The summer recess started on 1 June with a wonderful evening at Shaw Hill Golf Club in Chorley for the annual Royal Arch Assistants Dinner. This annual gathering enables the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals, present and past, together with their ladies to meet for a social occasion. A most enjoyable and memorable evening was had by Maureen and I and all who attended.
On 3 June, after a busy day attending to necessary paperwork, I travelled to the Palace at St Annes for the Annual Grand Officers dinner, attended by most of the grand officers on the Fylde. I was accompanied by David Winder and David Randerson, together with the grand officers for an excellent dinner in nice surroundings which rounded off a very busy Masonic year.
The following afternoon I attend the Wenning Board of Korc who meet at Morecambe Masonic Hall. The meeting was attended by some 70 members and presided over by Stephen Reed and assisted by Phillip Gunning and David Winder. An excellent evening raising money for the MCF 2021 Festival.
On 6 June after spending some time in the garden, I travelled to Saul Street, Preston for my Red Cross meeting. It was well attended by the members from both East and West Lancashire and we had a thoroughly good meeting followed by an excellent festive board.
On 11 June Maureen and I travelled Heathrow for the start of our holiday to Switzerland with our daughter Tracey and her husband Peter. An excellent train journey which got us to Heathrow for 6:00pm. After checking into our hotel, we started our enjoyment with a very enjoyable dinner.
We had an early morning start for our flight to Zurich and then our train adventure started. Three hours and we were at our hotel in Davos enjoying our exploration of the town and Kloisters and a cable car journey up the Jakobshorn.
The following day we took the Bernia Express to Triano in Italy where Maureen and I enjoyed an Italian luncheon before returning on the Bernia Express to Davos. The scenery was absolutely stunning.
The next day we boarded the Glacier Express, which took us to Spiez, Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen enjoying a first-class luncheon whilst travelling through the scenery wonderland, and then eventually to Wengen where we to enjoy the next three nights.
Whilst staying in Wengen we enjoyed a guided tour of the town and then took the cog railway to Jungfraujoch. I have seen some wonderful scenery during my journeys but have to say that these views were really breath-taking.
On the 16 June we journeyed to Trummelbachfalls and as we climbed through the rocks experience the tremendous power of falling waters, what a wonderful morning before taking the cable car up the Schilthorn (the James Bond 007 mountain), where we enjoy a Martini shaken not stirred before lunch.
Then we were off to the beautiful village of Murren before returning to Wegen for dinner.
On the 17 June we left Wegen and travelled to Interlaken where we had time to explore this beautiful town. We then resumed our journey, this time by ship as we sailed to Spiez Schiffstation for a visit to Spiez Castle. Back to the railway and we boarded the Golden Line Train, a very old, beautifully refurbished train for our journey to Montreux where we were staying at the Grand Suisse Majestic Hotel.
The following morning, we explored the sights of Montreux before boarding the mountain cog railway to Rochers De Naye where again we enjoyed the magnificent views of the city. We then visited Chillon Castle before returning to our hotel.
The Grand Suisse Majestic Hotel.
All the arrangements were first-class, the hotels were excellent as was all the food. The weather excelled itself with bright blue skies and wall to wall sunshine every day. The train journeys were something very different for Maureen and I, as we had never holidayed in this way before. Our luggage was taken from the Airport in Zurich to each of the hotels that we stayed in and the trains, well, they were always on time and of a very high first class standard, from Club class vista domed roof to double decker to very old refurbished. All were excellent. The scenery was out of this world most spectacular and we enjoyed an amazing experience.
Our holiday ended on 19 June, when we left Montreux for our final train journey to Geneva Airport for our flight back to Heathrow. Arriving at Geneva Airport 90 minutes before the flight home to find that the excellent service provided throughout the holiday had fallen down. The cases had not been put onto our train and did not arrive at Geneva Airport. So, we had to travel home without suitcases!
This proved somewhat awkward as we were staying in London for a further couple of nights with Tracey and Peter before they returned to the Isle of Man. However, we managed and bought a few new clothes before return to Morecambe. The cases were returned to our home three days later.
