Once in a while we offered the privilege from the Province to represent our the lodges in our province and provide a demonstration to lodges outside of the Province of Bristol. We were fortunate to be invited the London Welsh Installed Masters Lodge – 9857, and demonstrate of our very Ancient Bristol Masonic Ceremonies to their Lodge – a rare treat for the Matthew Lodge indeed. So off we headed to visit our Brethren across the way.
The demonstration team consisted of Members from the Matthew Lodge but also from other Lodges too (Royal Sussex Lodge of Hospitality, Cabot Lodge and the Dunckerleys – the Provinces Light Blues), so we had a wealth of experience from which to draw from.
We were all up bright and breezy meeting up first at Park Street, to load all of the ceremonial equipment, before heading of the Welsh city of Llanethli. We were actually quite shocked just how quickly it took our designated driver for the day WBro Roger Sims, to get us there. Obviously he was very keen to show our Bristol workings to the Brethren in Wales.
We did notice however that not only was his driving excellent but also we could see how efficient he was with his parking (if you look carefully you can see that there is just enough room between the two vehicles to place a blade of grass!).
We quickly unloaded our equipment and keen to look around our hosts Lodge. It was a splendid affair, seeing the ancient regalia that was presented throughout the rooms, paintings of past masters adorned the walls, the large and wonderful building. But most of all was their splendid Lodge Room, which did cause us to look in awe at the at the work that had been done. A truly wonderful Lodge Room indeed.
We then prepared for the meeting, with the Lodge providing us with a Candidate (thank you WBro Tony Hill, for your assistance) for initiation. It was a very enjoyable event, with the Matthew Lodge being very proud to show the Brethren the Ancient and Traditional workings of a Bristol Masonic Lodge. We hoped that the Brethren in the London Welsh Installed Masters Lodge, enjoyed watching as much as we did presenting.
As is customary after a ceremony, we then went onto the after meeting dinner. This is a time that we all look forward to, as we get to meet the Brethren of the other Lodge(s). This is an important part of masonic life, to meet and talk with other brethren in a social and friendly environment, exchanging stories, experiences and on the odd occasion even a few good comical moments.
The Brethren of the Lodge really did go to town in the way that they treated us, we were very well looked after, with an excellent menu – a thing very much appreciated by our dining lodge, which now provide for its members and guests, the ‘Matthew Fine Dining Experience’.
As we were enjoying our meal, we were also treated to various different toast and speeches, which is customary within the Masonic After-meeting. We then moved through to the prize draw, another way in which we raise charitable funds for the various different Charities that we support around the UK and indeed the world.
We then had a few wise words passed to us from the wise WBro Tim Day, who it would seem has much experience in this type of thing.
It seemed to work, for some strange reason. Those words that he had given us had indeed had an influence.
The first prize was out of the hat and it was a member of the Visiting Demonstration Team. This was good news we thought. Then the next one out was for another member of the Visiting Demonstration Team. A few words were said by the Worshipful Master, I think to put us off our game, so to speak. Indeed other members of the hosting lodge then enjoyed the experience of winning one of the splendid prizes that had been donated by the various brethren.
However it wasn’t before long before we had another member from the Visitors, wining again. This needed to stop, as we wanted for everyone to enjoy the day – so in true charitable fashion, we decided to hand any more prizes back to the lodge to that other members would be able to enjoy them.
As the after meeting progressed and after a couple more glasses of wine, many more stories were exchanged, along with a speech from the WM’s son, who had visited from Atlanta.
Sadly however as all good things must come to an end, it was time for us to say a fond farewell to our Brethren, who had been the perfect hosts, and travel back to Bristol.
We gathered up our equipment that we had brought with us, and loaded up the vehicle (which had not the room to allow it to be loaded). After saying our fond farewells to the Brethren who had greeted us with open arms, provided us with a wonderful after-meeting experience, we then made our way home to Bristol.
However as one member of the Visiting Demonstration Team who was native the land that we had visited, thought it only courteous, any necessary, that he should give a rendition of the Welsh National Anthem as a parting gift to our brethren. A very brave thing to do, but it went down very well by all that watched.
We would like to say thank you to our Hosts, not only for give us the opportunity to demonstrate our ancient and traditional Bristol working, but also to thank you for the warm reception your brethren gave us, the excellent meeting and your wonderful company at the after-meeting meal. It was truly a humbling experience and one we hope we can extend to yourselves very soon.
Just a quick rendition of the Welsh National Anthem before we set off.
It just goes to show, just how much fun being a Mason truly is.