Provincial Almoners Weekly Letter

Our garden, in common with many of yours, is full of blooms and colours, what a marvellous sight. The begonias have been mixed in their response to get going, some have spread their leaves and are beginning to flower whilst others have woken up slowly and are just poking their heads out. The vegetables are progressing well with the broad beans almost ready to pick, potatoes are looking very healthy and everything has benefited from the recent rain. The soft fruits are showing signs of a good crop this year and now it is a fight with the birds to protect the berries.

Talking of birds, Pat has had mixed emotions in that area over the last couple of weeks. One morning she went down the bottom of the garden to discover that two fledglings had fallen into containers filled with water and drowned, this did upset her. Conversely, our eldest daughter has been on holiday recently and Pat looked after her garden by watering some of the plants. Whilst there one evening Pat saw a small movement on the ground and then saw a very young blue tit hopping around. This was encouraging as on Springwatch it had been reported that the numbers of blue tits had declined over the last few years. During the evenings we have been fascinated by the number of starlings that have congregated in the trees next door, dropped down to take a drink from our bird bath, about 6 or 8 at a time. Pat has hoped that they would surprise us with an ariel display but no such luck. The starlings flew off in their numbers and we suspect that someone else nearby had the benefit of this wonderful display. We live in hopes though.

Last weekend we enjoyed the company of our eldest daughter and her family at a barbeque in her garden. Social distancing was maintained but it was good to get to be able to get together and almost be a normal family again. Tomorrow we will be visiting our second daughter to celebrate fathers’ day and our wedding anniversary. (What has happened to that slim, dark haired fellow who is in the wedding day photos!!!!)

Recently I have been able to attend funerals, one for W. Bro. Stan Brooker, where some of his former colleagues from Beaconsfield managed to get along. Yesterday I attended Romsey Crematorium for the funeral of Br. Ron Terry, who many of us will remember as the bar manager of Winchester Masonic Centre for some years. Both were well attended and well organised.

I am very conscious that we are still in difficult times and restrictions remain with us but I ask that you try and stay positive. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting ever brighter although our patience is being tested to its’ limits. Please keep up the important lines of communication. Some brethren are still experiencing doubts or uneasiness as to the situation that we find ourselves in. Some will still be wary about venturing to a meeting and getting involved. In my opinion we are going to have to be tolerant for a while whilst we get back on our feet, slowly and cautiously, with regard to our meetings. Having said that I am hopeful that we will be able to get together again soon. Enjoy Fathers’ Day and I will contact you all again soon.

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