On 8th July 2021, exactly 521 days since we had last convened, the livery was finally reunited for a splendid luncheon at Vintners’ Hall.
On arrival at our spiritual home, we were greeted by the familiar, warm faces of the Vintners’ staff – Steve, Ron and Lloyd to name but three – who were evidently as delighted to see us as we were them. However, we were then met with some ominous news: the Master had been rushed to A&E with suspected appendicitis and sadly could not be with us. IPM MacKay therefore found himself propelled into the role of Master of Ceremonies for one final time.
Faced with having to pen a very quick speech, it soon dawned on Kenny that he was not going to be able to enjoy the vinous delights quite as he had planned, which perhaps explains why he was initially reluctant to wear the ermined gown. The Assistant Clerk, however, was having none of it and he soon relented and agreed to process in attired as Master locum tenens, with Kim leading from the front (as Acting Beadle) and the Clerk bringing up the rear.
The livery were already at their tables for the sit down reception. Kim gaveled up, Ed allocuted, the Honorary Chaplain said grace – and Kenny then explained what had happened to the real Master and why he was wearing his cloak of pretence.
We were then treated to the following culinary delights:
Devonshire Crab Cake, Cucumber, fennel, lemon and dill crème fraiche (accompanied by a delightfully refreshing and fruity Vouvray, (Marc Brédif))
Seared Fillet of Beef, Potato fondant, carrot puree, asparagus, mushrooms with red wine jus (accompanied by a wonderfully full bodied Rioja (Viña Ardanza Reserva, La Rioja Alta S.A.))
Vintners’ Berry Mess,Seasonal berries, meringue, viola flowers, (accompanied by a delicious Riesling (Heggies Vineyard Botrytis Riesling))
By the time it came to coffee, the Clerk had clearly enjoyed himself too much, as having gaveled for the toasts, he promptly forgot to announce the Master (although, in his defence, the real Master wasn’t there!). The IPM rose to his feet to very warm applause and proceeded to give an excellent speech, based largely on the Master’s own handwritten musings (which Kenny had had to decipher that morning). The IPM concluding by wishing the Master a speedy recovery, a sentiment shared by everyone present.
All in all, a truly joyous occasion.
The Distillers are back!