“Never Too Much” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With this haphazard publishing frequency that I’ve drifted in to ((well I am retired, I am doing it for a bit of fun after all (for me, if not you) and I’ve never promised to publish daily)) I’m finding it increasingly difficult to remember what I last told you about. Yes, I know that I could look at the last edition and all would be revealed but that would make it a bit like work. More professional. And I don’t have to be professional anymore. I’m retired. I can be quirky. Idiosyncratic even. And if I wrote about it well in the first place then perhaps you might like reading it again. Or not. But if I am repeating myself you will at least know that your memory is working!

So, with this forewarning ‘out of the way’ I will start today’s edition.

Weather over the last few days has been somewhat variable/changeable. Clear, bright, sunny and warm days swiftly followed by a day with overcast skies, little to no sun and a temperature drop. We have also had sprinkles of rain. None of this has greatly affected my ‘me time’ on the veranda early in the morning. Of course not. I’ve still ventured ((really don’t know why I chose that word because it’s somewhat inappropriate. It is only a short distance from the kitchen (where the mug of black coffee comes from)) to the veranda. Making a slight detour on the way to grab hold of my iPad.

I have also (obviously) made the drive (the road has had some fill so it’s not as bad as it has been) to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s for breakfast, in fact that’s exactly where I am now as I write this. Third time this week. Excessive? Overindulgent? Not at all in my view. I could go there six days a week (remember they are closed on a Tuesday) and it’s never too much!

I see Estel’s as an extension of my ‘me time’. The view is great (even on the days when the rain pours down) and I must admit that I do ‘people watch’ and, yes, ‘people listen’. Nosy? Probably. But sometimes it’s difficult not to see or hear. If you know what I mean.

Hearing conversations there earlier this week got me thinking of how overused, or perhaps more saliently, some words are. Regular readers of this blog may have detected that I do not have too high a regard for certain words. The words themselves are OK, it’s the frequency of use. And the inappropriate ness. One such word (and apologies to those of you that favour it’s use) is AWESOME (it appears that it needs to be typed in capitals).

AWESOME = stunning, astounding, astonishing, stupendous, awe -inspiring, extraordinary, incredible, amazing, staggering. Get the impression.

So why does its frequent use irritate me. And what has Estel’s got to do with it and this little diatribe? People describing a breakfast as AWESOME. Now I rate the fayre on offer at Estel’s. Obviously I do or I wouldn’t go there as much as I do. But AWESOME? It’s well cooked. It’s plentiful. It’s reasonably priced. The staff are attentive and friendly. The setting offers a great vista. I could go on. But AWESOME ?

Now the Mayan ruins? I’ll agree they are AWESOME. A person learning to walk again after losing their legs. Yep, AWESOME. The work of Marie Curie? Yes, AWESOME. But a breakfast? Or any plate of food for that matter? AWESOME? Come on? You now probably get my drift.

Min-rant over, let’s get back to more normal stuff.

I’ve continued to paint the fence. A little bit at a time though. It’s a big fence and I’m a little person. And not as young as I once was (stupid expression that – as every second passes you’re not as young as you once were). It also gets a little boring so Rose and I have decided to mix things up a bit for some diversity and decided that we would make a start on clearing up the garden, starting in the south-west corner first.


Before we started.


After the morning session.


And following the afternoon spell.


The pile of weeds grows.

I’ll get back impersonating Tom Sawyer after clearing the remaining weeds and relocating Marley to ‘his’ new – and final – home.

I’ll bring today’s edition with a selection of photos I have taken that have no reason for inclusion other than I want to include them. Then again, some of you might think that they are AWESOME! Don’t worry I’m not going to start on that subject again!


A common sight on Ambergris Caye – digging (reclaiming) sand. This time in front of Ramon’s Village Resort.


Tourists setting off for a sailing trip on La Gaviota. The scene for me whilst having breakfast at Estel’s.


Pilings starting to be poured for Diamante Beachfront Suites which will ‘stand on the location that was BC’s up to just a few weeks ago.


View from our veranda of the sun about to set.


And from the same spot this morning of a rainbow after the downpour.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1981 by Luther Vandross (one of my all time favourite singers) which reached number thirty-three in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the Billboard Soul Singles chart.

“Take It to the Limit” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Belize- building a new life . A Belize blog.

On Saturday Rose and I went to the Burns Night Dinner organised by the Belize Branch of The Royal British Legion.

It was being held in the Flagstaff Mess, Price Barracks in Ladyville and our journey there should have been a relatively simple one. I’d booked tickets on Tropic Air‘s 16.00 flight to the Municipal Airport where our friend Ian , a serving member of BATSUB, was going to pick us up and take us to his house (well a bungalow actually) on the camp so that we could get changed.

I ‘say’ changed because the dinner provided an opportunity to wear a dress. For Rose that is, not me before you let your imagination go in to overdrive. Me? I was going to wear a jacket, shirt (long sleeved too), trousers and shoes (a proper pair, not flip flops or loafers). The first time in twenty months!

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“Take It to the Limit” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

On Saturday Rose and I went to the Burns Night Dinner organised by the Belize Branch of The Royal British Legion.

It was being held in the Flagstaff Mess, Price Barracks in Ladyville and our journey there should have been a relatively simple one. I’d booked tickets on Tropic Air‘s 16.00 flight to the Municipal Airport where our friend Ian , a serving member of BATSUB, was going to pick us up and take us to his house (well a bungalow actually) on the camp so that we could get changed.

I ‘say’ changed because the dinner provided an opportunity to wear a dress. For Rose that is, not me before you let your imagination go in to overdrive. Me? I was going to wear a jacket, shirt (long sleeved too), trousers and shoes (a proper pair, not flip flops or loafers). The first time in twenty months!

We left the house at 15.00 hours and after loading our stuff on the ‘cart I put the key in the ignition, started the engine and tried to engage the reverse gear. Nothing, the gear stick was flapping around like a bed sheet on a washing line! Now if I was mechanically minded I would have had a look, got out a tool kit and solved the problem . But I didn’t because I am to motor mechanics what Genghis Khan was to world peace. So I did the next best thing and ‘phoned a taxi and then I ‘phoned Tropic Air to warn them that we would be a little later than the thirty minutes before flight time that they ask you to be. Imagine ‘phoning United Airlines, British Airways, etc in similar circumstances ?

