My week and welcome to it…

…It’s not been a quiet week at Hansen-Tan Acres. The only really quiet day was Monday.

Tuesday I had my Lodge of Instruction. This is our rehearsal for our Lodge meetings at Freemasons Hall. We have one every fortnight. It went fairly well, as such things go. However, getting to Kenton (about an hour on the Tube, next-to-last stop on the Bakerloo Line) is tiring, and getting back is even more tiring. Made it, though.

Wednesday was our Lodge meeting. We had a guest, Claudio, from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. He is a member of a Lodge there and is here to do some research in the Library at Freemasons Hall. However, he was arriving at London Gatwick at 2, and our Lodge meeting was at 5. Would he make it? He did, by the skin of his teeth.

However, the candidate for Passing did not make it on time. He was about an hour late. We cooled our heels in Lodge until he arrived and Passed him. I think that we Wardens, the Master, and the Deacons did a good job. However, the Director of Ceremonies made a hash of moving around the Lodge (we call it “Floor work”) and we looked like a bunch of stumblebums retiring from the Lodge. The dinner was pretty awful as well. However, I have now been formally elected Master of the Lodge for 2010-2011. I’ll be installed in May.

Thursday was two Lodge meetings. The afternoon meeting was the Metropolitan Grand Lodge meeting, where Goliath was scheduled to receive an award from Metropolitan Grand Lodge for raising money for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. I went as Senior Warden of Goliath with my friend and Brother Nadeem, who used to work for me and is now a member of Goliath. The Grand Temple of Freemasons Hall is really impressive. We both met the Metropolitan Grand Master but had to endure about 3-1/2 hours of business and greeting other Lodges before he got to us. After this meeting I had to quickly get my coat and regalia case and rush around the corner to the other part of Freemasons Hall to go to one of my Mark Lodges, which was having its installation. The dinner was in the Grand Connaught Rooms next door, which have been newly refurbished. They added kitchens—before, the food was trucked in and just heated up. Now they actually cook it there. We had beef in a Yorkshire-pudding-like container, which was quite good. The wine was drinkable. I got home and was exhausted.

Friday was the Emulation Lodge of Improvement Festival. There are many different “rituals” in English Freemasonry. The one that Goliath uses is called “Taylor’s”. One that is used by many lodges is called “Emulation”, and their national Lodge of Improvement has a festival twice a year to show off the talents of its members. Claudio from Brasil also came to this Festival and the dinner afterwards. The Lodge was opened in all three degrees and then four Brethren took turns in performing parts of the ritual. A couple of them spoke for more than half an hour, from memory, without any prompting. The Lodge was then closed in all three degrees, with only two mistakes that I could see. Then another dinner in the Grand Connaught Rooms, this time in the Grand Hall, which is huge, with high ceilings and very long vistas. Unfortunately they served fish to everyone…I was horrified but I had to eat it. It was sea bass and was just about edible if I took some potato with each bite. The Metropolitan Grand Master is this year the President of the LOI and thus was at this meeting and the dinner afterward. The highlight was behind the bar, where an over-zealous bartender went to take a glass off a shelf and knocked the shelf and all its glasses to the floor.

Yesterday I wrote my sermon for today and rested.

This morning I went to St. John’s to preach, and after vesting in cassock and cotta decided to visit the lavatory. I clicked the latch, did what I came there to do, then tried to unlock the door. The latch stuck. I tried to unlock it. No dice. I knocked on the door (and the lavatory is not much larger than a toilet stall) and got assistance, but no dice. It was 10 am and time for the service to start, and I was getting very nervous and panicky. Luckily I’m not claustrophobic or I’d be resting comfortably in hospital right now. There wasn’t anything (at first glance) in the lavatory to pry the door open, but then I saw something that looked like a small shovel and, after about 5 minutes, succeeded in prying the lock off the door and getting it open. I was quite rattled but managed to preach without major mishap.

Then this afternoon I went to Westfield Shopping Centre to have lunch with Claudio from Brasil. We went to our friend Leslie’s restaurant there, Kitchen Italia. The waiter was very nice, but a bit rattled. We had a 2-for-1 coupon and he took it and got our food. He gave me Claudio’s food and Claudio mine, but because he brought them separately we didn’t realise that the dishes were mixed up and so I ate tagliatelle and Claudio ate spaghetti and meatballs. Then he brought the bill and Claudio paid. However, the waiter hadn’t applied the 2-for-1 coupon to the bill and I didn’t realise it because Claudio took the bill off the table before I could check it. Leslie called later on tonight and I gave him a report, and he’s going to look into it.

As the food is good I’m going back tomorrow to see Leslie and get the peanut butter he brought back from his US trip. Whew! What a week!

6 Responses to “My week and welcome to it…”

  1. am0 says:

    Congratulations on your election to Master. Soon, probably just before your installation, you will receive what I consider to be one of the most curious degrees in Masonry.

  2. chrishansenhome says:

    Thank you. I don’t think that the ritual here is exactly the same as the ritual you worked in your Lodge, but after I’ve gone through it perhaps we can compare notes (privately, of course).

  3. am0 says:

    My lodge in Panama follows the ritual of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Our ritual should be at least as close to yours as it is to that of the Grand Lodge of California. But even if there are variations between the various rituals, the degrees should be the same.

  4. chrishansenhome says:

    I have attended a 1st, 2nd, and several 3rds at my lodge in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and the ritual is not close at all to what I have learned here in England. I suspect that this may be the case for my Installation. Several Past Masters of Philanthropic may be present and I will ask them afterwards whether there were great similarities between the Preston-Webb installation and Taylor’s installation.

  5. tim1965 says:

    Every time someone says they are going to be “installed” as something, I have this vision of a slack-jawed mechanic in grease-stained overalls thrusting a tiny, squealing version of the person into a carbuerator of a big honkin’ 1969 Plymouth Fury automobile.

    I have no idea why this image comes to mind, but there it is.

    Hope your installation goes well! 🙂

  6. chrishansenhome says:

    As I’m sure you’re aware, the word “installation” comes from the medieval church, where a canon is put into his stall in the choir of the cathedral, thus “in-stall”.

    I’m told that the new Master is pushed firmly into the chair. That’s all I know about the actual installation ceremony, as only Masters and Past Masters are allowed to see it.