Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Showing posts with label Inspector Morse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspector Morse. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Today I met HRH Prince Michael of Kent

Britta Huegel

Can you believe it: today I've met HRH Prince Michael of Kent!
I was seeing (professionally for my book: Inspector Morse and Hercule Poirot have an episode playing in this building) an exhibition in Freemasons' Hall in London. This imposing  Art Deco monument was built in 1933, and the United Grand Lodge of England is the governing body of Freemasonary of England, Wales and the Channel Islands.
Today a big meeting took place - you saw a lot of distinguished gentlemen in elegant black suits. Thus we were only allowed to see the remarkable exhibition in the library instead of getting the (free) tour round the building.
But by chance I found a guide: a lovely, very well-informed man who showed me around, and when I asked him he admitted that he was a Freemason himself, and so I learned a lot.  In one display cabinet he showed me "the Lewis"  (I instantly thought of Inspector Morse's sidekick) - an implement used for lifting heavy blocks of stone. It is inserted into the top of the stone and signifies "strength and is the emblem of the eldest son of the mason. When conjoined with the Perfect Ashlaw it symbolises the son supporting the parent. "
The Freemasons do not advertise or make proselytes: you have to ask to be allowed to become a member. And - that was new to me - you can be of any religion (or none - as long as you believe in a Higher Being). I knew that Catholics for a very long time were forebidden by the Pope Clement XII to swear the oath of Freemasonary - if they did, they were excommunicated.
I love the little stories.
In 1730 the German Catholics who intended to join Freemasonary but were not allowed created 'The Order of the Mopses' (Mops is the German word for the dog 'pug' - that was their symbol - and because they had not to swear an oath the Catholic Church could not excommunicate them.
Another very interesting story: 

 Britta Huegel

In 1934, soon after Adolf Hitler's rise of Power, the German Grand Lodge of the Sun in Bayreuth recognised the danger to Freemasonary, because the Nazis hated them and confiscated their property. So they elected the 'Forget-Me-Not" in lieu of the traditional Square and Compass emblem as a mark of identity for Masons (...) - throughout the wholeNazi-era that little blue flower marked a Brother.'
By the way: there are Sisters now too - though in different Lodges.
While the visitor told me these and other interesting facts, he suddenly draw me near him and bowed his head; I thought: 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do' and followed: HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who is the current Grand Master of the Mark Master Masons had entered the room, followed by two High Masons, and he smiled at us, then disappeared in the Grand Hall.

For more information see:

Monday, 6 May 2013

Scene of the Crime

Thank you for all those interesting tips you gave me on my last post! They will be the "free skating" in London, being in the same category as the special highlight, the Chelsea Flower Show with my German friend Anne, and maybe dropping in at the AGM of the E.F.Benson-Society in Grosvenor Chapel. 
And then there is work to do - as you might guess from the picture above. 

To find my way I pinned down how I will get to Canary Wharf, or Old Bailey (though I have been there before), to Charterhouse Square, and.. and.. and... 
If I get lost sometimes I will ask him: 

PS: If anybody is interested why I included a cookbook (use the magnifying-glass!) - it is written by George Baker - whom you might know as "Inspector Wexford". All the other beautiful regions of England and Scotland (I've already met Ian Rankin) and Wales, Yorkshire, Northumberland etc are still waiting for research. 
As the Hemuls in Tove Janson's Moomin Books remark so wisely: 
"But you can have no more fun as you create on your own." 
I'm sure I will.