A “Happy Birthday” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Another rainy start to the day (well the start of my day anyway) when I got up yesterday just before 05.00 hours.

The rain wasn’t strong enough to stop me from taking my mug of black coffee and iPad out on to the veranda. Well not initially at least. Time enough to scan read The Times on-line and make a start (a later than I wanted to) on yesterday’s edition of the blog. But then it changed and the rain really came down and the wind drove it in to the covered veranda. Time for a quick retreat in to the condo.

Being ever flexible in my approach to how I am going to spend any day I decided that I would shower, shave, etc and head to Estel’s for breakfast and finish off the blog there. I know that a short while ago I said I would try to publish by 06.30 hours but its not set in stone!

It was rainy when I set off from the condo we are renting during our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize so the raincoat came out (again) and when I got to Estel’s the tables that provide cover from the rain were all taken so I was ‘forced’ to sit inside. Not the biggest hardship in the world but not as good a view as you get from the ‘deck’ outside. There was a bonus though. With the view not being as good I did focus on the blog and managed to complete the edition, albeit a few hours later than my target time.


Beats a café in London.

When I got ‘home’ I spent some time taking care of emails with the most important being an exchange with Hyde Shipping which revealed that the cost of shipping a twenty foot container from Miami to Belize City will be US$ 1,335. Now just need to finalise what Rose and I will fill it with!

After a light lunch Rose and I headed north to visit our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize and pulled in to our lot around 15.30 hours.

Our inclination was to go straight up to the First Floor to see how work on the internal stairs had progressed but we ‘forced’ ourselves first to take a look in the self-contained apartment on the Ground Floor to see if any further work had been done in there. We knew – because the granite for the kitchen cum table was still on the workbench in front of the house – that Edgar (the granite man) had not turned in for work again but that didn’t mean that other stuff might not have been done. And we were right because Rolando and Nicholas had started fitting the four inch diameter down lights in the kitchen/living room.


Some of the lights fitted.


Slightly larger but a good ‘match’ with the other lights.

Up the external stairs to the First Floor where we saw that the down lights had been installed in the bedroom (Rose’s handicraft room).


And in the Powder Room too.


All very illuminating (sorry about the pun) but what about the internal stairs?

As we got to the end of the hallway we saw it. Victor and his son Michael had fitted the handrail and balusters for the top flight of the stairs.


We had got there just in time because – to provide better access – the scaffolding (which has been in situ for months – had to come down.


Moses supervising the dismantling.



One section to go.


And it’s gone!

With the area cleared of the scaffolding Victor and Michael commenced installing the handrails and balusters for the first flight.




Last section welded in to place.

Seeing that the sun was about to set (two hours had passed since Rose and I had arrived) we went outside on the veranda).


Sun sets over Pirate Villas.

By the time we got back inside the house Moses and his colleagues had nearly finished positioning the treads in place.


Alfredo putting the last tread in place.

Although the treads still needed to be screwed in to position we could at long last see what the stairs are going to look like.


Looking down from the landing on the Second Floor.


Another view from the landing.


View from the First Floor. Nicholas trying out the stairs!

With this edition ‘out of the way’ I can now turn my thoughts and energy to making this a super day for Rose. Why? I ‘hear’ you say. Well because thirty-nine years ago today (I did say I am going to make it a super day!) she was born and I am determined that she has a happy birthday.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1981 by Altered Images which reached number two in the UK Singles Chart.


  1. Emily says:

    I’m late catching up on your blog, but please pass along belated birthday wishes to Rose. Your house looks beautiful (love the stairs especially), and I think it’s wonderful that you have both a sunrise and sunset view. Since I am not the early bird you are I nearly always missed the sunrise on Ambergris Caye, which was the only view our condo had since we were on the first floor. I would have preferred sunset view, though I did like being on the beach for the prevailing breezes (mozzie control, you know)!

