“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.


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.


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.


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


Board in place.


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

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


Stopping only briefly to load the hawk


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


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.


Clean up in the living and dining room areas.


South side veranda.


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.


Eduardo in action.


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.


“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.


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


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


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

Where Angel was working in the utility room.


Utility room walls get their first coat of cement



Angel had gone to get a replacement bucket of cement.

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


First Floor southern exterior wall.


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


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.


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


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


Hole cut for my shower.

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


Load it on to the hawk.

<a href="http://abelizehomeforus.


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.



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.



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.


Form poured for the south-east veranda wall.


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.


Angel about to apply the plaster.


Oscar loading his hawk.

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


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.



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


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


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


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.



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.


Western side.


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.


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



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


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 .


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.


Eastern veranda wall.


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!


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


And in the south-western corner.


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.


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


Cabinet space in the en suite bathroom.


Closet ( mud room) in the hallway.


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


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


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.


Me up on the roof.

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


Looking west.


Looking east.


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?



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”.


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).


The ‘mixer and ‘feeding’ team at work.


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


Sam preparing to empty the shingle in to the mixer.

And up the buckets go.


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


Pouring for the south-east corner of the roof.


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.


Water truck manoeuvres in to position.


Place the pump in to the container.


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.


Guys scurrying down the stairs and scaffolding.


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


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.


Looking across to the south-west corner.


Looking south.


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.


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


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


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




It’s there.

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


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.



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.

“Every Grain of Sand” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Suffering from the effects of a ‘heavy’ evening at the Roadkill bar – well we had to celebrate our homecoming didn’t we – I got up a little late yesterday morning at 6.15 am. None the worse for wear though after one mug of coffee I was raring (well, OK not raring but at least ready) to tackle ironing the third wash of the week – the sheets and pillowcases. When I first started ironing these things – never attempted it prior to moving to Ambergris Caye (led a sheltered (or is it cosseted) life you might say) I really struggled with them. A bit like giving me Rubik’s Cube to solve! But after nine hard months of practice it’s a doddle. Not offering my services though!


A (nearly) perfectly ironed pillowcase.

Anyway, enough of my prowess with an iron and on with the more interesting stuff (well, I hope it is interesting).

Rose and I spent a couple of hours looking at the plans for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize . We did so on a room by room,floor by floor basis making notes for all of the things that we want to discuss with Daniel Camal, our building contractor, during the meeting we are having with him at the build at 3 pm this afternoon. The agenda items range from recesses in the showers to floor finish for the roof terrace.

With that out of the way we went to the San Pedro Town Council offices in Barrier Reef Drive to pick up an application form for the importation of a golf cart (this in readiness for a successful application for the Qualified Retirement Program) and two application forms (one for Rose and one for me) for Belize driving licenses (we must have these (well me at least) to be granted the right to import a golf cart.

With that out of the way we headed north to Tres Cocos to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and arrived there shortly after 3 pm just as a tipper truck had turned up with a load of shingle.


Much better access and egress since the land has been filled.



Tipped right in front of the house.

Within minutes a load of sand arrived and was tipped very close to the shingle.


And shortly after that a delivery of cement.



Right to the ramp.


And loaded on the Ground Floor.

Whilst we were there the trucks and fork lift continued to arrive, tip their load and depart and we found out the reason for the very quick delivery time from Daniel who told us that because the Bridge fee for heavy vehicles has been increased five fold he has had the materials barged in from the mainland and they were being uplifted from the barge dock near the Karma Lounge just minutes from our build. Use of a barge for delivery of materials will also mean that when the Bridge is closed for repairs work on our house should not be impaired.

The sand, cement and shingle were being delivered for the roof pour that is scheduled for tomorrow and the plastering of the walls (inside and out) that will follow. And we know that every grain of sand (and the shingle and cement for that matter too) will be used.

Aside from having the materials so close (some it actually inside) to the house the guys had also set up the tray for the concrete at the base of the scaffolding that will be the ‘feeding’ station and moved the concrete mixer.


Positioned just at the foot of the entrance stairs.

There was a lot more going on than just having materials delivered though. The guys were busy at work completing the form work for the roof. No close-up photos though I am sorry to report because I couldn’t get up there – didn’t want to get in their way!


Evidence of the forms in place from the guys standing on them.

Elsewhere forms were being removed from rooms on the First Floor.


Alfredo at work in the utility (my) room.



Nearly there.


And it’s down !

Elsewhere we could see that forms were being finished for the veranda wall on the First Floor.




The headline is based on the 1981 song by Bob Dylan that was released on his “Shot of Love” album.

“You’ve Got a Friend” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up early again this morning but just after 5 am (must be slipping). Coffee, The Times and then ready to do battle with the iron on the second laundry wash. Early morning is definitely the best time of the day to get the ironing out of the way. Only two washes to go now and we are up-to-date!

Then a little time catching up on my In Box where I was really pleased to find that my Pension Statement had arrived from one of my previous employers. Next job was to send a copy of this to the Belize Tourism Board for my QRP (Qualified Retirement Program) application.

With our respective tasks out of the way Rose and I headed to Estel’s (haven’t been there for over two weeks) for breakfast. We deserved it!

We then split up. Rose to go and buy groceries and me to Atlantic Bank to make a cash withdrawal (don’t like queuing but you avoid the three percent charge levied when you use the ATM) and pay the electricity bill.

Just got home when we received a call from Peter Lawrence (Pedro’s Hotel) inviting us to lunch. When you get calls like that you know you’ve got a friend.

It wasn’t that long before lunch that we had eaten breakfast but we found room for the lovely meal of roast lamb, roast potatoes, cabbage, sweet corn, peas and a wonderful mint sauce (courtesy of Byron).

After giving our thanks for a great lunch it was time for Rose and I to head off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and we got there around 3.20 pm to the sound of hammers and electric saws. Some of the guys were working on removing form boards from the First Floor whilst the rest of them were fixing forms and the acrows for them on the Second Floor.


