December comes round all too soon, and with it the promise of Christmas so it was no surprise tat our Toastmaster, Jewels Carter, chose Advent as her theme. Kanchu McAllister, Sergeant at Arms, called the meeting to order and Jewels took the lectern and informed us that although she was Toastmaster the audience would be announcing the speakers and, evaluators, taking their cue from the advent calendar she had brought with the names behind the doors. As an added incentive the announcer also got the chocolate.
Robin Chawner was in charge of timekeeping and Susy Mathews as grammarian, rather than setting a word for today announced she would be looking for hyperboles (exaggeration) or meiosis (understatement).
Gavin Bergin got the meeting warmed up with, on the question of gifts asked what superpowers we would like. Flight was popular, as was x-ray vision, the ability to be in different places instantly, and having the housework done. One member, in the absence of his partner, wanted to be able to understand women’s minds!
We now came to the speakers, with the advent calendar being handed round to announce each in turn. Sam Mathew raised the emotional level with his speech entitled Big Issue, advising how we should all give to help those less fortunate. Steve Green spoke of his Heroes: Helen Keller, Marie Curie and Steve Redgrave, before Marian Way concluded investigating why we often seemed at odds with ourselves with a speech entitled Two Minds.
We now moved to the Network Break and chocolates and mince pies supplied by Jewels Carter and Robin Chawner.
After the break the advent calendar was again produced as we announced the three evaluators, Michelle Baker, John Webber and Mustafa Soomro.
Steve Green now returned to the lectern as Table Topics Master and produced four quotes from Xmas films for members to grapple with. First up was Neil Burns with “Xmas is on Trial” from Miracle on 42nd Street, when he questioned whether Xmas was celebrated for the right reasons. Keith Oliver followed with “When a bell rings an angel gets its wings” from Clarence. He chose a similar subject as Neil. Iain Upton, a welcome returning member after a long absence, followed with “In some ways you are far superior to my cocker spaniel” from White Xmas, which he felt could be taken both ways. Susy Mathews concluded the session with “A gentle smile often precedes a kick in the pants” with her thoughts on pants in olden days.
Susy then returned for her Grammarians report picking up on the many examples of hyperbole and meiosis, as well as good use of language and ums and ahs., before Michael John Smithson gave his General Evaluators report, referring to the layout of the room, lack of heating for the first half of the meeting and the arrangement of the lighting.
It was finally left to John Webber, to thank the audience for attending and hand out the awards.
Marian Way took Best Speaker, Iain Upton Best Table Topics, and Best Evaluator was shared between John Webber and Michelle Baker. There was no Most Innovative award.