Meeting report

20 June 2016

John Hicks

Michael Shand stepped through the door and, at short notice (two minutes) found himself Sargeant @ Arms. This was not to be the first time we were to be captivated by his impromptu speaking skills ... the magic mushrooms came later.

Last night was Ryan Chappell's first time as Toastmaster and he managed the evening very capably. He invited our sympathies for Lloyd Bathurst who was unable to be present because his mother has recently died. So ... Our sympathies Lloyd, you were missed.

Emma Garlick's Icebreaker speech was well structured, interesting and punctuated by some delightfully understated humour. Next time you greet her at Shoreline you would do well to remember that she is the sort of person who ate tadpoles as a child.

Vita Tasman, Bard for the evening, read Edward Lear's "Owl and Pussycat" poem. Once again Helen Peate, in a cameo performance as GE, had to remind us (quite correctly, it is something that also annoys me immensely) that bard is a noun, not a verb. You are the Bard or can be the Bard, but you cannot "Bard" or "do" the Bard - just as you cannot "Toastmaster". [NB. One important element of humour is to treat the unimportant things in life seriously!]

Humour also surfaced in Terelle Hegarty's Table Topics. These drew on Nursery Rhymes. Carolyn Skerret attributed Humpty Dumpty's fall from the wall to obesity and flew off into the familiar rant mode that we all love. Bo Peep lost her sheep, in Michael Shand's version, because she chanced upon some tempting blue mushrooms. Perhaps drawing on some past experience, he was able to simulate her resulting incoherence disconcertingly well. I was even more perturbed by the profound knowledge of psychedelic esoterica displayed by subsequent speakers. At least Peter Hegarty was able to claim professional police training as an excuse. Our TTE, Stephen East, somehow made the task of giving useful recommendations to the TT participants both funny and useful.

Well done to our two guests, Amand and Anthony, who both gave Table Topics a go.

My appreciation, also to Stephen East, for to putting together an effective agenda in difficult circumstances. Stephen has entered a provisional schedule on EasySpeak for the next three Mondays and it will make his task, and that of the designated Toastmaster for those sessions, much easier if we could go on site and indicate whether we are attending and accept/decline any roles for which we have been entered.