Rebar frame in place over the sliding door for the Master Bedroom.


Struts being fitted to support the roof form boards.


Alfredo on the First Floor preparing base form boards for the roof.


Angel fixing a form board around the rebar frame overlooking the stairwell.


Porfelio and Martin fixing acrows in place for the roof of the western (lagoon) side veranda.


Nicholas hammering a form in place for the roof above my walk-in closet.

All the while the rest of the guys were busy clearing the rooms on the First and Second Floors of rubbish.


Zapeda’s son (don’t know his name yet) using the quickest route for disposal. Me nonchalantly looking on.

On the way out of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we noticed that the rebar frames had been fitted on the veranda walls on the First Floor.


Frame in place on northern side veranda wall.


Frame in place on eastern veranda wall.

We left just as the guys were packing up for the day.


Guys heading for home. Another great day ‘at the office’!

The headline is based on the song by James Taylor which was released as a single in 1971. It reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number four in the UK Singles Chart.

“Angel” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Well and truly back in to the swing of things after only one night’s sleep back home here on Ambergris Caye. Up just after 5 am with my mug of coffee and on-line subscription to The Times on the veranda

Rose and I spent the morning carrying out post holiday chores. Me with the ironing (we had put a wash on within an hour or so of returning home on Monday) and Rose taking care of the ‘condo clean-up’.

In between the chores we had breakfast and lunch. Where does the time go when you are having fun?

I then devoted a little bit of time to administrative stuff with one of the things being to ‘chase up’ the pension statement I need to provide to the Belize Tourism Board for my application to enter the “QRP” (Qualified Retirement Program). With luck I should have this by Thursday and then,hopefully, my application will be processed fairly quickly.

By now we were feeling slightly ‘stir crazy’ and were really pleased that it was time to head off to see what was going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. On arrival at the site it was really good to be able to park the golf cart in front of the house.


Rose giving serious thought to driving the ‘cart up the ramp.

When we arrived we could see that the guys were taking their afternoon break so rather than disturb their rest period we decided to walk around the house and from this we could see that work was well underway on fitting the forms in readiness for the concrete pour for the roof.


Forms starting to be put in place for the beams of the roof over the veranda on the Second Floor on the western (lagoon) side.


Martin back at work after his break.

We could also see that work was well underway removing the supports that had been put in place for the concrete pour for the Second Floor floor.


Removing posts in the living room area and the veranda on the southern side.

Seeing that the guys were back at work we entered the house and could more clearly see what was going on.


Support poles (acrows) removed in the kitchen and dining room areas on the First Floor.


Support poles removed in the dining and living room area on the First Floor.


Removed from the utility room.


And the powder room.


And the ceiling/floor forms above the veranda on the eastern side nearly removed.

We then climbed the scaffold to the Second Floor to see what was going on.


The guys finishing off the forms for the beams for the roof of the veranda on the western (lagoon) side.


Forms in place on the northern side.


And the southern side.


And the eastern side.

Before leaving our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize we spent some time talking with Anhill. Well, for nearly twenty weeks that is what I had thought his name was. I now know that it is Angel! Terrible what a misheard or misunderstand pronunciation can result in. And the only reason I found out about my error is because Angel reads this blog.

The headline is based on the 2001 single by Shaggy which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the UK Singles Chart.

“I Like It,I Love It” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

No photographs on Sunday from Daniel Camal, our building contractor, so I decided not to publish an edition. Had I done it would have been Dallas centric and a ‘blog lite’ version. I would have found it boring to write and you would have found it even more boring to read. So a very easy decision.

Up really early yesterday morning at 1.30 am (had a wake -up call booked for 1.45 am but didn’t need it) to get ready for our 5.15 am flight from Dallas to Houston. Picked up by the bus on time, on schedule take-off and landing.

Everything had gone to plan and we had plenty of time for breakfast (no comparison with Estel’s) prior to catching the 8.47 am flight to Philip Goldson International Airport. But then we were advised that the aircraft had gone ‘technical’ (a word used to cover all types of problems) and the departure would be delayed. Then told we had to switch departure gates from E zone to C (good workout!).

Eventually we took off one hour late and landed in Belize at 11.05 am (hour ‘gained’ because of the time difference). It was going to be extremely tight for us to connect with the Tropic Air flight to Ambergris Caye departing at 11.40 am.

Whatever chance we had of doing so appeared to ‘go out of the window’ when we were told to have all of our bags ( two suitcases and a carry-on bag each) checked by Customs. Would this be shades of Midnight Express?

The Customs’ man seemed to take an age but we managed to connect with the flight (Tropic Air delayed it by 15 minutes – how considerate) and got back home to Ambergris Caye at noon. Picked up the keys to our golf cart from the Tropic Air desk (left there by our friend who had looked after the cart for us) and were home by 12.15 pm when we bumped in to Willie (who works at the Road Kill Bar) who helped us carry our bags to our condo. Good old Willie!

A quick hello to our friends Jane and Brian (who had stayed in our condo whilst we were away) before they set off to spend their last couple of days (doubt it will be the last days they spend in Belize though) on Caye Caulker.

With Jane and Brian gone, Rose and I quickly unpacked our bags, showered and dressed and then went to get a monthly Bridge Pass (BZ$ 150) at the San Pedro Town Council offices in Barrier Reef Drive . And after being away for two weeks we were ready to go take a look at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I was still locking the golf cart when I heard Rose exclaim “I Like It, I Love It” to Daniel who was there to greet her with a hug. Rose had seen the front of the house and the area cleared and filled in front of it.


Not being able to contain ourselves we asked Daniel if it was OK for us to go up on to the Second Floor and he very quickly rearranged the scaffolding so that Rose could use it like a ladder.

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Rose, a picture of concentration and determination.


It worked. She’s up there!

