‘Feliz Año Nuevo’ from Ambergris Caye, Belize

As we come to the end of 2012 and week 8, or 20%, of the project time for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize there is still long a long way to go but it has been a great year for us.

In seven months ( it seems much, much shorter) we have left the UK and started the build of our new home here in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Something that we dreamt of doing for years. Just goes to show that if you really want to do something and set your heart on doing it, you can.

We went to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today at around 10.45 am not really expecting to see a lot going on. It is New Year’s eve after all. Pleased to say that our expectations were totally wrong. There was lots going on.

The fact that there were nine guys on site surprised us . We had thought that at best the number would be between three to four.

As we parked the golf cart we could see that the stack of concrete blocks had shrunk materially and when we looked at the build we could see why. They were being stacked in piles on the Ground Floor.


Anhill was on wheelbarrow duty ( he just cannot get enough of it!) and Eduardo was stacking the blocks.

Once on the Ground Floor they were stacked in piles close to where the walls will be built.


Alfredo moving the blocks.

The blocks were stacked close to where the floor had been marked to show the wall line and wooden posts erected for the beginning and end of each wall.


Posts erected and blocks ready to be laid.

A red marker pen ( well looks like the work of one to me) or a chalk line had been used to signify where the walls are to be built.


If you look closely you can just see the marker line.

They had put extension pipes on the PVC pipes that the electric cables will run through.


Pipes extended prior to block laying.

We couldn’t believe that they had done so much in around half a day but there was more. They had also filled the area where the golf cart ramp will be with sand.


Nearly ready for the concrete pour.

With the wall lines marked out Rose and I concluded that we hadn’t got the design of our home quite right. We saw that the space to the south of the kitchen/living room area of the self-contained apartment could more sensibly be used. As another en-suite bedroom ( all potential guests take note).


The space in question is to the left of the piles of blocks.

Fortunately Daniel Camal, our building contractor, arrived and we were able to ask him if our idea was feasible and, if so, could it be accommodated without impacting seriously on the build time. We were really pleased when he told us that such a change is possible and would have little, to no, impact on timings. He is now going to work out a costing for us so that we can reach a decision. Providing that it is a reasonable price ( hope you are reading this Daniel) we will go for it.

Shortly after we spoke to Daniel the guys packed up for the day so that they could be prepared for their New Year celebrations . As far as we are concerned they deserved the ‘early away’.

When they had gone Rose and I took a walk around the Ground Floor imagining what it will look like when it is finished.


Rose imagining that she is about to walk through the apartment door.

We are going out this evening to bring to an and end what for us has been a fantastic year. We are going to thoroughly enjoy ourselves. So, no camera carrying for me. I, therefore, took a shot earlier today of the stage being erected in Barrier Reef Drive ( the front street) to send you all a message.


The headline includes the title of a song by ABBA which was a track on their 1980 album entitled Super Trouper.

‘See’ you all (I hope) next year.

‘One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

There were one or two aspects of yesterday’s work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize that I didn’t cover because I thought I had written enough/included enough photos without making the edition overly long. So I decided that I would include them today.

I had been wondering what would happen to rainwater when the water tank is full. Rose and I studied the plans but could see no sign of an overflow pipe and became mildly perplexed. Our anxiousness was cured yesterday when we wandered around the south side of the build. There projecting from the wall were two overflow pipes.


You can just see (if you look hard) the second overflow pipe at the eastern end of the wall.

I am used to seeing a float being used because my Dad was a plasterer. The float he used was only around 10/12 inches long. Nothing like the float used yesterday to create a smooth concrete finish.


Now that’s what you call a float!

Trish ( who has experience of building a home on Ambergris Caye) and Alan both posted comments yesterday about the electric wiring for our home in Ambergris Caye, Belize . The cabling will need to be threaded/pulled with fish wire through the PVC pipe on the north side of the house.


In place ready for the cables.

There was no real reason for going to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today other than I wanted to see how the concrete ceiling/floor was curing. The climate here is good for humans and concrete and I was confident that it would be set enough to walk on. It was.


Standing in the north-west corner of the Ground Floor.


Standing in the south-west corner of the Ground Floor.


Standing on the eastern side where the stairs to the Ground Floor will be.

I doubt that tomorrow will be a particularly busy day on the site but by the time the guys return on Wednesday it should be ‘good to go’ to start laying the concrete blocks for the walls.

The headline comes from the Paul Simon song which featured on his 1973 album ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon’.

On Wednesday I have to go to the Dentist in Belize City for the first of three consecutive weekly visits for root canal work and am pleased to let you know that the Mystery Blogger will be making a return appearance to produce Thursday’s edition.

I take this opportunity of wishing all readers of this Belize Blog a happy new year.

‘Let’s Get It On’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I set off to see the concrete pour for the Ground Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize this morning at 6.45 am full of enthusiasm. We have been looking forward to the day when the floor was laid since we first appointed Daniel Camal to build our home for us.

I arrived at the site around 7 am but the guys started at 6 am and I saw evidence of their early start as soon as I got there. They had already poured the concrete for the Ground Floor bedroom veranda and had started the pour for the bedroom and living room/kitchen area working from north to south.


Evidence of the early start.

Much the same routine as for previous pours .


Anhill hitting the ramp with real determination.


The vibrator in action.


The float at work levelling off and smoothing the concrete.

All the while I could hear the concrete mixer in the distance ( well around 125 feet away).


Filling the buckets with stones.


Alfredo loading the cement.


Nicholas applying the stones.


Don’t even need to look!


And then the pour.

With fourteen guys on the site plus Daniel Camal, our building contractor, the pour moved at a really good pace. Three of the guys plus Daniel supervised the pour/moved the boards/used the vibrator/floated the concrete after it had been poured. Four were on wheelbarrow duty and the remaining seven filled the buckets with sand, stones and water and ‘fed’ the mixer with cement.

With such a large area to cover progress wasn’t quick but with a 5 inch depth of concrete that wasn’t surprising. However, slowly but surely, the forms were filled with concrete.


Nearly reached the southern wall.

At this point ( which was around 9 am ) I returned home to collect Rose and by the time I had picked her up and we got to the site even more progress had been made.


Really taking shape.

We stayed there until around 10.45 am and then returned home to watch Arsenal’s trouncing of Newcastle but as soon as the game finished ( around 1.25 pm) we headed back to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Not surprisingly even more of the Ground Floor had been laid.


Nearly half way there.

We left again around 2.30 pm to do some errands but got back there to see the final wheelbarrow loads being poured. Amazingly Anhill and Eduardo were still on the wheelbarrows – amazing because they had started and finished the day on them . Whatever they are eating for breakfast I want!


Eduardo with the last ‘barrow load.

It just remained to apply the final float.


The time was 4.55 pm. Five minutes short of being 11 hours since the guys started the day. They all looked tired but none would admit to it. They are proud guys and so they should be.


Floor laid as the sun sets.

Those guys really got it on.

‘Let’s Get It On’ is a 1973 single from the album of the same name by Marvin Gaye which was reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

‘What a Diff’rence a Day Makes’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

In yesterday’s edition (‘Take it Easy’) I apologised for the lateness of publishing and explained that we suffered a sudden and protracted loss of the Internet. So this morning after having breakfast I went to the Coral Cable office to report the fault.

The Internet speed, as anyone living on or visiting Ambergris Caye will know, is slow. The same cannot be said, however, for the engineers. Why? Well I reported the fault at 10.10 am and at 11.05 am the engineers arrived and within 10 minutes of arrival they had identified the fault and corrected it. A first class service.

With access to Internet again Rose and I set off for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize shortly after 1 pm so that we arrived after the guys had returned from their lunch break ( they normally break for lunch at noon for an hour) .

On arrival at the site we couldn’t believe our eyes. There were workers everywhere. A quick body count informed us that the workforce today comprised fourteen people. Yesterday there were four. What a difference a day makes!


So many workers there is hardly room to swing a cat!

So much activity focusing on different tasks meant that a careful check of the plans was frequently required.


So where does it go?

In all seriousness everyone appeared to know exactly what was required of them and they worked in pairs and trios in a very organised way. Rebar rods that had served their purpose were being bent to run parallel with the form base so that when the concrete is poured they will provide added strength.


Martin and colleague working as a duo.

Vertical rebar rods had been fitted by the time we arrived which the concrete blocks for the walls will be placed over when they are laid.


Rods in place where external wall will be built.

The plumber/electrician had been busy and there were pipes in place when we arrived.


Pipes in place for electric cabling.

He was busy concentrating on completing the installation of the pipes for electric cabling in the north-west corner of the house and was ably assisted by Nicholas.


Pulling the pipe into position.


Bending the pipe


Fitting the pipes together.


Good teamwork.

While all of this was going on Alfredo and a colleague were clearing debris from the area where the golf cart ramp will go.


In the background you can just see the wood and other debris in the ramp area.


A job well done.

We were really pleased to see so much work going on and even more pleased when Anhill told us that the roof of the water tank/Ground Floor will be poured tomorrow . Can’t wait!

The headline is influenced by the song of that name made famous by Dinah Washington which was released in 1959 and made number 8 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

‘Take it Easy’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Given Trish Peterson’s comment on Christmas Day( she recounted her experience when building on Ambergris Caye some years ago when work ground to a halt over Christmas) Rose and I travelled to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize yesterday with a fair amount of apprehension. We wondered if any of the guys would turn in for work. And, if so, how many of them there would be.

As we drew near to the site no sound could be heard. No sound of hammering. No sound of an electric saw. No sound of music. None of the sounds that we have grown accustomed to hearing.

