My day normally starts early with me getting up and feeding and walking Harvey my dog, checking on my donkey Jessie and making sure the outside of the pub and gardens are in good order – this entails hosing and watering the flowers and the gardens and the well used south facing patio.

I have run The Boot Inn in Willington, a traditional English pub, for 21 years.

The pub traffic normally begins at about 9ish when the walkers start to arrive early morning to pre book their lunch or have a coffee and discuss a route for their walk. We always give advice on the best walks in the area be it two miles or 10!

Often walkers pre order before their walk so the food is ready and out quickly when they arrive back. We have our own walking book which people find very useful.

Fresh food arrives early and we have to be organised for busy lunches – laying tables and lighting the fires to make sure it all looks inviting.

Local suppliers

I like to keep up to date on food and drink so often visit local suppliers such as Rose Farm Shop or cheese suppliers and I am always interested in new ales so there is sometimes a trip to Weetwood Ales.

Lunchtimes are normally busy and we have regulars staff meetings to ensure everyone is up to speed on new menus etc as we change them regularly.

A quick run in to Tarporley to do a few jobs and if I have time I go for a swim and sauna at the Portal Hotel or meet my friends for a quick coffee at Dettagli.

In the summer we have lots of extra fish deliveries and lobster seems to be very popular when the sun shines.

To relax, I enjoy supper with friends, having a pint and socialising and walking in the forest or on the beach with Harvey depending on where I am.

Dress: Smart casual when working in the pub – normally jeans and a smart shirt.

What is the favourite part of your job? Chatting to customers and friends who come in to the pub and making sure they are well looked after and enjoy our drinks and food. I also love looking after the pub gardens and deciding on the menus – we use seasonal produce and change the menu regularly.

What is the least favourite part of your job? Admin, IT and accounts.

What would your dream job be if you weren’t doing what you do now? Something outside working with wood.

How do you relax when you are not working? I walk my dog Harvey on the beach when I can and enjoy spending time with family, good friends, food and wine.

What is your favourite film? Casablanca. The film is set during World War II and is all about crime, drama and romance – it focuses on an American expatriate who must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.

What is your favourite book? Atonement – from 1935 to present – it is a British family saga novel written by author Ian McEwan, published in 2001. It is about understanding and responding to the need for atonement. Set in three time periods – 1935 England, World War II in England and France and present day England. It covers an upper class girl’s half innocent mistake that ruins lives, her adulthood in the shadow of that mistake and a reflection on the nature of writing.

What is your favourite song? Ray LaMontagne – You are the Best Thing.

If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? Paul Newman – he was a great actor.

Have you had your 15 minutes of fame? Probably but who knows?

Factfile

  • Name: Mike Gollings
  • Job: Owner of the Boot Inn in Willington
  • Born: Cheshire
  • Lives: Willington
  • Education: West Cheshire College
  • Family: A widower with son John and daughter Nicola

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