I very quickly climbed the scaffolding to join her for a close up view of what had been going on whilst we were away.


Master Bedroom walls at their finished height.


Walls finished for where the sink in my bathroom (wet room) will go.


The shower area for my bathroom.

The guys are now putting the rebar in place for the beams of the roof. The final big pour for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize which will be carried out in one go i.e. they will pour the beams and the roof at the same time.


Zapeda and Nicholas busy fixing the rebar in place.


Martin working alone on the veranda on the western (lagoon) side of the house.

With all of the walls finished we are now able to see exactly what space there will be for roof terracing on the Second Floor.


Roof terrace area on the northern side.

I will include photos of the other roof terrace areas in tomorrow’s edition.

With the land in front of the house now cleared and filled it looks so much bigger (and tidier).


View from the eastern veranda of the Second Floor.

And to finish off this edition a couple of photos of the exterior of the house as it looks now.


Northern side.


Western side.


Southern side.

The headline is based on the 1995 single by Tim McGraw which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

“Driving in My Car” but not in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With no photographic update received from Daniel Camal, our building contractor, yesterday I decided not to publish an edition without any meaningful reference to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. So apologies for its absence but I didn’t want to produce an edition based solely on our “Texas Tales”!

After a last full day in San Antonio on Thursday Rose and I left there on Friday morning and made our way to Waco for an overnight stop before heading to Dallas for the final leg of our return to Ambergris Caye, Belize.

An uneventful journey really. Just a day of driving in my car. That is until we pulled in to a Rest Area to make use of the facilities and saw a classic car in pristine condition. A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.


We got talking to the owner – never did exchange names – and he told us that he had spent five years renovating this eight cylinder beauty and was on his way to Fort Worth for a convention of like minded enthusiasts.


Me, far top left in the photo, admiring a beautiful car.


Classic lines. Immaculate bodywork. Could just as easily be describing Rose (let’s see if she reads this edition).


And so much power under the bonnet.

The remainder of the journey had no such interesting distractions and we arrived in Waco late afternoon. Booked in to our hotel, showered and changed and headed out for dinner . Yes, regular readers will have seen this coming, a steak dinner. Should add that though that my final meal in San Antonio was crab cakes. Only mention this because I do not want people to start thinking of me as the number one carnivore.

A good night night’s sleep and an early wake-up, a less than appetising breakfast offering (won’t return to that hotel) and we were on our way to Dallas for the final two nights of our stay in Texas.

Once in to our room we could get in touch with the world again. Log in to the Internet I mean. And once logged in we were pleased to find that waiting in my In Box was the latest update on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize from Daniel. And, as always, we are pleased with the progress being made.


Lintel in place for the sliding door in the Master Bedroom.


Walls for the stairwell and my bathroom finished.


Blocks laid above the clerestory windows in the stairwell.


Form work started for the beams for the roof above the Second Floor veranda.


Forms being removed just outside of Rose’s walk-in closet and bathroom.

The headline is based on the 1982 single by Madness which reached number four in the UK Singles Chart.

“Lone Star State of Mind” for Ambergris Caye, Belize

The body clock is nearly back in sync. Awake and up by 5.30 am this morning. Pleased that my time clock is virtually back to normal but getting up that early when you are in a hotel is not always great. What do you do at that time in the morning apart from going to breakfast?

So I showered, shaved, got dressed and played around on the web until Rose was ready and then we went for breakfast together. The fare on offer wasn’t great but good enough to set us up for our tour of Downtown San Antonio so we put on some comfortable shoes, grabbed the camera and set off.

We had seen parts of Downtown San Antonio yesterday but it was evening and our minds (and stomachs I suppose) were more on getting something to eat than take in the sights. Today we tried to make amends for that.

There are loads of very attractive buildings and when you get away from the crowds the Riverwalk is really tranquil. The following photos provide just a snapshot of the nine mile walk that Rose and I did (OK so we took time out for some refreshment stops).


Downtown ‘trolley’ bus.


“Lady of Justice” in front of the San Antonio Court House.


A very small stretch of the Riverwalk.


A typical Riverwalk tour boat.


A man-made waterfall on the walk.

Not all of the boats though are there to take tourists around. Just like Ambergris Caye there are boats used for other tasks.


Clearing the river of leaves.


Delivering stone blocks for the regeneration of a stretch of the Riverwalk.

We took one of the many staircases to street level and headed off to visit The Alamo. Judging by the crowds, hundreds and hundreds of other people had the same thought in mind. Relaxed and rested though we just joined the queues.


The Alamo.

We then walked to the San Fernando Catholic Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the United States.




The heat was getting to us ((OK, feeble excuse I know) so we popped in to Pat O’Brien’s where we struck lucky when a guy from the audience got up to play his washboard, Louisiana style.


We are having a great time in Texas but our thoughts keep creeping back to our new home. Suppose you could say we are suffering from a lone star state of mind for our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

Hopefully the previous paragraph has teed it up nicely for an update on progress for the build of our new home. So here goes.


Forms in place for the concrete pour to create the lintels for the southern side of the Second Floor.


Forms in place for the lintels for the western (lagoon) side of the Second Floor.


Lintels poured and forms removed for the eastern side ( for the bathrooms) of the Second Floor.


Forms for the Master Bedroom being fitted.


Rebar rods being fitted for the pour to create a ‘roof’ over the veranda.

The headline is based on the single (from the album of the same name) released by Nanci Griffith in 1987 which reached number thirty-six in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

“What’s Going On” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

First things first. No edition on Wednesday so apologies for its absence. I had been slightly off colour for the last few days. Dry, then cracked, lips. Runny nose (sorry for the vivid description). Temperature going up.

Tuesday afternoon it really started to take a hold. Aching limbs. Hot then cold.I felt really quite rough. This was shortly after I had gone for a US$ 15.50 ‘cut and shampoo’ at a local Walmart. For a while I wondered if I was suffering from the Samson effect but no, this was the real thing not an attack of man flu. So early to bed for me. No hitting Sixth Street.

