Well into our third Lock-down and it’s easy to get fed up and weary with it all. Nothing like as quiet as the first one and traffic levels are reputedly only a little less than normal, so there is still a lot of movement by lots of people. Friends say “well, we’re nearly there and the vaccine, etc, etc” But we, and many of you, I expect, miss family and friends dreadfully; some of us have not met family for months. For those of us who have family abroad, that is not so unusual, but to find that one cannot see family who perhaps live only 100 miles away, or even nearer, that is very strange.

The snow has been a welcome tonic, for some of us. I look out of the window and see a whitened landscape here in Sussex; even the snowdrops are hiding from the cold wind and the frost – but they always recover as the first signs of spring in the garden!

Snow in West Sussex

Our cat hates it, though, and the mice rarely venture out, so no hunting for him! But then he has a warm and cuddly life inside, as you can see!

The Chaplain's Cat

Yet the snow will pass and the mud return – ugh! Some of you won’t have even had a sprinkling and some will have had lots – all very variable this year.
In the Livery movement as a whole, there is perhaps a realisation that it will be a very long time indeed before we are sitting close-packed at Livery Dinners and doing other things together. Some Companies seemed to think, at first, that it would all blow over soon enough, so they didn’t do much to keep their Livery connected; now, I hear, they are doing things together.

But the Engineers, of course, saw this as a challenge to be met. Engineers have tackling challenges ‘in their bones’ so we have had a full programme and this has been much appreciated. We were, probably, one of the first Companies ‘out of the blocks’ so to speak with our Soirées and Suppers, all virtual. Many of our Liverymen have risen to the occasion and offered talks; the range of members participating has grown wider as well, so, in some ways, we have got to know each other a bit better. So three cheers for The Master, Prof. Gordon Masterton, and his team for all that they have provided.
How things will progress, few of us know. The future remains pretty uncertain with the likelihood that the virus will be with us for certainly months, if not for years ahead, in some form or other. That will present us with other challenges – how to arrange meaningful activities in perhaps a different way to how we have traditionally done things. So three more cheers for the next Master, Dr Peter Blair-Fish, and his team, as they grapple with this one!
Meantime, the message is “Stay safe and stay well.” Keep in mind that spirit of hope that is given to us all to enjoy. The difficult days will pass; we will be able to renew more activities together; and the Company will continue to prosper.
May God bless you all, in all that you do and with all whom you care for.

Revd. Peter Hartley,
Hon. Chaplain

PS: I’d like to see members’ snow and ice scenes – perhaps for a future picture blog. If you send them to me at petermhartley@btinternet.com I’ll see what we can do!