Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Weekend With The Stotts

Right away, please note that our entry about the sights, sounds and interesting facts, including most of the photographs, will be on our travelogue, Our Frank Adventure later this week, this is a general post about out weekend in Cumbria England with our new friend Kerry Stott.

The best cow ever at Brough Castle.
Love this photo, and somehow sums up our
fabulous weekend.
"I can't wait to read what you write about me" she says, clapping her hands happily on Sunday night. No pressure. Right.

We spent this past weekend with Kerry Stott, a British woman we met on Twitter several months ago, in the summer of 2011, possibly earlier than June. The reason we can pinpoint the date is we had sent out a request to Twitter to give us a topic to write about, and @kerrystott responded with an awesome topic (The Flavours of Emotions http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2011/06/flavours-of-emotions.html) that she uses with her patients.

Kerry is a wickedly unique person, feisty, sweet, sexy, a mom, wife, cancer survivor, radio DJ, an author...and a mental health nurse for the NHS (National Health Service, which is very different than a mental health nurse in the USA) in England, and so much more than words. (her website: www.kerrystott.com) She works with people in the NHS system with a wide variety of issues regarding mental health.

Kerry is the second person who never knew The Other Girl (our eliminated core* personality, and the person whose name we legally carry), and who knows straight away about all of us and our "disorder" - The Boyfriend not included in those two - and so these new friendships we are creating are important to us on several levels.

We are currently selective about people we associate with outside of Twitter, we have varying degrees of liking people; one of us LOVES people and is super friendly and loves everybody; a few of us detests people, and that's putting it nicely; one of us tolerates them and can be friendly for certain periods; one is scared of almost all of them and would prefer we never leave the flat/house; and then there are the others (there are currently 10 of us with names, information mapping therapy* provides)...it can make being in public overwhelming, simply because it can be exhausting and sometimes we are just...not that able to focus on someone else on days where many are active in our brain.

Now, you should all know that Kerry is not, has never been, any of our mental health nurse. We could never have the lines blur in such a way with her and created a friendship. She did have a lot of questions for us, always starting off with 'Can I ask you a personal question", and of course we strive to be open when we can. The NHS has recently started giving her DID/MPD patience, so we're not surprised she has questions, none of which we found unusual.

Over the weekend we talked openly, even among her husband and son (who, btw...wow...amazing. She has an amazing and beautiful family). The only one that threw us, because one got nervous, was when Kerry asked a question about who she had met over the weekend. While Frank said she has been there all weekend (at the plea of Catherine), and she had, she had not been executive* (in charge) the entire weekend, only Sunday...but she had been nervous to talk in depth with Kerry's husband there, so she responded that she had been there most of the itme. Previous to that moment the only person who had ever been allowed to ask any sort of "who are you right now" questions was James, The Boyfriend. We hope this doesn't make her upset.

We won't go into too much detail here about who was there, that's a whole other post. Since coming to England some of us haven't been out* for various reasons...but that's another post for another day.

So...a weekend with a mental health nurse.

We arrived on Friday night, after about a five hour drive, and Kerry had already had a few vodkas...when she opened the door it was all arms and tight hugs. Straight to the kitchen we go and she's bubbly and offering us refreshments, she had bought us several bottles of wine for the weekend, sadly we only made it through one and a half bottles, all on Friday night. The first two glasses went down so fast her husband took the bottle from our hands and inserted a straw.

"There, that should make it easier for you" he says, doing what is commonly known as "taking the piss"...meaning making fun of us.

Laughter all around, more smart ass remarks, and the night progressed quickly (too quickly), loud laughter, fun, sharing...just perfection. Everybody (us, James, Kerry, her husband)...immediately comfortable. About 3am Kerry went off to bed, and we spent some time playing with her sons farm toys on the living room floor with James.

We probably didn't get as much sleep as we should have, and woke up Saturday achy, suppressing cranky, and not in the greatest of moods. Going down to the kitchen we met Kerry's son, Vincent, who is 8 years old; who, by the way, is going to be a heart breaker. He's smart, and funny, adorable, and not at all annoying, as many of us (and James) find children to be. Kerry says he likes pretty ladies, as he spent considerable time collecting some tractors to bring to the dining room table to show us after he has completed his homework.

Appleby, Cumbria
Having a quick half a cup of instant coffee and some toast with homemade jam (Kerry will have to remind us what it was...) we got into the car and headed to Appleby, a village of about 2500 in Cumbria. We walked around, bought some licorice, took pictures, fed ducks, walked into a small sheep pasture to take pictures, then bought some bacon and eggs and went back to her house to make sandwiches. At some point she took us to see Mount Ida from across the valley, one of her favourite places to go. There is no question why.

