Tourettes Action



Recently I’ve re-acquired some tics, I find these vocal tics more distressing than coprolalia, maybe it’s because coprolalia is more stereotyped to almost continuously swallow your own saliva and make awful snotty, grunting sounds is just horrible, can you just imagine it getting close and personal with a rather nice man and you start make a sound that sounds a pig snuffling around? Not sexy. Tourette’s isn’t good for impressing the opposite sex. Currently I feel maybe the best place would be with some pigs. This isn’t the only irritating tic that originates from the throat and nose area, thankfully it isn’t bad as it has been but my swallowing tic has made a come back, all this involves is repeatedly swallowing my own saliva – how can that be so bad? I hear you think, when this plagued me I had a good job, I was Head of Music in a secondary school, the one and only in the music department. The swallowing tic seemed to come at night, as soon as my head hit the pillow it began and continued well into the night, often until about 4 or 5am which would just give me a couple of hours shut-eye until I was due to be in the staff briefing meeting at 8.30 (second cup of tea of the day) and then it’s all hands to the decks, the kids arrive, registration, lesson 1, lesson 2, break (make a run for it to the staff room – time for tea and sustenance), lesson 3, lesson 4, lunch, lesson 5, lesson 6, then I do some marking and paperwork, maybe attend a meeting then off home at about 5pm where literally I fall asleep in front of the television, but my day isn’t over yet, dinner then lesson plans, TV then bed and the whole cycle starts again. Luckily most of my free lessons and non-contact time (precious time where teachers can’t cover absent teacher’s lessons which is solely for the use of marking, planning etc) are on a Wednesday, which to cut costs I have at home, which means I can catch up on some sleep. Whoever thinks that a teacher’s day starts at 8.30 and ends at 3.30 is so very wrong, some holiday time is used to plan lessons etc.

Back to the snotty grunting tic, I did something similar when I was in my teens, this is probably one of the reasons why I was the last girl in school get have a boyfriend, but I did manage to get rid of the constant grunts by the 6th form. What this sound is reminiscent of is my Dadcu’s (grandfather) pigs, each evening a bucket containing the kitchen waste, plate scrapings, vegetable peelings, stale bread crusts, apple cores etc excluding any sausages, bacon and pork leftovers – that would just be wrong, piggy cannibalism. The contents would be tipped over the edge of the pig-sty wall by whoever my Mamgu (grandmother) felt fit, the slowest eater, the person who wasted the most, the naughtiest child the chosen person would have to tip the contents over the wall ensuring that the contents landed in their feeding trough, this is what the tic sounds like, pigs eating, snuffle, snuffle grunt, grunt, or indeed pigs on the move, as they spent quite a bit of time in a field, en-route to the field they would snuffle around anything that smelt interesting. Like any of my Dadcu’s livestock the pigs had names, this pair was called Sglodion (Chips) and Selsig (Sausages).

Thinking of Dadcu I found something interesting (well it is to me anyway) at some point in the early 70’s Dadcu suffered an unfortunate accident when he was repairing a lift in a mine shaft, he fell and landed on a ledge, it took a log time for him to recover, apparently he was a couple of inches shorter than he was originally but I do remember him often using walking sticks. After this accident he wasn’t able to work so he spent his time tinkering with engines, keeping livestock (mainly jersey cows but sometimes pigs, goats and sheep) and helping people (this is a trait that my dad, my youngest brother and me have inherited, unfortunately I’m not as practical as the men so I can’t fix your tractor but I know a man who can) prior to this he worked as a member of the mines rescue team which is as helpful as a man can get really, it must have been a come down from saving a man’s life to tinkering with a combine. Back to my point, he was based at Cynheidre Colliery which is in the Gwendreath Valley, Carmarthenshire which isn’t far from where he lived, I found out that a neighbour/colleague of Dadcu’s has written a few books, that’s if it is who I think it is, if it is I remember she had a pair of golden Labradors. There was something she had written (now it’s gone) about the mines rescue team’s room where she would work (she was a nurse) and where casualties would be brought to be tended to, I remember her saying that there was always dirty mugs around (I wonder who that could be??!! We were always under strict instruction when taking him a cup of tea, willow pattern teacup minus the saucer, for him to drink it there and then and bring the cup back as cups can breed if left alone in a workshop overnight. Also she’s written some poetry about some of the people who lived around and about, this would make an interesting read, I wonder if there’s anybody I know?

Incidentally John Cale’s father also worked down Cynheidre Colliery, for those not in the know John Cale was a member of the very influential Velvet Underground, he was from a bit further away, Garnant which is near Ammanford. So here’s a bit of apt music.