Page 4 - November 2021
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  THE SALAMANDER November 2021
From Past Master
Frances Blois
On July 2nd 2021, after two years I handed over Mastership of the Company to the Upper Warden Graham Maltby who became Master for the year 2021 - 2022. Even this year Coronavirus has kept most of the country in lockdown and we have largely been at home since March 23rd 2020. We are all now Zoom experts and indeed the 2019- 2020 Past Masters’ Association is called the “Zoomers”.
The fortnightly “GO-TO- MEETING” was the Emergency Strategic Co-Ordination Board (ESCB) meeting, where the Wardens, the Clerk, the Finance Manager and Almoner all meet online, under the Chairmanship of the Upper Warden. A lot was accomplished at these weekly meetings from our home locations. The Almoner contacted the majority of Company Members and briefed us on matters of concern. However, there is nothing like meeting in person and the Carol
Service was one such occasion as a hybrid event with lessons read by the Clerk, Immediate Past Master, and myself, with input online from the Upper Warden and a homily from The Rev George Bush at St Mary Le Bow.
The Livery Company lectures are a way of joining other Livery Companies online and even included the Horners White Tie Mansion House Banquet with breakout rooms and your own food and wine eaten with care so as not to feed the laptop as well. The online Livery lectures and quizzes covered many subjects and included broadening one’s Education, knowledge of the City and even viewing Fire Appliances closer to home. The Water Conservators lecture on whether COVID was already present in an area was fascinating. On some occasions we were spoiled for choice as well as “Zoomed out”. It was essential to have a good internet connection as sadly on occasions the most important part of the lecture was missed, or the host dropped out without having nominated a deputy. You are ‘on mute’ will be long remembered for someone anxious to make a point.
The online Fire Lecture given by Sir Ken Knight was excellent and very thought provoking given the events of 4 years ago at the Grenfell Tower fire. All residential blocks of flats whether clad or not are now becoming subject to increased fire safety regulations in the new Fire Safety Act April 2021, particularlytheflatdoorsleading to the common parts.
Six of us had the first informal lunch on May 28th at the Civil
Service Club (pictured later) and it was nice to meet face to face after so long. The recent delay in the release of the lockdown has made any forward planning very difficult with many events rescheduled until the Autumn and beyond, although I know that we are all anxious to get back to normal safely.
June 22nd saw the suitably distanced Service of Reflection and Hope at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was very moving with the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs in Civic State and many of the Livery Masters robed. There were representatives from many different professions and parts of the City of London community, who all played their part and who all came together in the City’s hour of need. A number of Masters processed from the Apothecaries Hall to St Pauls passed the Firefighters Memorial with thoughts back to those who lost their lives in the War. It was a typical damp June day, although truly memorable.
The Election of Sheriffs took take place on June 24th at the Guildhall with one representative from each Company, very different from usual but things are hopefully gradually returning to the well- known timetable culminating with the Lord Mayor’s Show in November.
I have been in London throughout the pandemic and become used to a new normal but am grateful for the online friendship of the Company and of the many other activities which have developed online over the last 15 months. I hope that you and all your families continue to keep safe and well.
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