As I parked the golf cart we simultaneously looked across at the bodega (shed) to see that the door was boarded up. We feared the worst – the guys had decided to extend their Christmas break. We thought we had made a wasted journey and were about to turn around and head back home dejectedly when we looked towards the lagoon and saw Anhill and Martin in the distance.

We secured the padlock on the ‘cart and walked towards our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and saw that Nicholas was on site too. We also saw another guy that we had never seen before.

Relieved we continued walking to the site and up the ramp to see that Anhill and Martin were busy removing two vertical rebar rods ( don’t worry there is not another rebar photo coming your way) from the pillar frames. Our architect’s plans ( Strukture Architects Limited) specifies eight vertical rods per frame for the water tank reducing to six vertical rods from the Ground Floor upwards.

Once the two excess rebar rods had been removed Anhill and Martin fixed in place three rebar ties to hold the vertical rods in position.


Ties in place ( this is a photograph of ties in place on an earlier part of the build, the principle is, however, the same).

With Anhill and Martin putting the ties in place Nicholas concentrated his efforts on measuring and marking out where the north to south rebar rods will need to be placed when the plumber has finished.

Talking of the plumber, he was on-site and was the guy we had never see before mentioned earlier. He had made a start and removed sand so that he could bury the pipes. By the time we arrived he had the pipe in which the electric feed cable will run in place .


Trench dug and electric cabling pipe in place.

He was waiting for further pipes to be delivered (Daniel Camal, our building contractor, had these loaded on his golf cart when we passed him on our way home) but had created the hole in the foundation wall for the soil pipe.


Electric cabling pipe in place. The larger hole is for the soil pipe . The other pipe was a mistake! One needs to be created slightly lower for the waste pipe.

Hopefully when visit the site for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize later today we will find that the plumber completed the required work.

When we were at the site on Christmas Eve Anhill mentioned that they never actually know what the exterior of a build is going to look like until all the walls and the roof have been completed. We thought it might be nice if they could see what we expect our home to look like at a far earlier stage so we took the drawings that our architect produced to show him (Nicholas and Martin got to see them too).


Anhill impressed with how our house will look when finished.

Not as many guys – well down on the 8/9 that are normally on site – as we had hoped but progress is still being made . But all in all a somewhat easy day on the build.

Barring unforeseen circumstances the concrete pour for the roof of the water tank/Ground Floor will take place on either Saturday or Sunday.

The headline is based on the song released in 1972 by the Eagles which reached number 12 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

Apologies for the late publication of this edition but this was caused by the loss of or Internet . Had to go to Estel’s ( any excuse!) to make use of their Wi-fi.

‘Celebration” in Ambergris Caye,Belize

In the previous edition I advised that I would not be publishing again until Friday 28 December. Well, I changed my mind. I am the publisher after all!

I decided that I would let you know just a bit about what our first Christmas Day on Ambergris Caye was like. Which is nothing to do with the raison d’ētre for this blog i.e. our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but …

Got up early – I always do – with the need to wrap up the presents I had bought for Rose on Christmas Eve.The Christmas shopping experience on Ambergris Caye is nothing at all like it was in England (no surprise there really).

When we lived in the UK I would normally head off to the West End hitting the shops in Regent Street and Oxford Street where the high end stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis, Debenhams, Liberty, Jaeger, Hermes,etc are located.

The journey there – on an underground train – was normally unpleasant because the train was so full and the shopping experience was not much better. Shops full of pushing and shoving people who had obviously left their manners at home. The upside though was that as long as I had a credit or debit card, or both, with me getting presents for Rose was relatively easy.

Not so when living in Ambergris Caye, Belize. No packed underground . No underground in fact. No high end shops . No really packed shops. Not the same range of choice. But for me a much more pleasant shopping experience and one that, given the limited choice, I had to give far more thought to.

What could I buy for Rose that is easily available and – and this is the really important factor – are things that she would like and make use of ? I elected to buy things that she could hopefully make use of for her interest in handicraft.

So, what did I end up purchasing? Five packs of multi-coloured permanent marker pens,which included one set of fluorescent pens that Rose was particularly pleased with, a pack of fluorescent glue pens (she really goes for the fluorescent colours), three glitter glue sticks, two packs of paper ( regular readers will remember that she uses this as the core material for the jewellery that she makes) and (the one girly ( I know, it is slang) thing) a chocolate flavoured bar of soap.


Cunningly I decided to wrap all of the presents individually. It took some time but it was worth it.


I didn’t keep a record of how much the total cost of the presents was but doubt that it exceeded BZ$40. In the UK the price of just one of the Christmas presents I bought for Rose would not have been that low. What I do know though is that she really likes her presents.

As I ‘said ‘ earlier, the range of choice for presents on Ambergris Caye is nowhere near as extensive as it is in the UK. Just goes to show that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’!

With our respective Christmas presents unwrapped we set off for the Sad Bastards Christmas Party at Pedro’s Hotel. I am certain that very soon you will find full coverage of this event, including lots of photos of people wearing silly hats, on Tacogirl’s blog. So, I will just let you know that we had a fantastic lunch in great company and came away with a Sunbeam blender, some Ferrero Collection chocolates and a Nina Ricci eau de toilette collection as our Secret Santa presents.

The headline is based on the 1980 hit record by Kool & the Gang which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1981.

Normal service i.e. our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize, will resume in Friday’s edition ( providing the guys turn in for work that is).

‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ from Ambergris Caye, Belize

Before I forget I just wanted to let you know that the Christmas Charity Concert held on Saturday 15 December raised BZ$7,000 for the five surviving children of Hector ‘Chapin’ Duran. A tremendous BZ$2,000, or 40%, more than the target the fund organisers set for themselves. A fantastic achievement that should make things that little bit better at Christmas for the children.

Whilst on the subject of remembering things I am now able to answer the question posed by a number of readers – “Are they going to remove the plywood after the concrete pour for the roof of the water tank?”

I put the question to Anhill this morning and was pleased, but not overly surprised, to be told that it will be removed via the hole left for the manhole cover. All of the plywood boards have been cut to go through this aperture . Simple really isn’t it.


Plywood cut to the requisite size.


Manhole aperture ( great word, must find other opportunities to use it).

When the time comes ( hopefully very soon) to remove the plywood, two or three of the guys will go under the roof ( via the aperture – told you I would find opportunities of using the word again) , remove the nails and hand the boards to their colleagues above the roof.

The other thing I asked was why there was no work on Sunday as they had said there would be . Turns out that Nicholas and Martin turned in for work but nobody else did. With not enough people to do what they had intended Nicholas and Martin returned to their respective homes and went back to bed. Anhill, who had been to Corozal the previous day to visit his young son before Christmas ( he lives with his Grandmother which enables Anhill and his wife to work full-time) arrived at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize to find nobody there and he too went home.

There wasn’t too much action today either with only five of the guys in for work. They were waiting for the plumber to turn up to run the pipes before fitting forms and rebar over them. The plumber never did turn up so that section has been left until they return to work on Thursday.

This meant that they were only able to carry out ‘tidy up’ jobs like removing ( apologies to the readers that are not rebar fans) surplus rebar.


Nicholas and Martin reducing the eight rods to the required six.

They also tamped the veranda (which had been packed with sand the previous day) with 6 mil polyethylene sheet.


Tamping in place.

With not much going on as far as our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize was concerned we took the opportunity of seeing how our coconut trees are developing. Pleased to say that they all appear to be thriving.


A mini plantation.

On the way home we popped into BC’s so that I could collect BZ$120 for winning the weekly NFL Pool prize. Not bad after only five attempts. And a Brit too! The first I understand to win the thing.

The headline comes from the 1973 Yuletide UK number one by Slade.

I wish all readers a very, merry Christmas.

The next edition will be published on Friday 28 December.

‘When Sunday Comes’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Been so busy writing about our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize that I had forgotten to mention that,in my opinion, Rose has a very creative side to her (apologies for going off subject but some of the women readers might find this of interest).

She has a talent for turning what for someone else might be rubbish into something of use or beauty, or both.

When our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize is completed the tools and materials that she uses for her various handicraft interests will join us but in the meantime she employs her creative mind to make do with what is available.

She has already made a couple of blouses and skirts with cloths purchased relatively inexpensively on the trips we have made to Belize City when visiting for my dental treatment ( see earlier posts for the gory details). For these she used the sewing machine that I bought her as a present for her birthday in October.

This week, however, she has turned her attention, and her creativity, to making jewellery predominantly with recycled material.

Using paper, permanent marker pens and some clasps that she brought with her she has made what I think are some lovely pieces ( I know it makes a lot of sense for me to say this whatever they look like but I truly believe it).


Bracelet. Doesn’t look like it is made of paper does it?


Matching earrings.


Bracelet and earring set. My photography doesn’t do the colour justice.

When the time comes Rose will use her creative talents – ably assisted by me in the dogsbody role- to make what curtains and blinds we decide to have for our new home.

We ( have appointed myself as Rose’s business adviser) are not taking orders for Rose’s creative output yet but I will let you know when we will!

Early in the afternoon ( around 1.30pm) we drove up to our land expecting to hear the sound of the saw cutting rebar ( yes, another mention of rebar) and the happy sound of the guys singing along to the music that they have playing constantly . Sorry to report though that the site was like the Marie Cėleste. Not a sound to be heard. Not a person to be seen.

When we left our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize yesterday afternoon we did so with the understanding that some of the team would be working today to complete the form and rebar fitting so that the concrete pour for the roof of the water tank could be carried out on Monday.

Something or someone changed the plan and we will not find out until tomorrow when we speak with Daniel Camal our building contractor . I will be at the site around 8am to find out why things changed.