A really good night’s sleep allowed me to ‘sweat it out’ and I woke up feeling so much better and ready for the short drive (around 80 miles) to San Antonio.

On arrival I took a couple of the tablets (flu and cold relief) that Rose insisted I take and had a couple of hours sleep (had I been able to get the Bayern Munich v Arsenal game on TV I would have watched that) and woke up feeling so much better and ready for a visit to San Antonio’s Riverwalk District.

We caught the bus (masquerading as a trolley bus) for US$ 1.20 each to the County Court House and then walked a very short distance to the Riverwalk.


The impressive County Court House.

After a walk along the river we went for a meal and when it was time to pay up and leave we were amazed to find that a bottle of Corona Extra only cost US$ 2. Less than a bottle of Belikin Regular in most of the bars on Ambergris Caye! Result.

Feeling not too good was not the only reason for not publishing an edition on Tuesday. The other reason was that I had not received an update from Daniel Camal, our building contractor. Although I was feeling the worse for wear I sent him an email asking ‘what’s going on with our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize‘. He responded,as always, very quickly with a load of photos.

So, if you’ve got the photos, what’s going on I hear you ask.

Lots as the following photographs will show.


Northern veranda wall nearly finished.


Northern (exterior) wall of the Master Bedroom.


Southern wall of the stairwell.


Plastering continues on the Ground Floor. This time it is Anhill applying the plaster.

The Ground Floor is starting to look much tidier now.



View of the stairwell from the northern side.


Work progresses on the Master Bedroom.


And my walk-in closet and bathroom.

They have also started some preparatory work on the sea wall for the end of the garden.


The pilings surrounded by the water from the recent rain.

Things are so much better now that my twenty-four hour flu has gone and we know what’s gong on with our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The headline is based on the song by Marvin Gaye which was released in 1971 and reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Indian Reservation” but not in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Far, far easier to get out of the bed in the hotel we are using in Austin. This one is for normal sized people and nothing like the one we slept in when in Dallas.

Fully adjusted to the clock change for Daylight Saving Time I got up at a respectable 6.15 am – bit of a lie in but not overly so. Showered, shaved (not Rose,only me),dressed and fed we headed to Georgetown to pick up where we left off yesterday. Me trying to buy a pair of Minnetonka Moccasins.

We got there just after 10 am, parked in the very quaint town square just across the road from Tribal Impressions. When I came across Tribal Impressions on the ‘web I envisaged a trading post type outlet on an Indian Reservation not a small shop in a town square.


An emporium of cowboy and Indian wear.

For such a small store there was so much stuff packed in there and I didn’t know what to choose. Ten ‘try ons’ later though and I had found the moccasins for me. Black moose hide. So soft that when on they feel like house slippers.


Ready to give my trusty old flip flops a run for their money!

With my objective satisfied we jumped in to the car and drove fifteen miles to Liberty Hill to take a serious look at golf carts. Our mission was to finally decide what type of wheels we will buy when (hopefully I am not being overly confident) I acquire QRP (Qualified Retirement Program) status.

In just over an hour looking at the selection of vehicles on display at Ennis Golf Carts Rose and I had made up our minds. We are going for the Club Car XRT 850. With its flip-flop back seat it should give us the best of both worlds. Four seats if we need them but also a flat-bed at the rear when it’s heavy duty shopping time.


Our choice. But probably not in red though.

With the shopping done Rose and I headed back to the hotel, freshened up and took a taxi to Sixth Street, Austin and boy (see,the American expressions keep creeping in) did we have a good time. For us it was like a mini-me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Roads closed off to cars. Loads of people out to have a good time.


Fairly early but Sixth Street is already buzzing.

Street performers were setting up everywhere .


Music coming from nearly every corner and bar we walked past. Then we thought ‘why keep walking past them?’. So we didn’t and decided to go in to B.D Riley’s.


Well, Rose is Irish and it is only days away from St Patrick’s Day.

We chose a couple of pints Bass Ale (tasted really,really good) but there were so many good beers to choose from.


Well, what would you have chosen?

And then we both had Irish Stew – well we just had to.


Not the greatest photograph but I was in to my third pint.

The music was great but the high spot for us was Skinny Lister, an English group, who really got the pub going.


Skinny Lister in action.

An all action group whose members moved around the pub encouraging everyone to get involved.


Double bassist plucking his strings on the bar.

Being the oldies that we are (well me at least) we left the bar at around 11.30 pm ( cannot be precise because I couldn’t focus on my watch) and Sixth Street was really getting started. I was tempted to stay awhile but looked up and saw a cat looking at me and realised that I had drunk too much.


A purrfect picture (terrible I know but…).

As we were heading to try and catch a taxi we stopped to listen to a group playing in the street that had drawn a large crowd and were really tempted to stay but we are old enough to know better.


If only I didn’t know better I might still be there now!

Think you have probably read and seen enough of our visit to Sixth Street and it is time to bring you up to date with developments on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. So, here goes.


Exterior of the bathroom walls (eastern side of the house).


Stairwell wall virtually finished.


And the exterior wall of the Master Bedroom.


Plastering the external walls on the Ground Floor.

Our house just appears to be getting higher and higher in our absence.


The headline is based on the song written by John D Loudermilk which was first recorded in 1959 by Marvin Rainwater. The first hit version of the song was recorded by Don Fardon but the version that most resonates with me is by the Raiders which was released in 1971. The song reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Drive” but not in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When pulling yesterday’s edition together I forgot to include a photo I took when Rose and I were at the Farmers Market in Dallas and have no real reason for including it today other than it amused us.


Was this Old MacDonald away from his farm for the day?

We have had a good stay at the hotel we have been at for the last six nights. Good room, fairly good choice for breakfast (and lots of it) and fairly centrally located. One thing I will not miss though is the unusually high bed. As our stay progressed I found the easiest way to get in to the bed was via a Fosbury Flop routine. Getting out of bed was just a case of putting the legs over the side and launching myself. Both proved to be very effective.

