Ambergris Caye -“Concrete and Clay”

The headline today comes from the 1965 ( really showing my age now) No1 UK hit by Unit 4+2. It was released in the USA but never got any higher than number 28 in the Billboard Hot 100.

I know there is no clay being used in our build in Ambergris Caye but it is the closest I could get! I know, must try harder.

Prior to going to the build today we had to renew our monthly Bridge Pass. Given that our build is on the north side of the bridge it makes good economical sense for us to buy the monthly pass.

A round trip costs BZ$10 but the Bridge Pass at BZ$150 allows us to cross the bridge – in either direction- as many times as we like. Even if we were to visit the build only once a day it would cost us BZ$300 a month but our saving is more than BZ$150 because on many days we visit twice.

You get the pass at the Transport Department which is on the top floor of the San Pedro Town Council’s building in Barrier Reef Drive ( the front street).


San Pedro Town Council building.

Rose went to get the pass and I went to draw some cash from the Atlantic Bank ATM.

Having got some cash and renewed our pass we headed to build and were pleasantly surprised to find that even though we had heavy rain yesterday evening the road was not too bad. In fact the puddles had contracted .


Rose doing her impression of a crab. Must be all that time she is spending on the sand!

When we got to the build it was ‘all go’. The cement mixer was going and the guys were busy wheelbarrowing concrete (aggregate (gravel and sand), Maya cement and water) to fill the forms . The conditions were exceedingly muddy but it didn’t deter them one bit.


The concrete was poured into the forms and then two of the guys ensured that it was compacted into the forms.


The guys appeared to sense that rain was on the way and put on a spurt. At times they were running pushing the wheelbarrows. Maybe it was a race?

With 4 of the guys ‘feeding’ the cement mixer it was important that the concrete was moved quickly and the 3 guys on the wheelbarrows made sure that this was the case even though the path from the ‘mixer to the build was extremely muddy and slippery.


The rain then started to fall quite heavily but it didn’t stop them. They just took off their shirts and carried on regardless.


I’d put my shirt on him finishing the job ( you can just see the guys in the background working the cement mixer) !

The long walk ( or run for them) from the cement mixer to the build.


After such a hard days work I am sure that the guys were looking forward to going home for a rest. Having watched them in , at times, atrocious conditions they deserved it.


The concrete now needs to cure but apparently( good old Wikipedia) humid conditions are good for this.

Tomorrow – weather permitting – they lay the sand and install more rebar ready for the floor of the water tank.

Rose and I had got very wet watching the pouring of the concrete and decided that we deserved a few Belikins so we headed to BC’s. Whilst there we had some of our favourite bar snacks. Meat pies at only BZ$1.25 each.


Ambergris Caye -“November Rain”

“November Rain” reached number 3 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1992 for Guns N’ Roses and was written by Axl Rose.

So why use this as the headline ? Well because it seems like it hasn’t stopped raining here in Ambergris Caye for the last few days. And when it rains,it rains.


Appropriately dressed for the weather.

When Rose and I first came here 14 years ago a downpour like we experienced yesterday would have flooded most, if not all, of the roads. Since then there has been an investment ( OK not as much as it could/should have been) in paving many of the roads and this has virtually eradicated the problem of flooding on the main roads.

This isn’t the case for many of the secondary roads – some of which are well used – such as Blake Street which leads to and from the Belikin/Crystal Water Depot.


Approach road to the ‘Depot from the east.


Golf cart virtually aquaplaning.

As an aside, it is to the Belikin/Crystal Water Depot that I go for our drinking and cooking water. You pay a BZ$25 refundable deposit for a 5 gallon container ( you take the empty back for a full one) and then BZ$3.25 for 5 gallons of water. We could have it delivered to our apartment for BZ$4.80 but while I can do it myself I will.

Business must go on no matter what the weather.


Beach sellers setting out their wood carvings after the rain.

We headed north to see what work, if any, was taking place on our new home . We expected the roads there to be badly flooded but they were not as bad as we had expected.


Road in front of our property looking north.

We slushed our way onto the building site to pleasingly see that work was going on . The guys were finishing off fixing the forms and laying down duck boards ( planks for non UK readers) to run the wheelbarrows over when the pouring ( rain permitting) of concrete takes place on Friday.


Final forms being placed .


Boards in place for the wheelbarrows.

The rain started again so we put on our waterproofs and got on our way home quickly but en route decided to stop off at BC’s for a Belikin. Just in time as well because the heavens really opened up.


Pleased to be looking out at the rain.

Whilst in BC’s we took advantage of catching up with island news by reading the weekly newspaper, the San Pedro Sun. A newspaper which, because of its exclusive interviews with John McAfee, is now known by most of the newsrooms around the world.


‘World famous’ The San Pedro Sun.

Here’s hoping for a rain free day tomorrow.

Ambergris Caye – Window Shopper.

The headline (or the core of it) for today’s post is courtesy of a release in 2005 by 50 Cent. You don’t need to wonder where it came from now and can concentrate (!) on the rest of the post.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post ( probably the exertions of the walk south created some strain of amnesia) that when Rose and I met with Daniel Camal, our building constructor, we ran through the windows that we would like .

The house that we are having built in Ambergris Caye, as those of you who have seen the architect’s drawing will know, features a high number of windows because, aside from the light that this will provide, will enable us to see what is around us – and especially the lagoon- from virtually wherever we are.

Across the three floors of the house there will be 26 windows and sliding doors with glass panels of varying sizes. This includes 3 clerestory windows ( we have 4 in the plan but have decided to ‘lose’ the one in our bedroom) which will be situated in the dining area and the bedrooms on the Ground and First floors.

For those that are unfamiliar with clerestory windows they are, in architect’s terminology, any clear window above eye-level. Their purpose is to bring in outside light, fresh air, or both into the inner space. Historically they denoted an upper level of a Roman basilica ( a public building). So now you know.

In a previous post I let you know that with have chosen PGT’s Winguard Impact Resistance windows and doors but what I didn’t know at that time is that none of our window or glass door requirements can be fulfilled from Winguard’s standard ( off the shelve ) range . So all of our requirements will be custom made.

We went to the site this afternoon to see what progress had been made and whether the pouring of cement was still ‘on’ for Thursday but was told that the heavy rain of Tuesday evening had put this at risk of being delayed.

Whatever hopes there were of Thursday being a’pouring cement day’ were washed away ( excuse the pun) when the heavens opened up again . Heavy rain for will most probably mean that at best it will now be Friday before the cement pouring starts . When it rains here, it rains.

So, apologies for the lack of photos today but I didn’t think you would want to see more rebar and forms surrounded by pools of water . I didn’t anyway.

So, just so you get your photo fix below is an attempt I made to capture on film the Mystery Blogger. I think she was on to me though and it proves that I am not ‘ paparazzi class’!


And here is a photo taken a few days ago around 5pm at the Water Taxi pier near Cholo’s.