The visit though did provide us with the opportunity of walking around the site without getting in the way of the guys and disrupting things. We were able to see more closely what they had done yesterday.


Form frame for the manhole cover for the water tank.


How the rebar is secured.


Eye-level ( well nearly anyway) of the rebar in place.


The ties used to secure the rebar.


Ground Floor veranda area fully packed with sand and nearly ready for the concrete pour.


Rose imagining that she is in the Ground Floor bedroom!


Our new pet Gordon the gecko .

We are still hopeful that the pour will take place because we could see that deliveries of sand, cement, stones and water had been made after we had left on Saturday. All will be revealed tomorrow.

The headline isn’t based on anything other than it was Sunday and that I think the guy who sings the song ( he is Daryl Coley) has a great voice.

‘Work in Progress’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

The day stated very well for me. The Arsenal away match against Wigan was the early ( started at 6.30am) game on TV. Not the most assured or scintillating performance by Arsenal but they got the three points courtesy of a well executed penalty by Mikel Arteta.

With the game over I ate breakfast and then set off to collect Dave, a friend from the UK who has been the Squadron Sergeant Major of BATSUB (the British Army Training Support Unit Belize) since April of this year ( he beat us here by nearly two months, the rotter), from the 9am Water Taxi that he took from Belize City this morning.

When we went to monitor progress on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we took Dave and his colleague ‘Fish’ with us. When Dave had last visited Ambergris Caye we took him to look at the site for our new home. This was shortly after the scrub had been cleared but before the build had started.


How the site looked the last time that Dave visited it around 7 weeks ago.


How it looked today. Things have really shown progress. Well we think so.

The base boards for the forms for the concrete pour to create the ceiling of the water tank were virtually all secured by the time we arrived at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize




Boards fitted in the stair area.

When we got there the guys were fitting the boards in the final section which was the north-west corner of the water tank.


Martin placing a board.

Work was also going on filling the base of what will be the veranda to the Ground Floor bedroom with sand.


Alfredo on his ascent.


Alfredo tipping the sand.


Alfredo levelling the sand.

With most of the ceiling forms in place work began on putting the rebar in place.


Bringing the rebar in.


Nicholas pulling the rebar into position.


Rebar lengths in place. Nicholas making the final adjustments.

The rods of rebar in the south-east corner of the water tank were longer than the others so that they protruded . These bars will be bent to provide the strength for the concrete pour for the golf cart ramp.


Rods in readiness for the concrete pour that will create the golf cart ramp.

They were placing the lengths of rebar with speed.


Within 10 minutes of starting.

Just before we left our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize they had started placing the bars north to south.


First north to south bar being put in place.

Some of the guys are working on Sunday to finish off the rebar so that – weather permitting – the concrete pour of the roof of the water tank can take place on Monday . So, more photos of rebar in the next edition!

The headline fed off ‘Work in Progress’ which is the title of a song by Alan Jackson released in 2002. The third single from his ‘Drive’ album. It made it to number 3 in the U.S. Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart and number 35 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

‘Christmas Shopping’ for Ambergris Caye, Belize.

For our shopping expedition to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize in Belize City today Rose and I left ‘home’ at 7.40 am to catch the 8 am ferry ( we had to draw some cash first from the ATM first and that was the reason for the early start).

We got good seats with plenty of space around us but that all changed when we got to Caye Caulker to take on passengers. The boat very quickly filled and it was necessary for some passengers to sit on the steps to the entrances/exits. The trip though passed without event and we arrived in Belize City at 9.20am.

Before going to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we had to go try to get some Secret Santa presents to take to the Christmas Lunch we are attending at Pedro’s Hotel next Tuesday.

For this we planned to visit a few stores in Albert Street first. Take note of what was on offer and the prices of the items we thought are worthy of a present . For us this means ‘what might we use if we got it as a present’. Oh, the price range for the Secret Santa presents is BZ$70-80.

First off we went to Delta Stores ( the store that I bought our clothes airer from). There were some really interesting and useful stuff in there – safes, garden equipment, fold-away chairs, – and at reasonable prices ( by Belize standards) but nothing that took our fancy for the presents.

We then went toTropigas and found four or five items that could fit the bill. Items and prices noted we went straight to Hofius. Much the same choice of items as we had seen in Tropigas but the prices were appreciably more expensive at between 10-20% higher. We decided to not purchase anything though until we had checked out what the Benny’s and Brodie’s stores on the Northern Highway had to offer.

So we headed to the cab rank near Brodie’s in Albert Street to take a cab. We chose Miguel who agreed to operate at BZ$30 an hour. We told him we would likely need him for between 2 to 3 hours.

Our first store to visit was Fort’s Tile Gallery ( part of the Daltile group) in Barrack Road. The shop is not much too look at on the outside but looks can be deceiving because inside there are some wonderful tiles and in Jerry Barillas you find a very knowledgeable and helpful guy. They also have a website http://www.daltile.com.mx ( regrettably only in Spanish ) that enables you to really take your time making your choices. You will need though to email Jerry to find out what the prices are. His email address is : jacervantes@hotmail.com.

They had some really nice tiles and here are just some of those that really caught our eye:



Look closely and you can see me writing down the prices .




Prices ( inclusive of GST and a discount that Jerry applied even though we didn’t ask for one – far too early to negotiate yet ) ranged from as low as BZ$3.36 per square foot to BZ$22 per square foot. We particularly liked the Piso Porcelanico at BZ$9.08 per square foot.

We then headed off to Benny’s where we found another good range of tiles to make things even more difficult for ourselves!

We spent as much time though looking at bathroom sinks, faucets ,ovens and fridges.


The sink that we both like for our bathrooms.


The toilet we are likely to go for ( or is it go to?) for our respective bathrooms.


The sink for the Ground Floor self- contained apartment bathroom ?

Is this the fridge we want ?


And how about this for the oven?


We left Benny’s for a quick shop in Brodie’s. Got some steak, cheese, sweets ( Christmas treats) and then headed to Creative Tiles.

Again we saw a good selection of tiles that took our eye.



Running out of time we asked Miguel to run us back to Tropigas so that we could buy our Secret Santa presents . Cannot say what we bought because people who read this may go to the Christmas Lunch.

Enjoyed our trip to Belize City but so pleased to be back and really missed our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

‘Christmas Shopping’ was the first track of the album of the same name by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos which was released in 1968 . This group pioneered what was to become known as the Bakersfield sound.

‘If I Were a Carpenter’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

‘If I Were a Carpenter’ is a single, written by Tim Hardin, that was released by Bobby Darin in 1966 and reached number 8 in the US charts and number 9 in the UK.

I chose this song as the theme for the headline because most of the work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today was concentrated on woodwork- fitting the supports for the forms for the concrete pour of the roof of the water tank.

All Rose and I could hear when we parked the golf cart at the build was the sound of hammers hitting nails and an electric saw.

There were nine guys ‘on duty’, seven guys putting the supports in place and two on wheelbarrow work ( more about this later).

A lot of attention ( I am vey pleased to report) is paid to accuracy for the positioning of the support boards.


Martin securing the line in place for the fitting of the next support board ( I am sure that there is a more correct description but…).

The north to south support boards were already in place when we arrived at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.


Martin putting the next board in position.

The support framework had already been completed on the north east side of the water tank with the vertical and horizontal supports in place.


Supports in place in the water tank above which will be the storage room.

The vertical supports are very rustic looking but we have already witnessed how effective they are at doing what is required of them i.e. supporting the forms.


Vertical supports.

Work had begun on fitting external wall boards and they were already in place on the western side of the house when we arrived.


External forms in place on western side of the house.

Work was going on placing the external forms on the southern side wall of the stairs.


Southern side of stairs.

The guys putting the supports in place were working in pairs, that is aside from Anhill who was working solo in the south-east side of the water tank. I wasn’t going to include a photo of Anhill today but he smiled so nicely I just had to.


Say ‘cheese’!

The two guys working the wheelbarrows were filling the area that is not part of the water tank on the northern side of the house with sand in preparation for the concrete pour. The area in question will ‘sit’ immediately beneath the bathroom of the Ground Floor self-contained apartment. It is from this area that pipes will be positioned that run through to the septic tank.


Another load of sand from ‘Junior’.


A third of the way there.

It is unlikely that Rose and I will get to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize tomorrow because we are going to Belize City to look at floor and walls tiles. We will also take the opportunity though of looking at ceiling fans, faucets, sinks and ceiling lights. While we are there we also intend to fit in a little bit of Christmas shopping. I need to get away from Rose for a little while to get a surprise present ( or two).

I will let you know how we got on ( and if I managed to ‘slip away’ for a while) in Saturday’s edition.

‘Good Day Sunshine’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Up even earlier this morning – 3.30am- than I normally am. I get up early but this is ridiculous. Must cut out those early evening naps!

Had coffee on the veranda while I took care of correspondence ( mainly to family and friends back in the UK) and then reconciled recent bank transactions . Showered, shaved and dressed and was at Estel’s ‘for ‘fuelling’ by 7.15am. Had a great ( and filling) breakfast ( as it always is) served by really friendly and efficient staff. All topped off with the great view. Fed and watered ( OK coffeed – I know there is no such word, but …) I set off to see what progress was being made on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

As has been the case on previous occasions, I was pleased to be surprised by what work had taken place. When I got to the top of the ramp and looked down into the water tank I saw that concrete had been poured into all of the forms. Not only that but the guys were removing the form boards and supports.

All was soon revealed by Anhill. The guys had worked until 7.30 pm last night to complete the pouring. It had been necessary to put in place temporary lighting and they had to get by with one wheelbarrow less ( a tyre was punctured ) until two replacement wheelbarrows were taken by Daniel Camal, our building cintractor, to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize to try to recover some of the lost time .


