It’s my pleasure to introduce another wonderful guest blog. Today, seventeen-year-old Joe shares his account of Saturday’s Ticnic. Over to you, Joe.
Great, I’ve been given the opportunity to add a bit to the wonderful Touretteshero blog, so here goes! Headphones in? Check! My name’s Joe Wallace, but most people probably think I’m named Rodney! Let’s tic. I’m 17 and live in Bradford, the home of Dynamo! It’s near Leeds, and yes, you probably guessed, I’ve got Tourettes!
I never know where to start so I’ll just say a few things here and there, use some big words, sound like I know what I’m doing. I have good days and bad days with Tourettes. On the good days I like to travel, to take my camera out with the dog, and take pictures. The bad days, I just shout ‘Rodney’ at everyone and everything with some random abuse thrown in here and there, and sometimes a compliment! That goes down well.
I’ve always tried to go to meet-ups, Ticnics, and weekenders as soon as I hear they’re on. Seeing my Tourettes family means a lot to me – they understand, they listen, and most importantly they add to your craziness! In fact, that’s where I first met Touretteshero, at the Tourettes Family Friendship Festival camp back in May, and boy, am I glad I did! We had a good talk and realised we had similar thoughts and views on a lot of subjects, and our tics were both random and comical and together combined into a big rolling ball of crazy madness. That was a good weekend, apart from the tents!
This weekend I woke at 6am on Saturday, and for a change it wasn’t insomnia! I was up and instantly ticcing, like my tics were already up, awake and alert, like they already knew what the day held! At 7am I called a taxi to take us to the train station. Then we waited at the train station, nobody there apart from me and my parents, me getting more and more ticcy by the minute. The train came. We got on, I got comfortable, got my music on, nearly smashed a window, meowed a few times, and then we set off for the 3 hour journey to London Kings Cross, or “Landaaaan” as I kept ticcing!
We pulled into London on a busy train, got off, and I felt the energy of the place! I’ve never been to London before so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I never expected it to be so full of people to the point where I couldn’t even see the floor. We got outside and my mum walked off to look for a map whilst I waited with the suitcase and my dad to make sure nobody stole either of them, and ticced away that I had stacks of money in the suitcase. Then we got a taxi through London to the hotel, and I’m glad we did – I’ve never seen a city so crazy! We dropped our stuff off and went to Hyde Park to go to the Bandstand and meet everyone. As we walked along we met a wonky lamppost and a squirrel.
After walking through part of the unknown, crazy Hyde Park, I heard shouting and the undeniably recognisable sounds of other ticcers, and then a crazy person and her crazy mother came running towards us – my sister-ticcer, Em. It was so good to see her again after a few months of not being able to, due to her exams and there not being a big Ticnic for a while. Then everyone was at the Bandstand, twitching away carefree and happy. I was in the group again, feeling normal and not out of place, no stressing, no suppressing, just catching up and having a laugh. We walked around for a short while talking to a few old friends and some new people who I hadn’t seen before, and then we all decided to move to a more open space.
So we moved, one big group of loud noises, words and things being thrown. The looks we got a couple of times didn’t matter because we were all too busy talking. We found a good spot, a big, open spot with some shade, a little out of the way, with a great view of the park, a shop close by and lots of space, so we all settled down, and chilled. Well, I always forget how much time I spend walking round talking to people, it’s so tiring! I was bouncing off tics, meeting and talking and having debates, learning new things and teaching others. This time at the Ticnic there were more people my age, and also people who hadn’t met other ticcers before, so I made sure they knew they were welcome and that they would get used to it!
It was all a bit crazy, especially when we went on the boat together, me, Em, Michaela and Joel. My “Pedalos for paedos!” tic came back rather appropriately. We were told not to swear (silly rule) or go in the water (again, silly rule). Yep, we all put our arms or legs in. Joel tried to dive in but I just about caught him! Luckily it was a warm day, so we dried off pretty fast.
It was already 4pm, 5 o’clock was coming pretty fast and I was feeling pretty ticced out. So I sped round, catching small conversations, trying to talk to everyone, and then it was time to go. I always feel sad saying goodbye because we all live so far apart, and these people are my Tourettes family. All they do is good, they listen and are there for everyone, and they have love for each and everyone. I left after dragging out my goodbyes and hugs for as long as I could, then spent the night at a hotel close by, had chicken (which always cheers me up, but it didn’t work too well) and went to bed knowing the next day was another busy one.
But I didn’t realise that London really doesn’t sleep! So many buses! And then it was morning, and we went sightseeing a bit, and then went for lunch, more chicken, and caught the train back to Bradford. This time it was a Grand Central train, a bit faster, and a lot more comfortable and spacious, especially in First Class. The reservations on the train were all mixed up, so they didn’t count. As a result we didn’t have a seat, so my mum spoke to the train manager and he said it would be OK for us to sit in First Class. The train staff were all so understanding and nice about it, so I settled in again, and reclined my seat (yes, it went back, like a posh, purple throne!) and waited to be home, feeling a little bit sad I was leaving everyone behind, although I keep on thinking I’ve got the memories with me. This weekend was a great weekend, and the best visit to London ever! Until next time, keep ticcing. ‘Rodney!’