Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Marketors' prizewinner wins Distinction - November 2010

Scott Addison, who was awarded a scholarship by the Marketors to support his MBA studies at Cass Business School, has completed his course and been awarded a Distinction in his MBA. We are absolutely delighted and offer Scott our warm congratulations.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Mutton dressed as lamb? Thursday 25th November 2010

If a Freeman of the City of London can drive sheep over London Bridge (which is a fallacy, but a fun one - see the last posting) then why can't we take the sheep one step further and turn it into a delicious lunch?

Professional chef, Cyrus Todiwala, of Cafe Spice Namaste, has redefined the word 'mutton'. He says that, technically, mutton is lamb which is slaughtered between October and December. His mutton, served as cutlets, was as tender as any lamb I have ever tasted.

What was this all about? - an idea from Court Assistant Dan Doherty, to create a new 'sheep meat' dish specifically for Livery Companies which, whenever it was ordered, would generate a donation to the current Lord Mayor's charity (in this year, Bear Necessities).

A group of Marketors set the ball rolling last week, enjoying Cyrus's wonderful spicy food on one of the coldest days of the year so far, the principle dish being, what else but, "Marketors' Mayoral Mutton".

Little Bo Peeps go large - Friday 19th November

Marketors are good sports. Here are three Liverymen, bravely taking part in the "By hook or by crook" sheep drive, organised in support of the British Red Cross.
From left to right they are: Gerry Brierley, Jean-Francois Dor and Jane Wharam (also our Chief Usher, so she knows a thing or two about herding sheep).
Gerry and Jane won the prize for the best-dressed shepherds and the whole event raised more than £4,000.
And a week later, a team of Marketors including Jane, Gerry, June Poster, Jo Edwards, Gill Stevenson and (Freeman-elect) Annie Brooks came within a hair's breadth of winning an inter-livery quiz competition. Well done you brainy lot!

Want to know more about the Civic City?

Would you like to know more about the City Corporation and its links with the Livery? Then go to a City Briefing.

These are aimed in particular at new Freemen and Liverymen. They provide an overview of the work of the City of London Corporation and the relationship with the Livery Companies. There is an opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and to mix with other Freemen and Liverymen.

Four briefings are held each year at Innholders' Hall, College Street EC4, from 5.30pm - 7.30pm, usually on Wednesday evenings in February, May, October and November.

Further details are at http://www.liverycommitteecourses.org/ and bookings and payment can be made at the website. There is a charge of £10 per person.

I strongly recommend these introductory courses for all Freemen and Liverymen. For little outlay of money and time you can start to learn about this amazing entity which is the City of London, of which you are now a part. Do go.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Baroness Hogg at the City Lecture - Tuesday 23rd November 2010

The final major event of the year for the Marketors - our City Lecture, with Baroness Hogg as speaker.

(Sidebar: my day started with a wonderful invitation to the service at Westminster Abbey preceding the start of the Church of England's General Synod. My host, Junior Warden Sally Muggeridge, was processing as a member of Synod, as was 'my' Rector from Guildford, Robert Cotton. However it was a hat occasion so afterwards I had to find a hairdresser in a hurry to repair my squashed locks. Thank goodness for Hershesons Blow Dry Bar at One New Change in the City.)

The London Chamber of Commerce was the venue for our event, attended by 120 members, their guests and Masters and Clerks of other Livery Companies. I was particularly pleased that one Master remarked on the number of younger, active people in our Livery.

Baroness Hogg, Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, emphasised that there was no one perfect model of corporate governance, which had to strike the right balance between reducing risk while not stifling entrepreneurship. She examined three models - trust, legal and transparency - and expressed her strong belief in the value of the "comply or explain" principle. Her speech will be on our website shortly and I will insert the link to it as soon as possible. It is well worth reading, whether or not you attended the event.

Lord Phillips at the Actuaries' Lecture - Monday 22nd November 2010

Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court, was the speaker at the Worshipful Company of Actuaries' annual lecture at Staple Inn last week.

