Update from the Master Prof Ken Grattan OBE
I thought it would be good to write a ‘Master’s Missive’ – and then I wondered what exactly a ‘missive’ is. As usual, if in doubt, ask Google: a missive is apparently a letter, especially a long or official one (and for the classical scholars among us it comes from the Latin mittere – to send), with the current sense dating from the early 16th century – recent times in the world of Livery companies. However, this letter will neither be long or official, but a short note to catch up with everyone, as part of the regular Newsletters that Karen, our Assistant Clerk, has been sending round to us all.
I hope that you have been keeping well in lockdown – I know that for some who are shielding, due to health issues, the recent easing of the restrictions will make less of a difference, but still be welcome as we can begin to get together with friends and family, even in a very restricted way. Livery life, and thus the Master’s calendar, has become very quiet over the last number of months. We are managing – indeed managing very well – to have Committee and even Court meetings using Zoom and these have enabled some members who find it difficult to come into London to join us again. This is an unexpected benefit of the situation and it is good to hear from those in that position.
Sadly, amongst the casualties of the last few months, the Master’s Weekend, planned for Belfast in mid-May did not happen. It was really annoying to see the excellent weather over that weekend and not to be able to travel to take advantage of the sunshine. However most of the social functions that you would expect to be happening have been postponed, although we are seeing the beginning of seminars and lectures, organized by other organizations, by Zoom and we expect to see more of this, which is good. It is interesting to see how the dress code for meetings on Zoom is so much more informal than for the usual face-to-face meetings. As a result of all of this, the Master has hung up his suit and his DJ and, as the attached picture shows, traded his white tie for a polo shirt and a seat in the garden with his Consort, always keeping to within the range of where his Wi-Fi still reaches.
I hope everyone continues to keep well and to stay safe through this crisis. As we look forward to better times ahead, we will appreciate the small things we all took for granted of meeting up at the Livery Hall for dinner or a Lecture and face-to-face Committee meetings will be something to look forward to.
With good wishes to all.