“Ladies Night” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Got up around 05.00 hours yesterday. Same routine as most days. Make ((Make? Who am I kidding! Spoon of coffee from the jar in to a mug and pour boiling water on to it – the only skill (?) required is to make sure you don’t pour too much water from the kettle. And even I can do that. If I pay attention!)) a mug of coffee, pick up the iPad and carry both to the veranda (opening the sliding door first, of course).

The start of the day then was much the same as it is most days. Or was it? No, definitely not. Why? Well I just couldn’t enjoy my ‘me time’. I tried to savour the smells, sounds and sights (even when dark there are still things to see) of the early morning. Failing, I brought The Times up online but couldn’t really concentrate on and enjoy what, for me, is normally a good read. I kept thinking of the test later in the morning that Rose and I had to pass if we were to gain Masters (boat captain) Licenses.

The test was scheduled for 11.00 hours at the Port of Belize office which is located south of the DFC area but first we had a further practice session at Caribbean Villas Hotel at 09.00 hours. So, after showering, shaving (me that is, not Rose), dressing and having breakfast we set off at around 08.45 hours.

By the time we arrived (slightly late but early by Belizean standards!) Andy was untying our practice boat and Veronique and Joy (our fellow ‘students’) were sitting patiently on the pier.


Our practice boat.

After a few goes each at taking the boat from the pier and then mooring it the time had reached 10.00 hours so Andy and Joy set off in the boat for the ‘test centre’. Veronique popped to a nearby friend’s house and Rose and I had a coffee and then took the road south and arrived at the ‘test centre’ just before 11.00 hours.


The ‘test centre’.

Within minutes of our arrival Andy and Joy pulled in to the quayside and after securing the boat we all introduced ourselves to Hector, our examiner.

He explained what was required of us – nothing too taxing, just that we should take the boat out in to the lagoon and then bring it back to the quayside and moor it.

Rose, with her nerves somewhat frayed, elected to go first




Rose completing the test.

Rose, being Rose, on setting foot on the quayside, couldn’t contain herself and asked Hector if she had passed (women, no patience!) and virtually jumped for joy (no, not Joy our fellow test-taker, but in elation). One down, three to go!

Veronique then set off and hadn’t gone too far when the engine stalled.


Commodore Andy Milner to the rescue.

With the engine going again Veronique resumed her test.


Hector the examiner observing Veronique’s approach.


Safely and confidently in.

Next up was Joy (me ever being the gentleman employed ‘the ladies first rule’! ).


Joy heading for the quay.

With Joy ashore it was my turn. No putting it off any longer.


Honest, that is me in the boat.


Told you!


A slow and careful approach to the quayside.

Once ashore Hector informed us that we had all passed.


The ‘victors’ pose.

All us of us agreed that we would be celebrating our success and given that I was outnumbered it would definitely be a ladies night (give me a break, I know its terrible but I was struggling for a song title link for the headline).

Next up for Rose and I is looking for a boat to buy.

The headline (terrible link as it may be) is based on the single released in 1979 by Kool and the Gang which reached number eight in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number nine in the UK Singles Chart.

“Rescue Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up around 05.10 hours yesterday and out on the veranda with the mug of black coffee and iPad not much more than five minutes later. That’s the thing about instant coffee, it virtually is. Instant, that is.

Even though it was early and the sun hadn’t risen for the day it felt to me that it was going to be a hot and sunny one. I’m now starting to get a sense of what a day’s weather will be like from my ‘me time’ on the veranda in the early morning. A perfect day for washing to dry, so in to the laundry room I went and loaded up the washing machine.

When I was working for a living I didn’t ‘do’ that type of stuff. But now? Well, parity prevails!


I knew there was a good reason for including the balustrades in the design for our house!

After showering, shaving and getting dressed it was time for breakfast (no, not at Estel’s but at home) and then Rose and I took care of other household stuff. You know, sweeping, dusting, wiping surfaces down. All the boring but essential stuff. All the while though our minds were on the practice session later in the day we had scheduled to prepare us for the Masters (boat captain) License test. We each of us, from time to time, giving words of encouragement -“You’ll be alright” – to the other.

