The End is the Beginning


The final meeting of the Toastmasters year took place on the 24th June. This was the last meeting with the 2012-13 committee and Steve Cann welcomed everyone for the final time as Serjeant at Arms (thank you Joyce for the spelling pointers on that). Steve thanked everyone for their help this year and I think we all agree that his tea making skills are quite exceptional.

For the final time as President, Nick welcomed the gathered throng including six guests. He encouraged all of us to set goals for the forthcoming year.

Zahid was the toastmaster and he introduced a new concept – use of MS Powerpoint for the toastmaster’s introduction. Zahid told us that we would be having a time travelling themed meeting.

Helen Elliott led the table topics session. Seven speakers took on the questions given, covering some time travelling, Toastmasters advice and inspiring music. Matthew, Yohan, Jacqui, Steve Catchick, John, Chris and Eric all showed the range of skills so essential to impromptu speaking. Most of which are based around just getting up and doing it.

The first prepared speech was an eye-opening tale from Romain Barraud about his plans for his best friend’s upcoming stag party. How would a Frenchman organise one of these? From the sound of it, much like an Englishman would – go to Europe, dress funny and drink a lot. A “beer bike” in Brussels was also mentioned…

Chris Webb did his number 4 speech on the unusual topic of ground source heat pumps. Chris made a very technical topic quite interesting and gave an explanation of an alternative way to heat houses. Good for the environment? Good for the hip pocket? Seems to be a long term benefit.

Lorraine Hamilton took on a project from the Technical Presentations advanced speaking manual. She talked about the pros and cons of cloud computing and even (somewhat reluctantly) included a Q&A session.

The speech evaluators were Alan Grayley, Paul Aherne and Sandra Davidson. All were brilliant. General Evaluator John Callaghan not only marshalled his troops but also gave a wonderfully thorough evaluation of everyone at the meeting.

Steve Cann as grammarian gave the umm and ahh count before handing back to Nick. For the final time he wrapped up the meeting, but not before the ceremonial handing over of the presidential ribbon to Jacqui Hogan.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the committee, a big thank you to Nick for all of his hard work and leadership over the last 12 months. Best of luck to the new committee!

Meeting Round-Up for 10th June


In the penultimate meeting of this Toastmasters year, Sergeant at Arms Steve started as he so often does with a story – a ghost story, but without any ghosts. It was a nice walk nonetheless. President Nick delivered some slightly sombre news about a couple of club members in difficulty before moving to the more pleasant job of introducing the toastmaster of the evening – Beshlie. And what a star she was! Disdaining any first time TME nerves Beshlie was in control and a beacon of smiling energy throughout.

The table topics session was run by our Division Governor Steve Catchick. Steve wisely reminded us to see table topics as fun and an important part of the Toastmasters programme. He gave the nine(!) speakers an eclectic assortment of topics ranging from career choice and politicians on TV to canals and what to do on a rainy day. Joyce Rhodes was given the ribbon for best topic, I’m sure it had something to do with her mention of Strip Jack Naked.

There were four prepared speakers. First up, Romain delivered his icebreaker, telling us about his journey around Europe to the UK. He revealed that he is quite the polyglot and can converse with a very high proportion of Europeans in their native tongues.

Clive Pugh gave a wide ranging speech about dealing with uncertainty. He delivered with much confidence and enthusiasm and won the best speaker ribbon.

Julie Farrell entertained with a musing on the true meaning of success. How would you judge if you are a success or not? She also managed to get in some good plugs for her self published novels. I’ve read one of them and it was quite good. Well done Jules.

Jacqui Hogan also talked books, but this time about those written by another. She enthralled with tales of Enid Blyton, with a preview of a speech she will be giving at an event in the near future.

Jacqui’s obvious passion for the subject came through to everyone.

Yours truly was the GE and introduced the evaluation team of Lorraine, Anita, Doreen and Karen. All four gave excellent evaluations of the speakers, giving encouragement and some tips for how each could improve.

