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North Bucks Members’ Blog

Have you ever wondered what goes on at a meeting?

North Bucks has a Showcase evening,where you can see how Toastmasters can improve your speaking and leadership skills .

Our club has recently produced 2 members whose speaking skills have led to their representing our Division at National Contests.

This evening ,we can show you how our meetings can give proven results in your personal development.

The programme is a fraction of the cost of many courses,with incredible results.

Come as our guest,free of charge,and see why Public speaking is fun.


Take a look at our Facebook page.



SmileCecile wins the speech contestStar.
SmileLouise wins the topicsStar.

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Both winners come from North Bucks speakers,and go forward to the next level on the 11th October. For details of all contests see:



Elena was 3rd in topics, Sue was second.

Delphine came 3rd in the humorous speech,and Dave was second.


Here’s the round up of what we saw today,as the 4 clubs went head to head in the next round of the contest.
The topics asked the question…what character would you be in a book?
Atma said he would be a hero,and change the world.
Elena was a touch risqué in being Anastasia Steele ( a shade naughty).
Johnathon wanted to be Sir Winston Churchill.
Delphine eventually decided on a fairy,noting French books were not so inspiring.
Trisha fancied taking on the carer role in Mice and Men.
Sue wanted to be Hermione in Harry Potter,but wanted a more burly husband.
Louise,who was first up,explained her son was mistaken for Harry Potter,and subsequently as his mother appeared,she was mistaken for his real mother.Stories of gothic clothes,capes and snakes won the competition.

From the humour point of view,we were entertained from start to finish.

Atma explained the perils of arranged weddings,Indian style.
Sue talked about planning a honeymoon,and the subsequent vaccines and other risks of exotic travel.
Tony cheekily told us about the embarrassment of his wife’s shopping habits.
Johnathon showed his attempts at pizza skills,and the subsequent disaster.
Delphine’s speech was the repercussions of not putting her birthday details on Facebook,and her mother forgetting the day. Delphine came third.

Daves attempts at DIY were hilarious,as he managed to create more damage than repair.He came second.
Cecile led us through an incredible journey of the perils of translating languages.All I can say,is that she really was awesome,and will wow the next level.A well deserved first prize.


There was a lot of work behind the scenes,and people were thanked.
Red,our division governor,explained about the next levels of the contest,and how the programme is changing.
It was an incredible day.Please support your area representatives on the 11th October.


Republished Daniel Sandars 1/10/2014 from original material on Facebook by Louise

12 members, including a guest, came together for some midsummer madness, led by Jennifer.

Harsheed told us a suitable joke.

Steve sneaked in as many references to football as he could, such as fixtures, half time, and a game of 2 halves.( I must confess I was curious about the score at the time of the interval)

Cecile introduced topics, with Carmel first up, explaining her madness was not confined to midsummer.

Barbara talked about her nights out in Milton Keynes , based around the ley lines.

It was Jims creativity that won us over, as he explained a Midsummers wedding, winning best topics and humour.

Emma’s third speech was a magical story of being lost at sea. She drew us in with salty sea tales, and had us singing a sea shanty.

Maggie’s evaluation was, as always, very encouraging, winning her best evaluator.

Musttapha relayed an emotional tale of loss, and family support. Harsheed evaluated sensitively. I was impressed as he had one second’s notice of being an evaluator.

Louise tackled the abstract concept with a tale of modern art. It opened with lights being flicked on and off, to represent Martin Creeds Turner prize. What followed included a piece of blu-tack, loo rolls and abstract art from a child. Topped with the joys of taking a scientist on an artistic journey (which did not compute), and ending with references to a moving modern art theme , which included lovers reuniting.

Jim’s evaluation was informative and humorous, suggesting a powerful ending, with her personal art.

Steve brought everything together with his take on the evaluators and topics. The General evaluator award went to Harsheed for stepping in so promptly.

Carmel headed up the ah counts and grammarian, awarding smooth talker to Maggie.

Barbara timed us.

We welcomed Stephanie as a guest.

The meeting ended on a high, as we are back to President’s distinguished club status, and Carmel handed over to Steve, with a speech of thanks.

Now it’s time to set leadership and speech goals for the next year.

Remember to bring your manuals to the meetings, and please ensure you confirm your attendance prior to the meeting on the D71 website.

Jim is in charge of the next meeting. See you then.

Every year, each Toastmasters club is asked to participate in several contests, with the winners having the possibility of representing their club at the next level and ultimately in the International Club.

The International Speech Contest is currently ongoing, and North Bucks has a real success story to report.

At our meeting on 6th March, Delphine was a well deserved winner of this contest and went forward to represent North Bucks in the Area 44 Contest.

This contest was held on the 29th March, where Delphine again triumphed against representatives of all 4 clubs in Area 44.

The next round was the Division G contest in April. Delphine again triumphed, and goes forward to represent Division G in the District Contest. District might not sound that impressive, but the District is actually the whole of UK and Ireland, and the contest is held at the conference in Ireland in May. To get this far means that Delphine’s speech is effectively the best presented by all 23 clubs for this contest this year.

This is a great achievement and all of us at North Bucks, and I am sure Area 44, are very proud of her and wish her all the best in the District Contest.


16 people came together for the sunshine that is Toastmasters.

Led by Jennifer, the theme was weather, and the meeting reflected an upbeat view of it.

Anthony took on the timer role for the first time, assisted by the general evaluator, Louise. The meeting was managed with great precision, to ensure time was kept.

