A Wee Card with A Wee Flag

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And that’s all it takes to be welcomed to the most amazing properties here in England.

We are members of the National Trust for Canada.  We signed up for this membership in Canada based upon a recommendation 3 years ago by a lovely volunteer working at one of the National Trust properties here in Somerset.  Annual Canadian price for 5 Grants $70. (Annual price here in England for same is £120 which converts to approximately $200 Cdn). This is the BEST bargain if you are visiting England for even one week as you are allowed FREE entrance with this membership to ALL National Trust properties in England – here’s a listing:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Trust_properties_in_England

The Canadian National Trust has a limited number of properties and perhaps this is the reason for the price difference.  Either way – it’s a great deal.  We 3-Grants have enjoyed historic castles, abbey’s, museums and stately homes all around this country.

Here’s the one thing you are NOT told about having this membership:

 There’s a wee Canadian Flag on the card!

Why is that awesome?

Each and every National Trust property has a “Volunteer Greeter” at the door.  As we pull out our wee membership card the first thing that occurs is that we are escorted over to a private area near the ‘entrance’ of the grand property we are wanting to enter. Usually a 2nd Volunteer comes over and our cards are examined a bit more closely.  See, here in England they are given National Trust membership cards that resemble an ‘exclusive’ credit card with a barcode that is inserted into a machine and/or scanned.  Not us, our membership is on simple card stock, run through a laser printer somewhere in an office in Ottawa, with only our name on it.

What happens next is always wonderful as we hear “Canada that’s a long way from here!?” and typically the volunteer breaks into a HUGE grin and then relates some sort of personal story about Canada.  We have heard about a daughter that lived in Abbotsford for a while;  a husband’s best mate who was the head master at Shawnigan Lake school; how amazing Expo ’67 in Montreal was.   After the story, we are then escorted personally by said volunteer, or two, in to the property.   We are often handed to the next volunteer sitting in the first room, who’s job is to provide a wealth of information on the room we stepped into.  We are greeted and asked if it’s our first time and the volunteer launches into shared stories about the room, the property or once again, their experience with Canada.

Canada is a great place to be from.  England is an amazing place to visit.

<To the National Trust of Canada – don’t change a thing – the card is beautiful in its simplicity!>

 

“He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.” – Lech Walesa

As a 3rd generation Canadian – how do I relate to history that is hundreds of years older than my nationality?

Being here in Poland and merely walking through the forest, we come across bunkers that are remnants of WW2.  We walk through a small village and there is a church that is older than Canada as a nation.  We see relics of barns that were built in the 1700’s by serfs.   Our sailing trip made us marvel at the engineering feats of Prussians that created the canals to connect the lakes in Mazury.

What I marvel about is the resilience of the Polish.  They stand fast with culture and language.

From 1795 until 1918 no truly independent Polish state existed, although strong Polish resistance movements operated.

The Second Polish Republic, established in 1918, existed as an independent state until 1939, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union destroyed it in their invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II.

Here are images from our travels in Mazury…

Wolf's Lair Bunker

Wolf’s Lair Bunker

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A feat of engineering to last: Roads & Bunkers – they don’t make them like they use to anymore?!

German road Memerick

German road Mamerki

Memerick bunker WW2

Mamerki bunker WW2

inside WW2 bunker

inside WW2 bunker

Ostrodzie

Ostrodzie

And as for the debate if Vodka was Polish or Russian invention – I am going to have to go with the Polish. The word “vodka” was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland. Of course this accounts for an afternoon in the sunshine for this man.

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