The start of May and the seventh week of lockdown. Are we all getting the seven “year” itch or needing the seventh innings stretch? Whilst my current work as Master of the Plaisterers’ Livery Company is nothing like the first eight months of my tenure, it has not been entirely quiet nor wasted. Frequent meetings online with the Clerk’s office and my fellow Wardens and Livery members helps us to test the temperature as to how we plan for the future and keep our spirits and our finances in balance. The start of May was especially important as it was D-day for our new Clerk Col Garth Manger RM OBE to start work. Not what anyone had imagined but he is getting up to speed virtually and having regular conversations with me, the Wardens and Committee Chairmen. Glad that, as a (former) Marine he is well able to adapt and think on his feet and is proving that we made a good choice.
Not satisfied that ringing round our members was sufficient contact, I have set up a series of virtual events to connect and engage the Livery whilst we are unable to meet. Called Gypsars and Daubers Online the first event was fortuitous to have our new Clerk speak. They say a willing volunteer is better than ten pressed men and Garth provided a very entertaining and informative talk. He also managed to meet more of our Livery online than he might have done face to face in his first fortnight in the job. I have set a high target of delivering these talks every two weeks until the end my time as Master on July 21st.
Other organisations are clearly using Zoom or similar platforms for talks so I was invited to the Makers of Playing Cards Zoom talk on 5 May. As it happened, it was given by a near Barbican neighbour of mine who is a Warden of that company and talked about modern playing card design. A similar talk by the Museum of London (my Master’s charity) with the Curator of Making, Danielle Thom, was perfect for me. Her topic was Medicine Magic and Markets; a short history of Spitalfields – from Roman London to present day.
As a result of the talk I spent the next couple of evenings on my daily exercise visiting the sites she had pointed out. My daily walks encompass a lot of Islington, Hackney and Southwark but I regularly pass Plaisterers’ Hall and am pleased to see that the PowerPoint is still advertising the best of the Plaisterers’ Livery.
282 Air Training Cadet, our affiliated unit, held their annual service to commemorate Jack Cornwell VC on 31st May. With Chaplain Rev Canon Fred Ashford-Okai leading it we enjoyed some excellent participation by many of the 282 Unit including Cadet Corporal Nicole Mosquera playing the Last Post and Reveille.