The taxi did really well considering the still bumpy road north of the Bridge and got to us within twenty-five minutes of my call and he did even better in to ‘Town by managing to get us to the Terminal by 15.50 hours. We really did take it to the limit.

The flight over was as it usually is. Very short (it’s normally around a fifteen minute journey) and very scenic. Get the camera out, take a few photos and you’re there!



Ian, as arranged, was waiting for us when we landed and within thirty minutes (those army guys drive fast ) we were at the camp drinking tea (well, I am British!).

The Burns Night Dinner was a really fun evening which was attended by around seventy people – British, Irish (got to mention this for Rose!), Canadian, American and Belizean – with more than ample food, wine and whiskey (not that I drank any – thanks to a ‘memorable’ tasting session when I was fifteen!) for everyone.





The night finished for us (others kept going, so we were told, until after 05.00 hours the next morning) until 02.30 hours and after a good night’s sleep and a late breakfast -cooked by Ian which included very passable English style sausages which were made in Belize- Ian took us to the airport and we caught the 14.30 hours flight back to San Pedro.

On Monday morning Giovanni came to collect the golf cart for its much needed repair and within a couple of hours I received a call from him to let me know it was ready so Rose and I enjoyed a very pleasant walk to Sea Grape Drive to go and collect it and on the way there took a slight detour to the beach.



Returning from a dive.


BC’s completely gone. Until it’s next ‘home’.


After picking up the ‘cart we headed back home and I started on a bit of a garden clean-up (I fancied a break from the fence painting) by having a bonfire to get rid of the off-cuts from the fence.



I only took a few minutes break. Honest!

Hearing the sound of a engine behind me I peered over the fence – a jet ski on the lagoon.



Devoid of any semblance of a clever way to end this edition I’ll leave you with a photo taken at the end of my ‘working’ (who am I kidding?) day.


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1975 by the Eagles which reached number four in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twelve in the UK Singles Chart.

“Boat Drinks” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yesterday morning after producing and publishing the edition of the blog from my ‘office’ on the western (lagoon) side of the house I was tempted (oh how I was tempted) to drive to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s. But I didn’t have time for that (but you’ve go loads of time you’re thinking). No, Rose and I had stuff to do. We had to revise the Belize Port Authority’s Mariners’ Handbook.


THE book.

Why would you want to do that when you’ve got a fence to cover with protector you are wondering. Well, number one it was raining. Number two, I didn’t particularly feel like getting the brush out anyway. But, and more importantly, Rose and I were scheduled to take the Theory section of the test/exam for a Master’s License that, once successfully taken, will enable us to drive a powered boat in Belize waters.

A few years ago I would have had no problem in reading and memorising the booklet. Virtually word by word, line by line. But a combination of an absence of regularly using my brain this way and increasing age ((and diminishing grey cells – compensated for (not) by increasing amounts of grey hair!)) has all but taken this attribute away from me. So, unlike years gone by, it was a matter of reading the booklet again and again. And again.

Learning the content of the booklet really shouldn’t have been so difficult . When Rose and I lived in the UK we had the pleasure of owning a boat (OK an inland, river cruiser – but the principles are essentially the same) for over twenty years. In fact had we not moved to Belize we would have it to this day.


Our old boat, Marbel.

We set off with trepidation at 14.10 hours (cannot be precise because I didn’t have the alarm clock with me – it stays in the bedroom) for Caribbean Villas Hotel where the test was scheduled for 15.00 hours. We didn’t want to risk being late and fail to take the test.

As it transpired we didn’t need to arrive so early because Austin Martinez, the Examiner from the Port of Belize, didn’t arrive until around 16.00 hours, however, once he had arrived things moved fairly quickly. In our case he needed to see our QRP (Qualified Retirement Program) identity cards, proof that we had paid our Property Tax and a utility bill. Once he had verified that these were in ‘good order’ we were approved to take the test. A similar (it varies only slightly for a Resident or Citizen of Belize) process was undertaken for the other three people taking the test and then he handed out the test papers to each of us but before doing so he made sure that none of us were sitting too close to each other. As if we would attempt to cheat!!!!

The ‘paper contained twenty-five questions, around half of them being multiple choice answers, and I rattled through them fairly quickly but had a ‘senior moment’ for one of the questions which, for the life of me, I could not remember the answer to. Knowing that I had definitely got one question wrong I had in my completed ‘paper hoping that I would achieve the required seventy percent success rate (I needed to get at least eighteen answers right).

Within minutes of handing in my ‘paper I knew that I had answered one of the questions incorrectly – another senior moment – but I was still reasonably confident of achieving the required number of right answers.

When everyone had handed in their completed ‘papers, Austin, who had moved to a corner of the bar well away from us all, set about checking and marking them and after around fifteen minutes rejoined us to announce the results. Both Rose and I achieved pass marks of eighty-eight percent but after we had reviewed our respective papers felt that Austin had made an error when marking them. We brought this to his attention, pointing out the questions he had marked as wrong when they were right, and after reviewing the answers (to different questions I might add) we had each given he agreed that he had marked them incorrectly so we both moved up to a ninety-two percent success rate and had comfortably passed the theory test.

We now need to take the practical test (the test itself and the practice for it will be covered in future editions) and pass it for us to be licensed to drive motor powered boats up to thirty-four feet in length. I am so looking forward to being on water again, loading up a cooler with boat drinks (Coca Cola of course) and getting some fishing in.

Buoyed with the success of passing the theory test Rose and I celebrated on the way home with a Belikin (or three!)

This morning , not having to worry about revising, I spent some very pleasurable time on the veranda ( I got out there shortly after 04.00 hours – a consequence of going to bed around 22.30 hours the previous night) until the rain started to come down. And I mean COME DOWN.

View from the veranda in the rain this morning.


Looking north-west.


Looking west.


Looking east.

Even though it was absolutely bucketing down (raining heavily for non UK readers) I decided to brave the elements and head to Estel’s for breakfast.

