A bright and early start saw five intrepid masons board the 7:06 train at Taunton bound for Paddington. Arriving at Paddington we headed for the Underground when passing down the steps E Comp Tony Beaumont tripped about eight steps up his case went flying but somehow he managed to stay upright! That was Tony’s second incident as on boarding the train someone was sitting in his seat. On to the Bakerloo Line then the Central Line at which point I, E Comp Adrian Halliwell, kept the carriage door open so that the others could board we headed for Holborn. Once out of the station we headed for the Costa Coffee shop where there were several other similar clad men were drinking, quite a few known by E Comps Chris Moore and Maldwyn Davies!
After a leisurely coffee we headed for Grand Lodge where we met MEGS E Comp John Bennett standing outside. A quick look in the masonic shop then it was off to the changing rooms, Grand Officers off through one door and myself and E Comp Alan Dummett through another. It was Alan and I’s first trip to Supreme Grand Chapter and somewhat confusing, but we managed, unlike Chris Moore who managed to get in to the Grand Superintendents’ and distinguished changing room where he beat a hasty retreat.
Once clothed in our respective regalia we headed into the Grand Temple and took our seats, E Comp Ray Beckingham and Tony Beaumont on the right and us lower mortals on the left. E Comp Barry Woodside had managed to secure his favourite single seat right next to the main aisle!
The formal procession took place and ME First Grand Principal HRH Duke of Kent presided over the meeting. After greetings were to distinguished visitors from overseas the appointments were next on the agenda. E Comp Ray was fourth in the queue to receive his promotion to Past Grand Assistant Sojourner then after many more E Comp Tony (he with his sash inside out) received his fist appointment as Past Grand Standard Banner Bearer. In the meantime E Comps from Weston-super-Mare, Andy Clapp, Sandy Glenn, Geoff Lester and Ray Johnston-Smith, sneaked in to the upper gallery in time to see E Comp Ray get his collar.
After the closing all met up outside for the shortish walk to Davey’s Wine Bar for a snack lunch where others from the Provincial Team. In all there were 21 Team members plus Alan Dummett. After lunch we then crossed the road to Mark Masons’ Hall ready for the Somersetshire Chapter Convocation. E Comps Sandy Glenn and Geoff Lester were drafted in as DC and ADC of the Chapter. The Provincial Team entered in procession and took our allocated seats then the Chapter received E Comp Ian Curran, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent. At item eight on the Agenda E Comp John Bennett was invited to take the chair and gave the history of the HRA Tracing Board given to MEZ, E Comp Ronald Blackhurst, at the Provincial Convocation in May. E Comp Alan Holton, DGS, then narrated the explanation of the Tracing Board with members of the Provincial Team reading their allotted parts. This was received well and E Comp Ian Curran thanked the MEGS and Team for coming to Somersetshire Chapter and said that next time the Team came the Metropolitan Grand Chapter would put on something similar.
The Chapter was closed and all adjourned to the bar and thence to the dining hall for an exquisite five course meal, wine and coffee. During the toasts several of the Team had to leave to get homeward bound trains involving a taxi dash across town to Paddington.
For me it was an enlightening experience and I thank my travelling companions, the rest of the Team and the members and guests of Somersetshire Chapter for a wonderful day.
E Comp Adrian Halliwell
Prov Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Prov Liaison Officers