It is strange how sometimes you look back on things in the past; perhaps just silly worthless memories.
I worked in Saudi Arabia when I was in my late twenties and in those days I didn’t pay income tax, I was single then and my accommodation and all expenses were paid for by my employer – I worked very hard six and often seven days a week in a difficult environment but stuck it out for two and a half years, and was able to buy a little fisherman’s house in Menorca where I could hang my hat from time to time.
I often had to visit Bahrain for meetings with my boss then. I had to fly from Dhahran to Manama because at the time there was no causeway bridge to connect the two countries – I should add that after my stint in Saudi I became the Station Manager myself in Bahrain.
After I left the Middle East I took a big financial risk and acquired the master franchise for Spain for an international express transport company. I started an office in Barcelona with two employees.
With so many overheads then I couldn’t afford to rent an apartment so I slept on the floor in the office on a little camp-bed and was always awake and gone before eight in the morning before the office opened for business. There was a toilet and wash-basin but no shower, so I joined a gym around the corner and went there every day for a shower, shave and breakfast!
The Olympic Games were held in Barcelona in 1992 and I worked eighteen hours a day – coming and going to the airport all day and night to clear inbound courier shipments in the morning, and then prepare and ship out export packages all over the world. By the end of the games I was completely exhausted.
In those days we used volunteers as couriers to take urgent shipments as their own luggage who quickly went through customs from Barcelona to Heathrow and vice-versa. A senior director of British Airways volunteered and was supposed to take back two huge bags of negative film to London from a number of famous photographer/journalists from the closing ceremony of the last day of the Olympic Games – they were to be published in the press worldwide the next day. The idiot got drunk and missed his flight, so I went to his hotel, grabbed the courier bags and went straight to Barcelona airport where I caught the next flight to London to deliver the photos.
Early the next day I flew back to Barcelona only to find that my van had died from exhaustion and I had to scrap it. But as business cash-flow goes I had very little money to buy another one at the time, even second hand.
So, I went to a jewellery dealer in Barcelona and asked would they like to buy my Rolex? The oddest thing is that although many years had passed then I sold it for three times more than I originally paid for it!
With that money I bought another van and next day I was back in business again. I sold the business ten years later to a publicly listed company.
I had registered the business brand and logo in Spain in my own name but never told the new owner about it as I did not include it in the deal. So, I sold it separately to a huge engineering company in Spain who were also known as DPE but couldn’t legally use the name, haha!
I guess the point of this story is that material possessions simply come and go – you can’t take them with you anyway, so just enjoy them while you can.