A Year In The Life of WM

My year as SW was quickly drawing to a close and I was beginning to get nervous about the forthcoming installation meeting. I was to become the first MM to be installed into the chair at Quadrant Lodge for several years, as for those past years we had had to rely on past masters to step in to do the job. However, we were now in a stronger position with several MM following on behind me.

The big day arrived and I was placed into the chair of King Solomon in an exemplary ceremony performed by our outgoing master W.Bro. Tom Mather.

Another person who was equally as nervous as myself that day was my wife Susan who was having to organise and entertain twenty something of the brethrens ladies at the Atrium Restaurant at the Dalmeny Hotel where we were later to join them.

The day turned out to be a great success for everyone concerned and after leaving my brother-in-law's, who was also our Director of Ceremony‘s, house just before 5 am the following morning after a marathon of an extended party, we managed to get to bed around 6 am.

Two hours later, after waking up startled by the alarm clock we had to make our way back down to the Fairhaven hotel at Lytham, from our home in Blackpool, were I was to carry out my first official duty as Master and take part in the first of these current 10.kilometer sponsored charity walks.

During the course of the walk Susan asked me how it felt to be the new master of the lodge and I told her that for some strange reason I felt somehow different. There was no single thing I could put my finger on but I just generally felt different.

I had always been a shy sort of person and had never enjoyed or sought to be the centre of attention but after going through the previous days ceremony I was in a semi state of shock, or I suppose it could just have been the lack of sleep.

Well, here I was master of my own lodge and I didn’t have a clue what to expect. Even though I had served every progressive office from Tyler upwards I was still relatively inexperienced. So much so that in the seven years I had been in masonry I had only ever visited at most six times in the whole of that time. Little did I know how this was going to change and how many new friends I was going to meet along the journey during my mastership year.

From the day of my installation at the end of April until the start of the summer recess at the end of May I had visited one different lodge each week and thought that was a lot, especially due to my past visiting record.

I had been looking forward to our May meeting as it would be my first full meeting as master, however I was a little apprehensive as I was to perform a first degree ceremony which I had been working hard to learn.

The summer recess arrived as a welcome break from all the learning but it was short lived as I was now scheduled to do a third degree ceremony when we next met in September.

September's meeting came along and I raised Bro. Gavin Mathams. During the next month I visited another six lodges before raising Bro. John Lynn in October.

November was a quiet month with just two visits being made before our next meeting. This one turned out to be an easy night for myself as our IPM Tom Mather gave a fine explanation of the third degree traditional history to Bro. John Lynn who had been raised at the previous meeting.

We would not now meet again until January as we never used to meet in December due to its closeness to Christmas so during this interval I managed to fit in thirteen visits.

At our January meeting I did the last three quarters of the second degree tracing board after Bro. Mason Wheeler had ably assisted me by performing the first part of the task.

I had now started to visit some of the Poulton lodges on a regular basis and made friends with several of the Lodges Masters. It was a real pleasure to visit these various lodges as they made you feel so welcome and there was what they called “the Masters circuit” whereby all the Masters from the lodges meeting in that building are automatically invited to every meeting that takes place. So when you visit one of these lodges as a master there will be several other masters present and you all sit together in lodge and at the festive board. In no time at all you have made numerous new friends to whose ladies nights, old English nights, Sunday lunches and every other meeting and occasion you are invited to.

I don’t know if this was ever the practice at the Palace building at St. Annes but it should be considered for adoption if not. Thinking back, I had thought it a little strange when at my installation after being introduced to one of the visiting St. Annes masters and inviting him to come along to our next meeting, he replied, “thank you very much, I would love to come, and do you know you are the first master to give me an invite and I’m almost at the end of my year”. There’s got to be something wrong here.

Back to the plot. I had made another thirteen visits before our own next meeting in February. Of these one visit on 8th February was to Kilgrimol Lodge who were sadly holding their last ever meeting. This was to be followed only some three or so weeks later by my attendance at the last ever meeting of Aemulantes Lodge both of whom have now amalgamated with ourselves to form a new stronger Quadrant Lodge.

Once again February’s meeting turned out to be another easy night for myself when W. Bro. Mike Middleton came to our rescue by giving us a fine lecture entitled “King Solomon”. Ten more visits were undertaken before our Old English Night in March. Traditionally our March meeting is classed as a business meeting when the new master is elected along with numerous other positions being decided. Business and Lodge work completed, we afterwards had an enjoyable festive board and were entertained by a very good comedian come singer called Chris Briton, who was himself the Master of his own lodge over in Oldham.

Panic stations are now again setting in as our installation ceremony starts to loom closer but I manage to fit another ten visits in before the big day.

Well the day finally arrives. Everyone’s always telling you how quickly the year will go and it’s true. I again had mixed feeling about the occasion. In one way I would be glad to get it all over with but in another I would be sad to let go. Well, the day worked out fine, we all got through our parts and our new master David Lawn is now at the helm. Like myself, I know David started off apprehensive but I hope that when he looks back as I am now doing he will realise it’s been the best year of his life.

Incidentally, in the fourteen days since the installation we’ve attended two ladies evenings and I’ve visited three more lodges, it’s not over yet, but at least I don’t now have the lodges DC coming up and saying where do you want to respond, in lodge or out. Happy days!!

John Chapman