Carmen's 500th Anniversay Evensong & Reception, St. Pauls Cathedral / Stationers' Hall

Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Having left Tallow Chandlers with Ralph and Maureen, the Clerk and I had a quick cup of tea with them in the Barbican before going back to St. Paul's Cathedral. We were due to process to Evensong at 4.30 and just scraped into our gowns as the line moved off - my chain being adjusted as we went - phew! Up the left side of the dome we went with the Carmen sat opposite. In case anyone's wondering what the difference between Carmen and Hackney Carrriages, Carmen are far older and are the carters of the City - their members sorted out all sorts of things - from haulage to carting the contents of wastepits etc. - thank goodness for modern sewers! They seem to be thriving still. Although they'd been organised since at least 1276, they won their Livery in 1517, so that's what the service was in aid of. Evensong has long been one of my favourite services and this was no exception, the choir sang beautifully. It took about an hour, after which a slightly weary Master and Clerk processed back to the crypt to disrobe. We needed to store the gowns at Stationers' Hall anyway, and that's were the reception was as well, so it was fate.. We joined a long queue to park our coats, found a key to the vault for the gowns and then went to look for reviver.. we found the Master Carmen in was in full flow to a packed room at the end of which she unveiled a huge quadruple portrait to commemorate the event. I don't think they have a hall, so where it's going to hang is another matter, I'm just glad it's not my problem! Finally we found a friendly waitress and she kept us topped up as we chatted to friends from the circuit. Knowing Ben Burbage was around, I'd kept the few residuals from lunch handy and, after a very pleasant chat with Vivian Bairstow (IPM Cooper) and Chris Histead (Master IT), Ben, myself and Ben's Livery Lodger, Frank (Master Banker) went to the great little courtyard garden this hall enjoys and had a very pleasant half hour. By 8ish, it was time to make a move, but it was slow getting away and I didn't make home until 9.30pm where I learned all about the horrors of Westminster, which marred what was an otherwise very good day indeed.