Saturday, 30 September 2017

30th September 2017 - and breathe

Thought for the day:"I was hooked on auctions after only going once ...going twice"

End of a busy week ... Chapter installation (Organ), Craft Installation (Songs), Craft Installation (my own, Organist, IPM, installing officer), Court Instruction - Macclesfield (Dep PGM) and Secret Monitor Conclave - Chair and lecture...   - and breathe...

Not going to say much today ..
Glass of Chateau 41 ... and some cheese and Biscuits...


Friday, 29 September 2017

September 29th 2017 - Another Busy Day

Thought for the day:"I just found out I'm colorblind. The diagnosis came completely out of the purple."

A trip across Wales to Macclesfield - but a worthwhile trip. Instruction in the Court of Athelwin (Athelstan) and the last meeting of the Court as a member of Magonsaeton...    A nice meeting, and good fellowship - next meeting of the Court in March - will be after the re consecration of the province .. but a great welcome was received.

Not much time for other musing - other than to congratulate Kerys in the Invictus Games on her Gold Medal and bronze team medal - what a star !!!

I am pleased to be able to say that I am acquainted with some very special people ..

Lots of driving today
Secret Monitor tomorrow - and need to finalise my talk

Cheers !

Thursday, 28 September 2017

28th September 2017 - National Poetry Day - Dydd Barddoniaeth Hapus

Thought for the day:"Anything is a boomerang if you throw it straight up."

Another busy day today - this time St Teilo Installation - and up until about 8pm last night I thought I would be entering a Masonic Year in the Craft without an office - for the first time in my Masonic Career of 34 years - and at eight o clock I was told that our honorary Organist had asked for a sabbatical for a year while he moved house and settled in - which leave me back at the Organ again !

Well - I didn't want to be sitting on my backside really !
However - it will be difficult to try to sing the Master's Song and Visitor's Song and play the piano at the same time - hoping that there will be some keyboard player available at the festive Board - I can wing the rest of it ...

And happy National Poetry Day...  and the theme for 2017 is Freedom - Dydd Barddoniaeth Hapus

The six foot duck
Very few have seen
This distinctive breed of bird;
It was reared on royal farms
When required by George the third.
But what the king desired
When he made the regal wish
Was a duck with four more legs
For his next majestic dish.
For when the chance arose
He ate drumsticks by the score
And the six foot duck he meant
Would produce an extra four.
So now the end result
Of this misconstructed request
Is a lanky useless bird
That can build a six foot nest.

A Road Less traveled
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

27th September 2017 - Tyler's Song

Thought for the day:"Once you start making Freudian slips it is just one after a mother"

So, a trip up to Aberaeron last night as guest of the incoming Master - a previous colleague from the Forensic Service in Dyfed-Powys Police and now retired.
I took a speaker and microphone up and sang the Tyler's Song or Tyler's Toast - of course looked up my paperwork this morning and found that I had the words and music already in my Music Folder - but neglected to look for it in my own resources...

Of course that has a lot of black notes in it so I did it in A and changed the tune a bit - 'cos I can !!

The version I found was from 1852 and it went down quite well ...

Tyler's Song


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

26th September 2017 - Of Blind Doctrines

Thought for the day:"My boss says I intimidate the other employees, so I just stared at him until he apologized"

I mused about the Tyler's Toast yesterday - but found a couple of interesting pictures today of a blind member of the fraternity who had decided that his dog probably knew as much of the ritual as did he. This is probably true of my own dogs over the years as they have had to listen to me mumbling away as I learn the various sections form the famous black book ( or red or blue etc )

Clearly a Past Master

with his Past Master's Jewel

Proud Pair
On other matters I cam across an article concerning the reasons why the Catholic Church has always proved to be antagonistic to Freemasonry. The article is written by a Ed Condon, a Canon Lawyer of the Catholic Church and first appeared in the Catholic Herald in April 2017. His original doctoral dissertation was upon the Catholic Sanctions against Freemasonry and places an interesting insight into the reasoning - he argues that it is not anti-Freemasonry, but anti any organisation which has a social structure that could be considered to undermine the controls of the Catholic Church. I have copied in full as these things have a tendency to disappear in the future or proved hard to find ....