Normal service will be resumed on Friday when there will be an abundance of photos. Even if only of puddles!

Keep on running – Ambergris Caye style.

A common sight for me early in the morning ( around 5 for me) in Ambergris Caye is the constant stream of people (Belizeans, expats and tourists alike) out exercising . Some power walk, some jog, some run fast. Some just walk their dog. They all have things in common though.

They are doing their best to get or keep fit. They are doing so when it is more temperate. And they get to see the beach and the coastline at what for me is the best time of the day.


One of the early runners just after the sun came up.


A cool running style.


A cross between power walking and running.


The man should always be the leader.


I know, they are all running away from me!

Knowing that we had a few hours before our meeting with Daniel Camal, our building contractor, Rose and I decided to go for a walk on the southern side of he island . We got as far as Athens Gate which is around two and a half miles from our apartment before we had to turn around and head back . Along the way we saw some interesting sights.


Reclamation of land near Royal Palms.


Who needs a guard dog when you have a killer conch to look after your property?


Look at the sea grass on the beach when there is no one clearing it.


A sea wall in place south of Royal Palms waiting for land fill.

We got back in good time for our meeting with Daniel during which we told him that we want internal doors like this ;


And kitchen cabinetry like this:


Pouring of the concrete for the water tank for our build in Ambergris Caye will not take place until Thursday.

Oh, the Spencer Davis Group sang the headline .

Drive. Ambergris Caye vehicles of choice.

Rose and I did our daily trip to the building site and, as it has been thus far, it was a hive of activity. A load of rebar had been fitted and work continued on the forms . The piles for where the golf cart ramp will be had also been sunk. No photographs of the work that has been carried out though because there are only so many times you can look at piles,rebar and forms. Even Rose and I are starting to get bored looking at them . Not really but I don’t want to run the risk of encouraging readers of this blog to get their Ambergris Caye ‘fix’ somewhere else!

So, today I thought I would look at something completely different . The modes of transport that differ from the everyday, bog standard, golf cart.

How about these quad bikes.



And this fiery, multi purpose vehicle.


Think this one is carrying too much weight. Look at the near side wheel.


Built for the bumpy roads north of the bridge.


Tempted by this one.


Really tempted by this one.


This one was just too quick for me!


On the way to the building site we saw the truck waiting for the boat to arrive so that the rubbish could be loaded and taken to the rubbish dump.


On the north side of the bridge we saw tradespeople outside Holy Cross School waiting to sell their wares to the schoolchildren .



Good job that our golf cart has a speed governor fitted otherwise we could have been stopped by the Transport Department .


Normal service resumes with the next post but I promise it will not include loads of pictures of rebar!

Oh, and the headline Is based on the 1984 song of the same name by the Cars.

Lookin’ through the windows

Today, a day without any specific tasks to take care of it was, as Rose and I describe such days, a ‘snow day’. Such days for us are ones on which the day will be what it will be . We don’t set out with any firm plans or intentions, we just ‘go with the flow’.

With nothing specially to do we decided that we would make use of the time and review all of the brochures we have collected illustrating the different types of windows available for our new home . The stack we have we obtained from a recent visit we made to Benny’s Homecenter ( Northern Highway, Belize City) and some that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, has lent us.

We reviewed the products produced by Oran ( Barbados based ), Altrium ( Dallas based), Weather Shield (Wisconsin based), Jeld Wen ( Winnipeg based) and Winguard (Florida based).

After a great deal of consideration we have elected to go for the Impact Resistant windows and doors that Winguard manufacture . We are going for single hung windows ( the CA 540 frame) and the SGD 570 sliding glass doors ( these will be for the doors overlooking the lagoon on the 1st Floor and leading from our bedroom on the 2nd floor, again looking out on the lagoon.

We will probably elect to order these from either Trendex or Natural Sales – the two Miami Winguard distributors- and then have them shipped over to Ambergris Caye via Belize City.

We have chosen Winguard because the impact resistant glass, aside from its hurricane protection, has burglar proof merit . This will hopefully mean that we will not need the hurricane shutters that we have been considering that would add US$ 30,000 to the cost of the build.

After making the choice of windows and sliding doors we thought it was time to see what work had been done on the building site after we left yesterday afternoon. So, in the afternoon we drove up to our lots in Tres Cocos .

On arrival we were very pleased to see that all of the forms were in place.

Forms in place on the east of the house ( the view we will get when we enter from the road).


Forms had also been completed for the ground floor stairs.

Where the stairs will be.

Rose imagining what it will be like to come out from the ground floor apartment .


Forms in place on the lagoon ( west) side of the house.


Forms in place on the south side of the house.


Forms in place on the east side ( the view we will get when entering from the road).


That was a crazy game of poker- in Ambergris Caye.

Today sees the introduction of Bar Hopper whose challenge is to visit bars on Ambergris Caye and share the experience with you . Tough gig!

Bar Hopper will , during the travails of the task, have to down a Belikin or three so do make allowances for poor grammar, tardy punctuation and the odd spelling mistake.

To start off this regular feature Bar Hopper has chosen the November Poker Run – an event ( fast becoming a tradition) – that takes place around every 4/6 weeks that involves a host of people hitting 5 bars to draw a card at each one. Omaha hold’em rules apply. The entry fee is BZ$25 per hand and you can have as many hands as you want ( or can afford). On a well attended Poker Run the pot can be BZ$1,000+

Explaining all of this because I am not confident that Bar Hopper will be in a fit state to do so when filing copy!

Trivia Diversion.
The origin of Omaha hold’em is unknown but it was introduced by Robert “Chip Burner”Turner ( an American professional poker player) to William “Bill” Walter Boyd ( another American professional poker player) . Question – are all Americans professional poker players? Anyway, back to the trivia. Boyd at the time was director of operations at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas ( closed in 1988) and introduced the game there where it was initially known as Nugget hold’em.

This is the hand you need to guarantee that you end up with the pot.


By the way, the headline comes from the song by O.A.R. ( Of A Revolution) .

And now to the reason for this blog, the build of our home on Ambergris Caye.

Rose and I took the 20 minute golf cart ride to the site after watching Arsenal on TV in a disappointing draw with Aston Villa and we definitely needed cheering up. When we got to the site we found a hive of activity with all 8 of the guys working on the preparatory work that is required before the concrete for the water tank is poured.

A hive of activity.

Rebar and forms in place for where the ground floor bedroom will be.

A close up and personal with the rebar and forms.

Rebar and forms in place for the ground floor stairs.

Final adjustments on a form.

Piles poured or the golf cart ramp.

Bar Hopper here. Have decided to start some of my reporting before I get too inebriated. Just so you can find the bars on the Poker Run I thought I should let you know what they look like in daylight ( might help me to find them again when I am sober!).

The Roadkill, first stop on the ‘Run.

AJ’s, second stop on the ‘Run.

Lola’s, third stop on the ‘Run.

