Greetings from the Yorkshire Dales. This past fortnight, we have
joined the rest of the country in mourning our late Monarch, Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth. By the same token, we have welcomed King
Charles III to the throne.
It will fall to much better writers and more well-informed
commentators than me to reflect on her Majesty's remarkable life
and character, as well as her contributions to the United Kingdom
and the Commonwealth.
Indeed, I was apprehensive as to whether it was appropriate for
me to use my update this month to comment on this solemn event. I
was persuaded otherwise by the sentiments among colleagues, and
business partners in and around our little city of Ripon.
The strength of feeling in these parts, I am sure, partly
relates to the history of Ripon itself. People here are very aware
of the great moments of the past and how they shaped our
landscapes, communities, and traditions. More often than not, these
events directly involved the Kings and Queens of England.
Up the road in Middleham, the banner of Richard III is still
flown by his loyal supporters in Wensleydale. Henry VIII laid ruin
to the close by monasteries of Fountains and Rievaulx, while his
daughter Elizabeth imprisoned her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, at
Bolton Castle. It was James I who gave Ripon its Royal Charter in
1604. A generation later, the cathedral's windows were smashed in
by Roundheads that were battling James's son, Charles I.
In more recent times, the role of the Royals has been rather
more reserved, and yet, locally very important. The House of
Windsor has played a leading role in championing our area, its
people, and our past. In 2004, the Queen visited to commemorate the
400th anniversary of the Treaty of Ripon; two years prior to that,
the then Prince of Wales was made a freeman of the City of Ripon
for his active role in supporting local regeneration efforts. These
events will similarly live long in local memory.
At Farmison & Co, we are in large part comprised of chefs
and butchers. I myself am a restaurateur by background. A common
theme I have detected this past fortnight is a powerful respect for
the service of her Majesty from those who are used to long,
vigorous hours in the pursuit of excellence and service.
The Royal Family are tireless promoters of British business -
and British food. Our Executive Development Chef, Jeff Baker, has
cooked for the Queen, the King and indeed other members of our
Royal family. Jeff recalls of the occasions,
"in my time of cooking for the Royal Family, what is very
apparent is their deep love of our great British bounty…"