“Up, up and away” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Didn’t get up this morning until 7.15 am. The consequence of an action packed,fun-filled day (OK so I am easily satisfied) yesterday.

Had two mugs of coffee to give the body the caffeine boost it needed whilst reading The Times on line and trawling through my emails. The best -and most welcome one- being from my sister Chris (for those of you that think you know me there is a soft side to me).

A quick shower and shave and four slices of jam (no butter!) on toast ( see I don’t eat a fried breakfast every day – although if you read this blog regularly it might seem like I do) and I was ready to knuckle down and pull the paperwork together for our application to enter the QRP ( Belize’s Qualified Retirement Program).

First off was assembling the documentation needed to prove that I (Rose will be a dependent – always told her she depended on me!) will be able to meet the requirement of bringing in to Belize not less than US$ 24,000 (equivalent of US$ 2,000 per month) a year. This is the only element of the application process that a dependent does not have to provide. Then it was digging out copies of our Birth Certificates and our Marriage Certificate.

I then moved on to completing the application form ( I got mine from the Belize Tourism Board office located in Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro Town but you can get a copy on-line). There are only four pages to it ( but most of these are filled with explanatory notes) so this didn’t take too long.

With all of the necessary documentation pulled together Rose and I headed off to the town to get passport sized photos taken ( four front and four side profile) and then in to Gekko Graphics to get our passports ( every single page, whether used or not) photocopied along with the other documentation. There was such a lot to copy that they asked us to call back in 30 minutes so we used the time to pick up some groceries.

With the copying done we went to see Amanda Syme ( who is a Justice of the Peace) of Sunrise Realty to validate the copies of our passports .This done we headed off to the Belize Tourism Board office to hand in the application form. We should know in between six to eight weeks if we have been accepted or not.

With the application submitted we headed home to drop off the documentation that had been copied and then went straight to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and got there by 3.45 pm.

On the way up to the First Floor we could see the guys taking the assembled rebar frames to the Second Floor.




Up it goes.

A quick check with Nicholas that it was OK for me to go to the Second Floor and I was up, up and away.


Carefully does it.

With a couple of carefully placed feet I was up on the Second Floor surrounded by an ‘army’ of guys busy at work fixing the rebar in place.


Busy tying the rebar together.


I very quickly found a position where I would not be in the way of the guys and took the opportunity of looking at the views from this much higher position and this is what I could see.


Looking south-west.


Looking west.


Looking north-west.


To the north.

Stepping carefully around Zapeda who was busily studying the plans I moved to the other side of the floor.


“Where does the next bit go?”.

In a new position I continued with my look at the views.


Looking east.


Another shot looking east.


Looking south-east.

All of the floor was being covered with rebar apart from where the stairwell will be.


Stairwell from the Fist Floor to the Second Floor.

Whilst up on the Second Floor I could see the road that had been cleared to the north ( this is currently being discussed very actively on the Ambergris Caye forum) and I will include some photographs of this in tomorrow’s edition.

I could have stayed up there for ever (OK a bit of an exaggeration) but I could see that the guys were getting ready to start getting their tools down to the bodega so I left them to it.

The headline is based on the 1967 song by The 5th Dimension which reached number seven in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Doctor! Doctor!” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With an appointment with the doctor, Doctor Miguel Allison, for the medical required as an element of the application process to be allowed entry into the Belize QRP (Qualified Retirement Program) at 9.30 am there were no mugs of coffee for me on the veranda this morning. Just a couple of glasses of water. Not the same. Not the same at all. No wonder I didn’t have my normal joie de vivre!

We arrived at the doctor’s surgery on time and after about five minutes in the reception (small) area Rose was called in to see Doctor Allison. Within a minute I was in there too – he had to fill in some forms (forms follow us everywhere !). A quick blood pressure test for each of us and we were then sent to the laboratory in Barrier Reef Drive to have blood tests (to prove that neither one of us has AIDS).


Outside of surgery in Trigger Fish Street.

We got to the laboratory within minutes and following a short wait – whilst listening to the groans of someone whose veins were not prominent (not too gory for you is it?) -Rose went in to give her blood sample. I followed within minutes to give mine. We were then asked to call back in an hour to collect the results so I went for a late breakfast (yes, at Estel’s) and that much needed mug of coffee. One sip and I felt normal (well as normal as I ever can be) again. Rose, not being as ‘hooked’ on a fried breakfast as I am, went shopping. Now that is what you call a division of labour!

While in Estel’s I was rewarded for my unstinting loyalty (my money) with the gift (OK so I asked for it) of a free Estel’s ‘T’ shirt. Must remember not to wear it when I go there otherwise I might end up being mistaken for a waiter!


Can’t wait to wear it.

Breakfast over it was back to the laboratory to pick up our results – both clear, as we knew we would be – and back to the doctor to drop them off where we were told that we could pick up the medical reports after 3 pm.

On the way home Rose popped in to Wine de Wine to choose a bottle of wine to take with us to Pedro’s Hotel where we were going to be guests for a lunch hosted by Ian Ritchie (Captain Sharks).

On the way to Pedro’s Hotel I dropped the golf cart in for it’s service. It’s only about 50 yards away so exceptionally convenient.

We had -as is always the case – an exceptionally enjoyable lunch. This time it comprised of : chicken, roast potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, peas and corn on the cob. Oh, and gravy too. Followed by Cracker Barrel cheddar and a blue cheese ( no photographs of the dishes because I have ‘done’ my ‘meal on a plate’ shot for a while). Meal over we went outside to find a serviced and meticulously clean golf cart waiting for us.

We drove straight to the doctor’s to pick up our medical reports which, I am pleased to tell you, were A-OK. So, in a very happy frame of mind we headed off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and got there around 3 pm.

We weren’t surprised when we got there to see that the guys were still fixing the forms. There are, after all, a lot of forms to fix. Walking from the golf cart we could see activity at the front of the house where they were focusing on the forms for the Second Floor veranda.


Front of the house action.

A walk around to the side of the house and we could see that the forms had been completed.


The northern side of the house. Look hard and you can see Rose on the veranda of the Ground Floor lagoon facing bedroom.

Continuing our walk we got to the back of the house ( the western (lagoon) side) to see that there were four guys at work fixing the rebar in place.


A variety of approaches to do the same job.

A look towards the lagoon showed that the land had started to dry out following the drenching it had got from the high tide.


Drying out nicely.

At the back of the house three guys were putting the supports in place for the extension of the veranda for the Second Floor at the south-western corner.



A close-up.

With all of the form work they are using a hell of a lot of plywood and while we were there Daniel Camal, our building contractor, arrived in his truck with a further supply.


Anhill making light work of it.

Now that the Ground Floor has been tidied up many of the guys are using the rooms to keep their bags and change of clothes in. Much better than the bodega.


Like a real changing room.

Before leaving our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize I asked Daniel if tomorrow I can go up to the top floor if I keep well out of the way of the guys. He agreed. So trainers for me tomorrow!

On the way home Rose and I saw that the driver of one of Harmouch’s ( or Harmouch’s Center Ltd to give its full name) had been particularly active.


Now that’s what you call a pick-up truck.

The headline is based on the 1984 song by the Thompson Twins which reached number three in the UK Singles Chart and number eleven in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“A Little Good News” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

What with the forms coming down and forms going up went at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize yesterday I omitted to report on the meeting we had with Daniel Camal our building contractor.

After much deliberation – and imagining how we would like to use every window in the house- we were able to finally (true to say that we have changed our minds quite a few times) exactly what windows windows we want. Aside from the three clerestory windows (Ground Floor self-contained apartment living room area, First Floor bedroom (Rose’s handicraft room) and the dining area on the First Floor) all windows ( of varying dimensions) will be the PGT Winguard’s SH500 (single hung) window.

With this important decision taken we proceeded to run through the rest of our ‘agenda’ which ranged from using water from the well to flush the toilets (as opposed to using the rainwater collection tank), to the further mahogany wood stain shades we would like ( for kitchen cabinets, stair treads and doors) to showing Daniel the types of fences we would like for Tres Cocos and Fire Coral Street ( Daniel will now provide quotes) and the air-conditioning pipes near the clerestory windows (thanks to subscriber Steve Martin for that).

At the end of the meeting we got a little good news from Daniel when he told us he is aiming to have our build in Ambergris Caye, Beliize finished by the middle of July. If this is achieved he will have brought the project in one month early.

Before I move on to giving you a progress report on today’s activity at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize I want to thank all of the regular readers ( and the occasional readers as well for that matter) for not being indelicate and asking where the guys go when they need to ‘go’. Well, below is the answer to that question.


If you look hard you can just make out the ‘Engaged’ sign on the first branch!

Whilst Rose was pulling together the ‘minutes’ for our meeting with Daniel I used the time to organise a service for the golf cart and appointments for Rose and I with Doctor Miguel Allison (the one that the did the EKG that I needed for my dental treatment) for the medicals we need to have carried out for our application to enter the QRP (Qualified Retirement Program).

