Provincial Almoners Letter from Andover

On Thursday the Annual Meeting of the Craft took place in Southampton, this was a splendid meeting tinged with humour. Once again though it had to be a meeting by invitation only, which hopefully will be overcome in the not too distant future. I am sure you will join me in congratulating both Steve Allum and Jonathan Whitaker on their preferment and that they are able to enjoy themselves in those offices for some years to come with benefit to the Province and very much satisfaction to themselves.

With regard to meetings, agendas are being circulated now that the restrictions have been lifted, but some masonic centres, quite rightly, in my opinion, have kept some rules in place for the safety of all. As many of you will have seen in the July Newsletter, the members of Wyndham Mark Lodge enjoyed an Installation Meeting, followed by a meal. It was strange in some ways but masks were worn whilst moving about for the safety of all. I know that other Lodges have met and have enjoyed themselves. I still though feel that we must all continue to be cautious and if Brethren are uneasy in making the meetings no pressure should be out on them. We all have our own views on how we wish to proceed. A list of Official Visits has been formulated so I trust that some of you will soon meet face to face.

On the gardening front it has been a mixed bag with the weather being so changeable. We have watched some majestic gladioli, purple in colour, blossom forth from the bottom flowers upwards, this is an amazing flower, as the first blossoms die off so those above come in to fruition over a few days. We now have some flame coloured gladioli going through the same process. The green beans have now finished but we have plenty of courgettes, both yellow and green ready for the table and the tomatoes are beginning to ripen. Soon, I hope, we will start digging the potatoes. The loganberries are giving a good harvest and the blackberries will soon be ripening so the future looks quite good.

The birds in the garden continue to fascinate both Pat and I, with goldfinches, sparrows, too many pigeons, blackbirds, robins and many other species look after their young, seeking the ants and other insects in the lawn. We have enjoyed the Olympic Games, watching all of these athletes giving of their best in whatever sport they are taking part in, I must say though that we do not get up half way through the night to watch this.

Next Saturday will see a Mark Provincial Meting at Botley, which again, due to the restrictions still in place, is by invitation only, Things will change soon and we will be able to experience something like the normal getting together, again with caution.

Best wishes to you all.

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