Thought I had really started to get my body clock back into sync when I woke up at 5.45 am this morning that is until I found out that the clock had gone forward by an hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time so it was really 6.45 am! Cant win.

We showered, dressed, packed our cases and then had breakfast and by 9.45 am (I am a very slow eater – good for the digestion so they say) and it was time to drive to our next stop, Austin. En route though we took a detour to visit Georgetown to visit Tribal Impressions where I intended to buy myself a pair of Minnetonka moccasins or a pair of Native American moccasins. But, like most other stores in the historic town square, it was closed. Bummer. I thought all stores in America opened on Sunday. Back there tomorrow and hello ‘Johnny Fleet of Foot’!


A really picturesque old church just off the Town Square.

In addition to a return drive to Georgetown to get my moccasins Rose and I are heading to Liberty Hill to look at golf carts. A report of our experience will appear in Tuesday’s edition.

Enough of the enthralling adventures of Rose and John because now it is time for an update on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With no work today (or tomorrow for that matter) I am using the mini library of photos that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, sent to me yesterday.


Stairwell/Master Bedroom wall. The aperture to the right is where the door will go.


Master Bedroom wall on the northern side.


Master Bedroom through to the walk-in closets and bathrooms (mine is on the right).


No real action going on. Just an excuse to include a picture of the guys. I know they expect it now!


First coat of plaster completed for the store room on the Ground Floor.


Stairwell walls in the south-west corner taking shape.


Another excuse to feature the guys.

The headline is based on the 1984 song by The Cars. It reached number three in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number five in the UK Singles Chart. After being used as the backing track for a montage at Live Aid in 1985 it was re-released and this time reached number four in the UK Singles Chart.

“Oh Happy Day” even though not in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The body clock appears to be getting more and more in sync at last. Woke up at 6 am this morning. Only an hour or so to retrieve now. Could be totally back in sync by the time we are heading back to Ambergris Caye, Belize!

After five days of travelling and shopping (more of the latter than the former) Rose and I decided to treat ourselves today with a day of doing touristy type stuff instead of hitting the stores. So we decided to go to the Farmers Market (it had been highly recommended by Renee and Dave on Ambergris Caye).

We went for a reasonably early breakfast in the hotel and once finished I went to sit in the car and set the co-ordinates in the Tom Tom (OK so I just entered the address) whilst waiting for Rose. Got slightly worried when a police car drove through the parking lot – wondered if I had been reported for driving on the wrong side of the road!


Fortunately not after me – he just drove through.

With Rose now ready we hit the highway (getting more and more worried as each day goes by as I use more and more American expressions – highway? Do I mean motorway? Will it be the cowboy hat next???). I was going to enjoy today. A day without shopping. Oh happy day.

The Farmers Market is only around thirteen miles from our hotel so it didn’t take us too long to get there.


We didn’t buy anything there but it was really interesting looking at the fresh produce on the stalls. Everything looked like it had been grown in the land of the giants.


Brussel sprouts the size of small cabbages (iPhone used for size comparison).


Huge radishes too.

Everything was so big. And so inexpensive.





A really impressive range of fresh fruit and vegetables.

We then moved on to look at the shrubs and plants on offer. We knew we couldn’t buy any (as much as we would have liked to) so were looking for ideas for when we eventually get to landscaping for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.


So lovely and we couldn’t buy anything.


We came away with a few ideas and one of them we intend to put to the test fairly soon. We think we can produce some large pots for plants by using concrete. We will need to create the forms (I say “we” but I actually mean Rose – she is the artistic one) and then mix up and pour the concrete. Simple! Hopefully we will then produce pots similar to these.


We took full advantage of the free samples on the fruit and vegetable stands and what was on offer in the food hall but not so much that we weren’t hungry. So we went for a meal. Yes, you guessed it – steak again ( if you are interested in seeing what I chose you will have to take a look at Tacogirl’s blog (what I suppose you would call syndication).

If you are still with this you have shown amazing patience so I will now ‘reward’ you with an update on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize courtney of the photos that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, has sent us . Some of them making use of the iPad he has just bought himself.

Work has continued at a really good pace but what Rose and I have liked from the start is how happy the guys are no matter how hard the work. They really do look like they are having fun and enjoying themselves.


Rafael (aka The Frog) doing his impersonation of a fireman.


Quickly switching to serious mode.


Walls for the Master Bedroom, walk-in closets and bathrooms getting higher.


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


Walls around the stairwell ‘growing’.

And while most of the guys are busy on the Second Floor work is taking place on the Ground Floor.


Martin with the trowel and hawk in the store room.

It is Heroes and Benefactors Day on Monday so there will be no work on our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but fear not because I have held back some photos for inclusion in the next couple of editions. Forward planning eh?

The headline is based on the song by the Edwin Hawkins Singers which was released in 1969. It reached number four in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK Singles Chart.

“Takin’ Care of Business” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Could be the different bed. Or the strange surroundings. Might be that the concentration I am giving to driving a car on alien roads (well alien to me anyway) is just that little bit more tiring than dawdling around in a golf cart on Ambergris Caye! Whatever it is I am waking later in the morning. Not up this morning until 6.50 am.

A hearty breakfast at the hotel and Rose and I were ready to hit the shops again. With a fairly local Lowe’s store being first on our list. And this one was only eleven miles from our hotel. Virtually next door by Dallas standards!

Some little while ago Emily (http://bebelize.weebly.com/) commented on this blog that too much choice might make things more difficult for us. I am now starting to think that she might well be right. When there is so much on offer it is sometimes nigh on impossible to choose just one! But choose we must and today Rose and I believe that we are now very close to making our choices.

With our window shopping done we went back to the hotel to download the photographs. Quickly freshened up and went out for dinner. Our choice once again was – yes, you guessed it – steak.

