Tuesday 16 August 2011, 13:02
We had that immediate all-important chemistry, which I really needed because, in the beginning, the adjustment to the countryside was tough.
Even though the group were more than welcoming, I was still a good distance away from my family and friends, meeting new people in a new place, facing a new challenge, and working at a new pace.
I don't think I realised what a 24/7 commitment this was going to be. At its peak I was climbing the walls and, I have to confess, a couple of times I did contemplate doing a moonlight flit.
Honeystreet residents explain why they want to refurbish the Barge Inn
I was the Barge Inn's Village Champion - chosen by the village to add expertise that they didn't have themselves.
Apart from the PR, marketing and promotion, which I do for a living, it was my role to help the group think outside of the box and really expand on their own ideas - along with a sprinkling of a little bit of magic to make that all important impact.
In the main, I became the negotiator and mediator between the community and the project, rebuilding age-old broken bridges, which was painstaking at times - not to mention the purpose of Village SOS, the role of the media, and The Big Lottery Fund.
It gave me emotional biceps and taught me a lot about the diversity of people and how they tick - probably the toughest but most rewarding part of my job.
But it was all worth it. In 12 months this pub has certainly become the hub - again - for the locals.
It is also the vehicle for all of the other components that will drive the community project, along with generating much needed employment - full-time, part-time and casual, voluntary and work experience.
But, as you'll see in the programme, it wasn't all plain sailing. One of the most horrific moments, when I genuinely thought the entire project was going to implode, was during the Honeyfest episode.
We needed something very big, very fast and very effective - the music festival - to turn things a full 180 degrees and amplify the message that this pub was now a great place to go for everyone.
But the fierce opposition from the locals led to a hearing with Wiltshire Council for the events licence, and we weren't certain we would get it. That would have just been awful.
My most special memory is that day of the Honeyfest launch event because it was the culmination of phase one of the project.
The buzz and the energy was incredible, with the committee, builders, pub staff, event production crew, volunteers, market traders, BBC team, and National Lottery staff all running around to get everything completed in time, all with the same objective - to make the day work.
During the festival, I looked around me and it was a magical feeling that will stay with me forever.
This experience has certainly changed how I would approach living in a rural community.
For a start, I had no idea what a parish council was until I arrived here.
Also, I learned that cups of tea and 10 minutes of effort go a long, long way in these places.
I left Honeystreet last weekend to go back to the city but I leave a thriving Barge Inn. The kitchen is constantly busy, the campsite's full, with the takings right up.
It has been an absolute honour and privilege to work with such an inspirational bunch of people who, if it hadn't been for Village SOS, I would probably never have crossed paths with.
In addition, I also have to thank the Lottery - an invaluable support network, there every step of the way - and the BBC for their understanding and patience from day one.
There are also a number of unsung heroes who do not have too much of a presence within the programme, but they are the cogs who drive the ship - they know who they are.
And I leave a surrogate family, not just a team.
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