Reply to a toast given by the JW during the Festive Board on 2nd June 2012 (Installation Meeting of WBro Jörg-Thomas M)

WM, MW GM, Grand Lodge Officers, Worshipful Brethren and Brethren All – and in this Olympic year …, fellow athletes (looking at 2 very large visitors!) I thank all members of Lodge Niederrhein for the warmth of their welcome and their hospitality – especially Jörg-Thomas’ generosity in buying all the visitors a drink … here it is …, I will take a sip and pass it round. Brethren, all joking apart, I must say that as visitors the welcome we receive from the members is never less than outstanding. We were very pleased in Doncaster to receive a visit from quite a few Lodge Niederrhein Masons and I have to say Bro Glyn, that suit still holds its creases well.

I am aware of the language difficulties of such a diverse collection of Masons so will speech slowly for the benefit of those not lucky enough to be born Yorkshiremen! The language of the English ritual can be confusing and I remember last year Jörg-Thomas asking me to explain why, in the NE corner, we use the phrase ‘circumstances of unavoidable calamity and misfortune’ when according to the dictionary misfortune and calamity have virtually the same meaning. I explained that if Ronaldo were walking along the banks of the river and fell in it would be a misfortune … if anyone were to pull him out it would be a calamity.

I note there are some Greek Masons here – like a few other countries they are experiencing the worst recession for years – indeed in Barnsley the recession really is biting – there was a sign on the side of a van saying ‘no pies kept in this van overnight’. Brethren, we were earlier treated to a superb ceremony and all the officers are to be congratulated. I am however mindful of the story of a Lodge Niederrhein Past Master who died and went to the Grand Lodge above. St Peter made him very welcome and on finding out he was a Mason took him to a door which on opening revealed a long corridor. The Past Master entered and saw walls covered in what appeared to be clocks but with just one hand. As he watched some of the hands mover – tick – some move tick, tick, tick, then were stationary and then moved again. Some hardly moved. Fascinated he approached the ‘clocks’ and saw beneath a plaque with a lodge name and number on. He asked St Peter what this all meant. St Peter said that each time a Lodge made a mistake in the Ritual, the hand ticked round. The Past Master said that he had had a good look but couldn’t see a clock for Lodge Niederrhein. St Peter explained ‘Ah yes, yours is in the kitchen – we use it as a fan!’

This of course couldn’t be said of today and I must make mention of the addresses. WBro David was his usual excellent self (cross hands as per DS!!) and I am reminded of the day he entered a bookshop in Stratford and asked for a book by Shakespeare. The shop assistant asked which one to which David replied William.

As to the working tools given by three Brethren who come from the dark side – Lancashire – all was well till I realised one of them was a Scouser … never seen a working tool in his life!! Bro JW I thank you for the terms of your toast and you Brethren for the way you received them.


Yours S&F WBro Arthur