by Steve Cann
A wonderful night was had by all from MSC as members and special guests enjoyed a memorable evening of dining & tall tales – held amongst the backdrop of the historic Norden Farm Centre for the Arts long barn restaurant in Maidenhead.
Club President Julie kicked off proceedings (with glass in hand) by proposing a toast to Maidenhead Speakers’ Club – very appropriate! And we were all very happy of course to oblige.
After polishing off our scrumptious 3-course dinner, we then moved on to the Tall Tales Competition – an annual fixture at the MSC Dinner. Our genial host for the contest was Keith, who started off by explaining exactly what a tall tale actually is (a short story speech with a twist) before holding aloft the coveted trophy… which he warned us came in 2 detachable parts!
First speaker Paul‘s story was cleverly inspired by the recent Hatton Garden Heist – although his robbery concerned a Faberge egg heist instead! Paul involved himself in the story as a member of the gang, who goes on to make his escape to the Highlands of Scotland to survive on… haggis!
Next speaker Chris described his rather unusual & somewhat bizarre schooldays – where he studied science, maths… & ancient runes! He recounted a cross-country competition – where the runners had to fight off crocodiles & venomous snakes along the way – and from which he emerged victorious by fighting off a lion, all for the prize of a voucher… for a free pizza!
Third speaker was last year’s winner Eric, speaking of the discovery of an alleged journal from the year 53BC all about Julius Caesar fighting the Scots. He spoke of the rather familiar-sounding (to MSC members anyway!) Scots tribes of Elliotts, Frasers & McLeods who ventured north to rob the distilleries. But Caesar sent master-spy Luda-Chris to restore order – and the prisoners were thrown to the Nessies! But those who escaped were pardoned – which is why Scotland always wins swimming gold at the Olympics…!
Next up was Nick, who had an unusual explanation for the growing number of Red Kites in our skies… apparently, if you look very closely, they’re all wearing red caps containing hidden cameras – as part of Thames Valley Police’s 1.7m aerial surveillance technology initiative! This ingenious plan was allegedly ‘hatched’ due to the severe lack of CCTV in the countryside. You have been warned… and the next step might be arming these feathered fiends with tazers!
Final speaker was Monica, whose speech was equally full of espionage, intrigue & the problems of national security, as she recounted a colourful & action-packed James Bond-style story to us. She also got one of the biggest laughs of the evening from the audience, as she concluded her speech with the clever punchline, ‘The Spy who Bugged Me’!
With the Contest now complete & votes being counted, Keith used this time to relay a personal anecdote (or was it another tall tale perhaps!?) about his time in the building trade, presenting plans to a boardroom of people. Once the presentation was complete, he snapped his briefcase shut – without realizing he’d accidentally shut his tie in it! About to leave (& grabbing the briefcase from the table in a flourish) unfortunately had the undesired effect of making his head bang down unceremoniously on said table – but, he did manage to maintain his dignity and laugh it off. So his mantra from that day on is: whatever befalls you, just carry on!
The winner of the Tall Tales Contest was Paul – well done Paul!
Following the trophy presentation, Julie thanked Keith for doing such an excellent job of hosting the Tall Tales Contest, Gerard for operating those all-important Timing lights, and all our contestants and everyone for coming & making the evening such as success.
She also gave a special mention to Doreen for all her hard work behind the scenes in organizing the dinner so effectively, and presented her with a bouquet of flowers as a big thank you from all of us.
That concluded what turned out to be a most enjoyable & successful 2015 Dinner – looking forward to seeing you all at our next regular club night (at our usual venue of St Luke’s Hall) on April 27th!