With the tasks complete we were ready to set off to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and when we got there at around 2.30 am and were very pleased to hear the sound of electric saws and hammers. Knowing that the next stage of the build is the fixing of the forms for the ceiling of the First Floor/floor of the Second Floor these were just the sounds that we wanted to hear.

A walk up the stairs and we could see that the guys had been busy.


Forms and supports complete in Rose’s handicraft room.


Same applied for the veranda on the western (lagoon) side.

The dining area was being used as the storage area for the form boards.


They won’t be there long!

Work was underway on the veranda on the southern side.


Board in place to protect the pipe work.

Down below us at ground level the younger members of the team were using their salvaging skills to recover poles to support the forms when they are fitted.


Might look like a rubbish tip to you.


But there’s some good stuff there.

Up above us there was the constant sound of hammering with boards being fixed at a really good pace.



We took time out to have a look out at the lagoon and were surprised to see the flooding that the high tide had caused ( not just on our land, but on our neighbour’s too).


Good job we are having it land-filled.

As is normally the case, when we visit in the afternoon it coincides with the guy’s break time and it never ceases to amaze me the places they choose to take their rest.


Personally I prefer a hammock.

With the break over they returned to work with a flurry and there appeared to be bodies everywhere (never did manage to count how many guys were on site).


Crowded or what?

When we left we could see that there were just as many guys, if not more, fitting boards on the top of the house.


View of the northern side of the house.

The way the guys applied themselves today the concrete pour for Saturday looks good If they carry on like this it might even be Friday.

The headline is based on the 1983 song by Anne Murray which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It also reached number seventy-four in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number ninety-two in the UK Singles Chart.

“Boat Drinks” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Apologies to regular readers that there was no edition yesterday.

With no work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize there wasn’t anything obvious to feature and rather than produce an edition just for the sake of it I decided, as publisher, not ” to publish and be damned” ( OK I know it was the Duke of Wellington -and not a publisher- that made this statement). I did ponder whether I should do a ‘heres where we started and heres where we are now’ edition’. Decided against it because regular readers have seen it all before. And , its all in the archives anyway. You’ve got to have editorial standards haven’t you ( apologies if I am getting a little carried away with myself -shades of Randolph Hearst/Rupert Murdoch creeping in?).

Did spend a fair amount of time yesterday preparing for the weekly meeting with Daniel Camal, our building contractor, that we deferred from last Friday (because of the preparations for the concrete pour on Saturday), until today.

After that had been taken care of I spent a couple of hours driving around the island – north and south of the bridge – looking at the types of fences that people have had erected. We need to decide on two types of fence. One for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and the other for our lots in San Pablo (to hopefully keep them clear of rubbish).

Anyway, enough of what I did yesterday and why there wasn’t an edition on Monday and on to what has gone on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize today.

Got to the site around 2.15 pm after spending the prior time taking care of odd jobs. On pulling into our land I noticed that Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar had fixed a boat on the exterior fence that definitely attracts attention.


Boat (and) drinks (you can see our build in the background).

On the approach to the house it was immediately evident that the forms had been removed from the beams that had been poured on Saturday.


Forms removed from the beams that will support the veranda on the eastern side of the house.


Forms removed from the beams that will support the veranda on the southern side of the house.

A walk up the stairs to the First Floor revealed that they had made a good start on putting the forms in place for the ceiling of the First Floor/floor of the Second Floor.


Forms in place in the utility room.


And the dining area.

While the guys on the First Floor were busy at work fitting the forms work was going on at ground level preparing the rebar (apologies to readers who have a phobia about rebar).


Put your back into it!


And away you go.

They had also placed the piping ready for use.


They had also put a good supply of plywood at ground level ready for the next area to have the forms fitted .


When the guys took their afternoon break I wondered if the boards had been placed there for forms or for the rest period?


Not as good as a hammock but…

Now that the house is taking shape it is attracting the attention of the local building supply merchants and while I was there we were visited by a guy from a paint supplier and the new island based representative from Benny’s Homecenter.


Paint supplier representative leaving the site.

The guys are also cleaning up the Ground Floor in preparation for the plastering of the internal walls.


The store room nearly ready.

At our meeting with Daniel Camal, our building contractor, at 5 pm he confirmed that the target is to pour the concrete for the ceiling of the First Floor/floor of the Second Floor on Saturday. Can’t wait!

The headline is based on the song by Jimmy Buffett which was released in 1979 as the ‘B’ side to the single entitled “Survive”. Although not a hit, “Boat Drinks” is one of his most popular songs.

‘On the Road Again’ in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

I don’t know what it is about a concrete pour for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but the advent of one most definitely increases my excitement levels. And this was decidedly the case this morning when I woke up much earlier than usual at 3.30 am.

On finding out the time I tried very hard to return to sleep. Counted sheep. Counted the number of goal scoring chances that Arsenal have spurned in recent games. Turned to a more pleasant subject and tried to count the number of concrete blocks used for our house so far. Nothing worked. In fact I became more awake and so gave it up as a bad job and got up.

After a couple of mugs of coffee on the veranda it was time for a shave and shower, on with the shorts and T shirt, grab the camera, kiss Rose goodbye, and I was on the road again to head to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Got there at 6.25 am and it was eerily quiet. No sound of voices. No sound of the concrete mixer. A quick look at the bodega to see that it was still locked and that there were none of the guys’ bikes around informed me that I was too early. Not wishing to be there when they ‘clocked in’ at 7 am I was forced to go for breakfast again at Estel’s (OK I could have just hung around but…).


Watching the sun come up whilst having breakfast.

Got served quickly (only three other customers there) and was back at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize at 7.30 am to pleasingly see that it was ‘all go’. No ‘mixer going yet but it was obvious the way things were laid out that it wouldn’t be long before it was.


Buckets neatly stacked.


Wheelbarrows ‘standing at attention’.

A walk down the path from the bodega and I could see a hive of activity with guys setting up the platforms on the scaffold while others were finishing off the form work.



Nicholas measuring the board for the front of the form.

I hadn’t been there too long when the food cart arrived and the guys rushed to get food and drinks and found their
dining areas around the site. When they started the concrete pour there would be no stopping for breaks.


A group of the guys in the shade under the trees near the bodega.

Within twenty minutes they were back hard at work finishing the forms.


Probably the youngest member of the team (his Dad was a member too) stuffing the end of the form with a wet cement bag to stop the concrete pouring out.

With the forms finished by 8.45 am the final preparations for the pour were underway.


Filling the water chiller up.

And the guys that would be on bucket duty assembled near the scaffolding.


Time to ‘feed’ the concrete mixer.


Nicholas and Sam on bucket duty with the shingle and sand.

And Wayne with the cement.



On yer head, as they say in England.

It wasn’t long before the wheelbarrows were delivering the concrete to the base of the scaffolding for pouring into buckets.


The first delivery.


And up the buckets go.


Loaded into the wheelbarrow.


Delivered to the pouring point and lifted to the guy on pouring duty. Zapeda on lifting duty.


And Rafael with the pour.

With the pour underway I went home to watch the second half of the Arsenal versus Aston Villa game (see what our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize means to me – I missed the first half!). Arsenal won.

Rose and I returned to the site at around 12.30 pm to watch the final stages of the build and the guys were still hard at it at the front of the house.


Through the utility room window.


To be poured.

The guys finished the pour at 2 pm, just over 5 hours after they started and they were all looking forward to the start of their weekend . They get Sunday off!


The final bucket.

Next week the guys will fit the forms and rebar as the forerunner to the pour for the slab that will form the ceiling for the First Floor and the floor of the Second Floor.

The headline today is based on not one but two songs.. The first by Canned Heat was released in 1968 and reached number eight in the UK Singles Chart and number sixteen in the US Billboard Hot 100. The second song, with the same title, by Willie Nelson, was released in 1980 and reached number twenty in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

I have it from a reliable source that the Mystery Blogger saw Canned Heat perform at Hyde Park and also saw Willie Nelson at the Hammersmith Palais.

‘Up For Breakfast’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Delayed reading The Times until I got to Estel’s (Dine by the Sea to give its full name) for a late,late (especially as I was out of bed and up for breakfast by 4.30 pm) breakfast at 10.30 pm. Decadent living ! Well, at least decadent for me.

Don’t think I have mentioned it before but I read The Times for a few reasons. I like the newspaper (and its sister title The Sunday Times too for that matter). The subscription is relatively inexpensive at the equivalent of approximately BZ$24 per month. And I want the owner of the newspaper- News International – to make money because in a few years time I will draw my News International pension. So am making some belated pension contributions!

Anyway, back to my breakfast. At BZ$15 you get a great selection to make your choice of four items from. And for a further BZ$2.50 you get unlimited coffee ( it may not be truly unlimited but I always have to call a halt because if not they just keep refilling the mug).

Having been a reader of other blogs for a while it appears that it is de rigueur to include a photo of your meal. So here it is.


Not a meal to get a thumbs-up from a dietician but it went down well for me.

Anyway, enough of culinary corner and on to the reason for this blog – our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

On the way there Rose and I went to see Daniel Camal, the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize, to tell him that we would like to defer the meeting we had scheduled for 5 pm until Monday. When with him he told us that on Saturday the concrete pour for the Second Floor beams will take place. With this good news we set off to visit our land in Tres Cocos.

