Lord Mayor's Masters Banquet, Mansion House
Thursday 30th March 2017
Getting home from work in good time to wrestle on the white tie kit, we were looking forward to this annual knees up with the LM as he was bound to pull out all the stops for his Masters. We weren't disappointed, but if the Corporation of London grant many more Liveries then they're going to have to extend Mansion House as this was about capacity I reckoned! Because of the way MH works, it's always advisable to arrive on time or a tad earlier - apart from security, there's a narrow staircase to negotiate and 250 Masters and Mistresses can't move very fast! Joining the shuffle north, the stair corners were lined with the City's Musketeers and Pikemen - one of whom was the IPM Playing Card Maker, Charles Fowler looking resplendent in a broad hat and uniform etc. Finally we got to the LM and Lady M for a quick greeting and a quick side step past Sheriff Esslin and then joined a busy throng with a glass of cold champagne. It didn't take long to find friends from the circuit, but getting a refill was tougher! We didn't have long to wait until we were gavelled in for dinner and went to the Egyptian Hall, the massive top table sprouting nine sprigs. Before we dined, the Rev Canon Roger Royle (he of my October Ladies Banquet) read an excellent Grace (Article 50 had just been dispatched to Europe):
O Lord, in this momentous week
the City’s Great and Good are gathered
Your blessing so to seek.
With E.U. letter duly signed
We have come together
So we might dine.
And as we feast on English fare,
O Lord Divine, we pray
That if it be just possible,
And in Your own good time,
It is from France
We get the wine. Amen
We dined on cured salmon, beef fillet and chocolate and pear mousse with an excellent 2005 Margaux taking the gong for wines in my view. While we ate, the Band of the Royal Yeomanry played light music from the balcony, but it was hard to hear them over the hubbub. I sat next to a PM Grocer and opposite the Master Gunmaker, both of whom developed a strong liking for our particular blend of snuff! After the loyal toasts, the LM gave his usual high-standard of speech followed by the Master Mercer and Master Grocer. With that all done the Reverend Canon disptached us with another prayer:
The Feast is over, but Lord
Before we he'd for bed
We thank you for the time
In warm conviviality we’ve spent
Having put to the back of our minds
That it’s still
the season of Lent. Amen
Thus, we dispersed for a stirrup cup - but these were hard to come by, so note to future Masters, don't hang around! We saw several more friends who were on their last legs as Master and it will be sad to see them go, but that's the way Livery works! Ever minded of the exiting policy at MH, we got our coats and went to hunt for a cab home - but not before a quick cigar with the Master Furniture Maker, naturally!