Meeting report

28 August 2017

John Hicks

I regret missing out on a few Icebreaker speeches from new members in the past, so I was very pleased to hear Craig Hickford’s well-presented resumé of his life. He pursued this from birth (with a hiatus hernia) to the age of eighteen. For most of this period his family lived in Opunake, Taranaki. Craig’s father was a jet boat enthusiast and Craig soon became “enamoured” with and “passionate about” water skiing and competitive basketball. He alluded briefly to his wife and family, and the accident that has totally changed his life - but these will be the basis of future talks.

Toastmaster David Preston interwove his theme “Our Ability to Effect Change” between speakers when he took the opportunity to remind us of how we can help to reduce the impact of anthropogenic climate change.

My own talk “So You Want to be a Vet?”, a power point presentation, is “classified R16 - by no one in particular - because it contains language and sexual references that could offend some people”. Strict censorship rules forbid me to summarise it.

After the break Table Topics Master, Simon Mortimer, tested us with a selection of recently published books. Thus “A Leap of Faith” by Jenny Patrick - according to Helen Peate - pivoted on an encounter with an apparition, complete with religious conversion etc. Unsurprisingly, it was a book she didn’t recommend. I liked the way Simon drily delivered brief summaries of the books he’d selected after the (invariably) wayward efforts of his victims. Top marks, in my opinion, went to Michael Shand. His “Fletcher of the Bounty” was the sad story of Mr Fletcher, an employee at Cadbury’s Dunedin factory who used to make Bounty Bars and has now lost his job. He is trying to persuade Cadbury to reinstate Bounty Bars. Stephen East had a devious take on “The Wish Child” by Catherine Chigley. His claim to have “just read it” may have been convincing, but proved to be entirely false. Likewise, Buck Buchanan’s version of Paul Cleave’s “A Killer Harvest”. It is not about a man who (in Buck’s hilariously contrived circumstances) ran over his wife with a combine harvester. Her little finger turning up in a slice of bread may have been a touch of genius – but it never happened!

What a crowd of gloriously inventive liars you are, Shoreline Toastmasters!