Ladies’ Festival Weekend, Bangor, 9 – 11 August 2013

From Vic Dorman

After a leisurely drive up, Sue, myself and our guests checked in to the Careg Bran Hotel. A smooth check-in was followed by something like an expedition in the foothills of the Himalayas! No sooner did we reach the top of the stairs when we found another set going down And then back up again, down again and then up. Not easy with heavy suitcases and certainly not “disabled friendly”.

We had arranged to meet Derek & Pat Watts and take a look at some of the island. We didn’t get far. Having arrived at Red Wharf Bay and a beautiful view across the Menai Strait, we spotted a pub – now there’s a surprise! The pub had Conwy Bitter, specially brewed for the landlord – Kinnealy’s Bitter, and very nice it was too. The menu was also tempting – fresh caught fish and lobster – but having booked for dinner at the Victoria Hotel we resisted the temptation.

On returning to the hotel we spotted some familiar faces in the bar. A couple of pints later and we had caught up with many old friends and met one or two new ones. So far, so good.

We booked a taxi to take us to the Victoria Hotel and gave out names to reception. The cab turned up on time and, as we walked down to it, someone else got in. The cabbie said that they don’t get names for the booking and drove off with his solo passenger. Some ten minutes later, a mini bus turned up and, as several of those who had booked it had already gone, we hitched a lift in that.

Dinner at the Victoria was a frightful muddle. The food, when it eventually arrived, was good but the service was appalling. Very slow. Very late. And we had to beg for bread rolls. The result of this was serious indigestion due to drinking on an empty stomach and eating so late and more was to follow. I called the taxi company to return to the hotel and, when the cab arrived, the same person that took ours on the way jumped into it. We were not happy. However, things could only get better.

On Saturday morning, we saw the ladies of on a coach to Portmeirion – a trip which they all enjoyed immensely. As usual, on a pleasantly sunny day, us men had chosen to lock ourselves up in a room with no windows. It was, however, all worthwhile. The new Masonic Hall outside Bangor is a wonderful place. Plenty of parking and beautifully finished. An excellent buffet had been laid on for us and with beer at £2 per pint what more could a man want.

Once the business of the meeting – mostly consisting of John Dutchman-Smith struggling with fifty foreign names – we closed the lodge and adjourned to the dining room where Dave Sivitar, the principal organiser of the weekend, delivered an interesting illustrated talk on Staffordshire Pottery figurines and their connection with Freemasonry.

The Ladies’ Festival dinner, in complete contrast to the night before, was excellent. The food was good, the service impeccable. The meal was rounded off by a recital on two harps which was further embellished by the very attractive harpist. She gave renditions of a mixture of classical and popular music and seemed to have twenty fingers when she played, not he customary ten! (And this is from someone who can’t even cope with the six strings on his classical guitar.)

All in all, this was a splendid weekend enjoyed by all. I look forward to next year’s event with anticipation.

The W.M. on Snowdon

Addendum from John Dutchman-Smith

On Sunday morning about twenty budding mountaineers assembled at Llanberis for the ascent of Snowdon at 8.30 a.m. After a quick filmshow and a briefing we left base camp at 9.00 a.m. and were at the summit around 9.45 a.m. It's quite an easy ascent on the train.

Sadly, as is often the case, the summit was in cloud but we did get there and so did our Worshipful Master (pictured right as he descended). We returned around 11.30 a.m. after an interesting and for the most part scenic journey. Goodbyes were said and we went our separate ways all looking towards our next merry meeting.