“Girls, Girls, Girls” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Received an update yesterday (after I had sent an email requesting one) from Roshel Godfrey of the Belize Tourism Board as to the status of my application to enter the QRP ( Qualified Retirement Program). She confirmed that they have everything that is required to process my application and now just require a report from Interpol to confirm that I am ‘clean’. Apparently this can take anywhere from between two to eight weeks. Better ‘hold fire’ on ordering the golf cart!

Having missed my breakfast at Estel’s the previous morning because of the power outage I made up for it yesterday and managed to get a table on the deck. I know that many people much prefer a table on the beach but it is not my preferred option . Too much ‘people traffic’ and what you are eating or doing (in my case normally on the Internet) becomes another thing for them to stare at. A beach table is also not the best placement for the refill coffee runs!

Home for some time on the Internet looking at faucets and showers – we now only have one week to make our selections to be certain that they are on-site to the required schedule – and it seemed like no time at all that Rose and I were ready to make the trip north to Tres Cocos to look at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize .

On the way up there we saw another example of how the San Pedro Town Council makes very effective use of overhead banners to communicate relevant messages to residents and tourists alike.

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And a happy Easter to my readers too.

With the front ( roadside) part of our land now cleared and filled it is great to be able to park the golf cart in front of the house because we can normally get an indication of what aspect of the build the guys are focusing on.

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View of the house from our golf cart.

Approaching the house we could see Nicholas, Sam and Alfredo moving scaffolding in to position so that the beam supporting the First Floor veranda could be plastered.

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Bits of wood used to bring the scaffolding to the required height.

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Board in place.

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Scaffolding in place it was time for Nicholas to display his acrobatic skills!

With the show over Nicholas quickly set about plastering the beam.

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Stopping only briefly to load the hawk

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or remove steel wires that had been used to hold the rebar frames for the beams in place

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Nicholas quickly covered the beam.

Up on the First Floor the major focus , after the plaster coat had been applied, was a general tidy up.

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Clean up in the living and dining room areas.

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South side veranda.

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And shovel the rubbish over the side – useful landfill!

Wanting to see a little more action than a tidy-up Rose and I used the scaffolding (we are both getting rather adept at this now) to access the Second Floor where we found Zapeda and Eduardo plastering the northern exterior wall.

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Eduardo in action.

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The dynamic duo of Zapeda and Eduardo using a feather edge to level off the plaster.

All work stopped when there was a shout of “Niñas, Niñas, Niñas” (Girls, Girls, Girls) and the guys quickly rushed to look at the girls cycling by from the great vantage point that the top of the scaffold tower now provides.

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“Shes young enough to be your daughter Zapeda!”.

The guys didn’t dwell for too long though and were quickly back at work.

The headline is based on the 1976 single by Sailor which reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

“Running in the Family” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Got up early and recommenced my review of a contract for a friend. Nearing the home straight on this I took a breather by looking (very fortunately as it transpired) at the Ambergris Caye Forum to learn that there was a planned power outage ( for power equipment replacement ) between 9 am to 1 pm. Bang went my plan to have a final review of the contract whilst eating a late breakfast at Estel’s.

Picked up on the loss of power though in good enough time for Rose ( ably (???) assisted by me) to rustle up breakfast before we lost the power. The power loss also took out the Internet so we very quickly moved to Plan B and ‘retired’ to the beach for a little bit of Kindle.

The power came back earlier than scheduled at around 11.45 am but we stayed on the beach for another 30 minutes and I resumed my review of the contract until I finished it around 2.30 pm when it was time for our visit to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When we got there both ‘mixers were in operation. Not using the mix in the same volumes as for the concrete pours but the guys are still using a hell of a lot of it.

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Alfredo taking a bucket of sand to ‘feed’ the roadside ‘mixer.

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The youngest member of the team filling a bucket from the ‘mixer near the house.

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And using the pulley to hoist the bucket to the First Floor.

Where Angel was working in the utility room.

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Utility room walls get their first coat of cement

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Angel had gone to get a replacement bucket of cement.

The guys were applying cement to walls -inside and out – all over the house.

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First Floor southern exterior wall.

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Columns in the ‘open’ area of the Ground Floor.

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Ground level western exterior wall.

On the Second Floor the father and son team of Zapeda (Dad) and Eric ( Son) were working together to plaster the northern exterior wall. What you might call building work running in the family.

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Inside the house we could see that work had commenced on chasing the walls for the cabling for electricity.

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And they had cut the holes for the pipes for the toilets and showers.

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Hole cut for my shower.

A walk outside and there was Edson plastering the eastern wall of the First Floor.

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Load it on to the hawk.

<a href="http://abelizehomeforus.