Emma stepped forward to count the grunts as a first role, awarding the smooth talker to Jim.

Jim was the grammarian, with eclectic as word of the day

Delphine set us up with a joke, which turned into a mini speech. We were suitably warmed up for the rest of the evening.

Maggie’s topics were weather related, and very much in the story teller theme.

Jim was a tornado, with a lot of hot air blowing around

Carmel was the rain, with tales of freak storms

Delphine was the sun, though she wanted to be rain, and the rain won. Delphine also won best topics!

Steve was a very droll snowflake, with references to the perils of health and safety.

Lynda evaluated the topics.

Micks advanced speech was based on true events and told in a story telling style. We were transported to the antics of the 1960s dance halls, and at the end Mick invited us to join him for a dance. A bevy of lovely ladies leapt up to join him, watched by the grumpy guys…a bit like the school disco!

Delphine evaluated.

Femis 8th speech was about the history of money, starting with chocolate. Femi smoothly took us on a history lesson, with facts and figures aplenty. He left us wanting more.

Gareth proved his evaluation skills with yet another fine feedback session. He won the award for this and we look forward to hearing more from him.

Cecile took us through what I can only describe as a stand-up comedy routine.

She described the French political system with the title ‘French politics, love and money’.

Her only prop was a pair of glasses, though she managed to portray a middle-aged lothario on a motorbike, a scheming mistress and enthusiastic children. The room roared with laughter as Cecile’s third speech brought the house down. Best speech and humour were awarded.

Carmel stepped in to evaluate, which she very well with more humour.

Louise brought it all together with the general evaluator role. There was a reminder that the GE role is about giving feedback to all, without repeating anything that has already been said. There were more recommendations and commendations for many, as the evening came to a close.

Lynda reminded us about the promotion day on the 12th,and Steve encouraged entries to our speech contest in March.

We also have a club officer gathering on Saturday at Cranfield.All are welcome. for comments and a photo from last night.

Meet up promotes all the clubs and is well worth joining.It’s free too

14th July 2014 – under new management!

Beverly Kepple welcomed 16 Toastmasters to her first meeting as president:

Dave Minzey, Beverly Kepple, Jonathan Worth, Trish Page, Ian Haynes, Gonza Avila, Miriam Selwyn, Patience Clottey, Sandeep Sharma, Mary-Ann Avotri, Jamie McGee, Monet McGee, Emmanuel Bolade, Ty Harvey, Jenny Chalmers.

The S@A, Trisha Page, started the meeting on time.

Club Business

Beverly Kepple (President) : a Xmas event was being planned. Grapevine, who we have shared a venue with in the last two years, are going elsewhere – suggestions for alternative locations were invited.


Ian Haynes was TME. Gonza conducted a World Cup warm up on favorite teams, goals and best moments from the tournament. The word of the day from our Grammarian, Sandeep Sharma, was Magnanimous.


1) Patience Clottey gave a No 6 speech entitled ‘I am not superwoman’ (7.30)

2) Miriam Selwyn gave her No 3 speech (Get To The Point) called “Fishy Business” (7.45)

3) Ty Harvey rehearsed his wedding speech (6.51)

The Table Topics session was run by Jonathan Worth whose theme was the Seven Deadly Sins. Speakers were

1) Mary Ann on Pride and what it’s like to lose it at the hands of your 10 year old daughter (1.19)

2) Monet on Lust and she saw that the world seem to run on Lust (1.31)

3) Beverly on Envy which she felt if it was removed would solve a lot of the world’s problems (1.6)

4) Trisha on Gluttony and the need to distract yourself from food (1.59)

As General Evaluator, Jenny gave a short speech on how to evaluate.


Dave Minzey evaluated Patience Clottey (3.40). Gonza Avila evaluated Miriam Selwyn (3.20). Steve Whiting evaluated Ty Harvey (3.00). Emmanuel Bolade evaluated the Topics session (5. 54)

Jenny Chalmers was GE and Meeting Evaluator; Jamie McGee was the Timekeeper; Sandeep Sharma was Grammarian and Beverly was the Grunt Counter.


Most Grunts: Steve Whiting. Best Speaker: Ty Harvey. Best Topics Speaker: Monet McGee. Best Humour:  Gonza Avila. Best Evaluator: Steve Whiting. General Evaluator’s award: Ty Harvey for his Wedding Speech and the improvement from the previous delivery.

Dave Minzey gave z brief outline of the option for a December Christmas event at the Crown in Stony Stratford. Prices to come.


Nina Cirana, Susi Jensen, Prakash Shah, Tony Fasulo, Lynette and John Dale.

Next meeting

Monday 28th July

24th March 2014

We started the meeting 2 minutes late. Meeting attendance: 18 including several guests (Chris, Gavin and Sarah). Apologies were received from: Nina Cirana, Gonza Avila, Prakash Shah, Vicki Greenwood, Darren Marshall, Mary-Ann Avotri, Steve Marshall and Phil Chippendale.

President John Dale reminded us about the Area Speech and Evaluation Competitions which starts at 1pm at Cranfield on Saturday 29th March. Tony Fasulo (in the speech contest), Beverly Kepple and Trisha Page (both in the evaluation contest) will represent Eldergate. Treasurer Jenny Chalmers reminded members that renewal fees are due.

Dave Minzey was Toastmaster of the Evening. The word of the day from our Grammarian, Lynette Hill, was ‘exhort’. It was well used by many.

