PAT THATCHER and her partner Tony Read were regulars at the Flower Pot in Aston in 1992 when they learned the landlord was leaving and decided to take over.
Twenty-three years later and the couple are still behind the bar.
?We thought we?d stay maybe between three and six years,? says Pat.
Although she had worked in the catering industry, Tony was a builder so taking over the Brakspear pub was something of a leap of faith. He recalls: ?We didn?t think too hard about it. If we had, we probably wouldn?t be here now!?
Being close to the Thames Path, the Flower Pot with its large garden is a popular stopping-off point for walkers and cyclists, particularly in the summer.
In the colder months, the pub has another attraction ? Britain?s largest private collection of cased fish with more than 100 adorning the walls, including a pike that weighed more than 50lb.
?We get a lot of fishing parties in here, so it?s a relevant theme and it gets customers talking,? says Tony.
The pub?s other claim to fame is as a location for films and TV shows including Miss Marple and Pie in the Sky.
The world has changed since 1992 but the pub is much the same as it was then. Pat says: ?We sell more food now than we used to, which is in line with the rest of the industry, but the heart of our offer is the same now as it was 23 years ago ? a warm, relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.?
Tony adds: ?We?ve enjoyed almost every minute of our time at the Flower Pot and I think that comes through in how guests experience the pub ?? if we weren?t happy, they wouldn?t be either.?
My congratulations to the couple.