Meeting report

18 January 2016

John Hicks

Our first meeting of the year had a theme "New Year Resolutions" and a word of the day "resolve." These were subsequently neglected for the whole course of the meeting and this is my chance, as the Toastmaster (TM) who set them, to iterate how totally, totally bereft this made me feel. In writing this I hope to indicate any reader, including our four very welcome guests for the evening, that use of hyperbole is one of the rhetorical devices we encourage in Toastmasters and, obviously, I am not averse to using it to bolster my reports.

Aside from our guests we had an attendance of ten stalwart members who, thank goodness, were prepared to multitask. Thus Lloyd Bathurst starred as Sergeant at Arms, as an introducer and as an evaluator; Bob Gordon as an introducer and TTM, and Carolyn Skerret as a speaker and an evaluator. 

Carolyn was first up with a toast she proposes to deliver soon: "A Toast to the Newlyweds". Her friend is marrying a river surfer (what sort of career is that?) who fancies he is better looking than Brad Pit (so perhaps it doesn't matter). 

Next, David Preston delivered "Bleeding the Brakes" which must have convinced us that it is inadvisable to involve family members (or anyone else) in this procedure. Like his evaluator, Carolyn, I still have no idea what it entails except that cars feature prominently. (Any bleeding I have done has involved either myself or poor, defenceless animals). Perhaps brake bleeding is a sport. There seemed to be lots of pumping involved. 

Adrienne Malis, as bard, read some Bill Bryson and extracted many laughs. Good choice, Adrienne; it would be hard to find a funnier writer.

Bob Gordon adopted a novel approach to his role as TTM. Six of us were given random selections from his massive list of several hundred table topics. Given the humungously demanding task of being TM, I was not in note-taking mode by this juncture; suffice to say there were competent performances from all, including two of our guests. We were ably evaluated by Matt Dodson later on and two of us, quite correctly, upbraided for stalling at the beginning. I might have been one of them, but it would not be right for me to get bogged down by self-criticism when there are plenty of external inputs. Which reminds me ...

Helen Peate rounded off another enjoyable evening as GE; as always, she left us all  with something to work on for our next trip to the lectern - perhaps next Monday (25th)?