There's sort of a gap for a few hours, but later in the afternoon we took a shower...may not be that big of a deal to you but it was the first proper shower we've had since arriving in England. We can hear you going "...ew", but baths do an adequate job in keeping a person clean...it's just...showers are preferable, and the one in the flat has been non-operational since we arrived in mid-January. So we spent a nice long time standing under the cascade of hot water.

After putting on a nice dress and getting done up we joined Kerry in the kitchen where we had our first Skype date with @Nick_Twist (check out his artwork at: http://www.happygunfactory.com/). We hung out on Skype for roughly an hour and a half, laughing, talking, being goofy with Kerry and Nick. While we and Nick have exchanged pictures, watching him on video as he talked made us look forward to when we finally meet him in person later this year. After discussions and tales of drugs, and experiences, and politics (Nick is more intelligent than we figure many people give him credit for) it was time to bid adieu.

Off to dinner we went, to Valentine's, a restaurant in County Durham where Kerry knows the owners. It was a fun experience, Kerry and James shared a couple of bottles of wine, and there was much talking and laughing. The food was fresh and local, as is most of the food in England that we come across. (there will be more on the restaurant/food on the other blog soon)

It was rather amazing, for us, to watch James in a social situation, much like it was the first time he met and hung out with us and Fabulous Person (and Fuck Face) this past summer. He also being anti-social, it's interesting to see him interact with people he actually likes. He and Kerry are very similar in that they are both complete smart asses, and all through the weekend they made fun of each others, threw playful punches, messed up each others hair, but then you'd catch them being nice to each other. It was like watching puppies at play.

After dinner Kerry's husband dropped us all off at a local pub in the very small village where they live, and we watched Kerry and James play pool while we played "grab ass" all around, taking turns doing lewd things to each of them trying to distract them from being able to make shots. Being that the us were tired, and the other two were tipsy (James) and drunk (Kerry), after two games and much silliness, we headed back to Kerry's, in the shadow of Mount Ida, walking in the brisk air of the evening, the air smelling sweet of farm animals.

Back at Kerry's we had a glass of wine and hung out in the living room, watching Kerry as entertainment - she's very entertaining, even in her sleep, as she played air drums while she snored, passed out in her husband lap.

Brough Castle, Cumbria
After a fitful night of sleep we awoke after Kerry had left to ref a rugby match and went on an adventure with James in the countryside, taking the car and getting "lost" down single lane country roads, stopping often to take pictures of sheep, Mount Ida, the plethora of beautiful sights, making out here and there in fields dotted with sheep, eating licorice and running up and down roads to try to get great shots of the vistas of Cumbria, ending at Brough Castle where we talked to the cows who provided the milk in the ice cream we ate later when we walked back to the small cafe on the castle grounds with Kerry, her husband and son.

From the top of Mount Ida, Eden Valley, Cumbria
Upon returning we all took a hike up Mount Ida, after Kerry's husband drove us in the Land Rover part of the way, to the top where most people are not allowed, only farmers and those that work for farmers, because it is gated and used for "pasturing" animals. As rabbits darted across the mossy rocks and natural limestone, we took in the 360 degree view nearly 13,000 feet above Cumbria's Eden Valley. Breathtaking.

Returning to the house, after we walked back down the mountain with Kerry and James, Kerry shared with us pictures of her family and from when she battled cancer, her husband made us a gorgeous meal (dinner, or supper, but they call it tea) of carrots, broccoli, potato wedges, apple pork patties and gravy; the patties were locally raised and produced less than a mere 10 miles from the house where we ate them. Everything was cooked perfectly and we dare say it surpassed the meal we had eaten at Valentine's the evening before.

We sat at the table with Kerry after dinner, knowing that soon we would have to leave, nobody wanted to go, but we knew it had to come to an end, somewhere around 9:30pm we departed, with a 5 hour drive ahead of us. Hugs and many kisses goodbye and we were on the road, looking forward to our next visit.

In about a month or so we will be returning to Kerry's for at least a weekend, there is so much more beauty in Cumbria to see, not to mention more fun with Kerry and her family.

It was such a happy weekend, overall. We are blessed.

So. For the people who dis Twitter, say it's not real life and discount the people there as being not "real"...well, for some who are willing to keep an open mind, and be themselves, the greatest friendships in the world can be created and maintained, with people who are exposed to some of the disturbing inner workings of your brain...people who like you, who love you...for you. Don't be afraid to be you.

~ et al

*for terminology definitions, mapping info, ect: http://wearejcmf.blogspot.com/ - please be respectful of that blog as it's a place we continue to do mapping therapy, it evolves and changes, as it is supposed to.

1 comment:

  1. You could never offend me Frankie et al. I knew asking the question about who had been out was a risky one, but if you don't ask, you don't get - right? You are an amazing collective.
    Kerry xxxxx