Monday, 31 October 2016

58. Halloween Fun Before a Busy Month

November is scheduled as a busy month with our Banquet, the Lord Mayors Show, the FM & GP Committee Meeting, a Past Masters Meeting and several lectures to mention but a few!

A little relaxation over the weekend involving preparations for Halloween (with limited artistic ability – see photograph!) was very welcome.

If you and your families celebrate Halloween, I hope it was fun.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

57. New Company Baseball Caps

The forty or so walkers, who will accompany our float at the Lord Mayors Show will be dressed in new Company clothing commissioned especially for the day. Whilst new sweatshirts and baseball caps will be available for sale after the event from our Clerk, I thought you might like to see a preview of the baseball caps.

The photograph shows Fiona sportingly wearing the new baseball cap whilst participating in an exhilarating high speed rib ride on the Thames earlier this week. Prices for the caps and sweatshirts will be available shortly.

56. Master’s Committee Meeting – October 2016

The Master’s Committee (comprising the Master, the three Wardens and the Clerk) met earlier this week, ahead of the Finance, Management & General Purposes Committee (FM & GP) which will th November.
meet on 9

Whilst the agenda focused around issues for the future success of the Company, it was one of the last opportunities for the top team to discuss and agree the final details for our entry into the Lord Mayor’s Show on 12th November. As any of you who have been involved in organizing such an event will know, the details, management and logistics require much attention to detail to help ensure a successful outcome.

We believe everything is now in place and hope that we will get considerable support from Members on the day coming along with family and friends to see us participate. We anticipate good PR coverage with a planned interview with the BBC on the day.

Photograph shows the external elevation of the Guildhall, where we met as a Committee.

Friday, 21 October 2016

55. A short break in a drought zone

Fiona and I are at our property in Spain for a long weekend. The local press continues to express concern over water shortages, but the golf courses and gardens all look very green to me – the sprinklers have not been turned off!

However, whilst the weather has been good today (see photograph) the forecast for the rest of our short stay is WET, WET and WET! Perhaps that will start the recovery in water resources.

We have a busy period ahead with Master’s Committee meeting next week, our Annual Banquet the following week and the Lord Mayor’s Show the week after that. Exciting times.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

54. Preparations for Lord Mayors Show

As I hope readers will be aware the new Lord Mayor, Alderman Andrew Parmley (an Honorary Liveryman of our Company), will be installed on Friday 11th November. For the Lord Mayors Show the following day, we have designed and built a float and will be number 59 in the parade.

Preparations are well advanced – the brilliant 3m high magic tap (which appears to have a continuous flow of water from nowhere) has been built by one of our members, Dylan Barker and his team at Precolor (see photograph). The pump which operates the tap has been donated by another member, Stuart Herritty, whilst the low loader (see photograph) and drivers are being provided by yet another member, Kevin Clancy. The sound system is being provided by Thames Warden Mike Williamsons son. We are fortunate to have such generous members, including Barry Dennis, Roger Hewitt, Ivor Richards and Peter Hall, who together with Thames Tideway have made cash contributions to make all this happen.

On the day, we will have a total of 50 members and their families either on the float or walking alongside it, all wearing Water Conservator emblazoned clothing – we hope it will make quite a spectacle.

I hope as many of you as possible will come along and support us on 12th November – it promises to be a fun day out!

53. Presentation Dinner of the Lord Mayor Elect

Following the election of Alderman Andrew Parmley as the next Lord Mayor (see my blog no 43) and before he takes office on Friday 11th November, he has to obtain the Approbation of the Monarch. This is the Queen giving consent to his appointment and is achieved by a ceremony at the House of Lords where the incoming Lord Mayor is “Presented”. This year, the ceremony took place on Monday 17th October and was followed by a Presentation Dinner (see photograph of menu card) for those associated with the new Lord Mayor.

Andrew Parmley is an Honorary Liveryman of our Company, and our Clerk and I were invited to this prestigious dinner which was held at Vintners Hall (see photograph) in the presence of the Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss MP (see photograph).

By ancient custom a silver bowl containing rose water is circulated after dinner and before the speeches.  By dipping the corner of your table napkin into the rose water and patting it behind your ears you allegedly stimulate the nerves in this region which through their connections soothe the digestive organs! It didn’t work for me!

A toast to the Lord Mayor Elect was proposed by Alderman Sir David Wootton and Andrew Parmley responded with his usual good humour. Musical entertainment was provided by the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet.

A great evening and many congratulations to Andrew Parmley.

Monday, 17 October 2016

52. City of London Thames Fishery Research Experiment

The above “experiment” has been running for the last 44 years. The intention is to monitor the diversity of fish in the River Thames as it continues to be “cleaned up” with increasing controls on discharges and pollution. The improvement over that time has been dramatic and the river is now classed as the cleanest in Northern Europe.

Each year eight teams (adults and schoolchildren) fish for four hours and the number and size of fish are carefully recorded as part of the experiment. Fiona and I were invited to the 2016 event which was held on Saturday 15th October. We had the opportunity to walk along the river bank near Gravesend in Kent and talk to the teams and try and determine which of the fishermen’s stories were true. One man claimed to have caught two Marlin and a Sailfish  but had had to throw them back into the river!