"The mutual antagonism of the Catholic Church and Freemasonry is well established and longstanding. For most of the past 300 years they have been acknowledged, even in the secular mindset, as implacably opposed. In recent decades the animosity between the two has faded somewhat from the public consciousness as the Church’s direct institutional involvement in civil affairs has become less pronounced and as Freemasonry has waned dramatically in numbers and prominence. But as Freemasonry turns 300 years old, it is worth revisiting what was at the core of the Church’s absolute opposition to the group. Freemasonry can appear to be little more than an esoteric men’s club, but it was and remains a highly influential philosophical movement – one which has made a dramatic, if little-noticed, impact on modern Western society and politics.
The history of Freemasonry itself is long and interesting. Its gradual transformation from the medieval workers’ guilds of stonemasons into a network of secret societies with their own Gnostic philosophy and rituals is a fascinating tale in itself. The era of the latter version of Freemasonry began with the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 in the Goose & Gridiron pub near St Paul’s Cathedral. In the early days, before the Church made any formal pronouncement on the subject, many Catholics were members and the English Catholic and Jacobite diaspora was crucial to spreading Freemasonry to continental Europe. At one point it was so popular among Catholics in some places that Francis I of Austria served as a formal patron.
And yet the Church became the greatest foe of the Masonic lodges. Between Clement XII in 1738 and the promulgation of the first Code of Canon Law in 1917, a total of eight popes wrote explicit condemnations of Freemasonry. All provided the strictest penalty for membership: automatic excommunication reserved to the Holy See. But what did and does the Church mean by Freemasonry? What are its qualities which are so worthy of condemnation?
It is sometimes said that the Church opposed Freemasonry because of the lodges’ supposedly revolutionary or seditious character. There is a widespread assumption that Masonic lodges were essentially political cells for republics and other reformers, and the Church opposed them as part of a defence of the old regime of absolute monarchy in which she was institutionally invested. But while political sedition would eventually come to the front of the Church’s opposition to Masonic membership, this was by no means the initial reason the Church opposed the Masons. What Clement XII described in his original denunciation was not a revolutionary republican society but a group spreading and enforcing religious indifferentism: the belief that all religions (and none) are of equal worth, and that in Masonry all are united in service to a higher, unifying understanding of virtue. Catholics, as members, would be asked to put their membership of the lodge above their membership of the Church. The strict prohibition, in other words, was not for political purposes but for the care of souls.
From the outset, the primary concern of the Church has been that Masonry suborns a Catholic’s faith to that of the lodge, obliging them to place a fundamental secularist fraternity above communion with the Church. The legal language, and penalties, used in the condemnations of Freemasonry were actually very similar to those used in the suppression of the Albigensians: the Church sees Freemasonry as a form of heresy. While the Masonic rites themselves contain considerable material which can be called heretical, and is in some instances explicitly anti-Catholic, the Church has always been far more concerned with the overarching philosophical content of Freemasonry rather than its ritual pageantry.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the Catholic Church and its privileged place in the government and society of many European countries became the subject of growing secularist opposition and even violence. Now, there is little if any historical evidence of the lodges playing an active role in beginning the French Revolution. However, the anti-clerical and anti-Catholic horrors of the Revolution can be traced back to the secularist mentality described in the various papal bulls outlawing the Masonic lodges. Masonic societies were condemned not because they set out to threaten civil or Church authorities but because such a threat was the inevitable consequence of their existence and growth. Revolution was the symptom, not the disease.
The alignment of Church and state interests, and their assault by seditious and revolutionary secret societies, were clearest where the Church and state were one: in the Papal States of the Italian peninsula. As the 19th century began, a new iteration of Freemasonry came to prominence which was explicit in its revolutionary character and avowed in its opposition to the Church; they called themselves the Carbonari, or charcoal merchants. They sanctioned and practised both assassination and armed insurrection against the various governments of the Italian peninsula in their campaign for a secular constitutional government, and were perceived as an immediate threat to the faith, the Papal States and the person of the pope.
The link between the passive threat of the philosophy and secrecy of Masonry and the active revolutionary plots and acts of the Carbonari was laid out in Pius VII’s apostolic constitution Ecclesiam a Jesu Christo, promulgated in 1821. While the Carbonari’s avowed and active opposition to the temporal governance of the Papal States was addressed and condemned, it was still made clear that the gravest threat posed even by these violently revolutionary cells was their philosophy of secularism.
