Cards, Hotels, Boers and Cakes

Maidenhead meeting on the 20th August, with guest blogger, Division Governer Steve Catchick.

The meeting was opened very enthusiastically, with Steve Cann, as Sgt at Arms, before handing over to President Nick Bailey.

Nick’s first duty sadly, was to inform the club of the death of new member, Oliver Helguson. Oliver had only joined recently and we all pass on our sympathy to his family and friends.

The toastmaster of the night was Yohan McDonald. This was Yohan’s first time as TME and he introduced a theme of goal setting. Yohan ran the meeting with style and control and looked like he had been doing it for years, well done!

Table topics was run by the endlessly energetic and enthusiastic Julie Farrell. She literally bounded to the front, and displayed such infectious enthusiasm. Her selection of topics was based on opposites.

  • Joyce Rhodes preferred to live in the past, when she was a bit younger, to the present
  • Alan Grayly selected lazy days over energetic ones.
  • Mary Fraser was faced with a moral dilemma, to confess or not! She chose honesty. (Yes Mary, we believe you)!
  • Naresh Chhonker chose knowledge over ignorance.
  • Mell Shepherd confessed to discussing topics with Julie beforehand (scandal!), but was stunned to be asked to choose between yoga or squash. She chose squash, despite her mother teaching Yoga!
  • Fatiha Lafkar had to choose between heart or head for decisions. That was easy for her. Being a women, she said, meant she chose from the heart.
  • Chris Boden decided not to choose between good looks or good humour, as he said he had an abundance of both. He was voted best topics speaker for his efforts.
  • Rod Lafargue was asked to choose between skiing or a beach holiday. Much as he liked both, he chose skiing.

Jacqui Hogan gave an educational talk on contest requirements. She talked about the top three questions that people ask her about contests, namely:

  1. What’s the difference between a contest speech and a normal one? A: Not very much. Only that a contest speech doesn’t have specific objectives.
  2. What do I talk about? A: Anything you like. Especially in a humorous speech contest it just has to be something you think the audience will like and you can get some laughs from. Note that it’s not a standup comedy set, it still has to be a speech.
  3. Can I get feedback? Yes. If you want your contest speech to count as a manual speech that is great, just talk to Jacqui and she will arrange someone to give you a written evaluation.


When the prepared speakers got underway Austin Hatch gave a heart warming talk on childhood memories, and how a deck of cards can bring back fond memories. Sadly he informed us that this was his last meeting here, as he will be moving back to the States. We wish him well in his journey and career.

Doreen Gowing  told us of her first job, with her sister, “Earning a Bob in Bally De Hob”. (Hope I spelt it right Doreen). Next was president Nick Bailey, who took the persona of General James Warren, from the Lancashire Fusiliers. The speech was about The Battle of Spioenkop in the Boer War. Finally, Keith Clarke regaled us with a story of his childhood, when he decided to climb up roof of his house, before his father tempted him back down with an offer of tea and cake!

Keith was voted best speaker for the night.

All speeches were evaluated excellently. First timer Beshlie Donaldson, Steve Cann and Anita Li all gave their views and Justin McCarthy won best evaluator.

General Evaluator Sandra Davison, with her natural enthusiasm, rounded the evening by giving feedback to everyone else.

The next meeting is the Humorous speech contest on Monday 10th September. We still need volunteers to be judges, timers and counters for the event, get in touch with Jacqui to get involved.

Published by ChrisB

Twitter: @chrisboden1

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