The journey took a little longer though because the road to the bridge was ‘holding’ the rain.


Road in front of Legends Burger House

And in front of Reef Village.



I was pleased that when I got to Estel’s it was fairly empty and I got to choose a table, one near the door. And this proved to be a good choice when the rain came down again.


Nearly everyone at the front of the deck and those sitting at tables on the sides moved inside to avoid the heavy rain. Not this guy though, he just opened his umbrella!


I’ll close today’s edition with another of the photos from yesteryear that Melissa and Ken Fellure gave me. This one of the old hand-pulled ferry


which was in operation until 2006 when the Boca del Rio Bridge (subsequently renamed the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge) was built.


Where the hand pulled barge used to operate and where the ‘Bridge stands today.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released (as the B-side) in 1979 by Jimmy Buffett. The song (or the A-side) never made the charts but is considered to be one of Buffett’s most popular songs.

“Things Have Changed” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Well, at long last, the weather appears to have turned. For the better. Mind you it couldn’t have got worse. I was starting to get concerned that I might run out of sweat tops and jumpers (pullovers for non UK readers) to wear!

My ‘me time’ on the veranda has returned to normal. I know during the chilly (downright cold at times) period I was still ‘hitting’ the veranda between 04.30 to 06.00 hours (timing -fairly obviously – dictated by what time I awoke) with a mug of coffee (black, no sugar) and my iPad. Oh, and a sweater of some type or other. With the change in the weather the additional layer of clothing has become superfluous (Question – how can a word with super in it mean unnecessary? The weirdness of the English language!).

Talking of words and specifically the origin of them, the subject came up yesterday evening when Rose and I had the pleasure of spending some time in conversation with Melissa and Ken Fellure at Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar& Grill.

Melissa and Ken both read my blog (obviously they have far too much time on their hands or, no taste. Or both) and Melissa happened to mention my penchant for breakfast at Estel’s and then the conversation moved on to wondering what the origin of the word ‘breakfast’ is. I hazarded a guess when musing that it might mean a break from a fasting period.

Well Melissa (trust you have got this far after my comments above – they were in jest) today I referred to digging to try to find out how the word breakfast came about and, I am pleased to report, I wasn’t far off the mark:

Breakfast – literally refers to the breaking of the fasting period of the prior night.

Now we both know. And anybody else reading this for that matter.

Yesterday morning I didn’t get up until 05.45 hours so didn’t ‘make’ the veranda that early but early enough for some ‘me time’. I knew that I had to start on the fence (there’s a lot of fence to cover) but I didn’t want to start too early so headed in to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s (yep, there again) and responding to a comment a few days ago from Wes I did take my camera with me. And, even better, I used it!


My coffee. What a CUTE mug! No, not me, the receptacle the coffee is in.


My AWESOME breakfast. It was DELISH.

The view from my table


Not bad, eh?

On the way home I parked the cart in Barrier Drive Drive to take a photo or two. Why? Well I had the camera with me and wanted to use another of the photos that Ken and Melissa kindly gave me.


Salty Dog Souvenir Shop in the late 80s/early 90s.

And at its current location


I bought my first ever ‘San Pedro’ ‘T’ shirt with a Salty Dog logo from this store around sixteen years ago and I’ve still got it today. And it still looks good. Little doubt that it’s aged better than I have! But then again, things have changed in San Pedro.


CUTE isn’t it. Oh no, what’s happening to me? I’ve used cute (and in capital letters!) twice in the same edition.

I made one final stop before going home and that was at the SP Hardware store located in Sea Grape Drive. I was going to act upon another suggestion from a reader. This one was from Alan who suggested I get a spray to make covering the fence with wood protector just that little bit easier (and quicker).

I found one (@BZ$ 17.95 )


and having bought it rushed home (well not so much rushed given the condition of the road north of the ‘Bridge) to use it.

I did give it a try Alan but it just wasn’t for me. So, even though it will take me longer (a lot longer probably) I reverted to the paintbrush and set about covering the inside of the roadside fence.


“Use the zoom Rose”.


“That’s better”. Or, maybe not. I’ll let you decide!

Oh, I meant to mention earlier that on Tuesday evening Nicholas and Rolando came to the house to finish off the remaining jobs (you know, the things we forgot to include as part of the original house build plans).

First off was fitting a pop-up clicker drain for the sink in my bathroom. When we got the sink it only came with a drain and unbelievably no plug. So, since we have been in the house the water has run straight from the tap (faucet for non UK readers) and down the drain. Why would anyone sell (or buy for that matter) a sink without a plug?


The pop-up clicker drain.


Sink with just a drain.


And with the pop-up clicker drain!

And they also installed a cable point (I still can’t believe we overlooked ((nice way of saying ‘forgot’) this)) the living area of the ground floor apartment.


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2000 by Bob Dylan which reached number fifty-eight in the UK Singles Chart.

“Every Little Thing” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

After the exertions of Saturday night (its hard work lifting a Belikin bottle – well at least until you’ve drunk some of the content!) I didn’t get up yesterday until just after 06.00 hours (for those of you that like things to be precise I actually got up at 06.10 hours).

The temperature was still a little chilly (it had improved on recent days though) so I put on a sweat top (really pleased that I brought them with me now) before venturing out on to the veranda (first floor on the western side) with my mug of coffee (black, no sugar) and my iPad (the old one – not going to inflict the cold weather on my new one, well not yet anyway)

I spent around 50 minutes reading the Sunday Times online ((the Sports section first (just had to read about Arsenal’s victory over Fulham the previous day even though I had watched it on TV -you can’t have too much of a good thing!)), followed by the Business section (its nice to know what I’m not missing) and finished off by the News section.

Feeling sated with my newly acquired knowledge (sic) I went indoors to watch the end of the Swansea v Spurs game (didn’t want to watch too much of Spurs!) before letting Nicholas and Rolando in ((now that we have a fence with a gate it has to be unlocked before anyone can (easily) gain entrance)) so that they could start on the installing the things that we didn’t think about and include when we sent the list of requirements for our new home to Strukture Architects Limited all that time ago. We thought that we had considered everything and we spent an awfully long time compiling our list and revisiting it. Just goes to show that you can’t think of every little thing!

