Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Aussies...Part Two

Ten minutes later I was deep in conversation with one of my patients. He knew that I had moved from Scotland also.

'So, when Scottish men go to work, do they all have to wear a kilt? Even bricklayers and plumbers?'

Aussies...Part One

A girl I worked with last night asked me in all seriousness if when I had moved to Scotland from England, had I needed a visa to stay in the country!

When I explained about Scotland being part of the UK, she scrunched up her nose and asked 'Is that in England?'

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"That's what I said, Betty".."Did you Betty?".."I certainly did, he's a very naughty man, Betty" *

It's that time of year again. The time of year when my mind separates into two distinct individuals. When I can agree and then disagree with myself in almost an instant.

The first "Betty" is a rational (ish) type of person. She's (sometimes) quite cool and would rather discuss Gregory David Roberts in the pub over a lovely pint of Redback than thrash out the reasons that Jordan and Peter make a good couple.

The second "Betty" is a different woman altogether. She has the IQ of a sub-intellectual marsupial and lives for the next episode of 'Oh My God, I Can't Believe What Britney Did To Break Her Baby Next'.

This is where the psyche of my two oceans collide and swirl all reality and fantasy into a big turbulent karmic storm.

Big Brother has landed on the telly again. Say hello to the next three months of pretending to not give a toss about the pretty but dumb boys and girls. I'll never admit to enjoying seeing these vacant people running around a tiny house in no clothes and grappling willies.

There's a gay cowboy, a mother/daughter team with matching boobjobs and a mole whose main reason for being in the house is to sabotage other peoples happiness in the house!

It's like a car crash. I'm transfixed. I can't look away!

....If I meet you in the street though, I shall deny all such BB addictions and take action to try and get you sectioned under the mental health act!

* Re: title. This is what I caught one of my patients muttering to herself the other night!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I'm the Shit, I am!

Paris shows us how she is better than all the pop singers in the world today. Watch out world for she's stated that she's going to take over the pop world next. She sure is better than every singer I've ever heard! a bleeding ears, screechy cardboard box for deaf people type of way.

I hope Heff has a strong stomach..

Tenuous Links to Fame...

  • When I was yet to be born, my mum and dad were having a very romantic meal in some little Cornish restaurant at the same time that Donald Sutherland and Jenny Agutter had happened to visit (they were filming 'The Eagle Has Landed'). Donald was trying to impress Jenny and ordered the most expensive bottle of champagne in the place. When it arrived at the table Jenny said 'I'm very sorry but I don't actually drink alcohol'. Feeling defeated, he gave the whole bottle to my parents. My dad was driving so....that is why my mum was found chucking her guts up in the toilets two hours later!
I blame Donald Sutherland for my complete scattiness and inability to co-ordinate my limbs when hungover!

  • Kirsty and I made Macy jump!
...thats it!

  • I once met Tori Amos. My friend James spoke to her telling her how much he admired her bosendorfer piano and how he wished he had one also. She just smiled beatifically and murmered 'hmmm', before moving on to sign someone elses picture.
Me? I thrust a fake copy of her tour poster under her nose and made her scribble on it before I fled from the embarrassment of showing her my counterfeit goods!

  • I was in the Plymouth Theatre Royal panto in 1986. My 'co-stars' (I was part of the babes troupe) included Benny from 'Crossroads', Nyree Dawn Porter from 'Forsyth Saga' and Donald Hewlett from 'You Rang, M'Lord'. Nyree was a total lady. Always gracious and kind. Benny on the other hand was a knobjockey. He spat everywhere and pushed past us mere mortals to get to his space on the stage. When my baby brother (aged then at 8 years old) rushed up to the stage dressed as Benny with beeny hat and dungerees on (putting on a fake stutter), Knob-head Benny didn't think it was funny and ordered him off the stage!

  • Ali, Kirsty and I spent a memorable evening on the Island of Ibiza with an ex-boyfriend of Agnetha from Abba! We drank at some local bars and then spent the evening dancing with him and his son in Pacha.

  • A year before, Ali, Hazel and I were staying in the room next door to 'our Mike' from Brookside. He liked to wear his shorts high on his waist and adorn trendy(?) bumbags. His mates were a good laugh though. A holiday is always good when you're staying next door to skinhead drunken scousers!

