We discovered our conference hotel to be nowhere near Kettering, indeed it was half an hour north through pretty villages. It came well recommended and coped admirably with 80 hungry guests who were offered filling food aplenty on the Friday evening.

The next day a luxury coach took the men to the Masonic Centre which was in a narrow residential street packed with parked cars. The driver had to reverse 500 yards to escape after dropping us.

During the meeting we admitted a number of new members, several from Romania. The Masonic ceremony was embellished by a dramatic representation by the Northants & Hunts Demonstration Group of A Lodge Night in 1759. This had many amusing moments, but did remind us that much of what is known in our ritual today came from those times.

During Saturday afternoon, while the Brethren were in Lodge the Ladies visited a Craft Fair and stately home.

The banquet that evening was back in the hotel, where good food, wine and fellowship was abundant. ONe of the members serenaded the ladies and one of the ladies responded most eloquently on their behalf. Dinner was followed by an Old English Music Hall that captivated the, by then slightly inebriated, audience and we all went to bed happily exhausted.

On a personal note, I felt that I ought to make an effort to get to know the names of our new members from abroad. On the Friday evening I wrote down their names and added to each an aide-memoire, like red check shirt, blue stripped shirt, bomber jacket so that I would be able to recall who's who over the weekend. My cunning plan failed completed, because next morning they all turned up in white shirts. Nevertheless they are a decent bunch and their enthusiasm for Freemasonry should be an example to us all.