There were 3 main speeches. Beverly achieved Competent Communicator with her number 10 speech – ‘Dreams of New York’ (10.04) – well done Beverly! Patience Clottey delivered speech number 3  – ‘Just Do It!’ (5.40) and Miriam Selwyn entertained us with speech number 2 – ‘From Mr Smith to Wordsmith‘ (5.59). They were evaluated by Ian Haynes (3.03), Trisha Page (2.39) and Ty Harvey (3.19).

The Topics session was run by John Dale – inspired by a recent weekend away in Lincolnshire – on the theme of favourite places, weekend breaks and ideal holidays. Topics speakers were Suzi Jensen (0.47), Lynette Hill (0.35), our guests Sarah (0.29) and Gavin (0.49), and Varsha Chandarana (2.14). The Topics session was evaluated by Tony Fasulo (4.28).

Jenny and Varsha were General Evaluators; Emmanuel Bolade was the Timekeeper; and Ty Harvey was the Grunts Counter.


Best Speech: Beverly; Best Topics: Varsha; Best Evaluator: Ty; Most Humorous: Patience. General Evaluator Award went to Varsha for being Jenny’s little helper!

No post-meeting gathering at The Slug and Lettuce this month as it is closed for renovation.

Next meeting

Monday 14th April.

10 March 2014

We started the meeting 6 minutes late. Apologies were received from Nina Cirana, Matt Orton, Brian Bollen and Margaret Bollen. We wellcomed several guests (Chris Alcock, Jamie and Monae McGee)

President John Dale reminded us there was a committee meeting after the club meeting.

Trisha Page was Toastmaster of the Evening. The word of the day from our Grammarian, Ty Harvey, was ‘meticulous’: it was very well received and used during the meeting.

There were 3 main speeches, all icebreakers!

Vicki Greenwood – ‘From Nervous State to Eldergate’ (5.52); Steve Whiting – ‘A Mixed Bag’ (7.56) and Prakash Shah – ‘The Seasons of My Life’ (8.11). They were evaluated by Lynette Hill (1.05), Tony Fasulo (2.04) and Gonza Avila (1.56). This was the first evaluation for Lynette and Tony and they both excelled.

The Topics session was run by Dave Minzey on the theme of pets. Topics speakers were Gillian Hogg (2.07), our guests Monae (2.03) and Jamie (1.14), and Darren Marshall (1.28).

Ian Haynes and Emmanuel Bolade were General Evaluators; Jenny Chalmers was Topics Evaluator (3.28); Varsha Chandarana was the Timekeeper; and Mary-Ann Avotri was Grunts Counter.


Best Speech: Prakash; Best Topics: Monae; Best Evaluator: Gonza; Most Humorous: Emmanuel. The General Evaluator Award went to Lynette for her first Evaluation.

Next meeting

Monday 24th March.

24 February 2014

We started the meeting with 21 people and finished with 24! There were several guests including Darren, Esha, Jay, Kingsley and Susi. There were apologies from Nina Cirana, Patience Clottey and Vicki Greenwood.

President John Dale presented a badge to Kala Flynn for achieving her Competent Communicator award. The word of the day from our Grammarian, Matt Orton, was ‘tumult’ or ‘tumultuous’.

The 2 main speeches were by Tony Fasulo and John Dale. Tony’s speech, entitled “We are not alone” was his 7th (Research Your Subject) and was timed at 7.09. John’s speech – ‘Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones’ – was part of the Time Management project in the Competent Leadership manual (7.26). They were evaluated by Dave Minzey (3.18) and Gonza Avila (2.24) respectively.

The Topics session was run by Trisha Page, broadly on the subject of neighbours. Topics speakers were Varsha Chandarana (1.09), Susi Jensen (1.31), Lynette Hill (0.43), Mary Ann Avotri (0.55) and Kala Flynn (2.02). Congratulations to Susi on her first Topics speech and welcome back to Mary Ann! The Topics session was evaluated by Emmanuel Bolade (5.38).

As a start to thinking about who will be on the committee next year, the TME introduced a “Get to Know Your Committee” session … a genius idea, as Emmanuel said – where members of the committee introduced each other in turn. Dave Minzey emphasised that the club can only be as good as the people who run it.

Jenny Chalmers was General Evaluator; Ty Harvey was the Timekeeper; Richard Foster-Fletcher stepped in as the Grunt Counter. The TME chaired an open evaluation of the meeting. A brief note was requested summarising who’s who on the committee and their responsibilities (in hand). With a full meeting room again, it was noted that the TME should print 30 copies of the agenda in future.


There was  no Best Speaker award as there were only 2 speeches. Best Topics speaker was Kala. Emmanuel won both Best Humour and Best Evaluator. The General Evaluator Award went to Ian Haynes for his brilliantly run meeting.

At least half of those present then adjourned to the Slug and Lettuce for food, drink and conversation.

Next meeting

Monday 10th March.

27 January 2014

There were 24 attendees, including guests: Gavin, Amy, Dashn, Prakash, Susie, Darren, Hubert and Lynette. Apologies were received from: Nina Cirana, Margaret Bollen, Brian Bollen, Chris Mitchell, Richard Foster-Fletcher, Kala Flynn, Mary-Ann Avotri and Gillian Hogg.

