At 5:15am this morning my alarm went off and I wrenched myself awake. I felt a surge of excitement as I got myself together for the day. Bunny and Fran had both slept at the castle in preparation for our early start. By 6am Leftwing Idiot, Poppy, Fat Sister, King Russell and our friend Sophie had joined us. Soon we were on the road – and that’s where we would spend most of the day.
Our destination was the Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon and our reason for going was to get a great image for the cover of my book ‘Welcome to Biscuit Land’. Our friend, the incredible photographer Sam Robinson, met us there with his assistant Olly. Sam was the first person to take pictures of me in my super-suit and I was thrilled he’d been up for being involved at this next stage in the Touretteshero journey.
When Leftwing Idiot and I talked about what should be on the cover of the book we decided that Biscuit Land was a fun but unpredictable place and so a fairground would be the ideal location. Finding somewhere suitable had been tough and until last week we’d had no luck. Then we came across the remarkable Fairground Heritage Centre and amazingly they agreed to let us shoot there.
The Centre’s an amazing place and home to the National Fairground Collection, which includes beautiful, fully–working vintage rides and attractions. The staff and the volunteers working there were very welcoming and accommodating. They helped us get great pictures and have a load of fun in the process. It was all indoors too, so it didn’t matter that it was raining heavily outside.
The Touretteshero team came too so they could all be in the picture. Biscuit Land is not a lonely place and I wanted as many people as possible who help make my life with Tourettes easier to be there.
Sam took a lot of different shots, including some of me in the control booth of a 1930s waltzer, and all of on a ride that was over 120 years old. Because the trip involved a five-hour drive there, and the same back again, we were on a very tight schedule, but it wasn’t so tight that we couldn’t have a quick go on some the rides before we left.
The highlight was the dodgems. As Leftwing Idiot and I were saying goodbye to Sam and Olly, everybody else was shuffling surreptitiously towards the ride. As we turned to look at them they all scooted off, running to get into the bumper cars. I got in one with Leftwing Idiot who sat in the driver’s seat. My job was to screech over-excitedly and shout at the giant sparks that flickered on the ceiling – a task I excelled at.
After our ride finished Bunny summed it up well, ‘That was the most fun I’ve had in ages. I looked across at all the cars and pretty much everybody I could possibly want to bump into was there.’
After a quick cup of tea in the café, we piled back into our real cars and took to the road again. We had a joyful and eclectic five-hour sing-a-long in my car.
Welcome to Biscuit Land will be out in October.
Thank you to everyone who made today possible, and incredible.
Photo: Sam Robinson