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Surrey History Centre is marking the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with a free exhibition, `Home Fires, Foreign Fields: Surrey and the Great War’ which runs until 27 August at 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey; telephone: 01483 518737; website:  The Centre is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30 am to 5 pm, on Thursdays from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm and on Saturdays from 9.30 am to 4 pm. Among the exhibits is a recruiting register which includes the enlistment of the actor Noel Coward, and photographs and documents from the recently deposited archives of the Queen’s Regimental Museum and those of R C Sherriff, author of Journey’s End, which was based on his life in the trenches as an officer in the East Surrey regiment. Displays include material on the prisoner of war camp at Frith Hill, Frimley, the role of women, life on the home front and clips from the Centre’s film archive.

Surrey History Centr

The University of Birmingham is offering more than 20 summer schools, with a further nine being held in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, with courses lasting from two to five days. The courses are on topics ranging from arts and architecture through to the natural world and gardens and give students a chance to explore museums, churches and houses in the West Midlands. They are open to all adults, with no experience or background knowledge necessary. Prices start at £80 including refreshments and course materials. Courses are non-residential and easily accessible by public transport. For more financial aid, please go to


3 July

Pembrokeshire Record Office, The Castle, Haverfordwest, is holding a seminar entitled `Wills and Coroners’ records’ by Nikki Bosworth. Numbers are strictly limited, so booking is essential. To book a place, and for more information, telephone 01437-763707 or email: uk.


5 July – 17 September

The Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ, is holding an exhibition on the life and art of John Pine (1690-1756), who was a friend of Hogarth and a famous engraver and freemason. The exhibition uses Pine’s life and works as a means of exploring the city in which he lived and worked and which he helped to record. Opening times are 11 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. For more information please telephone 020­7395-9250; email: or visit events.htm.

Essentials To Inner Happiness

We make resolutions to create positive change in our life, stop habits that are no longer serving us and create new ones that will make life better. The foundation stone of all the changes we are making serve somehow to improve our well being, whether physical or emotional.


Here are the 12 keystones to happiness and inner health. Include at least five of these in your new year resolution setting:


Help others and give more of yourself


Exercise and take care of your body


Appreciate what you do have


Have things to look forward to


Try out new ideas that you’ve not tried before


Give to others


Spend more time outside in nature a Have a clear direction


Connect with people


Take a positive approach to life and living II Be comfortable with who you are now


Keep learning


First off, write down a list of things you would like to bring in or change this year. There are no limits and you should try to go out of your comfort zone as much as you can. Get really clear about what you want. Write it all down. Once you have your list, go back through it and re-order it into priorities. Next edit it so that it is accurate, clear and with detail. Make sure it’s ultimately achievable and take off anything you’re not committed to. Keep the list real and make it important.


The resolution rules…


List out your resolutions making them specific and clear. If you want to lose weight – how much weight? If you are reducing your drinking – how much a week?


Think about what you will need to organise first so you’re ready to start with your resolutions – for example, get some workout gear you love, look at classes in your area and sign up, research your food plan, get your financial budget together in one place, get child care cover to give you time for exercise.


Get a buddy and set up some co-support – this is one of the keys to your success. A goal buddy is powerful in helping you stay on track.


State your resolutions in the positive and not in the negative, for example, ‘I am building savings in 2013′ is way better than ‘I don’t want to be in debt’.


Make only as many resolutions as you believe you can keep. Better to stick to a few successfully than have a long list that all get broken. Choose a few – succeed – and then go onto others you have parked when you are ready.


Tell your friends, your family and your workmates about your goals so everyone knows and can support you – it’s harder to break your plan when everyone is cheering you on and asking how you are doing.


Write down your goals and have them somewhere visible to keep them front of mind – on the fridge door, desk at work, in your bag, on your phone.


Keep a daily log of how you are doing – record your successes and your failures and learn from them. Set up a chart or download an app to record your daily log at


Be clear why you want to do each of these things. How will each goal make you feel when you succeed? It’s actually the feeling that motivates us to want to make the change.