Having recently been to a workshop by World Champion speaker Darren Lacroix, in my evaluation I looked at how many of the speakers began. Do you think about your speech opening? And take your time before you open your mouth to connect with the audience? Some things to ponder as always.

Chris .

AGM Night (With Speeches of Course)


Monday the 20th May saw the holding of the Annual General Meeting. The old committee gave their reports and the committee was officially elected. Details of all the official type goings on will be circulated by our wonderful secretary in due course. As part of the AGM, Nick recognised some of the longer serving members of the club with special certificates. In addition club founder Norman Rhodes made a special presentation to Eric Elliot in appreciation of his many years of service to Maidenhead. More details of all this in a later post.

With the formalities complete, we turned to what we do best – speeches. Zahid Aziz ran a table topics session where he gave the speakers mock interview questions. Good practice for all I think.

New member Romain was asked “How would you describe yourself?”. A curlier question went to David Collomb – “You’ve been through few employers already; your longest stay with an employer was 11 months? How long do you expect to work for this company?” Mary Fraser had the delicate task of explaining how she would handle it if her boss was wrong, while Norman Rhodes had to tell us how 10 people who knew him would describe him.

The classic “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” went to Anita Li and Helen Elliott won best topics ribbon explaining why she was fired from her last role. Amanda Bouch described her greatest weakness and finally Monica told us what she would do if she doesn’t get the job.

After the break there were two prepared speeches. Fatiha Lafkar did speech 5, ‘Jumping into the void’, bringing us with her on her journey to Australia and Fraser Island in particular. Her wonderful description of choosing to do a parachute jump and the volcano of fear which bolted up in her drew the audience into Fatiha’s experience. Her use of language allowed us to feel her fear as she ‘jumped into the void’ and triumphantly overcame her fear.

The other prepared speech of the evening was delivered by the long serving award winning Eric Elliott. Eric had jumped into the breach at fairly short notice to cover for another. His speech ‘My Guardian Angel and the brothers’ was from advanced manual ‘humorously speaking’. The speech took us back to 1953 when Eric worked for the Atomic commission and his after work activities with his mate Stew.

We were well entertained with Eric’s costume dress and singing of a Irish tune Brother’s Malone with risky wording. All his high jinks in the night clubs with nude models, somehow with the help of his Guardian Angel and Brother Malone managed to get him the day job he applied for.

Gerard Pillai gave a very sound evaluation of Fatiha’s speech as did Jacqui Hogan of Eric’s. On the night Gerard went home with the ribbon for best evaluator.

David MacLeod as General Evaluator reminded us all of the value of the Evaluator manual which is now available on line. He made some very interesting suggestions for possibilities of different ways of improving evaluations over the next year.

Doreen Gowing as first time TME expressed her gratitude to all who helped her make it a smooth evening.

Another great evening was had by all. Thanks to Doreen and Zahid for their input into this report. 

Monday 13th May – A revealing evening


With guest blogger (and GE for the evening) Sandra Davidson.

The evening started off with our Sargent at Arms Steve Cann welcoming us and telling us about a recent visit he had to a blue bell wood.  Blue bells are Steve’s favourite and I was reminded of how much I like them too.

Our President took to the floor and told us how much he had enjoyed the District Conference that had been held that weekend in Torquay. He recommended that we all go to a Conference in the future.

Nick handed over to our very experienced Toastmaster of the Evening David Macleod.  David’s theme for the evening was dates and he used this to give us an insight into the speakers he introduced through the evening.  David also had a new twist on the HATS acronym by wearing a red baseball hat as he talked us through the meaning of each letter of HATS.

David handed over to the Table Topics Master Eric Elliott.  Eric’s theme was The Elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water.  The lucky recipients of the topics were:-

Steve Cann – Theme of Earth – Do you think that visitors from space have ever visited our planet?  Steve did a good job of responding and concluded that we hadn’t yet had any visitors from space.

Anita Li – Theme Air – Do you have a favourite airline? Anita said that her selection of an airline depended on timing and price.

Ben de Candole – Theme Fire – How safe is your home or place of work from fire? Ben implemented the trick of dodging the question so we don’t really know how safe his house is!