We had a few days at home, which gave Maureen and I time to straighten up the garden before departing on our next summer adventure on 25 June when we travelled to the Isle of Man, sailing from Heysham to Douglas. We stayed for a week with Tracey and Peter at their home in Laxey. The weather was kind to us and we enjoyed meeting friends and experiencing the delights of the island over the next few days.
On 28 June I attended the Isle of Man Provincial Chapter meeting which is held at their Masonic Centre in Douglas. The meeting was quite well attended by the companions of the island who were joined by many companions from Provinces in the UK. I was delighted to enjoy the company of Paul Renton, Barry Jameson, Chris Butterfield, Peter Taylor and Graham Williams. It was good to meet with many Masonic friends from the island and we all enjoyed an excellent meeting presided over by Keith Dalrymple the Grand Superintendent of the Isle of Man Province. We spent the last weekend on the island in the company of Tracey and Peter`s family in Laxey before returning home late on Monday 1 July.
On the 3 July I travelled to Leyland for a meeting regarding membership within the Province.
Later in the week Maureen and I travelled to Galgate, just outside Lancaster, to the Canal Turn. where we met up with a number of brethren and their ladies from the Wigan and District Group, who were walking the Lancaster Canal. It was a gorgeous summer day with the sun shining and the birds singing. We were not walking but came along to welcome them and to urge all the walkers on to the next port of call at the Lancaster Water, Witch. Everyone taking part had a wonderful day and my grateful thanks to them and all the sponsors for their contributions to the MCF 2021 Festival.
On the 10 July, after a busy morning completing some further paperwork I travelled to Barrow-in-Furness, to the Fairfield Masonic Hall. It was the centenary meeting of Barrow Lodge No 3928. A warm welcome met us on our arrival and we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea before the meeting. 100 brethren entered the lodge for the celebrations, Provincial Grand Lodge was opened in due form and the Centenary Warrant was presented to the WM, following which the Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst delivered an excellent Oration. The lodge was closed and we all retired for pre-dinner drinks and then a delicious meal and speeches before returning home to Morecambe. It really was a wonderful occasion with terrific support for this celebration.
In mid-July Maureen and I drove to Manchester Airport for a flight to Stockholm, Sweden. For the next 10 days we enjoyed the hospitality of Maureen`s sister, Teresa and her husband Simon, who live and work in Stockholm together with their two sons, in a family patisserie and café. It was good to meet up with members of the family that we had not seen for quite some time. The weather during our stay was fantastic, glorious sunshine every day.
We took the opportunity to visit many attractions in the city including the ABBA Museum and the Vasa Museum, both of which were extremely interesting. It was the main holiday time for the Swedish people so the city was busy with tourists but not with the locals. We had a wonderful time and wished we could have stayed longer, but we had to get back home for other important matters. So back to Arlander airport for our flight back to Manchester on the evening of 22 July.
Quite a bit of gardening to do upon our return, but the weather was good and we could enjoy both the hard work and relaxation together with some delightful walks along the promenade to remind us of our beautiful Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland hills. A joy to behold.
On Sunday 28 July after attending church Maureen and I travelled to Tithebarn the RMBI home, near Bootle. The Friends of Tithebarn had been appealing for financial assistance to purchase a new courtesy vehicle, ambulance, for the residents and with the help on many lodges, the WLFC and the Province of Cheshire some £45,000 was raised for the new vehicle and it was presented to the RMBI, witnessed by some 80 brethren and their ladies. Sadly, the weather was somewhat wet, but it did not deter a wonderful occasion. Thanks to all who supported this most worthwhile and needy project.
During the next week as we entered the month of August it was a very relaxing time. On the evening of 3 August Maureen and I travelled to Preston Masonic Hall in Saul Street for the annual Red Cross of Constantine charity dinner. This was very well supported by worthy knights from around the district. We enjoyed a delicious six course meal and raised the over £1,600 for charity.
