The nurses’ home . . . (episode 77)

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September 6 1999

Rural Outskirts Nurses’ Home
Nether Lane
CARPOOL C74 4QW

Hello Auntie

My student nursing course has now begun and I am experiencing something akin to culture shock. I don’t know what to make of the uniform, the equipment which goes with it, my fellow students, or (worst of all) my new billet in the nurses’ home.

I have had to exile my Doc Marten’s to the bottom of the wardrobe (an item so flimsy that it may as well be made from balsa wood) and attire my feet in some shiny-black, laced, shoes. And these somehow make me feel feminine and denuded of power.

The rest of the clothing ensemble consists of a white tunic (to which a watch on a chain is appended) and a pair of black, straight-leg, trousers. I am a nurse in monochrome Auntie. However, I am fortunately spared the frilly white hat, this dispensation being due – as I understand it – to being male.

My fellow students are a motley crew comprising twelve (mostly female) individuals. The most striking female resembles an Amazon in terms of her height and apparent musculature. And the only other male is very tall, thin, and weedy-looking. I should imagine he fulfils the caricatured stereotype of the male nurse. However, there is one aspect of his being that I am deeply envious of: he has a girlfriend – also on our course – and that means, as far as I’m concerned, that he is ‘getting some.’ I think, Auntie, that I may soon be sucking my thumb and heading towards a sulk!

And as for the nurses’ home, both the building – and the general environs – remind me of one of those lunatic asylums one sees featured in creepy Victorian melodramas. My room is situated at the end of a very long, chilly, corridor and my feet echo on the stone as I pass along it. There are no internal windows and it is very dark (help).

I did, finally, locate the washing machines. They are in the basement. Nobody else was there and I had to decipher the instructions (pinned up) all by myself. But there was a window and it was letting in a shaft of light.

Well I am going to sign off now Auntie. I have been to the chocolate bar machine at the bottom of the stairs as I need to buy some beans to heat up on a ring. I think I will retire to bed (clean but narrow) and gnaw on a piece under the covers.

If I get too down I can always turn to a chapter in the bible kindly left in a wall alcove.

Yours (emitting a loud sniffle)

Ralph

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