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And ready to go.

The headline is based on the 1987 single by Level 42 which reached number six in the UK Singles Chart and also the title track of the album released in the same year which reached number two in the UK Albums Chart. For readers from the States it reached number twenty-three in the US Billboard 200.

“My Kind Of Guy” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I spent much of yesterday morning reviewing a contract for a friend in England. Funnily enough it is a contract that I worked on before Rose and I left England last May and it wasn’t long before I was ‘back in the groove’. I made a good start on it and will finish it off today so that my friend has my observations for the start of his day on Thursday.

I had planned my review time of the contract so that I would be able to watch the Montenegro v England 2014 World Cup Group H qualification game which kicked off at 2 pm our time. It was a bit like watching Arsenal ! Not as pretty football( yes, I am biased) but we totally dominated the first half and should have had the game ‘in the bag’ before half time. Inexplicably though we came out as a completely different team in the second half and only managed to scramble a one all draw. We can still make the finals in Brazil next year but we are making it more difficult than it should be.

Needing a pick-me-up Rose and I headed off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize to see what the guys were working on for our new home.

When parking the golf cart we could hear the sound of two, not one, cement mixers going. Always a good sign (sound) for us. There’s something about concrete or cement. It’s tangible. You can see the finished product.

Unusually so for us we decided to walk around to the rear of the house (the lagoon side) to see what was going on (when approaching the house we had seen buckets being taken there) and were really pleased to see that plaster was being applied to the exterior walls.

Eric was working on the wall beneath the bedroom on the Ground Floor.

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Nearly finished.

Whilst Eric was working on the veranda wall Martin, who we understand from Daniel Camal, our building contractor, is one the better plasterers amongst the guys , was working on the much larger section of the Ground Floor rear wall.

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It’s only the first (rough) coat of plaster but it is so good to start to see the concrete blocks being covered.

More than satisfied with what was going on at ground level we made our way up the stairs to the First Floor to see straight away that concrete had been poured in to the remaining forms required to complete the veranda walls.

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Form poured for the south-east veranda wall.

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And for the southern veranda wall.

A walk through the hallway to the veranda overlooking the lagoon and we could see Angel and Oscar at work plastering the external walls.

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Angel about to apply the plaster.

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Oscar loading his hawk.

Inside a new guy was removing the form work above the kitchen window.

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The forms really take some removing.

Within minutes of it being removed though Edson was in the other guy’s place plastering where the form board had been.

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A walk through the First Floor and we could see the other work that had been carried out.

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Start of the pipe work in the utility (my) room.

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Rebar in place for the low wall that will ‘hold’ the railings for the First Floor entrance veranda.

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And for the western (lagoon side) veranda.

It was getting close to 5 pm so we made our way down the stairs and because the guys were getting ready to pack up for the day we were able to take a peek at what Nicholas and Sam had been doing in the pump room.

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Walls and ceiling plastered.

When we got outside the house we looked up and could see that they had completed laying the single course of ‘blocks on the roof.

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Western side.

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Northern side.

I have mentioned many times how much admiration (or is it envy?) I have for how fit the guys are. Well as we were leaving our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize yesterday we got another illustration of this . I offered Angel a lift in to town (letting him know that he could place his bike at the rear of the golf cart). He politely refused and explained that he was cycling up to Captain Morgan’s to meet his wife (she works there) so that she wouldn’t have to cycle home alone in the dark. This from a guy who had cycled to work from his home in the DFC area and then worked hard all day. My kind of guy.

The headline is based on the song by the Kaiser Chiefs which was track eight on their 2007 album “Yours Truly, Angry Mob”.

“Come Fly with Me” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Rose and I spent the morning measuring cupboard and drawer sizes in our rented condo so that we would have a clearer idea of the dimensions we want for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Once this was done we discussed how many doors, drawers and open shelf spaces we want for each of the bathrooms. Feeling slightly ‘heavy of head’ by this time (not really my forte) I ‘disappeared’ for a breakfast at Estel’s. Whilst I was gone though Rose set about (there was a method in my madness) sketching out (and she is really good at this type of thing – think it comes from the fact that she is very spatial (and special – will ‘win’ some points for that comment)) designs.

I had only just started to eat my breakfast when the first of Rose’s sketches started to ‘hit’ my In Box and by the time I returned home she had produced outline designs for every bathroom cabinet (even a suggested design for my bathroom).

We spent around an hour discussing and debating each of the sketches – making one or two amendments along the way – and settled on the final designs. We can now (well Rose really) tidy them up for handing over to Daniel Camal our building contractor.

