Couple return from sunny Spain to reopen Painswick pub

FROM Viva Espana to Viva Painswick, Mike and Gill Brickell have left sunny Spain behind to open a pub back in Blighty.

The new landlords have returned from the Almeria region and have taken charge of the Painswick’s Royal Oak pub.

  1. ‚ÄčTOASTING SUCCESS:   Mike and Gill Brickell have settled  into the Royal Oak Inn.

    TOASTING SUCCESS: Mike and Gill Brickell have settled into the Royal Oak Inn.

With decades of licensed trade experience behind them, the couple said Stroud life had so far been “absolutely excellent”.

The inn had been closed for six months before Mike, 58, and Gill, 61, opened the doors once again in October.

But the customers came back quickly enough.

“They gave us a very warm welcome. We would like to thank them for that,” said Mike.

Inside, the Oak has already been repainted and its freshen-up is set to continue.

“We want to make it more authentic. We believe the Royal Oak may be 15th Century at its heart,” said Mike.

Pints are being pulled and traditional fuss-free pub food is being served.

“Since we married in 1975 we have been in the pub trade in Somerset, Spain, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare and Porthcawl,” Mike said.

“If a pub has an atmosphere we like, we take it.

“We like to work it ourselves rather than have staff all the time.”

The pair spent 10 years in Andalucia, in the mountains of “proper Spain”, first delivering fresh chips to bars and restaurants and later running a bar.

They came back to the UK in March for family reasons.

But Mike and Gill also left behind an area of recession-hit Spain with 50 per cent unemployment.

“It is a lot worse there than you hear on the television,” Mike said.

“It is terrible, absolutely diabolical.”

Now they’re back behind an English bar, they have already enjoyed more prosperous times with fancy dress party fun for Painswick residents at New Year.

The couple are even encouraging musical patrons to step up and tinkle the ivories on the pub’s pet piano, named Doris.

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