The Master’s Farewell Blog
This year’s Robing Day was certainly hot, but for those who could sensibly attend, a big thank you for being there. For those who decided to remain at home or defeated by the lack of public transport, you all made the right decision to stay put. Yesterday was not a day to be in the City.
After 2 years of Stop and Go, it felt a bit déjà vu, albeit, this time not Covid related. But we did go ahead; the attendance numbers held up, in spite of the heat and lack of public transport.
However, I knew it was going to be one of those days, when on my journey in by train, a fellow passenger was heard to say, ‘thank goodness it is not snowing. I would not want to be shovelling snow in this heat’ The heat can make us all a little barmy!
For those of you who made it to the Hall, your travel experiences were akin to the John Candy film, ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’. With most of the mainline stations closed, you found ingenious ways to reach your destination, namely driving across country to remote stations or bus terminals and then finishing on foot; by taxi; sharing rides with others and even by bike. Your endeavours were greatly appreciated by our Clerks, who spent most of the day counting numbers; re-writing the Robing Ceremony script; doubling up for others who either could not make it, or had to leave early; re-arranging the chairs and cutlery! They drew a line at singing the solo in the Church Service but fortunately our new Master’s Consort sorted that.
Our Chaplain was sensible and stayed at home but he prepared his Grace beforehand for a very new German curate to say on his behalf. We were all delighted when he ‘giggled’ throughout, enjoying it as much as we did, but of course Charles sense of humour was new to him and he loved it.
It was a great privilege to end my 2nd year as Master admitting the new Freemen and Liverymen and our new Master Stephen Gilbert. I will be candid; it was a relief in that heat to be divested of the Master’s robe and robe Stephen. In that moment, the weight of office and the heat evaporated simultaneously. I know Stephen and his Consort Vanessa will have a wonderful year ahead of them, but please let it be more temperate and less heated.
It was strange after dinner not to return to the Master’s flat. Instead, in the slightly cooler nights air, I wended my way to the Mercers Company to claim my bed for the night. I had not stayed there before and I was surprised in the morning when leaving, to find myself outside Becket House, in Old Jewry, a few yards from Mercers. My very first job when leaving school was working for the Yorkshire Insurance Company, in Becket House. So, that is where my working life and love for the City of London began and yesterday, in London Wall my role as Master of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers came to an end.
I hope all you intrepid travellers reached home safely. Thank you for making the journey. The last two years has been an incredible journey for me.