Christmas Meeting 2006

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Last night saw our special Christmas meeting, the last of this year.

Accordingly, many of our members brought along food, and the club provided red and white wine. Magdalena, my lovely wife, kindly spent most of Sunday baking a delicious chocolate cake which I proudly brought along.

Since my mother was staying with me at the time, I’d asked Club President Mireia if it would be OK for Mum to attend. It was, and she really enjoyed her evening.

I had a role too – Sergeant at Arms. I was responsible for making sure it all got started on time, but I’m afraid I wasn’t very good at it and we started a few minutes late.

We had lots of Table Topics speakers but only two main speakers for the evening, to make time for food and drink.

The table topics were all on the Christmas theme, followed by two excellent speakers: Marion and Muryel.

Marion’s speech was especially dramatic right from the start – and in an unexpected way. When she took the floor and looked back at the audience, there was a little pause. Then the pause grew a little longer – something was wrong. Marion said something like “Oh, I’m sorry; I’ve frozen” before very graciously sitting down to compose herself.

It was the right thing to do. It gave her time to get her opening back together and, when she stood up again, she got back into the flow of her speech. Slowly at first, but then more confidently, she built the picture of her story.

The story was dramatic too and, because of her well structured speech, as well as the surprising entrance (and super recovery!), we found ourselves gripped throughout. She took us to a cold and lonely ski lift which she was trying to help her son desperately get up. Each unsuccessful attempt drew more strength, and we all waited anxiously to hear if they would get back before the cold night drew in.

It was a great talk, made all the better by its image of a cold, snowy mountain, a perfect tale for the time of year. Oh – and they did make it home that night so it had a happy ending too. Marion closed by telling us the experience had taught her to accept help when it’s needed, and to remember to bring a functioning mobile with you, when you’re out on the slopes.

Our other speaker was Muryel – she of “How Many Feet are in an Apple” fame. As with her last speech, her talk was on food, this time discussing the history behind the various Christmas treats.

She bravely ended on a comparison of British Christmas Pudding with her homeland’s “La Bûche de Noël”. The Brits were never going to come out ahead in this comparison (well, she is biased!).

Mum evidently enjoyed the whole evening but was quite surprised when Mireia invited her to speak about it, at the end of the night. Mum spoke for a few moments about her fear of speaking, the wonderful atmosphere at the club and how much it had surprised and encouraged her.

She spoke confidently, and her words were well thought out. Given how well she talked, I wondered why she was so afraid of talking in public. I was so proud of her.

PS: If you read this blog, why not leave me a comment? I always reply – usually within a day. Just click on the “comments” link under any recent post.

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