President John Dale presented badges to Emmanuel Bolade and himself for achieving their Competent Communicator awards, plus Advanced Communicator awards to Jenny Chalmers (Silver) and Trisha Page (Gold) and the Distinguished Toastmaster award for Dave Minzey. He noted the speech and evaluation competitions will be the next meeting and it will commence at 6.30pm to allow for guests from outside our area.

The word of the day from our Grammarian, Ty Harvey, was ‘vex’, ‘vexes’ or ‘vexed’ and was well used. Main speeches were by Patience Clottey, Tony Fasulo and Varsha Chandarana. They were evaluated by Ian Haynes (2.53), Jenny Chalmers (2.43) and Trisha Page (2.10) respectively. Patience delivered her second speech (organise your speech) called “Is Technology an Enabler or an Intruder?” (7.00), Tony his fifth (the body language project) entitled simply “Caught” (6.28); and Varsha the folk tale project from the Advanced Manual on Storytelling (12.21) – “What would you do?”, a new twist on the familar tale of the emperor’s new clothes.

The Topics session was run by Emmanuel Bolade. Topics speakers were Ty Harvey (which planet would you like to visit?) (54 secs), our guest Amy (my favourite colour) (33 secs), Steve Whiting (my favourite actor) (52 secs), and guest Prakash (prime minister for the day!) (59 secs). The Topics session was evaluated by Gonza Avila (4.30).

John Dale and Dave Minzey were General Evaluators of the evaluators and the meeting; Matt Orton was the Timekeeper; Vicki Greenwood was the Grunt Counter.

Beverly Kepple was excellent as TME.The meeting ran late but this was out of the control of our TME.


There was no award for best speaker as only 2 speeches were within the time limits for their projects. Best Topics speaker – shared by our guests Amy and Prakash; Best Humour – also shared, by Tony Fasulo and Gonza Avila; Best Evaluator: Gonza.

Next meeting

The Eldergate speech and evaluation competitions on 10th February, starting time 6.30pm

13 January 2104

The meeting started ‘nearly’ on time!

John Dale was Toastmaster of the Evening. Emmanuel Bolade was voted on to the club committee as VP Membership.

Apologies were received from: Brian and Margaret Bollen, Nina Cirana, Kala Flynn, Richard Foster-Fletcher and Vicki Greenwood. We welcomed three guests: Susi Jensen, Darren Marshall and Gavin.

The word of the day from our Grammarian, Beverly Kepple, was ‘exquisite’ and was well used.

There were two formal speeches and one training session. Ty Harvey delivered his 4th speech from the Competent Communicator manual – ‘Flying the Nest’ (5.55), about leaving home for the first time to work in an Alpine ski resort. The objectives of this project are all about the use of words – vivid descriptions, sensory language – and Ty’s very clear recollection of a night out dressed in women’s clothing certainly met the speech objectives!

Matt Orton followed with his icebreaker (6.42), in which he introduced us to himself, his ‘exquisite’ Slovakian wife, some very large fish and finally, the reasons why he had decided to join Toastmasters. Great start Matt – well done!

The training session on Evaluation was led by Dave Minzey DTM and concluded with a very useful Q&A session (11.55). A second training session on evaluation is scheduled for 24 March with the aim of encouraging more of our newer members to take on evaluation roles at meetings.

The Topics session was run by Trisha Page, taking a range of inspirational words and asking what they meant to the speaker. The Topics speakers were Jenny Chalmers on courage (1.40); Lynda Andrews, our Area Governor, on teamwork (1.50); Darren Marshall, our guest, on trust (1.37); and Gonza Avila on vision (1.40).

Evaluators were John Dale evaluating Ty Harvey (3.24); Emmanuel Bolade evaluating Matt Orton (2.54); and Ian Haynes evaluating the Topics session (5.28).

Dave Minzey and Jenny Chalmers were the General Evaluators – of the evaluators and the meeting respectively. Tony Fasulo was the Timekeeper. Miriam Selwyn stepped in as the Grunt Counter at the last minute.


As there were only two formal speeches, there was no vote for Best Speaker. Best Topics Speaker: Darren Marshall. Best Humour: Ty Harvey. Best Evaluator: Emmanuel Bolade. The GE’s award went to Trisha for demonstrating that Topics can be about fun rather than fear!

Next meeting

Monday 27 January, and afterwards at the Slug & Lettuce

Intro : Apologies for the gap in transmission – North Bucks’ meetings have been continuing over the winter months, and I will endeavour again to ensure that this blog is updated after the event with any relevant information.

The following meeting notes are supplied by Louise.

17 people attended the second meeting of 2014, including 2 guests.

Jim presided with a theme of paraprosdokians, and set the scene with a joke.

Agnes was the timer, and had to cope with some blatant disregard for red lights. This led to the meeting going on for longer than planned.

Lynda was the ah counter and awarded the smooth talker award to Mustapha.

Veselina used Flabbergasted as her word of the day, which was used in so many forms.

Margaret’s first topics’ outing was a session where she invited participants to talk about their educational aspirations, after being accepted to Oxbridge from the area of Newham in London.

Carmel, Mustapha, Emma and Steve all participated, with Steve’s down to earth interpretation winning.

We were treated to an evening of French flair as Cécile’s second speech had us in stitches as she talked about teenagers. Props included a flamboyant wig. She won best speech and humour and was evaluated confidently by Gareth.

Delphine told an advanced story of the perils of dropping litter. Props included multiple scarves, and Delphine set imaginations going as she pretended to be a tree. Maggie evaluated, giving superb feedback as our resident story teller.