  • My friend H's auntie was Cherie Blairs obstetrician (poor woman!). She delivered baby Leo and I presume, had to peer up Mrs Blairs foof.
All money earned was deserved, I'll say!

  • I used to work with Shirley Mansons sister in law in Aberdeen (a true rock moment).
I invited her (through Denise) to my leaving party. Alas, she was otherwise engaged and could not attend!

  • I went to Shania Twains producers wedding c/o Paul. His sister was the bride. She is gorgeous. Much more than that Shania bird!
No, Shania did not attend. I think the producer (Simon) was a 'music whore'. Paid his money and told to fuck off!

  • At Pauls sister Ruths wedding, I met a bone fide popstar. Remember Apache Indian? He was the best man and took a taxi ride with me to make sure I got to the wedding party safely. And his wife was the coolest chick ever and I promised to keep in touch but never got her number. I did wibble in the belly area when I realised I'd be sharing a taxi with this hunk of a man. He's much more divine that I ever remembered him being in the nineties (must have been the dayglo and bum bags putting me off?). However, his wife was much more gorgeous and the law of the bird states that 'thou shalt not make fluttery eyes at another birds bloke'

  • Hazel and I camped in the VIP area at Reading festival and almost met Finlay Quaye and Jarvis Cocker but I was too drunk to move from my sleeping bag.
I know, I'm starting to repeat myself. I've told this one!

  • I chatted up the gay one (Gavin) from the Brittas Empire in a Bournemouth nightclub before he waggled his wedding ring at me and I remembered that I was 'off men' at that time!
I actually used the line...'I recognise you, do I know you?'

He replied with '... I'm an actor, dahling!' (hmm, I made up the dahling bit!)

  • Dave went to school with the two nerdy ones from INXS.
(I can't tell which ones are the nerdy ones!!)

  • Dave's mum went to school with Rolf Harris

  • Dave's mums ashes are now scattered in the same cemetary as Bon Scott from AC/DC

  • Chris and I took a 'Working Lunch' presenters cherry. We were most proud of ourselves. (...of course literally. We literally took this mans cherry. We were at the same picnic and he bought a bag of cherries. Nobody else in our group got the joke!)
  • I was on 'You've Been Framed'. Some months ago, Dave shouted up to me that I was on the telly. They were playing my clip again. Dave had never seen it before but he had remembered it when my dad had told him about it! Incidentally I was totally unrecognisable, skinny, fifteen years old, shy, wearing a leotard and tapdancing around a stick stuck in the stage floor!

  • I used to dance in competitions with Lisa Kay who was an ever presence on hollyoaks for a couple of years. I tried and failed to NOT have a crush on her older brother David. He was delish. Even my ma had naughty feelings about him....
I hope she's doing well with her career. She was always lovely and never succumbed to the bitchiness that dancing festivals can bring out in some people.

  • I used to hang out in the green room in the Theatre Royal when I worked there. I ate on the next table to Neil from the Young Ones. We would spend our lunch hours pouting and nudging each other in the ribs about the celeb on the next table eating chicken curry and chips!

  • H and I nearly met Tom Jones at Reading. (I've told this one before too...)
A Security guy fell for H and let us back stage (I got to wear a shiny yellow security jacket!). We missed Tom by a matter of seconds. He was driving out of the place waving out of the back window when we walked through the back stage door.

Security guy didn't even get a snog from the delectable H for his trouble!

Ali, Nicky and I befriended a guy (when on holiday in Ibiza) who was once on Byker Grove (when it first started out with Ant and Dec, man. Apparently Spuggy was quite stroppy!)

  • Paul was invited up on stage at a festival by Rowetta. We were crowd surfing and she must have taken a shine to him.
The security guards didn't think that he was all that shiny though and threw him out after they threw me out!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pants On Fire...

Why do patients lie?

I don't care....for certain. I respect that people have lives outside of the hospital. What they tell us shouldn't make a difference in the way that we look after them.

Cue my latest patient....

ME: 'Sorry, I have to ask you some stupid questions...Do you drink? How much?'

HIM: 'ooh, about two glasses of wine a night'

ME: 'Cool, me too' (a total lie on my part, obviously)

(I then found him sneaking cider from a can hidden under his bed!)

ME: 'Do you smoke?'

