WC Environmental Cleaners Ladies Banquet, Stationers' Hall

Friday 25th November 2016

As both we and the Environmental Cleaners are modern Companies, Masters tend to find themselves queing up or located at events in the same sort of area. As such, it didn't take long for me to become acquainted with their genial Master, Philip Morrish (yes, that is spelt coorectly and no he's not involved with that company!). Taking place on a friday evening, it was a pleasant way to end the week and, moreover, as it took place at Stationer's Hall - the Hall in whose vaults we store our treasures - I'd offered Philip the use of our rams horn snuff mulls to lend novelty to the proceedings. The Mistress and I arrived on time at 6.45pm and enjoyed some fizz with the Company before we processed in. I was amused to see the visiting Masters had been made a present of a stuffed toy of 'Uncle Bulgaria' - the Head Womble who is Philips light motif for his year, and everyone was given a blue glass christmas tree bauble to celebrate the Companies 30th anniversary. During the meal the Master took wine with the Ladies who remained seated. Like us, they have incorporated a short comfort break before the speeches - and like us, many of them found that outside for a quick puff! Resuming the banquet, the Master introduced his guests - when he got to me, he asked me to demonstrate how to take snuff, which I was delighted to do. I'd charged the mulls with the Special Menthol variety we're using this year and, having taken a pinch off the thumb with Philip, we the circulated the two mulls down the tables whilst the remaining speeches took place. The cacophony of sneezes nearly sabotaged the Mistresses attempts to introduce the Principal Guest - Lesley Thomson who writes crime fiction (her 'detective' being a clever cleaner!). She read a large chunk of her latest page-turner which ended on a cliff hanger sure to boost sales of those listening! After this, Angie, the Mistress presented some awards to delighted members, and then Philip resumed the mic - the sneezing had now moved down the room but there was a lot of laughter too. Winding up the proceedings out we went and the Beadle reunuited me with our mulls which suddenly became popular photo-ops! We had an early start and, having rehoused the mulls, slipped off into the night, however our new friends it seemed were quite fired up and were, I'm informed, still going strong at 1am with several wanting another pinch of snuff - which seems to have gone down a treat. Thank you to the Company for a very jolly evening.