The time dragged even though we kept ourselves busy but eventually it was time to set off for Caribbean Villas Hotel, the venue for our ‘driving lesson’.

The session was scheduled for a 14.30 hours start but being eager beavers (or was it nerves?) we got there early at just before 14.00 hours and tried to calm ourselves down by taking in the views and just generally ‘chilling out’.


A tranquil view BUT nothing like I felt inside.


A celebratory drink later???

I watched fishermen catching bait.


On a normal day I would have found this fascinating. Compulsive viewing in fact. But yesterday? Not a chance. I had a lot on my mind.


And she did too!

Andy Milner, Commodore of the San Pedro Sailing Club (the merit worthy organisation on the island that does so much to teach children and then enjoy how to sail) who was going to be our instructor for the session then arrived and whatever calm I had achieved disappeared immediately.

Andy though, sensed this and with one or two quips put us at ease and then showed us ‘our’ boat for the session and explained the controls.


Our boat for the session, aptly named “Me Boat”.

And then we were off, with me going first. I was the only male but this wasn’t a time for “Ladies first!”.


And I’m off.


“Now this is what you were doing wrong”.

I wish I could say that I took to it like a duck to water but I didn’t but perseverance eventually paid off and after a few tries I brought the boat in to (not literally) the dock.



“Done it”.

With me finished – and I mean finished – it was time for Rose’s turn.


If only she paid attention to me that way!


And she’s off.

They hadn’t been going long when we heard shouts from the shoreline, a Hobie had been caught by the tide and, under sail, was heading out to sea. Under instruction from Andy, Rose altered course and headed for the unmanned sailing craft (dramatic isn’t it) and in no time at all pulled alongside it whereupon Andy literally jumped ship. Leaving Rose all alone.


Andy ‘jumping ship’!


Leaving Rose on her own.

I thought that there would be cries of “Rescue me” but no, she rose (what else could she do – it’s what it says on her label!) to the occasion and safely (and somewhat expertly) brought the boat back to the dock.


“Nearly there”.

We’ve got our test this morning and are hoping for a little less drama. Fingers crossed!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1965 by Fontana Bass which reached number four in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number eleven in the UK Singles Chart.

“Finish What Ya Started” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

There’s one good thing about blogging every day, I know exactly where I got to on the last edition ie what I did or experienced the day before yesterday. No having to scratch my head wondering what the hell I’d written about.

There’s probably a secondary benefit (or is it a dis benefit ?) from blogging every day – the routine/discipline that producing a daily edition creates and instills.

The perceived benefits though – as far as I am concerned – are far outweighed by the real benefits I get by not producing an edition every day. There’s the sense of freedom. My time is exactly that, my ‘me time’. I don’t have to put myself under any sense of pressure about what to write about. No need to scrape the barrel just so I put something ‘out there’. OK so I ‘lose’ the perceived benefit of routine/discipline but ‘losing’ these were benefits (of many) I got when I retired.

The irregular publishing frequency though does create this recollection issue. But hey, most of you know the usual beginning of my blogs anyway. You know, got up, make coffee (black, no sugar) take it and my iPad out on to the veranda (normally the western facing one on the first floor) and enjoy the sights, the sounds (even when there’s hardly any sounds at all) and a sense of total relaxation. And then there’s my fairly frequent (I wonder if I might be the most regular breakfaster there?) visits to Estel’s where I continue with my ‘me time’ (Rose rarely goes with me for breakfast).

Monday was much the same until I asked Rose if she wanted to join me for breakfast and she said that she did. OK we set off later than I would normally set off but it was worth it (got to keep building up those brownie points!)

All was going great until Rose struck up a conversation (she’s so much more social than I am) with a woman sitting at the table next to us. The woman explained that she and her husband had recently moved here and was looking to get a slow cooker and asked Rose if she knew where she could get one. Quick as a flash (and she has her moments, believe me) Rose responded “Take John. You won’t find a slower cooker than him!”.