He explained how the Supreme Court came to be established in place of the former court in the House of Lords. It is the separation of powers between the Legislature (Houses of Parliament), the Executive (Government) and the Judiciary (Judges) which is crucial.

The former Law Lords (Judiciary) also sat in the House of Lords (Legislature), so the separation of powers could have been perceived as being compromised, although those directly involved never felt that this was the case.

Lord Phillips described the hair-raising political process of reaching agreement on this fundamental reform, but finished by assuring us that the outcome was a significant improvement. Apart from greater transparency of accountability, the new Supreme Court building is much more suitable for public access and openness - something highly desirable in the administration of justice.

The Power of Ten - Thursday 18th November 2010

Each year there are 108 Masters of Livery Companies. At the end of their year in office, they form a Past Masters' Year Group Association. I am vice-chairman of the group that held office during Nick Anstee's year as Lord Mayor.

Although for some of us, our year as Master still has some months to run, the association has been formed, has been named, "The Power of Ten", and held its first function last week to welcome the members and their partners to what we hope will be a lifelong friendship network.

We shall continue our commitment to charitable work by making a small donation from every ticket sold to one of our events, to the charity of the Lord Mayor of the day. Every little helps.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The worst job in the world? Sunday 21st November 2010

Does being a maker of speed cameras qualify as the worst job in the world? This morning, Paul Garratt, partner of Freeman Jo Edwards, took part in a church service at Holy Trinity, Guildford, joined by members of the charity RoadPeace, to take part in their service of remembrance for victims of road traffic accidents.

Interviewed by the Rector, Robert Cotton, Paul explained how deaths on the roads in the UK have halved from 8,000 a year to 4,000 in recent years, and that speed cameras have been part of the reason for this reduction. Robert endorsed the efforts of Paul's company, Tele Traffic UK Ltd, to include motorcyclists in the community of responsible road users with an award-winning new piece of technology which is now being supplied to police forces.

On behalf of his company, Paul presented a donation to RoadPeace.

And why am I reporting this? Because Jo and Paul first met Robert when they visited Holy Trinity Church in June this year as part of a Marketors' event. Nice outcome.

Graduation successses and Christmassy Birmingham - Friday 19th November 2010

A great day for
many graduands from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, receiving their Diplomas at a huge ceremony in the Birmingham Symphony Hall.
I was invited to present two prizes to the top students in the Professional Diploma (Suzanna Barr) and the Professional Post-graduate Diploma (Sarah McDonnell). Many congratulations to them all.
The first picture shows one of the academics, robing up. On the right are Junior Warden (and member of the CIM Senate), Sally Muggeridge, with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, whose robes put us all in the shade.
A dignified ceremony, with good speeches from President (and Past Master) Sir Paul Judge, Chairman (and Liveryman) Chris Lenton, and the Dean of the Senate, Professor Robin Wensley. I was impressed by how business-like all the students looked, dressed as if for an interview - a nice sign of their self-respect.
On the way back I walked through a wonderful Christmas fair in Birmingham's New Street. Rustic German huts selling crafts, sweets, clothes, food and drink from the Frankfurt region. This tower was blasting out the music alongside the frankfurter stalls and the beer drinkers.

Marketing Society Annual Conference - Thursday 18th November 2010

The theme of the day was Leadership (I was glad to see that my former employer, Shell, is still sponsoring the Society's Marketing Leaders Programme). Excellent speakers, linked by leadership coach, Steve Radcliffe, keeping things simple and pulling out the key learnings.

Quotations of the day:
Dennis Turner, HSBC Chief Economist: "The recession, that time when even those who have no intention of paying you stop buying, is over."

John Prescott, quoted by Mark Price, MD of Waitrose: "Leadership is vision, compassion and courage". Mark added "and trust".

Warren Buffett, quoted by Mark Price: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Goethe (?), quoted by Martha Lane Fox: "Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

A tasty secret - Wednesday 17th November 2010

If you've never been involved in organising a City event, you may not be aware that, before finalising the choice of menu, two people go the caterer's location for a "tasting" of the food and wine. For Great Events, the Master and Clerk do this.

