After my nameless alter ego had scuttled about taking photos for our new website, TM Helen Peate set out her carefully planned agenda for this Leap Day. However, as GE Tom Fuller gleefully pointed out later, our lead scientist stumbled briefly over leap seconds and numbers divisible by four. Non-plussed, she skilfully abandoned them in an unresolved state, and steered into the safer territory (for her) of the right of women to request a man's hand in marriage on Leap Day. Most male members of the audience had tucked theirs safely away in their pockets at this point.
We were on the threshold of another thoroughly enjoyable evening. Lillian Meng followed with a humorous talk about the differences between Chinese and NZ cultures: in particular those customs around birth, marriage and death. There are, also, a few shared similarities and Lillian drily observed that both countries observe funerals after death.
Adrienne Malis then presented "Tiny Hats for Dogs and Cats". To my astonishment this - as some would say (probably the sort of person who would write the book on which her talk was based) - was "for real". Her speech - as her evaluator Lisa Todd pointed out - would be a great entry for the humorous speech competition. Adrienne stacked her talk with memorable phrases in support of her new hobby: making tiny hats was therapy when she was suffering from "free-floating anxiety", even her son noted that she "seemed more friendly" after a hat-making session. And if I, like some others, "felt that their ego was too large for something like this" she advised us to "talk ourselves into it" or "wait till we were so stressed" that it would seem obligatory. (Never, never, never, Adrienne)
TTM David Preston, relished selecting victims for a diverse selection of Table Topics. We now know that "in case of emergency..." Lloyd Bathurst will always reach for a gun. Carolyn Skerret became fixated on abandoning ship and Peter Hegarty in praise of freedom camping highlighted the opportunity to meet people urinating in bushes and spitting into the estuary. Alison Scott, as TTE, somehow reconciled these uneven outpourings into a cohesive and highly entertaining few minutes.
It is a privilege to listen to the talented speakers we have in our club and our Bard for the night, Buck Buchanan, was no exception. He treated us to the famous "To be, or not to be ..." soliloquy from Hamlet. His was a heartfelt plea to take us back "to the days when the language was used creatively".
The meeting was bookended by two great rivals. Lloyd Bathurst as SAE and Tom Fuller as GE. After a lapse of some months, normal sparring was resumed. Lloyd, remarking on one of Tom's all too rare appearances asked us to treat him charitably. Tom taking advantage of having last word, advised us that his CRC evaluation for Lloyd stood for "Clearly Requires Charity".
It was pleasing to welcome two new guests, Lucy and Emma, both of whom had found us via Google. They, and perhaps you, will find yourselves on www.shorelinetoastmasters.org.nz. If you don't like the way you look, blame my alter ego and be prepared to do your own scuttling at our next meeting!