Throughout all the various papal condemnations of Freemasonry, even when lodges were actively supporting military campaigns against the pope, as they did with Garibaldi’s conquest and unification of Italy, what was always the first objection of the Church to the Lodge was its threat to the faith of Catholics and the freedom of the Church to act in society. The undermining of the teachings of the Church in the lodges, and the suborning of her authority on matters of faith and morals, were described repeatedly as a plot against the faith, both in individuals and in society.
In the encyclical Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII described the Masonic agenda as the exclusion of the Church from participation in public affairs and the gradual erosion of her rights as an institutional member of society. During his time as Pope, Leo wrote a great many condemnations of Freemasonry, pastoral and legal. He outlined, in detail, what the Church considered to be the Masonic agenda and, reading it with contemporary eyes, it is still shockingly relevant.
He specifically referred to the aim of secularising the state and society. He referenced in particular the exclusion of religious education from state schools and the concept of “the State, which [Masonry believes] ought to be absolutely atheistic, having the inalienable right and duty to form the heart and the spirit of its citizens.” He also decried the Masonic desire to remove the Church from any control in, or influence over, schools, hospitals, public charities, universities and any other body serving the public good. Also specifically highlighted was the Masonic push for the reimagining of marriage as a merely civil contract, the promotion of divorce, and support for the legalisation of abortion.
It is almost impossible to read this agenda and not recognise it as the underpinning of almost all of our contemporary political discourse. The settled view on these matters of many, if not all, of our major political parties, indeed the very concept of the secular state and its consequences on Western society, including the pervasive divorce culture and near universal availability of abortion, is a victory of the Masonic agenda. And this raises very real canonical questions about Catholic participation in the modern secular political process.
Throughout the centuries of papal condemnations of Freemasonry, it was normal for each pope to include the names of new societies that shared the Masonic philosophy and agenda and which should be understood by Catholics to come under the heading of “Masonic” in terms of canon law. By the 20th century, this had come to include political parties and movements such as communism.
When the Code of Canon Law was reformed, following Vatican II, the canon specifically prohibiting Catholics from joining “Masonic societies” was revised. In the new code, promulgated in 1983 by St John Paul II, explicit mention of Freemasonry was dropped completely. The new Canon 1374 referred only to societies that “plot against the Church”. Many took this change to indicate that Freemasonry was no longer always bad in the eyes of the Church. In fact, the reforming committee made it clear that they meant not just Freemasons, but many other organisations; the “plot” of its secularist agenda had spread so far beyond the lodges that to keep using the umbrella term “Masonic” would be confusing. The then Cardinal Ratzinger issued an authoritative clarification of the new law in 1983, in which he made it clear that the new canon was phrased to encourage broader interpretation and application.
Given the crystal-clear understanding in Church teaching regarding what the Masonic plot or agenda against the Church includes (marriage as a merely civil contract open to divorce at will, abortion, exclusion of religious education from public schools, exclusion of Church from the provision of social welfare and or control of charities), it seems impossible not to ask: how many of the major political parties in the West can now be said to fall under the prohibition of Canon 1374? The answer may well be rather uncomfortable for those who want to see an end to the so-called culture wars in the Church.
More recently, Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of his grave concern at Masonic infiltration of the Curia and other Catholic organisations. At the same time, he has warned against the Church becoming a mere “NGO” in its methods and goals – which is the direct danger of that secularist mentality which the Church has always called a Masonic philosophy.
Masonic infiltration of the hierarchy and Curia has long been treated as a kind of Catholic version of monsters under the bed, or McCarthyite paranoia about commie infiltrators. In fact, when you speak to people who work in the Vatican, you will quickly discover that for every two or three people who laugh at the very notion, you can find someone who has directly encountered it. I myself know at least two people who were approached about joining during their time working in Rome. The role of Masonic lodges as a confidential meeting point and network for those with heterodox ideas and agendas has changed little from pre-Revolutionary France to the modern Vatican; 300 years after the founding of the first Grand Lodge, the conflict between the Church and Freemasonry is still very much alive.
Ed Condon is a canon lawyer. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the history of the Church’s legal sanctions against Freemasons