On this particular day, our Events Committee Chairmen, Liveryman Diane Morris, and I went to the London Chamber of Commerce to taste the options (vegetarian and ominvorous) for the City Lecture next week. You can tell us afterwards what you think of our choices.

Helping launch the Bear Necessities - Tuesday 16th November 2010

The Marketors were privileged to be the first visitors to the new Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Bear, at Mansion House last Tuesday morning. He and the Lady Mayoress and their staff looked amazingly fresh after a marathon weekend (Lord Mayor's Show, Remembrance Sunday) and the previous night's dinner for the outgoing Lord Mayor at Guildhall (guest speakers: the Lord Chancellor, the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury).
As you can see we were there to present a cheque, which was for the Lord Mayor's appeal (the Bear Necessities) from the Marketors' Trust. The Trust Chairman, Court Assistant Trevor Brignall, made the presentation, accompanied by our Clerk, Adele Thorpe (also seen signing the brand new visitors' book on the first page) and me.
The money will fund a university education for a student from one of the less well-off boroughs around the City of London. We shall also provide 'our' student with work experience during their summer vacation. We are making a special appeal to members for more funds to pay for a second student - in these times of increasing personal costs for higher education, we feel this is a relevant expression of our social responsibilities.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Tony Bellm Lunch - Monday 15th November 2010

Tony Bellm was one of our early Masters who inaugurated an annual lunch for the Past Masters, their ladies and a few other guests of the Marketors 'family'. He was a towering figure in every sense of the word; his lunch provides an occasion to remember Absent Friends. My husband, Roger, and I were honoured to be invited, as is the tradition, to share the memories.

Later I attended an exhibition of paintings and prize-giving to the artists organised by the Painter-Stainers' Company at their lovely hall. The attendees were drawn from the arts and the City (a luvvy-livery mix?) and we mere artisans opened our eyes in amazement at the variety of styles, textures, colour codes and scale of the displays. I cannot pretend to have understood it all but it was good to be exposed to what is new and considered to be excellent.

Remembrance Sunday at St Brides - 14th November 2010

Unusually this year, Remembrance Sunday fell after Armistice Day (11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) so I spent the 2 minutes' silence on Thursday in the reception of Cass Business School, just before going into a meeting.

But on Sunday a dozen Marketors were at St Brides for the wreath-laying and subsequent communion service. The music as always was exquisite - the St Bride's choir augmented by a volunteer (professional) orchestra. They sang the Durufle Requiem, and you can't go wrong with Durufle, in my view.

Driving into the City earlyish on a Sunday morning is a different experience. The streets had all been hosed clean after yesterday's parade. The mainline railway station at City Thameslink was closed. All was quiet except for the occasional tramp of soldiers moving in small groups towards St Paul's. The only coffee shop open was the independent Italian one, serving a diverse clientele of churchgoers and workmen in their reflective waistcoats. Parking was easy but there's no discount for going to church!

Lord Mayor's Show Day - Saturday 13th November 2010

Thank goodness it was dry! Here are some images from a great day out, not only for us, but for the family of Marketors who joined the many thousands of people alongside the route. I was joined by Senior Warden, Jim Surguy, Middle Warden, John Flynn and in this picture by Past Master and Brigadier Roger Hood, who is a Marshal for the parade. We walked with the other Modern Livery Companies in front of our bus, a steam-driven fire engine from the Firefighters and a potato harvester from the Farmers - what a neat bit of driving that was round our narrow streets.
A good walk through the streets of the City, wearing out your arm and cheek muscles waving and smiling at the crowds, who were so enthusiastic and welcoming. It was particularly nice when friends called out to us from the crowds or we saw someone we knew - they got an extra big wave.
Then to HQS Wellington (thank you to the Master Mariners) for a lunchtime break and refreshment. Then back along different streets, past the coachloads of elderly and less able visitors parked beside the road so that they got a ringside seat.
Returned to the Wine Tun in Cannon Street to join the last of the Marketors party before they left - big thank you to Court Assistant Dan Doherty for organising their hospitality with such efficiency and warmth.
Then on to the old HMS President where the City Livery Club had a bar open all afternoon preparatory to watching a stunning firework display, then dinner. Their President this year is our Liveryman Valerie Boakes, so it was great to see her and her husband, Past Master Norman Boakes, hosting such a delightful mix of guests.
A long day but the tired feet were well worth it. Thank you to Junior Warden Sally Muggeridge and her husband David Williams for getting the team together and managing logistics on the day.