After letting Nicholas and Rolando in (don’t worry I’ll get back to what they came to do very shortly) I got back in front of the TV again to watch the Chelsea v Manchester United game (it’s a hard life, isn’t it) hoping for a draw. My hopes weren’t realised (Chelsea won by 3 goals to 1) but on the other hand Manchester United lost – think that’s them out of the Premiership race now.

So what jobs did Nicholas and Rolando come to do?

Well they fitted spotlights in my walk-in closet. Down lights were installed as part of the build but I hadn’t considered the effect that dark cabinetry would have on lighting requirements. They just weren’t powerful enough. Not if I wanted to be able to choose the right polo shirt to compliment the shorts!



Eureka! No more choosing a pink polo with green shorts!

They then installed a ‘dusk to dawn’ light above the first flight of stairs leading to the first floor. How we overlooked this I’ll never work out.


The World’s Greatest Ladder that we included in the container we brought from the States proved useful.


Rolando drills the hole for the cable.


The hole. Exciting, isn’t it!


Light installed.


And it works!

They then installed two taps (faucets for non UK readers) so that we can make use of well water for garden use. The first one was fitted at the well (in the north-east corner of our lot) itself.



The tap (faucet).

And then near the septic tank on the northern side of the house.


It still needs to be clamped to the wall but it’s working.

Rolando and Nicholas still have a few more things to do (more about this in a future edition) but left around 13.00 hours to spend the rest of the day with their families leaving Rose and I to head off to the Caribbean Villas Hotel for the relaunch of Funday Sunday under the new owners.

We got there shortly after 14.00 hours and the place was heaving. This was THE place to be on Sunday. Surely the busiest bar on Ambergris Caye. A fantastic Bar-B-Que, a jumbo screen for people to watch NFL, live music, a swimming pool and the Mayor!

It rained a bit but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. They either moved to cover (and there was loads of it), jumped in the pool or just carried on partying in the rain. It lived up to its billing, it was a Funday Sunday!


Photo courtesy of Caribbean Villas Hotel’s Facebook page (I didn’t take my camera . Come on, I am only blogging for a bit of fun!).

Before I bring this edition to a close I would like to apologise to Gail (sorry I don’t know your surname Gail). Gail introduced herself to me shortly after Rose and I arrived at the event, letting me know that she reads my blog. We were deep in conversation when someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned and spoke them . I never did return to the conversation with Gail and for that I wish to apologise. I am not normally that discourteous Gail.

And now just a few random photos (yes, I had the camera with me) I took yesterday.




The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Carlene Carter in 1993 which number three in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart.

“A Place in the Sun” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I had firm plans when I got up on Wednesday (yes its that long ago since the last edition) at 05.06 hours (see how precise I can be now that I have an alarm clock in the bedroom) to enjoy my ‘me time’ (you know, mug of black coffee, iPad/The Times online on the veranda). A shower, shave, get dressed and head off to Estel’s for breakfast. And then – start covering our new fence with a preservative.

Well the first couple of points on the plan were very easy to achieve. I mean anyone can make a mug of (instant) black coffee. Yes, even me! Moving to the veranda ( the one on the western (lagoon facing) side of the first floor was easy too. Even carrying the mug of coffee and my iPad (brought the old one out of retirement while the weather is cold and damp). I did have to wear a sweat top though because the weather was still chilly. Well, for me anyway.

I enjoyed around 90 minutes of ‘me time’ and then took care of my ablutions (it sounds so menacing doesn’t it), shaved, brushed my teeth, dressed and took the ride to town for breakfast at Estel’s ((yes regular readers, the second time this week – and they were only open for two of them (remember they don’t open on a Tuesday)).

I got there just in time because I hadn’t been there long when the rain came down (again) and I managed to get a table under cover. Those that had chosen (or had no option) a table on the beach very quickly moved under cover. And then Stevie Wonder’s “A Place in the Sun”started to play in the background. Not in San Pedro just recently Stevie!


View from my table – in the dry.

Lots of the customers had come unprepared for the rain but not the backpackers heading to catch a water taxi.


They manage to fit so much stuff in their rucksacks . Including rainwear!

On the way home I stopped off at Castillo’s Hardware to buy some wood protector (Thompson’s Advanced Waterseal for those of you that are interested in this type of information) at BZ$ 113 a gallon before discount (and Castillo’s always give a discount if you ask) and some paintbrushes. Now I was ready to start on the nearly 8,000 square feet of fencing but the weather wasn’t on my side – it continued to rain – so I took care of some administrative stuff instead.

On Thursday it was still chilly (good painting weather!) but there was no rain so I started once fence – the exterior of the roadside section.


Surprised myself that I can still ‘sit’ on my haunches.


Me doing my Tom Sawyer impression!

Friday held much of the same – it’s a big fence- but reward came in the evening when we went to Pedro’s Hotel for a pasta including clams, shrimp and calamari cooked by Hugo (formerly of Aji Tapa Bar). At BZ$ 40 , including a glass of wine, it was real bargain. An exquisite taste. And a good sized serving.

Saturday I ‘hit’ the fence again but stopped work early because Rose and I went on the Poker Run which this time had Caribbean Villas Hotel as the start point. It’s first under the new owners.


A packed Catamaran Beach Bar (how long will it retain this name?) for the first card. And a Belikin.


“Tinker” rushing to get her card. They start young in Belize!

Next stop was The Road Kill Bar



for the second card. And a Belikin.

We then headed to Lola’ Pub


for the third card. Oh, and a Belikin. Or was it two?

Next stop was Wayo’s Beachside Beenet


for a Belikin. Oh, and we got a card too!

The last stop was Pedro’s Hotel


where everyone got their final card and then the draw too place for the maximum pot of BZ$ 1,050.

If you are waiting for the happy ending there isn’t one. We didn’t win (again). It didn’t matter (too much) though because we had a great time.

