Custom: London Bridge Sheep Drive
About: Exercising their centuries-old right (as freemen of the city) to drive sheep across London Bridge, the Worshipful Company of Woolmen annually herd a flock back and forth. Unfortunately health and safety precludes it from being a fun public event, with it happening behind big barriers and many security guards, so this picture will have to do.
Name: Cherry Chard Wild Rice
Chef: Jamie Oliver
Recipe: Cook the rice in a pan, steaming chopped chard in a colander above it. Finely chop the cherries and mix with rice wine vinegar and red wine vinegar. Slice the walnuts, then the chard. Drain the rice, add the cherry dressing with the chard and crumble in the feta. Toss, season, and sprinkle over the walnuts.
Custom: Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival
About: Charitable cockney folk, dressed in black suits and hats covered in pearly buttons, welcome the changing of the seasons with an afternoon of morris dancing, maypole-ing, and ‘Maybe its because I’m a Londoner’-ing.
Custom: Doggett’s Coat and Badge Wager
About: The oldest rowing race in the world; up to six apprentice watermen compete along the Thames, racing between London Bridge and Chelsea. The winner’s prize is the traditional Company of Watermen red coat and badge.
Name: Gem lettuce, mint and spring onion
Chef: Ed Smith
Recipe: Separate lettuce leaves, leaving intact. Chop the inner core finely. Sprinkle with mint. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, spring onions and pepper together and dress the salad.
Name: Smoked Mackerel, Potato and Watercress Salad
Chef: Margot Henderson
Recipe: Break the mackerel into large pieces. Cook potatoes in a pan of salted water. Drain and leave to cool a little. Slice in half lengthways. Trim the watercress and wash the leaves. Mix in a bowl with a dijon vinaigrette, and serve.
Name: Grilled little gem, peas, pancetta and mint
Chef: Tim Siadatan
Recipe: Griddle little gem for 3-5 minutes. Fry the pancetta and mint stalks for 2 minutes, followed by the garlic for another 2. Add the stock, bring to the boil and add peas and little gem. Simmer for 10 minutes, before stirring in vinegar, butter and chopped mint leaves. Season and serve.
Name: Autum Celery Salad
Chef: Russell Norman
Recipe: Very finely slice four stalks of celery and roughly chop the leaves. Dry fry walnuts until brown and toasted. Core and slice two ripe comice pears. Finely slice two medium fennel bulbs. Mix with sea salt, olive oil and the juice of a lemon. Finish with finely grated parmesan.
Custom: The Election of the Mayor of Ock Street
About: The election of the mock-Mayor of Abingdon, now run by the local morris group. The day includes a marathon of morris dancing, followed by voting and the election ceremony.
Custom: The Knollys Rose Ceremony
About: A peppercorn-rent ceremony, organised by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames. The rent of one rose is paid to the Lord Mayor, customary ever since Sir Robert Knolly’s wife built a footbridge across city land.
Custom: The Procession of the Worshipful Company of Vintners
About: A procession from Vitners Hall to a church across the road, where the Company’s new master is sworn in. The path is swept clear ahead of the procession.
Custom: The Cart Marking Ceremony
About: Vehicles are brought forward to the master of the company, who inspects them, before the keeper of the Guildhall brands them with a red hot iron. The city’s vehicles were once licensed this way, now the event is purely ceremonial.
Custom: Sandwich Bartlemas Bun Run
About: To celebrate St Bartholomew’s Day, children race around this quaint chapel in Sandwich. Upon completion, all the children are given a sweet currant bun for their efforts.