Wayo’s Beachside Beernet, the forth stop on the ‘Run.

Pedro’s Hotel, the final stop on the ‘Run.

So , the ‘Run started off at the Roadkill and I had a couple of beers ( Belikins of course) and drew a card. Paid my BZ$25 entry fee off course.

Me looking at the bar wondering if I can get another one.

We then moved on to AJ’s where it was packed . Great sounds from the live group . Must say that the chicken wings were great.

Waiting for the chicken wings.

Think I was left behind.


Then moved on to Lola’s for another couple of Belikins and a card.

Packed bar at Lola’s . Can I get to the bar please.

Now they tell it me it is time to move on to Wayo’s . Slugged back the Belikin and moved on .

Got to Wayo’s for some more beer . Belikins of course. Managed to get to the bar before it got too crowded.


Oh , should mention that I got another card.

Got another Belikin and then told it was time to move on to Pedro’ Hotel where I was ‘ forced’ to have a shot .

Oh no, not another one.

Got another Belikin or two and then heard Peter ( aka Pedro ) announcing the winner. It wasn’t me . Oh well, better have another Belikin.

I didn’t win but this is a great fun night spent in great company going to really friendly bars . Really pleased that I got this job. Don’t know though how long my liver will last!

Now, that was a crazy game of poker.

Temporary Home – in Ambergris Caye.

The music buffs out there will know that Temporary Home is the title of a song recorded by Carrie Underwood a couple of years ago.

So, why have I chosen this for the headline for today’s post? Well, I thought I would give you an insight of what renting means for us whilst we wait for our new home to be built.

Knowing that it was only a matter of time until we could come and live on Ambergris Caye whilst our home was being built we had, whenever coming on holiday, been looking at and talking to people about what rental options there were for us.

This enabled us to select the development that ideally we wanted to rent an apartment at and fortunately when the time came for us to make the move they had two properties available. We chose the beachfront one . It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, one of which is en-suite, a reasonable sized kitchen/living area and a veranda that is around 22 feet long by 5 feet wide that is ideal for life here.

The apartment is well equipped with appliances and utensils and has air conditioning. I am pleased to say though that the benefit we have of being on the 2nd floor and oceanside (good breeze) has meant that we have only had to use the air conditioning once during the six months we have been here. This helps because electricity costs (well at least compared to the UK) are high here. We run at about BZ$110 per month ( remember have not had to use air conditioning). Water is also expensive and for us runs at around BZ$180 a month.

The apartment is conveniently located with us hardly ever being much more than 10 minutes in the golf cart away from where we want to go (getting to where our house is being built is the notable and regular exception).

We have a good beach in front of us and a swimming pool to the rear. It couldn’t be much better.

Beach in front of our apartment.


In front of the apartment looking south.


In front of the apartment looking north.


In front of the apartment looking east.


The pool and deck area.


There are a number of companies on the island that manage rental properties but if you find a development that you like it pays to go in and speak to someone direct . This is what we did and we are pleased that we did.

Saw an interesting sight (well for me anyway) when walking along the beach this morning . Hope our coconuts are as adaptable and hardy.


So how is the build going I hear regular readers say. Well, when we visited this afternoon the guys were – as we expected- putting the forms in place .

Forms on the lagoon and northern side of the house.


Form going in on the southern side of the house.


Making sure that the measurements are correct.


Banging in stakes to keep the forms in place.


Fixing the rebar between the house and where the ground floor steps will be.


Read Sunday’s edition for an update on the house and the inaugural contribution from Bar Hopper. Don’t miss it ! Become a follower and make sure that you do not miss an issue.

Thanks (for) giving – in Ambergris Caye.

With so many expat Americans living on Ambergris Caye, plus all of the Americans here on vacation ( already using the vernacular- previously would have said holiday) you would have to be a recluse ( John McAfee !!!) not to know that today is Thanksgiving Day.

Prior to coming here to live I knew that it is a national holiday in the United States and everybody eats turkey but that was about the sum of my knowledge. I don’t profess to know a great deal more but do know now that it’s origin is of a religious nature and dates back to the Protestant Reformation in England in the 16th century with the catalyst being Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses. So now you know ( as much as I do!).

One of our neighbours where we rent our apartment invited us to the Thanksgiving dinner ( and it was a great dinner too) that he held but if you are here on Ambergris Caye on Thanksgiving Day and do not get an invite do not despair.

Why? Well because nearly every restaurant has a turkey dinner on the menu. And, if you don’t want to go out for the meal there are plenty of take-away places that you can go to. A Belizean friend of ours swears by Annie’s Pastries for his Thanksgiving Dinner and kindly allowed me to photograph it for you so that you can see what exceptionally good value you get for just BZ$15 (US$7.50).

Annie’s Pastries Thanksgiving Dinner.


Annie’s Pastries is located in Lagoon Drive and the telephone number is 226-2032. Detail you might like to put in your address book for next year. I have!

Annie’s Pastries.


Whilst on the subject of good value food – whether to ‘eat in’ or take-away, Briana’s Deli in Angel Coral Drive gets a big thumbs up. Exceedingly popular with locals (always a good sign for me) and expats alike you get great meals at a great price. I particularly like the chicken soup at BZ$11 (US$5.50) and the chicken, rice and beans at BZ$9 (US$4.50).


In a post the other day I mentioned that I was fairly confident that my wife would want to give a name to the coconut tree that we are going to cultivate on our veranda . Well, she has and it is now called Marley.

Marley the (baby) coconut tree .


So, how’s the build going? Well, today the guys had virtually completed installing the final sections of rebar and connecting the relevant sections together.

Rebar sections in place.



The forms were being assembled and being laid out for placement tomorrow.

The forms.


Barring rain the forms will be put in place tomorrow and the cement will be poured on Monday.

(Please) Ring my bell

Went to Wayo’s Beachside Beernet bar last night and felt decidedly the worse for wear when I got up this morning. It’s Karaoke night on a Tuesday and Wayo’s always gets a sizeable crowd with pleasingly a high number that want to sing.

If you haven’t been there it is well worth a visit (and not just on Tuesday night). A short walk along the beach heading north from the town to the Boca del Rio area. When you get there you will find a very nice beachside bar with very helpful and friendly staff and a great owner in Wayo.

You will know you have reached Wayo’s when you see these signs on the beach.



Wayo’s Beachside Beernet.


Forced to drink more Belikins today because Rose and I went to Pedro’s Hotel for lunch before Arsenal’s game against Montpellier in the Champions League.

Like us, Peter aka Pedro, is an Arsenal fan and hopefully lunch before a game will become a firm tradition . Non UK readers please stick with me because this post is not going to be entirely about football ( soccer to you).

For those of you that have never been (or ever will) to Pedro’s it is a hotel for the budget minded traveller . Very reasonably priced rooms with all of the facilities required for an enjoyable stay at a base that is very centrally located . Must add here that I am not operating on commission. Although if I grow the number of visitors to this blog that may well change ( so, please keep coming back).