For any of you that visit here when a Poker Run takes place do join it. It’s great fun and a fantastic opportunity to meet people out enjoying themselves.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1966 by Stevie Wonder which reached number nine in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“It Wasn’t Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Up earlier than lately yesterday shortly after 04.00 hours. I’d woken up around thirty minutes earlier and when I saw the time (I have an alarm clock now -not that I use the alarm feature!) I did try to go back to sleep again but to no avail. I was using more effort to try to resume sleep than the benefit I would have got had I achieved it! Only one thing to do. Get up.

So by 04.15 hours I was comfortably seated on the first floor western veranda with a mug of black coffee and my iPad. I read The Times online for a while -mainly concentrating on the football section (The Game) to read the match reports for the Premiership games that took place over the weekend and the pre-match reviews for Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa later in the day.

I then switched to the Ambergris Caye.com Forum where I found a thread entitled “Police Report“. Why am I mentioning this a few of you are probably thinking. “We know he rambles but he has gone way off the track this time”.

I’m mentioning it because one of the reports was about a guy with my name -well not my name but my pseudonym – who was apprehended and charged for being in possession of controlled drugs. So? You’re thinking. Well I know that a good few of you also visit Ambergris Caye. Com and I just wanted you to know that it wasn’t me.

Now where was I? Oh yeh, on the veranda.

Being up so early I thought I’d make a start on yesterday’s edition so I uploaded the photos I been taking since last Thursday and then spent some time reviewing them in the hope that inspiration might find me (those of you that read yesterday’s edition will know that it didn’t). The time by now was around 06.00 hours so I decided that I needed help – breakfast at Estel’s so I showered, shaved, brushed my teeth and dressed and set off shortly after 07.00 hours after I had let Moses and Pablo in who had come to fit the wheel for the gate (thanks Wes). More about the wheel later.

Breakfast was -as always- good (message to self – remember to take a photograph before I start to devour it ) and in a contented frame of mind I knocked out the edition. Which is what I am now going to do with this one.

Before the heavy rain struck last Thursday Rubio and Mike had constructed the gate for the fence (roadside only) for our adjacent lot and had also put a couple of posts in. We expected work to resume the next day but Ofel Flota , the building contractor we appointed to build the fences, contacted us to let us know that Rubio -fed up with the rain- had headed off to Orange Walk and because of this Moses and Pablo would complete the task starting on Saturday. And that’s exactly what happened.


Fence starts to take shape.


Pablo digging a hole for a post for the short bit of fencing for the southern side.


“Chicken” wire tacked in place.

And then it was time to hang the gate.


“Are we nearly there yet?”.


Nearly in.


It’s in.


And it’s working!


Time for the chain ((modelled (?) by Rose)).

and a padlock.



Yesterday they returned to fit the wheel for the main gate. The gate is heavy (six feet high by ten feet wide) so needs supporting. And to make the gate easier to open and close.


The wheel.

Ofel turned up to give guidance as to where the wheel needed to go.


Around this time I left for breakfast (its so long ago that I mentioned this I bet you forgot. I nearly did!) but by the time I had returned it was fitted.



Close up and personal!

They finished just in time to watch the helicopter that was flying overhead. So close that at one stage we thought that it was going to land in the back garden. Was it a drug bust and they thought that I am THE John Henry!



No relevance at all for the next photo. I just like it.


Stay “tuned” for the next exciting (sic) update. Can’t wait, can you !

Oh, by the way, if you want to employ Ofel (and this is NOT a paid for advert) you can contact him on 670 2255 or 226 2255.

Oh and for those of you that are interested the change of ownership (you read it here first) of Caribbean Villas Hotel takes place tomorrow.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2001 by Shaggy which reached number one in both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up reasonably early on Thursday at 04.55 hours ((am able to be precise (presupposing that it is accurate) now because I have an alarm clock)) but didn’t venture out on to the veranda. Any of the verandas. Why, you are probably thinking. Too chilly? Well it was chilly but not as chilly/cold as it had been the previous day. No the reason was that Rose and I were going to Belize City so that she could have her left cheekbone X-Rayed. The cheekbone she fractured last August when she tripped on a wire that was on the veranda of the Ground Floor apartment and fell straight on to the steps.

Doctor Daniel Gonzalez of the Ambergris Hope clinic took first class care of Rose but she has still been getting discomfort from the left side of her face and although an X-Ray taken on the island suggested (( sections of the X-Ray were undeveloped (bit like some of my photos)) that the fracture had healed we wanted a second opinion and decided that we would go the Belize Diagnostic Centre (I went there when I was undergoing my dental treatment) in Belize City so there was no time for ‘me time’. I still had a mug of black coffee though and did manage to scan read The Times online.

We’d booked a 10.00 hours appointment for Rose so decided that we would catch the 09.00 hours Tropic Air flight to the Municipal Airport so we showered and dressed and set off around 08.15 hours. After dropping Rose off at the terminal I took the ‘cart around to Captain Shark’s for a service and oil wash (apparently this gives a degree of protection against rust for the chassis). It seemed sensible to ‘lose’ the ‘cart when we didn’t need it.

On the walk to the terminal to meet Rose raindrops started to fall but fortunately I just got there before the heavens opened but it did make the flight over a little bumpy (Rose is not a good air traveller and particularly does not enjoy take-offs or landings) and this was exacerbated because the plane stopped at Caye Caulker and the ‘International Aiport before landing at the Municipal Airport at 09.35 hours.

After a short taxi ride we arrived at the Belize Diagnostics Center



in good time for Rose’s appointment. This didn’t matter a great deal though because it is fairly common practice in Belize to have to wait beyond the appointment time and this was the case for Rose because she didn’t get in to see the radiologist until 10.20 hours.

The X-Ray itself didn’t take too long but the wait for the interpretation by the radiologist took around an hour (we had already been forewarned of this). But the wait was worth it. We’d feared that the fracture hadn’t healed and that Rose would require surgery to correct this -in fact we’d even been looking at hospitals in Merida and Guatemala City for this. This isn’t necessary now though because the bone has healed. There is some soft tissue damage but the situation is nowhere near as bad as we thought it might be.

For those of you that are interested the cost of the X-Ray and the report by the radiologist was BZ$ 80. For the result we got it would have been cheap at five times the price!

