Training session at Strathmore Speakers Club

Vice-President Bill Walker of Blairgowrie welcomed twelve members and one guest to Strathmore Speakers Club’s last regular meeting of the season.

David Howat of Blairgowrie chaired the training session which consisted of three prepared speeches followed by evaluations.

He was assisted by Bob Stewart of Kirriemuir in the role of timekeeper for the evening.

The first speaker was Ted Williams of Kirriemuir with a ‘vocabulary and word pictures’ speech entitled ‘Entertainment’.

Ted traced the history of entertainment from Roman times where the gruesome spectacle of men fighting with animals was considered great amusement and the remnant of this type of activity has carried on in Spanish culture to this day with Bullfighting.

He went on to give graphic descriptions of the progress of entertainment right up to the present day through theatre, opera, gramophone, radio, film and television.

Bill Walker evaluated, saying that Ted had made a well rounded speech which held everyone’s attention, not only passing the assignment of word pictures, but also demonstrating good presence, appropriate gestures and a good speaking style.

Next to the lectern was Muriel Smith of Kirriemuir who gave a ‘use of notes’ speech with the title ‘A Crimean Tale’.

Muriel talked about the exploits of a young Dundee Doctor, David Greig, who served in the Military Hospitals at Scutari and Sebastopol during the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856. All of his letters home were saved by his family and recently published in a book entitled ‘Letters from the Crimea’, which makes fascinating and absorbing reading.

Her evaluator was Helen Gordon-Wilson of Blairgowrie, and Pamela Howat of Coupar Angus monitored Muriel’s notes to see how closely she had stuck to them during her talk. In awarding a pass, Helen said that this had been an excellent speech on an intriguing subject, and she had learnt a lot.

The structure, vocabulary, diction and pace of delivery were all good, as were the gestures, which were largely facial. She had also enjoyed the humour, especially in the little story about Florence Nightingale.

Third up was Graham Carr of Alyth with a ‘lecture’ called ‘The Mouth of the Tay’.

This turned out to be a tongue-in-cheek look at the rivers in Strathmore which, in his opinion, should all run east through the Strath to the North Sea.

However, they all contrive to turn south and sometimes even west, eventually joining the River Tay to flow past Perth to the sea at Dundee. He concluded that it would have been so much better if the Tay itself had stayed further north, running down Strathmore to the sea at Montrose, giving this lovely wide valley the large river it deserves!

In his evaluation Eric Summers of Kirriemuir said it was always a pleasure to see Graham getting passionate about a subject, and this was no exception.

His whimsical approach and fanciful conclusion made it very enjoyable listening, and his depth of knowledge about the geography of the area was impressive. While not strictly a lecture, he awarded it a pass as a speech.

Jim Smith of Kirriemuir chaired the topics session, inviting six members to speak for three minutes each at short notice on the theme of ‘favourites’.

Bob Stewart devoured his ‘favourite food’; Bill Walker enjoyed his ‘favourite Musical’; Alison Summers got away with her ‘favourite holiday’; Helen Gordon-Wilson skipped her way through her ‘favourite exercise’; Pamela Howat took pleasure in her ‘favourite hobby’; and Eric Summers reviewed his ‘favourite’ TV programme.

General evaluator Jim Gibb of Blairgowrie said it had been a superb evening, rounding off what had been an enjoyable season.