We arrived there around 2.15 pm with the belief, given what Daniel had told us, that there would be a lot of activity going on. We were not disappointed.

On arrival we saw that a lorry was delivering a fresh supply of cement.


Ready for the pour.

It wasn’t long before they had off-loaded and were on their way.


Heading back to the depot for another load.

Once up on the First Floor Rose and I saw straight away the effort that was being made to get the necessary forms in place for the pour.


Erecting the scaffold to finish the forms on the eastern side of the house.


Martin getting the board into position.


And the nails go in.

Simultaneously work was going on to finish the forms on the western (lagoon) side of the house.


Not the best seat in the house.

And the two youngest members of the team were focusing on completing the forms over the kitchen area.


Look too young to be at work don’t they.

A walk around to the veranda on the northern side and we could see that work had commenced there.


Nicholas busy at work.

At the front of the house Anhill was making the forms for the Second Floor veranda.


I couldn’t get much closer.

Rose and I left when the guys stopped work to take their afternoon break and as we were leaving we noticed that Daniel is now having the bodega locked during the day as well as the night. This follows the visit by someone on a golf cart on Wednesday who had no apparent reason to be on the site and made no attempt to speak to anyone. Very suspicious.


Better to be safe than sorry!

As we were about to get in the golf cart we saw some of the guys returning with coconuts freshly picked for their break.


Reminiscent of a famous ‘Beatles photograph taken in Abbey Road many years ago.

As we pulled away we looked up to see the two youngest members of the team taking their break.


You would never think that they are twenty-five feet plus above the ground.

See tomorrow’s edition for plenty of action packed photos of the build. Exciting, isn’t it.

The headline is based on the the third track of disc one of the 2004 greatest hits album ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ by Van Halen. The album reached number three in the US Billboard 200 and number fifteen in the UK Albums Chart.

‘I Feel Lucky’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Sitting on the veranda this morning I was struck by just how lucky Rose and I are to be living on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Why so reflective? Well I suppose it might have had something to do with it being a beautiful sunny morning. A morning made cooler by a strong south-westerly breeze (well I think it was coming from that direction).

Being able to sit outside in the early morning wearing just a pair of shorts (yes,I was topless!) watching people (those that are here for a holiday and those that live here) walking the beach and looking so happy to be doing so. Being transfixed by the swaying of the palms which sometimes appear to take on a human form (and no, I am not on hallucinogenic drugs).

I don’t want anyone to run away with the thought that this is always an idyllic place to live. It has it’s frustrations. You cannot always get what you would like. Or when you want it. Simple things can take so much longer to complete. It may not be Shangri-La but, as far as I am concerned, the ‘pros’ far outweigh the ‘cons’ and I feel lucky to eventually have relocated here.

In this contented frame of mind I turned my attention to reviewing the draft contract that my friend had asked me to have a look at.

I have to be honest that I have to concentrate that much harder now than when I was working for a living but eventually I got through the draft – marking up my suggested amendments and listing questions I have – and when I did I was only too ready to go look at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Because of the review of the contract Rose and I didn’t get to our land until around 3.30 pm. We weren’t disappointed by this though because there was likely to be more to see when we got there. And there was.

On pulling up we could see that the rebar frames for the Second Floor veranda on the eastern side had been completed.


Just need the forms fitted now.

Before going up to the First Floor we decided to have a walk around the Ground Floor now that the forms and support poles have been removed.


Kitchen/living room area. Currently serving as a locker room for the guys.


Second bedroom. What was going to be the store room



The pump room.

Pleased with how the Ground Floor self-contained apartment is progressing Rose and I took the stairs to the First Floor and when we got there we saw that good progress had been made on installing the rebar frames for the Second Floor veranda.


Southern side.


Northern side.


Eastern side.

And they working on the frames for the western side.


Pulling the rebar rod up.


“Got it”.


“Over to you”.

Inside (I know it hasn’t got a ceiling yet but …) they were all around cutting and fitting the forms for the beams. Below is a sequence from measurement to fixing.









Work is progressing well and we could be in with a chance of the concrete pour for the beams taking place on Saturday.

The headline is based on the 1992 release by Mary Chapin Carpenter which was a track on her album ‘Come On Come On’. The song reached number four on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

‘That’s What Friends Are For’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Out on the veranda early (was going to ‘say’ bright but it was still dark when I went out there) this morning and got my early ‘fix’ of news from The Times. Steered well clear of the sports pages though because I wanted no reminders of how soundly Arsenal were beaten yesterday. Focused instead on the news, business and register (previously known as obituaries).

With that done I switched to my In Box and went through my emails. Most of them were from hotel groups and Expat message forums. There were a couple of more welcome ones though. One from my sister (hi Chris – I know that she reads this blog) and one from an ex work colleague in England who had sent me a draft contract that he asked me to review.

Knowing that I needed to concentrate on the task (he would like feedback by Friday) I decided to start the process (iPad in hand) with breakfast at Estel’s. Got there to find that inexplicably (well for me anyway) they were closed (momentarily I wondered if it was Tuesday). Disappointingly I trudged (I love that word) along the beach but perked up when I saw there were tables free at Lily’s Treasure Chest Restaurant .

Started the review of the contract whilst waiting for my order and continued with it whilst eating (not good manners I know). Made a good start on the read through and will get up extra special early tomorrow to finish the job. That’s what friends are for!

When I got back after breakfast Rose and I went to Hummingbird Furnishings in Coconut Drive to start forming some thoughts as to how we will furnish our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize when it is finished.

That done we had a quick bite to eat and went to look at what had been done and what was going on for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The first thing we noticed was that they had removed the supports for the veranda on the northern side.


We can see the Ground Floor exterior wall again.

And they (Martin in charge for this) had started erecting scaffolding so that they could remove the form boards fitted for the veranda floor.


“One more board and we should be able to reach the boards”.

Within minutes Martin was up there – hammer in hand – with his workmate starting to remove the boards.


What you would call a tight work-space.


“So where shall we start?”.

Meanwhile two of the guys had started removing support poles under the veranda on the southern side of the house.


Poles already removed neatly stacked for future use.

Diligently they set about removing the poles.


Nearly half way there.

Hearing the sound of a hammer Rose and I then headed up the golf cart ramp to the First Floor to see Nicholas hard at work removing the forms in the living/kitchen area of the Ground Floor self-contained apartment.


Some of the ceiling already revealed.


“Wish I had three hands”.

With only one strut left to remove Nicholas propped up the form boards with poles he had removed earlier.


“That’ll stop them falling on my head”.

That done Nicholas set about removing the boards.


One to go.

When then went up to the First Floor to see that they were busy fitting the rebar rings (sorry but I have to mention the rebar). They fit a ring very eight inches so there are a hell of a lot of rings to fit.


The rebar rings.


A close-up and personal of Anhill fixing a rebar ring.

He wasn’t the only one though.


Working on the frames for the western (lagoon) side Second Floor veranda.


Many hands make light work.

The headline is based on the song released in 1985 (as a charity single for the American Foundation for AIDS Research) by Dionne Warwick and Friends (Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder). The record reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and raised over US$ 3 million for the cause.

‘Power Failure’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Had been out on the veranda around an hour when there was a heavy downpour at around 6.15 am. It didn’t last long but came down heavily enough to ‘force’ me inside. Good opportunity though to replenish my cup with coffee.

Resettled I proceeded to catch up with the news via my The Times on-line subscription and was enjoying the read when the rain came down again at around 7.15 am and it coincided with a power failure which took out the Internet. It only lasted around 10 minutes but power outages are something that if you are contemplating relocating to Belize occur reasonably frequently (eg we had one last Saturday as well).

After finishing off The Times (or did it finish me off?) it was time for a quick shower before heading over to the Belikin/Crystal Water depot to get a 5 gallon water bottle (BZ$3.50 if you have your own bottle). The depot is conveniently located now but when we move to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize I will probably get five or six bottles per trip ( for this I will have to pay a refundable BZ$25 deposit per bottle).

Rose and I then spent a little time finding storage space for some of our stuff to create space for the visit that some friends of ours are going to make. They will arrive three days before we set off on our trip to Dallas and will stay at the condo we are renting. We then get to spend a further three days with them when we return before they head off home. Works for all of us. We get someone to ‘condo sit’ and they get a relatively inexpensive holiday.

Around 12.05 pm we had another power failure but fortunately like the previous one it didn’t last long and we continued clearing space until the Arsenal Champions League game versus Bayern Munich commenced and that’s when I wouldn’t have minded another power failure . Quite simply it was men against boys and now in only February Arsenal have a season with only forth place to play for.

The rain came down quite heavily during the game but fortunately stopped just before it finished and it was time for Rose and I to head to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When we got there the guys were busy at work on creating the rebar frames for the beams for the Second Floor.


Frames in place to support the veranda on the eastern side.

A walk through the front entrance and we could see that the frames were running east to west through the house.


Frame along the southern side of the hall in place. The northern side hall wall does not require a frame because it is not a load carrying wall.

