Meeting report

03 April 2017

John Hicks

Toastmaster Lloyd Bathurst enthusiastically shepherded us through a full and diverse programme.

Ryan Chappell, in his speech “Labelling People is a Brand for Life”, attacked the purveyors of psychoactive drugs - specifically those prescribed for Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Depression. He listed the side-effects and suggested less risky options such as exercise and more focus on causation. I agree with Carolyn Skerret, Ryan’s evaluator, that this was a bold speech. Some in the medical profession might go a step further and see it as confrontational. Ryan certainly provided food for thought.

David Preston, by complete contrast, delighted us with “My Year of Beekeeping”. He inherited his bees when he and his beautiful Paula bought a lovely house with terrible curtains. Such random, irrelevant asides kept us entertained as well as informed. Kerry, a hobbyist beekeeper (the perfect bee man with cloth cap and beard), gave David support and advice in his new venture. He learned that the previous owner had stolen too much of the hive’s honey and left 50,000 individuals to die of starvation. What a bastard! (Conceding, as an aside: although it’s not like they’re fully sentient beings.) Underpinning all this was David’s allergy to bee stings and when the inevitable happened and he watched the venom sac pulsating into his arm: why did she have the temerity to sting me? A lovely speech. This was droll humour at its best.

Michael Shand, as Bard, read from Sir Ray Avery’s memoir: “Rebel with a Cause”. Michael chose Avery’s encounter with an Indian Guru who, by way of a delightful parable demonstrated that it is more important to love everyone than to be loved by everyone.

The second Bard read from  “A Wander in Vetland” (a wonderful book I found on Amazon. I may, even, have written it) on the trials of diagnosing lead poisoning in a group calves whilst being harried by a doubting Derbyshire farmer who intruded on the sanctity of my stethoscope.

Lisa Todd’s well received and well enacted Table Topics were based on concerts/ favourite artists/venues.

To General Evaluator, Adrienne Malis, fell the task of drawing a stimulating evening to a close. I say stimulating advisedly. We had plenty of discussion over tea and biscuits.