘WE CAN’T DIE!! I HAVEN’T SHAVED!!!’
I don’t know what the pilot was on, but I can only liken the journey to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland. At one point we flew completely vertically in the air for what felt like 10 minutes.
The stag- do behind us we’re loving it.
‘LOOK, I CAN SEE THE STARS BOYS!’
‘YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO THE MOON, JIM! HA HA HA’
Amsterdam Night One
Finally, we arrived.
Flora had booked us a room with a nice young man called Enrico, on Air B&B.
‘Hello Enrico!’ we smiled as we walked in the house.
‘ARE YOU SCARED OF DOGS?’ he replied
‘My name’s Gabrielle and this is- Sorry what was that? Er no not particularly, we-‘
‘BECAUSE I HAVE A LARGE GERMAN SHEPHERD WHO DOES NOT LIKE STRANGERS. YOU DON’T WANT HIM JUMPING UP AT YOU IN THE NIGHT, HE WEIGHS 45 KILOS’
We looked at one another in mutual horror.
‘What I’m going to do’ Enrico continued ‘Is teach you some code words to use for when you come in’
We ran upstairs to our room.
‘I’M SO SORRY, IT DIDN’T MENTION THE HOUND ON THE WEBSITE’ cried Flora.
‘Lets just quickly change and get out of here’
Hastily, we changed into our slutty evening clothes.
‘Oh shit’ said Flora, who had forgotten a bra ‘My nipples show in this top. OH WELL, I’M DESPERATE’
We headed straight to the Red Light District (where else?!) stopping off on the way for a pack of tobacco and Magic Mushrooms.
Flora, who had taken the shrooms before, advised we had a whole pack of the strongest variety each (‘You have the tolerance of an Ox, Gabs’) and also warned me that they tasted absolutely disgusting.
Sat at the bar with a gin and tonic, we cracked them open.
WELL, OF COURSE I BLOODY LOVED THEM.
‘GOOD GOD, THEY’RE DELICIOUS, FLORA!’ I cried, casually eating them by the handful. ‘So light! SO WOODY! I could take these with me as a light snack at the gym!”
Waiting for our shrooms to digest, we started looking around for poor unsuspecting men to pull.
‘I don’t think I can pull anyone tonight, Flora. I haven’t shaved my legs. Unless they’re in to beastiality’
‘Well I can’t pull anyone, I feel MORBIDLY OBESE’ she replied. ‘Is it possible to have sex with your clothes on?’
Having waited an hour, we realised that the shrooms had no effect on us whatsoever- ‘I must just be immune to them, Flora! I did eat a lot of mushroom risotto as a child’
Despondently, we headed to another bar.
But then I suddenly found that I couldn’t stop laughing. To the point where the smallest thing was outrageously funny and I was crying and drooling in the effort to explain what I was laughing about. ‘That light… It’s… It’s…ITS SHAPED LIKE A COCK!!’
And then Flora found she was doing the same.
Then the hallucinations began. OHHHH THE HALLUCINATIONS.
There is lot of the night I don’t remember but I can tell you very clearly that every time I looked at Flora she had a unicorns horn coming out her head.
And whenever I glanced at the spotty bow in her hair, it would set me off on a speel of ‘jungle themed’ hallucinations. The spots on the bow would somehow morph into dancing leapords and then everywhere I looked everyone had either a giraffe or leopards head (this sounds quite scary but I remember absolutely loving it)
Frankly, I found that if I focused on a particular word or object too long then I would see it EVERYWHERE.
‘We need to find some gin, Flora. OHHHH actually don’t worry! That mans FACE is made of gin!’
Having planned on making loads of friends and meeting sexy men, Flora and I spent the entire night walking through the streets linked tightly arm in arm, me wearing my gigantic sunglasses, absolutely tripping our balls off.
We reached a point at around 3am where Flora became paranoid that everyone in the Red Light District was talking about us (it was probably a fair point) and also, rather creepily, became convinced that I was her mother.
I decided I needed to take control of the situation.
‘IVE GOT THIS SHIT, FLORA!!!’ I cried ‘Don’t look me in the eye for 5 minutes. MOTHER NEEDS TO CONCENTRATE!’
I flagged down a rickshaw.
‘Hello young man’ I began, trying not to be put off by the fact that he had the head of a rabbit.
‘We need to get out of here. IMMEDIATELY. We also need CASH and we need CIGARETTES’
Having been cycled out of the Red Light District in a rickshaw to a cashpoint (a blur of shapes and colours) I then saw it fit to withdraw £300 euros (‘We don’t know how much we will need, Flora. We don’t know how much we will NEED!!!) and took us to a kebab shop.
‘Right. Here is the situation’ I remember saying.
‘There is a very vicious dog at home and we need CHIPS to throw him off the SCENT. You will run upstairs whilst I will distract him’
We could hear the sounds of rabid barking as soon as we arrived at the house, but luckily the beast seemed to be shut in.
‘RUBBER BALL!!!!!’ I shouted ‘Shit, what were the code words? FRIENDLY DOG! FRIEND NOT FOE! COCK!!!!!!!!’
