Meeting report

19 October 2015

John Hicks

Shoreline Meeting 19th October - an impromptu experiment


Perhaps a psychologist could explain why, with no fixed agenda, we had such an excellent attendance (19, including two guests) for last night's meeting. Past president Carolyn Skerret came up with the idea of assigning roles at the start of the meeting by blind selection. No need for preparation or pre-meeting nerves then ... but more chance of crashing ignominiously. The wonder is, nobody did.


The only pre-programmed item was the speech given by Grace Downs tackling the unpromising topic of insurance and risk. Grace focused on the history of insurance and took us back to the times of Elizabeth 1st, Sir Walter Raleigh and Edward Lloyd - pioneering insurance entrepreneur. We learned the origin of the term "underwriting", and the principles of "full disclosure" and "no risk, no reward". This was a well-delivered and fascinating talk.


Further evidence of the talent within our club came from everyone (without exception) who tackled the jobs chance had thrown them. Wayne Sceats warrants special mention. With only a few minutes to prepare for his five to seven minute speech he gave us a thoughtful and entertaining account of his diving holiday in Vanuatu soon after last year's terrifying cyclone. His talk ranged above and below sea-level: from the reintroduction of giant clams, to the devastation he saw and the spirit of the local people coping with their disaster. He made the contrast between Christchurch post disaster recovery and Vanuatu's where, in a more-or-less cashless society, there is a lack of money for healthcare, policing and education and all the benefits that taxation bring to us.


TTM, Adrienne Malis, conjured up a "which is best and why" series of table topics. For example: David Preston, with great fluency, preferred Italy to France. Ali Scott preferred showers to baths. Somehow she managed to incorporate cow effluent and an inebriated boyfriend. Buck Buchanan preferred roast lamb to pork and we learned about guffys? (not in my dictionary, Buck) - and a lot more besides. Lilian Meng preferred cats to dogs (and it wasn't about her eating them, so much as them trying to eat her).


Helen Peate, as usual, excelled as TM, despite having a sleepless night after a holiday in Australia. We also had clever and useful evaluations from Bob Gordon, Carolyn Skerret and Michael Shand. Tom Fuller was, Helen pointed out, wasted as timer. I blame it on lack of sleep: to me he appeared totally sober (and as entertaining as ever). 


Thanks Carolyn, your experiment was a great success.