A wonderful and interesting birthday gift

Yesterday was my birthday – my 66th one to be precise – and amongst the presents I received was a very interesting looking sliver metal box …

As you might notice, the lid is embossed with various Masonic symbols. (I could tell you what they all mean … but if you are interested you will find out what they are for yourselves!) I thought that it was just a very nice trinket box for me to keep some of my Masonic memorabilia in … but it was heavy enough to indicate that there was something inside … which there was.

Inside the box was a set of playing cards … but not just any set; it was a set of Masonic playing cards!

Now as regular readers of my blog know – and especially the two friends who sent me this wonderful present – I love using playing cards in my wargames, so here was a present that combined two important aspects of my life; Freemasonry and wargaming. My wife thought that the gift was inspired, and I absolutely agree with her …

… so here’s a massive big thank to Tony and Maxine for your wonderful birthday present!


24 Comments on “A wonderful and interesting birthday gift”

  1. Pat G says:

    Great present.

    Happy birthday Bob!

  2. A wonderful gift! I hope it was a wonderful birthday and that there will be many more.

  3. Pat G,

    The present is a great one but it does create a dilemma for me; whether to use the box and cards or to keep them in pristine condition.

    I have yet to make my mind up!

    All the best,


  4. Ross Mac,

    It was a wonderfully thoughtful present … and one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

    The birthday was great. Sue and I went out for a traditional Sunday roast lunch, followed by a visit to our local golf club for a drink with friends.

    All the best,


  5. TamsinP says:

    Happy birthday Bob! 🙂

    That was definitely a thoughtful present from your friends.

  6. TamsinP,

    Thanks very much for the birthday wishes.

    This was a very, very clever present for my friends to buy me as it really does tick so many boxes.

    All the best,


  7. Gonsalvo says:

    A lovely and most thoughtful gift!

  8. Gonsalvo,

    It was, wasn't it? I shall cherish it.

    All the best,


  9. Happy belated Birthday wishes and thoughtful gift indeed.

  10. Tradgardmastare (Alan),

    Thank you for you birthday wishes … and it is a great gift for someone with my interests.

    All the best,


  11. Pete. says:

    Happy Brithday Bob.



  12. alastair says:

    Happy birthday…and an excellent, thoughtful present.

  13. Pete.,

    Thanks for your very kind birthday greetings.

    All the best,


  14. Alastair,

    Thank you very much for your kind birthday greetings. My present was a wonderful one, especially as it is a link between two important things in my life.

    All the best,


  15. Happy 66th birthday, Bob!

  16. The Kiwi says:

    Happy Birthday! That's a cool present to get. cheers

  17. Yes, a belated Happy Birthday. What a great present…. being an enthusiast of 18c gardens, it's interesting to see a lot of these symbols in use on follies, and temples etc in Arcadian landscapes. I have read a paper on Masonic symbols in the garden, but the name of the author escapes me at the moment.

  18. Jonathan Freitag,

    Cheers old chap!

    All the best,


  19. Springinsfeld,

    Thanks for the birthday greeting; it is much appreciated.

    It is not surprising to hear that Masonic symbols were included in the designs of Arcadian gardens. They were – I suppose – a sort of shorthand for all sorts of philosophical, religious, and classical references that would have been well-known to the men who designed the gardens and their patrons. Although Freemasonry is regarded in the modern world as something dark and secret, most of its symbolism goes back to classical times and/or the Bible … and the more I get to know about it, the more I begin to realise that the majority of people have 'lost' their connection to the past. I am of a generation that read the Bible at school, did Latin, and studied Classical mythology … but this is very rarely done nowadays, even in what are sometimes regarded as being the 'best' schools.

    All the best,


  20. The Kiwi,

    Thank you very much for your best wishes … and it is a very nice present!

    All the best,


  21. guy says:

    Happy birthday Bob. A lovely and definitely one I would use.

    Have you been watching War & Peace? I have never read the same and I was interested to see the masonic sections. We were discussing it in the office and one of our secretaries who without being too rude I have never considered having much up top astounded us by saying she had read the book and she also read other Russian literature such as Dostoevsky. She then spoke at length about the influence of masonry in the book and Tolstoy who was apparently not a mason but had clearly done a lot of research. She was so impressive I just wish I could bring her along to the lodge to give us a talk. Never judge a book by its covert!


  22. Guy,

    Thank you for your best wishes. I am a Mentor in two Lodges, and I am already thinking of ways to use the box and playing cards with my mentees.

    I have yet to watch the latest TV version of the book (my wife and I missed the first two episodes and have decided to buy the DVD when it comes out) but I have seen previous versions and have visited quite a few of the locations during trips to St Petersburg. I was unaware that there were any Masonic sections in the latest series, and I will certainly look out for them when I watch the DVD.

    Your story about the secretary is very interesting, and only goes to prove that people often have knowledge and interests that their general appearance belies. How many times have you sat at a Festive Board next to people you have never met before … and they turn out to be extremely interesting? Countless times I am sure.



  23. guy says:

    Bob, definitely try and see it. There are about 2 or 3 masonic bits including an early C19th Russian initiation ceremony and a discussion about the benefits of masonry. For once I think we came out of it well and without all the usual conspiracy theory nonsense! Also from a military point of view excellent representations of the battle of Borodino and the Retreat from Moscow.

    Your final paragraph is spot on. Eldest daughter spent her gap year teaching in a v remote school in Southern Namibia. I was sitting next to some one last week and I mentioned this. It transpired that after uni he was sent to Namibia in the 1960's as a manager in a mining company to Namibia and then spent the next two decades there and all over Southern Africa until he ended up running one of the last Cornish tin mines. When he was in Namibia some of the mines were up by the Angolan border and it was the time of Swapo and the cross border raids by the SA troops so he had to be accompanied by land rovers full of guards. It was a fascinating chat.


  24. Guy,

    It sounds very interesting, and I shall certainly make an effort to see the series as soon as I can, and may even try to see it on BBC I-player.

    What a coincidence to find yourself sitting next to someone who had lived in an area where your daughter had worked during her gap year … and what an interesting life they must have led.

    All the best,


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