Nicholas removing a support board in the south-east corner of the water tank.


Martin removing a form board on the western side of the water tank.


Martin dislodges the form board whilst Nicholas starts on another one.


Nicholas catches up.

It wasn’t long before they had removed all of the internal form boards.


Form boards removed in the south-corner of the water tank.

The guys broke for breakfast and I headed home to give Rose a progress report.

Rose and I returned to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize around 2.30 pm to find that had been tackling the removal of the external form boards.


Form boards removed on the western side of the water tank. We can see walls for the first time.


Boards removed on the southern side of the water tank.

We then noticed that the lowest section of the downpipes for the rainwater catchment had been positioned ( should have noticed this much earlier but we were too excited seeing walls).


Downpipe in place on the eastern side of the water tank. Note the ‘feeder’ pipe into the water tank.

We do not want any water in the tank for a while so the downpipes have been taped. By the way, there are three downpipes on both the northern and southern sides of the water tank.


That will stop the water!

When we were leaving the team were removing the final external boards on the northern side of the water tank.


Anhill and Martin at work.

Tomorrow ( they may even have got a start after we left) the focus is on installing the forms for the concrete pour for the water tank roof.

I have to be honest here and admit that today the sun was not out all the time . On occasion it was cloudy and overcast . It actually rained for a spell. But, for Rose and I it was a good day with sunshine!

The Long and Winding Road in Ambergris Caye, Belize

‘The Long and Winding Road’ in today’s headline is inspired by the song by The Beatles which was released in 1970 and was a track from the ‘Let It Be’ album. It made number one in the UK and US charts and was the group’s last number one in the US.

So why did I choose this song ? The road from the northern side of the bridge to our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize is not that long. At half a mile I would say ( can’t be precise because our golf cart doesn’t have a mileometer) it cannot be described as long. It does wind a bit though and that is reason enough for me. Plus, I think it is a great song.


The road ahead immediately ahead of us after crossing the bridge.


The next stretch takes us to the beginning of Reef Village.


And past the entrance to the Kama Lounge.


Past the main entrance to Reef Village.


The next stretch takes us past Reef Village.


The Jolly Roger behind us and Legends just in front with Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar in the distance and we are there.

The route there though is a dirt road and is a very bumpy and at times slow drive.


Just one of what seems like hundreds of potholes.

When we eventually got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we were surprised, but pleased, to see that work on the concrete – contrary to what we had been told yesterday- had actually started.

There were eleven guys on site with four supplying the mixer to make the concrete, three on wheelbarrow duty and four managing the pour.

Boards were positioned across the water tank to provide access for the pouring.


‘Junior’ on the wheelbarrow with Anhill and Martin making sure that the concrete was poured in the right place.

Once again the vibrator was in constant use.


Martin in ‘charge’ of the vibrator

Some sections of the forms were too difficult to take the wheelbarrow to for direct pouring and it was necessary to shovel the concrete in.


Nicholas on shovel duty.

It still amazes me how they manage to move so much concrete in such a rudimentary way with boards placed together to create walkways.


Anhill nailing the boards together.

They will complete the pouring of the final sections tomorrow morning and I will be there after my early morning breakfast at Estel’s.

They are already preparing for the next pour though because another delivery of rebar had been made.


Further delivery of thirty-nine foot, six inch lengths of rebar.

The Blueprint for Ambergris Caye,Belize

With no work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize yesterday I was denied my daily fix. Tried to substitute it with a look at the Sunset Boulevard project but , not unsurprisingly, didn’t get the same high. So am really pleased that the building site was ‘all action’ again today ( more about that later).

From comments/ feedback I have received ( all welcome) I sense that a good number of regular readers ( and perhaps some infrequent readers too) have a keen interest in the more technical aspects of our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. So – although not by popular demand – I thought I would let you have a look at the blueprints that Daniel and his team are working to. I will do my best ( memory fails me sometimes – either age or the heat, or a combination of both) to include the relevant blueprint at each stage of the build.

In earlier editions I used a lot of words and perhaps even more photos when describing the piles required for our house. I never went into a lot of detail though as to what the dimensions of them should be nor where they had to be positioned . The blueprint below hopefully addresses my earlier oversight.


Work on the 25,000 gallon water tank ( as regular readers will know) has been going on for a few weeks now and I have tried to describe and illustrate how it will ‘sit’ under the structure of the house. The blueprint below will hopefully fill-in any gaps.


When we got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize this afternoon we could hear the hammers hammering and saws cutting wood so we knew straight away that work continued on putting the forms in place .


Nicholas at work with the hammer.

The walls of the forms were being put in place .


Form walls in place in the south-west corner of the water tank (apologies for the poor quality photo but the sun was starting to move around).

There were so many forms in place that it really did look crowded. And so different to the open space of just under a week ago.


Even so we could see that work was still going on fixing the remaining rebar frames into their positions.


Anhill and Alfredo fixing a frame in place.

All looked good but then we got the disappointing news that the remaining forms will not be fitted until tomorrow which means that the concrete pouring will not take place now until Wednesday. There is an upside though. Estel’s doesn’t open on a Tuesday but will be open on Wednesday for my early morning breakfast before going to the site to watch the pour.

The headline is influenced by’Blueprint’, a 2001 album by Jay-Z which was his forth consecutive album to reach number one in the US Billboard 200 chart.

Gentle On My Mind – in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

“After the Lord Mayor’s show” is a saying in the UK which quite simply means that it is exceptionally quiet after an eventful and enjoyable time . An anti-climax. Well, that was today after the fun of the Christmas Charity Concert yesterday . And the fact that because it was a Sunday there was no work on our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

The day started with an overcast sky and a very strong breeze and was quite cool. Actually thought at one stage that I was going to have to get a sweater out. Great weather though for the youngsters of the San Pedro Sailing Club who took full advantage of the wind to develop their skills in the Optimist dinghies.

What do you do when you have been monitoring the build of your house all week and you have a free day? You go look at another building project, that’s what ( sad isn’t it).

Rose and I decided to see what progress has been made on the building of the Water Taxi Terminal and the Sunset Boardwalk which is a major development on what a short while ago was the site of the Saca Chispas Football Field and the ‘El Embarcadero’ area.

It is not an area that we have much call to go to. True it can be used as a route to our build and there are some shops there. It is also worth visiting to buy fruit, vegetables and fish but we tend to go to the north side of the island via Barrier Reef Drive because, more often than not, we have something to do or get in that part of San Pedro Town.

We were surprised to see how much had been done since we last went there. The road between Caribeña Street and Buccaneer Street is being laid.


Looks like it will be open for traffic soon.

Good progress had also been made with the laying of the path down the south side of the development .


A vast improvement .

I thought we are using a lot of concrete but when you see the size of this project it puts it into perspective. This is a development that is budgeted to cost nearly $5.7 million.


Concrete columns in place for the new buildings.

Lots of work has also been carried out on the sea wall which appears to be 100 feet plus ( didn’t have a tape with me) from the existing coastline .


Sea wall.

What the development is intended to look like when completed around the end of next year.


We were impressed to see how much progress has been made but are more than happy with the progress that is being shown on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Roll on tomorrow when work on it starts again,

By the time we had looked around the ‘Boardwalk project the sun was out and we decided to park the golf cart and go for a stroll along the beach . Whilst taking in the scenery we saw the common sight of a Guatemalan lady beach seller plying her wares of table clothes, throws, etc.

It never ceases to amaze me how they can carry such weights and size of bundle on their head.



Ready for business.

Carrying such a weight wouldn’t be – like Glen Campbell sang in 1967 – ‘Gentle on My Mind’!

Sweet Charity in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Charity begins at home so the adage goes. Well home for us now is Ambergris Caye,Belize and during the many visits Rose and I have made and particularly since we moved here permanently in May have found that this truly is the case.

When someone is in need -locally born or expatriates alike – the community joins together to provide whatever help and support it can.

Such was the case today when a Christmas Charity Concert was held to generate financial aid for the surviving children of Hector ‘Chapin’ Duran.

Hector, or ‘Chapin’ as he was more commonly known, was only 39 years of age when he tragically died on 8 October when, in the area he was working at the Amigos del Mar dive shop , a gas tank that he was filling exploded and took his life.

Today’s ‘Concert , held on the beach near Wayo’s Beachside Beernet, was organised and held to generate much needed financial aid for Hector’s 5 surviving children.

Much credit for the event must go to Vic Murphy, who arrived to live in Ambergris Caye from the UK the same week as Rose and I. Vic became aware of the financial plight of the bereaved, mustered a team to work with him and set about organising a fundraiser. And what a fundraiser it turned out to be.

Having first gone to monitor our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize ( more about the build later) Rose and I arrived at the event around 4.30 pm and the final arrangements were being put in place.


Vic Murphy in the red T shirt finalising arrangements.

It wasn’t long before the entertainment got underway and first up was the Roman Catholic Youth Movement Choir with great renditions of Christmas carols.


Checking the song sheets.

They were joined by the adult choir that Vic had assembled, seasonally attired in Christmas themed cassocks,with Vic and Gino amongst the three guitar accompaniment .


I knew what was to follow because I spied the dance members of the marching band resting in their beach sleigh.


Composing themselves before the big entrance.


The drummers really got the place throbbing.

It was time for the Chinese Auction which was masterfully run by Jan Brown who skilfully , with the aid of her money collectors , managed to extract the maximum for every bid.


It’s mine!

The place was packed and the desire to contribute to a good cause was there for all to see. There is little doubt that on Ambergris Caye everyone has a heart.


Even the dogs.

