Hackney Carriage Drivers Spring Court Dinner, Carpenters' Hall

Thursday 9th March 2017

Amongst other links, we support this Company by way of sponsoring one of their cars for their anual drive to Disneyland in Paris with disabled children - a huge procession of over 100 black cabs each with up to five occupants, escorted by police and with medical services in attendance make a wonderfully impressive procession when it departs at 06.30 from Canary Wharf each year. We also enjoyed hosting their Master, Alan Roughan at our January Dinner this year, so it was very pleasant to be with them and so many other Masters for this Spring Court Dinner. Despite leaving work in a timely manner to change, I seemed to be running late, so as it was a pleasant evening, I motorbiked over to Finsbury Circus, just over the road from the Hall. Meeting the Hon Clerk in the vestibule we made our way to an upstairs salon which was humming. I was very pleased to see several Masters who I'd missed of late, and also our Liveryman Peter Rawlandson in his Glass Sellers role. Gavelled in to the modern wood-lined dining room, the Hon Chaplain, The Revd. Dr. Martin Dudley gave an excellent grace:

O sing a song of Cheapside and of Poultry too

of the bikes and buses making their way through;

O tell a tale of black cabs, and the meter’s rising bill

As they go by way of Barbican to simply reach Cornhill!

O God who led thy people into the promised land

We do not ask for paradise, or anything so grand,

we simply like to cruise around, not to park in a rank,

And as thy children crossed the Jordan, we'd like to get to Bank!

O Lord who heard thy people's cry, O Majesty Divine,

Listen to our plea, we pray, and bless our food and wine.

And so we enjoyed an excellent meal (Cook & Butler) of grilled bream in lime butter; loin of Scotch venison; pear tart and a goat cheese tartlet to finish, very pleasant. The Guest of Honour was Craig Mackey, Deputy Police Commissioner who gave a workmanlike address about how police cars were soon to carry defibrilation units so heart attacks could be dealt with even more quickly (presumably not as a result of their fare!) and then Master Alan presented an Military Award to Dan Tottle as the most outstanding officer. Dinner done, there was a stirrup cup and, managing to smuggle a glass of port downstairs with Ben Burbage (Furniture) for a cigar, we found Peter (Glass Seller) already at it, so we formed up with him.. it seems I lost the Clerk at this point and somehow we passed each other in the crush inside. I left at 10.55 and, because I was on my bike was safely home in Fulham by 11.30 having scraped passed two diversions, three road closures and Lord know what else! Thank you HCD's for a super evening!