Keith Clarke – Theme Water – Would you like to live on the coast more than in the Thames Valley? Keith showed his experience and built up his topic gradually talking about his favourite subject – the 70’s!!

Chris Boden – Theme Earth – Can technology provide a solution to the over population and scarce resources of our earth?  Chris got straight down to answering the question making it very amusing with his lovely dry sense of humour.  He was a deserved winner of the Table Topics ribbon.

Helen Elliott – Theme Air – Do you have a favourite radio or TV programme? We learned that Helen is rather keen on Brian Cox!!

It was noted by the General Evaluator – me – that a number of the speakers tended to wave around the cards that Eric gave them with the questions on. Not an impressive habit!

We then moved onto the prepared speeches part of the evening.  They were each on different topics but they all were very open and honest and revealed a lot about the speakers, which was great.

We started off with Jade Earl doing her Icebreaker speech.  She told us that one of the reasons why she had joined Toastmasters was to get over her nervousness of presenting to an audience.  Well Jade I think that you have this cracked already as you didn’t show nerves and gave a very good speech which gave us a lovely insight into you.  I look forward to hearing your future speeches and watching you continuing to grow and develop from the practice opportunities that MSC will give you.

Zahid Aziz then did an Advanced speech.  His task was to do an entertaining after dinner speech.  Zahid presented a very amusing speech where he explained that his culture doesn’t have after dinner speeches.

Steve Catchick then did a speech from the Competent Communicators Manual (this is his third time of doing this manual) entitled Who am I?  Steve gave a very open insight into his life and how its twists and turns have impacted him and how he has grown as a result.  It was a very insightful speech.

Finally Phil Cook talked about 3 people who had impacted his life.  This was another insightful and revealing speech which was very well presented.  Phil won the Best Speaker ribbon.

We then moved onto the Evaluation section of the evening led by yours truly.  The Evaluators of the prepared speeches were:-

Mary Fraser – Mary gave a good, constructive evaluation of Jade’s speech.

Chris Webb evaluated Zahid’s speech and presented this very well.

Clive Pugh evaluated Steve’s speech and again gave very good, constructive feedback.  Clive won the Best Evaluator ribbon.

Rod Lafargue evaluated Phil’s speech and did this well.

The final feedback came from our Grammarian Julie Farrell.  Julie gave very good and detailed feedback to all of those who spoke.  I for one learnt a lot as I now know when I look at notes I am very likely to emit an ‘um’ or an ‘eh’.  Now I am aware of this I can work on it – many thanks Julie.

As always it was a very enjoyable and motivational evening.

Schools, Stories and Socks


The meeting on the 8th April was started by Mell, standing in as Sergeant at Arms and she spoke about the weekend’s Area contest where she and Julie competed. Mell thanked everyone for their support and feedback in the lead up. Both she and Julie did the club proud.

Steve Cann was Toastmaster of the evening and guided us through the night with assurance and style, although no tie this time. Nick Spooner as grammarian gave us “gobbledegook” as the word of the day, which was used surprisingly often.

Eric Elliot led the table topics session and asked the speakers about their extreme experiences. What is the coldest you have experienced? The hottest? The most dangerous? The speakers – Lorraine, Paul, Mary, David, Alan and Julie all took on the questions in their own unique style. Although none were as unique as Mary who decided to start unbuttoning clothing in lieu of answering the question. It was Paul who won the ribbon, the mention of his Israeli travelling companion Gob El Degook probably swayed the crowd.

There were five prepared speeches. Naresh was up first with his speech “The School Choice”. This was an interesting discussion of the issues that parents face choosing a school for their child. It was fascinating to learn that it could cost the same to buy a house in a good catchment area as to pay for a private school!

Clive Pugh gave us his #6 speech, starting with a lament on the difficulty of buying socks in M&S. Clive spoke about customer service and what makes it good and bad. I think we could all relate to to what he described.

Sandra Davidson won the best speaker vote with a very amusing account of the perils of skiing. Sandra relayed some hilarious anecdotes about skiing trips gone wrong including a memorable story about the importance of having your skis perpendicular to the slope if you’re likely to be in an exposed position.