With breakfast over and my feelings starting to feel somewhat repaired Rose and I returned home (stopping off on the way so that I could buy a machete) where we ‘set about’ the garden again. Yes, more weeding. Don’t worry there are no photos of me revealing my six-pack ((otherwise known as my ribs (yes, I know have twenty-four ribs but …)).

And very soon the piles of weeds started to form.




My machete ‘posing’ in front of the weeds.

As the weeds disappeared we initially saw and then eventually gained easy access to the well in the north-western corner of the front garden.


Now we can use the hose pipe with well water to ‘feed’ the avocados.


Some of the leaves look a little worse for wear but new shoots are appearing.

We continued weeding until we ‘hit’ the concrete patches (spots where the cement mixer was placed during the build of our house) and a shovel or fork are just not up to the job. We’ll now hire labour to finish the weeding, dig up some roots and move some branches that were cut down when our fence was being erected. I could well understand if you are thinking “finish what ya started” but I’ve reached the age to know when I should quit when I’m winning.

It may not be finished but we are pleased with our efforts.


Looking much tidier.

With our spell of weeding over we took a walk next door to take a closer look at the newest addition to Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant & Bar, the Captain’s Table.


Proud owner (Jason was too shy) Maresha in front of the latest of their improvements.

Yesterday Rose and I decided to a enjoy a ‘slow day’ and took a drive up north. No particular reason, we just felt like doing it. And there’s no particular reason for including a few of the photos I took. I just feel like doing it!


A nice and shady (and relatively flat) section of the road north.




The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1988 by Van Halen which reached number thirteen in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Automatically Sunshine” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The weather this month has been glorious. There’s been a little rain but this has occurred either late in the night or very early morning and when it has rained it hadn’t lasted long. Definitely not enough of it or at the time of day that has prevented me from enjoying my early morning ‘me time’ on the veranda with my mug of black coffee and the iPad. No sweat top needed. No rainwear. Just the simple matter of deciding what polo shirt and pair of shorts to wear (decisions, decisions).

On most days it’s seemed like the moon had just ‘said’ goodbye for another day and it was automatically sunshine. But then again what do you expect when you live in the Caribbean? Snow? Ice? Sub zero temperatures? Of course not, so I don’t know why I even bothered to bore you by stating the patently obvious. That is, aside from needing to introduce a link for the headline!

Those of you that read my ramblings with any degree of regularity will know that I have taken a prolonged break from the fence painting. It’s a big fence and believe me (if you’ve never painted one) it’s boring ( and I mean BORING) just moving a brush up and down or from side to side. It wasn’t just the boredom that took me away from the fence though. No, not all – I had other stuff to do.

For a start Rose and I spent a little time trying to help Rose and Bob Hawkins (our temporary house guests) assimilate to life on Ambergris Caye following their move from San Francisco. This didn’t require a great deal of effort on our part (in fact it required virtually none) because, in the main, it entailed describing where you can ‘this’ or ‘that’. What the Internet options are. How you can pay the various utility bills.

The most effort I put in during their brief stay with us was when they left on Friday to take up residence in the condo that they have rented just up the road from us. I helped with the move and carting those two suitcases up the stairs reminded me that I am getting older and I am nowhere near as fit as I used to be. Why did you have to rent a unit on the third floor Bob? I know the view is good. And the breeze is so much better. But those stairs, oh those stairs. Or maybe I was just tired from the stints that Rose and I have been putting in cleaning up the north-western corner of the front garden.

I should have taken a photo just before we started but I didn’t (what kind of blogger am I!) so will have to make do with a long shot I took a few weeks ago.


Doesn’t look too overgrown but trust me it was. The photo just doesn’t do it ‘justice’.

Rose tidied up the trees


Taking time out to pose!

while I got stuck in to the weeding.


And the pile of compost (or a pile of leaves and branches for a fire- haven’t decided which yet) grew.


It hasn’t been all weeding for me though. I (obviously) got myself in front of the TV on Saturday to watch Arsenal stroll to a four to one win against Sunderland and took a ride to ‘Town yesterday morning for breakfast at Estel’s getting there shortly after 07.00 hours, well before the roads started to get busy.


A traffic free Pescador Drive (middle street).

