Meeting report

12 September 2016

John Hicks

There was some frantic mobile phone activity in the dark outside our electrically defunct Yacht Club at 7.00 pm last night, but thanks to the cool head of S@A David Preston, we were soon happily ensconced in the function room of the Speights Ale House at Ferrymead. Toastmaster Helen Peate had organised a full programme, and it commenced with Lloyd Bathurst reading the Toastmaster's Promise. This was entirely appropriate considering the number of members who have recently joined. 

The person who should have been wearing my name tag (had it not been left languishing in the dark of the YC) was appointed Grammarian and chose the word for the day: frisson. He considered shirking writing this report, but the guilt of not making a record of two great speeches would have weighed heavily upon his soul ... Well, we all know how much effort goes into writing and presenting a worthwhile speech - almost as much as writing a worthwhile report! 

Michael Shand, recently returned from a dental dalliance (see last week's report) in the Chatham Islands, highlighted the fascinating history of the peaceful Moriori who, for 600 years, had eschewed war on peril of breaking Chief Nunuku's ancient curse, "May your bowels rot the day you disobey".

Stephen East's speech was from the Advanced Communicators Manual "Special Occasions". His remit was to speak in praise of someone. The subject of his unstinting adoration was his dearly beloved wife and mentor. Stephen seemed coy as to whether this paragon had already heard his speech, but were she to ... well, the mind boggles.

Top marks to Vita Tasman who, as Timer, and without resort to our usual lights, deftly waved green, yellow and red objects in the faces of our speakers. No gavel either. Thank goodness we were spared her heeding Helen's advice to end the 5 minute break to "bonk on the table". I suppose it would have worked, but with whom? and - frisson alert! - at what cost to our delicate sensitivities?

TTM Carolyn Skerret focused on food. Zena Slim merited an entry in my notes with her favourite: "vanilla cake infused with all those lovely flavours of alcohol". She later insisted that she used the word "laced" which, to me, carries the connotation of poison. Beware!

It was very pleasing to hear some excellent and articulate contributions from our newer members. Doreen Bestmann's introduction and evaluation of Michael's speech stood out for me ... but then she used the word "getgo" and, even typing that thing makes me feel queasy, so I'm going to end my report with reference to next week when we host the interclub Area Competitions for Humorous Speech and Table Topics. President Adrienne Malis will no doubt email further details, but our best wishes must go to our representative in both: Helen Peate. 

Let's hope the lights are working!