Since its inception Pedro’s Hotel has grown materially from the original one building( bar on the ground floor and rooms above) to four enabling a good range of accommodation and price choice.

The ‘original’Pedro’s Hotel.


The first addition ( just across the road – a short stumbling distance from the bar).


The two new buildings which are nearing completion.


And there’s a swimming pool with deck!


An interesting and potentially costly custom is the ringing of either of the bells that hang over the bar. Ring one and you buy a Jägermeister shot for every one in the bar. So, be careful when you go to order a drink at the bar!

Now you know the reason for the headline of today’s post. Peter loves it when you ‘ ring his bell’.

The bells.


A bit of trivia for you. Anita Ward only got to sing Ing My Bell because Stacy Lattisaw, who had been chosen to sing the song, moved to another record label.

By the way, we had spaghetti bolognese for lunch and it was delicious. And, to make matters even better, Arsenal won by two goals to nil with a wonder goal by Lukas Podolski.

Even with such a busy day Rose and I found time to go to the site to see how the build is going and to plant the remainder of the coconuts.

Six of the guys plus Daniel Camal our builder were continuing the work on digging the channels for where concrete will poured to create the base for our rainwater collection tank. The other two guys were preparing the wood that will be used to create the forms for the poured concrete.

Channelling work continues.



The guys working on the wood for the forms.


Me after planting the last of the coconuts.


By the way, one keen-eyed reader questioned whether I am planting the coconuts too close to each other . The reader would be right if where we have planted them is where we want them to stay. But we don’t. We want them to have somewhere safe (away from the build) to grow whilst we decide how we will eventually landscape .

Sun is shining – in Ambergris Caye

Regular viewers will now know that I have a penchant for using song titles for my headlines (naming convention for the nerdy traditionalists) and I normally let you know who wrote (and/or sang) it. Well today I am not. So, who wrote it? The clue is that even though he died 31 years ago he is still amazingly popular here in Belize ( and virtually everywhere else for that matter).

The first person to name the writer of the song gets two Belikins or two rum and cokes or a shot courtesy of me at BC’s. I will announce the winner and you just need let to let me know when you will be there to collect your prize.

The view from the veranda at around 5.20 this morning.

Sky between the palms.


And then just after sunrise.


In an earlier post I mentioned that I am going to apply for admittance to the Qualified Retirement Programme. At the time I said that I hadn’t decided to make the application ( and take care of all that needs to be done) for this myself or pay one of the companies out here who do this to take care of it for me .

Well after considering that for the latter there would be a fee of US$ 1,275 I have decided to do it myself.

When we have completed the application process and ( hopefully) been admitted in to the ‘Programme I will provide a detailed breakdown of the cost and I would imagine some tips on what to make sure that you do and also some things to avoid.

What I do know at this stage though is that we will have the following costs if we are successful:
US$ 150 Non refundable application fee ( only one fee because Rose is being applied for as my spouse( horrible word isn’t it).
US$ 1,000 fee upon acceptance in to the ‘Programme.
US$ 2,000 for a Qualified Retirement Person Residency Card
US$ 750 for Rose, as a dependant, to enter the’Programme

So, before fees for the medicals and the Criminal Reports, it stands at US$3,900.

On a completely different subject you will remember that yesterday ( see it pays to be a regular viewer) I mentioned the dehusked coconuts. Well, Rose decided to adopt one and here it is ( sure that it will be given a name soon!) on the veranda. I have placed it so that it can see the coconut trees on the beach for inspiration.

Our new addition.


It could have been worse though because we could have brought the other 30 back with us .

Back to the QRP application, we now need to get full medicals for this and go the Police Station to get Criminal Record Reports ( clean) . This is the clinic that we are going to.


After we had decided upon the next steps for the QRP application we drove to the building site to start planting the coconuts . We got there when the guys were at lunch ( noon until 1pm) so that I could borrow a shovel but unfortunately did not get there as early as we had hoped so only managed to plant 10 . So, back again tomorrow for the other 20.

Our ‘baby’ coconut trees.


While we were there the guys were busy digging out trenches in preparation for the pouring of concrete (hopefully on Friday) to create the water tank that will be beneath the house.

Busy digging the trenches.


Whilst ( old fashioned word isn’t it) they were busy digging the remaining guys were busy preparing the wood for the forms ( hope that this it the correct term) for the concrete.

Guys busy at work.


(No) Men at work – in Ambergris Caye.

Not a song title this time but a group’s name . And this one especially chosen for my Australian viewers. All two of you!

No work on the build today because it is a public holiday here in Belize ( holiday every day for me but…) because it is Garifuna Settlement Day. Initially ( in 1943) November 19th was a public holiday only in the Stan Creek and Toledo districts but it is now a national public holiday throughout Belize and has been so since 1977.

We didn’t manage to be there for the full parade but did manage to catch the majorettes and drummers from a local school. They caused a major traffic hold-up involving 3 golf carts and 4 taxis!

Schoolchildren celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day.


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, no building work today but Rose and I went to the site anyway to look at the dehusked coconuts that our neighbour’s ( remember we are next door to Pirate’s Restaurant and Bar) barman , Shaggy, had collected for us.

We sorted through them and grouped them into ‘little’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’ ready for planting tomorrow- no shovels available today!

The dehusked coconuts.


Really could do with some feedback from ‘my’ ( see how I have adopted you) viewers . Let me know what you like, what you don’t like, what you would like to know more about/see more of, what I haven’t covered but you would like to know about. Get the idea?

To get this on the roll I am introducing a new contributor ( not really, it will be me) called Swan’s Selection ( in honour of Billy Swan) whose section will be called ‘ If you’ve got a problem’ ( yes I know it is corny). Let me have your questions and I will do my best (time and resource permitting) to answer them . Please do not though attempt to use me as a phone book or an email address directory . I am neither and have no desire to change this.

Was sitting on the veranda finishing this when my attention ŵas caught by a boat to the south of me and wanted to share it with you.



Sailing (part 2 ) – (You gotta have ) Faith.

The San Pedro Sailing Club team were up bright and early this morning for the second day of the ‘Championship setting off in their dinghies between 6 and 7 bells ( 7 to 7.30am for you and me) from their home base of Caribbean Villas to the start line just off of Central Park.

Setting off for Central Park.


Amazing that they were up so early given that they all had a fairly late night at Fido’s ( which was banged out – packed for those not aware of this colloquialism) where they were treated to a complimentary dinner and were entertained by Kelly McGuire . He very kindly donated a stack of merchandise to be sold with the proceeds going to the San Pedro Sailing Club (SPSC) and some of the more enterprising young sailers took the opportunity of selling the SPSC calendar.



I had a leisurely walk along the beach and took in the view on a great morning ( gratuitous shots to make you envious follow).