They hadn’t run the frames through to the veranda on the western (lagoon) but the wooden supports had been put in place in readiness.


With scaffolds all over the place it was impossible to get a full shot.

The form work for the correctly sized window in the kitchen (where the sink will go) had been removed to expose the lintel.


Lintel curing nicely.

And the same applied for the clerestory window in the dining room area.


Clerestory window space. Much better at this size. Well, we think so anyway.

A walk to the other side of the house and we could see that the wooden supports for he veranda on the southern side had also been fitted.


All the while we were there rebar was being brought up from near the bodega to the First Floor.


May not look heavy but …

While we were there Sam, aided by the newest member of the team whose name I do not know yet, finished off the rebar frame running east to west through the dining room area/kitchen/utility room.


Carefully balancing whilst removing the boards to be able to work on the next frame.

Very quickly they moved to the northern side of the house to assist Anhill with the creation of the frame and immediately started measuring where the frames need to be fixed.


Sam with the tape measure.

Before they got a chance to start work on the frame it was 5 pm and time for them to head off home for a well deserved rest.


The first of the guys on their bikes heading south on their way home.

The headline is based on the little known (well it wasn’t known by me anyway) first track of side two of the 1971 album entitled ‘Broken Barricades’ by Procol Harum which reached forty-one in the UK Albums Chart and number thirty-two in the US Billboard 200.

‘Tell it Like it is’ in Ambergris Cate, Belize.

Back to normal today. On the veranda with my cup of coffee just after 4.30 am. Much better because I really do not like sleeping in. Only do so when the body -for whatever reason – tells me that I need to do so. And yesterday – if you read the previous edition – was one of those days.

A few editions ago a reader of this blog asked if I could include a map that gives a better idea of exactly where our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize is. Well, I have had a rummage ( yes, I know, not the correct word to describe trawling over the Internet) and have had an attempt at meeting the request. Not the best bit of work is it? I am just saying what you are probably thinking but I think you have to tell it like it is.


The area within the red border is our land (probably a little bit larger than shown). The lot immediately to the left (south) of us is Pirate Villas/Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant & Bar and the large building to the left of that is the Hotel. Further left and you can just make out Legends Burger House.

Request hopefully satisfied I will now bring you up-to-date on what they guys were working on for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize today.

As we walked from the golf cart towards the house we could see that work had started on laying the concrete blocks for the veranda wall at the front.


Only one course laid but it is a start.

When we got up to the First Floor we could see that all of the ‘blocks for the veranda wall on the northern side had been laid.


Needs a finishing coat but…

Inside the core of the First Floor they were busy at work recycling (I have mentioned before how they use and re-use materials, and especially wood) forms from previous ‘pours for the next big concrete pour to create the Second Floor.


That bit will do for the end of a form.


“Knew I would find a use for it”.


“Get up on the scaffold Martin and I will pass it to you”.


“A bit to your right”.


Nearly there but needs a slight adjustment.


Measuring for the cut.


Martin on the saw.


It fits this time.

With the form board in place they very quickly turned their attention to make the supports for it.


Recycling in action again.


Support being presented.


And in it goes.

Straight away they were on to making the next support and very soon after it was ready for fixing.


The second one goes in.

When we left they were busy taking measurements for the forms for the hallway.


Nicholas in charge of the tape measure.

The headline is based on the 1966 song by Aaron Neville (one of my all time favourite songs by the way) which reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100. Don Johnson (he of Miami Vice fame) released a much inferior (in my opinion but not Rose’s) version 21 years later.

‘Bang Bang’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Woke this morning much, much later than normal. The consequence of going on a Poker Run last night when we were joined by Frank, visiting Ambergris Caye for the weekend from his regular base of Price Barracks (Frank is serving a three year posting as a member of BATSUB).

It took a couple of hours to feel like I had rejoined the land of the living. Felt a lot better but still not quite firing on all cylinders. Rose felt the same way too. Neither one of us is equipped to keep up with an army guy when they go for a beer.

To clear the cobwebs we decided to take a drive to see how much more the guys had done on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize after we had left them yesterday afternoon. The drive there felt invigorating because there was a chilly breeze.

When we got there it was good to be able to walk around freely and not have to worry if we were standing in the wrong place and disrupting the workflow. It also meant that we could get to areas that we hadn’t been able to access the previous day. For example to see the veranda wall that they had started to lay on the northern side of the First Floor.


Looking from west to east.

With the form in place we see what the correct sized window in the kitchen will look like.


With this view it won’t seem so bad being on dish washing duty!

They had also finished putting the supports in place on the western (lagoon) side of the living/dining room area.


And had also put them in place where the breakfast bar will eventually be located.


They had also finished laying the ‘blocks above the front entrance.


Feeling so much better for the fresh air and a walk around our house we decided to head to Wayo’s Beachside Beernet for the charity fundraiser that was being held to help fund new uniforms for the Isla Bonita All Star Marching Band.

We hadn’t been there too long – just long enough to have the proverbial ‘hair of the dog’- when we heard a bang,bang. Time for the ‘Band to give a performance. Perfect timing on our part.


Girls limbering up before their routine.


Are we ready yet?


We certainly are.


In full swing.

A few yards away (I haven’t gone metric) came the bang, bang from the drums.




This is giving me a headache.

Those in attendance generously dug deep into their pockets to support the Chinese Auction, Silent Auction and the raffle and I am sure that the ‘Band will be a lot closer to the fundraising target.

The headline is based on the 1966 song (OK I know it is not the full title but my brain is still not fully functioning) by Cher which reached number three in the UK Singles Chart and number two in the US Billboard Hot 100.

‘Things Can Only Get Better’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Got up this morning slightly later than usual at 5.45 am to find that there was no power (subsequently found out that the power loss occurred just before 5 am). Bummer. No electricity meant no coffee. No Internet. No The Times. Not a great start to the day.

With power returning at around 8.30 am I thought things were looking up but they just got worse. Arsenal played Blackburn Rovers (a team one division below them) at home in the fifth round of the FA Cup and with home advantage should have breezed through. Ninety-four minutes later after huffing and puffing but not more than that we are out of the ‘Cup. And with Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Round of 16 of the Champions League it looks like another trophy less season for us again.

Nor feeling particularly ebullient Rose and I (more Rose than me it has to be said) focused on producing ‘minutes’ of the meeting we had with Daniel Camal, the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize, yesterday evening.

The meeting lasted just over an hour and we focused on window types (need to be ordered any time now) just to be certain that Daniel and us are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. Pleased to say that his detail matched ours. We then moved on to discussing the railings we want for the veranda walls and were able to provide Daniel with a photo of exactly what we are looking for. He confirmed he can give us what we want.


Showing the dimensions we want for the railings.

We then briefly discussed the design for the internal staircase and the stain colour we want for the mahogany treads. Daniel will now provide us with some wood samples.


The look we want. Although not the colour.

Daniel also confirmed that the air conditioning units for the Ground Floor will all be positioned/fixed on the ground. Exactly what we are looking for because we do not want any fitted to the external walls. Finally Daniel confirmed that we can delay decisions regarding lighting for the First and Second Floors because all of the ceilings will have Sheetrock (plasterboard for the UK readers) fitted over the concrete.

With the ‘minutes’ reviewed, amended and then emailed to Daniel it was 2.15 pm and time for Rose and I to go see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Even before we reached the site we could hear the concrete mixer in action. Music to our ears and just goes to show that things can only get better. With our spirits uplifted we very quickly got to the First Floor to see that the lintel above the kitchen sink had been removed and Porfelio was in the process of removing the rebar frame.





Seeing this we immediately went to speak with Daniel who was on the eastern veranda. He told us that after our discussion on windows the previous evening he had rechecked all of the window dimensions and found that three of them were wrong (kitchen and the two windows in the utility room). Disappointing but identified just in time.

By the time we finished our conversation with Daniel work was underway in fitting the new form fir the lintel.




And within minutes they were pouring concrete in to it.


Whilst this was going on they were cutting through the remaining lintel in the utility room.


Looking in from the eastern veranda.

It wasn’t only remedial work that was going on though. Work had started on the western(lagoon) and northern veranda walls.


And the final courses of ‘blocks for the entrance and the hallway/wall of Rose’s handicraft room were being laid.


Not enough room to swing a cat.

When we left Daniel and Porfelio were reviewing the plans to make sure everything was as it should be.


Command Center.

Oh, and the headline is based upon the single by D:Ream which reached number twenty-four in the UK Singles Chart in 1993 but after a remix hit number one in 1994. Now that shows that things can only get better!

‘Bits and Pieces’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Spent the early (from 5.15 am) part of the morning as I do most days on the veranda with a cup of coffee and my iPad catching up on the news via my subscription to The Times. That done I then switched to looking at the blogs that I read. Started off with Bebelize and then moved on to Tacogirl. It’s good to know what other bloggers are writing about/covering. To finish off my local news intake I visited the Ambergris Caye message board.

Fully blogged-up I then moved on to researching hotels in San Antonio for the up-coming trip that Rose and I going to make to Texas. Only now need to draw up the short-list (we will book the accommodation when we get there) for San Antonio and Austin and we are ‘good to go’.

