“What Can I Do” in Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I have been trying since last November to close two savings accounts that I held jointly with my Dad who sadly passed away in December 2011.

I thought the monies held in the accounts would be included within the probate process. I was wrong. When my Dad passed away the accounts became held solely in my name.

Anyway,when I became aware of this late last October (probate takes an age to complete in the UK even when uncontested) I wrote a letter explaining the situation and requested that the accounts be closed and the monies transferred to my UK bank account. With no response I wrote again in January this year and followed up with ‘phone calls and then wrote again late in April. Still no response. Not even an acknowledgement of any of my letters.

Sitting on the veranda on Tuesday morning my thoughts turned to the two accounts again and I thought ‘What can I do?’. Go to the very top I concluded. So I did a search on the Internet and found the managing director’s email address and sent him a note. Within thirty minutes I had a response from his office promising that my complaint would be looked in to.

Yesterday morning I received an email from the company’s Complaints Department which, after I had emailed my mobile number, was followed up by a telephone call. A five minute conversation with a very pleasant and apologetic young lady and the accounts were closed and arrangements made for the monies to be transferred to my bank account. Additionally they will include a payment of £75 ( circa BZ$ 225) as compensation for my time and expense.

Had we still been living in the UK I could have closed the accounts very simply and quickly with a visit to a local branch of the savings company. Not so when you are living thousands of miles away. It’s a situation that has occurred (and will in the future) quite a lot for us since we moved and started our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize. You just have to find an alternative. Sit back and consider ‘What can I do?’. More often than not you will come up with a solution.

Reflecting on the fact that I had started trying to close the two accounts around the same time that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, commenced our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize Rose and I set off to view progress feeling very satisfied.

When we parked the golf cart we could see, contrary to views I expressed in a previous edition, that the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge is going to have a girder (centrally positioned) to divide the two ‘lanes’. Bummer. The taxis will still be able to employ their practice of straddling both sides of the bridge!


Below the bridge work had begun on painting. The final stage of the repair work.


When we got to our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize just after 3 pm the guys had just finished their afternoon break and , having been rolling around in our sand-pit of a back garden, were washing off in the lagoon.


I knew that the sea wall would come in handy for something!

In to the house and up to the First Floor and we could see that Rolando and Rafael (aka The Frog) had been active running the wiring for the lights.


Utility/laundry room.



For the pendant lights for the stairwell on the Second Floor.

Out on the western (lagoon) side veranda nearly all of the plycem boards had been fitted for the ceiling.


And just around the corner Alfonso was busy at work fitting ‘boards on the northern side.


Down below at ground level young Miguel (difficult at times to believe -given the strength and endurance he shows- that he is only fifteen) was busy clearing dirt from the hole that had been dug for the septic tank/soak-away.


“Be careful not to damage that tree!”.



More useful landfill.

Realising that the ‘action’ was below us Rose and I went downstairs to find that at the back (lagoon side) of the house Nicholas and Eduardo had applied the finishing coat of cement for the cantilever beams.



Turning the corner to the northern side of the house we saw just how much work they had done on the septic tank/soak-away.



Around the front (eastern side) of the house Martin and Angel had started applying the finishing coat for the beams of the ‘open’ area of the Ground Floor.


Having made good progress on the septic tank/soak-away the guys are now turning their attention to the well (progress report on this in tomorrow’s edition) which will be located in the north-west corner of our lot.


Blue arrow indicates where the well will be.

The headline is based on the 1998 single by The Corrs which reached number three in the UK Singles Chart.


  1. tom e says:

    John, I love your documentation of your build. It will be interesting to view way down your and Rose’s road to happiness in Belize

    1. Thanks Tom. I am currently giving thought to how I can keep blogging when I stop on the build (this will be when the more personal stuff of fixtures and fittings start going in). Suggestions more than welcome.

  2. herman says:

    Please dont stop when the house is finished – there will be so much more to add – I am a year or so behind you – we will be able to start our build around september – there is so much to do before then. I will be over soon and hope to make contact with your builder – as he seems great – I love the way he works. I have 2 other friends looking to build over the next few years too – there will be plenty of work for the right builders – I just need to find him. I am also thinking about planting soon – as I want the trees to mature – and what the best fruit trees are etc etc. So much to do and I am learning so much from you

    1. Louise (or is it Herman?) thank you so much for your very kind comments. There are a few weeks to go before I cease blogging about the build of our house but I am currently giving thought to whether I could cover other stuff to do with house eg the garden. I enjoy the writing but really do not think that I am ‘cut out’ for a continuous offering of meals on plates and bar scenes.

  3. Emily says:

    In the photo with the wheelbarrow and fill dirt, is the worker just covering up construction debris and scaffolding parts with soil? I hope my eyes deceive me. Other than that, looks great. I can’t believe how different it looks from the road now from when we left the island back in March. Big progress!

    1. Emily, the scaffolding will get moved (too expensive to bury!.) He was tipping the soil to the right of it. As to the soil covering debris eg concrete,cement bags, etc, from the build, yes you are right. Just a form of backfilling really. If it is not buried on our land it would end up at the rubbish tip and at some stage would need burying.

  4. cynthiatree says:

    Hello, John. I want to say “thank you” again, for your upbeat blog. As I mentioned previously, it got me through a dark winter. In fact, I’ve decided to move to Florida, mostly to be with my little family there — but I am sure that your photos of tropical beauty helped inspire. I’ll be in Lake Worth/ West Palm Beach, about a mile from the Intracoastal and ocean. If you click on the photo next to my name, you’ll see that I’m holding my wonderful grandson (Evan) and now I’ll get to enjoy him every day. …. Loved the photos of the plants you and Rose have been growing. Any chance you might update your readers with photos of your new tropical garden once in a while, even after your building blog is complete? I grow tropical plants indoors (lemon trees, key lime, Ming aurelias, etc.) and can’t wait to plant outdoors. Learned tropical gardening from my Canadian boyfriend, how strange is that? ….. My good man was actually ironing the pillowcases last week !!!!!!! Can’t swear to this, but perhaps your photo of freshly ironed linens inspired him? He reads all your blogs. I think his favorite, though, was of two beer cans? doing something naughty. Oh, that Mystery Blogger! Thanks again and good luck on your wonderful new adventures and gorgeous house!

    1. Cindy. Thank you so much for your very nice comments. I truly appreciate this. I enjoy writing the blog but it is rewarding to know that it has been so well received by you. I intend to continue with it until we get to the installation of the more personal elements of the house eg tiles, cabinetry, etc, but do intend to keep it going in some form or other to give me something to do early in the morning. This might well be to show how the garden develops. Pity that you are so far away – could do with some of your plants. Kind regards John

  5. Jane says:

    Love the new beams, John! Architecturally attractive as well as useful….

    1. Thanks Jane. We think that they are pleasing to the eye too. Be pleased when the bridge is open. Bet you will be too.

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