As I mentioned earlier, before going to the Christmas Charity Concert Rose and I went to check on our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

As we expected , the focus had been on installing the rebar frames and when we got there the final frames were being put in place.


Rebar frame being positioned in the north – west corner of the house.

The rebar frames , required for the pouring of concrete scheduled or next Tuesday, criss-crossed the house.


A maze of rebar.

The frames which run vertically are placed over the horizontal rebar rods and then positioned onto the wooden supports.


Nicholas easing the frame into position.

Looks like we will be all set for the pouring on Tuesday.

I thought that some of you , especially those of you that like facts and figures, might like to have an understanding of the quantity of materials that will be used for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.. I will provide further information of this type as the build progresses but thought I would start off with the materials required to construct the foundations – including the water and septic tanks- floor and walls. When I added up the quantities it was an eye-opener for me . It might be for you too:

Rebar – 3,586 lengths of varying circumference ( a total of 130,965 feet)
Cement – 2,727 bags with a combined weight of 115,897 kilos
Concrete Mix – 686 cubic yards
Cement block (8″) – 4,099
Cement block (6″) – 2,515
Cement block (4″) – 160
Water – 16,610 gallons

For me this was mind boggling.

As to Sweet Charity, it was a 1969 film starring Shirley MacLaine and John McMartin based on the book by Neil Simon.

And charity in Ambergris Caye is most definitely sweet.

‘When the ship comes in’ to Ambergris Caye,Belize

Something that I should perhaps have mentioned some while ago about building in Ambergris Caye, Belize is that nearly everything ( think I have mentioned that Ambergris Caye is an island) that you need or want has to be ferried in.

For the build of a home there is a lot of stuff to be ferried in because although there are building supply stores on the island the range is not extensive and the prices will be higher. Far better to go to one of the builder merchants on the mainland or import, say from the USA, and then barge it from Belize City over to Ambergris Caye.

When considering our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we had looked at project managing it ourselves. Had we done this it would have been us that would have employed the labour and ordered and arranged for the delivery of all materials.

We chose not to take this approach – even though we would most probably have reduced the cost of the project – because in all honesty we didn’t want the hassle of worrying if deliveries were made by the required time. Employing, and managing, staff. We also didn’t want to have to organise and manage site security for the materials.

We elected instead to go with an all inclusive price (OK this will change – upwards or downwards – if we change the specifications of our build and/or fittings/fixtures) and leave the ordering, delivery and security to Daniel Camal. This approach suits us but may not suit everyone but we are pleased that we have taken this approach.

Back to the barges though. As part of our research I looked at pricing for barging stuff in had we elected to project manage ourselves. Carrying capacities vary but the one I looked at could carry 120 tonnes and based on the number of trips that we would have required would have come in at around BZ$4,000 per trip. This per trip price included delivery to our land.

What price you manage to negotiate will be heavily influenced by a number of factors e.g. how many trips you want, how busy the barge company is, how well you negotiate, etc.

Oh by the way, the post I submitted to Tacogirl was approved by her and she published it today. I now know what it must feel like to win X Factor!

When we got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today it didn’t look as if a lot had been done. Closer inspection ( or we just opened our eyes properly) revealed that a hell of a lot of rebar frames had been made and put in place over the existing vertical rods of rebar The frames, placed horizontally , will be pushed down and fixed in position to sit firmly on the concrete walls of the water tank before the water tank roof is poured.


Rebar frames running east to west across the water tank.


Close-up of a rebar frame just above the vertical rods of rebar.

With the excess concrete on the western wall of the water tank removed work was taking place to fit the supports for the frames required for the pour of concrete to create the roof of the water tank.


Making sure that the measurements are correct for the board that will be fixed to the water tank wall.


Measurements correct the board is nailed into place.

A fair amount of progress had also been made in fitting the support boards in place for the forms.


Support frames running east to west and north to south.

The guys have two working days to complete the preparatory work before the scheduled pour next Tuesday.

As an aside, Rose and I were quite pleased to see the price set for the house just a few lots from us – not that we have any intention of selling our house when it has been completed. Just reassuring to know.

Anyway, the three storey house, which has 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, is up for sale at US$1,200,000. Now whether the ‘on sale’ price is achieved is another matter.


Neighbouring house up for sale.

The headline ‘feeds’ off of the song ‘When the Ship Comes In’ which is the third track of the 1964 The Times They Are a-Changin’ album by Bob Dylan . This one is definitely for the older readers.

It would be remiss of me to ‘close’ this edition without mentioning that there is a Christmas Charity Concert being held on the beach near Wayo’s Beachside Beernet starting at 4pm Saturday 15 December.

Choirs, bands, food, a raffle and a Chinese Auction with all proceeds going to the surviving children of Hector ‘Chapin’ Duran who died so tragically on 8 October.

If you are on the island do stop by and buy a ticket or ten . It’s for a good cause and you will have fun in return.

‘Fame’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Need to get my ego boost out of the way straight away. Just have to share the news with somebody!

I may be getting a gig as a guest blogger on Tacogirl’s Blog. If you haven’t heard of her ( where have you been?) Tacogirl has been blogging about Ambergris Caye and Belize in general since 2007 and I have been a regular reader ever since I became aware of her Blog.

Anyway, in between issuing my daily editions I now have to pull something together to submit to Tacogirl (aka Laurie Norton) for consideration.

Check out Tacogirl’s Blog. You will enjoy it:


Rose and I left it until this afternoon to head off to review our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today because I was trying to think of what content to use for my possible guest blogspot. When we got there we were concerned to see that they were hacking off some of the concrete on the western wall of the water tank that was poured yesterday.


Daniel Camal, our building contractor, got to us before we could get to him. He explained that the forms on that particular wall had not been as secure as they should have been with the consequence that too much concrete had been poured. The work being carried out would result in the wall being reduced to the correct thickness.


Close up of the concrete of the west wall of the water tank after removal of the excess.

Work in the rest of the water tank was focused on preparing the supports that are required for the forms for the roof of the water tank which, weather permitting, will be poured next Tuesday.


Elevated view of work on the form supports.

As we have seen thus far, great care is taken to ensure that forms are fitted at the correct height and that they are level.


Martin with a spirit level in the south-east corner of the water tank.

The structure of the form supports look very rustic but we know already that they do what is required of them.


Form support in place in the north-west corner of the water tank ( directly beneath where the guest bedroom will be.

The form support in the south-west corner didn’t look too good.


But it did a few minutes later.


Nicholas and ‘Junior’ fixing the problem.

The focus over the next few days will be on completing the installation of the forms and fixing the rebar.

Should have mentioned earlier that Rose and I had a pleasant and humorous surprise when we got to the build. Our own ‘signposted’ parking spot.


Jason and Maresha, our next door neighbours who run Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar, had kindly marked up our parking area. We know where to park now.


And we did!

On the subject of golf carts ( well there is one in the last photo!) I thought you might like to see the car(t) showroom we have on the island.


Captain Shark’s golf cart showroom.

On the way home Rose and I saw that another building had been decorated with Christmas lights.


Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office.

The headline is influenced – well apart from the fame I will achieve if I succeed in getting the guest blog gig – by David Bowie’s 1975 number one hit in both the UK and USA.

‘Fame’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Need to get my ego boost out of the way straight away. Just have to share the news with somebody!

I may be getting a gig as a guest blogger on Tacogirl’s Blog. If you haven’t heard of her ( where have you been?) Tacogirl has been blogging about Ambergris Caye and Belize in general since 2007 and I have been a regular reader ever since I became aware of her Blog.

Anyway, in between issuing my daily editions I now have to pull something together to submit to Tacogirl (aka Laurie Norton) for consideration.

Check out Tacogirl’s Blog. You will enjoy it:


Rose and I left it until this afternoon to head off to review our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today because I was tying to think of what content to use for my possible guest blogspot. When we got there we were concerned to see that they were hacking off some of the concrete on the western wall of the water tank that was poured yesterday.


Daniel Camal, our building contractor, got to us before we could get to him. He explained that the forms on that particular wall had not been as secure as they should have been with the consequence that too much concrete had been poured. The work being carried out would result in the wall being reduced to the correct thickness.


Close up of the concrete of the west wall of the water tank after removal of the excess.

Work in the rest of the water tank was focused on preparing the supports that are required for the forms for the roof of the water tank which, weather permitting, will be poured next Tuesday.


Elevated view of work on the form supports.

As we have seen thus far, great care is taken to ensure that forms are fitted at the correct height and that they are level.


Matin with a spirit level in the south-east corner of the water tank.

The structure of the form supports look very rustic but we know already that they do what is required of them.


Form support in place in the north-west corner of the water tank ( directly beneath where he guest bedroom will be.

The firm support in the south-west corner didn’t look too good.


But it did a few minutes later.


Nicholas and ‘Junior’ fixing the problem.

The focus over the next few days will be on completing the installation of the forms and fixing he rebar.

Should have mentioned earlier that Rose and I had a pleasant and numerous surprise when we got to the build. Our own ‘signposted’ parking spot.


We know where to park now.


And we did!

On the subject of golf carts ( well there is one in the last photo!) I thought you might like to see the car(t) showroom we have on the island.


Captain Shark’s golf cart showroom.

On the way home Rose and I saw that another building had been decorated with Christmas lights.


Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office.

What’s it like building in Ambergris Caye,Belize?

Up bright ( well very dark actually) at 3.45 am this morning for the pouring of concrete for the walls of the water tank for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. Didn’t need to get up that early obviously but I woke up so…

Had 2 two cups of coffee ( yes I know, probably one too many) on the veranda whilst I read The Times online. Showered and was at Estel’s for breakfast by 6 am when they opened for business ( yes, I did kiss Rose goodbye before I left).