I will do this a lot so that you can start to feel sorry for us !

Anyway, back to the ‘Championship.

The first race started at 09.00 hours ( remember how many bells that is ? There may be a prize on offer later!). This was won by Faith Noel ( yep, that’s the reason for the adulteration of George Michael’s song title) to strike up another first for the San Pedro team . Kevin Velasquez finished second and he then went on to win the next two races .

Kevin , the star of the two day event, even though the smallest of the competitors ( given my stature I always root for the small guy) convincingly won the championship recording 3 firsts, 1 second and 2 fourths. An amazing performance which saw him become the Belize National Optimist Champion for 2012.

Kevin Velasquez receiving his awards.


The all conquering San Pedro team.


Thought I should give you a couple of shots of the build just to keep you interested. So here are a couple of photos of all of the secondary stage piles ( all 18 of them) set in cement . With these in place we are starting to appreciate the size of our new home.



The land is starting to dry out so we were able to get to the end of what will be the garden overlooking the lagoon and this is the view we have.




No I am not about to go into a bout of impersonating Rod Stewart . Just thought it was a reasonable headline ( OK , naming convention) for today’s blog given that this weekend the Belize National Optimist Regatta takes place here in Ambergris Caye .

The two day competition sees 25 junior sailors in Optimist boats competing against each other in 3 races today and 3 races tomorrow to decide who will end up as the 2012 champion of Belize. Competitors came from Placencia Sailing Club, Belize Sea Scouts, Liberty Sailing Club, Buttonwood Bay, Belize Sailing Club, Corozal Bay Sailing Club and from the hosts, San Pedro Sailing Club.

The Optimist sailing dingy .


Normally the young kids of Ambergris Caye train and race at Caribbean Villas and are put through their paces by ‘Commander’ Andy Milner ( fellow Brit) ably assisted by Forrest Jones ( from San Francisco) who does much in the background to help generate the necessary funding to ‘keep the show on the water’ for the San Pedro Sailing Club.

They, along with the help and support that they have had from parents of the children and local businesses, have done a tremendous job during the ‘Club’s short history. Of the 25 competitors this weekend 16 of them are members of the San Pedro Sailing Club.

The competition course is directly in front of Central Park which, not unsurprisingly given its name, is in the centre of San Pedro Town.

Central Park


The organisers set up the control centre on the beach under a marquee.

Control centre.


The boats line up for the first race.


All they want to do is be first over the finish line.


The chase for the finishing line.


Three races took place today and the San Pedro team took first pace in two of them with Jordan Henderson winning the first race and Kevin Velasquez taking pole position in the final race of the day. The second race was won by a Buttonwood Bay team member.

The championship continues tomorrow with the final three races, the first of which starts at 2 bells ( 9am for the less nautically minded).

Well, what did you think of the Mystery Blogger’s post yesterday? I found it amusing even though I was the target for the humour. I am thinking of making the Mystery Blogger a regular contributor ( it would at least give me a day off). What do you think? Good or bad idea?

My visit to the dentist on Friday wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be . My mouth has been sore since the treatment and I was a bit concerned that the bone graft had been rejected. A few minutes in the chair with Doctor Pedro Habet and I was reassured that all was well . He then set about removing the 22 stitches .

The next visit to the dentist is 2 January when the root canal treatment and replacing caps will start. This phase of the treatment is scheduled to run over 3 consecutive weeks when I will be in the surgery from 10am to noon and then from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

Next weekend a new feature will be introduced to cover food and beverage . Each weekend there will either be a Bar Hopper spot or a Culinary Corner piece. This will add considerably to the editorial budget but hey whilst traditional news mediums are cutting back I am going to invest in the product!

Mystery Blogger here in Ambergris Caye,Belize

Mr. John is on the mainland today getting his gnashers sorted, so I am here for a quick blog.

Dropped Mr. John at the water taxi to catch the 9:30 for Belize City.

Went to Greenhouse to buy some vegetables and provisions. I figure Mr. John would only be able to drink his dinner tonight. So I think I will be making a stew, soup or a curry. I think maybe a curry as Mr. John is partial to a curry particularly of the prawn variety. Food sorted.

Went to the sewing shop to buy some sewing notions, I am making a bag, but no they didn’t have what I wanted so I will have to adapt. (Which is the norm here on the Island?)

‘Thought’ I wonder how long it would take me to go to Lewisham to the material shop, could I do it in a day…? (Thinking) nah thought over.

I am sitting typing this on my laptop on the kitchen table with the ceiling fan on and it is hot hot hot, did I mention it was hot. There is a slight breeze outside today, the palm trees outside are making a whooshing sound.

Whoosh Whoosh

Mr. John will probably catch the 3:30 boat back to the Island and get here about 5:00 5:15ish Belize time, there are a lot of ish’s in Belize time.

But before that I will be going up North, through the town

Over the bridge

Past the Cinema which I would class more as a Picture House

And continuing past Legends restaurant no picture of the restaurant at the moment but a picture of a rainbow taken outside Mr. Johns’ favourite bar

And just past pirates restaurant and bar. (Mr. Johns’ next door neighbour).

Then stop at Highbury House and take pictures.

Then back to the water taxi to pick up Mr. John.

Phew what a fun packed day.

Well bye for now my jobs done.
Mystery Blogger – over and out……

What the hell do I post today?

A rather strange day really . Started the day with ambitions to do so much . Was going to go to Captain Sharks to get information of what types of golf carts are available . Rose and I have already decided that we want one that has a flat-bed at the back for provisions . We are confident ( really hope that these do not turn out to be ‘famous last words’) that our 25,000 gallon water tank will meet our general purpose needs eg showers, washing machine, washing up and flushing ( sorry but it needs to be done) but we will need to buy our bottled ( 5 gallon containers) drinking water and we will need carrying capacity for this .

Plus, we will be further away from the grocery stores that are in close access to where we are now in our rental accommodation so intend to ‘bulk buy’ when we hit the shops.

We need help to decide which model to ‘go for’ so have decided to run a competition .You help us to make a choice and you get a free ride and drive of it if you ever come to visit us !

Carryall Turf.


Carryall Turf 2.


Polaris Ranger XP 900.


Carryall 272.


Carryall 295 SE.


Whatever choice we end up making we will have it custom painted – they come in a limited colour range- and have security wheel locking nuts ( wheels are really expensive here) fitted. We will also have a lockable box fitted in the cargo box.

We are not going to buy a golf cart until we obtain Qualified Retirement Programme status because that way we do not have to pay General Sales Tax (GST). However, we are hopeful that we will gain this in a few months and will then be able to buy our own vehicle . With you help of course.

I have a visit to the dentist tomorrow to have the stitches removed but do not worry the blog will still appear . Courtesy of a guest blogger. All will be revealed tomorrow !

Late edition special- McAfee update

This special edition is for my family and friends.

