Provincial Almoners Letter from Andover

Dear Brethren All, 

I was sorry to hear that some of our members had been affected by the Covid virus recently, those suffering, I hope that you will soon be better. This condition is out there waiting to strike when it can, so please, be as careful as you can. I am sure that these “spikes” will affect attendances at our meetings once again. Speaking to a number of brethren recently, many are taking advantage of the flu and covid jabs, which is good news. Many feel that, like flu, we are going to have to learn to live with this virus.

Pat and I have returned from a cruise to Iceland and the Faroe Islands and feel quite refreshed. The scenery is stunning and everywhere appears bright and clean in these countries. The inhabitants are very friendly but still have memories of the “cod war”. I do not know if I could live with the short daylight hours they experience in the winter. We were blessed, in the main, with some sunny weather.

Blackberries and raspberries are still being picked although I feel we are coming to the end of the harvest now. The pruning will now have to take place to get rid of the fruiting stock of this year. We still have a colourful display of different flowers in the garden so all looks bright and beautiful. Pat is very pleased that she is able to pick runner beans and they are being frozen down ready for the winter.

I have some concerns that we may not be keeping in touch with our brethren and their families as well as we could. I reiterate some of what I have said before, please keep in touch with those brethren that we have not seen lately, just a chat on the phone might help. Maybe they need a lift to a meeting but do not like to ask, we can all do our bit with a little effort.

Another area of contact that could receive attention is with our widows or those wives who are in the position that their husbands are in hospital or a care home. I spoke with one such lady recently, in such a position, who told me that the feeling of some of these ladies is that masons forget about them and no one contacts them. Their view is they are a forgotten part of our so called “family”. We should all be almoners and where possible I ask that you address this challenge.

Please, please, brethren keep those lines of communication open to all. We are still in difficult times, we have brethren who are carers to their wives or partners, and wives or partners caring for our fellow brethren. Please bear them in your minds during your daily lives.

Best wishes to you all.

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