Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

I woke up this morning after a long and comfortable sleep in a very smart Dublin hotel. Leftwing Idiot and I are planning to take it easy this morning after a busy but enjoyable day yesterday.

I’ll fill you in on what happened after I popped my post up in the early hours of yesterday morning. Leftwing Idiot came round shortly after I’d finished writing it and we jumped in a cab to Victoria Station to catch a train to Gatwick.

We arrived at the airport in good time and were given excellent treatment by Gatwick’s special assistance team. In no time we were through check-in and security and on the plane. My tics were a little less incendiary than they’ve been on previous flights, although a few shouts of “Bomb!” did slip out. The crew on the plane were brilliant and completely unfazed, and soon we were preparing for landing.

I was immediately impressed by Dublin, but it wasn’t the vibrant atmosphere and friendly people that first caught my attention. It was the magnificent accessible toilet in the arrivals terminal. It may seem like I’m developing a bit of a toilet obsession but this loo was amongst the best I’ve come across: huge, clean, versatile, and well equipped. I wish I’d taken a photo for you.

We were met at the airport by Dave, our driver, who took us to the hotel, pointing out landmarks as we went. Even though it was exceptionally drizzly it was evident that Dublin is a beautiful city. Dave kindly waited for us while we checked in, dumped our bags, and had the wobbly footplate on my wheelchair (damaged in transit) tightened. Then he took us into the city centre so we could have a wander round.

We had lunch at a great café before heading towards the river and an area full of interesting art galleries and shops. Leftwing Idiot and I really enjoyed getting a feel for the place.

One thing that we both specially appreciated was that the pavements were much more wheelchair-accessible than in London where I often find the drop kerb on one side of the road doesn’t match with one on the other. This forces my carer and me to wheel along the road until we can find a way up – not a problem in Dublin.

Later in the afternoon we headed back to the hotel to eat and get ready for the show in the evening.

Dave picked us up just before 9pm and took us the short distance to the RTE studios. We were greeted by Caroline, a researcher on the show who’d made all the arrangements for our trip. After I’d been made-up a bit and had a quick meeting with Brendan, the presenter, we watched the start of the show on a TV in the dressing room.

I felt a little nervous just before I went on. I wasn’t too worried about explaining Tourettes because that’s something I do every day. It doesn’t make much difference if this is at work, on a bus or on TV. But this was only the second live interview I’ve done and I knew there was a chance of me having a ‘ticcing fit’ in front of the studio audience and everyone watching at home. I’d discussed this with Caroline and we’d made a plan for what we’d do if this happened. Leftwing Idiot was waiting in the wings and would’ve come to help me if I’d needed it.

It was a great interview. Brendan made me feel at ease and asked interesting, thoughtful questions. It made a big difference that he’s read Welcome to Biscuit Land from cover to cover. We talked for a long time after the show as well and he seemed genuinely interested in all things Tourettes. I was particularly pleased though by how good the pink gloves Poppy made me looked on set!

At the moment you can watch my interview here on RTE’s Player (I’m on about 54 minutes into the programme). We hope to make the video available on our YouTube channel soon.

I’ve had a great trip and I’m keen to go back to Dublin soon, hopefully for a longer and sunnier stay.

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