ISSUE 18, July 2006
Editorial
Archbishop Fisher: A Godly man and a Brother
Travel: The train takes the strain
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture speech by the Grand Master and Speech of the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes Grand Lodge of New York: Speech by the Pro Grand Master
   Specialist Lodges: Keeping their eyes on the ball
Education: Planning ahead for the Chair and Events and New premises for Masonic research
Royal Opera House: A right Royal occasion
Royal opening: Beamish Museum
Digital records: Saving our past for the future
Library & Museum: The hall in the garden
Queen's Birthday: Masons played a prominent part
International: A Mason and the Foreign Legion
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity and NMSF and RMBI and RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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The Best Move of our Life
My wife and I moved into Devonshire Court eight years ago. I was almost 90 years old with failing health, my wife (Liz) was a little younger, but was more seriously ill.
    We had the same concerns as anyone facing such a major change in our lifestyle. Would we feel claustrophobic, squashed into those two rooms? Would we feel lost in such a large building? Or worse still, be just another number?
    These fears proved groundless. Far from being a number, we are one big family and that includes the staff. There is a friendly face to greet you every morning with a cup of tea or coffee if necessary. You can have breakfast in your room, but we prefer to go down to the dining room. We like to be out and about and it also gives us a chance to chat with our friends.
    As for the other fears, that large building not only has a very large main lounge and a similar sized dining room, but there are smaller kitchens dotted around where you can make a drink or a snack as you want.
    There are also small lounges where you can entertain friends, who may stay for a meal with you at a very nominal cost.
    However, what we most appreciate is the feeling of security. In today’s world, feeling safe is very important especially when you get older. You also feel more relaxed, knowing that there are trained staff around 24 hours a day to help or reassure you, should you need them.
    Not only do they remind us of doctor, dentist and hospital appointments but they also arrange for transport and if necessary a carer will go with you. The manager’s door is always open, and she is around the Home most days.
    It is nice to have so many people around of our own age with whom to socialise and who are all literally on our doorstep. They can visit us, we can visit them and we don’t even have to go out if we don’t want to.
    There is a coffee morning every month, when everyone, including friends and relatives, gather to chat. We love to socialise.
    The Home has a very extensive programme of activities, with something happening virtually every day. A trip to the theatre or zoo, to a pottery or brewery, you name it – we’ve done it. We have had a pantomime at the Home, a children’s choir, bell ringers, clothes shows, comedians – even live falcons. The list is endless.
    We go to Movement to Music twice a week and get great pleasure from the Poetry Club, which meets in our beautiful conservatory. We browse in the Home library, and a mobile library calls every month too. Our room is next to the small chapel, which is very handy and it overlooks the peaceful, enclosed garden area of the Elderly Mentally Frail Unit.
    We celebrate about eight special occasions during the year. All the residents gather in the main lounge for coffee and sherry. A sumptuous meal is then served in the dining room and then back to the lounge for coffee (and liqueurs at Christmas).
    Sometimes I go down to the bowling green in the grounds to watch the play.
    It is always in use by the club that lease it, but all the residents have an open invitation to play if they wish. I don’t play on the snooker table either, but I did win the Putting Competition last year with Don.
    On my way back I usually have a word with the maintenance chaps. They can turn their hand to anything, and it is nice to have them to turn to if we have a little problem. My wife has her hair done every fortnight at the Home’s own salon, but mine doesn’t need doing quite that often! We do miss our garden, but through the gardening club, I can still potter about in the greenhouse while Liz prefers to tend to the pot plants on the patio.
    Liz also misses entertaining, especially cooking special meals. What she doesn’t miss is the daily grind of cooking, cleaning and especially ironing. All these are done for us now. The Home is spotless and the daily menu is both varied and tasty. They know from experience which dishes will be appreciated. They have earned the Health Authority’s Silver Foodwise Award for the past five years.
    Every two months we go along to an open forum in the main lounge where we can have our say about anything. It is nice to have our say and know that our feelings are respected and even acted upon. There is also a free monthly magazine to keep us up to date with all the events and activities.
    Whatever you want from life, everyone here will support you to give it your best shot.
    For more information on the RMBI and its Homes please call 0207 5962400 or visit the website at www.rmbi.org.uk




Ken and Liz Aldridge – a new life opens up


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