Karen Szulakowska then treated us to a preview of the workshop she will giving the at the District Conference in Torquay (10-12th May www.riviera-renaissance.co.uk). She taught us about emotional intelligence and the balance between head and heart when it comes to decision making.

The final speaker was Chris Boden (that’s me) with a Storytelling speech about an event from Australian history called the Eureka Stockade. I’ve no idea what the speech was like, but I did try out the club’s brand spanking new video camera. This is a tool to let you record your speeches and watch them back. And if you are down with the interwebz you could even upload it to youtube like this: http://youtu.be/xUmg0877s7s.

Monica Horten was GE and introduced the evaluators – Doreen Gowing, Fatiha Lafkar, Ben De Candole, Helen Elliott and Amanda Bouch. Ben won the ribbon for his evaluation of Sandra’s speech.

Stand in president Jacqui ended the night with some reminders about upcoming events. Our division contest is Saturday the 20th April at Furnace Green Community Centre, Ashburnham Road, Crawley, RH10 6QZ. Hall opens at 13:00, contest starts at 13:30.

Chiltern Speakers are holding a drama workshop on the 30th April. More details will be forthcoming. And a reminder again about the Maidenhead Speakers Annual Dinner. Saturday 27th April. Book your place now by emailing Julie – julieanafairy@yahoo.co.uk

Next meeting is the 22nd April. 

Stunning Speeches at the Area 21 Contest


Courtesy of Area Governor Amanda Bouch

Contest season brings out the best in us … Not only do the contestants challenge themselves to prepare a stunning speech, but also the audience is amazing – such generosity of spirit and applause to encourage the speakers.  Everyone was caught up in the brilliance – and on Saturday 6 April, even the sun got involved shining in on the stage and putting the spotlight on the winners.

Unusually Area 21 had an all-female line-up of contestants for the International Speech.  From Windsor, Trish Weller spoke on “1,2,3,4,5 Senses Working Overtime” and helped us appreciate meditation to feel more grounded and actually find the capacity to do more.  From Maidenhead Mell Sheppard delivered her speech entitled “The Key”, which talked about her own search for the keys to her life and asked us to think about how we see those doors of opportunity – closed or open?

Jacqui Hogan represented Chiltern and spoke about 3 important men “In My Life” and the influence they had exerted on Jacqui’s life – her father, brother and husband.  Jane Penson was the other contender from Chiltern and told us about an experience she’d been brought up to think would never happen – her close encounter with a lion in “A Fine Lion”.  Julie Farrell from Maidenhead talked and sang about “Holes In My Confidence”, sharing with us important learning from her own experience.

This was a closely contested event and it must have been hard work to be a judge and differentiate among these excellent speakers.  However we have to have a winner to send on to Division H contest and this year it is Jane Penson, who will represent Area 21.   Well done to all and especially to Jane – good luck with the Division contest on 20th April.

After a luxury break with rather good cakes, we held the Evaluation Contest.  Contestants were:

From Chiltern:  Debbie Jeremiah and Philip Sheahan

From Maidenhead:  Yohan McDonald and Zahid Aziz

From Windsor: Trish Weller and David Wise

The test speaker was Ravi Bhatta from Basingstoke and he delivered a very good speech, which was actually his entry to his Area Contest.  He spoke about happiness and gave us three simple things to do to help us maintain our happiness – one was to wish happiness on others, so I wish you all great happiness.

Ravi benefitted from excellent evaluations, all of which picked out the strengths of his speech and delivery and offered helpful suggestions to improve it.  He must stand an excellent chance at his contest and maybe we’ll see him again at the Division Contest!

The winner of the Evaluation contest was David Wise, who goes on to represent Area 21 at Crawley on Saturday 20th.

I would like to encourage you all to attend the Division Contest held at Furnace Green Community Centre, Ashburnham Road, Crawley, RH10 6QZ.  Hall opens at 13:00, contest starts at 13:30.  It will be a great opportunity to hear excellence in speaking and learn some tips and techniques from the best.