HIM: 'Oooh, no. I gave up when I got diagnosed'

(for the record I do not look down on people who smoke. Especially those who have already been diagnosed with cancer. Its as if people think we should be hard on them because they smoke and therefore should try and stop them from smoking. I mean, what is that going to do? Make them NOT get cancer? Ridiculous!)

We ended the admission interview and resumed our respective roles (mine: fannying around trying to admit/discharge patients whilst holding sick bags under the noses of the sick. His: trying to figure out which way round a hospital gown wraps around the body!)

A couple of hours later I wandered into his room and sniffed the air. There was a definite fug about it. I have been to enough pubs and festivals to know when there is baccy smoke around (I've also been to enough festivals to note where and who is smoking ganja so as to stop, chat up, and bum some smokes from the offending air polluter...but thats another story!).

I theatrically sniffed the room and asked 'Sorry I have to ask but have you been smoking?'

HIM: Me? Oh god, no!...why, is that bad?'

ME: 'Ah, you know it's just that a single cigarette can blow the whole building to smithereens with the old piped oxygen and stuff...'

HIM: 'Aah. Do you think you could take me to the smoking balcony later?'

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Oh God AmTurning Into A Pop Queen?

Britney vs Shakira vs BeeGees.

What could be better?

...I can't help it.

Am melting... am melting!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Dust...Anyone? No?....Dust!

Well the ceiling saga has been finally put to bed. Our man, Mike, has been loitering with intent around at our place for the last three weeks trying to fix the abyss that had become our kitchen. On first, second and third inspections it was stated that it was a two day job. No bother thought we. We can live in the second bedroom for a couple of days. I didn't even think about the repurcussions of losing my beloved foxtel (crap Sky) as we were led to believe that this job, no matter how big it actually looked, was only a flick of the wrist away from being completed.

We forgot we were dealing with Aussies here.... or at least pommie bastards that had been living here for long enough to develop the inherent laid back casual attitude. On the first morning (after Dave had lugged all the tellys, hifis, several thousand CDs, coffee tables, kitchen gear etc out of the living/kitchen area) Mike arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed. He wondered into the house and pondered the ceiling.

'Ah, bugger. I don't think I have enough ceiling boards to cover it. Who measured the ceiling, eh? It was probably my work experience boy. Bloody hell, I'll have to go and think about this one...'

And off he went for his first ciggie. Over the course of the three weeks, Mike wore a smooth bottom shaped indentation into the low garden wall. This was his contemplation spot. The place he ran to when he broke the curtain rail, the seat he relaxed into when he had to sack his plastering apprentice and the general location of his ever present thermos and never ending packet of fags.

Mikes friend soon came round to help with the heavy lifting. They took only a few minutes to remove the props placed over a period of several weeks to support the deteriorating ceiling. As they struggled with the last one, dragging it out of the front door there was an almighty crash and then a cloud of fine white dust exploded through the house. Apparently the ceiling didn't need any encouragement to get down and party. It ripped itself from the walls and cornicing and fell in four pieces to the ground.

I did tell them at the rental agency that it was falling down!

Obviously this was all the encouragement Mike and his mate needed to light up another ciggy to calm the old ticker!

It was then that I realised that two days for the project was a nigh on impossible dream. Dave and I would be living in a shanty town for weeks, possibly months. We resigned ourselves to living in the spare room with only four crap channels of telly, eating sushi and thai curries from the Freo markets (well it can't have been all bad! I love having the excuse to go to Wok in a Box), having the fridge in the laundry room and making cups of tea on top of the fridge.

It felt like living in Aberdeen again!

The big blow came after enduring seven days of 'Camp Scotland'. Our very understanding rental property manager rang to say how grateful she was that we had been so very patient with her and did we realise that our contract was soon up for renewal? Luckily for us, our landlords liked us in the house so much that they were prepared to offer us another twelve month contract.

Of course, the landlords would be putting up the rent but that because the rental market is so oversubscribed at the moment, it really was a very good deal.

...hmm. I wasn't sure how to react so I thanked her for her kind offer, promised her I'd discuss it with Dave later that day and put the phone down. That's when my ears exploded off of my face, my eyes spun in their sockets and my brain short-circuited with much visible electrical sparkage.

