Well, Chichester anyway. There were seagulls. It counts!
Yesterday I was fortunate to visit the vibrant clubs of Chichester, County Communicators and Arun Speakers. What a warm and bubbly group of people!
I started my journey getting stuck in traffic at Guildford, which wasn’t so great so I fairly flew down the A3 to Chichester. Unfortunately I missed the parade of the lovely soldiers from the Princess of Wales regiment who were marching that day, but I bet there were lots of lovely soldiers all over the town centre.. but I digress.
My first meeting was the lunchtime County Communicators. We heard two speeches, a topical and informative one from Eleanor about how to cope in the heat and a challenging reading from Shantha about the agony of Antigone. Table topics were all about language and communication, another session where I wish I had been picked, for a change!! However, I had the privilege of offering my feedback on the two wonderful and eloquent evaluators, as well as on the meeting as a whole. I also gave some table topics feedback so I was definitely exercising the old writing hand! I quite like the way members’ awards are included with their names on the agenda and the meeting atmosphere was so much fun and so welcoming I really must go back and visit again soon.
Lunch followed with Andy Hammond and I think I probably talked far too much about my opinions on education, however he seemed to take it well. I’d been on BBC Surrey that morning talking about the new ranking thing the government wants to do, it got my blood boiling!
I then took a quick drive down to Arundel to meet Area 55 Governor Meg Heyworth. What a super spot! We had a lovely chat under the shade at a little tea room right on the riverside with boats going by and the castle behind us. Meg’s grandchildren came along and they were completely sweet and gorgeous of course. I would love to go back to Arundel, such a beautiful little place with a mahoosive castle and cathedral that seem too big for such a little place nestled on the edge of the downs.
I filled in some time at Sainsbury’s getting a fairy costume for Naomi’s first school disco and enjoying some male attention at a local Italian restaurant before changing my shoes and getting ready for Arun Speakers…
And what a vibrant, exciting group they are! It was a wonderful surprise to bump into my good friend Nicola, who now serves as their VPE. She thought she was out of Toastmasters when she discovered sailing, but the thing sucks you back in… I was very impressed with the speeches and evaluations, the table topics were fun (although I was glad not to be picked this time!) and they have introduced a new section called Hot Tips, just a five-minute thing on a variety of topics. Gabrielle told us about mentoring and her flexible relationship with the red light… clearly I need to visit again to find out more! Guests were warmly welcomed and the club president, Anne-Marie, was impressively deft at closing the sale and getting the four guests to visit again. I feel certain they’ll all be new members soon!
A superb day was rounded off with a bubbly round of drinks at the local pub. Seriously, it’s not a toasties meeting if it doesn’t end up in the local! I’m really looking forward to meeting more of the crowd from Area 32 at their COT on Saturday. I hope you’ll feel encouraged to visit these clubs, they really are an exhilerating group of Toastmasters, lots of great things going on and wonderful people as well.