Having completed the main daily task we had set ourselves we finished off general household stuff and drove to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

As we expected the guys had started on the plastering for the inside walls and , not surprisingly, had started on the Ground Floor.

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Martin at work in the kitchen area of the self-contained apartment.

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Eric checking the angles in the roadside bedroom with a set square.

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The column after Martin had finished.

Nicholas and Sam were busy at work plastering the pump room but it is too small for me to get in there to take photographs without cramping their style so Rose and I went up to the First Floor where Porfelio was busy at work fitting the remaining rebar frames for the veranda walls .

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Porfelio in the south-east corner.

A walk along the veranda and we could see that concrete had been poured in to the forms to finish off the walls.

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Eastern veranda wall.

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Northern veranda wall.

We then went up to the Second Floor where we could see Zapeda laying a course of concrete blocks on the roof. A combination of aesthetics and functional. The blocks ‘finish off’ the roof but will also keep rainwater on the roof until entering the down pipes (there are six of them) to flow to the water tank under the house.

Using his broken English (my Spanish is no better I am sorry to say – just about say ‘good morning’ and ‘two beers please’) Zapeda invited me up to the roof. An offer I couldn’t refuse!

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Laying ‘blocks on the western (lagoon) side of the roof.

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And in the south-western corner.

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Completed ‘blocks for the eastern side of the roof.

Forgot to mention in yesterday’s edition that Rose and I had a bit of good fortune. We bought some raffle tickets at a fund-raiser at BC’s and when we popped in there on Sunday we were greeted with the news that we had won a Tropic Air return ticket to Belize City. This will come in very handy for the trip to select tiles. Rose though will have to buy herself a ticket if she wants to come fly with me!

The headline is based on the song made famous by Frank Sinatra. The song was specifically written for Ol’ Blue Eyes and was the title track of the album released in 1958.

“Easy” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

After all of the excitement on Saturday for the final pour – the roof – for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize Rose and I decided we would have an easy Sunday.

We had a leisurely breakfast whilst we discussed the type of cabinets we are going to have for each of the bathrooms and the powder room. And the shelving in the hall closet and the utility (laundry) room. Nothing taxing at all.

Having settled on what we would like we decided that we would go to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize later but first would spend a little time lounging on the beach in front of the condo we are renting. I took my Kindle and Rose took her iPod. Perfect!

After around two hours of really taking it easy we went in to have showers (it was really hot yesterday with very little by way of breeze) got dressed and drove up to Tres Cocos where, without any of the guys there, we were able to measure the exact spaces where the cabinets will go so that we could ‘sense check’ the decisions we had taken earlier in the day.

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Wardrobe space in the bedroom (Rose’s handicraft room) on the First Floor.

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Cabinet space in the en suite bathroom.

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Closet ( mud room) in the hallway.

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Cabinet area ( up to the red lines) in the powder room.

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Cabinet space in Rose’s bathroom on the Second Floor.

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And for my bathroom.

We continued this process for every room (apart from the two kitchens) for every room that requires cabinets, built in wardrobes or shelving but we worked quickly because it was very hot and there was hardly any breeze entering the house.

With our task completed I decided to see how the pour of the roof looked and got up there by using the scaffolding on the veranda of the Second Floor.

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Me up on the roof.

The concrete had started its curing process and I was able to walk on it without leaving my impression.

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Looking west.

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Looking east.

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Looking south.

I had thought that the views from the Second Floor had been good but up on the roof, some eleven feet higher, they are even better.

How about these views?

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Hopefully the plastering of the walls will start today and if it does there will be photos in tomorrow’s edition.

The headline is based on the 1977 single by the Commodores which reached number four in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number nine in the UK Singles Chart.

“Let the Music Play” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Readers of yesterday’s edition will know that I was up early on Saturday morning. Up well before 4 am on the veranda with my mug of coffee so that I would be at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize for the final big concrete pour for our house. The roof.

After too many mugs of coffee I eventually showered, shaved and dressed and set off at 6.05 am- with my trusty camera of course- in the golf cart and got to the site in Tres Cocos at 6.20 am to find the guys already at work. They had started at 6 am to reduce the time working under the hot sun. Very sensible.

The human tower of scaffolding was abuzz with action as full buckets of concrete were passed guy to guy to the top of the house and after being emptied into the wheelbarrow on the roof the empty buckets were passed down. Clockwise for buckets going up and anti-clockwise for the empty buckets going down for refilling. Simple and effective.

In the background Nicholas’s sound system was ‘hard at work’ blasting out (literary license here for effect – the volume was actually quite low) both local and international sounds. All with a fast beat though. I mention the music because when the build first started Daniel asked if we objected to the guys playing music. Apparently previous clients of his had objected to it. Our response was “let the music play”.