    1. Hi Emily
      Not seen the sunrise from the house yet but come this weekend that will be rectified.

      We like the stairs too. They ‘came out’ just the way we envisioned.

  2. kristina nadreau says:


    1. Thank you Kristina. Birthday wishes passed on to Rose who says thanks also.

  3. tom e says:

    Now John and Rose your house is transforming fast into a very nice looking home.

    1. Thank you Tom. Feels like we are nearly there now. And then the garden!!!

  4. Laurie The Cruisin Camper says:

    Coming along nicely! A Happy Birthday to Rose albeit a day late. Loving the stairs and think a coat of varnish will be just great. Have a great day.

  5. footballbat says:

    Belated Birthday wishes Rose!

    1. Rose asked me to say thank you. So, thank you.

  6. Ab & Hazel Ahmad says:

    Happy birthday to Rose. The house looks lovely. I’m sure it’s going to bring you many years of happiness and it surely will be many being as you have retired early. I hope you remember the not so fortunate people of the country you are enjoying. That is our plan to give back not just revel in our fortunate life.

    1. Rose says thanks Hazel.

      If my blog indicates that I either currently revel a lot or plan on revelling a lot then I have (unintentionally) misled people. I have the occasional drink but wouldn’t say that I make a lot of noise when doing so.

      As to putting back in to the community, we have already been doing that. I estimate that around sixteen families have benefitted during the nearly a year of the build for our house. Why? Because that’s around the number of guys that have been permanently working on it.

  7. Alan Slater says:

    Happy birthday Rose…….hope it will be memorable. Like the stairs and the thought of varnish….. should look “swish.” Are the guys going to do anything further with the alum. railings, like polish etc. The welds still look a bit rough, but then they have only just put them up.

    Alan S.

    1. Rose says thanks Alan.

      Victor the welder is going to smooth/ polish the railings today. And then I am going to have to polish hem every 5/6 months.

  8. wassuu says:

    sorry clearly had not paid attention to earlier posts. Totally agree with your opinion about the lumber. Let the natural beauty show through. As you say ” Thats the great thing about opinion” – Very dry LOL. See I do read and pay attention….

    1. Matt I had to look back to make sure that I had used ‘Wonder’s version. It was a long time ago ie in April.

      Harry the Hornet is my best friend and former work colleague. Most times he posts he is on a wind-up

  9. lifeagain says:

    I am still around John wishing you the best on the progress and soon to be finish and happy birthday Rose.

    1. Didn’t doubt that you were still around Don. Rose says thanks.

  10. Harry the Hornet says:

    I agree with Peter L. Oberhaus and Anton. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but you’re usually wrong! Kind regards. Harry

    1. You may be right Harry but I’m paying for it so my opinion counts for more!

  11. Peter L. Oberhaus says:

    Happy Birthday Rose,Pete.
    John why did you have metal or steel railings installed.In my opinion matching wooden railing would look better. With best wishes, Pete.

    1. Birthday wishes passed on Pete.

      As to the stairs, we prefer the aluminium. That’s the great thing about opinion.

  12. Jane says:

    Stairs were worth waiting for, John. Beautiful! I had “another” 39th birthday yesterday. Wish Rose a happy one for me, too!

    1. We agree Jane. And Rose can now get up to the Second Floor!

      A belated happy 39th to you. Hope you had a great day.

  13. Anton says:

    H B Rose ! John make it a great day. Stairs look fab, are you going to use stain, if you and Rose decide to leave it natural, just varnished, may I suguest alternating the steps,dark grain, light grain,dark, light ,etc

    1. I will pass on your birthday wishes Anton.

      As to the stairs, we are just going to have a varnish finish but will ‘allow’ the shades of the treads be what they are.

  14. wassuu says:

    makes a change from Stevie Wonder, Happy Birthday Rose xx

    1. Already used the Stevie Wonder one Matt.

      Will pass on your birthday wishes when Rose gets up.

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