Thursday 31st March once again saw WBro Andy Gentle and Bro Nick Moulton back in the saddle to ride over to Ipswich to visit Gippeswyk Lodge. The weather that morning had been very nice with some sunshine and spring was definitely in the air. So much so that for the first time this year the cyclists felt confident to leave the mountain bikes in the garage and jump on the road bikes, lighter, faster and easier to pedal…….but nowhere near as comfortable!
The journey went well and was uneventful but Bro Nick had to put up with WBro Andy’s moaning who did the journey in a degree of pain due to a half-ton log-splitting machine toppling over onto him the day before! As the cyclists approached Ipswich some miles in the distance they could see the dark rain clouds gathering and braced themselves for a soaking. However all they had to endure was a few spots of rain but as they got to Ipswich the roads were awash with large puddles. Arriving at the Soane Street they were greeted by WBro Cliff Sargeant in the support van and numerous other Brethren who enquired if they missed the hailstones and torrential rain. A lucky escape indeed!!
The cyclists were warmly welcomed and once changed just had time for a quick beer before the meeting. Gippeswyk being one of the three Hall Stone Jewel Lodges in Suffolk was this evening hosting the annual get together of the three Lodges and other members of Priory and Royal Clarence were also in attendance. Also in attendance were six Chelsea Pensioners who were visiting that evening, all retired soldiers and masons, resplendent in their scarlet uniforms. The visiting Brethren were all treated to a presentation of sections 1-6 of the First Lecture, which was done extremely well by the members of the Lodge of Instruction. The Provincial Grand Master RWBrother Ian Yeldam was also visiting that evening and was presented with a cheque for £5,000 by the Lodge in support of the Festival.
Following this over 75 Brethren then retired from the temple and sat down to a most welcome festive board. Once again there was much good cheer, hearty food and great conversation. WBro Andy was given the opportunity to stand and explain a little about the cycling challenge that he and Bro Moulton were involved in to support the Festival and then two pint glasses were passed along the tables for the brethren to make donations. This realised a terrific sum of £200 for which the cyclists were most grateful.
Thanks must once again go to WBro Cliff Sargeant from Priory Lodge who drove the support van to get the cyclists and their bicycles back home after the meeting.
Once again a very enjoyable and worthwhile visit. Thank you Gippeswyk Lodge.
Next Visit: Orient Lodge No4085 in Lowestoft, April 6th
Miles to date: 799
Lodges visited: 29
Lodges to go: 38