Last Saturday was the 800th Lord Mayor's show in the City of London.
I haven't quite been to all of them but I have seen a fair few. They never cease to amaze. After all where else could you see Batman in the Batmobile and Father Christmas in his sleigh (with real reindeer) processing through the streets of London?
It was great to see so many people there to cheer on all the participants, despite the appalling events of the night before in Paris. People perservered through the rain.
I used to go as a child, often sitting on my Dad's shoulders so I could see. One year I sneezed and sneezed and shortly thereafter was confined to bed with some childhood disease. My Mum reckoned I must have infected many others during the show!
You used to be able to buy brightly coloured paper streamers to wave. Great, except when it rained and the colour ran everywhere. It's a wonder my Mum continued to take me to see it.
Since I started to learn about the City as a City of London Guide I have learnt a lot about the City and its customs. Much more to learn though, that is one of the great things about it!
So here are a few entirely random things about Lord Mayors I have picked up for your enjoyment:
The first Mayor of London took office in 1189 and was Henry FitzAylwin. He wasn't Lord Mayor, just Mayor.
The title of Lord Mayor starts to be used from around 1354 when the office was held by the wonderfully named Willam Leggy.
Nowadays it's an office you hold once but in the past people have held it for many times including Fitz Aylwin from 1189 to 1212 which makes Dick Whittington a mere beginner.
Gregory de Rokesley lived in Lombard Street and he held the post 8 times and the wonderfully named Ralph de Sandwich held the post 9 times
Thomas Bludworth was the Lord Mayor in 1666 and he is remembered for his view that a woman could piss out the fire. I do feel a bit sorry for him though; the plague was raging when he took office and he got no real ceremony and instead of a banquet at Guildhall he had to make do with dinner at his place.
Lord Mayor Heathcote got knocked off his horse in 1711 by a drunken flower girl and broke his leg.
The procession is always led by the giants Gog and Magog. They merit their own post. Soon....