I would like to start this report by praising our Sergeant at Arms, Lloyd Bathurst. The S@A is the first to turn up to prepare the meeting room and the last to leave. He turns on the zip and re-stocks the tea basket, as necessary. Why is this so important? One of the most beneficial and under-reported part of any meeting is the tea break at the end. This where the unofficial evaluations, tips and feedback occur ... as well as these there are invaluable conversations about the meaning of life, the state of the nation and Donald Trump's hair.
The S@A also has the responsibility of introducing the Toastmaster. Last night Lloyd handed over to David Preston in his customary, warm style and David, in turn, carried this warmth and good humour into his role as TM for the evening.
The first speaker, the person wearing my name-tag, was saddled with doing justice to two much loved characters of twentieth Century English literature: PJ Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster. I fear he fell out of the saddle a few times, but he was given a kind evaluation by Stephen East.
Nic Farra, our visitor, by contrast, was unfaltering in the saddle. He began his masterly speech with an extensive quote from Henry V. "Who Needs Shakespeare?" We were easily persuaded that we all do. The hope is that Nic, after completing his English literature researches overseas, will revisit Shoreline. His plan on return is to set up a performing arts cultural centre in Christchurch and present a free-to-all Shakespeare season. A mighty ambition which, with his skills, I suspect he will accomplish.
Helen Peate rehearsed a speech she intends to give at a fiftieth reunion of her school year. Helen enjoyed her school years and received a thorough grounding in grammar and deportment at St Margaret's College. (I note the apostrophe in St Margaret's is still retained on their website - just checking!). These old girls (in reality "old", old girls) will be encouraged by Helen to "Get on with it", just as she has in her full and varied life. Her speech is a wonderful blend of humour and sage advice. Her old girls are in for a treat.
TTM Peter Hegarty gave food for thought with Dr Zeuss. Inevitably some indigestion ensued, but the four victims he selected somehow managed to extricate themselves from his clever quotes with honour.
Michael Shand was, as ever, skilful as GE - especially considering he had the additional task of evaluating Helen's unscheduled speech.
So ... (to use that mindless linking word, Michael) ... If you have managed to read this far, well done! Your next task is to go to the Shoreline website and click onto next week's meeting ...