Provincial Almoners Weekly Letter

There was one little story that I did not have room to mention last week so I will relate it now. During those very high winds we removed our patio umbrella and put it safely away in the garage. The next morning, on looking out of the kitchen window I saw a large, outdoor umbrella lying alongside our bins. As, at my age I have to recollect if I have really done things, I doubted that our umbrella was away. It transpires that the offending item had been blown from next door, over the garage and into our garden, along with the supporting pole. No damage had been caused to the garage or any other item. It must have been something spectacular to witness but it was good that no one was hurt.

As there has been so much rain I have been unable to cut the lawns, which at the moment look very tardy but they will be attended to soon. Pat has been busy potting-up plants and herbs to give to our youngest daughter ready for her garden. Our “friendship” garden is spreading as Pat has given plants to all four of our children and some of our grandchildren. The carrots are coming on well together with all other vegetables. The trouble is the weeds seem to be more prolific than anything else growing in the garden.

Today we will be able to watch the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Leicester City, but it is not on until late afternoon. In the 1970s I was at Wembley Stadium when Southampton beat Manchester United in the Final. My colleague and I leapt up when Southampton scored the only goal, to find we were in the midst of the opposition fans. True fans they were, as there was no intimidation, just one comment, “It was a good goal.” I have always been sport minded and like some of you we experienced football being played at 3.0 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. The FA Cup Final was always played on the first Saturday in May, there being no other games that day as the league matches would have all finished. No play offs, promotion or relegation decided on where you finished in the league. Local cricket leagues started on the first Saturday in May also. What an organised way of life it was. Were they the best times, I suspect not, life has to go on and evolve for the benefit of many.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of Bro. Fred Montague at Shedfield, Fred was not a Mark Mason but was a member of the Lodge of Maturity. There was a goodly number of masons there, amongst whom were Andy Spencer and Brian Davies. It was gratifying to pay our last respects to Fred and support his wife, Rev. Juliet, who used to be our Rector. How I have missed being able to do this for the last 14 or so months. Please do not get me wrong, it is the ability to show support and respect that I miss, not just going to funerals. Hopefully though we might be able to attend a memorial service for all who have passed away over the past 14 months or so.

I will continue to write a weekly letter from Andover until the end of this month and then review the situation. We are coming out of the severe restrictions and I am finding it difficult to continue to be interesting in what I write. Have a good week, look after yourselves and loved ones. Please keep up the important lines of communication. Best wishes to you all and your families.

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