18th November 2023
Rosemary and I attended the Gonville and Caius Commemoration of Benefactors Chapel Service and Dinner. The event is held annually to commemorate the benefactors of the college, naming the major benefactors since the foundation of the college on the 28th January 1384 by Edmund Gonville. (John Caius, the third founder, appeared in 1557.) The Commemoration of Benefactors service took place in the college chapel at 6.00pm. The service was followed by a feast in the hall, which was arranged in accordance with the memorandum of the second founder, William Bateman, dated 6 November 1352.
The celebrations began with tea in the Fellows Combination Room, where we met up with friends Richard & Andrea.
We then heard a lecture by Ms Merryn Somerset Webb, a Bloomberg Columnist. Apparently, she is an award-winning commentator on economics, financial markets, and personal finance, as well as a popular speaker and broadcaster. Her new book, Share Power, looks at how ordinary people can use the power they already have to make capitalism work for everyone. Ms Somerset Webb studied Economics at Caius in 1989, but later changed her degree course to History, as she wanted a first-class honours degree and was not going to achieve that in Economics (her thoughts not mine). Her lecture was very contentious, and in some cases, especially about renewable electricity, extremely contentious and to my mind plain wrong. She was baiting the audience and expected some comment on her renewable stance. She then launched into monetary policy, declining birthrates, immigration, and ownership of business. Some of this I did agree with, though her contentious thoughts on renewable energy will only have us fry.
After the lecture, we attended the Chapel Service. After the service, we made our way to the Senior Combination Room for drinks, and then to the hall for supper. The feast is a several-course meal with grace, matching wines and an address from the Master. Towards the end, the Caius Choir entertained us with various songs including ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’.
Following the meal, we retired to the Fellows Combination Room where we drank AnCnoc, a highland malt, cognac, and mingled with other guests, fellows, and choir members. It was interesting talking to the choir members, undergraduates, who seemed so earnest in their studies, a far cry from my days.
Well after midnight, we enjoyed a stroll across Jesus Green, disturbing a fox who was scavenging for food. He darted away in front of us and through a fence into a garden. We made it back to the hotel after 1.00am.
Port poached chicory & goats cheese mousse: Quince purée, Romano pepper, avocado & lime emulsion.
Bodegas Rafael Palacios ‘As Sortes Val do Bibei’ Godello, 2016
Leek & Halibut torchon: Suffolk chicken crumble, preserved lemon, tarragon split oil sauce, and shiso.
Leek & Aubergine “cannelloni”: Delica pumpkin ketchup, samphire bhaji, spiced radish, and pepper XO. (V)
Agnes et Dider Dauvissat Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy, 2020
Loin of Norfolk Venison: Orange poached carrots, broccoli & watercress purée, fondant potato, and blackberry.
Jerusalem artichoke & wild mushroom pithivier: Orange-poached carrots, cauliflower pomme purée, and broccoli & onion jus. (V)
Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru, Les Vaucrains, Domaine Jean Chauvenet, 2014
Dark chocolate ganache: Cornish clotted cream diplomat, orange compote, whiskey crispy oats, and milk sorbet.
Ridge Vinyards, Lytton Springs, 2013
Dessert, Coffee and chocolates
Ch. Leoville Barton, Saint Julien, 2eme Cru Classe, 2005
Ch. Doisy Daene, Barsac, 2009
AnCnoc 12yrs Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Maxime Trijol Grande Champagne VSOP Cognac