Saturday, August 27, 2011

Humourous Speech Contest - 23 August

Toastmasters on 23 August followed a different format from the one we are used to. It was time for our annual humorous speech contest. Five hardy souls braved the blustery weather to try their hand at making a humorous speech and proved the truth that “laughter, actually, is all around” (with apologies to one of my favourite movies of all time).
div> First a little news about our friends
To those who are a little under the weather, hurry back. We miss you!! Roger Ah Khun is keeping up the adventurous spirit of the club, and is leaving for America for a 3 month holiday. Take a bite out of the big apple for us Roger!! One of our most senior members, Alan Hunter has passed his latest exams, and is well on his way to completing his LLB. What an inspiration he is to the rest of us! Congrats to Vossie, who has finally managed to tie the mercurial Marlene down. Here’s to many happy years. Is President Colleen illustrating her name and spreading the LOVE?!

And an update on the Dues ...
As mentioned in the last blog, Toastmasters International has raised their membership dues. We cannot absorb this increase, so the new fees will increase to R270 biannually. The new members’ joining fee will be R230. We are inevitably caught between HQ and the fluctuating exchange rate. This was put to last night’s meeting, and the motion was carried unanimously. We are glad that our members value what Algoa does for us. Thanks to Plaxcedes Ndlovu, our treasurer, for keeping her careful eye on matters monetary.

Did you see the new logo?
TMI revealed the new corporate image and logo on 17 August. Here’s what it looks like, in case you haven’t seen it.
The old motto read: "Become the Speaker & Leader You Want To Be". I must say I like the new “trimmed down” slogan. I know words are our business, but sometimes less is definitely more.

The Contest..... Under the warmly encouraging hand of Contest Chair, Nicholas Mitchell, the competition got underway. First out of the block was Michael Warren with his speech “Double time”. Most unlike Michael, he reluctantly admitted that last year’s speech on the joys of being single, had perhaps been premature. After getting engaged just a month ago, he is set to join the ranks of the SMPs – smug married people – when he marries Lindi on the 5th of November. At least, he won’t forget his wedding anniversary, along with generations of British kids who “Remember, remember ...” He has discovered in his month of wedding planning that blue is not just a colour! He asked what’s up with these made up colours? Blossom blue” and “watermelon” just didn’t exist when we were children! And it’s not just wedding cake any more. Instead we have Piles of Petit fours and Mounds or Macaroons.

Next came Alison Immelman with “Educating with Rita”. We teach with many weird wired and wacky women, but they are all topped by a special lady called Daisy Petal* (Names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty!) What with goose-stepping history, Hitler style, to smoking dat stuff on the Bluff, teaching is never dull

Marianah Lourens entertained us with her stories about being “Old and Blonde and Eish!” dizzy busy Gran. One story illustrated the cruel but funny things that families do to us – like putting a baby chicken inside a turkey under the stuffing and telling her, “You cooked a pregnant turkey!” Marianah tells us than when we order a drink we ask for whisky with a drop of water because when you’re our age, we can hold our alcohol but holding our water is quite another thing. After all, my short term memory is not what it used to be ... my short term memory is not what it used to be.........

Quinton Jacobs tried to tell us that “Life is like a Weather Forecast”. He tells us that he always gets the forecast right, and asks why we haven’t we kissed his feet. Excuses, excuses, Quinton – he tells us that we only remember the days they get it wrong. After all, Life is unpredictable – and so is the weather.

Antoinette Baatjies’ speech was entitled “Scotty I need some freaking sacks!” which was about the time she was coerced by the priest into arranging games for the parish picnic. How do you tell Father James “I have headache darling”? And why can’t the water be turned into wine or whisky when we need it? No worries – she called on her friend who is a scout master. But no wonder the scouting friend didn’t answer her phone calls – after all what would his wife say to Antoinette’s wanting “sacks”?!

And the winners were (drum roll please) ...

Antoinette will be participating in the Area contest on Saturday, 27 August, at VP Grey. Strength – go and make us proud!

Left to right: Michael, Antoinette, Alison

Monday, August 15, 2011

What's in a name - 09 August 2011

Quinton Jacobs, in his multi-tasking role as Sergeant at Arm for the evening, greeted a much smaller gathering than usual to this public holiday edition of Algoa TM.
Well done to the stalwarts who came out – especially the women who might well have pleaded a much-deserved day of rest. Perhaps the truth is that Algoa is a rest cure all of its own!

We were glad to welcome another bunch (of roses ... geddit?) of guests. We were especially thrilled to have Megan Judd with us. We wonder if she’s just sussing out the turf to take our great vibe back to her own club??
How lovely it was to welcome Annette Lovemore home. She has, of course, moved onto National Political pastures. We are so happy that this past president has renewed her membership. She told us about how she had to wing it at a Women’s Day celebration, when, instead of being the only speaker on the programme she was number 3. She tells us that she needs TM. That’s good because we need her.

We were just as glad to welcome back George Gerber and Jessamy Kromhout. We hear that Jessamy has already paid her dues and will be inducted in September. She has already proved her worth in her involvement in the Collegiate YL courses.

