Looking back over a lot of the articles I have written, I find that I am forever mentioning that we had a whole host of absentees. I think I'm going to stop doing so, as it is becoming clear that, what was once an irregularity, is fast becoming the norm. I cannot remember the last time the full complement of officers turned up, and if it wasn't for our regular visitors, we'd often struggle to get through. It was never the case when I joined, a mere 8 years ago.
We planned a lecture this month, however, due to the late absence of the brother that was due to deliver it, as he was held up at work, and no-one else having a copy of it to hand, we ended up having an impromptu talk given to us by a special visitor on the evening; W Bro George Laverick. He is Clerk of the Works at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans, and gave us a very interesting insight into some of the things they have discovered.
We hope to have him back on some future occasion to hear his full talk, complete with a slideshow and his notes!
It was the first night for our newly installed officers and we kicked off in style. We had a candidate for initiation, so they were all going to be put to immediate test!
As is more often than not the case these days, we again had several absentees due to work, holiday, and sickness. The missing officers were more than adequately covered by their stand-ins.
Our annual meeting was held on Thursday 14th December, 2017. It was the installation of WBro Martin Nicholson.
The representative on the evening was WBro Michael Graham Junior, ably assisted by WBro Richard Davison, who was his Director of Ceremonies for the night. They both received a very warm welcome from the brethren, albeit a very cold one in the temple. Our heating is still broken!
It was the Promotions Meeting for the Province of Durham yesterday in a rather snowy Dunston.
I, as a Provincial Grand Steward, spent a chunk of time out in the cold and damp, first collecting everything from storage to help set up the Lancastrian Suite for the meeting, then standing out in the horrible weather on car park duty, and finally loading the van up at the end of the meeting!
Quite a busy evening for us on the night of the 9th November. Firstly, election of officers for the ensuing year, then raising Bro Paul Wallace to the degree of a Master Mason, completing his journey.
Once again we were beset by absentees, but we did manage to find very able stand-ins to fill in for our missing officers. A huge thank-you to them all; they know who they are, with a special mention going to St. Peter's Lodge No. 8953 for the loan of their Director of Ceremonies, who acted as our ADC and performed some of the ritual.
We had a lecture this month: A Synopsis of the History of Palatine Lodge No. 97 (1757-1907). One of a number of lectures written by W Bro EG Watson, this one having been first presented at our 150th anniversary on the 14th January 1907!
Our Fraternal visitors on this occasion were Lodge Stewart No. 4261, represented by their secretary, W Bro Peter Johnson, PPJGW, and Lodge of Concord No. 6859, represented by their newly installed Worshipful Master, W Bro William Telfer, on his first outing as Master.
September is the other meeting in our calendar that is often beset by a long list of absentees; holiday season still being upon us.
Due to that, it was always intended that we would do something in which we were well practiced, so an enactment of the First Degree ceremony was the business of the night. We still had to pull in one ringer for the night, though, W Bro Richard Davison, PPGStwd, to act in the capacity of IPM, as our IPM was acting as the Secretary!
As June is almost always a bit of a quiet one, we decided to have a repeat of last year's curry night.
We had a very simple evening in the Lodge, literally opening, admitting the visitors, then closing. Cases packed then walking the 50 yards to the local curry house.
We had a good turn-out of visitors and they all told me it made a refreshing change from the usual fayre. Loyal toast, toast to the Grand Master, then a thank-you to the visitors being the only formalities at the festive board, and a very relaxed evening had by all.
Another quiet one for us this month, with no fewer than six officers of the Lodge absent due to work, holidays, and other commitments.
The business of the evening was an enactment of the First Degree ceremony, and despite only the Worshipful Master and Junior Deacon being in their regular offices, with some juggling, and the assistance of a few recruits from other Lodges, we still managed to pull it off! I must give thanks to W Bro Eddie Forster of Sportmans Lodge No. 9440 (JW) and Bro Ian Wardle of Nautilus Lodge No. 4259 (IG) for filling the gaps we couldn't slot someone in to.