While we are over here enjoying ourselves it is reassuring to know that Daniel Camal. our building contractor, is takin’care of business for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. We know this from the photos he has sent us of what work has been carried out.

The walls are really starting to take shape.


Walls for the Master Bedroom and the bathrooms.

Plastering of the walls on the Ground Floor has continued.


The store room.

The pipe work is being fitted.


And the walls around the stairwell have grown.


The walls of the living/kitchen room of the Ground Floor apartment have had the first plaster coat applied.


And for the bedroom with the veranda too.


They even found time to start the form work for the concrete corner seat and table that we are going to have in the north-west corner of the Second Floor.


Should be the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

I have mentioned how everything is so much bigger here in Dallas. Well how about this for the ‘Dallas’ version of a Mini Clubman.


I know it’s not really a Mini Clubman but it sure looks like one.

And how about the size of the Lowe’s store?


Makes a B & Q in the UK look diminutive by comparison.

We are missing watching what is going on at our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize but Daniel is keeping us up-to-date with developments.

The headline is based on the song written by Randy Bachman and recorded by Bachman – Turner Overdrive. The song , when released as a single in 1974, reached number twelve in the US Billboard Hot 100. During the last few years of his life Elvis Presley adopted the words as a motto and to this day the phrase is used for Elvis merchandise.

“Missing You” Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Rose and I are having a great time in Dallas. With the Tom Tom and the hire car we have been able to find our way around reasonably successfully. Think I have only overshot a turnoff twice since we have been here. In England it wasn’t uncommon for me to that on a single journey to somewhere new to me. Mind you, I didn’t use a GPS then.

Everything here is on a grand scale. Huge roads. Massive shopping malls. Large shops. No ‘big hair’ though. Really disappointed. When I watched JR and Sue Ellen back in the late 70s all of the women had ‘big hair’. Suppose things have changed in the last thirty-five years!

We have had plenty to occupy our time. The roads are great and, unless we have travelled during rush hour, we haven’t been subjected to traffic jams. The journeys though – from one shopping center to the next- still eats up the time because they always seem to be around twenty miles apart. Perhaps it is bad planning on my part. Or maybe it’s just the way Dallas is because of its sheer size.

Although we are having a great time and seeing the things (taps,(faucets for non UK readers), shower heads, fans, etc) we came here to look at, already (we have only been here four days) I find myself thinking I am missing you Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Enough of my ramblings and on to the real reason that the vast majority of you use your time to visit this blog – our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

A further supply of photos from Daniel Camal, our building contractor, showed us (and now you also) that work on our house continues at a good pace.


Wall starts to go up around the stairwell.


Plastering of the walls begins on the Ground Floor in the store room.

The hoist on the outside of the front of the house has been brought back in to use to bring concrete blocks and cement up to the Second Floor.


Hoist delivery station in the north-east corner of the house.


Bedroom wall starts to go up.


And the walls for the two bathrooms too.

It actually looks like things are progressing quicker whilst we are away than when we visit the build every day. Perhaps we are a distraction!

The headline is based on the 1984 song co-written and sang by John Waite which reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart and number one in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Baubles, Bangles & Beads” for Ambergris Caye, Belize.

First of all to those of you who looked for but could not find an edition of the blog for Wednesday 6 March apologies. I did not publish one. Too busy orientating myself in Dallas and, in all honesty, a lack of available time allied to the fact that I felt bloody tired.

We spent a fair bit of Tuesday going to a local (well fairly local but US$ 40 taxi ride – might have been done on that one though) Walmart to buy a Tom Tom (without a GPS I would have no chance of finding anything/getting anywhere). That done we headed straight to the car rental place (by taxi again but this time a more reasonable US$ 11- could see the meter this time) to pick up a vehicle.


A bit different to the golf cart. It’s got doors. And a windscreen!

With wheels and the Tom Tom we were ready to hit the stores and the Home Depot store in Irving was our first stop where we spent a couple of hours looking at fans, faucets, shower heads and kitchen cabinet furniture. Envious? I suspect not.

Feeling pleased with our first day we decided to head for an early meal and both of us had steak. Those of you reading this on Ambergris Caye will know just how difficult (impossible is probably a more accurate description) it is to get a decent steak. Never used to eat steak much when I lived in England but now when I leave Ambergris Caye it’s the first meal I go for. Classic case of what you can’t have I suppose.

Fed and watered (well, one bottle of Corona actually) we hit the hay (speaking Texan already) really early and slept through until we got up at 6.45 am this morning. After showering and dressing, a quick breakfast and we hit he roads (and stores) again. Favourite of the day (well at least for Rose) was the visit to a Hobby Lobby where she wandered around buying baubles, bangles and beads to use for the jewellery she will make when she gets back to Ambergris Caye.



“What shall I buy? I want everything”.

We then hit the local (nothing really is that local in Dallas) Grapevine Mills factory outlet mall. This was to stock up on shorts for me – you can never have too many pairs of shorts (used to think this was the case for ties when I worked for a living)!

Shopped out we took our purchases back to the hotel. Freshened up and went out to get a bite to eat. Yep,you guessed it, a steak.

When we got back to the hotel after the meal it was time to catch up with emails, and in particular an email from Daniel Camal, the building contractor for our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. Accompanying Daniel’s email were photographs of what’s been going on since we have been away.


Forms for the Second Floor being removed.


Start of the veranda wall on the southern side.


Start of veranda wall on the eastern side. Plus rebar frames for the columns in place and forms for them being fitted.

In tomorrow’s edition I expect to be able to report that the walls for the Second Floor have started to go up.

The headline is based on the song by Robert Wright and George Forrest which featured in the 1953 musical Kismet. The most popular recording of the song was by Peggy Lee in the same year that the show began. Her version reached number thirty in the US Pop chart (US Billboard Hot 100 did not come in to being until 1958.

