David and Ita Reynolds, Mike and I, were guests of 135 Geographic Squadron for their Mess Dinner. This was to mark the “Dining Out” of Major Stuart Batey and WO2 Simon Wallace. The Squadron’s Honorary Colonal, Vanessa Lawrence had just flown in to London that afternoon and despite jet lag, she was on form and made a number of witty comments about Stuart in her speech.
Stuart, who is well known to many of us, retires in May following a 30 year Army career. During his last 4 years at Ewell, he has regularly commuted from his home in Scotland, which has not always been easy for him. He will have a fantastic new career ahead of him which is Head of the Ordnance Survey, Scotland.
A most lively dinner with delicious food, with entertaining speeches and great company.
The Company donates funds to the Spitalfields Music project, which was started by Past Master Roger Southam. This Charity is specific to the Spitalfields area of East London, designed to engage the local community in music and in particular, introduce people, who otherwise have no exposure to music, to its joys and experience.
I was invited to join the Spitalfields trustees at Kobi Nazrul Primary School on friday afternoon for their performance of Persphophene and Hades. Their music project had begun early January and the performace was the culmination of their performance to friends and parents. The Year 3 children had taken the roles of amateur producers, writers and performers. The joy and excitement with which they performed was infective and we were all joining in the various choruses when prompted. I sat next to an especially threatening-looking Hades, who in real life is a theatre producer and is currently working on a production at the Royal Opera House. All the performers were either professionals or students of the Royal College of Music, so impressive and worthwhile.
Do check the website for forthcoming Spitalfields Events: www.spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk
I had been looking forward to today’s visit: every Past Master has talked about their visit to Treloars College with admiration and emotion and I concur. The college takes 200 students each year, helped by almost 600 full time and part time members of staff. The students have hugely varying degrees of ability but irrespective of that, we found the overriding atmosphere to be one of joy and positivity.
Following our welcome by Tony Reid, Chief Executive, we were taken around the college by the students. My group was led by Sean Mckenna an erudite 21 year old with a sharp sense of humour, who kept the visitors in check when we wondered off. We were shown the technology rooms, took part in a maths lesson and met the Head of domestic science whose curriculum included plucking and cooking pheasants! She did explain, however, that the aim of her classes was to encourage students to eat sensibly and look after their bodies for life.
Following a delicious lunch, we all assembled in the courtyard for the opening of the”Moving Arch” by the Lord Mayor.The Arch, a beautiful work of art, was created by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths and it allows the students to physically move through the metal archway to symbolically show the changes in life.
The afternoon ended with a concert by the students, leaving us non of us with a dry eye. A fantastic day.
The Surveyors Company joined forces with 25 other livery companies at the 2nd careers showcase for schools, hosted with huge generosity by the Apothequaries’ A makeshift blacksmith’s forge welcomed us all as we entered the courtyard of Apothequaries’ Hall with several schoolchildren entranced by things they had probably never seen before. Liveryman Clwyd Roberts had marshalled the Surveyors together, organising the day for us and keeping me in order, which was perfect. I found the other stands absolutely fascinating with representation from Scrivenor Notaries to Loriners (all female) and stone masons (both female!). We enjoyed a steady flow of youngsters throughout the day, interested in what surveying could provide for them.Importantly, we met many careers teachers who had never really understood what surveyors do and we hope they will now regard our amazing profession as something that is as exciting(if not more so ) than engineering or architecture!
Thanks to everyone who came and helped out: Court Assistants William Hill, John Woodman, Janie Strange and Liverymen Clwyd Roberts, Sam Rowland, Alistair Redland and Peter Miller. We will definitely repeat this event next year!
An off-Piste evening at the Mall Galleries at the invitation of the Master Painter Stainer to join the Company for a private viewing and award of the prestigious Lynn Painter Stainers Prize. This Prize was launched in 2005 specifically to encourage up coming artists who practice representational painting and to promote the skills of draughtsmanship.
The Audience comprised many of the artists, who were fascinating in that they had become artists through different routes and reasons. The judging panel included the renowned artist Ken Howard OBE RA and was hosted by Philip Mould who is famous for his ‘Fake or Forge’ tv programme with Fiona Bruce and who runs a gallery in St James’s.
The prize winning artist, Catharine Davison, explained the background to her beautiful representation of The Craggs at Dawn, Carlton Hill and the difficulty of surviving as an artist. Much deserved.
A brilliant, sunny day welcomed us all into Guildhall Yard for the Poulters’ annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race. The Surveyors’ team was on form ( apart from your Master who dusted off her trainers and focused on getting through the race without falling over) with Assistant David Reynolds ensuring that chefs’hats and aprons were on and our star of the day, Liveryman Laura Wardell who eventually ran in six races, came First in the Ladies race and second in the fancy dress. Laura’s father and brother had travelled down from Nottinghamshire to support her, which was fantastic and were able to witness the presentation of a copper frying pan to Laura, with the surveyors Company engraved on it which records our win for posterity!
A most jolly lunch was provided by the Cook and Butler in the guildhall Crypts afterwards, providing much needed sustenance for those who had earned it!
A wonderful evening in No 1 criminal court at the Old Bailey( if that isn’t a contradiction) in the company of a number of notorious, historical criminals, in aid of the Sheriff’s and Recorder’s Fund, which is over 200 years old and is established to provide basic needs to people after release from prison, which might be clothing or even help towards a training course.
Mike and I joined many guests, crammed into the Court room which was the stage for an evening of amateur dramatics, performed by members of the Judiciary, barristers amongst others! to provide a flavour of some famous and infamous cases, including lady Chatterley’s Lover, which shook the establishment at the time, the trial of Daniel Defoe, the marquis of Sligo as well as an excerpt from Dickins’ Great Expectations of the trial of Fagin.
A fantastically enjoyable evening, watching some great acting(that’s what most lawyers do anyway!) in great company which raised money for a worthy cause.