Why not attend the District Conference in Torquay from 10-12 May?  These events are always brilliant.  www.riviera-renaissance.co.uk

30 Years of Speaking Brilliance


The first official meeting of Maidenhead Speakers took place on the 7th March 1983. So that makes March our 30th anniversary month! It was fitting therefore that stand in President for the evening was Norman Rhodes, the founder of the club. He opened the meeting with the happy duty of presenting a badge to our newest CC – Steve Cann. He also reminded everyone of the annual dinner on the 27th April, being organised by Julie. Contact her to RSVP by the 16th.

Chris Webb was Toastmaster of the evening and themed the meeting around the changing of the seasons. Remarking particularly on this very wintery Spring. He was assisted by Phil Cook as Timer and Naresh as Grammarian. He introduced us to the word of the day – cachinnate – meaning to laugh loudly. We always learn something new at Maidenhead!

Table topics was led by Ben De Candole, who reminded us that topics are best structured like as a mini speech. Ben gave the speakers an eclectic mix of topics from the weather to presenting revolutionary inventions to solving all of Cyprus’s financial problems. So pretty simple really. Sandra, Nick, Phil, Yohan, Alan and Steve all gave it their best with Sandra winning the ribbon.

The prepared speeches began with Paul Aherne’s icebreaker. He told us about his inspirations in public speaking including Obama and Leonard Nimoy(!) and the things you can discover looking at speech contestants as they prepare. A fantastic debut Paul!

Fatiha gave her #4 speech – “It takes a Village”, speaking about the importance of tribes, families and communities, be they physical or virtual. And reminding us that Facebook now has 1 billion users.

Beshlie also gave her #4 speech – “What Motivates You?” She asked us to question why we do what we do. Hint – it’s probably not about money. The best speaker vote was between these first three and Beshlie took the prize.

After the break (well catered as always) Mell and Julie gave a practice run of their contest speeches for the Area. Both were brilliant and they received a lot of good feedback from the collective Maidenhead brain.

Joyce Rhodes was a more than capable GE and led the evaluation team – Richard Davies, Gerard Pillai, Mary Fraser, Keith Clarke and Lorraine Hamilton. Lorraine won best evaluator for her feedback on Julie’s speech.

Our next regular meeting is the 8th April and remember to book your place for the Annual Dinner with Julie.

Contest Night!


With guest blogger, Steve Cann.

Monday March 11th saw the first big event of the year on the Maidenhead Speakers’ calendar – the International Speech & Evaluations Club Contest, and we were in for a memorable and eventful evening.

Unusually tie-wearing Speech Contest Chair Steve Cann started with a warm-up exercise involving some amusing fridge and food vignettes from the audience, before introducing the first Contest speaker, Jacqui Hogan. Jacqui’s speech ‘In my Life’ was a colourful journey through her life, as she spoke anecdotally of the 3 people who had made a big impression on her at key moments, including her father and the first meeting with her husband-to-be, at uni. She ended poignantly by quoting the John Lennon lyric which had inspired her, and gave her speech its name.

Next up was Mell Sheppard with her speech ‘The Key’. Mell entertained and inspired us with a very passionate speech exploring how sometimes doors open up in our life to new possibilities, but often they can be locked too. All we need to do is find that elusive key.

Our third contest speaker was Yohan McDonald with his speech ‘Where’s the Handbook’. Yohan talked about the excitement and expectation of he and his partner’s first child being born and also the difficulty of what to do once the child has actually arrived.

Our fourth speaker was Zahid Aziz with his speech ‘If You Keep Face to the Sun, You Will Never See the Shadows.’ As with other contest speakers, Zahid set out to inspire the audience and encourage us to see the light, as it were. He used unusual metaphors and wordplay, and built upon his idea cleverly by giving us insights into what we can achieve if we simply change our point of observation.

Our final contest speaker was Julie Farrell with her speech ‘Holes in my Confidence’. Julie spoke sincerely about how panic attacks had affected her life as a young adult. She even sang and played guitar to illustrate her point. She spoke of how gradual exposure to the source of her panic had led to her confidence surging back – and how being a member of Toastmasters has contributed to this too, as her rock’n’roll revolution comes to fruition!

