It’s hard enough getting to the top in any competitive arena but it’s even harder staying there. Just ask anyone at Chelsea, Barcelona, Leeds Rhinos or Old York. The eyes of the world follow your every move, expectations are unbelievably high, and the pressure is relentless. It’s often been said (me) that you’re only as good as your last job. Well, at Old York, on 28 October, we proved we’re still truly top of the Provincial Premiership staging a veritable Mark Masonic extravaganza. The glitterati turned out in droves to see W.Bro. Howard Shoesmith install Bro. John Briggs into the Chair – and it was certainly a ceremony worth watching. Everything was timed to perfection, everyone recited their ritual faultlessly, and the circumambulations emulated a carefully choreographed military manoeuvre.
The PGM, the Assistant PGM, the Deputy PGM designate, the Prov. Grand Secretary, and both Provincial Wardens were all there together with a gaggle of Very Worshipful, Grand and Provincial Grand officers and Brethren. There were even some distinguished brethren from other Orders who came to support John. In fact someone commented there was more gold in the north-east corner than in the Provincial Grand Chaplain’s shop.
We did (momentarily) pause to think of any other Masters (Derek Cope) being installed that evening as everyone who is anyone had chosen to be at Old York. But, that’s just another cross we have to bear.
Apart from outstanding ceremonial the entire evening had a somewhat gala feel to it. A visiting brother had his shirt professionally laundered and it hadn’t come out pink, and the DC assumed he was off to the Prom and turned up in a stretch limo (that wasn’t pink either, thank goodness). W.Bro. Stevie Wood gave his address to the defibrillator which hopefully we’ll never need but, if we do, let’s hope it’s easier to use than to pronounce!
W.Bro. Jagger presented Grand Lodge certificates and managed masterly to steal three candidates for TI RAMs from under the noses of a clutch of St. Hiev brethren hovering, vulture-like, in the north.
And, despite a couple of near misses at the Festive Board, the evening was such a success it firmly cemented Old York’s position as the premier Lodge in the Province (Editor: Methinks just maybe written a Brother from Old York!)
The Master announced he’s off for a ‘knees up’ in November and anticipates it could be six weeks before he’s back on his feet. It only took Jagger and I three days to recover from the Grand Lodge trip so this must be some shindig. But, because he won’t be at the Lodge next month, he’s left us in the capable care of the DC who’s giving a talk on Mark etiquette. As the installation was invitation only, if you were not fortunate enough to get a ticket (or had to go to Eland), make sure you book early for November. You might even learn something about arriving in style, you never know!