Festive fun at speakers club
President John Kerr got the festive edition of Annandale Speakers off to a prompt start as he handed control of the meeting over to Mr Speaker Ronnie Callander who did a sterling job of sorting out changes to the programme.
Using all his experience and some self-deprecating humour he introduced all the evening’s speakers with great skill.
Bruce Edensor kindly brought his speech, Mistletoe and Wine, forward to accommodate others.
The always bright and dapper Bruce used his festive title to cover a range of Christmas related topics mentioning The Little Matchgirl film, Slade’s Christmas anthem and of course Cliff Richard.
His favourite part of his title was of course wine and he recommended a little known red available at very reasonable price.
Bruce also questioned the balance between the meaning of Christmas and its modern commercialisation, although he did imply that some more kissing under the mistletoe might be favourable.
Next to the lectern was Frank Farrell whose title, Footsteps in the Snow, suited his dramatic style as he painted pictures of new fallen snow and the changes it brought to the world around us.
Frank took members back to the chaos that snow brought his job of teaching and the confusion it caused when he tried to help out.
He also told about the shock some foreign students got when the first frost of the season came and became the day that “all the flowers died” and, despite their sadness, he reassured them that they would come back in the spring.
Bright and Crisp and Even was Bobby Smith’s subject and not surprisingly this gently spoken nature lover gave a talk on the winters while growing up in war era Lochmaben.
The winters then seemed to be cold and hard with every country cottage and farm prepared to be cut-off for weeks at a time.
Bobby reminisced about the trains which brought curlers on a regular basis to the frozen lochs of Lochmaben and also told us about some extreme horsemanship when a pair of carthorses being used to deliver supplies in the snow were startled by the train.
After the interval Phil Kenyon delivered topics provided by the suddenly unavailable John Cannon. These were gratefully accepted by all who were lucky enough to receive one.
Sandy Grant spoke on rules to speed up golf; David Logan told of preparing his car for snow; Robert Jardine gave his thoughts on whether Dumfries and Galloway should have a national park; Jack Forrest told how to survive long dark winter nights; Sandy Scott was in no doubt that he prefers goose to turkey at Christmas; and Ken Morland spoke on Brussel sprouts being banned.
Alistair Stevenson arrived, fresh off the ice, to give his interpretation of a Close Shave. Sadly his curling match had been anything but.
Thankfully he shrugged that off to tell members of a few historical close shaves and brought them back up to date with Wallace and Gromit. He admitted that he had asked Alexa to help with his speech but the biggest revelation was his insistence that he was a kind soul.
He did finish on a happy note, reminding the audience about the rescue of the boys football team who where trapped in a cave in Thailand.
It’s A Wonderful Life according to Michael Dickie and he wasted no time getting into his well researched topic.
Michael introduced everyone to the life of Frank Capra and his remarkable rise from Italian immigrant to being a top movie director of the 1930s and 40s. This led him on to Capras’ best known film, the Christmas classic, Its A Wonderful Life. Michael always has plenty of notes but he effortlessly breezed through this interesting talk.
Not for the first time, John Kerr filled in for a missing speaker and gave his Lasting Impression.
This was a clever use of the title as John told of his first winter when he moved to this area. That winter they were cut off by snow for weeks but instead of thinking of it as a hardship, he explained how he and his new neighbours helped each other through adversity and the friendships that formed for life.
A very good story to finish off an excellent evening entertainment.
George Gilhooly thanked Mr Speaker, The Topics Master and The Critic.
The next meeting of the club will be on January 10 in Lockerbie Bowling Club.