I am not a big fan of public speaking.
I can do it at a push, and I thank my father's genes for the ability to do so...for he would have made a speech in the queue at Tescos if people would have let him.
I am thinking about this subject today as I have been asked to give two "talks" to the local Women's Institute this Autumn...I think that they want a sort of precis of all the best bits from Going Gently , ....humorous and touching animal stories aka James Herriot...that sounds safe enough..... me thinks
Years ago, I once was asked to present a paper to several hundred delegates at a conference in The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore.
The subject matter was emotive to say the least, as it was a personal account of how the ward staff and I , as ward manager, coped with a particularly "challenging", suicidal and acutely mentally ill patient in the inappropriate setting of a general spinal injury ward.
My account, in my mind was pitched just right. It was honest, reflective and dare I say interesting, and as I had practised the whole presentation a hundred times, the whole thing tripped off the tongue as easily as if I was a radio 4 news presenter!
Unfortunately I was wearing a body mike ( a new experience for me) and after I had finished my emotive account with a fairly dramatic flourish, the audience broke into an impressive and enthusiastic round of applause..........
I gestured towards them all with a dignified and professional nod, and after I walked slowly ( and dramatically) to my seat to sit down. I caught the eye of Sharman Bibby who was an Occupational Therapist that I knew well.. She smiled and mouthed "phew" at me and I replied with a somewhat relieved "FUCK---------ING hell" ....
Yes... you've guessed it.... The body mike was still on!