The Lord Mayor's Show
Saturday 12th November 2016
This parade has been going on for over 800 years with various routes and formats. In recent times it has been traditional to stoically process in a steady drizzle or shower of rain and, once again we weren't disappointed - Friday was a fine, clear day, so was Sunday... Saturday however dawned with a steady rain and low cloud that wasn't going anywhere! As usual, the Livery was represented by three walkers - myself, Renter Warden Roger Brookes, and Third Warden Andrew Golding. In addition, Fourth Warden Adam Bennett had been invited to accompany the float organised by St John Ambulance. We rendezvoused at Stationer's Hall to collect our gowns and with that set off to find the Modern Companies Float somewhere on London Wall. This proved to be a gold-coloured Routemaster and we sheltered inside until we were nearly ready for the off around 11am. In fact it was nearer 11.20am by the time we set off. Once again we had full-length Elizabethan churchwarden clays primed and as soon as we hit the proper route, these were lit to great effect with plumes of sweet tobacco smoke encircling us and our marching companions. The rain had reduced to more of a mizzle now, so we didn't use the emergency ponchos the Clerk had kindly rushed to us, but put our faith in gowns, smoking caps and luck. Despite the chilly mizzle, the crowds enthusiasm remained impressively undulled and there was loud cheering all along the route. We sought internal warmth from a flask of the Kings Ginger, a requisite for any veteran of this pageant and found that once again, we were very popular with the other companies marching alongside us! The Master Furniture Maker, Ben Burbidge, had already claimed a charged clay and was very much at home with that and the occasional swig of whatever was to hand. As we rounded the corner to the Mansion House it didn't take long to see our Lord Mayor, Alderman Dr. Andrew Parmley, with our PM and former Sheriff Fiona Adler and her husband David Moss giving us a hearty cheer as we did them! All too soon we had left them and were on the stretch to the H.Q.S. Wellington where packed lunches awaited. Roger had brought sloe gin and this improved the prosecco hugely and we were very pleased to be re-joined by Adam for a swift glass. With lunch done all too soon, it was back to our slot to continue up to Queen Victoria St. Amazingly the crowds had remained in place and were just as vocal and, with church bells ringing all along the route, it was an amazing experience. We carried on at a brisk pace and before we knew it we were on the last legs of Gresham Street where we recovered our coats from the bus and trudged wearily back to Stationers' Hall to drop the gowns off. That done, we noticed it was gone 3.30pm and Roger, Adam and I fell into a tea shop for a very welcome sit down and brew. Half and hour later we went our separate ways. This year the Mistress and I had been invited by the Master Mariners to view the fireworks from aboard the Wellington so it was to there I returned and found a lively party in progress on the "model" deck. I was just getting stuck in when the Clerk announced the Lord Mayor was about to arrive.... Up to the "pointy end" we all went and Ben, myself and David Moss took the opportunity to light up some good Havana cigars whilst we waited. Very soon Dr. Parmley arrived to loud cheers and applause and, accompanied by his Sheriffs and Flavian D'Souza, the Master Mariner, went to the bridge to set off the fireworks - located on a barge bang opposite our location - the best view in London, surely?! At 5.00pm we were treated to a stunning (and stunningly loud) display of fireworks lasting about 25 minutes. With that all done, we then piled back down to the Court Room to hear a few words from the Lord Mayor and Flavian before yet more wine and canapes circulated! By about 7.00pm I don't mind admitting I was fair done in and the Mistress and I were making for the door, coats in hand, when Angus Menzies, the Mariners Clerk, spotted us and frog marched us to the Masters quarters where.. yes, another party was in progress!! We found ourselves singing sea shanties and other light classics with a highly convivial crowd of Flavian's relations and old chums.. as regulars to this blog will know, it's very hard to leave this ship with any dignity and so it was late when we fairly fell into a taxi and so home to bed..