Lord Mayor Elect's Presentation Dinner: Vintners' Hall

Monday 17th October 2016

This dinner was hosted for Masters and Clerks by Lord Mayor-elect Andrew Parmley for all of his Companies - I don't know if having 18 of them in a record, but it must be close. As such, what one might have imagined would be an intimate little affair numbered 104! Arriving at the glorious Vintners Hall early (6.45pm) as instructed, and sans badge - by decree - we were indulged with a champagne reception. Amongst the throng was our own Fiona Adler and husband David Moss - old hands at this game themselves now, they're set to have a busy year as Fiona works alongside the Lord Mayor. Gavelled in all too early, I found myself next to the Vintner's Clerk, Brigadier Jonathan Bourne-May which proved to be a good move as somehow Andrew had pinched the keys to the Vintners cellar and the wines served were more than acceptable - and not a decanter passed us without a top up thanks to the Clerk! An excellent meal of smoked trout, duck, foie gras, and lemon something or other was rounded off with a rose bowl and then a rousing rendition of the grace, played at the forte-piano by the Master Musician no less. Over coffee we had two short but entertaining speeches given by Alderman Sir David Wootton and, in reply, Andrew of course, and I'm pleased to report the Clerk was game for a pinch of snuff - and, despite explosive results, he came back for seconds. It transpired that it was Andrew P's birthday, so whilst we all sang the song, a huge cake emblazoned with a depiction of Blackpool Tower went up to High Table to have a candle representing ?? years blown out. Then a saxaphone quartet amused us with two or three musical bom bouche. All that remained to endure was the stirrup cup and, weak-willed as ever, I allowed myself a dram of the 1976 cognac on offer. So ended a lovely evening and what I hope will be a strong portent of things to come.. we have a good year ahead methinks!