Only a couple of chores for me today and got the first one – advising the credit card customer service people of our impending trip to Dallas- out of the way fairly quickly. Don’t want them putting a ‘hold’ on my cards when I need them the most!

The second one was even easier ( I like these kind of chores). Just had to put some gas (have given up calling it petrol because too many people look at me strangely) in the golf cart. With a BZ$50 spend (@BZ$11.43 a gallon pump price) I got just over 4 gallons. That should last a few weeks even with the daily trip to our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

With the chores done Rose and I then assembled the stuff we needed for our 5 pm meeting with Daniel Camal, our building contractor and then drove to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and arrived there around 2.30 pm.

Disappointingly there was no sound of the concrete mixer in action. Pleasingly though we could hear the sound of hammers and from afar we could see somebody at ground level knocking support poles out.


One more hit should do it.


That got it.

Just above him we could see Anhill,Porfelio and Martin in the process of removing a form board from he north-east corner of the house.


Ready, steady, go.



Within minutes they were placing he board on the First Floor to be used again.


Just a bit to your left Anhill.

And in no time at all the hammer was out and the nails were going in.


Anhill holds the board in position while Martin hammers in the nails.

It was fairly obvious that this was a day for the small but nonetheless essential jobs. A day of bits and pieces.

A walk around the First Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and we could see that two of the younger members of the team were busy at work sweeping and generally clearing the floor of rubbish and debris.


Emptying a bucket at the front of the First Floor.


No bucket for me, I can get so much more in a wheelbarrow.

The rubbish being cleared will help with the landfill that is necessary for much of our land.


Land starting to rise around the golf cart ramp.

A walk to the western (lagoon) side of the house revealed that a start had been made on putting the rebar in place for the Second Floor veranda.


Lots more to do yet but…


But it is looking good.

We could also see that they had removed a course of blocks to bring the aperture for the clerestory window in the dining room area to the size we want ( we had discussed this with Daniel on Monday when we saw him) and had done the same for the clerestory window in Rose’s handicraft room.


That’s a better size.

The headline is based on the 1964 single by The Dave Clark Five which reached number two in the UK Singles Chart and number four in the US Billboard Hot 100.

‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Spent a little time this morning typing the ‘agenda’ for our meeting on Friday afternoon with Daniel Camal, the contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

We believe that we have a far more productive and less time consuming session if we send him outline detail for the things we want to discuss with him in advance of our meeting. This way if there is a need for preparatory work on his part he has time to take care of it.

The ‘agenda’ also forms the basis for an ‘agreed action points’ email from us following our meeting. Maybe a little formal for some but this approach helps us to document everything and -we hope- should result in no,or much reduced, misunderstandings between Daniel and us.

When you are involved in a costly project like building your next (and we think maybe our last) home one thing is for sure, you don’t want to be misunderstood.

After drafting the ‘agenda’ for Rose and I to go through later to amend as necessary I thought I deserved a treat and went to Estel’s for breakfast (I only need a flimsy excuse). Because I am generally a person of set ways it’s got so I don’t even have to order when I go there now. It just appears!

When I finished I drove to Fire Coral Street to see how work on clearing our third lot was going . Still some way to go but they have made a good start.


The area near the canal is the area remaining to be cleared.


What has been cleared so far. Just needs to be disposed of now.


And the ‘obligatory’ household rubbish bag has been dumped.

I then went home to take care of some household chores until around 3 pm when it was time for Rose and I to make the trip to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When we got there I could see that the recent warm and rainless weather had dried out the area in front of the house and so much so that for the first time I was able to take a photo of the front from relatively close.


Must learn to hold the camera straight – the house doesn’t slope the way it appears in the picture. Honest.

When we got up the stairs we could see that many of the forms that were poured with concrete yesterday had been removed.


Beam/lintel above front doorway.


Beam/lintel above powder room (looking down the hallway from the living/dining room area).


One of the two lintels in the Utility room in place.

Rose has her handicraft room and she has very generously (sic) told me that I can have the Utility room. So when I was in there today I thought I would see what views I will have when I am eventually able to spend ‘quality’ time in there.


The view from the north facing window.


View from the east facing window.

During our visit they were finishing off work on the forms in the hallway/Rose’s handicraft room in readiness to make the pour. For those easily upset by the sight of rebar now is the time to go and make the coffee!


Edson and Porfelio applying the finishing touches.

Within no time at all the ‘mixer was at work in the distance


If you look hard you can just see the ‘mixer between the trees.

And it was time to start the pour.


Now that’s the way to pass the buck(et).

On the other side of the house Rafael was pouring concrete into the form above the northern window in the Utility room.


Believe me that is Rafael behind the bucket.

Before we left we could see that they had also removed the forms from the columns on the western (lagoon) side of the house where the sliding glass doors will eventually go.


Exposed column under the rebar frame for the Second Floor supporting beam.

As a Valentine’s Day treat (told you Rose was in a generous mood) she showed me the view I will get from the window near the kitchen sink ( apparently I am going to get virtually exclusive use of this area).


Doing the dishes won’t seem so bad.

On the way home we stopped for a beer (OK two) at BC’s and I managed to catch a photo of a boat going by.


There’s no reason for its inclusion in this edition apart from the fact that I like it.

The headline is based on the song first recorded by Nina Simone in 1964 but which gained prominence when it was released in 1965 by The Animals. It reached number three in the UK Singles Chart and number fifteen in the US Billboard Hot 100.

‘I Believe I Can Fly’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I spent most of the morning reviewing some responses to a RFP (request for proposal) that a friend of mine in the UK is reviewing in respect of the award of a contract to provide services for the company he works for.

I haven’t done this type of stuff since moving to Ambergris Caye last May. But, a bit like riding a bike, I soon got back into the groove and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Wouldn’t want to do it full-time again though!

Whilst I was focusing on this Rose was focusing on the house plans to draw up the discussion/action points for our weekly meeting on Friday with Daniel Camal the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. What you might call a division of labour.

I finished my review and then Rose ran me through the points she had itemised for the meeting. Obviously I agreed with them!

With our respective tasks completed we set off to attend the lunch that Peter Lawrence (Pedro’s Hotel)had invited us to as a precursor to watching the Champions League game between Real Madrid and Manchester United. On the way there we stopped off at Wine de Vine to buy a bottle of Merlot ( for the price conscious /interested readers it cost BZ$42).

We had a great lunch of roast lamb with a full selection of vegetables (the roast potatoes were brilliant) and then watched a really enjoyable game (even though I do not like Manchester United) which ended in a one all draw. The return leg at Old Trafford should be a great game. With the game over we gave our thanks to Peter and set off to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Getting there just after 4 pm we could see straight away that the guys were still working hard even though it was now late in the day.

We weaved our way past the guys working on the hoist that was delivering concrete to the First Floor and made our way up there ourselves to see that the rebar frame for the beam for the western (lagoon) side of the house was in place.


Just needs the form to be fixed.

The rebar frames had also been put in place for the mud room/ closet in the hall and the north-west corner of Rose’s handicraft room.


Every time I look at the mud room/ closet it seems to get larger.

They had taken the forms off of the columns that they poured yesterday and we could now really start to imagine how the sliding doors will look.


External view of where the sliding doors will be looking out to the lagoon.

During our walk-around they were finishing off the form for the powder room and the lintel for the front entrance.


One more nail should do it.


Bang it home Edson!

With this board in place they were ready to go with the pour.


Rafael on bucket duty.

It wasn’t long before Daniel wanted to show the guys that he is a dab hand with the bucket too and in the blink of an eye there he was on the scaffold, bucket in hand.


A master at work.

He showed his dexterity – and strength- with nifty backward pouring.


Why waste time turning around?

With himself on bucket duty Daniel sent Rafael to work on the concrete pouring for the column between the dining room area and the kitchen (north side of the house).


Some balancing act. Remember he is twenty-five feet plus above the ground.

He hadn’t been up there very long when a flock of birds (they flew over too quickly so I haven’t a clue what they were) flew within inches of his head. This brought peels of laughter from his workmates and Daniel and us. He must have been impressed because he actually looked like he thought he could fly.


I believe I can fly.

This thought didn’t last long though and he very quickly returned to pouring the concrete.


Oh well, back to the day job!

The headline is based on the song by R. Kelly which was released in 1996. In 1997 it reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the UK Singles Chart.

‘Family Affair’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Since starting this blog I have quite frequently mentioned what a great bunch of guys we have working on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. How hard they work. How multi-skilled they all appear to be. How they help each other out. No prima donnas. How happy they always appear to be no matter what the job they have been assigned or how bad the weather and/or working conditions are. What I haven’t mentioned is how much pride they have in the project – our home – they are working on.

I mention it now because when Rose and I went on Sunday to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize (we wanted to take measurements of the First Floor areas – we prefer this to calculating from the plans) we heard sounds coming from the build as we approached it. When we climbed the stairs we did so with a degree of apprehension. Had we got squatters?

