Master’s Lockdown Diary
23 November 2020
Mid October- mid November
Within the world of Zoom, the WCF/Brooke Global Farriery Strategic catch up meeting was at the end of October. Lots to talk about and hear how the aim is to improve horses, donkeys and mules lives by training farriers in the countries Brooke is active in, including Senegal, East and West Africa, Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Nepal. A mobile forge was taken out for the local farriers to use and hopefully make more. Apparently, the locals make tools and equipment out of whatever they can find, bicycle wheels for fans are a speciality!
We had the Investment Committee meeting and I am pleased to say that despite the pandemic our investments are being well cared for.
I joined Jane at the City Consorts evening, for The Secret Room Magic Evening with Alan Hudson. Magic always appears to be ‘magic’, I couldn’t quite understand just how it would work on Zoom, amazingly it did!
The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers held their annual Aerospace Industry Event Zoom lecture. There were 3 excellent speakers, Sir Stephen Hillier, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, Group Captain Emily Flynn, Station Officer at Brize Norton. She spoke about the assistance the base were giving to assist with the pandemic, as well as their regular commitments. Wing Commander Andy Green, the world’s fastest man on earth informed us of the progress Bloodhound and the team are making in their bid to travel at 1000mph on South Africa’s salt pans. I was totally enthralled listening to him talking about driving Bloodhound, which is powered by a Typhoon jet engine, plus a rocket booster. It was an excellent evening with a breakout session.
The Annual World Horse Welfare conference, normally held at The Royal Geographic Society was as expected on Zoom. It was remarkable how speakers from Australia, France, Ireland and the UK all connected successfully. The discussions were of the ‘horse-human partnership – what’s in it for the horse’ and of how possibly what man thinks a horse enjoys because he does, isn’t necessarily pleasurable for the horse. Keeping a horse in a stable for 23 hours a day to keep them warm and dry was an example, when getting out into the field would be far more natural. HRH The Princess Royal gave the closing address, summing up all that had been discussed.
The Master and Wardens' meeting took place, at least no one had to travel from their homes!
As much as I would like to be doing more, I am aware that all Masters are in a similar position. I have been spending time telephoning members of the Livery, if anyone would like to telephone me, they are very welcome to do so. 01223 207321.
20th October 2020
My first role as Master was to attend Common Hall for the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London. Royston station was empty and I found myself with a 12 carriage train virtually to myself! It was quite a shock to see Cheapside with hardly anyone about. I was rather early and as I could hear the sound of church bells I went inside and heard the organ playing, it sounded beautiful, I was somewhat shocked when the muffled sounds from behind me were of a coffin being carried into the church…….I beat a hasty retreat and made my way into Guildhall. It was all rather surreal, as instead of the hall being full, there were just 54 Masters, spread around. Alderman William Russell was elected for a second term as Lord Mayor. I met the Master of the Coach Makers and Coach Harness Makers’, we were chatting and discovered I had met her husband via motor racing, it is a small world!
The Mistress and I attended The Horners’ Company Zoom Banquet, a novelty! We were all dressed up, had wine and supper ready, settled ourselves in the dining room with candles for atmosphere, turned on the ipad - magic and we had joined the Banquet! It was very enjoyable, following the normal formalities with speeches and toasts. There were three breakout sessions for general chatting and meeting other Masters. Schnapps, our black Labrador joined us, hoping for a morsel to find its way to her!
We also attended a Zoom Wizardry in Wood which was put on by The Turners Company. There were three fascinating demonstrations by award winning turners, each producing very different items. There was also, an extremely interesting talk given by Sarah Faberge, she spoke about her Grandfather starting his business in St Petersburg, with the famous Faberge eggs and other stunning pieces, to the present day. There are a number of beautiful objects in the Royal Collection.
The first Master and Wardens meeting was held live in Chipperfield Village Hall, all suitably distanced with separate tables. It was good to have our first meeting together in person, rather than by Zoom.
The Craft Committee met, needless to say by Zoom, it was very informative, especially for me.
Last Friday evening was the WCF’s first Zoom social evening in place of the Livery Dinner, which would have been held on HQS Wellington. Thanks to Charlotte’s skill in organising the event, we all had a very jolly time chatting in the ‘breakout rooms’. Assistant Guy Reynolds proposed the toast to the Company and Master. He spoke about the effects of Covid 19 on farriery and compared it to the most recent Foot and Mouth outbreak, which as a rural problem had much more effect on farriery than Covid, being more of an urban issue currently. Rosie Clifford and Alex Haigh sang three excellent songs, including Flanders and Swan’s Hippopotamus Song! Past Master David Short wrote the Annual Livery Anthem; he was ably accompanied by Assistant Mike Knapton on the piano, we all unmuted ourselves and sang along! The Loyal Toasts were given sitting down as per the Royal Navy from when William IV gave a dispensation due to bumping the royal head!
I will update this diary in due course, in the meantime stay in touch and keep safe.