John Granville, from The Rotary Club of Kapiti, delivered a speech of what he called 'pure entertainment'. And it was.
Back in the day, John had taken a short service commission for eight years but this changed to thirty-five years at sea, something he had always known he wanted to do in preference to a 'life on the farm'.
Asking members to assume an audience of business people, he began:
So, business men and women, ahoy there - pipe down and toe the line for a few minutes and I will let the cat out of the bag on some of these expressions.
By and large, as business people, if you are lucky, your business will be A1 and in first rate condition. You will have a real copper-bottomed investment and be making money hand over fist. You should be on cloud nine!
Sometimes you may have a little bit of trouble but if your staff know their ropes it will be all in a days work to pull together to make it run. You’ll need to keep a weather eye out and make sure you know the lay of the land.
Sometimes it may be touch and go and occasionally you may even be brought up short. If a storm is brewing you may even get out of your depth. When the coast is clear you may be a little hard up and have difficulty making both ends meet – or worse scrape the bottom of the barrel to survive.
Steer clear or give a wide berth to anything which is not above board. Try not to hit a snag. It wont do to turn a blind eye. Perhaps wait for quiet weather, stay home, have a rest, wait for everything to tide over and go with the flow.
If you have difficulties with staff which cannot be sorted by just chewing the fat then you may need to take them down a peg or two, especially if they turn up to work three sheets to the wind or a bit groggy but not if they were just under the weather.
If you employ a loose cannon you may soon be at loggerheads with them. Make sure they toe the line.
In the worst case you may end up on the rocks or hard and fast; high and dry in other words. if there is a real cock up. You could finish up between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Then you will have to do whatever fits the bill to stay on an even keel – you just don’t want the business to keel over.
One thing you should not do is cut and run or fudge the books though. There will be the devil to pay if you do. Just fight on to the bitter end – you do not want to be known as a fly-by-nighter.
Son of a gun – that’s the last thing you want.
You need to tie up all loose ends and stay staunch; then you will probably be able to wipe the slate clean – you will get a clean bill of health eventually and all will be plain sailing.
Although many members were used to some of the expressions John included, most had used them out of context and everyone was fascinated to hear the origins as he did indeed, let the cat out of the bag.
If you want to hear the explanations for everything John had to say, you'll have to find the opportunity to go and hear him talk ...