Leaving the ‘Centre we popped in to the Twins grocery store (operated by Chinese people) and stocked up on stuff that is cheaper on the mainland than on Ambergris Caye. For example we bought four jars of coffee ((regular readers will know that I drink a lot (probably too much) of coffee) that compared to some stores on the island was thirty percent cheaper.

With my backpack full and a large bag too we took a taxi to the Municipal Airport hopeful that we could get on the 12.30 hours flight to San Pedro and with five minutes to the departure time it looked as if we had been successful but then two people who had pre-booked tickets arrived so we were ‘bumped’ and had to wait for the 13.30 hours flight.

As we landed we could see that the rain had continued during our absence and after collecting the ‘cart and getting back home we saw just how much it had rained.


North-eastern side of the garden.


Front section of our adjacent lot.


Rear section of our adjacent lot. Looks like the landfill is nearly about right and the crude rock sea-wall is doing its job.

It’s rained so much that at times I’ve felt that the sun ain’t gonna shine anymore the rain though does have its benefits. It’s let us know where more landfill is required (as you can see from the photos above) and it brought our underground rainwater collection tank back in to overflow mode again.


But it also meant that it was too wet for Rubio and Mike to work on the fence for the roadside of our adjacent lot. They did manage though construct the gate.


To provide ease of access for our adjacent lot.


Roll of chicken wire ready for when the posts are in.

On the way home from the airport we stopped off at Castillo Hardware and bought a padlock and a chain for our new front gate and we tried them out as soon as we got home.



We also tried out the rubbish (garbage for non UK readers) platform/enclosure.


No real reason or connection for including the photo below in this edition apart from the fact that I like it. And I am Picture Editor, Editor, Editor in Chief and the Publisher!


Looking east at around 05.30 hours (didn’t have the alarm clock with me so cannot be precise!).

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1966 by The Walker Brothers which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart and number thirteen in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Come On In” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It was another chilly morning when I got up shortly after 05.00 hours yesterday. In fact I would go so far as to say it was cold. Well it was cold to me.

I ventured out on to the veranda (the eastern one on the first floor for a change) but scuttled back in to the house – too chilly (cold) for me- and had my first mug of black coffee for the day there. Oh, and I browsed The Times online and picked up on my In Box before turning my attention to start to ‘knock out’ yesterday’s edition of the blog.

Rubio arrived shortly before 06.45 hours (told you he is ‘keen’) and he had got all of the tools out of the store room/garage before Moses, Pablo and Mike had arrived (all of them arriving before 07.00 hours). I then showered, shaved, brushed my teeth and got dressed (with an even thicker sweat top than the previous day) and made the drive to ‘Town for breakfast at -yes, you guessed it – Estel’s where I had virtually the pick of the tables (the drop in temperature obviously deterred people from eating outside).

I finished my breakfast and had just started selecting photos for the edition I was working on when I heard “Excuse me but are you John Henry that does the blog?”. I turned to the side and responded that I was and I wasn’t. Confused (you I mean, not me)? I explained that although I use the name Johnhenry my real name is (just) John. The addition of Henry being in memory of Dad whose name was John Henry.

The voice then introduced himself. It was Greg who lives ten miles north with his wife. We spent a little time talking about the building of our home and he told me that he’d been reading the blog for some time and he enjoyed it. You know how sometimes you know you just like someone …

Greg’s breakfast arrived and I resumed selecting photos and with a bit if concentration and effort (not much I hear those of you that read yesterday’s edition say) I ‘knocked’ the edition out. I then paid my bill (tab for non UK readers) and headed home. I wanted to see what progress had been made on the fence. Well you would, wouldn’t you!

When I got there I found (stupid choice of word really because I knew they were there) Rubio and Mike making the platform/enclosure for the rubbish (garbage for non UK readers) bin.





Just needs a rubbish (garbage) bin now!

Whilst Rubio and Mike had been constructing the platform/enclosure Moses and Pablo had been making the front gate (six feet high by ten feet wide for those of you interested in this type of thing) and were ready to present it and just in time for this (has he got tags on his workers?) Ofel Flota (the building contractor we employed to construct our fence) arrived to supervise things.


“Let’s see if it fits” ((you can just see Ofel through the gaps (1″) in the planks)).


“Not quite. We need to shave some off”.



Rubio to the rescue!

And then it was time to hang the gate.



Moses fitting the hinges whilst Rubio



fitted the posts to stop the gate going back too far.

And then it was time to try out the gate.


“It works”.


Come on in” (not really of course).

“One Fine Day” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In yesterday’s second edition of the day I mentioned that the temperature had dropped and it was chilly. What I should have ‘said’ was that it was cold. Very cold (OK by the standards of where many of you are reading this it would be considered warm but here? Itwas COLD).

So cold in fact that when I got up at around 05.15 hours and had made my mug of black coffee and ventured out to the veranda with my iPad I realised – and very quickly – that it was NOT the place to take my early morning ‘me time’, so I headed back indoors, quickly.

The drop in temperature didn’t stop work on our fence though. Rubio arrived -early as usual – at around 06.40 hours – and within minutes was setting up the tools for the day and he hadn’t quite finished doing this when Mike, Moses and Pablo followed each other in quick succession and after a brief chat (I assume discussing the ‘action plan’ for the day) got ‘to it’ on the fence. But not before they had taken advantage of the ‘breakfast cart’.


Fuelled up the work then began with Moses and Pablo focussing on the roadside (eastern) fence.


Moses waiting for Pablo to bring the wood for the horizontals.

Whilst at the back of the house Rubio was waiting for Mike to bring the wood for the lagoon side (western) fence.


And then they really started



Ofel Flota , the building contractor we have employed to construct the fence, arrived at around 10.00 hours, to check on progress and quality of work.


Ofel (obviously on the ‘bike) arrives.


And then out back.

Once Ofel had left work resumed at a pace and the vertical planks for the roadside fence started to be fitted.



I took a trip to ‘Town to pay a few bills and by the time I got back they were finishing off the front fence.






Just the gate and the stand (on the inside of the fence) for the rubbish (garbage for non UK readers) bin to go.

