21 July 2015

It has been a busy month for me so far, in what seems like all 3 areas of my life; personal and family, work and professional and Pavior related! In the first I became an Old Age Pensioner, with some great partying organised by my family, in the second I stood down as a Director of the Lafarge Tarmac business as part of its change to new ownership process (just need to move on the Tarmac Middle East businesses soon so I can slow down a bit more!) and in the third, lots of invitations to lots of fun events matured and it’s those that I will outline a little more in the paragraphs below.

On the 30th June, I went to the Information Technologists Hall to hear a history of The City of London Freemans Guide from its author Paul Jagger. It really is a great effort to understanding a lot that I’d never appreciated or understood about the history of the City of London, its unique governance and connections with the Livery Companies. It signposts the offices, customs, events and institutions of the City as we find them today and is worth reading.

One of the nicest times connected to such events is the “retire to the pub” with several other Masters for a late “cleansing” beer! After this one, about 7 of the 10 of us at the pub admitted we couldn’t tie a bow tie! The Master of Playing Cards, ex Submarine Captain Mike Davis-Marks, demonstrated how to do it the “Naval Way”, and I (along with several other Masters) now have a video if anyone wants to share the lesson!

Wednesday 1st July proved to be the hottest London day for a decade! Although I’d hoped for good weather it wasn’t what I wanted for the Summer Event! We had an enjoyable evening tour led by a good friend and Mason, Peter Harrison, around a small part of the City looking at some of the many and varied stones that have been used, to not only horizontally pave London but build it vertically also. (See attached photo from Paternoster Square). Regardless, the reception and the buffet meal (with suitably refreshing drinks) in the nicely air conditioned Brewers Hall, either side of the hot walk, helped everyone to enjoy themselves. I had a head start on most on enjoying the day by having already enjoyed the hospitality of the Water Conservators at their Installation Lunch on HQS Wellington.

On the evening of Thursday 2nd July, the Mistress and I attended a reception given by our affiliated 3rd Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, at the Tower of London. The prime purpose of the evening was to launch their “Ride to Recovery” Charity Appeal to help rehabilitate injured servicemen. (You will all soon receive another email from me announcing a Charity Bike Ride I want to do in September, to hopefully raise money for Paviors’ Charities, and I hope that some of it can be donated to this appeal). I was delighted to meet Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC at this event. Johnson was born on the island of Grenada in the West Indies where I spent a few years of my early career so we found plenty to chat about! (See photo of Johnson with Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel John Baynham, Geoff Lewis, Master of the Needlemakers and myself).

Pavior and Master of the Lightmongers, Rod Bennion, hosted the Lightmongers Annual Banquet at the Mansion House on Friday 3rd July and a great success it was. The Mistress and I again enjoyed some good food and wine, super speeches and great company. We intend that our Paviors Annual Banquet on Thursday 24th September should be at least as enjoyable for all who can make it! Please book early as I’m told places are being reserved quickly, and while we are not being as stipulative as the Lightmongers, I do hope as many as possible attendees can wear the traditional attire of white tie and tails for men and long dresses for ladies. It’s not often we get the chance to do so these days!

At both the Court Dinner on the 9th July at Cutlers’ Hall, and at the Charity Golf Day on the 13th July, we had rugby union legends talking us through several anecdotes about their playing careers after dinner. David Duckham, who played 36 times for England in the 60’s era, and Ieuan Evans, who played 72 times for Wales as well as representing the British Lions on 3 tours, both had their audiences listening attentively and appreciatively.

The Court Dinner is one of our more intimate occasions where Court Members can get to know better many of this years’ newly installed Liverymen and Freemen, (7 of whom joined us at the Court meeting immediately preceding dinner) and several Masters from other Companies. I am pleased that after our long association with the Cutlers we were able to use their Hall as we didn’t exceed 100 attendees. Please keep proposing and introducing new members. I’m getting increasingly confident that we can get through the 300 barrier this year, but we have plenty of space for enthusiastic new members still!

The Golf Day went well, despite some early rain, with 18 teams thoroughly enjoying the Thorndon Park Course near Brentwood and an entertaining display by trick shot expert Kevin Carpenter (See photo for one of his poses). Even the very low handicappers were staggered how far he could hit balls even though his balance was needing to be extraordinarily controlled! I think that’s enough for now but I hope to blog again before the end of this month and the August Livery quiet period!

Best regards