I didn’t take a photo of my breakfast (I know, I know – if I want to be a serious blogger I have to ‘hold fire’ on the scoffing until I’ve taken a photo) so you will have to ‘make do’ with a photo of the the view from my table.


A much better picture than a plate of bacon and eggs. Trust me!

With breakfast over it was back to the house and the weeding.




Still a way to go but we’ve ‘broken the back’ of it.

Whilst we’ve been busy cleaning up the garden we’ve had visitors other than Rose and Bob in the house. I mentioned in the last edition that Moses (having left the employment of Daniel Camal, our building contractor, during the final stages of our build he has rejoined him) was sent to take care of some remedial work.

Around a month after moving in we noticed that the varnish on the front door was blistering and, worse still, some of the drawers and shelves of the cabinetry in the bathrooms and kitchens were showing signs of mould. We don’t know what caused the latter – wood not dried fully, above average rain/humidity, not enough varnish, etc) but one thing was for sure – we couldn’t live with it. And Daniel recognised and accepted this and Moses and some colleagues were sent to address the problem.

They sanded the front doors down, restrained them and then applied a polyurethane varnish.


Blistering gone, doors gleaming again.

And then they tackled the shelves and drawers by scrubbing them clean with undiluted bleach.


Drawers drying after the bleaching.

And then it was time to repaint them.



And put the fittings back on.



And the kitchen cabinets got the ‘treatment’ too.

In the next few days Rolando and Nicholas will return to replace two faulty external lights and make sine adjustments to a few of our windows and the remedial work will have been taken care of.

It’s been busy at our place but our neighbour has also been busy too with the construction of Captain’s Table at Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant & Bar (THE home of the lion fish).


Nearly shipshape!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the 1972 single released by The Supremes which reached number thirty-seven in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number ten in the UK Singles Chart.

“Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Now where was I? I’ve become so indisciplined of late in producing editions of the blog that I sometimes struggle to remember – increasing age/reducing grey cells- what I last told you about. That description of my mental condition (deteriorating memory capacity) and the consequences of it (one being I cannot recall what the last edition contained) probably doesn’t mean a great deal to you because you probably (understandably by the way) feel that most of what I write is repetitive anyway. So apologies in advance if you feel that what follows is something that you have read or seen before. Just make allowances for me. Sometimes I’m just a ball of confusion!

When I last sat down and produced an edition (and it seems so long ago now) I told you that I had dug up six coconut trees from our adjacent lot to swap for a banana plant. What I didn’t mention was that the swap was with Carlo of Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. Fascinating information isn’t it! “Who cares” you are probably thinking. Exactly, I’m thinking.

I ‘left’ you with a photo of our cart loaded with the coconut trees but I left you in limbo. Would the swap be made? Answer – yes it was. And Carlo increased his side of the deal. We got the banana plant AND a plantain plant. Now you know what’s coming next. Yes, photos of the plants and me planting them (still awake?).


Our banana plant.


A ‘job’ for the black dirt.


Good job I had some!


Wheel barrow loaded so time to get planting!


Me posing by our newest addition. No, that’s not a six pack – it’s my ribs you are looking at. Nothing to worry about Vin Diesel!


Banana plant in situ. Now you know which one in the previous photo was the banana plant!


Plantain in.

And what about the coconut trees I can hear you thinking (stupid remark that isn’t it, how can you hear someone thinking). Well, they have all been planted at their new ‘home’ in ‘Town.


Already looking like southerners!

Many regular or occasional readers are probably wondering how I have got so far in to an edition without mentioning Arsenal. Those of you that follow football , and I mean THE football and not that game they play in the USA, will have guessed why. Wednesday and the Champions League game against Bayern Munich that’s why.

We had our chances and spurned them – you cannot afford to miss a penalty against a team such as Bayern Munich and expect to win- and now face an uphill battle in the second leg at the Allianz Arena. The loss was bad enough but it also meant that I got stick* (it’s stick Bob) from Carlo (THE Carlo of Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill) who is an ardent Bayern fan ( the only Belizean German I know!)

There was a certain irony attached to the comments that Carlo made. He was standing immediately under the Arsenal crest that he had placed on the ceiling above the bar. It didn’t soften his comments though.