Louise returned to planned speeches after a year away, and this was reflected in a Keynote speech of up to 20 minutes duration. The speech was about a series of 3 accidents and subsequent recovery, enhanced by meeting others on the journey. Louise cracked an egg at the beginning to demonstrate the shock of an impact. Femi evaluated with style and panache. He checked the audience response prior to his evaluation, in order to give comprehensive feedback. He won best evaluator.

Tip. If speeches are longer, negotiate extra feedback time to accommodate the project.

Micks’ general evaluator role led him to remind us about handovers. Handshaking gives a clear ending to the speaker. He also reminded us that feedback slips need to follow the same pattern as the evaluators, with praise and recommendations, as well as signed and directed clearly to whom they refer.

This quote may help when you give feedback.

‘Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.’ – Napoleon Hill

Next Meeting : 30th January – Workshop based around vocal variety and body language. Everybody welcome.

It’s been a while since I’ve provided an update of our North Bucks meetings, but as we enter into Autumn, our meetings have continued every 2 weeks without interruption or pause.

17th October saw another fine meeting, shepherded by our Toastmaster for the evening, Delphine. The theme of the meeting was Autumn, which carried over into our word of the Day (Deciduous) and our Table Topics, led by Nicola, a returning visitor from Bedford Speakers.

This session featured contributions from Mick, Lynda, Carmel and Nalinda, and was won by Mick, who had to explain the concept of Autumn to a group of 5 yr old Martians in 2076.

Our prepared speeches featured an Icebreaker from Cecile, explaining how she really wanted people to mistake her for English, and the confusion in her house over the pronunciation of pyjamas. Cecile was evaluated by Maggie, and deservedly won both Best Speech and Best Humour.

Second up was a third speech from Agnes, who explained how we should all beware of teflon in our kitchen, and that it is guilty of far more than just stopping our food from sticking to our pans. This was a persuasive third speech, well evaluated by Mick.

Our final speech was the second speech from Veselina, which asked how much substance there was to the friendships that we have in the virtual world. This was another thought-provoking speech, with astute recommendations from Jim.

Louise was General Evaluator, Steve was Topics Evaluator, whilst Maggie and Jim shared the award for Best Evaluator.

Of special note was the encouraging number of guests at this meeting. As well as Nicola, we had returning visits from Habee, Anthony and Nalinda, who all indicated that they planned to sign up to the fold. We’re looking forward to their Icebreakers.

Our next meeting, on the 31st October is our traditional Halloween spooktacular. Fancy Dress is encouraged, as is food and drink for the interval. Please sign up for roles and, if possible, bring along a guest!


9 December 2013

The meeting started ‘nearly on time!’

Apologies were received from: Nina Cirana, Chris Mitchell, Richard Foster-Fletcher, Kala Flynn and Miriam Selwyn. We welcomed Susi Jensen and Sarah Cooling as guests of Ian Haynes and Varsha Chandarana respectively.

Our President told us there will be a special Toastmaster Workshop run in the Ridley Suite at the MK Christian Centre in Oldbrook on Wed 12th Feb 2014, from 8am till 9am and again from 10am till 11am. The aim is to show local businesses what Toastmasters can offer. All 3 local clubs will be involved in presenting short ‘model’ Toastmaster meetings for guests invited from local companies and organisations.

Emmanuel Bolade was Toastmaster of the Evening (TME).

The word of the day was Eloquent/Eloquence and was very well used (especially by our TME!!)

Speeches were very varied, from speech No 4 (How to Say It) from the Competent Communicator manual (Tony Fasulo  – “Double Take” – 6.07 mins) to No 2 Advanced Bronze from the Interpretative Reading Manual (Phil Chippendale – “Journey of the Magi” by TS Eliot – 5.37 mins) and lastly No 9 Advanced Silver from the Speciality Speeches manual (Ian Haynes – “Parklife” – 11.54).

The Topics session was very capably run by Beverly Kepple on the subject of Christmas.

Topics speakers were John Dale (1.43), Matt Orton (0.51), Vicki Greenwood (1.05) and Jenny Chalmers (1.40)

Evaluators were Jenny evaluating Phil (2.19), Gonza Avila evaluating Tony (2.30), Varsha evaluating Ian  (4.02) and Trisha Page evaluating the Topics session (4.02)

Varsha was General Evaluator; Vicki (a new member) was the Timekeeper; Matt (also a new member) was the Grunt Counter. Ty Harvey was the Grammarian. John made himself useful as President, Sergeant at Arms and General Evalautor of the meeting!


Best speaker: Ian. Best Topics Speaker: Jenny. Best Humour: Jenny. Best Evaluator: Varsha. General Evaluator’s award: Vicki. Emanuel was also congratulated on his performance as TME – his first time in the role.

Next Meeting

13 January 2014

25 November  2013

The meeting started just a little late. Apologies were received from Nina Cirana, Beverly Kepple, Chris Mitchell, Gonza Avila, Richard Foster-Fletcher, Kala Flynn and also from our prospective new member Steve Whiting

Varsha Chandarana was excellent as Toastmaster of the Evening, particularly her warm-up where everyone took turns to add a sentence to a story.

The word of the day was ‘vexatious. Emmanuel Bolade (Grammarian) gave a very thorough explanation of the word which was very well used.

