September Court & Dinner: H.Q.S. 'Wellington'

Tuesday 20th September 2016

This was the first of my four Court meetings that I Chair during my year. Although the meeting started at 5.00pm, I was aboard our favourite Livery Hall, H.Q.S. Wellington by about 2.30 to attend to one or two matters, not the least of which was meeting Daniel Preece, a rising artist and friend who had requested he take my portrait in full garb and so we met for some reference shots. Watch this space as I hope to provide occasional updates. The members arrived for tea and biccie by 4.30 and we started on time. We remembered late Past Masters Richard Dunhill and Richard Vanderpump, and Liveryman Ken Rich with a two minute silence after eulogies had been given. I was delighted to gown three new Liverymen: Dr. Marina Murphy; Henry Tuck and our own excellent Clerk, Sandra Stocker. With all business concluded about an hour later, we were very pleased to have plenty of time for a social glass and smoke on the upper deck for a good hour before dinner - time flies. We had a record turn out of 35 for this dinner (it is Court only, no guests) and the Hon Chaplain, impatient for his starter, called us to order and gave the following grace:

We meet tonight upon the River

And pray outside we may not shiver

We drink a cup and eat a sliver

The Master will a toast deliver

Praise God, who is the heavenly giver

Lord, bless our Master and his liver

The MM's have installed some curious green lighting on the quarter deck, stll, it did the trick well enough and I sat between Marina and Henry. Taking the Chaplain at his word, we set to - fish in lobster sauce; saddle of lamb and warm pear with icecream, all washed down with good French vino, and finishing with coffee, port and armanac. I toasted the new Liverymen and the the Queen so we could enjoy the terrific cigar provided by Hunter Frankau - delicious, I was delighted to see Marina relishing hers too, and many of us were pleased to use the new smoking hat. Around 10ish there was a steady thinning as trains had to be caught, but there are always a few hangers on and PM Derek Harris and I have history with being the last as a rule - but even he called time. Capt. Flavian D'Souza, Master Mariner kindly pressed the last hangers on to join him for a final night cap in his well appointed private sitting room behind the bridge and so it was with the Renter Warden and Clerk we finally departed the Wellie some time after 12pm... Flavian waved us off and so ended a good, but long, day.