55th Grand Chapitre, 2-5 October 2014 – York
What a wonderful weekend we all enjoyed in York in October. The weather was perennially kind and the early arrivals met for a Diner Amical in the superb wood panelled Directors Board Room of the Cedar Court Grand. Next morning a bus filled to the last seat set off for a day at the world famous Castle Howard, setting for “Brideshead Revisited.” Dinner that evening took place in an equally stunning setting, the 657 year old Merchant Adventurers Hall with its timber structure and uneven medieval floor. Here members of Chaine GB were able to welcome visiting members from 15 countries, from as far as Australia, China, the USA, to Thailand and Bahrain and from all over in Europe including some of your regular guests. Jonathan Maxwell and his team produced a really fine dinner and the group was awed by the fact that the kitchen facilities on site were somewhat limited!
As is now our custom, the induction of new members and promotees took place on Saturday morning to allow the maximum participation by our professionals. The ceremony took place in St Michael Le Belfrey church opposite York Minster. Our Inducting Officer was Nils-Petter Aardal, Bailli Délégué Honoraire of Norway and Membre du Conseil Magistral.
Saturday afternoon walking tours gave visitors the opportunity to learn something of the city and its history. Then in the evening our Gala Dinner was really something special. It was held in the spectacular Grand Hall of the National Railway Museum. We were privileged, as this was the first time this had been allowed. Guests arrived to see the turntable in operation with the GWR’s City of Truro aboard. The first locomotive to achieve 100MPH. Dinner then proceeded amongst among giant steam locomotives, including LNER’s world renowned Mallard – after 75 years and therefore likely to be unchallenged holder of the world steam speed record.
On Sunday members made a leisurely start before sauntering across to York station and boarding the Pullman coaches of Belmond’s luxurious Northern Belle. During a countryside tour of the North East we were whisked away as if on a magic carpet on wheels to a world of wonderful food and superb service for a very special lunch designed by Belmond just for this occasion. Four hours for lunch and it seemed over too soon.
What a truly memorable weekend, one of cultural interest, culinary and vinious excellence, exceptional venues and most of all great camaraderie.
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