On Thursday 2nd April W Bro Andy Gentle and Bro Gareth Evans set out on the longest trip of this year so far, this being some 35 miles, to visit Colneis Lodge No 8292 in Felixstowe. The weather had been pretty awful for most of the week and the boys had been considering fitting sails to their bikes but on the actual day the weather finally broke and they had a dry ride with even a hint of sunshine towards the end. The boys made excellent time averaging 18.3mph which they were well pleased with especially considering their relative inexperience as cyclists. They were helped more than a little by the discovery that despite everywhere else being uphill from Sudbury, Felixstowe is downhill from Ipswich and so the last 8 miles flew by. This in turn caused the boys to arrive in such good time that they were able to relax and enjoy a pint in the sun. The combination of sun and beer mildly affected W Bro Andy’s navigational skills though as he proceeded to lead Bro Evans a merry dance around the one way streets and indeed caused them to cycle straight past the lodge itself.
As the boys have cycled around the county visiting the lodges they have also experienced how each lodge does things slightly differently. Colneis Lodge is no exception here, as W Bro Gentle and Bro Evans found themselves, along with all the other visitors on the night, being held outside the door of the lodge until after the opening, at which point all the visitors were individually brought in, announced to the Lodge and given the opportunity to great the WM. It was the lodges past masters night, and the cyclists found themselves witnessing yet another variation here too. As each past master was announced and led to his chair the WM also announced the year the W Bro had been in the chair himself. Both these variations were much appreciated, as visiting 67 lodges who all did exactly the same could become a little repetitive. The ceremony itself was a second degree and was excellently conducted by the past masters who showed that they were in no way past it at all!
The festive board was a very friendly event with excellent food and drink, great camaraderie and led by a WM in fine fettle within a very happy lodge. The WM and W Bro Gentle are both keen motorcyclists which provided for a healthy topic of non-masonic conversation throughout the evening. This being their Easter meeting. each brother received an Easter egg as well, yet another nice touch! W Bro Andy Gentle did the reply to the visitors toast and thanked the Brethren for the donation of £150. Bro Glenn Lee and W Bro Neville Warnes also made personal donations of £20 each making the sum for the evening a most appreciated £190. The cyclists and their support driver much appreciated the lodge treating them as their dining guests too, a welcome and unexpected gesture.
W Bro Ken Davis (Babergh) provided the logistical support transporting the cyclists, their bikes and his raffle prize home. W Bro Gentle also won a raffle prize but Bro Evans drew a blank and so commiserated with himself in the back of the van on the way home by eating his egg!
Next Visit: Abbey Lodge ( No 1592) 9th April 2015, Bury St Edmunds
Miles to date: 446
Lodges visited: 14
Lodges to go: 53