“Dallas” not Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up nice and early this morning at 4.45 am . Pleased with this because there were just one or two things that I needed to take care of before we headed off to Dallas.

Had to be a little more conscious of my noise levels though because our friends Jane and Brian are staying at our rented condo. Not that I don’t try to keep quiet for Rose but …

I had organised the last element of our travel arrangements on Sunday when I booked our flights from/to the island with Tropic Air. I had a credit note from a previously unused flight and got a ten percent discount so the tickets for Rose and I came in at US$103.45 each. Nearly two and half times what we are paying to get to/from Dallas!

With the tasks taken care of I headed off to Estel’s ( yes again) for a hearty breakfast – my last one there for a couple of weeks – to set myself up for the day because with the connection times we have it might be difficult to have a decent meal on the way.

Just before 1 pm we said goodbye to Jane and Brian and drove our golf cart to our friend’s house for safekeeping ( neither Jane or Brian drive or we would have left it with them). He took us to Tropic Air and we got there at 1.20 for the 2 pm flight.

For those of you who have never been to Ambergris Caye below is a photo of Tropic Air’s relatively new check-in desk.


A seventeen minute flight – although to Rose who has a dread of flying it seemed like an hour – and we landed at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. A quick intake of Belize air outside the airport.


and through customs for our last rum punch for a while at Jet’s Bar


and we were on our way.

No problems with our two flights but we did experience a severe delay when we arrived at Dallas airport when we were kept waiting for over 80 minutes for the airport shuttle. After repeated calls we eventually gave up and took a taxi and eventually got to the hotel – in not too good a mood – just minutes before 1 am.

After berating the Night Manager we got to our (which actually is OK) room and logged in to the Internet to get our karma back by looking at the photos that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, had sent us of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. And here they are:


Forms being removed from the western (lagoon) side of the Second Floor.


Start of the veranda wall on the southern side of the house.


Veranda wall starts on the eastern side of the house.


Rebar frames for the columns in place and the forms for them start to be fitted.

Looking at the photos that Daniel sends is nowhere near the same as going to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize ourselves. But for the next two weeks we are just going to have to get used to it.

Apologies for the late publication of this edition but by the time we got to the hotel early this morning the only thing on my mind was bed.

The headline is based on the 1991 single co-written and sung by Alan Jackson. It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart.

“Taking Liberties” in Ambergris Caye,Belize.

Spent the early part of the morning assembling the stuff -clothes,toiletries, chargers,notepad, etc for the trip to Dallas that we are making. Not taking a lot with me so didn’t take too long to pull it together.

With the packing virtually finished – just a few items to put in to the case before we leave – we (if I haven’t mentioned it before, Rose is an Arsenal fan too) settled down to watch the Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) game versus Arsenal. Regret to say that Arsenal weren’t really in it and lost two goals to one. It’s going to a mammoth challenge for us now to achieve forth place and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

In a somewhat dejected mood we needed a pick-me-up so decided to go have a look at the finished concrete pour for the Second Floor of our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and got there around 3 pm.

With nobody else on the site it was very quick and easy to access the scaffolding and climb up to the top floor where the concrete was curing nicely.


View from the south-eastern corner.


View from the southern corner.


Looking east.


Looking south.


Looking south-east from the north-west corner.


Looking south-east from the north-east corner.

The rebar rods that you can see define where the master bedroom and walk-in closets leading to the ‘his’ and ‘hers’ bathrooms will be constructed.

As I mentioned in a previous edition, our friends Jane and Brian are staying in the condo we are renting whilst we are away and during the last couple of days we have given them a whistle stop tour of the shops to get the things they may need during their stay. This hopefully will make things a little easier for them.

Oh, I meant to mention in yesterday’s edition that when we got to our build yesterday afternoon there were a couple of tourists on our land happily snapping away with a camera. I went up to the one closest to us – the other one (with the camera) had really advanced on to the land to within fifteen yards of the house- and asked him what he thought he was doing. “We are in construction” he replied ” and am interested in the building techniques here”. I asked him did he not think it impolite to just wander on to someone’s land and he informed me that they had asked one of the guys whether it would be OK and had been told that it was.

Well as far as we are concerned although the build isn’t finished yet it is our house. And you don’t just go look at someone’s house without asking permission from the owners. Anything less than this is just taking liberties.

We have not laid down any rules for the guys on the site. In fact Daniel Camal, our building contractor, has told us that we are a lot more relaxed than many of the people he has constructed for. But given the experience of yesterday we have introduced the only rule to apply which is that there are to be no visitors to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize unless they are accompanied by either Rose and I, or both of us.

The headline is based on the title of the album released in 1980 by Elvis Costello which reached number twenty-eight in the US Billboard Pop Albums chart.

“Good Vibrations” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Not up until 6 am today. The after effect of celebrating our anniversary a bit too enthusiastically. The first mug of coffee appeared to have no boosting affect whatsoever. The second one did, however, marginally improve how I felt. It’s true to say though that I have felt a lot,lot better. Not looking for sympathy though. I brought it all upon myself.

Feeling on the way to revitalisation I showered, shaved, brushed teeth, got dressed (yes,I can do all of this for myself) and headed off to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and within two or three minutes of the journey I realised that I should have put on a sweat top. It was chilly, very chilly. Nowhere near as cold as days I experienced in England but I am obviously starting to become acclimatised and now feel a drop in the temperature more. But being a hardy soul I continued with my journey and got to the build just after 7.30 am.

Parking the golf cart I could see the mixer at work with the guys on ‘bucket duty’ taking a break in between loads.


Try and remember the size of the piles of sand and shingle.

A quick walk around the back of the bodega so as not to disrupt the guys on the wheelbarrows and I could see a human tower lifting buckets from pairs of hands to pairs of hands.


From bottom to top (excluding the guys on the Second Floor/roof) there are nineteen guys.

