Tax Advisors' Budget Banquet, Stationers' Hall

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Being a Modern Company (No.107), I've seen a fair bit of Master Kevin Thomas on the circuit and queing in processions etc. and he's become a good friend to me and our Company - and attended our January Dinner as a guest. In response he invited me to their "Budget Banquet" - held on the eve of the recent budget as it has every year.. I suppose this was the last one then as the Chancellor will now only do Autumn Budgets. It seems Stationers' Hall is a great favourite with many of our Companies as I've been here a good deal of late - only a week before at the Sherlock Holmes Dinner. Kevin had mentioned to me a few weeks ago that he was thinking of introducing snuff after the loyal toast, but I wasn't sure if it was going ahead hence, having arrived on time at 6.45pm and been announced etc., I retreated glass in hand to find a key to the vaults and retrieve our rams horn mulls which I charged with a fresh medicated blend. Placing them in front of the Masters chair, I then relaxed with a glass of fizz chatting to Middle Warden Marcus Fincham's wife - both tax advisors, he (note the singular!) also runs a rare breeds sheep farm. Gavelled in by the excellent Beadle Henderson, we were soon seated and dined off poached halibt and bream; saddle of lamb; and cinnamon and pear sticky toffee pud with liquorice ice cream (the jury's out on that one!) provided by Mark Groves team. After a loving cup we had the Loyal toasts and then the microphone passed briefly to me as I explained how to take a pinch efficiently and sent the mulls off down the branches - to my surprise and delight they performed a perfectly matched circuit and both ended up with Clerk Paul Herbage towards the end of speeches - something our own Company has yet to achieve... The Principal Guest was Phil de Glanville - the rugar star of the mid 90's who traversed the amateur-professioanl eras. He gave an amusing speech about how the TA's seem to evolve every five years (founded '95, grant of livery '00 etc.) and the relevant scores in the rugby world each time plus a bit of back room banter. That all done, Kevin wound up the evening ending with a good joke: Doctor to a woman given two months to live: Marry a Tax Advisor! / Why? she asks.. / It won't make you live any longer... but it will feel like a life time! Well, I enjoyed it anyway.. Dinner done, we marched back out and, although there was no formal stirrup cup, there was a lot of lingering so I had a natter with Sir David Amiss, MP, Kevins local man from Southend West. Then, cloaked and hatted, I lit a cigar and strolled off to Blackfriars to find a tube home..