* Stick = to tease or rib.

Yesterday (Thursday) Moses arrived at the house to take care of some remedial work that Daniel Camal, our building contractor, had agreed needed to be carried out. More about this though in the next edition. I will ‘say’ now though that choosing a building contractor that accepts accountability for things that aren’t quite right is terribly important.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1970 by The Temptations which reached number three in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

“The Best Things in Life Are Free” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up a fair bit later than normal on Sunday at 06.55 hours. Obviously the price paid for a late and ‘liquid’ previous night!

Even in my slightly fragile condition I managed to make my black coffee (it’s a times like that I’m pleased that I am not a coffee aficionado), grab the iPad and amble out to the veranda. My body and my experience told me that this was a day to be approached slowly so I decided that reading The Sunday Times online was exertion enough!

I made breakfast around 08.30 hours and then showered, shaved and dressed – oh, I did brush my teeth too – and settled down to watch the Arsenal versus Liverpool FA Cup game. We were far from being convincing winners but win we did and advanced to a home game in the next round against Everton.

After the game had finished I spent a little time in the back garden weeding (nothing too exertive) and then showered and changed clothes and then around 15.00 hours Rose and I headed to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill for a few beers (hair of the dog and all that) and a Barbeque. You can get a barbecue on a Sunday nearly everywhere (well at least it appears that way) in San Pedro but for us the best is to be found at Carlo & Ernie’s. A word of warning though – get there too late and it’s all gone.

Yesterday morning feeling so much better I ‘hit’ the veranda nice and early ((think it was around 03.30 hours – the benefit (or is it penalty?) for going to bed early the previous night)) I enjoyed a couple of mugs of coffee whilst reading The Times online (and how lucky Arsenal were), got ready and headed to Estel’s for breakfast, getting there shortly after 07.00 hours.

After breakfast I took a stroll along the beach (being retired means I can take those types of decision – no need to rush to work as I used to do) walking first in a southerly direction to take a look at developments on the Diamante Beachfront Suites project on the lot on which BC’s stood until a few weeks ago that I mentioned in an edition a short while ago.

Work has really progressed on the sea wall which runs in line with the one in front of Blue Water Grill.



In addition to the work on the sea wall they have also started to deliver the pilings for the ‘Suites.


Pilings stacked neatly to the right of the advertising hoarding.

I understand that the developers aim to complete the project in a very ambitious nine months. Given our experience ( our build was scheduled to be completed in forty weeks but took fifty-two) it will be very interesting to see if this is achieved (come back in around eight months and I’ll let you know!).

I then walked north to Boca Del Rio to take a look at the new beachfront bar that is being constructed. For those of you that know the island it’s between Wet Willy’s and Wayo’s Beachside Beernet.

It’s a very interesting development. They’ve dismantled the house that used to be at the front of the lot and reconstructed it on stilts – the bar will now be constructed under the house.


How now ‘sitting’ on stilts, the bar area below.


Looking north from the new bar, Wayo’s around 150 yards away.

I’m informed that the new bar will be operated by Ismael who until a short while ago worked at BC’s. REMEMBER – you read it here first!

When I got home it was time to knuckle down and work and first off was digging up six coconut plants that we are going to swap for a banana plant. Well the best things in life are free (really struggled to come up with a link for the headline)!


Loaded up ready for delivery.

After my exertions it was time to help Rose to get the apartment ready for Bob and Rose (friends we have made following their visit to Ambergris Caye last September). Bob and Rose have ‘up sticks’ and are relocating from San Francisco to Belize and are going to spend extended time on both Ambergris Caye and in San Ignacio before deciding upon their eventual new home. We’re putting them up for a few nights until they find long-term rental accommodation. If you want to know more about Bob and Rose ( and why wouldn’t you!) take a look at his blog.

With the apartment ready for use it was time for another shower (good job we have a 45,000 gallon tank under the house!), deliver the coconut plants (I’m going to pick up the banana plant later this week) and then wait at the ‘Runway Bar (it’s so conveniently located for this type of thing) for Bob and Rose to arrive. And they did, on the Maya Island Air flight that landed around 17.00 hours (cannot be precise because, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t wear a watch anymore).