Amsterdam Night 2
Deciding that today we should take a more sensible ‘relaxed approach’, we planned on a light lunch, a spot of clothes shopping and a couple of glasses of wine before bed.
Except we only got as far as a shop called ‘When Nature Calls’.
Completely overwhelmed with the selection, we purchased: 2 pipes, a hash lolly, a packet of erotic gum and sex pills (‘When in Amsterdam, Flora!!’), a pack of nos balloons, a box of space cookies and 20 more grams of `Magic Mushrooms.
By the end of the afternoon, having washed down a spliff with our entire pack of space cookies, we had reached the stage of ‘fat, stoned and in the way’.
We then decided it was time for round 2 of the shrooms.
I think this says a lot about my hideously middle-class, Daddy’s girl upbringing but that night I became OBSESSED with Shetland ponies.
To the point where, sat in the toilet, I WAS a Shetland pony.
A very sassy, chubby little Shetland pony.
‘Where’s my hoof oil?’ I called out to Flora in the next cubicle, only half joking.
‘THIS BITCH NEED HOOF OIL!’
The bell for last orders rang in the bar.
‘THAT WILL BE MY CALL FOR THE GYMKANA!’ I cried, galloping and whinnying out the toilet.
The horse hallucinations would calm down slightly, then the slightest thing would set me off again.
‘I can’t believe the shrooms have had this much of an effect two nights on the trot… DID BITCH SAY TROT?!! Ha ha ha ha’
Hiccuping and crying with laughter, we then decided that now would be an excellent time to try the erotic gum and sex pills.
Flora took hers first.
‘QUICKLY!’ She shouted ‘IM SOON TO BECOME VERY HORNY!!’
I don’t know whether it was the gum or the pills, but something had a rather alarming effect on me.
Neither of us could feel less horny if we tried… But I became convinced that EVERY MAN IN THE WHOLE OF AMSTERDAM WAS HITTING ON ME. And I was not happy about it.
‘Oh god, look at that man BRAZENLY WINKING AT ME’ I would mutter in disgust.
‘LOOK AWAY YOU PERV! STOP UNDRESSING ME WITH YOUR EYES!!’
The night ended with me starting a fight with some poor man in Burger King, who I swore was trying to pinch my arse and then returning to the flat where Flora projectile vomited into her Burger King bag, which then disintegrated onto the carpet.
(Unable to abide the smell of vomit, I decided to sleep in the hallway only to be tripped over by poor Enrico at 7 in the morning)
Delirious, exhausted and we arrived at the airport next day- Flora dragging along behind her a heavy sack of clothes, towels and sick, whilst I carried with me half a kilo of cheese that I had drunkenly decided to buy my dad for Father’s Day from the Cheese Museum (the only tourist attraction we managed).
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.
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.
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.
Now, I can be a LITTLE picky when it comes to the men that I date (I realise that at this stage beggars can’t be choosers, but even so). I once stopped dating a boy because I became transfixed by his nostril size. Another ended after the first date because I thought he had ‘arms like eels’.
So my friend pre-warned me with this guy -‘Just turn up on the date with an open mind’ she said. ‘Don’t be a dick and stalk him on Facebook before hand or analyse his profile pictures. You could really like him’.
So that night as I logged in to stalk him on Facebook and analyse his profile pictures, I tried to look to the positives. I mean… he seemed lovely. A nice, well-dressed… God-fearing boy (is this the sort of thing one is supposed to look for?). I almost balked when I got to the profile picture of him cradling a large salmon, but managed to move past it.
Then my mind started to wander- what if I actually did like this boy? Salmon is, after all, my favourite fish. What if I actually took things slowly, dated him properly and he BECAME MY BOYFRIEND?
That’s where the thoughts about mine and my blind dates future together should have ended.
But unfortunately for me, my gin-addled brain kept on whirring.
Suddenly, I was thinking through what area in London we would move in to together (south, clearly), how many bikinis I should take with me on our first holiday to the Maldives (making a mental note to pack cystitis relief sachets and corn plasters in my toiletries bag), where and how he would propose to me and whether I would burst into tears or laugh in his face, what sort of hat my mother would wear to our wedding and whether our first born son should be called something sensible, like Sam, or something really edgy, like Barabbas or Wee-Willy.
And then the inevitable came. The arguments. The heartbreak. Me walking into the bedroom to find a pair of size 8 knickers (clearly not mine) stuffed behind the bedside cabinet. Him walking in on me without makeup on for the first time in our 3 year relationship and realising that he had actually married a woman who resembled a large badger.
Then came the divorce; arguments over who got to keep the candelabra and who got landed with the Japanese Peace Lilly. Him silently removing his wedding ring, me beating him over the head with his latest catch of salmon.
So as you can imagine, when the time finally came to actually meet this poor boy for our first date, I just… couldn’t. I mean, WE HAD BEEN THROUGH SO BLOODY MUCH TOGETHER ALREADY.
And frankly, quite frankly, I was still slightly smarting at him being allowed to keep the collection of Faberge eggs, when he KNOWS that they are my favourite and he NEVER REALLY WANTED TO BUY THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.