Indian Summer of Fish in the Jungle, 17th September 2014

Vox Populi toastmasters returned for the 2nd meeting of the new season last Wednesday, and what a night it was! Calm and collected toastmaster Jean Marie welcomed members, first time guests and returning guests (welcome back Conor Wickham and Roisin Meehan.)

Topicsmaster Paul Murray led an energetic and spirited topics session. We had clearly all benefited from Rosie Clearys workshop last week, and demonstrated strong off the cuff
speaking skills. The range of random topics ranged from U2 and I-Tunes, alcoholism, and culture night (Dublin Castle was the place to be). New member Suzanne was asked about our Indian Summer and cleverly played with the words to discuss how she would prefer a Chinese take away summer and autumn. She declared that “woolly jumpers are the best thing ever”, and this blogger being bunged up with the cold would have to
agree with her. Bring on the mittens, brrr!
Mark and Muireann entertained us with their role play on how to deal with the awkward situation of a smelly co-worker. Muireann helpfully suggested the rather refreshing sounding “jungle type rainfall pressure shower”.
Siobhan rued the lack of red haired female superheroes, and Minnie the Minx from the Beano just doesn’t cut the mustard.
The room was riled up on one subject- fish. As an island nation, why do we not eat more of it here? Dave argued that it didn’t taste nice as he hated it as a child, and meat and
2 veg dishes are not presented as well here as they would be in Spain with its pretty paellas.  Jason believes that fried fish is the healthiest option, as it keeps the
nutrients in better. (Or should that be batter). But punmaster Dan didn’t hold back on his fish jokes, on first “herring” the topic he had to tell us he was a mackerel
economist, and that it wasn’t out of plaice to cod around.
End of topics. Fin.

In the Open Mic slot Fionnuala McGee recited a poem written by her former Maths teacher Don Byrne from Dunloe. The touching poem was called “Geography” and told the story of once close school friends who now live in far flung places, “from Dublin; London; La Caruna, Spain”. Her detailed introduction to the poets character and how he had a passion for soccer, the Greek language and running his bike shop packed a further emotional punch to the moving poem.
Our first speaker Michelle Kelly’s speech was intriguingly entitled What Rudyard Kipling never told you about the jungle”. She led us into an engaging and interactive
demonstration of how the relaxation technique of abdominal breathing is very useful against the modern stresses of the urban jungle. Michelle connected very well with the audience and built an impressive rapport.
The 2nd speaker Muireann O’Keefe had a thoughtful speech “It takes a village to raise a child” about her experience of summer in beautiful Bali and living in a friendly local community. She brought the community values home to Dublin by making an
effort to connect with her unknown neighbours by smiling and making friendly small talk, even though it goes against our urban conditioning. One neighbour even promoted her from stranger to trusted cat babysitter. She called on us all to get to know our neighbours and not to be a stranger.

We finished on an appropriately cultural note before Culture night, with Dan O’Neills advanced interpretive reading from Brian Friels “Philadelphia here I come”. Dan took on the challenge of reading from several characters voices, male and female. Well done Dan. His literary speech appealed to all, especially the theatre enthusiasts and budding actors/ actresses among us. It was the perfect prelude to the upcoming culture night.
Overall it was a memorable and enjoyable meeting, with lots of laughs along the way.
I cant wait for our Humorous speech and Table topics contest this Wednesday 24th September.

See you then,

Deirdre McCabe