The Master’s February 2021 Letter

From the Master

Annus Horribilis x 2: A letter from the Master

February 2021

The jab is here..! Oxford or Pfizer? Do you stand in the punt (Oxford style) or on the stern till of the punt (Cambridge stye)? It does not matter how you arrive, as long as you arrive.

I know many of you have had the COVID inoculation and we are all happily on our way moving towards a more normal way of life. How it will unfold over the coming months is anyone’s guess, but as soon as businesses are up and running the better. Our economy needs to recover and stop tragic business closures, bankruptcies and lives ruined. Charitable food banks have now become a way of life for many. Indeed, if we all give something it will make a difference. I am pleased to report the Company is supporting the NHS Livery Kitchen project, and other charitable causes such as Village to Village. And do not forget to sign up to Smile Amazon. A few pence will go to our charity each time you buy. But it might make someone even richer!

I fear not much has or will happen in my two years as Master. Indeed, I have written it off. I believe completely in reconciliation and I have happily reconciled myself to that. It will be two years I will never forget, nor will any of us. The Livery year should now be in full swing. The Mansion House Banquet is booked and crossed fingers. It is such a shame that any form of Livery social gathering is curtailed – the heartbeat of our Livery. It has been disappointing for everyone, including the Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress who have only travelled the world by Zoom.

We can, however, look forward to the Master’s Break in St Mawes. Hopefully, that is far enough away in the calendar to be outside any social distancing rules and, may be, our principal Company Annual Lecture will happen later in the autumn. We also look forward to our Upper Warden’s daughter, Trish Jones, to give a Master Class in cooking a Sri Lankan Chicken Curry on 24 February at 6.30pm. It will take the form of a video which we can watch and later try the recipe at our leisure. It will be on YouTube too. I am also delighted to report our Upper Warden, Nick Jones, is planning his year now. I wish him and Karla an Annus Mirablis. Both Bridget and I very much look forward to it.

I am in daily contact with Adrian, our Clerk, and we hold Court meetings via Zoom. Both Sharon and our beadle, Peter, are furloughed and Debbie still maintains our accounts. I really cannot say much more as there is nothing to report of the Master’s activities. But the future is bright, and we are walking towards that light. That is the most important thing. Many of our Masters have had long distinguished careers in the plumbing industry. I have not. My interest is somewhat multifaceted from art history, archaeology, historic building conservation (leadwork – hence the Plumbers’ Company), curating exhibitions at Tate Britain and to writing. Many Liverymen have little knowledge of the Masters and what they get up to. I am delighted to say my Catalogue Raisonné of William Coldstream Paintings has run to a second edition since its first publication in 2018 and a further book is to be published on Coldstream with contributions by the people that knew him. I hope you enjoy reading it when it is published.

Until we meet.

With all good wishes,