Yet the tiny rock island of Saint Helena seems to crop up all over the world. My elderly Aunt died recently and my Cambodian wife took a liking to one of her knick-knacks pictured above.
It led me to a another journey of discovery and coincidences fuelled of course by Google Search.
Northumberland and Saint Helena have pride of place in my blog as the two best places to live in, not that I am biased. It is a totally objective opinion based on well-established liveability criteria such as the quality of the local bars and fish-cakes.
So how come my Aunt had a small dish from her freemasonry days gold-embossed “St Helena”?
I know that there is men's lodge there. “Today, Masonic lodges are active from Alaska, Iceland, Newfoundland and Finland in the frozen north to Argentina, Chile and New Zealand in the south, in the west and east, in the mountainous areas, in valleys, on the plains, by lakes, on the equator and on large and small islands..... Lodge St Helena meeting in Jamestown on the tiny island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.”
So time to Google Search “Freemasonry Women St Helena”. The top answer was not revealing, even misleading, as it describes the Cyprus lodge.
The next listing immediately attracted my attention as someone from Sheffield describes Northumberland as “the most corrupt county in England” ; impossible to live or work in Alnwick.... unless you are a mason!”, and “black mass is performed!”
Really? No wonder Alnwick won “best place to live in the UK” in 2011.
As Google failed to help me, I decided to consult the oracle who shall remain nameless. Quickly she explained that St Helena was the name of the [now lapsed] Women's Ryton Freemasons Lodge in County Durham. The little dish was a present given at installation do's.
So mystery partly solved. Why named St Helena - the day it was founded?
So now I'm off to find that Black Mass. How could that have escaped me all these years?
Most places and families will have something untoward in their histories. I am intrigued if Northumberland and Northumbrians can justifiably lay claim to giving a lead over others? Famous preacher John Wesley thought so of Alnmouth.