One of my most endearing memories of Ian (Moyesy as he was
affectionately known to us) was once again a business trip, where Ian’s
competitive spirit came to the fore. As was often the case in the
formulative years for the Siemens PKU (Partner Concept), the event
entailed long days of slides and presentations, punctuated by even
longer nights and early mornings of “networking” with the other
countries, which on this occasion included amongst others Holland,
Italy, Poland, Germany, France and Belgium.
The event itself was held in Garmisch, at the Sonnenbichl Hotel, which
has fantastic views straight out on to the awe inspiring German Alps. I
can’t remember the exact date, but I think it was around the November of
1994. The highlight of the 3 day event was the penultimate night, when
we escaped the confines of the hotel and headed for a Hutte in the
mountains, taking our lighted beacons with us as the entire party of
some 50 people marched through the fresh snow on the mountain tracks.
Once we arrived at the Hutte we were divided into our respective
countries and invited to participate in a series of increasingly bizarre
“Bavarian” challenges. Ian was team captain and immediately decided The
Brits were going to win and started picking the appropriate participants
from the team for each event. The first event was a precision challenge
where 2 “lumberjacks” had to saw an exact weight of wood from a log
where synchronisation was key. This was followed by a beer quaffing
challenge, which entailed drinking as much as you could in one attempt
from a Stein and then holding the Glass (heavy with no beer in it) in
front of you for as long as possible – this was where the amount of beer
consumed played a vital part. Fortunately, Ian had selected our
honorary Bavarian beer monster, Guenter Sebus for this event and he duly
held out longest to get us off to a flying start. Next, each country
had to nominate a singer and Mark (Mitchell) and myself performed the
only song we knew the words to which was the classic Rolf Harris number,
“Two Little Boys”.
The next event was where Ian, as usual led from the front going way
beyond the call of duty for the team – after all he wanted to win. The
challenge was to pull an evil looking hook with a weight on the end,
which we were told was used to weigh cheese. Most countries made a
token effort for a few seconds and then gave it up as a bad job, because
it was virtually impossible to move the weight. Ian got hold of the
hook and then went through the pain barrier for fully 3 minutes -
admittedly with his team mates egging him on vociferously. (We have got
the photo somewhere, which we are hunting for ! ). Eventually Ian
succumbed, but took first prize by a distance for the weight pulled and
then revealed his pulling hand, which had been sliced open like a tin
can by the said evil hook.
The final event was where Ian’s management skills came to the fore.
This time the challenge was for the team to collectively hoover up a
line of snuff. Ian put his 2 big guns (noses) on first and messrs Algar
and Mitchell by now well lubricated followed the captain’s earlier
example of no pain no gain (and with a distinct nasal advantage where
size does matter) proceeded to hoover up the entire snuff trail in relay
before the other teams had come out of the blocks. (my nose is still
blocked to this day). This was enough to secure the Gold medal as
winners of the Bavarian Olympics. The “British”celebrations were long
and plentiful into the night.
One of my lasting memories was the following morning, where Ian ( for
once slightly worse for wear) having rejected the translation for the
previous 2 days succumbed to the dreaded headset for the non German
speakers, to get a time delayed translation of the presentations.
I have relayed this story, because for me once again it highlights the
fun it was to be with Ian, how determined he was whenever he competed
and the fact that you always believed you would win if you were a part
of his team.