8 May 2018

This is my second blog and I am sitting in some discomfort and stiffness having spent a couple of days training for my West Wales coastal footpath Master’s Challenge. Yesterday I completed a mere six-kilometre walk, which took three hours. This included the challenge of three separate steep climbs from sea level to nearly 150 metres, which really takes it out of you. Distance does not mean very much on some sections of coastal paths! So the prospect of some 100 kilometres in a week looks daunting, but I am determined to do it as both the Paviors’ charity and my own chosen charity of Alzheimer’s Research UK are definitely well worth it. Monty my dog walked it three times and is ready to go again! I have just opened a Paviors’ Just Giving site, so any support would be very gratefully appreciated by us both. ​

It has once again been a busy time for the Mistress and myself, and it’s been good, not just good, but excellent. Along with the Clerk, I attended the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch, supporting all members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a marvellous occasion, with literally hundreds of guests passing through Guildhall in an orderly fashion, eating, drinking, chatting and donating money. The event has raised over £1.7 million since its inception in 2008, which is very impressive.

Not surprisingly, the RAF’s centenary celebrations are producing some excellent events and none more so than the Signature Reception held at the Guildhall on 19 April. ‘Commemorate, Celebrate, Inspire’ is their strap-line, and this was the theme of Air Chief Marshall Steven Hillier’s superb speech that captured the mood of the event. Along with the static display of aeroplanes in the Guildhall Yard, it was a marvellous evening.

On 24 April, I attended the Apothecaries’ Hall for lunch with the Plumbers Company and, in the evening, with the Mistress to the Society of Apothecaries of London Guest Dinner. Having never been to this magnificent hall before, it was very interesting to see the contrast by day and evening. Both were highly enjoyable.

I also attended the Old Bailey twice that week: the first time as a guest of Alderman and Sheriff Tim Hailes for lunch with the judges and to listen to a case where a French couple from Wimbledon had allegedly murdered their nanny, placed her body in a suitcase and setting fire to it on their balcony. Both parties were now blaming each other for the act. The second occasion was as a guest of Sheriff Neil Redcliffe and his wife Emma, where Mistress Glesni and myself enjoyed their company in a tour around the Old Bailey and dinner afterwards. We are indeed very fortunate to have at this time both Sheriff’s as Honorary Liverymen of the Paviors.

Last, but by no means least, what a pleasure it was to have our Spring Livery Dinner at Fishmongers’ Hall on the banks of the Thames and, particularly as we step out at long last from winter into spring. I always think that the attendance at our dinners is a barometer of our health and to get well over 200 at this dinner was absolutely marvellous . My guest speaker was a long-term friend, Gerard O’Herlihy , a lawyer from Dublin who entertained us with his extremely humorous stories told with his ‘Mid-Atlantic Accent’. It is a testimony to him that I have heard one or two of his stories many times over that past 30 years, but I still enjoy them and laugh every time. It was a highlight of the evening that Sir Michael Bear presented us with his Shrieval Badge and Chain to display at Paviors’ House. Sir Michael and Lady Bear have been fine ambassadors for the Paviors and have enhanced our reputation in the City and beyond. The chain will therefore serve to remind us of the honour that they have brought to our Company for which we will always be in their debt. Thank you both.

Dyfrig James​