OK, it had been cold but as far as I was concerned it had been one fine day.

The headline is based on the single released in 1963 by The Chiffons which reached number five in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-nine in the UK Singles Chart.

“Needles and Pins” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

What’s this? Two editions in one day. Has amnesia set in and he can’t remember what he’s done you are probably thinking. No. The memory might not be as good as it once was (and it was very, very good once) but it’s not bad. I’m blaming it on the weather. Why? Well there was stuff I was going to do outside but it was too cold – the memory is still OK but there’s no argument that my blood has thinned – so I decided to let you know (who cares I sense you thinking) what yesterday held for me today, rather than making you wait until tomorrow. Showing you the caring and sensitive side of me, aren’t I.

Right, so what about yesterday. Well it was chilly when I got on to the veranda with a mug of coffee and the iPad shortly after 05.00 hours. Given the weather of the last few mornings I assumed that it would be chilly and dressed accordingly ie I put a sweat top on. The extra attire and the hot mug of coffee were all I needed to enjoy my ‘me time’. And I did until Rubio arrived at 06.45 hours to resume work on the fence.

By the time he had got the tools out of the store room/ garage Moses, Mike and Pablo had arrived and then the action began with Moses and Pablo concentrating on the fence on the southern side and Rubio and Mike working on the northern side.


Rubio and Mike resuming where they had finished the day before.


Moses and Pablo getting the extension lead in place.


Moses striking the line for the saw.

And then guys stopped worked. What was happening? Were they going on strike? Not at all, they had stopped to look at the mist (or fog as they called it – nothing Ike the fog of London I recall) that had appeared.





Having taken a look the guys very quickly recommenced work


Moses cutting the vertical planks to size


and Rubio and Mike hammering the vertical planks in to position on the northern side.

Me? I got the call from Rose to come inside- it was curtain time and my involvement was required. Rose had the material laid out, the grommets were there and so were the needles and pins.


Material at the ready. Haven’t a clue what Dolly was doing there. I thought I was the assistant!


Hole cut for the grommet.


Grommet successfully (surprising because I did it) in.

At the end of the day Rose and I had a walk around the garden to take a closer look at the guys’ work.


Vertical posts for the front (roadside) fence in.


Around a quarter to go for the northern side.


View from the sea wall.

Oh well, time to bring this edition to a close. Two editions in one day is perhaps one edition too many for (and probably you too!).

The headline for this edition is based on the single released in 1964 by The Searchers which reached number one in the UK Signles Chart and number thirteen in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Another chilly morning on Sunday when I ‘hit’ the veranda with my mug of coffee (black with no sugar as regular readers will know) and the iPad around 05.45 hours.

With a fairly strong wind coming in from the north I once again found it necessary to put on a sweat top. Strange though that the legs don’t feel the chill. Well, my legs anyway. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that the same applies for you.

I sat there enjoying the tranquility until Rubio arrived at around 06.50′ (he seems to be a very punctual and conscientious worker) to start work on the fence so I went down to open the store room/garage for him so that he could get at his tools. While we were there Mike arrived and not long after that the workforce doubled when Moses and Pablo turned up. Progress on the fence has been good with two people working on it, but four!

I mentioned an edition or two ago that I must be acclimatising because although the temperature here is still warm to what I was accustomed to when living in the UK I have definitely felt this drop in the temperature. So, although it was chilly on the veranda I was going to ‘brave it’ out. That is until Rose came out to me and said “Baby it’s cold outside” (OK, this might be my worse link to a headline yet (I say “yet” because I am confident that I will beat it) and suggested that I go in to the house. So I did. This was more to do with the fact that there was football on TV than Rose telling me to come in. Wouldn’t want you to think I do what I am told!

As the day unfolded the increase in the workforce showed itself and the fence grew at a really good pace with Moses and Pablo cutting the lengths and carrying them to the next working position and Rubio and Mike fitting them.


Southern side fence.


Mike holding the 1″ spacer whilst on the other side of the fence Rubio hammers in the nails.


Moses and Pablo lining up the cut planks. Moses is in the foreground.


Moses and Pablo cutting more planks.


And then carrying them to Rubio and Mike.

With this teamwork it didn’t take them too long to complete the fence to the sea wall.


Nearly there.



And then they very quickly started work on the northern side fence, this time working from the sea wall to the road.


Northern side fence underway.


Starting to take shape.

The guys made brilliant progress and they way they are going the whole fence could be completed this week.

In bringing this edition to a close I don’t want you to think that I sat around all day watching the guys work. I didn’t because I was helping Rose cut the material for the curtains she is making. I don’t know that I fulfilled a particularly useful role but every good seamstress needs a dummy!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the version (my favourite) by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan which was released as a single in 1949 and reached number seventeen in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yesterday began much as any other day for me. I got up slightly later than usual at 05.45 hours. Grabbed (well I had to make it first of course) a mug of black coffee and my iPad and headed for the veranda. The western one on the first floor.

There was a strong wind with a chilly ‘bite’ in it so I went inside and put on a sweat top. Much better. We’ve only been living here permanently for around twenty months but must be coming acclimatised – we are both feeling a drop in temperature so much more. Or is it that we are just getting older and the older you get the more you feel the cold?

Anyway, back to the veranda. I spent a little time reading The Times online and then just thought about life in general until my reverie was interrupted by Rubio who had arrived early (by now it was around 06.40 hours) to recommence work on our fence. With the mood ‘broken’ I decided that there was only one thing for it – breakfast at Estel’s so I quickly showered, shaved and dressed (including a sweat top) and was on my way by 07.15 hours.

I spent around ninety minutes there. I’m a slow eater but not that slow. It’s just that when I sit there I find the ambience so calming that I just lose track of time. I’m sure that Estel’s would much prefer a much quicker turnover of customers but – “the customer is always right”, or so they say!

One of the things I spent time thinking about was geckos. Geckos? I ‘hear’ you saying. “Why would you be thinking about geckos John?”. Because we have a number of them that are unwanted house tenants, that’s why. We hear them, we see them and we see what they leave us. Their droppings!


