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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Dinner Fate

I am a very poor example of a woman.

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.

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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?’

‘MENTALLY UNSTABLE’

‘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!’

Blackout.

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.

G x