The same process of ‘delivery for the concrete as was used for the First Floor was used today. But this time they had to lift it higher. Much higher.


Empty the wheelbarrow into the tray and then into the buckets.


And up the buckets go.

I was just ready to see if I could find a place on the Second Floor/roof without getting in the guy’s way when they started to leave our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and walk to the road. What was this? A strike? No. Just that the food cart had arrived. Time for a late breakfast or early lunch.


The cart did a roaring trade.


Having a laugh between bites.

Seeing that they would be occupied for a little while I made my way speedily up the scaffold and when I got to the top I could see that they had virtually finished the pour of concrete for the western (lagoon) side veranda.


I then looked to see what approach they were taking for the pour.


Wheelbarrow loading point in the north-eastern corner and then a ‘boardwalk’ to where it has to be poured.

Hearing a shout I looked down.


Anhill letting me know that he had seen me.

Break over they guys resumed work and the pour recommenced and I managed to get a few shots before they got too close to me.


Load the ‘barrow.


Walk the walk.


And then pour.


Then the float.

Not wishing to be in the way I retreated to watch the guys on the ‘mixer. They have a routine that is at times balletic.


Fill the bucket.


Pass (throw) the bucket.


In to the ‘mixer.


“Fill that one up for me. Please”.

Feeling tired just watching the guys – and there forty of them working today- I headed home for a late breakfast. Suitably refreshed Rose and I took care of a few things before heading back to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize so that Rose could see and enjoy the experience.

With so much activity going on at the top of the house Rose decided that it was best that she did not climb up. I did though and am pleased that I did because they had made real progress while I had been away.


Floor poured east of the stairwell.


Looking good on the northern side of the house.

As they moved closer to the eastern side it became more crowded.


You could just about swing a cat!


But still the pour went on.


Disposing of boards no longer needed using the quickest route.

It was becoming more and more crowded and I decided it was best for me to withdraw but not before I saw Zapeda removing air from the cincrte by giving it the good vibrations.


Oh, do you remember the piles of sand and shingle at the beginning of this edition? Well, when Rose and I left our build at 1.30 pm, with around one hour to complete the pour, they looked like this.


We have got a busy day tomorrow but we are going to do our utmost to visit the build to take a look at the completed pour. Obviously there will be a few photos if we do. If not, I will have to take a photo or two of my lunch!

The headline is based on the 1966 single by The Beach Boys which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

“Up on the Roof” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Sitting on the veranda this morning with my friend Mr Coffee at around 4.45 pm I realised what a wonderful day it was. Why? Well, it was thirty-eight years ago today that I met Rose for the very first time. We met at a bar called The Horns in Shoreditch. She was the best looking girl in the room . And she still is (now that should make up for not getting an anniversary card. Hopefully?).

I mentioned in yesterday’s edition that when I was up on the roof I got a good view of the road that there has been a great amount of comment about on the Ambergris Caye Forum.

It starts just in front of the Bamboo House, our soon-to-be-neighbour Bertrand’s house, and runs through to where a right will take you to the Palapa Bar and Grill and straight ahead will eventually take you to Grand Caribe.


Bamboo House is to the left of the newly cleared road.


A closer view of the road.


In use with a van.


And minutes later a golf cart.

Rose and I spent a bit of the morning preparing the spare bedroom for the arrival of Jane and Brian, friends from the UK who are going to stay in our condo when we head off on Monday for our two week trip to Dallas and surrounding areas. Not a bad day to be doing stuff like this because the temperature had dropped quite a lot when compared to the last few days and it was grey and overcast with always a hint of rain in the air (it did rain last night around midnight and was raining at around 3 am when I awoke briefly).

With the spare bedroom organised I travelled to town to pay the Internet and cable TV bills at Coral Cable’s office in Pescador Drive. Hearing the sound of a hammer as I was walking down the street I peeked over the fence to see what the cause of the noise was.


A lobster pot ‘factory’.

Funny how you can walk by something so many, many times and never notice it. Today I did. Must have been the second cup of coffee.

Got home and Rose and I finished off some bits and pieces and then I went to Tropic Air to pick our friends up. A quick tour of the condo for them and we (just Rose and I – well it was our anniversary) headed off to our build in Ambergris Caye,Belize. On the way there we stopped off to buy twenty-two bottles of soft drinks ( nineteen for the guys on site (I ‘phoned Anhill before going in to the shop), one for Daniel (in case he was there) and one each for Rose and I).

On arrival Rose handed out the drinks and we then headed to the scaffolding to make the climb up. Rose got a couple of feet up the scaffold and then said she could go no further and that I should go up without her. I remonstrated but to no avail so (as I always do!) did as I told. Zapeda seeing this got a couple of the guys to put more boards on the scaffold frame to create the semblance of a ladder for Rose and with a little coaxing Rose was up on the roof.


A rebar rod to the rescue.

Whilst Rose gripped the rebar I wandered around taking a few photos of the guys busily putting the pipe work in place and finishing off fixing the rebar in position.


Nicholas bending the pipe.


Checking where it needs to go.


“Still not sure about this”.


“Now I know”.

Just behind Nicholas were Sam and Edson putting the final lengths of rebar in place.


“Straighten up Sam”.

All around us the guys were fitting the pipe work because it needed to be finished today for the concrete pour to take place on Saturday.


Eduardo at work.

While we were up there the guys took a quick break.


A refreshing orange. In England it probably would have been a meat pie (or two)!

During our time up on the roof trucks were delivering sand and stones for the concrete pour.


Delivery of stones being tipped.


Quickly followed by a load of sand.

Not wishing to distract the guys any more and put the concrete pour at risk Rose and I left the roof. Rose made it down a lot easier, and a lot quicker, than the way up.

Read Sunday’s edition to find out how the pour went. Will Rose make it up the scaffold for it?

The headline is based on the song by The Drifters which was released towards the end of 1962. Early the following year it reached number five in the US Billboard Hot 100.