I worked for The Sun from 1971 until 1995 and was always proud to do so but it’s reporting of the murder on Ambergris Caye and in particular it’s description of Ambergris Caye is way off the mark. Accuracy of reporting and doing the background work to obtain facts and not fiction have fallen down (sadly) woefully.

This is not an island full of “American drug dropouts”Yes there are some people that take drugs but that is not something that is specific to Ambergris Caye. It takes place in London, Manchester, New York, San Francisco, etc, etc.

Who said you are safe with McAfee?

I now know that news of the murder of a neighbour of John McAfee -he of security software fame –
has hit shores far away from little Ambergris Caye.

News of the murder first hit the local grapevine (the Ambergris Caye Message Board) Sunday afternoon with McAfee being considered a suspect.

Whether or not he was involved in this killing the incident might make Intel, the owners of McAfee, rethink its slogan “Safe is not a privilege . It is a right. Safe never sleeps”.

Have never met McAfee but seen him around Ambergris Caye since we arrived here in May. His house is around 4 miles from where our new home will be located. We will be installing a security system but not one produced by you know who!

On a happier note we moved a little forward today on the application process for the Qualified Retirement Programme when Rose and I visited the Belize Tourism Board’s office in San Pedro Town ( a five minute drive in the golf cart).

We now know that we should have a good chance of getting a report from the San Pedro Police to validate that we do not have a criminal record . Well, at least in Belize! This will save us having to make the schlep ( sorry, too much time in the company of Americans – and for any American readers ,thank you I have picked up some great words from you) to Belmopan which is the capital city on the mainland.

We were also given the name and email address of the person responsible for processing applications who I am aware of having read about her on message boards. All comments about her being favourable ( hope that she gets to read this).

We then went for our daily visit to the site of our new home and were very pleased to see that progress had been made on the next stage of the piles. I can virtually hear some of you groaning at the mention of piles again . Well, you are going to have to get used to it . Or, if I lose readers ( yes, I know you are viewers but I spent too long working in newspapers) I will have to stop mentioning them.

Anyway, back to the progress report. The guys had started to place the next section of rebar and pour concrete to hold it in place.

Pouring concrete.


Effect after concrete pouring.


It is a labour intensive and messy process.


OK so one of them ( me) is standing around doing nothing . I wasn’t in management for years without learning something!

The other bit of progress is that we are now ‘hooked up’ with electricity.


So, what is the house going to look like ?

At this very early stage of the build I thought I should share with you the type of house that we are having built. It will have 3 floors, 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a powder room,a utility room, kitchen, living/dining area and a large store room ( for all of the stuff that will eventually join us from England).

The gound floor will comprise a kitchen/living area and a bedroom with en suite ( this will essentially be a self-contained apartment). This floor will also accommodate the store room and room to park the golf cart ( there will be a slope for ease of access).

The first floor will have the utility room, a powder room, the kitchen, a a bedroom with en suite ( this will primariliy be used by Rose as a handicrafts room) and the living/dining area which will look out onto the lagoon. This floor will also have a ‘wrap-around’ veranda.

The second floor will be our bedroom with two walk-in closets that lead to our respective bathrooms. This floor will also have a fairly large roof terrace.

Architect’s impression of our house.


To the south of us ( next door to the left if we are looking at the lagoon) is our neighbour Jason’s house called Pirate Villas. A rental property with a restaurant/bar roadside ( Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar – mentioned this place in a previous post).

Pirate Villas


To the north of us ( to the right of us if we are looking at the lagoon – think you all worked this one out anyway) is Bamboo House . We haven’t met the owners yet but am sure that we will very soon .

Bamboo House.


Enough of our neighbours and back to the build of our house. On our visit to the site today we were very pleased to see that electricity was not far away from being connected.

BEL (Belize Electricity Limited) man wiring us up!


Daniel’s guys were also doing the preparatory work – bailing out the water from the pile holes- for he next stage of pile work. Nothing automated here, just a water bottle cut in half so that they can scoop the water out.

High tech water removal !


Once the second stage of the piles are in they will start work on the 25,000 gallon water tank that will be installed under the house . This will be a rainwater collection system and the tank capacity should be sufficient to meet our needs ( I hope so because I did the calculations . Plus, if I got it wrong we will be in for water deliveries which would prove to be a bit costly). The delivery of cement is for the completion of the piles.

Cement delivery ( yes, I know it’s boring but…).


Immigration man – Let me stay another day.

Yes OK I am guilty of purloining lyrics from Graham Nash but thought it a reasonable headline (Title)to maybe attract a few more readers ( I didn’t spend my working life in newspapers without picking up a few tricks!).

And anyway it is not a frivolous use of the song title. Why? Well because today Rose and I had to go and renew our 30 day Visas to be able to remain in Belize.

It is not an arduous process . Well, it hasn’t been so far for us. Normally it is a 5 minute drive to the Immigration Office in Coconut Drive ( the offices are located above Scotia Bank) but this morning I decided to treat myself to a late breakfast at Estel’s and then renew the Visas this afternoon.

Estel’s serves all day breakfast from 6 in the morning until 5 at night ( closed on Tuesday) and no matter what you choose to go for you just know it is going to be good. The menu choice is huge and you cannot miss it – it covers nearly half a wall.

The menu.


The food, as previously mentioned, is good but the view you get from your table is even better.

My breakfast time view .


Just in case you find yourself over here I thought it might be helpful to show you what Estel’s looks like from the beach.

Outside of Estel’s.


Set off to go to the Immigration Department at 13.45 hours and arrived at 13.55 hours ( got caught behind a water delivery truck which caused a traffic delay). Went to the Immigration Department first where they checked our passports and gave us a reference number . Took the reference number to the Treasury Department and paid the BZ$50 for each of our Visas. Then went back to the Immigration Department to get our 30 day Visa slips and our passports stamped . Didn’t time the exercise ( do not wear a watch anymore) but would estimate that the whole process took around 15 minutes ( longer than we have experienced previously but there were a few people in the queue before us). A bit bureaucratic but not the end of the world . Thank you Mr Immigration Man, as David Crosby would say ( or sing to be more precise).

We then set off to see what progress had been made on the build .We have set ourselves the objective of visiting the site every single working day and for work of significance – for example when the ground slab is laid- we will go twice a day . The journey from the Immigration Department , which is around a mile ( cannot be precise because the golf cart doesn’t have a mileometer fitted) took around 15 minutes. The primary reason for the long time being that the road on the northern side of the bridge is a dirt road full of bumps and holes. A very bumpy ride.

Anyway, when we got to the site we were very pleased to see that all of the piles had been sunk .

All ‘piled up’!


The land , given the absence of rain of any materiality during the last few days, has started drying out so I took the opportunity of seeing how close to the lagoon I could get . No tape measure with me ( note to self – take tape measure in future) but I reckon I got to within 15 feet of the water’s edge .

Close to the lagoon.


