With our friends from Lodge Kirknewton & Ratho No. 85, we enjoyed another excellent visit to Essex and it was great to meet up with 'old' friends and meet new brethren.
We had a good flight down to Stanstead, followed by a short coach journey to Colchester.
The George Hotel was the same as ever, with every footstep accompanied by the creaks and groans that are part of a building that dates back to the 14th century.
Looking at how the town's main street is now, the building sure has seen more than just a few changes over the years!!
And I didn't realize until this year that Colchester is the UK's first recorded town.
Having entered the Temple as a deputation midway through the meeting, we saw two of the candidates initiated, but all four were part of a programme to attract entrants from university.
Oh to have four brethren of this age join 482 - or indeed freemasonry in general - on a regular basis!!
Along with Bro. Potter, R.W.M. of No. 85, I had the honour of replying to the toast to the visitors. And as I was also R.W.M. for the Ostrea Lodge visit to 482 last year, this completed an 'Ostrea Lodge Double' for me - a rare privilege indeed.
Of course, no visit South of the Border would be complete without a song from our resident artist Bro. Les Duff P.M. Bro. Les entertained everyone, first of all with the Dougie MacLean number 'Caledonia', followed - of course - by 'The Star O' Rabbie Burns, with all the Scottish brethren giving the chorus its traditional enthusiastic gusto!!
We now look forward to welcoming the Ostrea Lodge brethren back to Kirkliston in 2013.
The following week brought more good news with the arrival of our new carpet and it was great it arrived in time for our regular meeting on Wednesday.
This added a new dimension to our degree and is yet another important step forward for Lodge Kirkliston Maitland.
We still have some things to do but we're well on the way to making it look even more like 'home'.
The degree itself went really well, with a good number of visitors in attendance - and a big thanks to Bro. Hugh Patterson R.W.M. and the brethren of Lodge Hopetoun St. John 1232 for bringing such a large contingent on the night.
Our next meeting on March 21st will be a 2nd Degree.