Welcome to ‘Strictly come Ashmole’; come one, come all to the best ladies’ evening/dance contest in the Province.
The hosts for this spectacular, WM of Ashmole Lodge No 5128, Nick Delaney and his lady Louise welcomed Mason and non-Mason alike to their celebration of many things: a fine year in office for Nick; a fine year in office for his officers, most of whom were new to their positions, and in thanks for the happiness and success of their last Masonic year. So now the plan was to eat, drink and dance the night away.
Lodge chaplain Bob Timmis delivered grace in honey-voiced deference prior to the meal of bruschetta with sautéed mushrooms, roast leg of lamb with a medley of vegetables, lemon meringue pie and premier cheeseboard with biscuits and grapes. There seemed to be no sign of the guests skimping on portions prior to the evening’s dancing.
A touch of mystery came to each table as ‘Magical Craig’ wandered between tables, baffling guests with a selection of card tricks. The author is still astonished as to how Craig made a randomly-selected card, signed by the author appear, secured by a paper-clip and folded into four, on the table in front of him.
Director of ceremonies Mike Moore, ensured formalities were kept while still keeping the light-hearted tone of the night; an excellent example of ‘less is more’.
Mike Williams proposed the toast to the ladies, commenting on the support they gave to their partners and how the things we do as Masons are only possible because of them. The ladies; Nick’s wife Louise and daughter Alice responded in confident fashion. Gifts were distributed to each lady present of a lovely presentation honey pot from Wilkins and Sons.
Norman Pritchard delivered the Ladies’ song in his own, inimitable style; sometimes kneeling, sometimes stopping to joke, but always in good voice. Brian Wilson accompanied Norman, and the members of Ashmole Lodge are perhaps a little too used to the quality of his playing, but this evening he was superb.
Then it was down to some serious dancing. Music was provided by the excellent ‘Groovenoise’.
After a formal waltz start, the style quickly relaxed into ‘free-style’ dancing, with enjoyment taking precedence over form. There were plenty of competitors for the title. The Ashmole ‘Glitterball’ trophy was won by Freda Williams, for ability, exuberance and her extraordinary stamina in dancing the entire night away. A little bird tells me that the trophy now has a prominent place in the Williams household.
The whole night was simple fun and smiles. It was a joy to have shared in it!
Story and pictures by Eric Miller.