Black Country couple use lockdown to create Caribbean-themed garden bar
A couple from the Black Country have transformed their back garden into a Caribbean-inspired bar during lockdown.
Mark Marshall and wife Lynn, from Coseley, started up the project in April and carried all the work out themselves.
Now they have officially completed Marshall's Bar – having been inspired by their honeymoon to Barbardos.
Mark, who suffered from coronavirus symptoms, had already laid the decking last year as they planned to build a bar gazebo.
He said: "We did the decking last year and the basics and just after I recovered from coronavirus – although I'm still suffering a bit – I had an epiphany.
"I said 'I'm going to turn that into a Caribbean beach bar and I thought my wife would say 'you're mad' but she didn't and it went from there.
"She said it was a great idea and she was on board with it from the start – she helped out a lot.
"Funnily enough we new what colours we wanted, but it was putting them in the right order which was challenging.
"We wanted the signs to be right, too, and some are rough-looking and we thought about that – and thought it would look better."
The 51-year-old first developed coronavirus symptoms – a loss of taste and smell – around March 20 after eating a pizza.
"I remember saying 'I can't taste this or smell this' and we didn't think anything of it. The next day I woke up with a temperature – and went downwards from there.
"My wife is a pharmacy assessor and she was keeping an eye on me – but at one stage my lips turned blue because I couldn't breathe.
"But we were very conscious about calling the NHS – we didn't want to put a strain on them – and I managed to get through it.
"Two weeks later and I still had some symptoms and I still suffer with a lack of breath – and we did have the ambulance round once.
"That's why it's taken so long to build it because I couldn't dedicate all of my time to it."
Lynn, aged 53, pained all of the signs for the Caribbean-themed beach bar while Mark scoped, designed, purchased and built it.
And the couple have left a memento with a range of messages to commemorate their trip – and to give them an uplift through the challenging period.
Mark added: "One of the signs put up – on the right-hand side – is 'Positive Energy' and every time we look at it, it reminds us of those memories of our honeymoon.
"Now we've got it it's somewhere we can go and spend some time – my wife will make piña coladas and we sit outside when it's nice and sunny.
"It's a real pick-me-up for us and it's really great – we've had a lot of nice feedback on Facebook and LinkedIN.
"It's been my furlough project and we've hand 1,000 likes on it.
"It's a stamp in time, really, because it reminds us of a different occasion."