Following my initiation in October 2006 I started to rehearse my lines for the next stage of my progression in freemasonry. It was at the Christmas festive board that I was asked if I would learn some extra lines in time for the St John's Lodge installation.
On paper the piece I had to learn seemed quite short and relatively easy. It was only a few days later when I realised that the work involved was not as simple as it first looked. It doesn't matter how many times you read the words, or say them out aloud, you only get an idea of how well you have learned them when you practice in front of an audience.
My first practice of 'The Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice Freemason' took place in the lodge where I was assisted by W. Bro. Philip Copestake and Bro. Tristram King. Even though I had been practicing in as much spare time as I could afford I still managed to miss out chunks and change words. I also attended a few practice sessions prior to the installation only to realise that using the tools as well as remembering words was even more daunting.
The day of the installation arrived and in the preceing 5 weeks I had managed to learn the piece with enough confidence to perform it at the installation. I can tell you that this was my first piece of work on the floor and I felt very honoured to be allowed to do it at such an important event. I have to thank W. Bro. Kevin Hurley, Director of Ceremonies, for giving me such an opportunity.
It was only during the speeches at the evening meal that I became aware that it is most unusual to have an actual Entered Apprentice presenting the working tools at an installation. I was glowing with pride that night and I will remember that first piece of work with great fondness. In light of actually being able to remember the words W. Bro. Hurley asked if I would repeat the piece during the following months initiation. The answer was a definite yes and I now think I may become addicted to doing work as and when appropriate.