Fes­tive fun at speak­ers club

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - DISTRICT NEWS -

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.

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