Saturday, February 5, 2011

A grand imperial conclave

With Anne, I attended today my very first Grand Imperial Conclave of the Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine -- at my local masonic hall. The occasion was the enthronement of a most illustrious grand sovereign. That is he above. You would think they would give him a crown, wouldn't you? He's a very nice guy actually. The local masons have chosen well.

It was a very elaborate ceremonial carried out very well. We also had a modest lunch afterward. I was slightly surprised at how Christian the whole occasion was. Pomp and circumstance has been associated with religion for a very long time so the Masons are bearers of an old tradition in that regard.

I enjoyed the old hymns ("Onward Christian soldiers"; "When I survey the wondrous cross") and was also pleased to hear both the Australian national anthem and the Royal anthem rendered well. We had a loyal toast during lunch too, as is appropriate in a monarchy, which Australia is.

They had a beadle-cum-M.C. running the show who was very impressive: Stern and stentorian but with a keen sense of humour that burst out from time to time. I asked him if he was an ex-army man but he said not. He would have made a great RSM

Freemasonry is not my cup of tea but I wish them well. I am sure they are a positive influence. There was a lot of joy in the gathering I saw. Anne liked the fact that the men were all spiffingly turned-out -- in formal white jackets etc.

I myself do in fact own a grey tailsuit, complete with dickey-fronted shirt, white waistcoat and white tie but I can't fit into it these days. At age 67 I am still a growing boy -- but not in the right direction, unfortunately.


I wonder if I should mention a VERY small point about the lunch:

For drinks we were offered: light beer, Lemonade, Golden Circle Sarsaparilla and Ballantynes's Scotch whisky. Being an old Queenslander from way back, I chose Sarsaparilla. So I am slightly embarrassed to say that I toasted the Queen in Sarsaparilla! I have never liked drinking alcohol during the day and Sars is a real Queensland drink. It is only in recent decades that you have been able to get it in Southern states. Americans would recognize it as a form of root beer.

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