Country publicans looking to retire

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Pieces of the past . . . Clarks Junction Hotel owners Adrian and Gillian Bardrick admire some of the hotel's history. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS

Adrian and Gillian Bardrick are calling last orders at the Clarks Junction Hotel after 21 years behind the bar.

The couple have put the establishment on the market after reaching retirement age and they are now looking forward to “slowing down a bit”.

Ironically, the couple bought the hotel in 1997 in their bid to create a quieter life for themselves.

Mr Bardrick (65) was an electrician and Mrs Bardrick (64) was working at the former Fisher and Paykel factory in Mosgiel.

“We wanted a change of lifestyle, so we decided to buy a pub.

“We thought it would be a slightly slower pace of life, but it wasn’t,” Mr Bardrick said.

“If you’d been here last night, you wouldn’t call this place quiet.”

Just like his father before him, he had always dreamed of owning his own pub.

“I like to have a drink, but I don’t like to go and drink too much. It’s more about yarning with people, see what’s happening in their lives and having a chuckle with them about it.”

Living vicariously through other people had brought him a lot of joy, he said.

“You do hear a lot of really good stories – nothing I can repeat.

“You don’t need to work for the police to get good work stories.”

Mrs Bardrick said it was a little bit like being on the set of a soap opera some days.

“A lot of these stories get told to you when you’re sober driving these people home.

“They tell you all their deep dark secrets and then they don’t remember the next day that they’ve told you.”

Fortunately, the Bardricks were discreet and didn’t share what they heard.

Mr Bardrick said after two decades in the business, the things he would miss most were the people and the scenery.

“People often drop by and give us some meat – beef, lamb, wild pork, venison – they look after us.

“It’s a great community.

“We’ll really miss this place. Never ever have I got sick of this view,” he said.

“There’s always something different to look at.”

The couple plan to move a little closer to Dunedin in their retirement – but not too close.

Something with a rural view would be ideal, they said.