A wonderful evening and a magnificent effort by all attending.
During the next week we had a relaxing time although the weather was changing from a delightful summer toward the Autumn with rain like never before but it has done the gardens a world of good.
On 13 August Maureen and I joined with many other brethren and their ladies for a holiday to Edinburgh and a visit to the Tattoo. Our journey started in Morecambe and we travelled northwards towards Edinburgh stopping at Rosslyn Castle to enjoy this ancient church, renowned for its Masonic connections. Following this most enjoyable visit, we journeyed onto to our hotel for three nights. A lovely hotel in the heart of a village. Very well appointed and great food.
The following morning after enjoying a full Scottish breakfast we enjoyed a visit to the shores of Loch Lomond where we were able to walk to the view point to see to magnificent views down the Loch. We also enjoyed a pipe and drum band who were performing outside the Clachan Inn , before returning to our hotel for lunch. We then set forth to the centre of Edinburgh, having time to wander around the capital before making our way to the Castle for the Edinburgh Tattoo. What a spectacular show this was. Enjoyed by the 1,000s of people visiting the castle every evening during the show. We had a late return to our hotel for a good night`s sleep.
The following morning after a very leisurely breakfast we took the coach over the `Rest and be Thankful` to the old village of Inveraray, on Loch Fyne. A stop here for a haggis luncheon and sightseeing before returning to our hotel.
It was time to go home on 16 August, after our Scottish breakfast we travelled southward passing Glasgow and over the Scottish Lowlands to Moffatt for lunch (sadly a very wet morning). We then continued our homeward journey to Morecambe where a stop was made for a cup of tea. Here we left all our friends and travelling companions and they continued on their homeward journey. A wonderful and spectacular experience.
On 20 August I headed for Saul Street in Preston, for a meeting with the charity stewards. An extremely well attended meeting which was addressed by Steven Kayne CEO of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and Paul Crockett from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. In the afternoon I had a meeting at the Provincial office in Leyland.
On 21 August I had a meeting in the Provincial office with a number of brethren from our Province and the Deputy Grand Master, Jonathon Spence and the Second Grand Principal, Russell Race. A very informative and most helpful meeting for all present.
On Tuesday 27 August Maureen and I drove to Blackpool where we met up with all those Freemasons and their families who were taking part in ‘Ride the Lights` in aid of the MCF 2021 Festival. The weather was good and there was a great array of MCF brightly coloured shirts cycling off in the distance. Thanks to all who took part in the ride and a big thanks to all who sponsored the riders.
On 28 August it was a very wet start to the day but fortunately it brightened up later as I travelled to Barrow-in- Furness, to the Fairfield Masonic Hall for the installation convocation of Vale Chapter No 5256. Before the installation I opened Provincial Grand Chapter so that I could invest Christopher Butterfield as Second Provincial Grand Principal and Barrie Crossley as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and David Thomas as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. There were 116 companions at the convocation too witness these investitures and John Stanley, Andrea Lawrence and Bill Glassey installing their successors in office: Alan Everett, George Fox and Frank Heath. An excellent evening with a delightful summer salad dinner.
On Saturday 31 August Maureen and I travelled to Saul Street, Preston, to attend the 72-annual meeting of the Federation of School Lodges Festival, under the banner of the Old Crosbeian Lodge No 4992. There were some 130 brethren and many ladies from all parts of the country attending this annual festival. We were delighted to welcome the Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wooton as the principal guest and following the business meeting we were all enthralled at the Paper of Business which was a talk on `The Grand Lodge of Wigan 1823-1866` presented by John Hubbard. During our lodge meeting all the ladies were entertained at the Harris Museum in the centre of Preston. A drinks reception preceded an excellent and most delicious five course banquet. A fabulous day enjoyed by all attending.
A very enjoyable and relaxing summer now comes to an end and I look forward to what I am sure will be a busy but very interesting and pleasurable Masonic season ahead.
I do hope that you have all had a good summer break and now look forward to the weeks and months ahead enjoying your Freemasonry.