Provincial Almoners Letter from Andover

In writing the next few sentences I am not looking for sympathy, I just want to share thoughts on the implications of the pandemic. I am not alone in this situation. On 8th November I felt as though I had a cold coming on and as some other respected masons had related they had a similar feeling, I carried out a lateral flow test, to see that two lines appeared on the readings. Yes it was positive for covid. I contacted NHS as instructed and was told to go for PCR test, which was promptly arranged. This was taken and very early the next morning the result came through confirming a positive test. I had a conversation with a representative of NHS and had received an e-mail stating that I must self -isolate, the conditions of which I then took on board.

Previously I have heard that someone is self-isolating, thinking maybe they had to stay indoors. It is much more stringent than that, which I and many others have learned. I had to spend ten days as much as possible on my own. Take all meals alone leaving the tray outside the door. Sanitise anything that I touched. If in a shared room with someone each had to wear a face mask. I did not see Pat for all of that time without a mask on. We used conference calling on the telephone as we have three handsets in the house. One was dedicated just for me to handle. I appreciate that not all might have this facility. For the first four or five days I felt as though I had the flu and my brain was not function as it should. NHS personnel telephone nearly each day to have a chat and remind me of the importance of self-isolating to try and slow the infection rate down. I suspect also to ensure that one is a home.

I can say that Pat and the family have been tremendous in giving both physical and moral support, I must admit I had a couple of hours one evening wondering if it was all worth it. Of course it is, Pat thankfully has proved negative of covid. We have both received the two jabs plus the booster but it proves no one is immune. Where I picked it up from I do not know. The moral is, please, if you hear that someone is self-isolating pick up the phone and have a chat. It has been beneficial to me to hear other brethren and friends at the other end of the phone. We have to ensure we can, this year, enjoy Christmas with our families. Keep safe and be cautious.

Before all of this I was able to attend Oakley Mark and RAM Lodges who held a combined Banner dedication carried out by the Provincial Grand Master and his excellent team, with thanks to the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. I was also present at Portsdown Mark Lodge for their Centenary celebrations, it was good to see so many of you on both occasions

Best wishes.

Malcolm Lloyd, Prov. Grand Almoner. GSD