An out of Province visit to the AEPOW

What a lovely response from a distant visitor to our Province, it shows what an enjoyable fraternity we are.

‘Worshipful Master, Brother Wardens, Provincial Grand Master, Distinguished Brethren and Brethren All,

It has taken me 33 years to reach the Chair of King Solomon, which I did at the end of October last year.  What soon became clear to me was that I should have done it sooner and for someone who has shied away from any form of public speaking – the Temple greetings and response to the Visitors toasts have been a real joy – according to my diary this is my 7th.

However tonight I do feel a little overawed by the occasion and indeed the illustrious company.  I have an Official Provincial Visit this month myself.  It is always an honour to be asked to respond, on behalf of the Visitors – but gosh tonight – what a wonderful ceremony and I do congratulate you Worshipful Master in taking that big step into the Chair of King Soloman, but within a Lodge that I am confident, will support you in all your lawful undertakings.

As Installing Master WBro Adrian, you Sir, were sublime and if you are free this coming Thursday 24th October in Gosport I have a small proposition to discuss with you later.   ALL of the Officers have brought credit to this magnificient Lodge tonight and my heartest congratulations to you all and especially on the way that both the Addresses and Working Tools  were presented, all were a true delight to listen too.

I had hoped to start this speech in Welsh and indeed spent some considerable time with Google and have to confess the sad result was only a ruptured tongue and now discovering that not everyone speaks Welsh anyway (Google 21.7%)  – on that matter, hasn’t Welsh caught on as a language around here?   Anyway as I failed in this noble tongue I thought the next best thing was to tell a story about Japanese as it sounds so similar to me.

On a visit to Japan, a brother was fortunate enough to be invited to a Lodge in Tokyo and at the Festive Board, the Official Visitor rather like myself this evening, stood up, bowed to the brethren, said KONICHEWA once to which the whole room bust into raptious applause and then sat down.  A few days later our brother was in Yokoharma and was again invited to join a local Lodge, however this time he was asked to respond to the Visitors toast and when called by the Junior Warden stood up looked at the 3 tables in front of him, bowed saying KONICHEWA to each of them in turn – to his utter dismay, this met with total silence as he slumped down.  Afterwards mortified at what he had done wrong he questioned his host, who just replied – you no worry, they just don’t like long speeches.

In my thanks I must also mention all the members from Prince of Wales Lodges who have travelled here tonight and particularly my own Lodge 1705 in Gosport, Hampshire, I am sure I speak for them all, in bringing hearty, warm and fraternal greetings from each of them and indeed from my own Provincial Grand Master of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Right Worshipful Bro Michael J. Wilkes.  Hopefully the name check will be noted, as I need all the assistance I can get towards my dark blue.

On the subject of visits, 1705 are, I believe, leading the way in establishing an “alliance” of Prince of Wales Lodges and so far, we from Gosport, Hampshire have visited: Ipswich, Newcastle, Belfast, Jersey, Stow-on-the-Wold, Glasgow, Bradford, LLangelli, Bray, Sutton, and Bury, we have also made contact and had a visit from the Executive Officer of the new Aircraft Carrier HMS Prince of Wales which on completion is to be based in Portsmouth Dockyard, Portsmouth Harbour is the eastern boundary of Gosport.

As we keep saying this evening, you are all very welcome to come and visit us, it took just 2¼ hours to travel from deep south to deep South, there is no language barrier – good news for the other 78.3%, what I can promise is a welcome as warm as you have given us. It was so nice to see Adrian and Tony put themselves out to visit our motley crew at Wetherspoons last night.

Finally can I thank WBro Tony Charles, esteemed Secretary of our host Prince of Wales – Albert Edward and WBro Trevor Conduit from my own Lodge for all their hard work in making tonight happen, it is much appreciated by us all, and if it is not too late to wish everyone “A Happy New Year” – BLEWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA*.  I hope we have the opportunity to visit again – assuming that Brexit doesn’t have any effect on border crossings.  Seriously, tonight I have enjoyed myself immensely, and continued my daily advancement in masonic knowledge, this shared with making new friends, what more could you ask forThank you all again.

Brother Junior Warden, thank you for the warm and kindly way you proposed our toast and to each and every brother here, for staying awake long enough to listen it, you may now turn your hearing aids down and  enjoy the rest of the evening – goodnight my Brothers.’