Meeting report

09 October 2017

John Hicks

Anyone glancing at EasySpeak last week would have suspected that Monday night’s meeting would lack for material. In the event, this writer’s fears of a very thin agenda were not realised and Toastmaster Nicola Powell presided over an enjoyable evening. Thanks to all who contributed.

Stephen East gave a speech as the outgoing president of the Canterbury Property Investors Association. In his words the CPIA - from whom he pretended to accept an award - was a worthy institution guided by the altruism and integrity of its hard-working members. This was convincing performance by Stephen, but this writer will have to shake off his reservations and find out more to be convinced about CPIA’s benefit to society!

In the absence of a second speaker, Ryan Chappell had volunteered to be our Bard and read from a book about John Britten, the brilliant motor bike designer. This was an interesting topic, and more so because Ryan’s aunt had worked as John Britten’s PA.

TTM, Vita Tasman, extracted the best from us with her well-chosen topics. Michael Shand, fresh from a holiday in the Catlins, was well prepared for his near faultless exposition on why ice is less dense than water – though he stepped into the realms of teleology when stating “because it floats on gin”. I count myself lucky that no-one pulled me up for claiming that Jonathan Swift was author of the quote “the pen is mightier than the sword”. It was, of course, Edward George Bulwer Lytton (1803 – 1873). I thank you all for your kindness in not exposing my ignorance at the time, but I was not the only one to err: Emma Garlick coined a new word “sciency” to explain why the sky is blue, which, because she is not “sciency” was something she could not do. Fortunately for us she is talented at the arts (yes, “arty”) and, as Table Topics Evaluator, she later gave us a series of thoughtful evaluations, delivered with her characteristic understated humour.

There were eight table topics in all. Perhaps the most memorable was Stephen’s attempt to convince us that, of the two, the egg came before the chicken. After some debate it transpired that Stephen had had an egg for breakfast and chicken for tea, so the egg did come before the chicken, and who could argue with that? (Although Emma, tongue in cheek, noted that in his intransigence, Stephen had “spoken to us as though we were village idiots”!)

We were privileged to have Helen Peate deliver another of her “gold standard” General Evaluations. This was the cream on the cake of a fruitful and entertaining evening.

If I had trepidations about last week’s agenda, I have even more about our next meeting on 16th October. Will Shoreline Toastmasters be able to draw another rabbit out of the hat? Go to EasySpeak. It doesn't look promising at this stage.