Results were:

1st Julie Farrell

2nd Mell Sheppard

3rd Yohan McDonald

Julie and Mell now go forward to represent our club at the Area Contest on April 6th.

After Doreen Gowing had served us refreshments at the break, very ably standing-in as Sergeant at Arms, Chris Boden was our Chair for the second half of the evening, and the Evaluation Contest.

He introduced our test speaker, James Moss, who spoke about the intriguing subject of acupuncture. He explained the concepts behind the ancient Chinese art and even had a big, matrix-style 3D prop.

The evaluation contestants were:

Fatiha Lafkar

David Collomb

Yohan McDonald

Richard Davies

Zahid Aziz

Results were:

1st Yohan McDonald

2nd Zahid Aziz

3rd Fatiha Lafkar

Following some fun Table Topics from Chris (as he asked each speaker to talk about events personal to them from a year on a randomly-chosen coin) the prizes were presented by Area Governor Amanda Bouch. Chief Judge Monica Horten also did a very commendable job in coordinating the judges, timers and counters, stepping-in as she did at short notice to cover this role.

It just remains to congratulate everyone who took part on Monday for a wonderful evening, and to wish our Contest winners all the very best for the Area Contest. This will be held by Chiltern Speakers (but hosted by Maidenhead Speakers’ Club) at our usual venue, St Luke’s Hall, on SaturdayApril 6th.

See you all there for the next round!

Winners Julie and Yohan

Winners Julie and Yohan

2nd Place Speech: Mell

2nd Place Speech: Mell

3rd Place Speech: Yohan

3rd Place Speech: Yohan

2nd Place Evaluation: Zahid

2nd Place Evaluation: Zahid

3rd Place Evaluation: Fatiha

3rd Place Evaluation: Fatiha

Chinese New Year in Maidenhead


With special guest blogger Julie Farrell.

The 25th of February meeting had a Chinese theme, in honour of the recent Chinese New Year.  Toastmaster for the Evening, Anita Li, explained the significance of the stacks of oranges that can be seen in Chinese homes at this time of year – they represent gold, because Chinese New Year is about health, wealth, and wisdom.

The Table Topics were led by experienced Toastmaster, John Callaghan, who, as always, brought his cheeky Geordie wit to the session.  John continued the theme of China, using subjects such as Confucius, the Great Wall, and China’s inventions as inspiration.

Jacqui Hogan won the ribbon for best Table Topic.  She was asked to pretend to be Marco Polo, freshly returned from China with gunpowder, and her mission was to sell it to us fellow Venetians.  She did this brilliantly with a fun and humorous role play.

Next we had four prepared speeches.  Firstly, Steve Catchick gave an inspiring and informative speech about presenting powerfully.  Steve included a lot of very helpful points, but he thing I loved most about Steve’s speech was when he mentioned how crazy it is that teachers and parents train the younger generations to focus on the subjects that they aren’t so good at, rather than encouraging them to play to their strengths.  Instead, Steve argued, surely it would be better to pour attention onto the things the child is good at.  I think we all put too much emphasis on what we’re not good at, rather than being proud of our talents.  You can’t be good at everything, so why not try to improve at the things you are good at?

The next speaker was Rod Lafargue, who spoke about how much time we all spend in relationships with our smartphones these days.  Rod used humour to highlight the serious issue of how constantly connected to the internet we are, and how this can be detrimental to our relationships with the people who are actually there with us.  He challenged us to not check our smartphones when in the company of others for the next month.  I failed at this almost as soon as the meeting was over!  How did the rest of you get on with that challenge?

At the interval, we all enjoyed Chinese fortune cookies, provided by Anita Li.  This was a lovely gesture, and I think we all enjoyed cracking open our cookies and finding out what the future held.  Mine said that I shouldn’t give up on my dreams, and that I will one day fulfil them, so that was a positive message to inspire me!