Silent Ceremony - Friday 12th November

This was an occasion for hats, as you can see. It is the ceremony at which the new Lord Mayor is installed and, apart from his declaration, it takes place in silence.
There is a large table placed in the centre of Guildhall around which the dignitaries sit and the symbols of authority are, one by one, presented to the outgoing Lord Mayor, who presents them to the incoming Lord Mayor, who returns them to their custodian. So the Sword, the Mace, the Seal of office, the Purse, the collar and badge are handed over.
This is all done with much bowing and stepping forwards and backwards - very dignified, very British. It was thanks to the good offices of our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, that my husband, Roger, and I were able to attend. A great privilege.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

6th City of London Biennial Meeting - 9th November 2010

I was invited to attend this meeting organised by Cass Business School. It takes place in alternate years and looks at macro-economic conditions and their impact on the finance, energy and shipping sectors. I went to the second day for an update on two areas in which I have spent most of my career so far.

Delighted to see that the government is now espousing the energy objectives that Shell has talked about for some time - that what we all want is energy that is clean, cheap and convenient. Or if you prefer it more elegantly: affordable, available and acceptable. The Department of Energy and Climate Change seems to have (what I would consider to be) a sensible view of the task ahead as we migrate to a new portfolio of energy sources and technologies.

Just as interesting, I met a delightful Past Prime Warden of the Dyers Company, Michael Rowlandson, who sits on the Court of City University. It's one of their expressions of social responsibility.

Monday, 8 November 2010

For our tomorrow, they gave their today - Monday 8th November 2010

At 5 degrees, London today was colder than Switzerland. It was also wet and windy enough to blow rain under your umbrella. Perfect conditions for remembering those who died in the much worse conditions of war.

From 9.30 the crypt of St Paul's gradually filled with representatives from the the Royal British Legion, the armed services, the Ambulance Service, City Institutions and the Livery Companies. We were called out to walk across to the garden of remembrance at the North East corner of the cathedral, where the Band of the Scots Guards (well wrapped in grey greatcoats and bearskins) waited.

The Livery Masters gathered on the grass under the plane trees, cold penetrating up through the soles of our shoes, and the large wet plane leaves brushing water across our dripping umbrellas as the wind caught the branches.

The arrival of the procession of dignatories (Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, Dean and Chapter) signalled the start of the service and we did our best to sing and pray, then took our turns in sixes to plant our small wooden crosses in the grass at the foot of the tree. Cautious steps required on the slippery mud (wonder what it was like in the trenches) and a strong hand to push the cross into surprisingly resistant ground.

The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens (i.e. stand-in for the LM, who is abroad), Lord Levene, said that this morning he had read the names of all those servicemen who had given their lives this year - 104 of them. "So many were only 18, 19 or 20 years old. That's one of the injustices of war. It takes the youngest and the best." Very choke-making.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Lady Mayoress's Reception - Thursday 4th November

We are approaching the end of the Mayoral year - next week we have a "3-day event" with the Silent Ceremony on Friday (the installation of the new LM), the Lord Mayor's Show on Saturday and Remembrance Sunday at St Brides. November is such a busy month for Livery events and committee meetings that I have even found it worthwhile to buy a monthly season ticket for the train.

On Thursday the Lady Mayoress held a reception to whom, among others, all the Livery Company Masters of 2009-10 and their Ladies or Consorts were invited. I have been in office for almost 9 months so many of them are now friends; the reception was more like a large private party than a formal civic occasion. Excellent tea, finishing up with a glass of champagne - now that's style!