Needless to say, I didn't think it was very fair to put up the rent or not compensate us for the past four months where we've had restricted use of the kitchen. Dave agreed with me but reminded me that seeing as he was phone-phobic it had been previously agreed in our relationship that I would do ALL the telephoning when called upon.

Bugger. Am the least confrontational person in the world (unless drunk). Dave has taught me to argue to an amateur status though so I had to give it a go. Have you ever heard of someone winning an arguement with an estate agent or property manager? It was a toughie.

However, when it came down to it, I was brilliant. I was concise, business like and wouldn't take no for an answer. She tried to put up a fight but I had her cornered and she backed down in a matter of minutes. We have had a full refund of the last two weeks and she's thrown in a cleaner to mop up Mikes mess!

So, Mike moved out last week leaving his handiwork proudly displayed. It's not pretty but I don't care. It's not my house and it's got no chance off falling on my head when I go to make a cuppa.

"One last thing" he said to me as he walked out of my door for the last time. "That possum you heard scratching in the roof? It's a rat!"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Peggy and Vera

A few days ago I went to the shed to search out the bicycle pump needed to pump up my shiny tyres on my fabulous bicycle and I came across a very lovely missus.

Mama, look away now....

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present you with Peggy:

Isn't he pretty?

This is what the missus looks like...

I named her Peggy after my Grandmother. Peg died about seven years ago and I really felt that I needed my Granny back!

Anyway after an afternoon of waffling on to Peg about what I had been up to in my recent life (and poking her web with a stick) she disappeared on me.

...I didn't take it badly. Obviously Peg needed to do other important stuff and maybe she didn't appreciate me poking around her web and baby spiders with my big stick.

It happens.

After a couple of days of rushing outside to see if Peg had come home and being disappointed about the lack of mama Spider activity in the web in the shed, I came to realise that even Winifred Margarets need their time away from the family.

So that is where Vera came in.

Cue Mike (the dust and fag and coffee machine that is reparing the ceiling) with his ultra sonic powered magic dusting machine.

I arrived home one afternnoon, literally to see a massive spider shaking in its eight very furry boots!

Vera! I cried. How lovely to see you. Peggy is just outside. She won't come in (how true to life are these spiders???)

(Vera is my Nana!)

This is what Vera will grow to in a couple of months.

...Don't worry, her bark is much worse than her bite!

Vera taught me how to microwave scrambled eggs in the microwave (no kitchen due to no ceiling!) and kept me company throughout the building fiasco. Am quite surprised that she didn't get her casio keyboard out to start singing 'songs of our war time' at me!

On another note, it's time for song of the week.....

The Grates 19-20-20

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Efficiency Is My Middle Name

Today as I sat back and surveyed all that I own I thought to myself...

'Oh my, Natalie, you are a hard working bugger. Your house is immaculate, the dishes are all washed and sparkling, the washing is flapping in the breeze, the bills have all been dutifully paid, my shoes have been placed in order according to season, heel height and colour, the plants have been watered and lovingly cooed over and a boyfriend has been sent off to work with a freshly cut lunch and home made muffins in his rucksack. All this and you still manage to look gorgeous all the while holding down a full time and periodically stressful job'.

(psst, I lied about the lunch for Dave, poor bastard doesn't even get a freshly ironed shirt out of me without a grumble!)

Oh well, I guess I had better crack on with writing my presentation that was due a week ago but completely forgotten about seeing as it was scheduled for April sometime. How am I supposed to know it's already April unless somebody tells me? At my exasperation, the presentation has been put back to this Thursday!

I have the title of the presentation. It's about Testicular Cancer. Obviously a subject to be treated with grave seriousness and intelligence.

It's called "Testicular Cancer... It's all a load of bollocks"

I work better under pressure!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Men What Do Rock, Baby

I know you all think that my life is just an excess of drunken debauchery, rock gigs, jumping around on my bed in my 'David and Goliath' knickers and sipping beers in sunset ridden pubs.

My god, you are completely right.

I had another one...(drunken debauched rock gig that is)

We saw T'

I arrived at the venue, bouncing. I'd arrived with some of the finest specimens of man and lady- hood in the whole Perth region. Fortunately I managed to drag a very lovely young lady, Alissa (I'd already befriended this young woman on the 'grab a basketball and wear it on your head' event that was Rock It) into the sweaty masses of alcohol fried young men at the very front of the crowd. There we bounced and spun and rebounded off the bulky chests of the very sweaty, silky, smiley students.