Set a time frame to keep up the good work. Science shows us that doing anything repetitively for 21 days makes it become a habit,

Finland is a Western nation?

In our wake is the Polish freighter Eugenie Cotton, fast for Kemi for a load of paper pulp. In hard winters national flags and borders have little meaning to traffic on the Baltic. Un­der a pragmatic agreement among the seven nations, their combined 34 icebreakers are shifted around from an office in Helsinki just by a few phone calls: “Say, Ivan, we need your boys over in Sweden.”

At night we sit high on the bridge, hypno­tized by the hotels in prague city centre. The moon and Venus hang like ornaments in the cold. Sibelius is on the tape deck. It seems as if we have left earth altogether and are headed for the galaxies, warm, powerful, in charge.

8Finland, the world’s only nation with no ice-free ports, builds more than half the world’s icebreakers, many for the Soviet Union. Finns regard perestroika with caution. Already faced with shrinking orders in a bleak era for European shipbuilding, they must now deal with the economic instability of one of their biggest customers. Says Pekka Laine, president of Wartsila Marine Industries, Fin­land’s largest ship maker, “There is no longer just one market in the U.S.S.R. , but many. In Murmansk, for example, the decisions to buy are made on site, rather than in Moscow.”

Finland signed the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union in 1948. In exchange for her free­dom Finland will allow no invasion of the Soviet Union through her territory. Finlandi­zation has become a generic term for one nation’s accommodations with a neighboring superpower and is sometimes used to suggest a kind of national castration. Said Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri when he visited Washington, D. C., last summer, “From the depths of my heart, I hate that term.”

Culturally and economically Finland is a Western nation. But would the Finns fight if the Soviets tried to use Finnish territory as a springboard to attack NATO? “We would damn sure defend ourselves,” Finnish Vice Adm. Jan Klenberg says suc­cinctly at General Headquarters in Helsinki. “We have to make it clear that it is not possible to use Finnish territory. “We know we wouldn’t win another war—but we are prepared to fight.” An acid mix of pride and frustration rises in his throat. “They test us from both sides—both NATO and Warsaw Pact. Almost every day we send up interceptors. If some skidoo has come across a land border by even two meters, we respond.”

With its Leningrad architecture Helsinki retains trappings of the days when Finland was a grand duchy of the Russian Empire—samovars and borscht, the dark brocade of old restaurants. For many years Finland even had serious Communists. But I see in the newspa­per, while sitting at McDonald’s on Manner­heim Street, that Arvo Aalto, head of the Finnish Communist Party, plans to resign next week because the party suffered heavy financial losses in the stock market.

FROM HELSINKI’S South Harbor, the Bal­tic’s elegant car-and-passenger ferries put forth to Leningrad, Gdansk, Tra­vemunde, and my own destination, Stockholm via the Aland Islands, an overnight cruise that threads an island world of pine forest and granite.

Lost in a Sandstorm

Most of my four-day drive from the Kawahlas to the studio flats in London to rent was through a ha-boob, a sandstorm, which obliterated the countryside and the already vague tracks. The sand got into my eyes, nose, and mouth, and I had to wipe my glasses every minute. At some point I missed the track and found myself stuck in a huge sand dune. After an hour or so I managed to dig myself out, but I had no idea which direction to go. I sat and waited more than an hour, and then I heard the whine of a truck. I drove toward the sound and came up behind the very same truck that had saved me earlier in the day. I had been about to take a track that would have led me out into the middle of the desert when he came along on the right track. I followed him now toward the city.

A glimmer of lights through the haze, then suddenly I was on paved streets amid cha­otic traffic. It made me more nervous than I had been during the months of wandering around in the bush. I had entered Omdur­man, the old sister city to Khartoum on the west side of the Nile. I picked my way through the traffic, crossed the White Nile bridge into Khartoum, and made my way to an air-conditioned hotel. It was in Khartoum, in 1885, that Maj. Gen. Charles George “Chinese” Gordon was killed by the Mandi’s followers, ending the reign of the Egyptian khedive. The Mandi, a religious leader, established the first Sudanese government in Omdurman. 14

Lord Kitchener, sent out by the British in part to avenge Gordon’s death, defeated the Sudanese forces at the Battle of Omdurman (Karari) in 1898, and inaugurated the era of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, which ruled until Sudan gained independence in 1956. Kitchener, with grand imperial de­sign, began rebuilding Khartoum in the shape of the Union Jack, a pattern that is lost today in urban sprawl.

