From a different tradition, less than a block from the hotel is the goldsmith who made The One Ring as used in the film trilogy (though in fact they made about 40 of them in total) and who now sell replicas in a choice of metals and prices, ranging from sterling silver ($140) through different gold grades to platinum ($lots).
Then I went back and some other Toastmasters were going to the Hoglund glass studio. They invited me to join them, so I did. Unfortunately, the beautiful glass pieces on display are outside my price range by a very significant amount.
On returning, I went off to the supermarket to pick up some bits and pieces not affordably available at a hotel - bread, orange juice, that sort of things.
Back to the hotel around 5, where I met up with Ian C, with whom I spent a couple of hours catching up with news before we went off to the "Mix and Mingle" function, which wasn't actually too flash.
Saturday morning, the opening of the convention proper, after a breakfast at a place you shouldn't ask, but the Big Breakfast is certainly good value when compared with a $17.50 continental breakfast.
We heard a past International Director from Canada as the keynote speaker, but before long we were into the Table Topics contest. The topic of "It's never too late" seemed to me to produce six rather pedestrian performances, but a winner was duly selected.
After lunch, it was the District Council meeting, the theoretical reason for the convention, but not the real reason. Various pieces of business were transacted, with various levels of pedantry attached to them.
Distinguished Toastmaster Margaret Austin, formerly of Capital Breakfast Club, gave the next educational, on the subject "From Page To Stage", looking at how a speech can be brought to life with the right delivery.
The dinner dance on Saturday evening is often a highspot of the convention, but many of those there seemed more preoccupied with another event of national significance, so a large number of people left around 10 o'clock, though the news was not good at the end of the evening.
A new day dawned, and after the first part of the morning, the main event took place, in the shape of the humorous speech contest. Our contestant, Wayne B with the "40-20 rule" was placed third, but a popular winner was Gwyn Harrison with "Harrison and Harrison Gravediggers Incorpserated", a shaggy dog story about his gravedigging company.
After lunch, the Convention was at an end. But close to Nelson is the World of Wearable Art Complex which many people had recommended. So I went to see it, just to say I'd been there. I was very taken with it: an intriguing setting of wearable art in one gallery and a large number of classic cars in the other gallery. If you haven't been there, go and visit. From there, it was back to the airport to get on the short flight back to the Capital. The weather was beautiful as the flying pencil left Nelson, and continued so until about ten minutes out of Wellington, at which point the sky went grey and the wind started...
I waited at the bus-stop for ages because the first scheduled bus didn't come at all, but the second one took me to Stokes Valley.
That pretty much takes us up to today, though I may also mention that I have developed a bad cough which the people at work and I didn't like. Our new doctor talked to me this afternoon and, unlike his predecessor, didn't insist on sending me for a pointless chest X-ray. So I'm now all set for recovery, with antibiotics and gunk.