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1992 by Luther Vandross (told you a few editions ago that he is one of my favourite singers), Janet Jackson, BBD and Ralph Tresvant which reached number ten in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK Singles Chart.

“Everything Is Awesome” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Before moving here and a hell of a lot more since I have been asked “Why Belize?” And, when we lived in the UK it was, more often than not, prefaced or followed by ” Where is Belize exactly?”.

Answering the second question, unsurprisingly, never took a lot of time but the first one? Now that did take some time.

So, why Belize, I sense you thinking. Well I don’t really but I’ve got to ‘say’ this otherwise I’ve got very little to write about today. So bare with me. Give me a little slack or today’s edition ends here. Great. And thanks.

Where do I start? In 1991, that’s when and with a younger brother who just loved to travel. Most of us read books and he read too. But the difference was that he spent most of his time studying an atlas, finding somewhere that appealed to him and then setting off to visit it. Belize ‘grabbed’ his attention and got him curious so with a friend he travelled to Belize, stopping off first for some time in Costa Rica.

He was so taken with Belize that he was keen to buy land here (aside from being an avid reader of an atlas he also had entrepreneurial leanings) and create an eco resort and made an offer for a large parcel (and I mean large) of land (that included a small island) in Southern Belize.

Anyway, the guy that had it for sale put the price up and my brother asked me if I wanted ‘in’ and I did so agreed to put up some money and an increased offer was made. But the seller, sensing an opportunity to make more increased the price again and, I agreed to increase my stake. But again the seller increased the price and my brother (never the most calm of individuals) got really pissed off and told the guy what he could do with his land!

Feeling the need to get over the disappointment and frustration they headed to Ambergris Caye where they spent a very enjoyable week before heading back to the UK.

Around eight years later Rose and I couldn’t decide where to take our next holiday when we suddenly remembered that we had nearly bought a share in some land in Belize. We also remembered how much my brother had said he had enjoyed his time on Ambergris Caye so I spent a bit of time on the Internet (well a fair bit of tine actually because it was nowhere as good then as it is now) found out the route as then booked the tickets and reserved accommodation at Lily’s Hotel.

The trip was nearly abandoned because Hurricane Mitch struck six weeks before we were scheduled to arrive but with no known threat of further hurricanes and confirmation from Lily’s Hotel that it was operational we visited Ambergris Caye, Belize for the first time.

We probably didn’t see it in its best light. For example it looked like half of the beach was on front street and there were only two docks standing. But it didn’t matter, we fell in love with the place and the people, especially the people. We were so impressed with the character they displayed after such a destructive force of nature.

Belize, an Ambergris Caye in particular, had captured our hearts and so much so within six weeks of returning to the UK we had purchased a condo at Banana Beach and the plan to retire here one day began.

So now you know, “Why Belize?”.

Any regrets? Only a small one. How much would that large parcel of land be worth now? But some things are meant to be. And we were meant for Ambergris Caye!

With that burning question answered (OK, so you didn’t want to know) I’ll bring you (very quickly) up-to-date with what I’ve been doing since the last edition.

I, of course, have enjoyed my ‘me time’ on the veranda first thing in the morning although on Friday the cold front did require me to put on a sweat top. I also made the trip to ‘Town on Wednesday and Friday for breakfast at Estel’s and the rest of the time I spent working in the garden, alternating between planting more coconut trees and painting the fence. And I thought I had retired!


The coconut plantation – otherwise known as our adjacent lot.


You’ll do.


And you.


That’ll do.


Ready for re-planting.


Two for the northern side of the back garden.


One for the southern side of the back garden.

And finally one for the southern side of the front garden.


Then back to the fence painting.


“It’s a hard life”. Not really – everything is awesome.

Last night Rose and I went on a Poker Run (during the high season they come thick and fast ) when we joined some of our friends from BATSUB who were over for the night with six guys from the American military who are in Belize to help train the Belize Defence Force.


