Going there on the first day was a shock. it was a complete mess. I know people always tell someone to see past the clutter and debris in these cases, but in reality I couldn't. I could not fathom out how this ramshackled building would play its part!
Myself and Jason had to live above the building. We would be there 24 hours a day. The accommodation was rough, just two rooms in the eves, one of them a bedroom with a bath in. It was not ideal, but it was a chance for us to both make money and move forward in life, without expensive rent and the constraints of everyday life!
A few photographs from our time at Brickworth Corner Service Station. They were happy times despite the business failing in the end. The people who worked for us were exceptional. We have stayed in contact with a few of those who became good friends over the years.
Surprising for me, was the fact of running the business in a village, called Whiteparish. Oddly, I discovered, whilst doing my family tree, that Whiteparish, was where my family came from! I was going home, literally!
Well, my luck being the way it was, it was all going to end in tears. In October 2002, road works began at the entrance to Brickworth. The beginning of the end had started. I contacted my MP at the time Robert Key MP. He was as helpful as he could be, but in reality there was nothing he or I could do to prevent the works going ahead, Due to the nature of the works, I would also be unable to claim any compensation. I was a sitting duck, the business was really dead in the water.
I took my mind off the business. Deep inside I had accepted defeat, on the surface, in front of my partner and staff I had not. Whilst the business limped on for another few years, my mind was elsewhere. I was investing in shares on the Stock Market, buying homes, like they had gone out of fashion and travelling abroad as often as I could, all to take my mind off a failing business and deeply unhappy times.
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Some photographs from our Christmas Party in 2001. Someone once said to me how generous I was to pay for the entire event out of my own pocket. Yes I did pay for everything, bought Champagne and made sure everyone had a good time, but that is the type of person I am. Every person who came, deserved it and had a great time. Life isn't about money it is about enjoying life to the fullest!
During our time at Brickworth, myself and Jason had become a part of the local community, in a way we had never done before. On my own behalf, I actually felt a sense of belonging. We lived in a small village and I have to say, we were both accepted for who we were. No one cared if we were homosexual. I personally felt like I had come home and loved every minute of it.
Some other newspaper cuttings from out time at Brickworth!
I remember the pain. It was excruciating. I collapsed and remember very little thereafter. I later discovered, after a series of tests, that I had probably had a mini stroke. Also at that time my Bipolar, as yet undiagnosed was reaching the point of relapse. Mania was a real problem and I was rapid cycling. All of these things were pushing me to the point of total breakdown.
I had started to see a Doctor, something I had not done, all the time I was running the business. The Doctor was quite blunt. Either I got out or I risked killing myself. It was a wake up call. Nothing thus far had woken me up from the catastrophe around me. My health, in fact my life was now at risk. It was time to move on!
After nearly five years, myself and Jason, quit. We just walked away from a failing business and my failing health. Brickworth caused the most damage for my relationship and my physical and mental condition. My Bipolar had reached damaging levels. I was spending thousands of pounds I did not have and I was unfit to run a business through such bad times.
It was a great learning curve. No more, will I run a business. My life now, has to be stress and drama free. Over these last two years, I have looked back at my time at Brickworth and realised, things have to change now. It was a turning point then as it is now!
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