When Mark came back from Japan he got a job at BritKoi working for Eric Devis and then from there went to work for the Kent Koi Company. Mark ran their koi farm but also got involved in pond construction and was involved in some very large projects. It was here that he learned all the basic techniques of building a good koi pond and the skills involved from pipework to filtration and fibreglassing. It was also during this time that Mark did the benching at the BKKS National Show three years running. Mark and I first met during this period – it was 1988 and I was working in IT sales at the time.
About a year later, Mark decided that it was time he started his own koi farm and with a backer he set about looking for a suitable site. He looked all over the south of England and on his way back from looking at a site in Hertfordshire, he got lost and ended up heading into Thame in Oxfordshire. It was March and as he approached the town he could see the flooded water meadows – it looked an ideal area for a fish farm. He drove into Thame town centre, parked in the car park and the first building he came to happened to be the local land agent. He went in and told them what he was looking for and the agent said that just that morning a piece of land just like he had described had come onto the market in a village called Towersey, just outside of Thame. Mark went to look at it and it was perfect!
|The Diggers are in!||Dug Out!|
|The ponds under construction|
To cut a long story short, Mark set up the farm in 1990 only to discover that the money his backer had planned to buy the farm with had disappeared in the recession that had just hit and wasn’t available after all, so the bank had provided the finance – this meant that we had to start selling any fish that he bred as soon as they were big enough and we couldn’t keep any to grow on, we were throwing out the baby with the bath water so to speak!
We knew we could never make the business work on this basis and after a couple of years made the painful decision to fold the business.
|Mark and myself carrying out one of our first ever harvests in 1990|