Speeches were very lively and visual. Trish Page delivered a speech from the Advanced Manual: Speciality Speeches (‘Sell a Product’) with “An offer you can’t refuse” (11.52) which was evaluated by Ian Haynes (2.55)

Ty Harvey presented speech 3 from the Competent Communicator manual (‘Get to the Point’) entitled “Bread” (7.50) and gave a full demonstration on how to make tasty bread … and brought along some yummy examples! He was evaluated by Margaret Bollen (2.55)

Lastly, was Tony Fasulo (6.17) also on speech 3, with “Courage overrated”. Tony was evaluated by Phil Chippendale (2.45).

The theme of the topics session was ‘Choose your own ideal Xmas present’ with Jenny Chalmers as Topics Master. It was a lively and humorous session. Matt Orton spoke about a house brick (1.55); Patience Clottey on a 3 month cruise (0.48); Jose, our guest, about an ‘Oxfam cow’ (1.11); Vicki Greenwood, our new member in her first Topics speech, on Mandarin lessons (0.33); and Brian Bollen about 12 wooden spoons! (1.56)

Topics evaluator was John Dale (5.40).

Other roles were filled as follows: Brian Bollen – General Evaluator; Dave Minzey – Timekeeper and Sergeant At Arms; Vicki Greenwood – Grunt Counter


Best speaker: Tony Fasulo. Best Topics speaker and best humour: Brian Bollen. Best Evaluator: Margaret Bollen. General Evaluator’s award: a tie between Ty (!) and Varsha.

Next meetings

The tall tales evening and Christmas meal will be on 2nd December, 7 for 7.30 at the Slug & Lettuce.

Next club meeting is on Monday 9th December.

11 November 2013

With our secretary Trisha Page indisposed at the last minute, thanks to Jenny Chalmers for taking a note of the meeting.

The meeting was not endless – ‘endless’ being the word of the day.

On his return to the fold following a lengthy absence, Richard Foster-Fletcher stepped in to replace Trisha as Toastmaster of the Evening. Apologies were received from: Nina Cirana, Varsha Chandarana, Chris Micthell, Trisha Page, Tony Fasulo, Phil Chippendale. Steve Whiting attended as a guest and joined at the end of the meeting.

Miriam Selwyn gave her icebreaker entitled ‘A bit about myself’ (6.59). Gillian Hogg gave her fourth speech ‘Remember, remember’ (5.34). VP Education Beverly Kepple spoke on ‘How to use the Leadership Manual’ (7.40).

The Topics Master was Ian Haynes and his theme was Security. Steve Whiting spoke for 1.55; Brian Bollen for 2.57; Matt Orton for 1.27; Vicky Greenwood for 0.54 (well done for a first attempt); and Ty Harvey for 1.30.

The evaluators’ timings were Beverly Kepple (Miriam) 2.40; Jenny Chalmers (Gillian) 2.36; Dave Minzey (topics) 5.26. Beverly’s speech was the subject of a written evaluation by Margaret Bollen as her 9th speech from the Competent Communicator Manual (Persuade with Power).

Other roles were filled as follows: Emmanuel Bolade – General Evaluator; John Dale – Grammarian; Kala Flynn – Timekeeper; Ty Harvey – Grunt Counter; and Dave Minzey – Sergeant at Arms.


Best speaker – Gillian; best Topics speaker – Ty; best humour – Miriam; best evaluator – jointly to Dave and Jenny; GE’s award –  Miriam, for her icebreaker speech.

Next meetings

Monday 25 November.

The ‘Tall Tales’ evening and Christmas meal will be on 2 December and people were requested to: sign up as contestants, advise Trisha of their meal choices, and pay her £11.

2 meetings in the New Year will include short (15 minutes) educational workshops on evaluation techniques –  13 January and 24 March.

The club speech and evalaution contests will be held on 10 February.

28 October 2013

With our secretary, Trisha Page, otherwide engaged as both Topics Master and a speech evaluator, many thanks to Varsha Chandarana for stepping in at the last minute to take notes of the meeting.

The meeting began just after 6 and finished just after 8. It was conducted gaily – ‘gaily’ being the word of the day. 4 guests were welcomed – Saeed, Vicki, Jose and Lynette.

With his speech number 10, Emmanuel Bolade persuaded the room to ‘Be better’. In his second speech, Ty Harvey not only demonstrated how to structure a speech well but instructed everyone on ‘Internet Dating’. Patience Clottey broke the ice with her lovely introduction ‘Going round in circles’.  The speech times were Emmanuel 10:43, Ty 8:10, Patience 6:44.

The theme of the topics session was Time. Tony Fasulo told the room about the ‘time of his life’. John Dale gave his views on the USA and whether they should have kept Halloween to themselves? Varsha Chandarana spoke about the use of herbs – parsley mainly although ‘thyme’ was mentioned. Emmanuel provided a post watershed bedtime story ‘once upon a time’. The topic timings were Tony 1:40, John 1:42, Varsha 1:17, Emmanuel 1:59.

The evaluators timings were Trisha Page (Emmanuel) 2:45, Ian Haynes (Ty), 3:06, Gonza Avila (Patience) 3:15, and Beverley Kepple (Topics) 4:50.


Awards were made as follows: best Speaker – Patience, best Topics speaker – Emmanuel, best humour – Emmanuel, best – Evaluator Beverley. Jenny Chalmers gave the General Evaluator award to Patience for her icebreaker speech. By completing his 10th speech, Emmanual also achieved the ‘Competent Communicator’ award.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be on 11 November.

