Issue number one hundred and twentytwo (February 2011) in a series of Signposts from the WorldU3A Service, sent once a month to U3A members anywhere in the world.

Please send snippets of possible interest to the editor, Tom Holloway.
Feel free to copy any or all of this information in your newsletters.

History and Garden Groups: Lullingstone Castle and the legendary World Garden is an exciting and informative part of any group’s itinerary, be their interest horticultural or historical. Lullingstone Castle, situated in North West Kent, dates back to the 15th century and remains in the same family. It boasts Henry VIII and Queen Anne amongst its royal visitors and more recently, was home to the Lullingstone Silk Farm that produced silk for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation robes.

The current heir Tom Hart Dyke, after his kidnap ordeal in Colombia in 2000, has created a garden in the shape of the world, containing some 8,000 unusual plants, some of which have been collected on his modern-day plant hunting expeditions. Also on site is a wacky Hot & Spikey Cactus House, a temperate House with the deadly stinger plant, and a National Collection of Eucalypts.

We offer guided tours of the House, Church and Garden, April - September, as well as Garden-only tours, April - October, and discounts for unguided groups. Groups may be interested in visiting when we have one of several special tours and events in 2011:

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and Bank Holiday Monday) in April, Tom Hart Dyke will lead free guided tours of the Garden at 2pm.

Creative Writing Groups: Welcome to The Crafty Writer's free online creative writing course, presented by Fiona Veitch Smith, a freelance journalist, editor, author, playwright, screenwriter and writing teacher. This eight-session online creative writing course, based on writing workshops she gives in the North East of England, will give you an introduction to the basic elements of creative writing, from prose fiction to poetry. The course is entirely free and you can work through it at your own pace.
Ancient History Groups: The Egypt Exploration Society has been working in Egypt since 1882. Our aim is to make all aspects of the culture of ancient and historic Egypt (to 1900 AD) better known to the public.

Our fieldwork and research is undertaken in Egypt itself and the results of this work are made available through our website, our publications, and through events held throughout the UK and Egypt. For information about forthcoming events in the UK click on

Current Affairs Groups: What does it mean to be 'modern'? The World Values Survey (WVS) is the World's most comprehensive investigation of Political and Sociocultural change. See -- it comprises a worldwide network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life.

The WVS in collaboration with EVS (European Values Study) carried out representative national surveys in 97 societies containing almost 90 percent of the world's population. These surveys show pervasive changes in what people want out of life and what they believe. In order to monitor these changes, the EVS/WVS has executed five waves of surveys, from 1981 to 2007. (Thank you Dr Lesley Newson, Worldu3a Researcher).

History Groups: The Sealed Knot take part in about 200 events a year. These vary from large battles with over 1,000 infantry, cavalry and artillery combatants to schools visits, battle field walks, talks and memorial services.

Their website is here and their programme for 2011 can be seen here.

Embroidery Groups: The Royal School of Needlework’s website is the international centre for teaching, practicing and promoting hand embroidery across a wide range of techniques. They offer hand embroidery courses for all levels; conservation and restoration of historic needlework or creation of new embroideries and tours to see some of their needlework Collection and more.

The Hand Embroidery Network a new exciting community for contemporary hand embroiderers across the globe -

Current Affairs Groups:
Click on for similar maps on dozens of categories - births/deaths/water/
religion/language/disease. The population increase shown here is a measure how many more births there are than deaths. Every region of the world is experiencing overall natural increases in population size; just a few countries have natural decreases in population size.

The United Kingdom currently has more births than deaths. In recent years 645,000 people were born in the same year that 600,000 people died. Thus there was a net natural population growth of 45,000 in just one year.

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