At the conclusion of the series of lengthy and seemingly unpredictable stops and delays involved in the marathon coach journey to Maulach, many of the party felt that a similar means of transport ought to be avoided in the future. Once we had arrived and were largely independent of the heavy hand of 'organisation' our entertainment was in our own hands and progressed in the fashion well known to all school vacationers (Belgian footballers please note). The atmosphere generated by a successful Monoux gathering in a tolerant local hostelry together with the comaraderie involved in 'mutual support' up the icy slope to the hotel is a phenomenon which defies literary comment. Our charming (but expensive) courier Helga went largely unlavished by the 'responsibility' we took with us, for the various excuses of: "saving myself for the summer", occupe ailleurs". Fyson became the first person ever to break his leg whilst actively sliding uphill and Alan Gilbert seemed to be unable to get started when helpfully pointed downhill. As evenings got later so did the time skiing was started by the more active travellers the following morning. As the better skiers progressed to more advanced teaching groups and tired of these in their turn, it was felt that a few days free skiing during the week would have been a welcome break (as long as the venerable M.H. could be cured of his habit of sliding too near imposing precipices). Our thanks must be expressed to all those concerned with the initial organising and good luck goes to next year's party.
For the third successive year, December 27th saw a group of Monovians, Old Monovians, parents and staff on Victoria Station, ready for the long-awaited holiday in Austria. This year, however, there was one difference, Monoux was to become a pioneer, the first school party ever to stay in Wiesing. And as we left Victoria, none of us could guess what a magnificent time lay ahead. It was only 750 miles later we found out, a delightfully unspoilt village, a warm, comfortable hotel, a friendly, cordial atmosphere, surrounded by a ring of picturesque mountains. But this was only the beginning. Relationships with the villagers began to develop rapidly, and a real "entente cordiale" was soon established. It was soon discovered that the village lacked one thing, females. So with the aid of our guide, Christine, a special New Year's Eve party was arranged, and 20 girls (unfortunately for us, they were English) were imported from nearby Maurach. Needless to say, the locals, and Monovians, were delighted, and it seemed that nothing could go wrong. The evening (or was it now morning?) ended with a firework display outside in the -10°C atmosphere, and to warm everyone up, a conga which led the imported girls, Monovians and locals on a conducted tour of the hotel and its immediate environment. A good night was had by all, but not much skiing was done the next day. The party had a series of accidents, ranging from broken skis and batons, to a lacerated arm and a dislocated knee. But despite these mishaps, many amusing incidents occurred, David Birdseye falling off the drag-lift half a dozen times; Mr. McGuiness's daily rendezvous with a wood-shed; Hoggin's nocturnal rendezvous who-knows-where; and, of course, Michael Charles's perpetual rendezvous with the floor! Our instructors were extremely patient and helped to liven up the days teaching by organising sing-songs and races. Our hosts at the Pension Sonnhof were most helpful and generous. All in all, this was one of the best holidays I have ever been on. Much of this was due to the willingness of the boys to help with any problems and to assist Mr. McGuiness and myself whenever we needed something doing. We shall be returning to Wiesing next Christmas, and look forward to renewing the acquaintance of the many friends we made there. Roll on December 27th!
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