Meeting report

12 June 2017

John Hicks

Last night’s meeting was opened by the Sergeant-at-Arms. This an overblown title in my opinion, and I hope I fulfilled the expectations of my audience even though I lacked the full plate armour, mace ad crossbow of my mediaeval antecedents. What sort of milksop is the modern Toastmasters’ S@A?  Helen Peate would even have me supply chocolate biscuits – dark chocolate biscuits. We shall see …

There was a good attendance and Toastmaster Carolyn Skerrett had organised an entertaining evening for us, with clever links to her word of the day – “Venus”.  As expected, for those who know Carolyn, tennis players featured rather more prominently than the obvious astronomical one, although she did include some fascinating details about the orbit and climate of Venus (the planet, not the player).

Last night was most memorable because Lillian Meng received her Competent Communicator’s award with her speech “Journey". This covered her tussle with the English language and Western culture during her two-and-a half years with Shoreline. She reminded us of some early misunderstandings: her literal response to an idiomatic “See you later” was “What time?”. Or, in reply to her neighbour’s “I’m Polish”: “My father in police, too.”! Lillian was full of praise for the support and encouragement she has received from our club. All the positive feedback has been “priceless” to her.

It has been a delight following Lillian’s journey and her evaluator (Emma Garlick) recommended Lillian spread her positive message about Shoreline among her friends.

Ryan Chappell’s “Creating World Peace” was a variation on the toilet seats up or down dilemma, as argued from a chauvinistic male’s perspective, with additional hyperbole/ hyper bowl-y? And so, our special guest for the evening, Mahima, could not fail to have been surprised by the variety of topics covered at our meetings.

Michael Shand’s Table Topics were a good illustration of this. He strung up his participants on the conditional: “if”. If you were offered the chance to be CEO of a company … the chance to commit one crime … to spend the night with one historical figure … to break a world record etc.... which/what/with whom etc. would it be? Lloyd Bathurst convinced us that he would have the greatest fun as the irresponsible CEO of one of the international companies that loses billions and billions of dollars each year. The best lies (yes, president Adrienne Malis actually used that word) came from Stephen East, who broke the World Speed Record for counting the blades of grass in a 10 sq. metre patch of grass. We can check it in the Guinness Book of Records if we like! Good efforts from all and, for the record, my adolescent memory served me well. “She Lost her Naughty Knickers” can be found on the web, but I’m not going to provide the link!

Thence to supper, and some good conversation in spite of the absence of Helen’s chocolate biscuits!