They were lovely. Aren't boys great?

So Justin and the boys rocked my socks off. I even fell in love with the bass player a little bit. He has a very sexy baldy heid. I know, I feel disloyal to Frankie Poullain and I will always love his moustache out of all the moustaches in the world but a girl has to go with her loins with this one! Although I must say that the pleasure of seeing Justins flaming loins up close did something very strage to my belly. I'm sorry to say that I would... You know, if he asked nicely enough!

The weirdest part of the night came at the end when we were loitering on the street. Someone called out my name and I turned to see a girl I went to school with. No biggy except for the part that we grew up a thousand million miles away in Plymouth.

As I said to a friend later, I can't do one flipping original thing! I move to other end of the world and some chick I hung out with in the playground has bloody well beaten me to it!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou...

It was Jamies birthday....far far too long ago...

I'm crap.

Very crap at birthdays, important dates, house reposessions, ruby weddings, root canal touch ups etc.

...So how was I supposed to remember my dear brother Jamies birthday?

I didn't and I've been trying to hunt down the perfect gift ever since.

This is the email I received a couple of days ago......

Received your parcel on Monday morning! Thank you very much, needed a new wallet and the shirt is fab! However “Crocodile Jerky”…. My verdict… Umm. Well I can see why they would call this substance Crocodile Jerky- Its like the croc has jerked himself off and then what you're left with is solid crocodile cum then packaged and sold. Not that I know what croc cum tastes like but its very salty, quite frankly bloody orrible! : - ) Anyway, at least I can say I’ve eaten a crocodile hey!!

So it ain't all bad then!?

N xx

Sunday, April 02, 2006

'Ere Me Luver!

(I found my favourite pic of me ma. I still have this bikini. It has, however, never fitted me!)

I'm mortified.

Last night my mum told me that I had developed 'an aussie twang'! I can't possibly have changed my accent already. I've only been here for ten months and in my head I still sound as devonshire as pasties and clotted cream.

I simply cannot 'do a hollywood superstar' and morph into a true blue ocker, I mean how pathetic is that? Madonna, Catherine Zeta Jones and Charlize Theron have all developed foreign accents and they sound stupid for it. I used to giggle when people in Aberdeen assumed I was from Australia. I know I was living with an aussie but I think because my accent is elongated it must have sounded similar to the ears of the Scots.

The pharmicist on my ward in Aberdeen was convinced. He used to say 'where are you from, Australia? I'd reply no and he'd ask 'New Zealand then?'. Still no and he would walk away muttering 'ah, South Africa, I thought so'!

Over here I get the scottish connection a lot more. Half of the people I work with still refer to me as the scottish nurse!? I do say 'aye' and 'a wee bit' occasionally but Shazza will vouch for the fact that if I try and put on a scots accent, I sound like Mrs Doubtfire, and she was from England according to the film anyway!

So I guess I'm just going to have to practise a lot harder to keep my janner-esque tones for fear that I'll turn into Janelle from Neighbours!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How I met....Sparkle

Ok, I know, I know. I met my mum on the 24th August 1976 when she was so kind to give birth to me (two weeks after getting drunk on champagne that Donald Sutherland gave her)...but thats not the point.

She probably doesn't realise that I have these photos. I acquired (stole) them from one of the cupboards at my parents house when I left home for the first time!

So here is Sparkles life in pictures...

Mama in her infancy. Her ma, Vera, named her Thelma so 'she would want for nothing'?? She soon changed her name to Tina and then it somehow morphed into Sparkle. She's been called Sparkle for about the past 15 years.

My ma, the mo-delle! The date on the back states it is the year 1971 which makes her a very young 14. This was probably about the same time that she 'starred' in a Trago Mills advert. She didn't get paid as such but she was allowed to pick any item of lingerie from their vast collection. She chose a polyester nightie.

Needless to say it fell apart after a few weeks!

When she met my dad. Fruit loops! They were well suited.

More courtship photos. She actually gave me that coat and it was gorgeously decadent.

In the South of France. That's my baby brother Jamie with me. He's an handsome bugger now. She always had movie star aspirations. Check out the aviator shades...

At my leaving party in May last year. She's still a beautiful woman and if I look anything like her for the rest of my life I'll be a very happy bird!