‘Bletchley – Home of the Codebreakers’ as the road signs say. On Tuesday 16 December, Bletchley was also the venue for Eldergate’s Christmas meal and Tall Tales competition, jointly hosted with our friends from the Grapevine Business Network. The event was held at The Brasserie @ MK College, right next to Bletchley Park, the home of the computer as well as the codebreakers.
At the most basic level, computing is all about binary codes – 1 or 0, positive or negative, true or false. Could our audience crack the code and work out which of our Tall Tales speakers were telling the truth and who was spinning a yarn?
Patience Clottey recounted her young son’s solo journey through the heart of West Africa following a missed flight which had dramatic consequences, including an encounter with a leopard! Jamie McGee recalled how his claustrophobia stemmed from a childhood fall down an old well in Stantonbury. Jonathan Worth recreated a ghostly experience on a merchant ship anchored at night off the coast of Portugal, while Ian Haynes reminisced about a birthday performance at MK Theatre as a part-time pantomime pirate in Peter Pan!
True or false? A split decision in every case as each speaker managed to pull the wool over the eyes of many in the audience. It emerged that Patience and Jonathan were telling it straight while Jamie and Ian were exercising their imagination. Jonathan picked up the prize for most entertaining speaker.
Tall Tales speakers – Ian, Patience, Jonathan and Jamie
Earlier, the Grapevine Christmas-themed quiz was won by the ‘Out of Focus‘ team comprising Ian and Linda Haynes, Patience Clottey and Mary-Ann Avotri. The team name? We all wished we had brought our reading glasses for the picture round – echoes of last year’s winners, ‘Bad Eyesight’!
The food at The Brasserie is prepared and served by catering and hospitality students from the College: we were able to watch them on screen preparing our food. Afterwards, in true Toastmaster style, we were given the opportunity to ‘evaluate’ our meals as one of the chefs emerged from the kitchen with a large notebook asking for our feedback. What did you think of the soup? Was the duck too dry? Did you have enough vegetables?
Most of the comments were very positive, including from our chef Ty Harvey (left) – a graduate of the college, last year’s Tall Tales winner … and this year’s Christmas jumper champ! – although, as you would expect from a group of Toastmasters, there were a few constructive suggestions for improvement!
Many thanks to Trisha Page for organising the event; Brian Greenwood of Grapevine for setting the quiz; and the staff and students at The Brasserie for a very enjoyable evening.