Meeting report

07 March 2016

John Hicks

No-one could accuse Shoreline Toastmasters' meetings of lacking in variety, and last Monday night's was no exception. Peter and Terelle Hegarty's daughter is going to be thrilled with Peter's "Father of the Bride" speech. When the day comes he is sure to get plenty of laughs. This was Peter's Icebreaker and we were left with the impression of a loving family that doesn't take itself too seriously and which occasionally, like his otherwise perfect daughter, "delights in other people's misfortunes".

Bob Gordon's contribution, by way of contrast, would have had fundamentalists, popes and archbishops spinning in their graves. His speech "An Interesting Coincidence" delved into the remarkable coincidences many faiths share. Christianity, we were told, is not the only religion whose chief earthly protagonist was born of a virgin, had twelve disciples, was crucified and resurrected three days later, walked on water etc. The links between the star signs, the angle of the earth's rotation, and Pisces - the fish symbol of early Christianity - all were compressed into Bob's fascinating talk. In seven minutes he covered aeons ... literally.

We changed tempo again when our Bard, Tom Fuller, took us back to the First World War. He started with John McCrae's famous poem: In Flander's Fields and - in elaborating on the young soldiers shot for desertion or cowardice on each side in that disastrous conflict - gave us food for further thought.

Lillian Meng pursued the theme of the meeting - Autumn - in her table topics. Our visiting Area Governor, Ellie Young, delivered a fluent discourse in praise of her favourite autumn bird, the Godwit. Parts of Terelle Heggarty's anatomy had a close encounter with liquifaction and Stephen East diverted into a rant about leaves falling on his properties.
The word of the day - pink - was suitably flogged throughout the evening. As Toastmaster it was my task to set the balls rolling with the example of rams' scrotal skin, which turns pink in autumn (when they are in the pink of condition and ready to put out with the ewes). So, imagine how disappointed I was to discover that Helen Peate has an aversion to pink (even her lipstick is orange - it just goes pinkish later). I realise now that I should not have drawn this to my audience's attention and I had my comeuppance later when General Evaluator, Carolyn Skerret, struck the blow for women's solidarity and chastised me for wearing my name badge vertically instead of horizontally. I forgave her because, apart from this minor blemish, her overall performance was, as usual, polished and full of pertinent observations.

It was a pleasure to hear Ellie sing the praises of Shoreline Toastmasters and, in particular, to thank President Stephen East for his work behind the scenes and the support he gives her as Area Governor (or should that be Director?).

Ali Scott rounded off another educational and enjoyable evening with details of her forthcoming Quiz Night and it was pleasing to see her making quite a few ticket sales over Supper.