Meeting report

04 December 2017

John Hicks

Last night was our last formal meeting for 2017, but we do have our Christmas social to look forward to on the 18th. Thank you in advance, Michael Shand.

There were two excellent speeches from our younger members. Emma Garlick’s “My Gift to You” was her quirky guide to Christmas shopping and she based it around six tips – some of dubious value. Two glasses of cider prior to a visit to the mall seemed a good idea initially … she could chew the fat with the till operator who asked her how her day had been, and even wish a benign “good on you” for groups of friends chatting blocking the narrow entrances she was trying to get through. Her conclusion however, was that, in the end, two glasses were not enough! Other tips - vouchers for meals, succulents from the red zone in home-made pots – were useful, as, also, her reminder that Christmas is not just about gifts.

Nicola Powell, in “A Tale of Two Divas”, contrasted the very different lives Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Nicola had researched her subjects well and the result was a well-delivered and interesting speech.

As Toastmaster I was pleased to see the word of the day “indulgence” frequently used. As to the Monte Pythonesque meeting theme: some verses of “Always look on the bright side of life” are quite pertinent to suffering toastmasters. Our table topics session was prefaced with: “For life is quite absurd / And death’s the final word / You must always face the curtain with a bow / Forget about your sin / Give the audience a grin / Enjoy it, it’s your last chance anyhow.” Which is a complex metaphor for the agony we all face when chosen to deliver a table topic. And yes ...TTM Alison Scott wanted us to unravel metaphors, and yes ... she had some fiendish topics up her sleeve (another metaphor). 

First up was Stephen East. He struggled with “New Zealand is like a red rubber ball”. Who wouldn’t? I bombed on smorgasboards and Helen Peate on gingerbread houses, although at least she got half-way there. If there had been a prize, my pick would have been David Preston. We learned why his “family is like a box of chocolates”. “Some are nutty …” was a promising beginning, and he was off … some have soft centres, some are very hard / bitter / no longer available etc. and ... some are like Cadbury’s … their quality has deteriorated over the years. My second vote would go to Vita Tasman who somehow made sense of explaining her life away as a “box of crayons”. I was amazed that TT evaluator, Adrienne Malis managed to extract something meaningful from this melange. Crazy stuff but, as GE Helen commented later, highly original!

We had a smallish turnout, despite my toastmasterly efforts to get a better attendance prior to the meeting. One advantage of smaller numbers is that there is fuller participation, and no escaping table topics!  Thanks also to Carolyn Skerrett and David Preston who willingly and ably doubled up to introduce, and evaluate, the two speakers.

Onwards … to the 18th. I hope to see you at Michael and Helen's!