After the tea and fortune cookies, we had two more speakers.  Firstly, Zahid Aziz gave a speech about a dream he’d had, about his own funeral.  Surreally, our club president Nick Bailey was there doing the eulogy!  Isn’t it nice that Zahid feels that Maidenhead Speakers Club members are all part of his extended family!

The final speaker of the evening was Yohan McDonald, who told the story of his experience of being a new dad.  He used excellent humour and connected with the audience brilliantly with his warm and friendly stage presence.  He began the speech by saying that he wished parenthood came with a handbook, but he concluded by saying, actually part of the beauty of being human is the experience of doing the best you can and learning on the job.  He had a realisation that, in amongst the chaos of being new parents, he and his partner were actually doing a really great job of being parents, and that they didn’t need a handbook after all. Yohan won the best speaker ribbon.

As always, the meeting was full of laughs, inspiration, and warmth.  It lifted my spirits to get my fortnightly connection with the members of our lovely community that is Maidenhead Speakers.

11th February Meeting


With special guest blogger Mary Fraser.

Despite it being a cold, snowy evening with a serious drop in temperature, there was a very warm welcome from Nick Bailey (Club President) at Maidenhead Speakers club and Toastmaster of the evening, Ben de Candole on Monday evening.

Ben highlighted the importance of a smile when giving a speech and proceeded to entertain with his version of the news of the day. He has a real skill for this; one I’m sure will be developed in future speeches.

Lorraine Hamilton took the floor for Table Topics and posed a series of ‘First time’ questions to club members.

Rod shared his experience of his first day at work in England and was bemused by the strange custom of eating lunch at the desk, unlike the long lunches he was used to in his native France.

Steve Catchick recalled his first computer encounters and state of the art technology back then. Now in an effort to keep up to date he has moved to ‘the dark side’ and purchased a … was it a Big Mac?

Jacqui celebrated the joys of her first car, a Datsun Sunny, in which she learned how to stop nudging the wall and overcome her fear of reversing around a corner.

Clive remembered the first meal he cooked as a boy, apple pie with sugar in the pastry. It was a stressful experience at the time but resulted in culinary success. There’s a rumour that a certain Jamie O has been in touch for the recipe.

Monica’s first film was a birthday treat to see the delightful Wizard of Oz, but the scary witch frightened her out of the cinema. Thankfully she has overcome her fear by cultivating her love of French films … probably easier to understand than The Munchkins!

And the winner was … Paul who delighted us with his story of his first time flight to Canada. He was sooooo excited and we were sooooo excited when he won the ribbon for Best Table Topics of the evening. Well done Paul.

David MacLeod delivered a very comprehensive and educational speech on Toastmasters International and the Worldwide Web. As a competent TM of 24 years and smiley tour guide, he took us from club level to headquarters clearly explaining the lift stops and TM opportunities along the way. The tour concluded with lots of yellow smiley faces at the top – happy, well informed club members and guests.

Beshlie followed David with her speech ‘Nominative Determination (ND)’. A fascinating speech about how this recent theory that a person’s name can have a significant role in determining key aspects of their job, profession or character.

She shared her own eclectic mix of job roles and concluded that whatever the job, it is ‘important to be happy’.

Helen delivered a passionate speech on the state of care today, a subject very close to the heart of this former nursing sister. ‘Observations on Changing Nursing Care’ clearly highlighted how we have lost the element of care in our current paper chase and target hitting care service. ‘Bring back the Matrons!’ was her call to action. Her speech won The Best Speaker ribbon.

A special evening for Steve Cann as he concluded Project No 10 in his CC manual. His speech entitled ‘Communication, Confidence & Achievement’ spoke of his own communication challenges and how being a member of MSC helped him step out of his comfort zone, feel the fear and do it anyway. Well done Steve.

Julie headed the evaluation team as General Evaluator with first time Grammarian Swati, Evaluators Alan, Chris and Rob and Anita as timer. Lots of commendations and recommendations provided by the evaluation team speakers, club members and guests too. Chris won the ribbon for Best Evaluator.

 

Date of the next meeting: 25 Feb 2013