Poker, Peanuts and Micky Mouse

Last Thursday, TME Graeme Buck started off the meeting by saying  ‘In Toastmasters, no-one is labelled a “poor speaker” but an “improving speaker” ‘.   The TME sets the tone of the meetings and with these encouraging words, Graeme began the evening on a very positive note.  He added to the existing energy with the question ‘what is your ideal job?’.  There was no hesitation as members and guests revealed that their ideal occupations ranged from ‘stroking vicunas’ to ‘becoming a secret millionaire’.  Food and travel featured frequently as well as getting out into the fresh air, walking and playing golf. 

Congratulations to Douglas Holmes and Melanie Tsagaridou, two new members, who took on the role of  Timer and Ah Counter respectively for the first time.  David Dick was the Wordmaster/Grammarian who gave ius not one word of the day but two – Pedantic and Pragmatic

Kevin Miller delivered speech 4 from the CC manual. The objective of his speech, A Fun Night Out, was to use effective language to trasmit his ideas clearly and vividly.  In a 7 minute  speech, Kevin explained why playing poker is not gambling but a skill and, by the end of the speech, I think he had firmly dispelled any misconceptions we may have had that poker is just another card game. 

Stephen Dix talked about football, in his speech, A Second Chance.  This was number 5 in the CC manual and the objectives were to use body language to express the message of the speech.    

After a break for coffee, tea, biscuits, cakes and chat, we reconvened for Table Topics delivered by TTM David Calder.  David’s theme was cartoon characters and our remit was to take on the identity of the character and answer David’s questions.   Our members rose to the occasion and took on the identities of  Bugs Bunny, Homer Simpson, Caspar, Popeye and the Peanuts characters with ease.  Louise Kirk won the Best Table Topics Ribbon for revealing Charlie Brown’s philosophy of life.  I thought I had got away with delivering a Table Topic as time went by, but just when I was feeling  relaxed, the TTM pounced and I found myself turning into Mickey Mouse who apparently set up the first Toastmasters Club at Disney World.  There is a Toastmasters Club at Disneyworld World Toasters – Where Dreams Come True One Speech At A Time and you can visit them at http:// or visit them in person if you are ever at Disneyworld.  There is no information on the website but, as far as I know, it was not set up by Mickey Mouse.

Louise Kirk delivered a confident and insightful general evaluation – her first and commented on the ‘great buzz during the break – we have a lot to say to each other’.   We do indeed.  

The TME then left us with one last thought ‘Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening’ (Dorothy Sarnoff)

One of our founder members and a longstanding member of Toastmasters, Penny Haywood Calder is off to Solihull on Sunday to represent Area 30 (our Area) in the International Speech Contest.  I’m sure I can speak for all the members when I say GOOD LUCK, PENNY!

The next club meeting is on Thursday 21st April.  It will be a speech marathon (no Table Topics) with speeches, ranging from Ice Breakers, more advanced speeches, a CC10, Advanced Silver and Advanced Gold – in other words, the full Toastmasters spectrum.  It would be good to see you there, especially members who have not been for a while.  

To find out more about the club, visit us at

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