Meeting report

27 March 2017

John Hicks

The agenda on EasySpeak looked a bit bare two days prior to Monday night’s meeting, but it was never going to be dull with Helen Peate scheduled to speak on “Affairs of the Heart”. Fortunately, TM Michael Shand persuaded two willing volunteers - Carolyn Skerrett and Lloyd Bathurst – to flesh out his programme. His efforts resulted in a thoroughly entertaining evening.

DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) Helen gave her fifth “Icebreaker” speech. Her “Affairs” lived up to expectations. It was a revealing, and at times moving, personal account of life’s rewards and tragedies: husbands, children, grandchildren, coronaries and stents. Toastmasters at its best.

Carolyn was entertaining and informative about her recent experiences on the Otago Rail Trail. Apart from an indirect allusion to saddle soreness she enthusiastically sold the rail trail (aka as the “ale trail”) to us. Even Aucklanders are getting into it, so perhaps we all should, too.

Lloyd Bathurst’s contribution as Bard was a thoughtful contemplation of three seemingly disparate books about: a little-known motorcycle racer (whose name I have already forgotten), Sir Earnest Shackleton and Sir Richie McCaw. Somehow, he managed to make the connections.

We had fun with Nicola Powell’s Table Topics. She came up with the great idea of asking her participants to talk about the awards they had won at an agricultural field day. Thus, Vita Tasman was put in the invidious position of explaining her award for a cow which produces chocolate milk; Simon Mortimer became caught up with curly wool; the height Lillian Meng’s prize pig jumped depended on the number of people who wanted to eat it. Stephen East’s sourest lemon may have been twenty years in the making, but its owner only took twenty seconds to utterly confound his listeners and himself – a bitter lesson. Michael talked his way through an “amazing”, GE modified maize maze which turned carnivorous. Helen (of the affairs) has been racing tractors internationally since she was sixteen and advocated it as a great way to meet some very nice men, although she wasn’t going to go into details about the Italian and French competitors. Ryan Chapell, or his prize pumpkin, was pumped full of hormones.

It was Emma Garlick’s first time as General Evaluator, though you wouldn’t have picked it. She gave us a clear, useful summary of the night’s proceedings.

Our President, Adrienne Malis, spoke last and gently requested more members to volunteer to speak at future meetings and to avoid excusing themselves from speaking after they have been scheduled - if at all possible. If you re-read my first paragraph you will understand why she felt the need to mention this. Speaking is what toastmasters is all about.