G is for Grażyna

Grażyna is the daughter of Dad’s oldest living brother, my Uncle Włodek.  He lives in Zgorzelec, and this post just seemed to follow on naturally from that one.  Grażyna was born in Zgorzelec, but when she contacted me, one of the first of my 26 Polish cousins to do so, I was astounded to find that she was living here in England, in Norfolk, with her husband and 3 sons.  Jarek is a boat builder by trade, and has built his own beautiful little sailing boat, so whenever they can, they go sailing on the Broads.

Mariusz, learning boating skills from an early age

And having fun with younger brother, Arek!

Norfolk isn’t exactly on our doorstep, but it’s much closer than Poland, so we’ve had the opportunity to get together a few times.  They came to the North East for Dad’s 80th birthday, soon after he was reunited with his Polish family.  We went exploring Norfolk with them the following year.  And their visit when the Tall Ships were here in 2010 was a fabulous occasion never to be forgotten.

Alexander von Humbolt by Tony Dowson

Last night fireworks by Tony Dowson

We met up again in Zakopane, in Poland, for the occasion of Adam and Marta’s Silver Wedding.  That was my first opportunity to properly meet Grażyna’s brother Wojtek and his family, who live in Wrocław.  We had great fun entertaining the six youngsters in the hotel gardens in Poronin.

They don’t have too many opportunities to get together, but last year Wojtek and son Mateusz came to Norfolk to celebrate Grażyna’s two youngest boys First Communion.  We arranged then that my niece Basia, Wojtek’s oldest daughter, would come and stay with me here in Hartlepool this summer.  Of course, I got to stay with them in Wrocław first.  More than a fair exchange!

After the First Communion, Grazyna, Rafal, Mateusz, Jarek, Arek and Mariusz

Dad, the priest, and Grazyna’s family

So that’s how we came to be together again with Grażyna, just briefly, this August.  She came to collect Basia for her first visit to Norfolk, and return home to Poland. Our get togethers are always very emotional, but we have a lot of fun too.  We all love the sea and boats, and we have an excellent free museum, perfect for those not so sunny days.  The Museum of Harlepool was the source of lots of mirth, as well as painlessly imparted knowledge.

We went to the beach first, but rain stopped play

Not before we’d created the SS Polska gunboat though

So, the Museum of Hartlepool it was :

Father Mariusz and Father Arek search for suitable gowns for their mission

A nautical look might be better for Arek, affectionately known as “Blondie”

We weren’t sure if this was a good look, but Mariusz liked it.

And there was no way to keep Arek out of the act!

They were more themselves in a boat, of course

Grażyna is a loving and wonderful mother, and she makes the most delicious cakes.  She brought a huge carob cake with her this trip and it was gone in a blink.  She is also the most affectionate of cousins.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to watch this new family of mine growing up.  If you’re not familiar with Dad’s story it’s told in more detail here.

This post is part of my personal A-Z of Poland.  The idea was Julie Dawn Fox’s and I am indebted to her for the opportunity to share my Polish story with you.  If you would like to join in, you can find the details on this link, or the banner below.


    1. They’re a great bunch, Sami. Even stranger, another niece was working a few summers ago in Nottingham- the city where my daughter lives! They did eventually meet up. Thanks for your visit.

  1. Thanks for sharing your beautiful and wonderful family. I could see how you guys are so close to each other and brings our the best in each other. Happiness is knowing you have a very loving and supportive family. Love the photos.

  2. Thank you for linking to your father’s amazing story! I had missed reading it somehow!! I can imagine the joy of reconnecting with a family you did not even know existed!

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