End of a Masonic Year

Posted: October 6, 2019 in Masonic

Yesterday marked the end of yet another year in the calendar of the District of SA North, under the United Grand Lodge of England. On the 1st Saturday of October each year, the District Grand Master invests his new officers for the year, some being first appointments, and others being promotions.

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This year was no different. Always the highlight of the year, where all the Lodges in the District come together, whether to be Johannesburg or Carltonville, Louis Trichardt or Nelspruit, Botswana and Swaziland, and even a contingent as far as Mauritius.

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The annual meeting gives us an opportunity to meet up with Brethren from far and wide, laugh and joke and have some serious interactions.. but, defininately a main attraction before the meeting starts….shopping!!

…yes, even us men love shopping….

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And then the seriousness began, and the investiture of Active District Officers were invested.

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I was honoured to be retain my position in the Royal Arch as District Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and receive a promotion to District Junior Grand Deacon in the Craft. 

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A very busy year ahead, of which I’m looking forward to.

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Time to get back into things

Posted: September 18, 2019 in accident, Family, Masonic

Someone very close to me commented the other day that I haven’t blogged recently. Why haven’t I? Well, my excuse is that I just haven’t got to it, or had nothing to post about, or life has been too busy to take the time to blog.

Blogging has always been my release mechanism, and making excuses merely exasperates my mental well being, which to be honest, is not in the best place. So I have been working more and more during my off time (well, don’t really have off time due to my responsibility at work, and the fact I’m on 24 hr call, and masonic lodge commitments have been taking a lot of my time in the evenings.

Personally, I feel like in an emotional roller coaster, and my masonic commitments and a supportive shoulder are keeping this time bomb from exploding, but a short fuse it is.

 

Work? well, many an hour have been spent on this incredible machine with a great team of fellow dedicated Emergency Care Practitioners and Advanced Life Supports paramedics, going out day in and day out, saving lives.

A cliche some might think or say,  but truly saving lives. Flying out to and airlifting the most critical patients and transporting to Centers of Excellence, one feels an amazing feeling of accomplishment and pride, making a positive difference in someone’s life.

                      

And so, I’ve committed myself to get my mind and body right. Back to gym, supplements, eating right, blogging frequently and getting my personal life and mind back on track.

 

Chip off the ol’ block

Posted: March 24, 2019 in Erin, Family, Photography

Erin has shown an interest in photography for a while, and before we left for holiday, asked if i could teach her on my camera. So, instead of just using mine, I gave her my old one, and we had an amazing time bonding and there is no better location than in the tranquil setting of the Drakensburg mountain range.

Her interest in photography really pleased me, and her keen eye certainly picked up great opportunities and captured them artistically.

Erin joined me at golf, and brought the camera along…

 

She really had such a great time, and something we will definitely continue doing together as a father/daughter thing.

 

 

 

Drakensburg break

Posted: March 23, 2019 in Family, holiday

After over a year, we finally managed to get away on our annual vacation. This year, we chose the mountains, and budget prevailing, we found an amazing self-catering resort in the Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve, Didima.

…our chalet, uninterrupted view overlooking the Cathedral Peak...

With my ankle still recovering from injury, major hiking was crossed off our list, however, we were able to go on one decently fairly long trek into the range. Despite being listed as a “gentle walk”, the ups and downs on rocks and narrow paths proved to be testing, and by the time we returned, my achilles and ligaments were swearing at me in every language an extremity could muster.

The outdoors offering us a host of experiences and opportunities to relax

...not forgetting gymnastics practice on the drive down…

…renewing my forgotten love for photography…

… with wild hare crossing our path…

…locusts…

 

…a few crabs challenging us…

tracking spoor…

…friendly locals waving us by…

..and of course, some golfing at the nearby Cathedral Peak golf course…

An opportunity for us as a family to reconnect and enjoy some time away from the world

all in all, a very relaxing holiday so far

 

Weekend in Dullstroom

Posted: December 2, 2018 in Family, golf, holiday, Whisky

Many friends and family head to Dullstroom in Mpumalanga Highlands, mostly for trout fishing and whisky tasting. So when Nicole mentioned her and good friends of ours were arranging a getaway there I was in two minds.. One, I’m not a fisherman so what the hell am I going to do all weekend, and two.. Hmmm, Whisky tasting..?!

Fortunately, I found a championship golf course in the area, Highland Gate rated number 15 in the Golf Digest Top 100 Golf Courses in SA.