We like animals – in fact when we lived in the UK we (well Rose really) had two cats. One that lived to be nearly nineteen and the other one who reached her twenty-first birthday – so if we thought we could house-train them we would. But I don’t speak geckoese and don’t intend to use the time and effort to do so – much rather learn Spanish. So a solution is required and that’s what occupied my thoughts at Estel’s.

We know that the are a number of entry points for the geckos eg under the doors, through the windows when we have them open but concluded that the most popular route in is via the air conditioning.



In through the hole around the external pipework


and out through the air conditioning unit in the house!

The possible solution didn’t take me the full ninety minutes I spent at Estel’s to come up with but it did take most of it (brains a lot slower than it used to be). Expanding foam! So when I finished breakfast I went on a shopping expedition to get some.

I haven’t found any yet and wish I could say that I’ve been searching so long (phew, that’s the headline connection out of the way for another edition) but I only visited the one hardware store but I’m confident that I will find it on the island. Keep watching this space to find out if I am successful AND, more importantly, if it does the trick.

By the time I got home (in good enough time to watch Arsenal beat our North London ‘would be’ rivals Spurs in the third round of the FA Cup) Rubio and Mike were making really good progress on fitting the vertical planks for the southern side fence.



Inward facing side.



The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1974 by Chicago which reached number nine in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Take That to the Bank” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It’s been relatively quiet since the last edition on New Year’s Day. I’ve (obviously) been getting up in the morning having my ‘me time’ on the veranda (the western one on the first floor if you are interested) with a mug of coffee (black) and my iPad. Not the new one though. It’s been too damp (it’s rained a lot over the last few days – well months actually) to expose my new iPad Air to the elements!

Work on the fence had slowed to a standstill because Rubio (the main man) had told us that after working on 30 December he was heading off to spend time and celebrate the new year with his family in Punta Gorda and would not return to work until Monday 6 January. Although Rubio hails from the mainland he has lived most of his life on Ambergris Caye having arrived here in 1975 fearing that the San Pedranos would not allow him ashore. They did though, and he has been here ever since.

Rose and I took advantage of the lull in the fence building. She by starting work on making the curtains ((more on this in a future edition(s))for our new home. And me? Well I picked up on some ‘must do’ administrative stuff. Our “QRP” (Qualified Retirement Program) status needed renewing (although I didn’t gain entry in to the ‘Program until the end of last May the permit (card) expired on 31 December – all permits, whenever they are issued, run as per the calendar year).

Renewal isn’t too arduous a task. You simply have to present to the Belize Tourism Board (it is this body that administers the Program) the following:

a copy of a bank statement that proves that you brought US$ 24,000 (this is the minimum requirement) in to Belize during the previous year (in our case this was for 2013).

photocopies of your ‘old’ permits (identity cards). Why they need photocopies when they issued the permits I’ll never understand- but they do.

a passport sized photograph for each new identity card.

photocopies of all pages in the passports for those in the ‘Program ((me as principal and Rose as the dependent (always told her she depends on me!)) for any exit from or entry in to Belize during the ‘lifetime’ of the identity card.

And a payment of BZ$ 50 for each of the new identity cards.

I presented all of the necessary paperwork (and money) yesterday (Friday) and we just now have to wait around three weeks for the new cards to be issued but if we have to prove inclusion in the ‘Program we need do no more than present the receipt we received when submitting the necessary paperwork.

Next on my list yesterday was to start the process to open a checking account at the Atlantic Bank branch in Pescador Drive so that we can more easily (and less expensively) transfer money from our Atlantic International Bank Limited account and draw cheques in Belize dollars from an Atlantic Bank account rather than transferring money to our Belize Bank account (which charges a deposit fee).

For the opening of the account I needed to provide a reference from two other banks or a reference from one bank and a reference from a business in Belize that has known us for more than eighteen months , copies of the photo pages of our passports and a copy if a utility bill.I was about to leave home when Rose pointed to the envelope containing the stuff for Atlantic Bank that was ‘sitting’ on the dining room table and said “Now take that to the bank” (excruciatingly bad link to the headline I know but …).

Around twenty minutes after arriving at the bank the necessary paperwork (and they DO like a bit of paperwork in Belize) had been completed. It will now take around a week before the account is open and we have another way of spending money. Great!!!

I arrived home to a surprise, Rubio and Mike were there working on the fence. Apparently Rubio needed the money so cut short his visit with his family in Punta Gorda. Bad for them, but good for us. Me selfish? Probably.

They had started on fixing the vertical planks and the fence, well, it started to look like a fence.


With the first plank in others quickly followed


Going back to banks, below is another photo courtesy of Melissa and Ken Fellure – the Scotia Bank branch (sic) when it was located in Barrier Reef Drive (front street)


and as it is now in Coconut Drive.


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1978 by Shalamar which reached number seventy-nine in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty in the UK Singles Chart.

“All Night Long (All Night)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

This has got to be the busiest week of the year for the restaurants, bars and hotels and being in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to see in and celebrate the beginning of a new year is the primary reason for the high level of bookings and increased level of tourism spending. Oh, and by many of those that live here too!

So, although It’s not my usual type of ‘gig’ I thought that some of you might like to see some photos of how New Year’s Eve was celebrated and Rose and I chose Lola’s Pub in Barrier Reef Drive for this.

We went to the inaugural block party for last New Year’s Eve and it was good, really good but this year Steve Jacobson, owner of Lola’s Pub, surpassed it. And by some.

We arrived around 21.15 hours and the area in front of the bar was already busy and the street was throbbing with the sounds of The Cover-Ups who were playing in front of the Belize Bank.






Time passed very quickly and in what seemed like no time at all it was time for the ball to drop to herald in 2014.


After kissing Rose (any excuse) and wishing all around us a happy new year we hotfooted it to the beach in front of Cholo’s to watch the firework display.






We then headed back to Lola’s Bar for our ‘nightcap’ and the street was still buzzing but we (or at least I am) are too old now to party all night long so we headed off home.

I’ll bring today’s edition to a close by wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Oh, today’s headline is based on the single released in 1983 by Lionel Ritchie which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK Singles Chart.