The reality was a little less dramatic. With the temperature of the water being high for the time of year, many of the migratory fish were still out in the colder North Sea. Despite this over 180 fish were caught over the four hour period. The team from Essex won the overall “greatest total catch” cup and our own award (see photograph) for the greatest diversity of fish caught. The girls school easily beat the boys schools who did not manage to catch a single fish!

Overall a great day and many thanks to the organizers for a well organized event and a tasty lunch.

Photographs show two fish catches and the presentation of the Water Conservators prize to Barry Cowell for the most diverse catch.

51. The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters Banquet

On Friday 14th October Fiona and I were the guests of the Master Framework Knitter, the Hon Elizabeth Green, at their livery banquet at the Mansion House.

It was a very grand affair in wonderful surroundings. Dress code was white tie for the men and very formal evening attire for the ladies. During the dinner rousing music was provided by the Band of the Royal Yeomanry and in addition to the Master, speeches were given by Sir David Wootton (Lord Mayor 2011-12) and David Mercer (BBC tennis broadcaster).

After consuming a plentiful supply of good food and wine, the Master presented Bursary Awards (£2,500) to eight students and Awards (£1,000) to five students. It was great to see the students at the Banquet and for them to meet with senior members of their industry.

A thoroughly enjoyable event and many thanks to the Master and her Wardens for making us so welcome.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

50. Water in Nevada - The O Show

In a US state which is predominantly desert, Nevada continues to benefit from the Hoover Dam and
the reservoir behind it to supply an apparent limitless supply of water.

On our last night in the US we saw the aptly named "O Show" performed by Cirque de Soleil in a purpose built theatre in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The show is centred around a 1.5 million gallon water tank with moving floors - it is spectacular. We first saw the show in 2009 and it is worth taking an 11 hour flight from London just to see a performance.

Home tomorrow and a busy weekend ahead of Livery Company events. Look out for more blogs!

49. A trek into the unknown!

As part of a four day whistle stop trip to the US, Fiona and I had the opportunity to take a long horse ride out into the Mojave Desert. Fortunately the horses were docile, the weather beautiful and the scenery spectacular.

Photographs provide evidence that we were there and indeed on horseback! We are now slowly learning to walk normally again!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

48. Worshipful Company of Musicians Evensong, St Paul’s Cathedral

The service of Evensong is part of the Church’s continuous worship and takes place in St Paul’s Cathedral every evening throughout the year.

Every October there is an Evensong attended by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and Masters and Clerks from all the livery companies are invited to attend. It is a colourful affair as full livery company regalia is worn and a formal procession into and out of the Cathedral takes place. Some 78 Masters were in attendance at the Service this week, which Fiona and I attended on behalf of the Water Conservators.

Photograph shows me in the Crypt having been robed by our Beadle, Tony Parker.

47. Art in the City Exhibition

Each year the Fine Art Society of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers organizes an “Art in the City” exhibition at their Hall in Little Trinity Lane, London ( see photograph).

Fiona and I were invited to a livery company private viewing and reception this week. With over 20 artists exhibiting their work, it was a fascinating exhibition. With oils and water colours as well as clay and bronze sculptures, there was something to meet everyone’s taste. Everything was for sale, ranging in price from £20 to £4,500, and most of the artists and sculptors were there to negotiate as necessary!

Second photograph shows the welcoming flag outside the Hall.

We met up with several Master’s who are becoming well recognized friendly faces and excellent company.

Monday, 3 October 2016

46. Health & Safety – How Times have Changed!

Whilst walking through the City on the Water Conservation Trust sponsored walk, I came across this sign proudly displayed at the entrance to a construction site. Pretty clear message for the construction workers!

45. The Water Conservation Trust Sponsored Walk

On Sunday 2nd October, a lovely sunny day, fifteen of us set off from The Angel underground station (see photograph) on a seven mile walk stopping off at key historical water sites en route. The purpose of the walk was to raise funds for the important work of the Trust in schools and with post graduates.

The route had been planned by Court Assistant Rob Casey and Deputy Master, Peter Hall. Our route included the New River Head site, the Clerk’s Well (which gave its name to Clerkenwell), Ray Street (where the River Fleet can still be heard flowing beneath a grating outside the Coach & Horses pub), through Smithfield meat market and on to Cock Lane (where the Great Fire of London was halted), and then past the “blue plaques” installed by Past Master Ted Flaxman to mark the Aldermanbury Conduit (see photograph), near the Guildhall and the Great Conduit in Cheapside.

Having reached the halfway point we stopped for lunch in One New Change near St Paul’s Cathedral.

Suitably refreshed, we headed down to the north embankement of the River Thames where we passed the Broken Wharf Waterworks (which unfortunately contributed to the cholera outbreak in 1834) and then by the River Fleete discharge into the Thames adjacent to Blackfriars Bridge. Walking further East we passed the Bazalgette Memorial which commemorates his work in designing the sewer network for Central London following the “great stink” in 1858. With great views of the London Eye (see photograph) the group eventually crossed the river via Westminster Bridge, the route continued to Vauxhall viewing the old Chelsea Waterworks (now Victoria Station) across the river.

A very big thank you to Rob and Peter for organizing the day.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

44. Fame in Italy!

Deputy Master, Peter Hall, has just returned from holiday in Italy. He kindly forwarded me this
photograph – I had no idea that knowledge of my year as Master had spread already to my historic homeland!

In reality, Tozzi Energy is a well known company in Italy working in the Oil and Gas sector as well as in Renewables. Shame!