As part of any other business it was noted that the tall tales evening and Christmas meal will be on 2 December.

NB There will be no meeting on 23 December (the 4th Monday in the month)

14 October 2013

A lively meeting. 17 people in attendance, including 4 guests. Apologies were received from Nina Cirana, Tony Fasulo, Gillian Hogg, Chris Mitchell, Richard Foster-Fletcher, Patience Clottey and Gareesh Madhas.

We started 3 mins late and finished late too. Ian did a great job as TME…. his warm up about things to do for free in MK dove-tailed perfectly with John’s Topics Session!

Our President, John Dale, welcomed our Area Governor, Lynda Andrews. He highlighted the Area 44 club meeting to be held at the Slug and Lettuce on 4th November, 7.30pm. John reminded us that layout of the room (including whether or not a projector and laptop are required) needs to be requested by the Friday prior to the meeting and that coffee for our meetings requires a small contribution of £1 each.

Jenny Chalmers gave us the word of the day, which was MISCELLANY, referring to a mix of things.

We had 2 formal speakers and a workshop from the ‘Better Speaker’ series on Impromptu Speaking led by Ian Haynes. The first speaker was Dave Minzey (9.30) evaluated by Emmanuel Bolade (2.50). His speech was the bringing-history-to-life project from the advanced manual on Storytelling – ‘Nature cannot be fooled’, about the Challenger space shuttle disaster.  The second speaker was Gonza Avila (8.28), evaluated by Trisha Page (2.40). For the vocal variety project in the Competent Communicator manual, Gonza invited us to play the part of a panel considering his request for investment in new computers.

Topics was conducted by John Dale with the subject of Milton Keynes. Following on from the educational workshop, speakers were given 15 seconds to think prior to speaking. The topics speakers were 1. Beverly Kepple on whether or not MK should continue to expand (1.26); 2. Phil Chippendale on his experiences of A&E at MK Hospital (1.57); 3. Jenny Chalmers on a life-changing experience in MK (1.10): 4. Matt (a guest) on HS2, trains and transport in MK (1.27): and 5. Ty Harding on what MK would be like in 50 years time (1.22)

A special interactive evaluation session was led by Ian (9.15) where it was noted that Ty had made a magnificent improvement in ‘Impromptu Speaking’.

Margaret and Beverly shared the role of General Evaluator.

Miriam took on the role of Grunt Counter for the first time.

Emmanuel was very informative in his role of Timer.


As there were only 2 formal speeches, there was no Best Speaker award. Best topics speaker was Beverly, best evaluator was Emmanuel, most humorous speaker was Gonza! The General Evaluator’s award went to Ian.

Next meeting

28th October when we will be meeting at the Slug & Lettuce afterwards for nosh and natter, including a committee meeting.

23 September 2013

Members were almost outnumbered by visitors as there were 6 guests and 11 members. The meeting started late but somehow we finished early! There were apologies from Nina Cirana, Chris Mitchell, Tony Fasulo, Varsha Chandarana, Margaret Bollen, Brian Bollen, Gareesh Madhas and Mary-Ann Avotri.

Our President, John Dale, mentioned that the Area Contest is on Saturday 28th Sept at Cranfield Speakers, from 10am till 1pm. (Please do come along and support your Eldergate entrants: Tony Fasulo in the Speech Contest and Emmanuel Bolade and Trisha Page in the Topics Contest. Unfortunately, Richard Foster-Fletcher is unable to make the competition). John also reminded us that we should have a committee meeting following the second meeting of October.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was Jenny Chalmers and she started us off with a very amusing warm up of sentences starting with successive letters of the alphabet… from A going right through to Zed!

Formal speeches were given by Emmanuel (speech no 9 from the first manual) “Plan Your Exit Strategy” and by Dave Minzey (speech no 2 from the High Performance Leadership project) “Speechcraft in India”. Both speakers went over their allotted times (Emmanuel 8.06 minutes and Dave 20.03 minutes)

Their evaluators, Ian Haynes and Beverly Kepple were excellent in their roles, giving good feedback.

As we were  ‘short on the ground’, Dave Minzey also took on the role of Topics Master, with his very popular theme – inspired by Michael McIntyre’s ‘spice jars’ sketch – of talking household objects! First up was Ian Haynes as a frying pan (1.54), then Ty Harvey as a 3 year old credit card (.35), Matt (a guest) as a vacuum cleaner (1.09), Steve (also a guest) as his front door (1.19) and finally Miriam Selwyn an alarm clock (1.14).

Our Topics Evaluator was Gillian Hogg. Gillian kept good timing with 3.42 mins. She praised Dave for his excellent Topics subject.

Our Grammarian was Ty with an excellent choice of word: Audacious or Audacity and several members were audacious enough to use it, including our guest Susan.

John also multi-tasked this meeting, being timer and grunt counter. Dave received the duck for the most grunts! (but then he did talk the longest – Ed)


As there were only 2 speeches, there was no best speaker award, but best Topics and most Humorous Speaker went to Ian, with Ian also sharing best Evaluator with Beverly. General Evaluator was Trisha Page who gave the GE award to all the guests who really joined in.

Next meeting

Monday 14 October

9 September 2013

For a report on the Humorous Speech and Topics Contests, please see the Eldergate Members Blog page.

19 August 2013

Our meeting started and finished on time. Dave Minzey (Sergeant at Arms) opened the meeting and gave us an interesting warm up session which showed that only two members actually knew their own blood group!