When we got to the First Floor all was revealed. It was Martin (one of the team working on our house) with his wife Rosa and his young daughter and son. Oh, and two year old Jonathan who Rosa babysits. He had brought his family to have a look at the house he was working on. We felt that he was proud of it and wanted to share it with them. A real family affair.

Anyway, back to today. After spending like what seemed most of the morning/early afternoon defragging my pc (OK I didn’t do it but I assisted Rose) I was really pleased when it was time to head north to look at how things were going at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

There have been lots of comment on the Ambergris Caye Forum about the recent grading of the road north of the bridge and there is little doubt that this,allied to the dry, hot weather of late, has improved the journey to our site but the road is already beginning to become quite rutted. This is an observation though and not a complaint because it is a vast improvement on how it was. One thing is for sure – it is a lot quicker journey than it was a week ago.

So, getting there more quickly than we have been, we got to our land just before 3 pm to see that the guys had started work on putting the forms in place for the columns and lintels.


Forms for the columns in place on the southern side of the house.

When we got to the First Floor we could see that work was underway pouring concrete to create the column in the south-west corner of the house.

Martin on pouring duty.

With a leisurely walk around the floor we could see that since yesterday afternoon when we were there the guys had laid more courses of ‘blocks and, as a consequence, most of the walls were nearly at their finished height of eleven feet.


Hallway and wall of Rose’s handicraft room nearly there.


Hall/kitchen wall also nearly finished.


Living room area/ bathroom wall almost there.


Forms for lintel for kitchen window in place.


Living room area (southern) wall finished.


Form for dining room area (north-west corner) completed.


Work on the form for the lintel for Rose’s handicraft room underway.

The work that the guys are now carrying out is really time consuming and we do not see the evidence of their efforts so quickly (as say a concrete pour for a floor) but we know that it is essential work for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The headline is based on the 1971 song by Sly and the Family Stone which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number fifteen in the UK Singles Chart.

‘The Beat Goes On’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Started the day early at 4 am on the veranda with a coffee selecting the photos I am going to enclose with the letter I am sending to Mayor Danny Guerrero and then surfing the web looking at hotels in Austin and San Antonio for our upcoming trip that starts off in Dallas to look at fixtures and fittings for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With the research completed I got ready and went for an early morning breakfast at Estel’s (yes, that place again) and then went home to collect Rose for our visit to the Immigration Department to get our 30 day Visas. Not a straightforward visit this time because we should have taken care of this last Friday (our Visas expired on Saturday but the office is closed) but we got captivated by progress on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.Inexcusable really and just plain sloppy on our part (could try to blame Rose but …).

En route we agreed that Rose would do the talking and if challenged about being late she would just act dumb ( limited acting required which is why she got the part – when she reads this I am in deep trouble). It worked a treat and we got off without any fines. I have now diarised the date when we need to renew (should have done this in the first place) and I will get an email notification.

When in town we saw the preparations that had been put in place to protect businesses and landmarks (sic) from the paint daubers that are out and about during Carnival.


Jaguars nearly covered up.


The town clock tower under a tarpaulin. Personally I think it looks better this way.

Relieved that we had got our 30 day Visas without any penal reprimand we headed off to see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

As we pulled up we could once again hear the thudding sound of the concrete mixer. A sound that we love to hear. The beat goes on!

Getting out of the cart we noticed straight away that the southern exterior wall had grown.


The First Floor just four inches away from its full height of eleven feet.

On the walk up to the house we could see that the hoist was in action to deliver concrete to the First Floor.


Anhill on pulling duty today.


Put your back into it!

When we reached the First Floor we could see that many of the walls were not far away from reaching the finished height.


Dining area wall (northern side) with space left for the clerestory window.


Living area wall (southern side) being poured with concrete.


Martin laying ‘blocks in the Utility room.

We also saw the first signs of work for the air-conditioning.


Pipe work in the bedroom (Rose’s handicraft room).


Air-conditioning pipe on the southern external wall.

It’s much slower progress now when compared to the ‘all action’ concrete pouring days but it is all important work.

The headline is based on the 1967 song by Sonny & Cher which reached number six in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 29 in the UK Singles Chart. The song was sung at Sonny Bono’s funeral and it also appears on his tombstone.

‘The Way It Is’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

In yesterday’s edition I mentioned that today Rose andI were going to make a visit to take a look at our lots of land in Fire Coral Street, San Pablo following the clearance work that Daniel Camal, our building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize, has started to have carried out.

Well early this afternoon (had to get my televised ‘fix’ of football first) that is exactly what we did. Those of you that have been following the blog for awhile will remember that I covered the lots in an edition at the beginning of the year. For those of you that didn’t see this edition I reproduce some of the photos to show ‘the before’.


View at a distance from the other side of the canal.


Zoom shot from the same position.


Photo from the roadside.

Work has virtually been completed – need to uplift the scrub and general rubbish – on two of the three lots with work yet to start on the third lot. The difference in appearance though was very clear to see.


View at a distance from the other side of the canal.


View from the roadside.

For the first time in absolutely ages we were able to walk around the lots (well, two of them at least).


Behind the block wall in the distance is the third lot that is yet to be cleared.


View from the road to the canal.

Unfortunately you provide a pile of rubbish (in our case mostly scrub and bushes) then people will see it as an invitation to dump their rubbish too. Don’t know why this happens it’s just the way it is. And within a couple of days of clearing our land other people’s rubbish is already being dumped on it.


Household rubbish.


Car parts.

We also have the problem of abandoned, broken down cars parked in front of our land which we need to get cleared and I have written a letter to the Mayor to see if I can get him involved.


Broken down vehicle piled up with rubbish.


And another one.

Rose and I have decided that as soon as the remaining third lot has been cleared and all of the rubbish removed from the three lots we will have a relatively inexpensive chicken wire fence erected along the roadside of our land. Hopefully this will prevent further dumping.

We enjoyed seeing our land in San Pablo in its much cleaned up state but are looking forward to viewing progress on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize tomorrow.

The headline is based on the 1986 song by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. It reached number fifteen in the UK Singles Chart and number one in the US Billboard Hot 100.

‘Perfect Day’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

As has become the Saturday routine for me since the beginning of last August, I spent the greater part of the morning watching football. Started off with ESPN watching Spurs get the three points (ouch) by beating Newcastle United. This was followed, with a channel switch to Fox Soccer, at 9 am by watching Arsenal (with ten men for most of the second half) beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. A perfect start to the day (well for me at least).

After taking care of one or two chores – I don’t just sit around watching football all day – Rose and I went to go look and see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and we got there around 2 pm.

Walking from the road to the house we could see that the guys had been making good use of the hoist to move a load of concrete blocks upto the First Floor.


Stack of ‘blocks to the left of the hoist platform.


A load more to lift though.

As we entered the First Floor we could see that the forms had been removed from the pillars that were poured yesterday.


Drying nicely.


Note the electric boxes set in the concrete.

The forms for the beams poured six ‘blocks high in the walls had also been removed and the guys were busy laying the next five courses to take the walls to the ceiling height.


Martin working on the north – west corner.


Exterior view.

It was a really nice day and the guys had their music box playing and really appeared to be enjoying themselves. So much so that at times whilst waiting for the next delivery of ‘blocks or cement they took the opportunity to have a dance.


Nicholas on the wall in the south – east corner going through his moves.

It didn’t affect their productivity though. In fact I would say it actually made them work faster. Rafael – we especially like him because he had an Arsenal shirt on – wasn’t prepared to wait for the cement to come up by the hoist but went to ground level, filled up two buckets at a time and carried them up the steps to the First Floor.


Right, let’s get the wheelbarrow in position.


And fill those buckets.

On the First Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize the ‘blocks continued to be moved into position and laid and they were pouring concrete for the remaining pillars.


Anhill with another ‘barrow load of ‘blocks.


Porfelio with a bucket of concrete.


Edson pouring it.

While we were there they laid the final courses of ‘blocks for the wall of the southern veranda.


Looks good!

Today Daniel advised us that they have started work on clearing the lots of land we have in San Pablo so tomorrow Rose and I are going to take a look and take some photos. We hope we have as perfect a day as we had today.

The headline is based on the song by Lady Antebellum which is track five on the album ‘Need You Now’ which reached number one in the US Billboard 200 and number eight in the UK Albums Chart. It also reached number one in the Canadian Albums Chart.

‘Getting Better’ in Ambergris Cate, Belize.

Having witnessed the progress that has been made on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize during the last few days it is extremely difficult to keep our expectations under control. Not to expect too much. Keep our feet on the ground. Rome wasn’t built in a day, not to run before we can walk, etc. Well we are trying and trying hard. But it is difficult, bloody difficult.

We have to remember that progress was stunted recently by the heavy downpours. There is still a long way to go and there could be another hiatus or two before the house is complete and we can move in to our new home in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We are quietly confident, however, that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, will finish ahead of the scheduled forty week completion date of 11 August. We feel this because every day we visit it’s getting better all the time.

But not wishing to be like the idiom ‘counting your chickens …’ we have extended the lease of the condo we are renting with the understanding that we can extend again if we need to.

