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  • Apples and oranges (Weekly blog, 29 April 2018)

    Posted on April 29, 2018
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Comparing apples and oranges is a metaphor for contrasting two things that cannot practically be compared.  I normally like to group things together in my blog but this week, everything is so diverse there is no natural grouping.  So my theme is apples and oranges (apples do come up later!).  I’m a bit late with this blog too, as I didn’t have any good pictures to illustrate it.  And I’m discovering that beauty is a key value of mine (missing from my earlier list – more about that later!).

    So, this week I’ve criss-crossed the world:  from Bermuda to China; the Falklands to Hungary.  Without even leaving London!

    18th International Conference of National Trusts (ICNT)

    An early highlight was our monthly teleconference with the ICNT Panel. The conference is now less than a year away and momentum is really beginning to build.   Our role is to advise on the content and to raise funds to enable the widest possible attendance.  My focus over the next few weeks is firmly on the latter.   The team sent out a newsletter earlier in the week where you can find out more about the 18th ICNT and the 4th Caribbean Conference of National Trusts.

    Fundraising in the Falklands

    On Wednesday I had an interesting conversation with a colleague at the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust.  They are really just beginning to develop the ‘National Trust’ part of their name and we had a good chat, mainly about fundraising.  We have just awarded them a Small Grant to support their efforts in this area so I really hope it brings good results.  In fact, our call was delayed as I was held up in the bank trying to make the grant payment.  Who would have thought in this day and age that it would have been so difficult!

    I also spoke to a potential new volunteer about helping us develop case studies for our ‘Survey of Excellence’.    Watch this space for more on that!

    Apples …

    Another call this week had me travelling to China.   A General Manager here is developing a really exciting project around the apple.  Did you know the apple originated in China and was brought to Europe along the Silk Road?  The property is working with a local cider museum and partners in China, to raise awareness of orchards.  This includes a Chinese artist who paints the most amazing pictures of apples.   I can’t wait to see this come to fruition (!).

    Apple blossom in my garden

    We had our quarterly Board meeting on Thursday.  Unusually, Fiona and I joined the call together from our offices in London, which was really nice.  We had a number of important governance items on the agenda regarding the new constitution and our 2017 year end.  But it was also good to check in with the Trustees on new initiatives.  Like how we could integrate the sustainable development goals into our voice message.   Or a proposed MOU with the Global Ecovillage Network.   You can read my Secretariat Report here.

    A National Trust for Hungary?

    On Friday I had a meeting with the Hungarian Ambassador.  Hungary is keen to establish a ‘National Trust’ like organisation and this was an initial, exploratory discussion.   The Embassy is only a few steps from our office in London so I arrived early.  As I sat in the peaceful waiting room, the London traffic muffled by net curtains, I suddenly had time to slow down.   Shelves of books about the country’s history, art, culture and music transported me to another world.   Awoken from my reverie, I found in the Ambassador a true lover of heritage and the National Trust approach.  I recalled my visits to Budapest and Pécs, the latter to attend the wedding of a friend.  And I was reminded of the wonderful heritage of Hungary – built, natural and cultural.   I do hope we might be able to help in some small way.

    Thanks for reading!




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