Intrepid individual that I am I then took a ‘shot’ so that I could let you see what the land looks like from the lagoon ( OK, nearly the lagoon) to the road.

Lagoon to road.


And now for something completely different

No build today so no ‘boring’ photos of a construction site to post . A day of rest for Daniel, our building constructor, and his team. And us .

So, I thought I would attempt to give you an idea of what it is like where we now live. Future posts will describe and show ( yes there will be loads of photos) just what it is like. But the only way to really know is to come here and experience it ( see, already I am trying to book the guest accommodation – readers of previous blogs will ‘get’ this but if you don’t then go through the archives).

To get to where our house is being built we have to go over a bridge . This is a toll bridge and each crossing costs BZ$5 . So for us to go look at progress it costs BZ$10 per visit . Knowing that we are going to review progress on a daily ( maybe twice daily) basis we bought the monthly pass at BZ$150. You get the monthly pass at the San Pedro Town Council’s Transport Department in Barrier Reef Drive ( known by most locals as ‘front street’.

The bridge.


Before getting to the bridge from the north side of the island ( and it is on the north side that we are having our house built) is the cinema . It takes a while for the new releases to ‘ hit’ the island but ‘hit’ it they do. A ticket for an adult is BZ$10.

The cinema.


On leaving the bridge we come to the only round-about on the island ( where two supermarkets and a hardware store are located) .

The round-about.


No traffic congestion to speak of !

Along the way we pass the fire station


And, next door to it, the police station


We then continue down ‘back street’ ( sorry but I cannot remember the actual name but I will correct this temporary bout of amnesia ( or memory fogged by the few beers I have had) in a future post. This street, like the two other main streets in San Pedro , has its fair share of restaurants, grocers, hardware stores and barbers.

Back street


Still heading home we pass the Immigration Department . An important place for us because it is here that we get our 30 day Visas renewed (BZ$50 for the first six months and then BZ$100 thereafter).

The Immigration Department


Feeling somewhat tired and thirsty we felt we deserved a beer ( or two) and decided to head to BC’s ( our all time favourite bar on the beach). Beers are cheap – BZ$4 – and the view ( you will have to wait to see this ) is fantastic. Not the greatest road to get there but well worth the bumps.

The long and bumpy road ( not that long but it is bumpy) to BC’s


And then we get there for our Belikin ( the local bottled beer brewed in Belize). There are a number of choices but I will delay detailing them until a later post ( just trying to ‘hook’ you!).

The back entrance to BC’s


I’ve got piles!

Normally you would keep it to yourself but I am proud to announce that “I’ve got piles”.

Today 8 of the 18 piles ( 16 for the house and 2 for the exterior stairs) were placed on the bedrock ( a consolidated rock under the surface). The process used was extremely manual in nature with the only bit of automated equipment used being the generator to pump water from the lagoon to create a powerful jet of water to loosen the earth . The guys then removed by hand and bucket the earth until they ‘hit bedrock’.

Power jet in action


They then removed the loosened earth with one of the guys jumping in the hole and digging it out by hand and with a bucket . He was literally up to his neck in water.


Having hit bedrock it was time to lift the pile and place it in the hole. All done by hand, no automated lifting equipment at all.

The remaining 10 piles should be placed on Monday and then they can start laying the foundations.

Various stages of placing the pile in the hole




Pile in place


Guest accommodation gets named !

North London , and Arsenal in particular, started to take root in Tres Cocos, Ambergris Caye, today when Rose got to work with a Sharpie. The sign, although not of sign-writing class, conveyed a strong message nonetheless (patience, there is a photo at the end of this post).

On a more serious note – not to say that anything to do with Arsenal isn’t serious – all 18 of the piles have been made and have cured ( must find out it this is the correct word) and are ready to be jetted ( use of pressurised water from the lagoon to create the necessary opening) into the ground.

Piles ready for use


The holes for the piles are already dug but need clearing of some of the water that the recent rain created before the piles go in . The power jet hose will take care of that.

Holes ready for the piles.



Should have mentioned before now but when we lived on the Isle of Dogs in East London our local pub was called The Ferry House. Rose and I had plenty of good times there and miss the many good friends we made. Pleased to say that when we move into our new home we will not have far to go to get to our local . It is next door!

Our next door neighbour.



Guest accommodation finished

We now have accommodation for the guest(s) that we didn’t invite but who turn up anyway – the Bodega ! It now has four walls and a roof and probably tomorrow will have electricity . No running water, no toilet, but…

The (unwanted) guest house


The piles are drying out nicely and they are making more forms so that more can be made at the same time ( bordering on mass production ).

Forms drying nicely


A cement tower has also been created and once the meter has been fitted BEL ( Belize Electricity Limited) will be contacted to ‘switch on the juice’.

Our electricity tower


Ouch – dental work part 5

With an 08.30 hours appointment at the dentist I considered my options for transport to Belize City.

Option 1 was to take a Tropic Air or Maya Island Air flight from San Pedro (Ambergris Caye’s airport) to the Municipal Airport in Belize . Both airlines operate with flights departing on the hour and given my appointment time ( and I wanted to arrive early and not ‘just in time’) the 07.00 hours flight would be the one to go for.

For a single ( more on alternative ways of how to get back to San Pedro later) the costs (inclusive of taxes) by airline currently are:
Tropic Air @ BZ$95.80
Maya Island Air @ BZ$94

For a return flight (and both airlines have flights that depart on the half-hour) the costs ( again inclusive of taxes) are:
Tropic Air @BZ$162.60
Maya Island Air @BZ$161.00

Option 2 was to take a water ferry ( and I only looked at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association schedule- lazy I know) which, given my appointment time meant the 06.00 hours sailing with an arrival at the terminal in Belize City anywhere between 07.30 to 07.45 hours . Such an arrival time window is influenced by how promptly ( or not) the boat departs from San Pedro and how long it stops at Caye Caulker (ie how many passengers/ parcels are taken on board).

The costs to go by boat are:
Single @ BZ$25
Return @BZ43

So, I had my options . What did I choose? I suppose given my time working with people from Scotland ( no discrimination intended) there was only one choice, the ferry ( a return ticket)!

Given the early departure time Rose ‘did the decent thing’ and took me to the terminal ( the ‘Texaco’ pier) which is near Cholo’s Sports Bar (more about this bar that we have been frequenting for around 13 years in subsequent posts).

Really uneventful journey aside from a young American female tourist who boarded at Caye Caulker obviously the ‘worse from wear’ from a rum laden ‘night before’ who spent virtually the entire trip with her head over the side of the boat whilst she fed the fish ( apologies if you are eating whilst reading this). Anyway, I arrived in Belize City at 07.40 hours and,after reading for a bit, took a taxi (BZ$7) to the dentist.

On arrival I spent around 5 minutes in the Reception before being taken into the surgery to meet the team of three, headed by Doctor Hernandez from Guatemala, that would be working on my teeth.

