There was alarm at the offices of Hill Murray Rogerson two weeks ago
when director Tim Thompson returned from a business trip to Russia
looking pale and ill.
Had he caught some dreadful illness? Apparently not - in fact Thompson’s
pitiful state could be blamed on his own sense of duty.
Showing true Russian hospitality, his client had invited Thompson and
colleagues to a picnic in the picturesque Ural mountains - a picnic
which, in fact, turned out to be a whole sheep on a barbecue.
To give them an appetite, members of the group were asked to step out
of their clothes and into the banya.
‘It’s what we’d call a sauna,’ explains Thompson - now recovered from
his ordeal. ‘You sweat it out for a bit and then this huge Russian comes
and gives you a thrashing with birch twigs. After that he gives you a
good pummelling’. All this was accompanied by caseloads of vodka.
According to Thompson, the most difficult part of the trip was his
attempt, on his return, to explain all the scratch marks down the side
of his back to his wife.
‘I haven’t had a thrashing like that since my housemaster caught me
smoking,’ he adds, perhaps a touch wistfully.