One of the other quaint practices that I have encountered at General Synod is that of eating out in a large group or in a more sinister styled group of two or three. The latter being adopted by Bishops more ususally. Then the tradition is to move on to a venue that stays open till late, say two in the morning. We are uncertain how many Bishops adopt the ‘night owl’ part of the practice openly.
Anyhow the main preoccupation during the whole of the tradition in London is to talk about all the other members of synod who are not present at the table and to poo-poo their ideas, their dress sense, their predicted voting preferences and their general friendliness, or lack of it.
After this process has ended, which may take most of the evening, the tradition is that matters move on to who is likely to be the next Diocesan Bishop of ‘Wheresoever and Therewithal’. It is thought that this is indeed the conversation most preferred by some Archdeacons and many a Suffragan. The hilarity that ensues as each probable and improbable candidate is shoe horned into the prospect is a sight to see; with many a stocking clad leg being thrust into the air wantonly, as the ecstatic owner falls off her chair in unbounded laughter and derision. Great fun is had by many.
What never fails to amaze me is that whilst these discussions can go on well into the night all participants will be found in the chamber the following morning, and quite a few at synod too.
Of course at York none of this is applicable or at least the tradition is somewhat curtailed as the University security staff now bar all synod members from any rooms other than their beds after eleven. The situation has become more desperate in recent years as more security staff have been pressed to control the nocturnal revelry of synod members.