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  • Writer's pictureAdventures with Jim

Jim the Story Teller

Jim was a great storyteller and I was lucky enough to share a desk area with him. Some of my best memories of my time at Citi were the early morning chats between 8-9am as we both used to get into the office early. We talked about a whole load of things and Jim would be an encyclopaedia of information, great anecdotes and brilliant stories about family and past adventures. My favourite were the stories of his flying the family around the USA, I found that so fascinating coming from the UK. One morning I asked Jim to talk me through a landing procedure as if I was his co-pilot. Sure enough Jim re-enacted a specific landing, at a specific airport, with the specific weather and wind conditions, the specific conversation with the tower, and the specific approach. He describing in great detail the wind conditions and number of times he had landed there, incredible stuff - his ability to remember every detail amazed me, including the conversations with the tower! A colleague asked us what we were doing - I think it was Fiachra and the reply was “We’re just running through a landing procedure!”

Another great memory was a team building weekend where the whole department was taken on a 2 day overnight stay. There were lots of exercises during the first day, I was in Jim’s team during an exercise where we had to map a piece of forrest and give it to another team to follow at the end. One of our team members Alistair Ward was a pure engineer with an incredible eye for detail (pedantic). We had an hour to complete the map and Al was measuring the first junction with a protractor. We were all thinking the same thing but Jim was the one who was able to put a stop to the the nonsense with his one line of common sense - “I’d say we don’t need to be so accurate with each turn considering we have 1 hour!”

We’d discuss his medical condition and I was amazed at Jim’s ability to restrict his fat intake. I’ll never forget the lunches because they were the same every day, some slices of white bread, ham and gherkin with a can of coke. Incredible self control considering there were Krispy Kreme doughnuts left on our desk at least twice a week.

I can’t really think of a more influential colleague or mentor during my career. Some of his experiences and stories from the history of the computing industry were just incredible and I’ll never forget them.

When we moved out of London Jim and Mary came to stay with us and we had a lovely weekend. Our son Henrik was 3 at the time and they were both brilliant playing with him and keeping him entertained.

I remember taking Jim for a cycle ride into the Cotswold Hills and a little unfairly I chose a route that included one of the steepest hills in the area out of a village called Ilmington. I had given Jim my hybrid bike while I rode on a mountain bike. Having not cycled 14% hills for a while half way up Jim had to stop, I could see he was a little annoyed with me as I returned to join him. “Are you ok Jim?” His response was pure Jim:-

“I noticed you gave me the bike with the harder gearing!”

I smile to myself every time I ride that hill which I've named Jim's Hill!

Later on that ride we returned home on the same 3km stretch from Mickleton to Broad Marston and Jim explained, “I normally like to cycle in a loop rather than return on the same road!” At the time I felt he was being a little ungrateful!! However, I now appreciate the honesty and his personality which would always see and say things as they were.

I’ve struggled to find pictures from the weekend visit so I include a picture of Henrik cycling up that same hill recently, if it’s any consolation Jim, he complains more than you did!

~Philip Philippou

Henrik cycling up Jim's Hill

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