Larry Podmore

Fortunately, with Ian, there were lots of good times.

I'm going to talk about some of his passions that weren't work related.

I first got to know him in 1968 when I first started studying chemistry and David Thurley here was part of that group and Rex Stoessiger here was part of that group.

My first passion that I encountered is one that nobody has mentioned yet and that is that he was a rather fine tennis player. Ian and I played in a tennis pennant team together. Ian was rather unusual as a tennis player in that his backhand was stronger than his forehand. He was very proud of his backhand and rightly so.

With tennis I was also able to join him in what I think of as his second passion and that was travel. Ian was a very keen traveller. In that first year, he and I were in the University of Tasmania tennis team that went to Perth and played in the intervarsity competition there. A few months later, Bob Chesterman over here decided he'd provide his VW Beetle and he and Ian and a chap called Paul Salmon and I took a road trip around the eastern half of Australia. So we drove across to Adelaide from Hobart, then up to Darwin, across to Townsville, up to Cairns, then back to Hobart again. One of the highlights of that trip was being able to stop off at the Australian Open tennis championships which were on in Brisbane and Ian and I got to see our hero, Rod Laver, play.

When we got back from the trip, Ian and I moved into a flat and we lived like that for the first year. Towards the end of the year, I saw less and less of him as he seemed to be increasingly distracted by Miss Marie McConnon. Eventually, in February the following year, they were married and we had a bit of a standing joke - that 'Marie stole him away from me' and Ian's rejoinder was always that 'I stole him away from his mother'.

They moved off and, as Peter described, they moved to Melbourne initially, then to Canberra, then back to Melbourne. Being an academic, Ian had the opportunity to travel widely to conferences in Australia and overseas. And Marie usually went on those as well. I don't think it's been mentioned yet, but they actually went and lived in the US on a couple of occasions. In fact, Tamara was even born in the US.

They travelled widely. Peter mentioned that he studied in Mainz and that used to be a good leaping off platform for travelling in Europe, particularly around France. I remember also that Ian even did a couple of weeks stint in Bangkok. I don't know how that came about but it did.

My wife, Julie, and I travelled widely, particularly in Victoria, with Ian and Marie and, in 2010, David and Sue Thurley here joined us and we had an absolutely fantastic month travelling around in France where we celebrated Ian's 65th birthday. Also, in 2011, Ian and Marie joined me on a road trip after my wife had died and we went up to Byron Bay and Noosa and they really helped me through a rough patch. I have a few other little anecdotes that I'll save for back at the house later, about our travelling together.

An aspect of Ian's life which isn't exactly a passion but which can't go unmentioned is his sense of humour. He had a really quirky sense of humour and he loved things like The Goons, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and Black Adder. At the least provocation, he would come out with lines from The Goons or the Parrot Sketch or Is This the 5 Minute Argument or the Full Half Hour. He sometimes bemoaned the fact that he didn't speak any foreign languages, but he had an amazing ability to mimic other languages and he used to keep us in stitches, particularly with his imitations of Indians and Irishmen. The family sometimes poopooed his humour as 'oh, not another dad joke' but he really did have a fine sense of humour and it created a lot of fun with us.

David's touched on his love of cricket. I used to be amazed by his ability to come out with statistics of famous players. He felt there was a golden era in the 50s and 60s when the likes of Lindwall and Miller and Benaud and Harvey and O'Neill were playing. He could run off statistics for these sorts of players and if he didn't have them at his fingertips, he'd leap up to the bookshelf and down would come the latest statistics on test cricket. He had a rather scathing view of 1 day cricket and 20-20 cricket wasn't worth mentioning. He often used to go to test matches, particularly when David came down from Albury.

I was going to sneak it in as one of his passions that I wasn't very keen on but Jim's already mentioned that he was a Collingwood supporter.

There has been a bit of a mention made of his music passion as well. Ian and I had a shared love of the blues and whenever we were together there would usually be blues simmering away in the background. But his scope and interest in music was far wider than just blues. He had a big collection of classical music, opera and jazz was probably his favourite, with Charles Mingus and Miles Davis being his favourites. He was also a big Bob Dylan fan and he got to see his hero at the tennis centre a few years ago.

I had the good fortune to go to a few concerts and music festivals with Ian. Some of our highlights were Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, BB King and Ray Charles - all at the peak of blues performers.

Back in February, Simon, Ian's son-in-law, organised a real treat for us. As it turned out, I happened to be here visiting and Simon organised for Australia's best blues guitarist, Geoff Acheson, to come and perform at home and, boy, did we have it good that afternoon. He played and sang and told us stories about his playing around the world for about 2 hours and Ian loved every minute of it.

Finally, and this has been mentioned as well, Ian's love of wine. He liked fine food as well but it was usually a choice of 'we're having this bottle of wine, what are we going to eat with it'. There was only one wine that he didn't like and that was sauvignon blanc - he was scathing about that. His favourites were champagne (the real stuff of course), cabernet sauvignon, particularly from Coonawarra, and pinot noir, particularly from Tasmania.

Ian actually had a fine pallet. He amazed me at times. He had a fantastic memory of wine that he'd drunk and he was great at picking what a particular wine was. I remember the 4 of us went on a trip round the Great Ocean Road about 10 years ago, and I'd sneaked in a very unusual bottle of Tasmanian wine. We'd been on the road for about 3 days and I pulled out this bottle feeling very cocky that there was no way that he was going to pick this one. Anyway, I poured him a glass and he looked really thoughtful, then said 'I don't suppose they grow any gamay in Tasmania do they?'. I was floored because he was absolutely right.

I'm pleased to say that Ian and Marie were able to visit me and my new partner Kate in Hobart during January for a week. Then Kate and I just happened to be in Sydney 3 weeks ago when Ian and Marie went up to revisit their favourite restaurant which they'd established last year for their wedding anniversary. We joined them for lunch at this restaurant and had a beautiful degustation lunch and I'm pleased to say that Ian was in fine form. He joined in all the food and wine and was posing for photos as Tolstoy and he was really in his element. We had a lovely lunch and helped them celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary.

Afterwards, I went and bought a bottle of Moet and we sat on the balcony of their apartment and drank that. I didn't know that this would be a farewell drink, but I chose wisely, because he was a champagne friend.