Also among our guests was Julie Truter, who was sussing out the situation for her training company staff. She told us that she could feel that we would have their interests at heart. It was also good to have speechcrafters Helen Wilson and Merle Terine with us. They are both teachers at Grey Junior.
To the following members who will be celebrating their birthdays this month:
 Glenis on 12th
 Mark Barry on 16th, and
 Leann on 21st August.

President Colleen Love reminded us of the motto for this year: “To grow people”, and that, of course, is why we share the roles at a TM meeting. We like as many people as possible to participate
because different voices allow for a feeling of change and learning

IMPORTANT information for our members:
 Remember to check out the TMI website on 17 August. The new logo will be launched. Tell them/us what you think!
 Sadly, fees have gone up $18 a year. This sounds like a lot, but equates to less than 5% per year since the last increase in 2005. Unfortunately, the club will not be able to absorb this increase. It will mean an increase of just more than R10 per month. Not much when you think of how TM “grows” you!

Mark Barry played the role of Toastmaster tonight. He teaches IT at Vic Park, and in his spare time he is a triathlon champ. He tells us that he has two first names because he is of Irish descent. It’s also the reason that he didn’t focus on women as his theme, as every meeting in the land would be doing this, and the Irish like to do things differently.
Instead, he chose to play the Name Game. Mark claims to be very warlike because Barry means “spear thrower”.

Other roleplayers for the evening included Liandra (brave as a lion/steadfast) Schoultz as timekeeper. Her name also suggests that she stands for the truth (even as a lawyer?!) Liandra is one of our newest Algoans, and she is keen to learn everything that being a TM involves. Well done girl!
Um and ah counter was Louise Solomons (famous in battle/protector/helpful and vigilant). She says the role tests her listening skills – even though famous politicians are guilty. She would love to say to our leaders: “Say what you want to say!”
Grammarian for the evening was Glenis (dweller in the valley/glen – fruitfulness and generosity; Also pure!) She set us the challenging word “ACUMEN” as word of the day. This means keenness/shrewdness. Keen we do well; shrewd, not so much, as only 5 members used the word.

The Table Topics were conducted by Annette (grace has been given to you) Lovemore. She chose the pertinent theme of quotations by or about women, with some pithy words from the “bear of little brain” thrown in for good measure.

Some of the thought-provoking quotes included:

“Women have so much power that luckily the law has given them very little.” “A woman’s chief excitement is spotting women who are slimmer than she is.” – but as Louise Solomons suggested, we should surely look at the woman of substance because every woman is beautiful “No-one can make you feel inferior without your permission” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“There should be a special hell for women who don’t help other women”, and Louise Erasmus suggested that we should add – or men!!! She posed the philosophical questions, that since we live in a me-centred society, is it perhaps hell that we are living in now? “Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin
“Nothing is more effective than the education of girls” – Kofi Anan. It behoves us to educate young – and we will have a better society, because, after all, men run the place, but women run the men!
And some from the bear and friends:
“The nicest thing about the rain is that it stops – eventually!” – Eeyore
No matter how big you are, you still need a little care.” – Winnie the Pooh. Wouldn’t it be nice if we
didn’t reject people just because they’re the wrong shape?

Mark’s closing words were that we need to discover that “Ness” inside us – the little spark that makes us, us. Annette added that the upside is that then we never have to explain our foibles – she could just say it’s her “Annetteness”.

“Women speak two languages – one of which is verbal” – Shakespeare

Two members did speeches tonight:
Rhona Murchie (wise ruler/powerful adviser) did her CC6, illustrating vocal variety, entitled “Once upon a Time”
She suggested that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm should have written the “Grim” Fairytales because some are macabre indeed. What an inspired topic to illustrate vocal variety – imagine being lucky enough to be a child in Rhona’s class. Methinks the profession is lucky to have this consummate story teller in the classroom.
Nicolas Mitchell (victory of the people, from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory) did his AC 25!! – presenting a report – entitled “Putting Grandma to Rest”. He took the scary out of the legality of conveyancing! Thank goodness there are people like Nicholas! Remember that when you’re this situation, Nicholas is not the enemy!

Tanja Guass ( little queen – called to be a daughter of the king) gave us the toast of the day to Women – to those who marched in 1956, but also to the special woman in our lives – those that we so often take for granted.

Past president conducted the educational from “the successful club” manual. She reminded us that practice truly does make perfect, and that we should also use our TM skills outside the club to sharpen our skills. Once you’ve done your CC10, then what? All projects stretch our skills in speaking and leadership. There are 10 regions in America, and 4 for the rest of the world!! Regions are divided into districts – (we are 74) – then divisions.
We now have 43 members!!!! – This is because of our involvement in area and district and division involvement.
Members are encouraged to go to the district conference. You will always learn something.


The meeting closed with our usual awards. Tonight’s Table Topics winner was Louise Erasmus, who told us that we’d be surprised what happens in a girls’ school.
The Top Toastie award went to someone who works quietly in the background enabling us to step out of our comfort zones: Leann Roos. Thanks Leann!

Our next meeting, on 23 August, will be the Next meeting – humorous speech contest. There will be 9 contestants – come along and support them!!

Love is in the air – congrats go to Quinton Jacobs who has become engaged to Karien! We approve!

P.S. Mea culpa – I promoted Glenis in the last blog, calling her Division Governor, whereas she is in fact the Governor of Area E2. Next year, Glenis. No pressure!