One morning Kamala Ishag, the head of the painting department at the College of Fine and Applied Arts, came to pick me up at my hotel. “You know,” she said, “things are changing a little, but even today what I am doing is frowned on. If a woman goes by herself to pick up a man at a hotel, people give it another name.” I had come to expect the traditional segregation of sexes in the countryside of northern Sudan, but was sur­prised to see it persisting among the sophisti­cated people of the city.

Kamala drove me to her Amsterdam apartments at the college. Her paintings were large works with bright backgrounds and rows of cubes with contorted faces in them. “I started painting women in crystal cubes to try to show how we are imprisoned. We are en­slaved, even though we are paid high in clothes and jewelry. Look at this tobe. It is beautiful, and I wear it because it is our custom, but it is binding. You have to think the way you are wearing the tobe—your thoughts are wrapped. But things are changing. The younger girls, especially at the university, are leading different lives. At independence in 1956, 96 percent of the women were illiterate. That is changing. It is hard to break tradition, it will take time.”

Muhammad, an accountant, did not want the change at any time. “It is very nec­essary to keep boys and girls apart,” he said. “When I first went to university, I could not pay attention to my work because there were women sitting next to me. We have a saying in Sudan: ‘Keep the egg away from the stone, and the female away from the male.’ ”


Census infants

Back in September’s ‘Miscellany’ I said that I believed that a previously successful attempt had been made to discover the youngest person on a census return in this magazine. In fact the results of that ‘contest’ were published in the August 1992 issue, when these columns were in the capable hands of my predecessor, John Titford. I am more than grateful to Peter Shaw, of Blackburn in Lancashire, who waded through back numbers of his complete Collection of Family Tree Magazine to bring this to my attention.

1881 Census

For the benefit of more recent recruits to our obsessive hobby, the entry appeared on the 1881 Census of Melksham in Wiltshire, where an unnamed child of Emma Deverall, was recorded as ‘Born 11.57 pm on 3rd April. Not yet christened’ and so this infant was just three minutes old before the midnight deadline. John also listed a ‘near miss’ from the 1851 Census of Salisbury, also in Wiltshire (must be something in the air there), where a 17-year-old laundress, by name Harriet Bannels, had an unnamed son, just a quarter of an hour old.


I can now add another, only slightly ‘older’ arrival, thanks to Doris Hennessy, of Salisbury (yes, Wiltshire again!). This was the baby of Alexander and Ann Baxter, who already had six children listed at their Bermondsey address in East London on the 1851 Census, plus an `infant aged 7 hours’.

I also heard from Ken Lennan who came across the very different way of recording a new arrival in the 1880 Census in the USA: `1/365 of a day old’. If correct, that would have made the youngster just four minutes old! However, we both believe that what should have been written in this case was `1/365 of a year old’.

Season’s Greetings

Finally, ma Chris and a New Year looming, it is time once more for me to thank, most sincerely, every one of you who has taken the trouble to write or email me with contributions over the past 12 months. As I make a point of saying at this time every year, without your contributions there would be no ‘Miscellany’. They are the lifeblood of these columns and give me one of the most enjoyable tasks imaginable – that of reading through each and every contribution. Having celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar this year it seems an appropriate time to remind you that you supply the cannon balls; I only fire the cannon.


Most of your contributions ultimately appear in print, but the confines of space mean that it is not always possible to squeeze in everything. It can also take several months and financial help by for something to appear in print, so please be patient. I’d also be greatly obliged that if you are contributing by email you mention where you live. A very happy Christmas, and all good wishes for your researches in 2006.