Got there so early I had to wait for the cook to arrive. Didn’t have to wait too long because just before 6.15am I had my order of eggs ( two) sunny-side up, potatoes, bacon ( very crispy) and a wheat tortilla all with the obligatory ( well for me anyway) black coffee.

Was on the final piece of bacon when my ‘phone rang. It was Rose . She had showered, dressed and wanted to join me in going to watch our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. I paid the bill (BZ$17.50) and went to collect Rose.

We got to the site at 7.20 am, 80 minutes after the guys had started to work and it was obvious straight away that they had been busy and were still very busy filling the forms with concrete when we arrived.


The guys were expertly and vigorously using the long and precarious ramp to the forms.


Nicholas approaching the ramp.


Nicholas at the top of the ramp.


‘Junior’ ( must find out his real name) manoeuvring the wheelbarrow on the downward ramp.


Alfredo reaching the bottom of the downward ramp.

Rudimentary improvisation was in place making use of small boards as ramps to provide access for the wheelbarrows ( and three were in constant use today – skilfully and energetically used by Nicholas, Alfredo and ‘Junior’) to the forms for the pouring.


Improvisation and strength combine to do the job.

The guys on the wheelbarrows , once again, showed high levels of energy to deliver the concrete as quickly as possible.


Wheelbarrows queuing up to be unloaded.

Daniel Camal , our building contractor , and Anhill worked together to make sure that the small ramps were moved and positioned as required and helped to empty the wheelbarrows at the correct place.


Daniel and Anhill at work emptying a wheelbarrow.

Following up behind Daniel and Anhill one of the guys ( my challenge is to get his name tomorrow) was in action with the vibrator.

All of the team worked effectively and moved around the water tank filling the forms with the first stage of concrete.

At 9.09 am they broke for lunch but were back at work by 9.25 am.

While they were on break I took the opportunity of taking a photograph from where the Ground Floor Apartment’s bedroom will be.


The view guests will get from their bedroom ( will remove most , if not all, of the bushes though).

I mentioned the small ramps earlier well below are Daniel beginning the process and then Anhill finishing it.


Daniel positioning the blocks.


Anhill placing the board.

It didn’t all go to plan though. ‘Junior’ , on one of his many trips up the ramp, didn’t approach it correctly and managed to empty the contents of his wheelbarrow causing great laughter among the guys, me included .


‘Junior’ clearing up his mess.

For one of the more difficult sections of the forms to access they had to call on the assistance of the trowel master, me.


The ‘master’ troweling out the remnants of the wheelbarrow.


Me reluctantly handing the trowel back to Daniel.

At 12.10 pm the call was given to stop mixing any more concrete. The pour was reaching its end and 20 minutes later the last wheelbarrow of concrete was poured.


‘Junior’ had the honour of making the final pour.

Oh, meant to mention, when I was troweling out the wheelbarrow I heard the word maestro mentioned. My Spanish is virtually non-existent though so I don’t know if it was said with reverence or in jest.

With the final pour made Rose and I decided to call it a day. This wouldn’t be the case for the guys because they still had the finishing touches to apply and then the site clean-up to take care of .

So, what is it like to build in Ambergris Caye,Belize? Well, so far Rose and I are thoroughly enjoying it.

On the way home for lunch we bumped into someone who said that a guy was over from the mainland selling strawberries and that if we rushed to BC’s we might catch him. So we did and bought a bag ( just over a pound in weight) for BZ$10. Expensive you might think. Not us though. They were delicious.


Just waiting for some pouring by us . With ice cream!

‘Stay’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

It was that time again to go to the Immigration Department to get our Visas renewed to enable us to stay in Ambergris Caye, Belize for another 30 days.

As has been the case previously , we experienced no problems whatsoever and the entire process was completed in 8 minutes. Seen to straight away in the Immigration Department where we got our reference numbers. Into the Treasury Department to hand over BZ$50 for each of our Visas. Then back to the Immigration Department to get our passports stamped. No hanging around at all. A new record in processing time. We now get to ‘stay just a little bit longer’ ( well, 30 days actually).

Visa renewal in Belize isn’t that difficult.

When we got back to our apartment I took a coffee on to the veranda and saw a local guy going for his Gatorade substitute ( apologies for the quality ( or lack ) of the picture, I only had my iPad with me).


Cutting open the coconut.


Pouring the coconut water in to the jug.

From only 6 coconuts he got around three quarters of a jug. And, all for free!

After coffee Rose and I headed off to Pedro’s Hotel to watch the Bradford versus Arsenal game . Lunch was good but Arsenal lost so I have no more to say about this part of our day.

Aside that is that the game went to extra time and penalties so finished later than expected. The consequence being that we arrived at the build around 4.30pm in a dispirited mood.

Our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize though cheered us up immediately.

The guys were approaching the end of their long (and hard) day but were, as always, very friendly and pleasant when we arrived.

We could immediately see from the work that had been done today that the pouring of concrete for the walls of the water tank will take place tomorrow.

All internal forms were in place.


Elevated internal view of the western and southern sides of the forms.


Forms in place on the north-western ( where the Ground Floor bedroom will be) corner of the house.


Forms completed for the eastern side of the house.


Final work on the northern side of the house.

They were also double checking the measurements for the form work.


Nicholas making sure that it is right.

Given the elevated height of the water tank it is necessary to use ramps for the wheelbarrowing of the concrete and these were in place.


External ramp.


Internal ramp.

The concrete pouring for the walls of the water tank for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize starts tomorrow at 6 am so that they can take advantage of the cooler temperature. My plan is to be at Estel’s by 6 am ( they start serving at this time) to have a quick breakfast and be at the site by 6.40 am latest.

The headline was influenced by ‘Stay’ which is a single released by The Hollies ( group from Manchester, England) in 1964. It was their first hit and reached number 8 in the UK singles chart.

The group at that time included Graham Nash who later left to join forces with David Crosby and Stephen Stills ( Crosby, Stills and Nash) who were then joined by Neil Young ( Crosby,Stills, Nash and Young) to become a folk rock supergroup ( this bit is for an avid reader in the UK ( well I hope he is an avid reader!).

Ambergris Caye – ‘Warning Sign’

Forgot to mention in my Belize blog yesterday that I managed to pick up a parking ticket on Saturday when shopping to get a present for the shower party we were going to attend the next day.

Just plain stupidness on my part because the No Parking warning sign in front of Caye Supplies was plain to see. Only in the shop for 15 minutes but the ticket was on the golf cart by the time we had bought the present. Paid the BZ$25 fine at the San Pedro Town Council office this morning. I will pay far more attention to where and how I park in future!

So , when you come to Ambergris Caye look out for this sign.


Disregard it at you peril!

Thought I should warn you but there are more important things to worry about . And, as far as I am concerned, it is our build in Ambergris Caye.

So what is happening I hear you say. Well, work continues on putting the forms in place.


North east and east side of the house.


Eastern side of the house.


Interior forms in place on southern side of the house.


Forms in place between where the Ground Floor bedroom and en-suite bathroom will be.

Elevated photo ( I was on the scaffolded platform ( see later photo)) for this photo of the interior form work on the southern and western side of the house.


Work was focused on making sure that the forms are secure.


Between where the Ground Floor bathroom and bedroom will be.

Lots of activity in the ‘wood shop ‘ area of the site ( under the trees – in the shade- near the Bodega) making the forms.


They were also making sure that he external forms are firmly in place.


The method used to ensure that the forms are firmly in place is fairly rudimentary but, nonetheless , effective.


Close up and personal!

They have also started to prepare for the concrete pouring for the water tank walls which is scheduled for Wednesday ( don’t miss Thursday’s edition) by erecting a scaffold for the wheelbarrows to bring the concrete in.


Ramp (board) required and then ‘fit for purpose’.

This is only week 6 of the build and there is still a long way to go ( the project is scheduled to take 40 weeks) but it is so exciting to see each step along the way.

By the way, ‘Warning Sign’ ( featured in the headline in ‘honour’ of my parking ticket) is track number 8 on Coldplay’s August 2002 album ‘A rush of blood to the head’ .

Stay with my Belize blog and watch our build in Ambergris Caye.

Ambergris Caye – It’s “Easy” (like Sunday morning).

The annual San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade consumed my thoughts ( and the blog) yesterday and I didn’t get around to bringing you up to date on what has happened on our build in Ambergris Caye.

So, what has happened? Well , on Saturday afternoon Rose and I went to the site to see what progress had been made and were pleased to see that our guys ( we see them as that now) were all hard at work. In all honesty we have seen nothing less since the build started. Skilful at what they do with a great work ethic.

Concrete bricks had been laid where the water pipes will be housed. This will be immediately beneath the bathroom to the Ground Floor apartment.


Concrete had been poured and the forms removed for two of the pillars and for the other two pillars the concrete had been poured but the forms will remain until the concrete starts to set.

Concrete pillar.


A lot of work had also gone on to support/hold in place the forms for the concrete pour for the walls of the water tank.


Form in place on the south side of the house.


Work underway on the form for the west side of the house.

Focus was also on fixing the horizontal lengths of rebar.


Measuring the lengths required.


Cutting the rebar to the required length.


Forming the necessary curve in the rebar.


Fixing the rebar in place.

As has been the case for every single day since our build in Ambergris Caye commenced, Daniel Camal, our building contractor, was on site making sure that things are going to plan.


Daniel in the shade reviewing the architect’s plans.

On Friday we also took the next steps in the application process for the Qualified Retirement Programme.

This entailed a visit to the San Pedro Police Station to apply for Criminal Record Reports . We arrived at 10.30 only to be told that the person we needed to see was out of the office but would be back in 10 minutes . The 10 minutes actually turned out to be 50 minutes. Not a good start.