Anyway enough of the idioms, proverbs and my musings and on with the reason why the vast majority of you bother to use your valuable time visiting this blog – our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When we got to the site we could see before we had even parked the golf cart that they had made great progress on fitting the forms for the next concrete pour to create the beams for the walls of the First Floor.


Front of house from the south-east corner of our land.

As we parked up we could hear the ‘mixer going again. Always a great sound to hear. We very quickly – with the benefit of stairs now- got up to the First Floor and it was abuzz. Guys everywhere. All seventeen of them. I didn’t have to count them because it became obvious when Rose and I handed out the soft drinks we had bought for them. All sixteen of them. Not good, so we now have Anhill’s ‘phone number so that we can call him to find out how many guys are working before buying drinks the next time.

They had made a good start on the forms but there was still more to fit.


Nearly in place on the dining area wall.


Precariously balanced whilst drilling a hole for a rebar rod.


Forms in place for the pillars in the living/dining area.


Fitting the final form in the hallway.


Forms in place in the Utility room.

After Rose and I left our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize yesterday afternoon they had poured concrete in to some of the forms on the southern side of the house and with the forms removed we could see that they were curing nicely.


In the bedroom.


Forms still in place but drying nicely on the eastern exterior wall.

Whilst we were there good progress was being made on laying the ‘blocks for the southern veranda wall.


Horizontal poles will be fitted at a later stage.

Work was also taking place pouring concrete in to the forms to create the pillars in the living/dining area.


Pass me another bucket.

We also saw the neat way in which they fit the electric boxes in to the forms so that after the concrete has cured the boxes are in place.



No chasing required.

Another really good day.

We are really pleased with the way things are going but for the next five days we can also enjoy the San Pedro Carnival. Really looking forward to it.

The headline is based on the song by The Beatles which was track four, side two of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The album was released in 1967 and was number one in the UK Album Chart for twenty-seven weeks and enjoyed fifteen weeks at the top of the US Billboard 200.

‘Wonderwall’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize

When we arrived at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize on Wednesday afternoon the first thing we noticed ( one of the problems of a muddy building site is that you spend a lot of time looking down to make sure you obtain safe footing) was a hoist at the top of a scaffold tower from ground level to the First Floor.

We saw very quickly that they were using this to lift concrete blocks and cement and Daniel Camal, our building contractor, was supervising things.


Blocks in the wheelbarrow ready to go up.


Coming up!


Load the bucket with cement.


Now we can lay some ‘blocks!

I was going to continue this edition by including more of the photos we took when we went to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize on Wednesday but when we went there today I decided to go for the more up-to-date news.

We saw the early signs of walls yesterday but as we got closer to the house we wonder(ed) how big the walls had grown. A quick walk up our new stairs and we saw just how much.


En-suite bedroom that Rose is going to have as a craft room.


View she will have through the sliding windows when she is not working.

Concrete blocks were being laid in every part of the First Floor and it was exhilarating to see so much going on. We have seen the guys working extremely hard before e.g. on the concrete pours, but it takes a while before you see the results. Not today because they were laying the ‘blocks very quickly.


The dining area flowing into the kitchen.

To the right of the dining area is the living room area.



Looking north to south across the dining/living room area from where the dining room wall will be. The veranda is to the right of the rebar rods.


Hall from west to east.


Mud room/closet in hall.


Veranda on the northern side looking west to east.


Veranda on the western (lagoon) side looking south to north.


Veranda on the eastern (road) side looking south to north.

Rose and I wonder how they got the walls up so quickly.

The headline is based on the 1995 single by Oasis which reached number two in the UK Singles Chart and number eight in the US Billboard Hot 100.

‘Back on the Chain Gang’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Now where was I? Oh yes, Rose and I had just got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize after having breakfast at Lily’s Treasure Chest restaurant.


If you have not been to Ambergris Caye this is what you need to look for. And if you have, then here is a reminder.

Anyway back to the build.

When we got up to the First Floor on Tuesday we found the plumber/electrician and his mate hard at work finishing the running of the pipe work.


Need to cut it here.


A little bit of solvent cement.


A rock underneath the rebar to make sure that the concrete pour doesn’t crush the pipe.


A bit of tape on the pipe to keep the concrete out and it is ‘good to go’.

All the while the pour continued with the chain of bodies lifting the buckets of concrete to be emptied in to the wheelbarrows, taken to the required area and then poured.


Look how close the plumber/electrician (orange shirt) is to the pour.

With the concrete getting ever closer to where Rose and I were positioned it was time for us to retreat to ground level and when we got there we were able take a close look at the method they used to fill the buckets with the concrete.

They wheelbarrowed the concrete and poured it in to a wooden tray at the base of the scaffolding. Two guys were positioned there with shovels blocking the two apertures at the back of the tray to control the flow of the concrete in to the buckets.


Simple really isn’t it.


Get the buckets in position and open the gates (alright, lift the shovels).

By this time, in addition to completing the pour for the First Floor they started the pour for the stairs.


Apologies for the scaffolding in the foreground but I couldn’t get any closer.

The guys were getting closer and closer to the eastern (road) side of the house and the end of the pour was in sight.


Nearly there.

But then the noise level of the concrete mixers dropped and everyone stopped work to look worriedly towards the mixing area.


Oh no, not now.

One of the two mixers appeared to have a problem and Daniel Camal, our building contractor, rushed down to see if it could be fixed and by the time he got there Wayne, one of the additional guys brought in for the day, was well on the way to solving the problem.


The ‘offending’ mixer!

Rose and I left our build in Ambergris Caye, Belze around 2.45 pm and the guys finished the pour at 4 pm. A long and hard day for them.

Rose and I went to the site this (Wednesday) afternoon not expecting to see a great deal. We were hopeful of being able to gain access in one way or another so that we could see the floor of the First Floor. Well we did access the First Floor and saw far much more than we expected. To know and see what you will have to read Friday’s edition. We were surprised and you will be too!

I will leave you, however, with an hors d’oeuvre. The stairs.


Apologies for the poor picture quality but trust me, the stairs are there. I walked up and down them!

The headline is based on the song by The Pretenders which was released in 1982. It reached number five in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seventeen in the UK Singles Chart.

‘Chain Gang’ in Ambergris Caye,Belize

Full of anticipation (and if I admit it a fair amount of excitement) I was on the veranda with my mug of coffee by 4 am this morning. With the pour for the First Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize scheduled for 5.30 am I didn’t want to be at the site when the guys arrived to start work. But, I didn’t want to get there too much after them and miss too much of the action. A bit like a kid at Christmas I suppose.

Showered, dressed ( with the boots on) and was at the site by 6.45am and was greeted by the wonderful sound (may have replaced my fixation with rebar!) of not one but two concrete mixers churning away.


Look at those two beauties. And note the light in the background for the early start.

Daniel Camal, our building contractor, had told us that he would have a lot of guys on site but it still surprised me as I approached our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.


A hive of activity.

Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get up on to the First Floor for a while I walked back to the ‘mixing area to see that they were in the process of filling up the water container.


Let’s get the flow going.

It wasn’t long though before the piping sprang a leak and Nicholas very quickly found a replacement bit of pipe.


How about this bit Sam and Martin?


That does the job.

I could see that the opportunity was there so I very quickly ascended the form work currently representing the stairs and made it to the First Floor to see that the concrete for the western (veranda) had already been poured.


Looking good.

I hadn’t been up there very long when I saw the guys disappearing in ones and twos. What was going on? Was there a strike? Thought I had left this behind in the UK (remember I used to work in the newspaper industry)! No, not all, they were going to get a drink and a snack.


The golf cart chuck wagon.


‘Let’s drink this quick and get back to work’.

Within minutes they were back at work continuing with the concrete pour. That wasn’t the only bit of action on the First Floor though because the plumber/electrician was finishing off the pipe work and was working on the eastern (roadside) on the house.


Kneesy does it!

All the while the buckets of concrete were being lifted up to the First Floor and being emptied into the wheelbarrows and then wheeled to the designated area for pouring.


One more bucket will do.


That hit the spot.

Watching the guys eat their snacks had made me feel quite hungry so I ‘phoned Rose up and suggested that when I picked her up that we grab a quick bite at Lily’s Treasure Chest restaurant which is my second favourite (it was Tuesday so Estel’s wasn’t open) place to eat breakfast. Rose readily agreed.


The view from our table. Not bad is it.

Suitably refreshed Rose and I then drove to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. and when we got there she was as gobsmacked as I had been when I got there earlier.

There was so much going on and I took so many photos (107 in all) that I have decided to spread (yeah I know it is a terrible pun) this out over two editions. So to find out what went on next you will have to read Thursday’s edition. Tantalising isn’t it.

The headline is based on the 1960 classic by Sam Cooke which reached number two in the US pop and R&B charts and number nine in the UK Singles Chart.

‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

For readers who live here or visit, DJ’s (owner of the burger restaurant in Boca del Rio) is opening DJ’s Seaside Bar and Restaurant. You can find it on the lower level of what was formerly Oscar’s gym ( just south of the bridge).

