Sunday, 30 May 2021 14:55

Provincial Almoners Weekly Letter

Dear Brethren All,

This has been a different week in a number of ways. I did manage to attend the funeral of W. Bro. Stan Brooker on Monday at Basingstoke Crematorium. The limit of those attending these premises is now 60, it is well organised and appears safe, with social distancing very easy to observe. W. Bro Stan was a proud man and one that we can be proud of, there was a good masonic presence with some travelling down from Beaconsfield.

The Wyndham RAM Lodge, No.37 met on Wednesday, when I had the honour and privilege to Install W. Bro. Barry Niall-Walsh in the chair. We were restricted in numbers to seven, but we still held our tradition of break for a short while to enjoy a sherry and digestive biscuits, after the Inner Workings. It was a strange feeling with only so few there but it was friendly and we still had the decorum and discipline which is expected. It will be good, perhaps soon, to start thinking of getting back to some normality. Also in the main, we felt it strange getting out the pin stripes, would they fit, and the dark waistcoat and jacket, yes they did fit but very snuggly, in my case.

The garden is now coming on well with Pat having planted out cabbages, sweet corn and courgette plants in one bed. Then of course the weeds have to be attended to. The lawns have been cut again and are still looking fresh. It has been decided that the decking in the barbeque area needs painting so I have been making a start on this, what has been done so far is beginning to look very refreshed. Will be trying to finish this job today I hope, the weather forecast is good so an early start is called for.

Pat did have a couple of days at Andover Iron Age Museum, where she used to work. One of Pat’s hobbies is sewing and embroidery, up to some 14 months ago she met up with other like-minded women at the museum on a Tuesday afternoons to enjoy each other’s company whilst doing their sewing. This small group is known as, “The Loft Embroiderers.” An exhibition has been arranged at these premises of their fine efforts so Pat has spent two days helping to put the splendid work on display. If you are in the Andover area the exhibition is from 28th May to 27th June most days except Tuesdays and Sundays.

On the family front our youngest grand-daughter left school on Thursday, ready to start sixth form college in Basingstoke during September, children seem to grow up so fast these days. My eldest grand-son tells me that he is to be a father in October so we have another great grand-child to look forward to. All of our children have now been vaccinated, three of them twice, so we feel more confident in getting together. It has been good to be able to meet in doors when they do pop in, which is not too often, as thankfully all are in employment.

The infection figures keep rising so we will have to be aware that the road map may not work our as intended in June, we will have to wait and see. I know that most of us are anticipating the thought of being able to get together again soon, but there are some who are still of the mind that they want to be confident that we will be safe. At this time all I can repeat is that there should be no pressure put on anyone to attend a meeting, this must be a personal choice. I am aware that all of the Masonic Centres in the Province have sensibly approached this matter, it could not have been easy for the management to come up with their plans but I feel that a good job has been done. We do have a variation as to when each centre will be opening, again this has been a choice that has to have been made.

I look forward to seeing many of you soon and in good spirits. Keep safe and look after one another.

Malcolm Lloyd, G.S.D., Prov. Grand Almoner