Ellie met Paul, a carpenter, and they settled down and had children. Paul worked long hours in London. “I seemed to be working all the time, earning good money - but I never saw my wife and kids,” he says. Their work/life balance wasn’t working, he says. Instead, they decided to start a new life in Spain.
Ellie sold houses and holiday properties and Paul started his own construction company. For a couple of years, life was sweet. “I used to finish work at 2pm and we’d all be on the beach by 3pm,” says Paul. “We did that every day.”
But then the recession arrived. Building work dried up. No-one wanted to buy houses - and mortgage rates went up. Ellie and Paul decided, reluctantly, to return home.
A friend in the pub game said they should try running their own hostelry. They were unsure. But they had no home, no other real prospects. There didn’t seem to be much choice. Within a month, they were running a new pub in Doncaster.
What they lacked in pub experience, they made up for with enthusiasm, hard work and old-fashioned common sense.
“I thought to myself: ‘Well, what do I like in a pub?’ and I set about making my pub like a pub I’d want to drink or eat in,” says Paul.