Always trying to be the optimist I took some solace from the fact that we were not ready for the pour of the First Floor for our build in Ambergris Caye today because it probably wouldn’t have gone ahead anyway. Why? Well because at around 5.30 am the heavens opened and the rain came down heavily. It only lasted for around forty-five minutes but the damage was done. Not at all conducive conditions for wheelbarrow work on an already waterlogged site.

I spent a bit of time this morning chasing up on the trip we want to make to look at fixtures and fittings (door knobs, light fixtures, showers, taps, etc) and was really pleased on finding out that United Airlines has allowed us to change the tickets we have for Belize through to London (Heathrow) for two return tickets from Belize (via Houston) to Dallas with the return leg from Houston to Belize being Business Class. And for only US$42.50 each plus some reward miles that we had left over. So from starting the day in a somewhat ‘down’ mood things picked up extremely well. Just goes to show that you should always look on the bright side!

With the travel arrangements in place I then booked accommodation in Dallas for the first two nights. With that done it didn’t take too long to make a booking for a rental car. All I have to sort out now is where to buy a GPS so we can avoid having to hire one at exorbitant rates from the car rental company. And so we know how to get to where we want to go. Think Walmart is likely to be the choice for that bit of kit.

After my spell of surfing I switched to my In Box to find a really nice email Larry, who with his wife Sandy, Rose and I showed around our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize last week. By way of thanks he had left two ponchos for us at the place they stayed at when on the island. Really nice presents but ones that we hope that we don’t get to use too much!


Looking forward to mine staying in the packaging for a long time.

Ponchos at the ready we set off to see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and we were both disappointed when we got there to see that our access to the First Floor was unavailable. Pleased to see though that the stairs appeared nearly ready for the concrete pour.


Supports in place, ready to go.


Nearly there.

We could see from outside that the guys up on the First Floor were fixing the final lengths of rebar to tie the concrete blocks.


Wish we could have been up there.

Preparatory/tidying up work in advance of the pour was taking place everywhere.


Don’t need that bit.

Barring horrendous weather tomorrow the pour will take place and in readiness for this the supplies of sand, shingle and cement have been increased.


Looking forward to this being used tomorrow.

When we saw Daniel as we were leaving – he was delivering the second concrete mixer – he confirmed that the pour is scheduled for tomorrow with a start time of 5.30 am. So not much time on the veranda for me. One cup of coffee I think!

The headline is based on the song by Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. Although it was recorded in 1979 it was not released as a single until 1991and reached number three in the UK Singles Chart.

‘Bang the Drum All Day’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

First of all I want to apologise for including the same photo twice in yesterday’s edition. I know quite a few of you love (sic) the rebar photos. And you cannot have too much of a good thing! But it was just plain sloppiness on my part.

Rainy spells for much of the morning allied to the fact that the dreaded Spurs stole ( OK I am a little biased) three points from West Bromwich Albion made for an uninspiring morning. That was until I heard the sound of drums in the distance.

I got my camera and went to sit on the veranda and very shortly after this the cause of the drumming appeared, it was the Island Bonita Marching Band on a charity drive on the beach to raise funds to buy uniforms.

Where else but Belize can you sit on your veranda and see sights (and hear sounds – but cannot share these with you) like these?


Marching with the holidaymakers.


That’s the way to bang the drum.


A little routine just for me.


A study of concentration.


Hit the skin.

Suitably impressed by these kids who were going to bang the drums all day to raise funds Rose and I headed off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize to see if the plumber/electrician had completed the necessary pipe work in advance of the concrete pour for the First Floor. As I hit the top of the stairs (OK not stairs yet but they feel like it) I could see straight away that the work had been started.


Pipes in place on the northern side of the house.


A close- up.


Nearly finished on the western (lagoon) side of the house.

To protect himself from the rain showers the plumber/election had erected a shelter.


Not much protection from a driving rain.

Whilst up on the floor I could also see that they had completed fixing the base forms for the southern veranda.


Ready for the pour.

The plumber/electrician will finish off his work tomorrow and the rest of the guys will fit the remainder of the forms ready for the pour on Tuesday as long as the weather is reasonable.

The headline is based on the seventh track of Todd Rundgren’s 1982 album ‘The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect’. The single, ‘Bang the Drum All Day’, reached number twenty-nine in the Mainstream Rock Chart.

‘Breaking The Law’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Grey skies for most of the day with occasional showers didn’t augur well for work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but given that I can do nothing to influence the weather I had a relaxing time reading the Saturday edition of The Times, a couple cups of coffee and a breakfast of two fried eggs on toast.

This filled up the time nicely until the Arsenal game versus Stoke City came on TV at 9 am. I would like to report that I had a thoroughly enjoyable time watching the game but I can’t. Arsenal didn’t play scintillating football and Stoke were as resolute and dour as usual. We got the three points though – courtesy of a deflected free kick by Podolski – and our new full back Nacho Monreal had a promising first game.

Pleased with the result I decided to pop down to the Police Station to see if our Criminal Record Reports had arrived from Belmopan (the capital of Belize). When I got there I asked for PC Cho and when he came from his office I sensed from the smile on his face that our ‘Reports were available. I was right because after handing over the receipts for the application fees (BZ$12 each) he gave me two ‘Reports. One for Rose and one for me.


What you call a ‘mug’ shot.

Now that we have got these ‘Reports which prove that we have not been breaking the law in Belize we can move to the next step in applying for QRP (Qualified Retirement Programme) which is taking a medical.

Very pleased to at long last get the Criminal Record Reports I returned home to collect Rose so that we could go look at what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When we arrived it was silent, too silent. No concrete mixer going. No hammering. What was going on? Had they stopped work? No, far from it because they were busy fixing ( for the haters out there I apologise) rebar in advance of the pour for the First Floor.


Even the ‘rebar haters’ must accept that it looks good!

The most important tool during this stage of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize is a pair of pliers.


Look at those pliers at work.

Not as hard as when it comes to pouring the concrete but, nonetheless, back breaking work. Unless you use your experience like Anhill.


He might be sitting down on the job but…

When we were up on the First Floor we could see where they had marked out where the entrance doors would be.


Look closely and you can ( look hard) see where our double door entrance will be.

They were fixing the forms on the outside of our house on the eastern (road) side of our house when we were there


Ready for the pour.

We met Daniel Camal, our building contractor, while we were there and he told us that he plans to pour the concrete for the First Floor – providing that the necessary pipe work is completed by the electrician and plumber on Sunday – on Monday and would have thirty two guys on site to work two concrete mixers. Not long after he told us this a group of guys turned up looking for work.


Gissa job!

The guys that turned up are used for concrete pour days and look to see where sand, cement and shingle have been delivered. When they see these materials they know that that there is a chance of a day’s pay.

Before we left our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize Rose and I had a quick look at the exterior of the building.


Northern side looking good.


And the western (lagoon) side too.

Rose and I will visit again tomorrow to watch the electrician and plumber in action.

The headline is based on the song released in 1980 by Judas Priest which was track three on the ‘British Steel’ album which made Platinum in the US and Gold in the UK.

‘All of the Lights’ in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Back to normal this morning and on the veranda with my coffee just before 5 am reading The Times to be disappointed, but not overly surprised, to read that Arsenal hadn’t splurged massively in the transfer market on the final day of the transfer window. Only the purchase of a full back from Spain. It should mean though that we never have to play Andre ‘who ate all the pies’ Santos again. So it could have been worse.

Time to get a monthly Bridge Pass from the Transport Department in town this morning and it seemed criminal not to stop off first for breakfast at Estel’s. Wouldn’t want be a criminal would I? Might prevent a successful application for the QRP(Qualified Retirement Program)!

When I got back home Rose and I knuckled down to study the plans to determine what lighting, ceiling fans and light switch placement we want for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We worked through the plans on a floor by floor, room to room basis making notes as we went along. Using this approach we feel quietly confident that we have identified the type and placement for all of the lights for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

We do have one or two questions that we need to put to Daniel Camal, our building contractor, but the answers are not likely to materially affect the decisions we took today. We will find out on Monday when we meet with Daniel .

Having looked at the lighting diagrams long enough Rose and I decided that it was time, even though the rain had intermittently been falling, to take a trip to see what progress was being made on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When we got there we received the disappointing news from Anhill that the concrete pour for the First Floor will not take place on Saturday. Hopefully it will on Monday but much depends on the weather. Our disappointment was very quickly replaced with pleasure when Zapeda asked us if we wanted to go up to the First Floor level. Of course we agreed and we did so by using the form boards for the stairway.


Looking good.


Stairway, over the pump room, to the First Floor.

When we got to the top we saw that the forms for the floor were in place.


Rose talking to Anhill about the next steps.


Boards in place looking south-west.


A close up of the form boards. Note the concrete block walls and concrete beams either side of the board.

Being up there we were virtually blown away by the views.


To the north.


To the south.


To the west.


To the east.

We cannot wait to see just how good the views will be when the Second Floor is constructed. Some weeks away yet though – got to get the First Floor poured first. Oh, and the walls built.

The headline is based on the song by Kanye West which featured amongst others Elton John, Fergie, Alicia Keys and Rihanna. It was released in 2011 and reached number eighteen in the US Billboard Hot 100.