Our President, John Dale, noted the apologies: Jenny Chalmers, Varsha Chandarana, Nina Cirana, Chris Mitchell, Phil Chippendale, Martin Pebody, Deborah Dow, Tony Fasulo, Richard Foster-Fletcher, Brian Bollen, Margaret Bollen. We had one guest, Charlotte.

Minutes from the last meeting were acknowledged and seconded.

Our Vice President of Education, Beverly Kepple, handed round both the up and coming schedule and the schedule for our contests (Humorous Speech and Table Topics) on 9th Sept and asked for volunteers as both speakers and officials.

Our Grammarian, Trisha, chose ‘Decorum’ as the word of the day. It was used by 2 people once and 2 people twice!

Formal speeches were all from the Competent Communicator manual: Gonza Avila (5), The Silver Peugeot; Gareesh Madhas (2), It’s a Secret; Ty Harvey (1), The Tree of Life. They spoke for 6.48, 7.09 and 5.12 respectively.

Our Topics Master, Dave Minzey, chose the topic of ‘Fracking’. His chosen speakers were Emmanuel Bolade (1.44), John Dale (1.44), Miriam Selwyn (1.04), Patience Clottey (.20) and Beverly Kepple (1.51)

Speech evaluators were John Dale (3.27), Emmanuel Bolade (3.29) and Beverly Kepple (2.41). and Gonza Avila as Topics Evaluator (4.09).

Gonza had virtually a clean sweep, winning best humour, best evaluator and best speaker! Beverly won best topics speaker and the General Evaluator’s award went to Patience for her first role as Grunt master.

Our President presented Icebreaker pins to both Ty and Gareesh for doing their first speeches (the latter a few weeks ago).

9 members met up for food and drink at the Slug and Lettuce after the meeting.

Next meeting
Monday 9th September: Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests

12 August 2013

Another lively meeting. 17 people in attendance, including 4 guests. Apologies were received from Varsha Chandarana, Nina Cirana, Chris Mitchell, Richard Foster-Fletcher, Gareesh Madhas, Deborah Dow and Martin Pebody.

We started on time and finished one minute early, despite juggling the Topics Session to after the refreshment break.

Phil Chippendale did a great job as Toastmaster of the Evening … his warm up was both relaxing and invigorating at the same time!

Our President, John Dale, mentioned our up and coming Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests on 9th September and asked for volunteers in all roles. We voted to hold a social gathering at the Slug and Lettuce after the contest. John also mentioned that the North Bucks Speakers competition is on 19th Sept. Please do put your name forward to help them if you can.

Emmanuel Bolade was voted in as our newest member.

The word of the day was CAMPANOLOGICAL which refers to ringing the changes/changing (campanology…bell ringing)

We had 3 formal speakers. Ian Haynes (13.16), Tony Fasulo (5.44) and Emmanuel Bolade (7.25). Ian did speech 8 towards his Advanced Communicator (silver) award. Tony and Emmanuel presented speeches 2 and 8 respectively from the Competent Communicators manual.

The Topics Session was conducted by Trish Page with the subject of accidents. Gonza Avila (1.12), Patience Clottey (1.07) Brian Bollen (1.42) and Miriam Selwyn (.27) all spoke.

Evaluators were Brian Bollen (3.30), Jenny Chalmers (2.30), Gonza Avila (2.14) and Dave Minzey (6.32) (Topics)


Best speaker was Tony Fasulo, best topics speaker was Brian Bollen, best evaluator was Jenny Chalmers, most humorous speaker was Tony Fasulo + crutches!

The General Evaluator’s award went to Miriam Selwyn, one of our guests, for attending and participating despite a 3rd degree burn on her arm (mistaken as evidence of having given blood!)

Next meeting

Monday 19th August due to the Bank Holiday on 26 August.

Only a week after the Tall Tales, and it was back to Willen for another busy meeting. This one saw the election of a new committee, one person completing their CC projects, two people completing Speech 9, and a first-time guest winning Table Topics !

Maggie led the meeting with a firm steer, and amongst our multi-taskers today were Louise as General Evaluator / Grammarian, Jim as Ah-Counter / Speech Evaluator and Carmel as Topics Evaluator / Speech Evaluator. All did sterling work, with Louise setting batology as the word of the day.

First up was Topics, introduced by Tim and based around the theme of Summer. Lynda gave us a story about a picnic where the gas cylinder ran out, and she had to resort to other means of fuel. Mick followed up by expanding on the picnic theme. Harsheed explained the best things about the summer, before our first-time guest Agnes gave her tips for going on holiday to the UK. Carmel evaluated and Agnes was the deserved winner.

Jennifer delivered her speech 9 on how to stop your habits becoming your destiny. Jim won best evaluator and drew attention to the triads at the beginning of the speech and to the facts peppering it. Excellent Speech 9 – looking forward to Speech 10.

Steve delivered his Speech 10, looking at why he is doing Toastmasters, what he feels he is getting from it, and why he thinks the CC manual is only the beginning. Carmel praised the development from Speech 1 through to Speech 10 with characteristic good humour.

Finally, Delphine gave her ninth speech, with fashion ideas to help us to love the rain. Mick evaluated, praising Delphine’s powers of persuasion and drawing attention to her effervescent presentation skills. Delphine won best speech and best humour.

Before the meeting closed, Lynda chaired the election of next year’s committee, who will hopefully steer the good ship NBS through another successful year.

Attendees : 16 including 3 guests.