Things improved though when we met Police Constable Cho. He could not have been more helpful or pleasant.

We presented our 3 passport sized photos for each of us along with our passports ( to show our Visa stamps). PC Cho then asked for the photocopies of the relevant ( those with the Visa stamp) pages of our passports . We didn’t have these and thought that we would have to go to Gekko Graphics to get them copied (and maybe start the whole queuing process again). We couldn’t have been more wrong. Helpful PC Cho just copied them and then completed the necessary paperwork and asked us for BZ$12 for each of the applications.

He will take the applications to Belmopan ( Belize’s capital) next Wednesday and we should get the Criminal Record Reports 2 weeks later.

During this time Rose and I will have the medicals ( obtaining the necessary Doctor’s reports) that are required and then ( along with proof of finances) be in a position to send the application forms to the Belize Tourism Board.

We are hopeful of being admitted to the ‘Programme by no later than next February.

For those of you that are enjoying the photos of Christmas decorations around and about Ambergris Caye here are a few more:




The title for today’s edition comes from the Commodores’ 1979 song which reached number 4 in the US. It is also in ‘honour’ of Andy “Commodore’ Milner and Cindy Vigna whose baby shower party Rose and I attended Sunday afternoon . We had a great time and met lots of people.

Ambergris Caye : San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade 2012 – “Rock the boat”.

So why choose the Hues Corporation’s 1974 hit ( number 1 in both the US Billboard Hot 100 and in the UK) for today’s headline.

The reason is quite simple. Today in Ambergris Caye the annual San Pedro Holiday Boat Parade took place.

This event was introduced in 2006 following the prompting of Jan Brown who at that time ran the Pier Lounge Bar ( now Wahoo’s Lounge) and Rose and I were in San Pedro for the inaugural event and luckily have only missed one since then ( last year).

It’s a great fun event with locals and tourists alike congregating on the beach to watch the themed boats make their way along the coastline.

The ‘Parade commenced at 6pm from the dock in front of Wayo’s Beachside Beernet, then headed up to Caribbean Villas and then returned along the coastline for the prize giving ceremony at Central Park which started at 8.30pm.

There were a host of prizes on offer with the winner taking BZ$1,500, second prize of BZ$750 and the third placed boat gets BZ$500.

It’s not the money they were after though. It was the taking part and having and giving fun.

Not as many boats entered this year – only 9- but those that did really put on a fantastic show.







Central Park and the beach in front were packed with people enjoying themselves.



The food and beverage stalls were there with a variety of choice.


The children were enjoying themselves.


Santa was there.


And so was Miss San Pedro.


The time came to announce the prize winners and they were:
3rd place to the Aids Commission
2nd place and the Mayor’s Trophy to Hol Chan
1st place and the Minister’s Trophy to El Secreto.

The El Secreto team on stage after winning 1st place.


The winning boat setting off from dock in front of Wayo’s at the start of the parade.


The winning boat with lights on.


Only one boat could win but they were all winners for me.

No update on our build in Ambergris Caye in this edition but there will be in tomorrow’s.

Ambergris Caye – “Another brick in the wall”.

When we got to the build today they were busy replenishing stocks of the building materials for the next phase of our build in Ambergris Caye.


Sand being delivered.


Load tipped.

Next to arrive was a delivery of cement and concrete blocks (8 inch).


It didn’t take the two guys too long to unload the lorry . All quantities were checked off and signed for by one of Daniel Camal‘s, our building contractor, men.


Ready for use.

Next came the water delivery. This is necessary because there is no mains water where we are having our house built, hence the need for the water tank ( 25,000 gallon capacity) under the house.


For the technically minded and those readers that are just interested in this kind of detail, I should have perhaps mentioned some while ago that we hit bedrock ( the depth the piles were sunk to) at 6 feet and the concrete strength is 3,500 PSI ( normally used for areas where significant loading is expected).

The floor of the water tank was drying out nicely ( another 3 days and it should be totally dry).


Middle of the floor looking north-east.


Middle of the floor looking south-east.


Middle of the floor looking south-west.


Middle of the floor looking north-west.

Work was underway on building the wall that will support the veranda from the bedroom of the Ground Floor apartment’s bedroom.


Three courses of concrete blocks in place.


Making fine adjustments for the first ‘block of the forth and final course.

The wheelbarrow still had a role today to bring the cement to the build for the laying of he ‘blocks.


Alfredo making the walk for cement.

The mixer was not in use today because of the relatively small amount of cement required.


Alfredo knocking-up the cement.

The final course of ‘blocks was finally laid.


Work was also going on putting in place the forms for the walls for the water tank.


Nicholas making sure that the form board is level.

Although it was much quieter on our build in Ambergris Caye today – only 7 guys on the site – it was really exciting to see the floor of the water tank in place AND to be able to walk on it. A picture moment without doubt.


Me standing in a central position on the floor of the water tank.

Next week ( week 6) the schedule is to pour the walls and ceiling of the water tank ( this doubles as the floor of the Ground Floor) and the walls required for the Ground Floor. An ambitious target but one ( weather permitting) we are confident that Daniel Camal , our building contractor, and his team will achieve.

On the way home we spotted another Christmas decoration around Ambergris Caye. This one outside of The Village Market opposite Reef Village.


Musical – but rather short- Santa.

Oh the headline. Well obviously because the first wall was laid for our build in Ambergris Caye but also from Pink Floyd’s song of the same title which made number 1 in the UK and USA ( and quite a few other countries too) in 1979.

We got laid in Ambergris Caye

Bet the headline got your attention. Well more about that later.

Got up this morning at 4.50 all set and eager for the pouring of the concrete for the water tank . All 40 feet by 40 feet of it.

I didn’t want to cramp the guys space at the beginning of the shift and believing that they were going to start at 7am I went to Estel’s for breakfast before heading to the site. Got there a shade before 7am ( I like to take my time when I get up in the morning) and was finished breakfast ( scrabbled egg, bacon, potatoes and wheat tortilla plus black coffee) by 7.30am. Needed to make sure that I was ready for the big – and long – day ahead.

Got to the build at 7.45am only to find that not only had they started pouring but had been doing so since 6am. Teach me to take my time in the morning!

The first thing I saw after locking the golf cart ( it never pays to take a risk, even on your own land) was the guys filling up buckets of sand, crushed stone and water.


The cement mixer was in full swing.


And the concrete was being poured into the wheelbarrows.


As soon as one wheelbarrow was filled the next in line was filled too.


Note wheelbarrow one in the background on the 150 feet walk to the further most point of the pour.

By the time I got to the site they were already well underway with the pouring of the concrete for the water tank base that will be beneath the living/kitchen area of the Ground Floor apartment.


The guy in the rust coloured sweat top is Daniel Camal our building contractor . He got his hands ‘dirty’ too.

The wheelbarrows continued to arrive at a very speedy pace. Amazing given the heat even at that time in the morning.


A vibrator was used to remove the trapped air from the concrete .


After vibrating the concrete was given a smooth finish with a float.


I stayed until the first section had been finished and then went to collect Rose.


When Rose and I got back to the site they were still hard at work – all 15 of them, including Daniel Camal- and were by now tackling the second section ( the water tank that will sit immediately beneath the store room and golf cart parking area).


Busy at work on the second section.


Vibrator in action again.

Work was progressing very well and at noon the lunch break was called. Chicken, rice and beans for all of the guys courtesy of Daniel Camal with soft drinks bought by Rose and I. These were purchased from Jason our next door neighbour who runs Pirate Villa and Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar. It pays to keep in with your neighbour !


Fed and ‘watered’ the guys were back hard at work within 20 minutes and all was going well when trouble struck when the cement mixer could not be started. Numerous attempts were made to get it going again but to no avail. Daniel left the site and returned around 40 minutes later with a new spark plug. Within 10 minutes of his arrival the ‘mixer was at full blast again.

The extended break had probably not done the guys any favours because I am sure that their muscles must have tightened but you wouldn’t have thought so because they were back in action straight away.

They worked solidly on the final section and at 3.17pm the concrete from the final wheelbarrow was poured by Junior ( not too sure that this is his real name but he is the youngest member of the team).


The vibrator was used for the last time.


The floor of the water tank was finished.


To give you a break from the concrete here are a few more photos ( some you may have seen before but not at night) of Christmas decorations around San Pedro Town.





The final mention though must go to the guys on the build. Rose and I are full of admiration for the skill, hard work and effort of all of the guys and thanks to them we well and truly ‘got laid’.

Ambergris Caye – Get the “Picture”

Today we took the first demonstrable steps towards applying for the Qualified Retirement Programme . Two days ago I popped into the San Pedro Police Station to find out what is required to obtain the necessary Criminal Record Report . A much simpler requirement than I had imagined. Three passport sized photographs each for Rose and I, our passports and a processing fee.

So we went to Belicolour which is next door to Gekko Graphics. Our photos very taken straight away and we got 4 photos each ( one to spare) for a total of BZ$30 (BZ$15 each). On Friday we shall present the necessary documentation at the Police Station.

Christmas decorations around Ambergris Caye.

While out getting our photographs taken and doing some general shopping we came across some more Christmas decorations.


Super Buy (South).


Barrier Reef Drive.


Barrier Reef Drive.


Barrier Reef Drive.


Near Polo’s Golf Cart Rentals.

The build.

Before going up to the site we took the opportunity of going to look at another house that Daniel Camal, our building contractor , is building. This is situated in the south of the island and is scheduled to be completed for Christmas.

The purpose of our visit was to look at the doors, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry and tiling. We were exceptionally pleased with what we saw.


