Hambrook samples Scottish hospitality
“This demonstrates perfectly how Freemasonry works!” said Ronnie Gemmill, the Provincial Grand Master for Linlithgowshire. He was addressing the brethren of Lodge St Andrew Livingston Station, and amongst the visitors were Ian Whittern, the WM of Hambrook Lodge, plus five of his brethren, who had flown from a soggy Bristol Airport . . . oh so very early that morning . . . to arrive in Edinburgh and enjoy three days of clear blue skies.
The PGM went on to explain that three or four years ago, St Andrew member, Colin Foster, found himself working a long-term contract in the west of England, flying home for weekends. He was living in a Bristol hotel, stuck for something to do in the evenings. Enter Barry Doul, Hambrook’s treasurer, who took him under his wing, introducing him not only to his lodge, but others in the general area. Thus, the sight of Colin’s Scottish regalia became a regular feature at Stapleton and further afield, and when Colin reached the chair of his own lodge, the invitation was naturally extended to Hambrook members to come visit; hence the whistle-stop expedition of the intrepid half-dozen.
“And what a welcome we had,” said an exhausted Ian, landing back at Bristol on Sunday afternoon. “From the moment we arrived, the brethren of Lodge St Andrew could not have been more accommodating; Colin and his father [Colin Snr] laying on transport to hotels and lodge etc. A tram-journey into Edinburgh preceded a memorable tour of the splendid Royal Yacht Britannia, followed by a visit to Grand Lodge on George Street, where each was presented with a small label badge displaying the legend ‘GLOS’; [That’s Grand Lodge of Scotland, of course]. In the evening, lodge members showed how talented they were at ritual, providing a faultless ceremony of initiation for young Alan Konapka. The lodge was also receiving its annual inspection from Province, hence the presence of the PGM and his team. ‘Harmony’ at the ‘after-meeting’ included entertainment, and amongst the home-produced food were Scottish shortcakes baked by ‘The Maister’s wife’ and bearing a familiar symbol [see photos].
“The following morning,” continued Ian, “we were collected and taken to Roslin Chapel, a fascinating spectacle to which all freemasons should treat themselves. Back to Edinburgh in the afternoon and a stride up the Royal Mile, [or High Street as it is known locally]; Colin Senior providing such expert local knowledge we were often gathering up hangers-on to listen in on his practised delivery. And, of course, there was the odd occasion when the opportunity to sample the amber-nectar presented itself!
“On Saturday evening, we were back at the masonic hall where we witnessed the social side of lodge-life; fancy-dressed families flocking in for a Halloween-style disco. The energy of the children in particular was a sight to behold.
“The best weather they had enjoyed there for weeks provided us with truly unforgettable images of the city of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside. We do hope that some of the Lodge St Andrew brethren will come to Gloucestershire before too long when we will have the chance to reciprocate,” concluded Ian.
(Lodge room photo L>R: Dick Smith, Ronnie Gemmill [PGM], Colin Foster [RWM 1587], Ian Whittern [WM 8909], Barry Doul, Mark Denty. Temporarily absent on parade: Rob Shorland and Danny Robb.)
Click here to view the PGL Linlithgowshire website : https://www.pgllinlithgowshire.org.uk/