Thirteen Candles / May’19
The ‘Ceremony of the 13 Candles’ is a wonderful way for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah to acknowledge and honour the important people in their lives. The ceremony requires a cake with 13 unlit candles, and up to ten guests who have been offered the mitzvah of lighting one or more candles. Each candle represents a particular attribute of a Jewish person. As the name of a guest who has been offered the mitzvah is called, that person lights a candle on the cake. The last three candles are lit by the Bar/Bar Mitzvah and the parents. When all the candles are lit, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah makes a wish, blows them out and cuts the cake.

Who Goes Where at Weddings / Apr’19
The convention at weddings is for the Bridegroom to stand, be seated be or photographed on his Bride’s right; after all, he is her right-hand man!
For anything larger than a small, informal reception, a wedding seating plan is likely to make a significant difference to the success of your reception. In the UK, the Bride and Bridegroom would traditionally sit in the middle of the wedding top table flanked by the Bride’s parents, then the Bridegroom’s parents and finally by the Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid. So from the guests view, sitting left to right: Matron of Honour, Bridegroom’s Father, Bride’s Mother, Bridegroom, Bride, Bride’s Father, Bridegroom’s Mother, and Best Man.
A useful source for table planning can be found at

Bridal Favours / Mar’19
At many weddings the Bride will hand out Bridal Favours during the wedding breakfast, or leave them on the tables next to the place card of each lady. Traditional Bridal Favours are five sugar almonds in a box or net, and given as a good luck gift to the lady. A wish is associated with each sugar almond: long life, fertility, happiness, wealth and good health. There is a short poem that accompanies the Bridal Favours that I will be pleased to recite during the wedding breakfast.
Bridal favours and bombonieres can be found at 

The History & Role of Toastmasters / Feb’19
I recently had great pleasure in delivering a talk entitled ‘The History and Role of Toastmasters’ to an appreciative meeting of the Jewish Association of Cultural Studies in Harrow, Middlesex. Dressed in my hunting pink livery I spoke about the history and the guilds, and the training required for me to become a Fellow of the Guild of Professional Toastmasters. I described the different types of functions covered including weddings, civic and corporate functions, peppering my talk with ‘tips of the trade’ and amusing anecdotes.

Address to the Haggis / Jan’19
I had great pleasure in delivering the Address to the Haggis at the Farmhouse at Redcoats on Burn’s Night 2019. I also had great pleasure in presenting an essay entitled “Dux Magnus Gentis Veteris Saginati” describing the life cycle of the haggis, an ancient creature that inhabits mountainous regions of the world, including Scotland. The paper was well received by the guests, many of whom wore clan tartans and enjoyed an excellent dinner – and a wee dram.