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!>

 

Cliches that I’m working with

Yes I’m doing it – using a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. Why you ask?  Because I am trying to explain why this 10 month adventure is happening – a choice.

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It’s the Journey, not the destination

Yah, Yah, Yah.  But really IT IS!  If it was a destination that we wanted, we would choose to go only to Torun, Poland and take up ‘grand parenting’.  Or continue to keep the apron strings around Thing Two and find a house to rent in Stoke-on-Trent and think of new ways to cook chicken.   Instead, we are opting for journeys.  Travelling in and around Thing One and Thing Two. On trains, planes and automobiles.  Sitting in airports listening to the Podcast “My Dad wrote a Porno” (sidebar: for those of you who haven’t listened to this – ask Mr. Google – it will have you laughing out loud!) .

Possessions Own you

All you have to do is go through each and every cupboard, drawer, closet and hidey-hole in your home and discover the validity of this statement.  Living can be a somewhat messy and disorganized affair.  I recognize that I have the perfect pair of red shoes, green shoes and boots for every occasion.  BUT I cannot take these with me.  Practicality and functionality mean they work only with certain dresses in my closet.  Although they still ‘own me’ in a sense, they are being locked in a closet for almost a year, whilst only the essentials for our journey are being packed.  It’s quite the eye-opening experience to evaluate all the things you have stuffed and put somewhere being examined for their value.  We are choosing ‘less is more’.

Have the Life you Want to Live Today

This is a huge one.  I cannot imagine not doing this trip.  I know that I have written in a previous blog about the hugs and the people we will miss (and hopefully miss us).  The life we want to live today happens to be leaving with two suitcases each and one guitar (Thing One’s being deposited in Poland).  Experiencing the craziness of living in other people’s homes and using their possessions such as a stove to cook with.  Experiencing our Grandson – this is a BIG experience neither Dave or myself want to miss.  FaceTime, as a good as it is, isn’t cutting it anymore – I want to smell his milky smell;  be someone who tickles him to make him laugh.  The one thing I have discovered is that humans around the world are mostly the same, in the sense that, we have an inner desire for work, family, love and laughing.  For us, we are doing this to have the life we want to live today.

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Well hello YIN & YANG

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We (as in Dave and I) are 8 sleeps away from experimenting with a new found Wanderlust.   I’m excited and yet I have also come face-to-face with one other aspect that was honestly not on my radar too much leading up to this adventure:

 YIN and YANG

I have been hugged so long and tightly by friends and family in the last week that I am very much aware of what we are leaving here.

It’s not the physical stuff that sits in this house but our people!

Yes we will have the 6 Grants all within a one hour time zone of each other.  England, Poland  and all of the “Where in the World is Dave” places.   But… because that’s how life is, there is Dave’s Mother, sisters, niece, my sister, my nephews, this huge listing of friends that we share dinner, laughs and of course wine with.   We will miss the invites and being able to invite;  the last minute bbq’s.  The impromptu knock on the door and hearing “hey here I am, you must have missed me!”

And of course we will miss their hugs!

group-hug

 

“Where in the World is Dave?”

overstuffed-suitcase  14 MORE SLEEPS….

There is a purpose behind the title of this one blog.  Dave is off on an adventure that his adventure-loving wife tossed out as a ‘how about we try this?” idea.

I appreciate that as the only son in the Grant-clan of children, he will be away from his Mother.  He understood that fact and I know he appreciates that his two sisters, Jean and Teresa, happen to be living close to their Mother now.  Jean always has and up until 3 years ago, Dave lived within 5 minutes of their Mother.  Teresa had moved to be closer to her grandchildren and by default, is now nearby her.   I am personally grateful that they are both living close to her as I recognize the anxiety that is creeping in as she simply doesn’t know where in the world Dave will be.

We are off on the 19th of August, making today 14 more sleeps  before we are on a flight bound for London.   Lara is off picking up her passport this morning with a 5 year Visa that will allow her to be in England for school and perhaps a bit of working money in £££££ in summers.

Dave has been amazing with clearing out things to the thrift store and Habitat for Humanity so our place has space for the people moving in.  We still have an active business that requires maintenance and on-going shuffle to get things sorted so we are able to be physically away for 10 months.   Our closets are cleared of all excess clothes, shoes and boots and the only things that remain are that which will be needed for our trip.   The oven is cleaned and so I’m not using it in the next two weeks.  The BBQ gets steam cleaned 7 days before we go and will not be used.  So only stove top cooking and acceptance to eat at friends and family for the next two weeks.

Quite a lot of thought, planning and playing around with ideas to keep us interested, active and seeing our children and grandson, an idea has turned into a plan.

Buckle up…  here’s the DAVE BY DAVE listing…

  • Barton St. David, England
  • Torun, Poland * (3-Grantclan & our place)
  • Stoke-on-Trent, England * (Keele University where Lara will be in Uni)
  • Paris, France
  • Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Torun, Poland
  • Florence, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Paris, France
  • Athens, Greece
  • Crete, Greece
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • CAMBODIA (Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Pehn, Sen Monorom, Kampot, Sihanoukville, Four Rivers Floating Lodge)
  • Portugal & the Rota Vincentina hike for 15 days from Santiago do Cacem through to Sagres in the Algarve

And…. then a ROAD trip that’s still in the works for April 2017 and the surprise of what & where we may find our adventures and the people and places we are pulled toward for May and June.

This is starting to get real!

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