Lodge 1594 Installation, 2009: Kissing Twins.


The summer of 2009 was poor. What better way to cheer us all up than to fly to the sun kissed coast of the French Mediterranean. Sun, sea, good food and good company, not least our new friends in Marseille.

St. Patrick's Masonic Lodge No. 1594 G.L.N.F., Marseille, was inaugurated on 17th. March 2007, Saint Patrick's Day, in the presence of a deputation of Irish Freemasons from St. Patrick's No. Lodge 43, Carrickfergus. Since then, exchange visits between the two Lodges have been a regular feature on each other's calendar. As you know, in Irish Freemasonry, we tend to make January the Installation month. In Marseille, however, the start of the Masonic season (September) is usually the Installation month. On September 22nd. 2009, however, something special was planned, which had been first suggested back in 2006 - the twinning of the two St. Patrick's Lodges.

So, on Monday morning, 8 hale and hearty Masonic Brethren set off from Belfast International to fly to Nice and then a quick hop on the bus to the train station. There the "quick hop" slowed down! The mademoiselle behind the ticket desk (Sophie was her name), being ever so helpful, offered us various concessionary fares. How could we refuse those beautiful brown eyes? Be warned though! Concessionary fares cannot travel on the fast trains! So an hour and a few beers later we boarded the "slow" train to Marseille. I say slow, but compared with the trains on the Belfast/Carrickfergus line they looked like something out of Futurama.

Snuggly seated in our own wee compartment and in high spirits we comfortably spent the next two hour passing jokes of a highly humorous and spiritually uplifting nature, only to be interrupted by a very polite French Guard who ventured to suggest we remove ourselves from the First Class coach to a Second Class one! The concessionary "pensioners" could stay in the First Class however! We did decide after lengthy debate not to throw them off the train when it was still moving - they owed us a few drinks anyway!

The Travelling Twins.

On arrival in Marseille we were elevated to Royal status! I mean that we were greeted by two Brethren from St. Patrick's 1594 and from then on, treated like Princes. Driven to our Hotel and after half an hour to freshen up, they called for us again and drove us to a Boat Club overlooking the old Marseille harbour, which was reserved for us alone. There we met more friends, old and new from St. Patrick's 1594. Such evening meals in good company are one of life's treasures. As usual, no one was allowed to put their hands in their pockets. I did forget, however, to tell the Irish Brethren who had not traveled to Marseille before that the French Brethren greet each other with three kisses on the cheek. If nothing else it's a good way of telling who shaved before they came out! (I mean, came out of the house, of course).

After a memorable night, we were driven back to our hotel, some to demonstrate their prowess at snoring and others at their capacity for holding wine.

Relaxing in the Yacht Club.

Morning! (Not so loud please!) and after breakfast, picked up again and driven to the top of the world. Basilique Notre-dame de la Garde.

What a place! What a view!

To see more of this wonderful place, click on either of the two pictures below.

Down again to the sea-front for a drink and then on to an exclusive, residents only, restaurant inside a gated dwelling complex, for lunch beside the pool. Still not being allowed to pay for anything we were taken back to our hotel to rest before the all important meeting.

And so at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday 22nd. September W. Bros. Gordon Keep, Jim Thompson, Cen Livings, Godfrey Robinson, Jacob Hanna (148) and Harry Robinson (376) and Bros. Ed. McKnight and Rbt. Howie (148), found themselves sitting as guests of honour inside the Lodge Room for the Installation, for the second year, of W. Bro. Roland Mayer. Then the Installation of the Lodge Officers and finally the Twinning of the two lodges. As to the ritual? Same - only different. And in spite of the language barrier, it was still quite easy to follow the proceedings.

Left to Right
Harry Robinson, Rbt. Howie, Ed. McKnight, Cen. Livings,
Jim Thompson, Gordon Keep, Jacob Hanna and Godfrey Robinson.

To cement our friendship.

As part of the twinning ceremony, we presented Lodge 1594 with an engraved Trowel and Mall, both of which were very much appreciated. Bro. Paul Gilbert, Secretary of Lodge 1594 did a marvelous job of translating all our speeches into French, although he did wonder at one stage why we were presenting a Shopping Centre! The exchange of the Twinning Certificates saw the close of the formal part of the evening and after the usual closing ceremony we retired for a splendid evening of friendship, food and wine.

Some of our French Twins!

A toast to our eternal friendship.

It's been a long day!

The well of generosity of our French Twins was still not dry, as not only were we driven back to our Hotel, but picked up again at 6.30 a.m. to be taken to the train station for the start of our homeward journey. Another beautiful sunny day spent traveling along the French Mediterranean coast with happy and fond memories of being treated like Princes during our visit to Marseille. But we did leave one enduring memory for our traveling companions in the train carriage - some of us really know how to snore!

Roland Mayer, W.M. of Lodge St. Patrick's, Marseille, 2008 - 2010.

Paul Gilbert, Secretary of Lodge St. Patrick's, Marseille, 2008 - 2009 and J. W. 2009 - 2010.
Our two chauffeurs. Many thanks for giving us of your time, Roland and Paul.