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Have some fun, count how many guys forming the tower. Pretty labour intensive.

Below the tower operated a team of seven of the guys mixing the concrete. One (Martin) on filling the buckets with sand although helped by Wayne who was on cement bag duty. Three on filling buckets with shingle and emptying both the shingle and sand in to the ‘mixer. They also had accountability for keeping the water butts full. The three on this task were Angel, Nicholas (one of the two pairs of brothers on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize) and Sam. These three work together quite a lot and appear not only to work very effectively as a team but they also get on well and have fun whilst they are working. And the seventh guy operating the ‘mixer (still haven’t found out his name).

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The ‘mixer and ‘feeding’ team at work.

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Angel putting his back in to it filling a bucket with shingle.

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Sam preparing to empty the shingle in to the mixer.

And up the buckets go.

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Then emptied in to wheelbarrows and taken to the next part of the roof for pouring

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Pouring for the south-east corner of the roof.

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And the wheelbarrow goes back to the ‘feeding’ station for another load

With no connection to mains water (hence the 25,000 gallon rainwater collection tank under the house) all water for the build has to be delivered and this much needed material was delivered whilst I was at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

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Water truck manoeuvres in to position.

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Place the pump in to the container.

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And let the water flow.

Looking back at the build I could see the guys ‘downing tools’ and heading in my direction. The food truck (OK, golf cart) had arrived.

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Guys scurrying down the stairs and scaffolding.

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And running to the food truck. You can see why Daniel Camal , our building contractor is the boss. He got there first!

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And in a very orderly queue the guys chose their lunch.

They each found their eating spots – some in the house and some under the trees- ate and drank very quickly and were back at work within twenty minutes.

Watching the guys eat had made me feel ravenous so I decided to head off home for breakfast.

Knowing that the roof was a ‘no go’ area for Rose and I whilst the pour was in progress we waited until around 3 pm (the guys were targeting a 1 pm finish) before heading back to Tres Cocos and I was able to get up on the scaffolding on the Second Floor (positioned in the north-west corner) to take a few shots of the completed roof.

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Looking across to the south-west corner.

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Looking south.

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Looking west.

With the roof pour finished Rose and I are really looking forward to the plastering starting in earnest next week. Let’s see those concrete blocks covered!

The headline is based on the 1983 single by Shannon which reached number eight in the US Billboard Hot 100, number fourteen in the UK Singles Chart and number one in the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

“Almost There” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Enjoyed a really lazy morning yesterday on the beach in front of the condo we are renting . Time to reacquaint the skin with the sun and my eyes and brain with a book that I must have started reading at least a month ago.

At 12.45 pm Rose and I went to pick up Kathi and Les, two friends that we first got to meet here on Ambergris Caye two years ago when we all on holiday. Kathi and Les are both originally from the UK but have lived in Canada for years and are here for a month long holiday and wanted to have a look at our build. So, we picked them up from their hotel and took them up to Tres Cocos and gave them a tour.

After dropping them back at their hotel it was a quick turn-around for Rose and I to head back to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize for our 3 pm meeting with Daniel Camal our building contractor.

We got there slightly early which gave me time to clamber up the scaffold ( I am getting quite good at it now and am starting to wonder if I missed my vocation in life!) to have a look at what the guys were doing on the roof.

I should explain that if some of the photos look slightly weird it is because I never actually got on to the roof. I sat perched on the scaffold beside the roof.

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Finishing off the forms on the eastern (front) side of the house.

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Tying the rebar together on the northern side of the roof.

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Form board for the western (lagoon) side of the roof on its way up.

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It’s there.

Whilst the rebar was being fixed together some of the guys were finishing off fitting the pipes for the electric.

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Nicholas bending the pipe to the right shape.

Below me on the First Floor I could see a couple of the guys busy at work assembling the final rebar frame for the roof.

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A close-up of the frame (in the background is the scaffold frame I perched on for the rooftop photos).

With all of the finishing work going on I could see that it was almost there for the big pour.

From my position I could see that Daniel had arrived and I skilfully (sic) clambered down the scaffold to join Rose and him for our on-site meeting. A meeting which enabled us to get answers to questions that will now enable Rose and I to make our final decisions in respect of cabinetry, shelving, tiling and lighting.

Now that I have finished this edition (4 am Saturday) it is time for a shower and shave before I head off for a quick breakfast at Estel’s and then up to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize to watch the concrete pour (the last major pour for the house) for the roof. All the action in tomorrow’s edition (OK so a few photos).

The headline is based on the 1964 song by Andy Williams which although it only reached number sixty-four in the US Billboard Hot 100 reached number two in the UK Singles Chart.