Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 9th December 2013
WITH GUEST BLOGGER, STEVE CANN
There was festive fun in the air for the final Maidenhead Speakers’ Club meeting of the year as, unusually, we had a meeting with NO prepared speeches… but there were of course speaking opportunities aplenty for all our merry members!
Sergeant at Arms Doreen Gowing got us into the Christmas spirit straight away by sporting her seasonal knitwear, and making us laugh with a story about her cat climbing her Christmas tree to play with the baubles… the results of which we may end up seeing on YouTube yet!
President Jacqui Hogan introduced special guest Norman Fox, who was once President of MSC himself and a former District Governor before retiring from TMs. Jacqui remembered him being one of the very first people she met when she joined Toastmasters many moons ago. A name badge was also awarded to our newest member, Emilio Saev.
She then formally introduced our Toastmaster of the Evening Richard Davies, who had put together an enjoyable and imaginative menu of Toastmastery to get everyone in the room involved in tonight’s proceedings. With his trademark humour and dry wit, Richard surprisingly informed us that he had fulfilled his ambitions of: becoming a millionaire at the age of 16; becoming a Hollywood Star; and not-to-mention also become the world’s strongest man… but then warned us that he was often prone to wild exaggeration! He also warned us about the office Christmas party – where you’re only ever one faux pas away from unemployment! He finally mentioned that the ‘HATS’ acronym tonight would include an extra ‘S’ – for the ‘Socializing’ afterwards.
He then put on his Table Topics Master hat and presided over an extended session full of great topics. First up was Helen Elliott, giving an acceptance speech for finishing runner-up in a beauty contest. She told us that 6 months of prep and pampering had obviously paid off, together with lots of healthy walking around the gym! Next was Nick Bailey, receiving his award for TV viewer of the year. He said this was primarily for his time watching his favourite sport of rugby, and it’s far more enjoyable to be watching the telly than attending to those usual chores that aren’t nearly as much fun. The award for Best-Dressed TM of 2013 then went to Yohan McDonald, looking resplendent in his finest fleece. Although he did rather take the shine off the effect when he revealed his fleece was unavoidably stained with baby food and baby vomit… but hopes everyone else can adopt this style and look as good as him! Ravi Singh was next, and was invited to choose his favourite working hours. He reflected on his time working in India from 2 till 9:30pm each day, and concluded that the good old 9 to 5 in the UK is the best! Norman Fox was next, with the age-old question of whether he prefers tea or coffee. Norman told us he’s been getting into drinking green tea lately (as it’s meant to be more healthy) but, after drinking a rather sludgy cup of coffee on a trip to Czechoslovakia, he’s definitely concluded that the good old British cuppa is best! Sandra Davison was asked what pet she would like to own, and revealed she was a deprived child who wasn’t allowed any pets! But, her father has recently bought her mother a cardboard cut-out dog… and she’ll be spending Christmas at her sister’s where she can enjoy a whole menagerie, so amends have been made! Our next speaker was, er, Me… with the intriguing question of how I would explain the wonders of the internet to an audience of people who had been thawed out after being cryogenically frozen for 50 years! After momentarily unfreezing myself(!), I decided I’d wow them with my iPhone and all its features, and maybe tell them it can make the tea too. Our final TT speaker was John Callaghan who was asked where he’d go if he were given a new motor home. John cunningly recycled a humorous speech from earlier in the year, telling us the true story of a trip to Brighton with his family, and the escapades of driving and steering such a leviathan. Once encamped, he and his family then went out on a cycle ride and got a bit lost… and he swears this is all true! John was very happy to pick up the coveted (and only ribbon of the night) for Best Table Topics Speaker.
Following on from this, we had a first for Maidenhead Speakers as Richard got us all to line up and then, one by one, take to the stage to spend 30 seconds describing a meal we’re looking forward to over the Christmas break. A great variety of mouth-watering dishes were described – everything from a full English breakfast,t to a black tie dinner at the Savoy; a corned beef sandwich to samphire seaweed; and from Christmas dinner, to snail porridge at The Fat Duck… before each speaker with ‘bonged-out’ by Timer Julie Farrell‘s tinkly bell!
Our final group task of the evening set by Richard was for a round-robin story of a Toastmasters-sponsored journey around the world. On a rather mad journey that began on a congested M4, we ended up in London, Las Vegas and eventually the moon and back… while on the way meeting Elvis, travelling on Route 66 and marrying a horse! An out-of-this-world journey indeed.
After we each read out (other members) cards we’d written describing how we would introduce a larger-than-life new member to the club, we broke off for our long-awaited drinks, nibbles and chit-chat! Thanks so much to Nick for providing the Italian wine he’d brought especially after sampling it at a wine-tasting event, and Doreen (with a bit of help from Joyce Rhodes) for all their work in putting out all the lovely party food. Another big thanks to Richard for organizing such a great agenda… not to mention a Big-Hug-athon at the end from Julie too!
Our next club meeting will be next year… 13th January 2014. See you all there – a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. And well done to everyone at MSC for another successful year – we wouldn’t have a club without you!