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Each hole representing different trout fishing flies

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Beautiful 340m par 4 hole, teeing off down a 50 m drop, which I smashed a drive onto the green..

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Designed by the golfing legend Ernie Els, this was certainly a challenging round, filled with brilliant shots and disastrous ones alike.. and the odd curse or two and of course a few balls lost (and found).

We stayed in a quaint wooden cabin at elandskloof trout farm with friends and their daughter. A friendship which has strengthened with “R” becoming a Brother.

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A relaxing weekend away, braaing under the African sky, free from artificial lights, bright stars and milky way providing a beautiful canopy above our heads.

Of course, a trip to Dullstroom wouldn’t be complete without Whisky and Gin (for the ladies) tasting.

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…An incredible array of fine whisky’s from a menu to choose from…

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…in the “porn” section, as our connoisseur host described the top collectables… 

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I went for the Glenmorangie tasting, sampling 6 of their best single malts

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… umm….yea, I always knew gin was dodgy…

In the end, a great weekend away

and lets not forget the willy warmers

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A week in review

Posted: November 4, 2018 in Erin, Family, tattoo

Most weeks are hectic for me nowadays. My new responsibilities at work, combined with the old, keep me incredibly busy.. and out of mischief I suppose…In addition to the corporate world, our senior management team are always available to respond to emergency cases. This week was no exception, though, it certainly was a difficult one.

A 6 year old drowning, where we successfully obtained spontaneous breathing and pulse, sadly passed away a few days later. A massive accident in the North West Province, called for the need for both our emergency helicopters to be activated. Collected at our head office, I flew out to the scene.  A case which both made me proud and sad at the same time.. Proud.. because, having both our machines on scene certainly makes a stand.. one, no other company can compete with

…sad… because we flew a 2 month old who was sitting on her sister’s lap when their car smashed into a truck.

BMW spoiling us with their new offroad BMW experience in the heart of Midrand.

Followed by yet another tragic accident…

Which brings us to the end of the week.. today.. of which the highlight was another tattoo. Well, sort of, as this tattoo changing an original tattoo.

The original

...check that concentration out..

…work in progress..

… and the final product..

Perfect way to end the week..now the question we ask ourselves.. what’s in store for us next?

Yesterday was the annual AGM for the District of SA North under the banner of the Grand Lodge of England. A prestigious day in our district, where Masons are appointed and promoted in both active and past rank. I have been an active District Officer  for 3 years https://carlsstuff.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/my-journey-continues/ and this year’s appointment took me in a different direction.

This year I was honoured by being appointed as the District Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies for the Royal Arch.

        

 

To explain a bit more, as this is entering a new avenue of Masonry I haven’t discussed before.

Pure Ancient Freemasonry consists of three degrees, Entered Apprentice (1st Degree) Fellowcraft (2nd Degree)  and Master Mason (3rd Degree).A Mason must have obtained his 3rd Degree to be eligible for the Royal Arch.

The Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem completes the learning as a Master Mason.Historically, it is the complete story of Jewish History during some of its darkest hours, when Jerusalem and the Holy Temple is destroyed and the people of Israel are being held captive as slaves in Babylon. Symbolically, the Royal Arch leads us from a practical to spiritual journey of self development and knowledge.

Just as the Square and Compass is the symbol of Craft Freemasonry, the Triple Tau is that of Royal Arch Masonry.

The tau is the nineteenth letter in the Greek Alphabet. The triple tau of Royal Arch Masonry consists of 3 T’s linked in the centre joined at their base.The name Hiram Abiff appear in the Phoenican language with the same letters “H” and “T” as they do in English. As such, the Triple Tau takes on the interpretation of the initial letters in Hiram Abiff’s name. (A very significant individual our learnings)

A triangle is a simple shape in geometry that has taken on great spiritual significance and symbolism. The triangle was revered by ancient nations as containing the greatest mysteries, and as a symbol of God, denoting a triad of intelligence or a triad of deity.  The triangle is also a symbol of divine union, representing the attributes of deity : omnipotence (all powerful), omnipresence (eternal) and omniscience (all knowing).

To explain more will ruin the experience of any potential RA candidates reading my blog. Suffice it to say, having journeyed through the Royal Arch, from candidate to the Principal Officer positions over the past 10 years has been an enlightening experience, and being appointed as an Active District Officer is an honour, and one I look forward to over the next year.