Halloween and Sleeplessness

The meeting was opened by Roland, the president, who introduced the new Phoenix Mentor scheme. Every Phoenix member who wants a mentor can now get a mentor. Five volunteer mentors are already available for the scheme.

Then things got scary. Mike, the Table Topics Master challenged members and guests with topics concerning Halloween, fear and horror. Roland described an old version of Dracula as his favourite horror movie. Trang remembered a film in which somebody got his head cut off under water. This put her clan off other horror movies and monsters. Ged described how he got a magic box in the mail. It moved! He took his Stanley knife and opened it very carefully, expecting something dangerous – only to find out that it was a little kitten. Emilio used his detective skills to discover whether a voice that pretended to be his friend really belonged to his friend – and found out it did not. Robert was haunted by a piano that played boogie-woogie fast. Really fast. Frightening fast. The fastest ever. And Nuala remembered suffering from fear of success, which was discovered or induced by her personal trainer.

In the prepared speeches session, Trang described her epic rivalry with hers sister. It started in early school times and escalated to fights for parents attention, school achievements, popularity among boys and academic success. However, as time went on, they discovered that they also love each other and miss each other.

Roland recommended switching the home language regularly to keep the mind fit and the life interesting. He remembered his language lessons in school rather as a chore, but got fun out of living in various countries and switching his home language according to the needs of his family.

Lucia found that masks do not work. No, she does not want to hide, she just wants to sleep and the morning light wakes her up. But masks are too uncomfortable. And it is hard to get the right blinds for blissful darkness. Her solution: A long sock drawn over the eyes. That works well, but causes occasional problems in relationships, which she described with Italian flourish.

Ged got was chosen as the best speaker, Shane was the best evaluator and Lucia was first among the speakers.




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  • Where

    We meet at the Department for Transport at Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR (see map).

    Nearby underground stations are Pimlico, St. James's Park and Victoria.

    Non Member Guests

    Civil servants with a Common Access Pass or staff of public bodies working with DfT are welcome to attend. Known colleagues and friends of existing DfT staff can attend if signed in by that DfT member of staff and escorted at all times by that DfT member of staff.
  • When

    We meet every second and fourth Wednesday of each month (except for the second meeting in December, because of Christmas). Assemble in reception of Great Minister House at 18.15 to sign-in for a start at 18:30.

    Next meeting Wed 23rd Oct