Barbados is receiving much publicity in England thanks to its rum shops and a television programme in Kent.
The spotlight on the island has come through a couple taking a bit of Barbados to the county in the south east of England where they live.
Nick Siminson, 58, and his wife, Deborah, have been visiting Barbados annually for several years and one of their favourite pastimes is patronizing the traditional Bajan rum shops.
Inspired by the quaint shops, Siminson decided he wanted a piece of Barbados in his own backyard. So he built a rum shop in a garden at the rear of his home. But it didn’t stop there. Siminson entered his creation in George Clarke’s Channel 4 television competition entitled Amazing Spaces.
“We always watch it every year and thought it would be nice to do a similar project that would bring a bit of the Caribbean to England. The show definitely encouraged me and made me feel as if I could have a go at making something as big as this,” he said.
“It’s still a work in progress, but I have a lot of work to do on my house so I will have to stop adding to it soon.”
Siminson spent two months building the three square metre wooden structure using donated materials, with the overall cost of construction coming in at nearly £1,200.
“I built every bit of the shack myself and have the backache to prove it. A lot of people gave us bits and pieces such as the bar, which is an old kitchen top, so I managed to keep the cost down,” he noted.
Inside the colourful shed, called Rum Corner, is Caribbean-related memorabilia the couple have collected from their travels, including authentic Barbadian rum, candles and maps.
The Amazing Spaces competition which Siminson entered will see a panel of judges select a shortlist before a public vote is held later in the year.
The top four creations in each of the eight categories, including best bar, will make up the finalists and feature on the popular television series this summer, when an overall winner will be announced.
But Siminson, a retired insurance broker, said he wasn’t worried about his opponents and mainly uses the backyard boozer to entertain friends during the summer months.
He said: “It’s just a bit of fun and I’m not taking it too seriously as I’m not sure what I’d do if we did win.
“We use it quite a lot to host parties . . . but it only fits about nine people so things can get a bit cosy. Everyone loves it, though, and we get nothing but compliments, which is nice, especially given the amount of hard work that went into it.
“My wife says the only thing that’s missing is the sand,” Siminson added.