Tonight’s meeting of Doncaster Speakers was a combination of fun, felines and flowers.
Pauline Westrop was Toastmaster for the evening and instantly got us all in the mood with her energy, enthusiasm and even a little poetry. As Toastmaster, Pauline gets to set the theme of the meeting and she chose “Spring has sprung”. Right from the start she got everyone thinking about what Spring meant to us and so we were nicely warmed up for the entertainment ahead.
We had three great speeches tonight.
Apparently, Josie Bowerman was delivering her Ice Breaker speech. I got lost at one point and thought I was back at the Division Competition yesterday, as her story, style and structure was of such a quality.
Her personal brush with death which led her to ensure she took control of her life story and then empowering us to make sure we control our stories, was truly wonderful to hear and I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that she won Best Speech of the night.
Not, of course, to take anything away from Andy Howell and Stephanie Bisby, both of whom were doing the same project, Get Comfortable with Visual Aids. It is always a pleasure to have two people working at the same level, as watching how two people approach the same task provides an extra element of interest and it clearly highlights how these projects can be interpreted in different ways.
Andy made it very clear Who the Boss is in his household. His cats. Dispelling the oft held myth that, somehow, humans have some say in what goes on in the world, the reality was quickly proffered to us. Using cartoons, photos and even real cat toys, Andy opened the eyes of the unknowing (and in some cases, preached to the converted).
Stephanie’s speech led us through the highs and lows of visiting the land of Oz. A little misdirection up front, to clarify we’re talking Down Under, not Emerald City – we were given a combination of maps and holiday snaps to highlight her many attempts and subsequent misses, in trying to achieve a life long dream of visiting the Great Barrier Reef. I’m glad to say she did get there eventually, even if the boat journey out spoiled the experience somewhat.
Before the break, Pauline came back to deliver an education slot to get people interested in the Committee Roles that will be coming up for grabs in the next few weeks and I understand that we have a couple of people showing interest, so well done Pauline.
In the second half, Shane Lukas, Steven Bisby and Richard Bluck gave their speech evaluations to the respective speakers, which took us nicely into Table Topics. Sarah Saxelby’s first time as Table Topics Master was well organised and delivered questions that were all connected to the Spring theme of the meeting.
Shelagh Jones‘s encyclopedic knowledge of spring flowers nudged her ahead of the crowd to win the Best Table Topic vote, with Shane Lukas’s mountain rescue story coming very close.
And it wasn’t long before Shelagh was back up for another vote winning performance as Grammarian, not only putting us to rights with all of our incorrect usages of the word of the day (altruism), but also identifying those few who had actually used it properly and some very nice observances of the lovely language heard this evening.
One special mention to Bridget Pearson as Ah Counter, who got so enthralled with the speeches and the evaluations that she actually forgot to do her role.
I think we’ll take that as a compliment.
Next meeting is on Monday 8th May and I believe we have 4 speeches already lined up, so I look forward to what should be a cracking meeting.
Report by General Evaluator Andrew Miller