I was born in the borough of Dartford, Kent, England in January 1963, which, according to the zodiac, makes me a goat and in the Chinese calendar, a tiger.

I think that to describe myself as a mountain goat as well as a tenacious workaholic, suits me rather well, as I seem to have spent most of my life climbing to reach higher ground, and with that, I suppose there had to be many falls to come.

Comparing myself with others, especially at an early age, the coalition of one brother and sister, from an Italian mother and Irish father, made things feel slightly asymmetrical for me. But in my adult life, I started to appreciate that, if it were not for the richness of cultural fusion, I might not have been equipped with the building blocks that have enabled me to take on the things that have so firmly magnetized me to them.

Growing up in 1970's England and going to a mixed school as a day pupil, was as much a privilege as it was to attend the very renowned 'Ackworth School', originally founded in 1779 as a Quaker school for boys. Completing my secondary education there in 1978, I hurriedly left and joined the family firm of J J Quigley & Sons, started by my father twelve years earlier.

 

Tyre price listTyres

Unfortunately, my father's business was already under threat by the time I left school and the 'Margaret Thatcher' years brought about so much economic upheaval to the country, that I decided, even before I learned to drive, that I had to do something for myself, to be able to help the family and in 1981, at the age of eighteen, I started my own company importing motorcycle tyres from the Far East.

Patent certificate

 

 

I have always been one who has tried to think outside the box and have turned my hand, perhaps too eagerly, to many challenging ideas, that I did my best to exploit, but I suppose that my first real taste of entrepreneurship came to me, when I successfully filed for a United Kingdom Patent on an automotive accessory at the age of twenty six, which was duly granted to me four years later.

 

Horizontal borer

 

Diversifying into the exportation of heavy machine tools in my late twenties, only seemed natural progression for me, when I look back at the family business that was focused on the markets of South East Asia, even if the commodity was quite different to what was being supplied then.

As in any international business, this involved a great deal of overseas travel and I remember, at one stage, wondering where ten years of my life had gone - I was so busy checking in and out of hotels and clocking up air miles, as everyone seemed to be doing in those days, without the slightest concern for what my two hundred flights per year were doing to the environment.

 

BandsawsWith my daughter coming along to my first wife by the time I was thirty three, I decided that I needed to slow things down a little and to spend more time at home, so I began importing metal cutting sawing machines, which I successfully marketed over a couple of years before I started manufacturing my own in Thailand and India.

 


Sweets
Abandoning the manufacturing business shortly before I remarried in 2002 and going back to exporting heavy machine tools, seemed the path I had to tread again, when I also closed down a small confectionery producer that I had invested heavily in, due to the unfavourable social life, both businesses had given me.

 

Just before the recession came in 2008, I embarked on a project, that took ten years of my life to bring to fruition. It was really more than a life time's ambition for me, and it all came about because of my conviction that unrealised dreams, only mean eternal restlessness, which, whatever the cost, I continue to wish to avoid.

 

Karussell concept model

Karussell brochureKarussell machine

 

Perhaps having finally done it, I am and should be content with my arrangement, but writing my mother's life story as she approached her eightieth year of living, was, as you will see, something I felt I still had to do.

 

Vividly recollecting names, dates and places as if the earliest events in her life had just happened, I wrote and published, with complete accuracy, her biography - my first attempt at writing any sort of book.

Acciano sign 

I chose the title 'Beyond The Aterno' because of the river 'Aterno', having its source high up in the Apennines. This river feeds several of the Abruzzo communes along its course and it appropriately segregates my mother's early childhood from the life she found beyond it. Like the flow of any river suggests adventure, I hope you will find, from reading this book, that my mother's life has been no exception.


 David Quigley 2019