Tercentenary Jewel 2017 

Monday, 25 September 2017

25th September 2017 - The Mystic Tie

Thought for the day:"Guess who I saw today - everyone I looked at !"

Another busy day!!   Seems that they are all a little busy these days.
Playing the organ for the installation of St Elliw Chapter (Royal Arch) this evening and trying to get some paperwork done. Doesn't sound that interesting - but prevents any long diatribes upon the web...
Also learning for the installation on Thursday (St Teilo) and getting ready for a quick song after the installation in Aberaeron tomorrow afternoon.

In this case it is to sing the Tyler's Toast - or rather the pre-amble to the Tyler's toast.

In all Freemasons lodges, the last toast of the evening is by the Tyler - the Officer who normally sits outside the lodge to keep off "all intruders and cowans to Freemasonry" - an outer Guard.
At the end of the evening - it it is the custom to remember those who could not be with us - for whatever reason, be it that they are just away or sick or in troubles...

The Toast is "To all poor and distressed Freemasons, dispersed abroad, over land or sea, wishing them a speedy relief from their troubles and a safe return to their native land - should they so desire"

However - over the years, a preamble has been used .. and until now I was unsure of its derivation...

"Brethren of the Mystic Tyle 
 The night is waning fast
 Our work is done, our feast is o'er
 This toast must be the last
 Good Night to all once more good night
 Again that farewell strain
 Happy to meet, sorry to part - and Hoping to meet again.."

But the incoming Master of Aeron Lodge in Aberaeron, who started his Freemasonry in the North East of England, tells me that "oop North" they sing a version of the Tylers Toast preamble - and lo and behold the last verse is the "Mystic Tyle" verse...

THE FINAL TOAST (The Tyler's Toast) Peter Richards The Masonic Vocal Manual 1852 
Are your glasses charged in the West and South, the Worshipful Master cries; 
They're charged in the West, they're charged in the South, are the Wardens' prompt replies: 
Then to our final Toast tonight your glasses fairly drain 
Happy to meet - sorry to part - happy to meet again, again, Oh! happy to meet again. 

CHORUS: Happy to meet - sorry to part - happy to meet again, again, Oh! happy to meet again. 

The Mason's social Brotherhood around the Festive Board, 
Reveal a wealth more precious far than selfish miser's hoard. 
They freely share the priceless stores that generous hearts contain 
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again! 

We work like Masons free and true, and when our Task is done, 
A merry song and cheering glass are not unduly won: 
And only at our Farewell Pledge is pleasure touched with pain 
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again! 

Amidst our mirth we drink "To all poor Masons o'er the World" 
On every shore our Flag of Love is gloriously unfurled, 
We prize each Brother, fair or dark, who bears no moral stain - 
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again! 

The Mason feels the n e truth the Scottish peasant told 
That Rank is but the guinea stamp, the man himself's the gold. 
With us the rich and poor unite and equal Rights maintain 
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again! 

Dear Brethren of the Mystic Tie, the night is waning fast 
Our Duty's done, our feast is o'er, this song must be our last: - 
Good Night, Good Night- once more, once more repeat the farewell strain
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again! 
And so we get the musical version ....

I raise my glass...

Sunday, 24 September 2017

24th September 2017 - Of Horse's Asses

Thought for the day:"I finally worked out what I want to be when I get older - younger!"

A Golden Oldie and one that I used to have as part of a "Response for the Visitors" Toast - but not really knowing where it is at the moment I thought I would re-iterate it here so that I know where it is in the future..

On the subject of  Railway Lines......

A history lesson for people who think that history doesn't matter:

What's the big deal about railroad tracks?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?
Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

So, why did 'they' use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.

And what about the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature, of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system, was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything and....

CURRENT Horses Asses are controlling everything else.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

23rd September 2017 - Provincial Athelstan

Thought for the day:"I want a wallet with free refills"

So.. Provincial Meeting for the Order of Athelstan

and a few photos ...

A good day ....  

Friday, 22 September 2017

22nd September 2017 - Just a thought

Thought for the day "Some people are so poor that all they have is money"

Just a thought as I am heading for Leominster - unless I say something later

Thursday, 21 September 2017

21st September 2017 - Home Again - Jiggedy Jig

Thought for the day: "The guy who discovered milk .. What exactly was he doing with the cow?"

Just a few piccies and thoughts ..
Cheers - or as they say Yammas !

Friday, 15 September 2017

15th September 2017 - Crete day 2

Thought for the day :"Let me tell you a little about myself - it is a reflexive pronoun that means 'me' "

Some evening shots of Agios Nikolaus...

Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at:
“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

Read more at: is a little hot i
It is a little hot in the day
λευκό κρασί  - don't mind if I do ...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

14th September 2017 - Crete - Day 1

Thought for the day:“If you don’t know what introspection is, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself.”

Sunning in Crete and |Scarlett and Bun pop by...  and a gift from Allie Ballie for Scarlett...

best go for dinner now
cheers !

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

13th September 2017 - On my Travels

Thought for the day:"I'm selling some old tennis equipment - but I am not sure what is the net worth …"

Pimms O'clock

No Pimms o'clock
Meanwhile I should be in Crete

and in other news...


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

12th September 2017 - It's all News to Me

Thought for the day:"Did the inventor of the Umbrella want to call it a 'Brella' but hesitated?"

You can see some strange things as you wander around the tintertweb...  apparently wood lice can be called many things - who would have known?

And in other news - you just have to look at the papers...

Enjoy the day - I am off to Crete for a week ...