Provincial Almoners Weekly Letter

It has been a mixed week in the garden, with the rain and high winds curtailing much of what we would like to do. As  I finished cutting the lawns a couple of days ago, the heavens opened up and I got soaked putting the mower and tools  away. The lawns are looking good and healthy. We visited a garden centre in the week and obtained tomato and bedding plants, sweetcorn and cabbage plants. These will be planted out next week when the weather may be better. The birds continue to sing merrily away and the pigeons have made short work of the grass seed put on the lawns. 

As the restrictions are being lifted I am a little concerned about the matter of shaking hands. This is very important in our fraternity, not only as a means of welcome and friendship but it is included in our ceremonies. It has been proved, and many of us are aware, that our hands, at any time, can carry infections which are transferable to others. We have  got used to washing our mitts very frequently in order to keep safe. Is it necessary to adopt another method of greeting??? I personally am not enamoured with the touching of elbows. Can we give this matter some thought as the last winter saw a great reduction in colds and flu, mainly through not touching one another and of course through not being able to meet together. This could be a subject for each lodge to consider. As Almoner why should I mention this, well, part of my remit is the health and welfare of all members. 

On Friday I received my Festival Jewel for the Surrey MBF Festival, 2022. I am impressed with the quality of this jewel and look forward to the 2026 Festival Jewel that I have ordered, it will look, I am confident, very good.  Not everyone wishes to purchase the Festival Jewel I know, but I pass this on as when we do meet some brethren will have this jewel on display and all contributions help towards the MBF. 

Next Wednesday I will have the pleasure and privilege to Install my successor in the Wyndham RAM Lodge. We are meeting under the Rule of six so it will be somewhat protracted but it will give the new Commander the opportunity to carry out an Elevation Ceremony in September, when I trust we will have had all restrictions, or most of them, lifted. Like many of you I have been in the Chair but have not been able to carry out any ceremonies as Commander.

As we, cautiously, come to the end of the lockdown, although we still must be mindful the infections are still increasing each day, there will be some relief that life might become “normal” again. It is my wish that we are able perhaps, to enjoy the advantage of meeting together again sometime in September onwards. There will be mixed feelings and methods in place to keep us safe. In the meantime please keep those lines of communication open and use the phone to contact one another for support and friendship. My one wish is that when we do have more freedom we continue to contact one another as we have done during this pandemic. Best wishes to you and your families on this Whitsun Weekend.

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