Same style of door and wood (mahogany) that we have chosen. Ours will be a darker colour though.


Bathroom cabinets. Again, ours will be a darker colour.


Internal tile finish.

We then went on to the build and when we got there saw that the finishing touches were being applied to the rebar by binding the bars running from east to west with those running from north to south.


A close-up of the rebar rods bound together.


Team busy binding the rebar rods.

All is on target for the pouring of concrete for the water tank and the necessary materials were on site in readiness.


Sand, cement and gravel (crushed stone).


Water tank full.

The concrete pouring is scheduled (weather permitting) to start at 7am tomorrow . So an early breakfast at Estel’s is in order.

A ‘report’ and photos will follow.

Today’s headline was influenced by the song “Picture” by Kid Rock ( Robert James “Bob” Ritchie) and Sheryl Crow which made number 4 in the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2003. This song is one of Rose’s current favourites.

If you didn’t know yesterday was Little Richard’s 80th birthday. Hope he had a Wopbabalubop day!

Ambergris Caye – “Coconut”

A somewhat eclectic post today. Primarily because I did not think that you would want to see loads of photos of rebar and forms put in place . To be honest I didn’t fancy it either. So …

Marley update
Regular readers will recall, I am sure, that Rose kept one of the coconuts we were given to plant on our land and brought it back to our apartment.

It was ceremoniously planted in a tub, placed in a prime position on the veranda and given the name Marley. When we got the coconut ( or for my wife’s sake, him) it was 12 inches tall.


Marley just after adoption next to new friend Basil.

In the 16 days he ( I have been indoctrinated ) has been with us he has had a staple diet of sunshine and water with liberal doses of reggae. The result ? He has grown 4 inches.


A much taller Marley.

We are using the lot next to where our house is being built ( we bought both lots at the same time) to ‘bring on’ plants that we shall eventually use to landscape the garden around our new home.

We have 6 hibiscus cuttings on our veranda that we hope to propagate and when they are strong enough will take them up to our ‘nursery garden’ lot. These will join the coconut trees we have already planted along with the banana and bamboo that our neighbour Jason has promised us.

We are hopeful that we will also be able to grow some citrus trees and get a vegetable garden going. Time will tell . And I will tell you!

Household stuff.
Probably the only negative about the apartment we are renting is that a clause in the lease agreement prohibits us from hanging out washing on the veranda. We tried for a while to dry our clothes covertly by hanging them out at night but it wasn’t long before we were asked to desist.

We, therefore, needed an alternative and looked high and low in the shops on Ambergris Caye to find a clothes drying frame ( clothes horse for UK readers) but to no avail.

We did come across one in Benny’s Home Center ( when pricing building materials) but at around BZ$130 was, as far as we were concerned, too high a price to pay.

Luck was with us, however, when I was on one of my dental trips to Belize City . Whilst sitting in the reception I read the newspaper to kill some time and came across an advert for Delta Stores ( in Albert Street) promoting a special offer on clothes drying frames at – wait for it- BZ$29. Result!


Folded for easy storage.


Ready for action.


In action!

Christmas Decorations around Ambergris Caye.
Came across the one below in the ‘garden’ behind Waruguma in Pescador Drive. By the way, Waruguma means star in Garifuna.


The build.
After taking care of our domestic needs eg washing, shopping, drawing cash out of he ATM (ouch) we headed to the build for our ( at least) daily visit.

Pleased to see that we now have 10 people working on the build ( we have an inclusive labour price ) and they were working on fitting the rebar and filling the golf cart ramp section.


Rebar north to south and east to west under where the Ground Floor apartment will be now in place.


Piles and fill-in completed or where the veranda for the Ground Floor apartment will be.


View of Ground Floor looking from north west to south east.

Oh, the headline “Coconut” comes from the 1971 ( made number 8 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart) by Harry Nilsson.

Ambergris Caye – “Mud on the tyres”.

The heavy rainfall during Sunday night didn’t fill me with much confidence that it would be a good day on the build today.

When Rose and I visited the site on Ambergris Caye where we are building our house early yesterday afternoon it was extremely squelchy ( great word isn’t it) and, in places, underwater. The heavy rain that followed could only have made it worse, maybe even creating a quagmire, so we thought.

I set off for the site this morning around 10am fearing the worst.Would the poor ground conditions prevent meaningful further work on preparation for the water tank.

My fears were somewhat reduced on the drive up because when I was approaching the build the puddles in the road were nowhere near as wide or as deep as I had thought they would be . Thank you sunshine!

When I got to the site the guys were busy at work laying and compacting the sand that will provide the base for the concrete that will be poured to create the base of the tank.


Wheelbarrowing sand in. Heavy work over a difficult terrain.

The sand was then spread evenly across the sections formed by the rebar.


Shovels at work.

Having spread the sand it was time to compact it. No automated jumping jacks on this site, it is all done with hand tampers.



It was then time to fit the 6 mil polyethylene sheets. These sheets, when laid, provide a vapour moisture barrier when the concrete is poured.


Sheet being unfurled.


Sheet being positioned.


Sheet being pinned in place.


Sheeting for what directly above the water tank will be the Ground Floor self-contained apartment.


All sheets in place.

In the afternoon the tasks were to put in place the rebar and start filling-in where the ramp for the golf cart will be.


East to west rebar in place.


Golf cart ramp being filled.

During the next two days the remaining rebar will be fitted and the forms will be fixed in readiness for the concrete pouring.

The weather had improved but the tyres ( on my golf cart) were muddy, hence the title of this post. The title comes from the 2004 song by Brad Paisley which made number 30 in the Billboard Hot 100 but number 1 in the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Ambergris Caye – “Lazy Sunday”

Today’s headline is influenced by the Small Faces 1968 song “Lazy Sunday” which reached number 2 in the UK charts. It came from their album “Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake”.

I saw the Small Faces around 1966 ( showing my age again) when they appeared at Stratford Town Hall which was not far from where I was brought up in East London.

The day in Ambergris Caye started off with a lovely blue sky and bright sunshine and Rose and I decided that we would take a leisurely ( it was to be our lazy Sunday) stroll along the beach in a southerly direction ( heading towards San Pedro Town). This plan changed around noon when the sky darkened and the rain began to come down.

Being flexible of thought we decided that instead of the walk we would get our weatherproofs out and take the golf cart to our build in Ambergris Caye is taking place to measure the distance between the foundations laid for our front stairs and the ramp for the golf cart.

We wanted to do this to make sure that the ramp ( which has an extended length when compared to the architect’s plan because we have increased the depth of the foundations to avoid the risk of flooding) does not impede access to the Ground Floor stairs.

A quick wade through the mud with a tape measure assured us that our fears were unfounded.

On the way up to our land we saw an interesting sign which got our imagination racing.


It looked like a branch of Crime Scene Investigation had been set up . Was there going to be TV series of CSI Ambergris Caye to join those for Las Vegas, Miami and New York? A quick bit of investigation on our part informed us otherwise.

The sign is actually for the Crocodile Scientific Investigators which is operated by the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary. Our appetite is whetted ( lovely word isn’t it) and we are going to take the tour at some point in the near future and when we do I will post a review with, of course, some photos.

We decided that for our lunch ( remember it is our lazy Sunday so no cooking to be done) we would pick up a barbeque from Carlo who, on a Sunday, operates ( or works his culinary skills) behind BC’s. He offers chicken, pork chops, sausages, ribs or combos, all with sides.

The menu.


Where the magic takes place.


Chicken nearly ready.


I decided to ‘go’ for the chicken.


And Rose opted for the ribs.


As well as being the barbeque king Carlo is also the quizmaster for the trivia quiz that is held every Friday evening at BC’s and is , in his own words, the ‘pulchritudinous host’. Pulchritudinous by the way means a person of great physical attractiveness. There is only one way to find out if this is true – you will have to go there yourself!

We have enjoyed our lazy Sunday but are looking forward to the recommencement of the build tomorrow.

In Ambergris Caye “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”

Why the headline I hear you say. Well I chose the Johnny Mathias 1986 release ( I know that Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters released it first) of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” because that is exactly what it feels like around and about San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye.

In all the years that Rose I had visited Ambergris Caye for our holidays we never stayed for Christmas. Obviously this year we shall correct this . We did though frequently come in December ( one of the reasons for me was that had I remained in the UK I would have been obligated to attend very many work related seasonal functions) and were always enamoured with the obvious enthusiasm that the San Pedranos embraced Christmas with.

This year is no different and the Christmas decorations started to appear a few weeks ago. Just some that we have seen ( follow future posts for photos of the decorated houses and businesses that we come across in the next few weeks):


Wings Department Store ( well the closest thing to a department store on the island anyway ).


Scotia Bank, Coconut Drive.


Moondancer, Pescador Drive.


A & R, Pescador Drive.


Tropic Air Departure Lounge.


Wine de Vin, Coconut Drive.


Blue Water Grill, Beach.


House in Boca del Rio.

Regular readers primarily interested in the build have probably been uttering Bah! Humbug whilst looking at the photos so for them I will give an update on the build.

Fortunately we had no rain – there were only one or two light drops – to speak of today so work on the build was unaffected and, as planned, the sand was laid in readiness for the pouring of the concrete for the water tank next week.


Wheelbarrowing the sand in.


This is where the Ground Floor bedroom and kitchen/living rooms will be ( the Ground Floor apartment).


The middle section has not been sanded because this is where the pipes to the septic tank will run from. This section will have concrete poured later but the pipes will not be covered by concrete so that we have ease of access to them.


Where the store room will be.

We can now more clearly see the footprint of the house and are really looking forward to seeing the concrete poured.