They very thoroughly ran me through the procedure that they would be undertaking and set about anaesthetising me. They put me out around 08.35 hours and I remember nothing until I ‘came to’ at 12.17 hours.

They had already told me that I needed to be accompanied on my trip back to Ambergris Caye so I ‘phoned Rose ( she had travelled over on the 11.00 hours ferry with the intention of a little shopping – more on the shopping ‘experiences’ in Belize to follow) to come and get me.

After making sure that I was fit to travel they let Rose and I leave at around 13.00 hours on the taxi they arranged to take us to the ferry terminal .

Given that the next ferry to Ambergris Caye was leaving at 15.00 hours Rose, after making sure that I had rejoined ‘ the land of the living’, went to finish off her shopping spree ( sic).

Whilst she was away I had the joy of a nose bleed ( again, apologies if you are eating whilst reading this) which spattered my lovely lemon shirt ( reminder to wear something red next time I go to the dentist). A quick visit to the Restroom for a liberal dousing of the shirt transformed it from looking like something I had worn for a Halloween party.

The journey home was uneventful and it just now remained for me to take the medication and try to eat some food ( prior to the surgery I had been nil by os ( nil by mouth for my English readers))and I was famished. Rose took care of that with some lovely soup that she concocted.

Mouth today is sore but nowhere near as tender as it felt last night.

Cannot wait to return to the dentist next Wednesday to get the stitches removed and then three weeks later for the implants.

Oh, obviously need a photo for those of my readers that only want to look at pictures ! So below is a photo of the ferry we took to get back to Ambergris Caye.


The walls start to go up …

not of the house unfortunately but of the Bodega( shed to me ). This is the building that materials will be stored in to protect against inclement weather and theft.

It is to protect against the latter that one of Daniel’s team will stay in it overnight.

The front of the Bodega


Inside the Bodega


The piles that were poured yesterday have yet to dry out but are on the way to doing so and hopefully will be ready for driving ( not to sure if this is the correct term) into the ground on Thursday.

The piles drying out.


Not sure if I will post tomorrow because ( those of you who have paid attention will know this ) I am going to Belize City for a dental appointment. All of those implants . Will be unable to sleep tonight with excitement !!!!!

Obviously on Thursday I will be posting again with photos of the dentistry work . Not really . But I will let you know how it went .

What a difference two days make

As Dinah Washington sang (OK a little bit of licence here) what a difference two days make!

No work on the plot yesterday ( everyone is entitled to a day off) but when we got there today there was plenty of activity. Three people mixing concrete and three ( two taking care of the wheelbarrow full of concrete) making the piles.

The rain yesterday afternoon and especially during the night had really made a difference to the plot which , given the hot and dry weather last week, had been drying out quite nicely . You can see what some heavy downpours can do to low lying land from the photo below.


The fact that the land was very waterlogged didn’t deter the guys with the wheelbarrow they just laid some planks to create a path.

They had already made the forms to pour the concrete into to create the piles and the photo below shows the first four piles being created.

The other consequence of the rain was that the mosquitos and sand flies were abundant . And the sand flies were vicious.


Having poured the concrete it is important to make sure that there is no entrapped air and to ensure that this is not the case for our piles ( I am sure this is the case for everyone else that Daniel builds for) they rodded the concrete.


Slightly out of sequence ( well OK totally out of sequence) , they had set up the concrete mixer close to the road and just as close to the sand, stone, cement and water.


Breaking ground in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

Got up this morning with a sore head . The consequence of too many beers and shots at Pedro’s last night.

Had my first cup of coffee whilst reading The Times and started to feel better. Switched on the tv and watched Arsenal lose very easily to Manchester United and felt a lot worse. The day needed to improve .

By just after 9 am Rose and I arrived at our lot to find that Daniel and some of his team were at work marking out where the piles are going to be sunk and making the rebar frames that will ‘sit’ within the concrete piles. The piles are an essential element of the build and our house is going to have 18 of them with a further 2 being required for the external stairway.

Rose and I had the pleasure and honour of breaking the ground where the first of the house piles will be sunk. You can see Daniel in the photo with Rose.



The piles should be poured early next week and after a two day curing period will be ready for sinking.

Build approved – in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

This morning we received the certificate issued by the San Pedro Town Council which grants the permission we sought to build our new home.

There was a fee of BZ$1,390 which is calculated on the square footage of the construction and a charge of BZ$60 for the sign that it is compulsory to place on the site of a build to visually demonstrate that approval has been obtained . Well worth the money because without it nothing would happen . Aside from the grass growing again that is!

This was the second bit of good news we got today because when we got to the plot we saw that some of Daniel’s team had already made the molds (probably not the correct terminology ) for the pilings and were busily cutting rebar.

If that were not enough good news in one day we also were told that ‘breaking ground’ will take place tomorrow at 9 am. Conveniently timed so that Rose and I can watch Arsenal play Manchester United first!

Probably should have mentioned earlier that Rose and I are ardent Arsenal fans and our house is going to be called Highbury House. We are going to have a little path in the garden leading to an area where we will keep the rubbish . This path will be called White Hart Lane.


Dental work – part 4

Early start this morning for a 7am appointment at the San Pedro Central Medical Lab for the blood tests that the dentist wants carried prIor to carrying out my treatment

Really pleased that they open at that time in the morning . I am always up early – anywhere between 4-5 am being the norm for me – and by getting in at this time I could contain the fasting period and get a breakfast and coffee immediately following the blood extraction ( should really have booked the appointment for 31 October – could have got Dracula on the job!).

Should get the results around 4 pm today and, hopefully, the tests will not reveal any coagulation disorders or high glucose levels. Either (or ,worse still, both) would scupper the dental treatment. And, most likely lead to further tests and medication ( probably of an ongoing nature). Running before I can walk, aren’t I . Let’s wait until 4 pm.

Surveying all that is ours in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yesterday Daniel Camal ( our building constructor) arranged for a surveyor ( Kendrick, accompanied by his two assistants) to come over to Ambergris Caye from Belize City to exactly define and mark out the boundaries of the one of our two plots that we are going to build our house on.

Markers were in place when we bought the land 4 years ago but we could not be certain that they have not been moved during the intervening years. The survey would also enable us to be confident that the posts that have been ‘planted’ to define where the house is going to be built . Very pleased to report that they were.

This done I am now able to share with you the plot plan that Strukture Architects Limited produced for us which shows where our house will be built in relation to the plot.


As you can see , the house will only take up just over 10% of the plot which leaves a substantial landscaping task for Rose and I . We have some initial ideas but need to decide if we are going to have a swimming pool installed during the house build ( or make this decision at a later date) to fully determine how we will make use of the remaining land . What types of trees and shrubs? Where to place them? One thing we have decided on which is that we are going to endeavour to create the effect of a shaded courtyard quite close to the house on the lagoon side. Somewhere to take the Kindle to – along with an ice cold drink- when the temperature is at its hottest.