Me with Nanda who only arrived last week. Nanda is from Nepal, home of the famous Gurkha.


Rose being looked after by Frank and Dan.

Sign on the wall in Lola’s Pub


Reminded me of why I loved beer so much when I was young! Long before I met Rose of course!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the song by Tegan and Sara released this year which features in The LEGO Movie. It hasn’t made the US Billboard Hot 100 yet but it will. Why? Because it’s AWESOME!!!!!!!

“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Just to show that I don’t just ‘cut and paste’ the opening section of an edition ( because Im sure that on occasions it may seem that way) I’m starting today’s one differently with the view from today’s starting position ‘work station’.


Yes, you’ve guessed it, at Estel’s.

For those of you that have had the pleasure of having a meal there (and for those of you that unfortunately haven’t ) I took the table in the south-west corner. To be honest (pointless being anything else really) I could have chosen virtually any table because when I got there just before 07.30 hours it was virtually empty.

I meant to mention in the previous edition that Rose and I spent a fair bit of time at the back end of last week generally tidying up and making ready the self-contained apartment on our ground floor. Why? Well, because at the weekend it got its first use as a place to stay by someone other than us (we spent around a week in it when our build in Ambergris Caye, Belize was nearing completion). Our guests? Frank our friend serving as a member of BATSUB and his dog Ziggy.

Frank is leaving Belize in August when he moves on to Germany for his next posting and has asked Rose and I if we would like to adopt Ziggy and we have told him that we will consider it and a key element of this decision making process will take place in April when we are going to look after him when Frank heads back to the UK for a holiday.


Here’s Ziggy if you are wondering what he looks like.

Frank will be away for three weeks and this should provide ample time to find out if Ziggy gets on with us and if we get on with him. We do know already from his weekend visit that he is very well trained, friendly and obedient. He also appears to have taken a real shine to Rose. Who wouldn’t though (this comment must earn me Brownie points)!

In addition to getting the apartment ready I’ve also spent time watching the clean up of the lots immediately north of us. The next best thing to working yourself is watching someone else working (or is it the other way around?).

The three guys on the clean up have worked really hard, no matter what the weather conditions and have done and continue to do a pretty impressive job using only the most basic of tools – shovels, machetes and pick axes.

They completed clearing the beach front lot early last week and it now looks ready to build on.


Really spruced up.

Since then they have been working on the lagoon side lots immediately north of us.


Looking west.


Looking east.


Get that machete going!


And the shovel.

And then time for a well earned break


in the shade.

And then back to work.



Nearly finished.

With so much activity going on I’m sure our near neighbour will wanna be startin’ somethin’ (yes, I know it is terrible) real soon. A house perhaps?

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1983 by Michael Jackson which reached number five in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number eight in the UK Singles Chart.

“Strangers in the Night” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

It’s been a while since the last edition.

I’ve (obviously) still been waking up in the morning. I’ve had my ‘me time’ on the veranda. Me, my black coffee and iPad. I’ve set out most mornings with the firm intention of ‘knocking out’ an edition but …

No doubt about it, I’ve got lax. Feeling somewhat disappointed with myself I determined on Saturday that I would show the necessary self discipline and knuckle down and focus. But first I would watch Arsenal’s very important away game at Liverpool. Big mistake! We were out maneuvered, out played, out fought, out scored. Out of the game in fact. And I was out of my mind with despair. Certainly not in the right frame of mind for producing an edition.

It’s at times like this though (and if you follow Arsenal as I do, there are always going to be times like this) that I think of all of the good things I have experienced since starting the blog. I’ve had people bring or send me presents. I’ve had people thank me for information (more often than not inadvertently I’m sure) that I have provided. I’ve had people asking for me at Estel’s (why Estel’s? Anyone would think I go there a lot!). I’ve had people taking the time to comment on the blog. And I’ve got to meet some of you that read my ramblings. And that’s just what happened last week.

After a hard day (well it was hard for me) toiling in the garden Rose and I headed to ‘Town in the evening for a well deserved (I deserved it at least!) Belikin at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. When we got there it was busy ( it’s been busy since it opened but it’s got busier since BC’s closed) we managed to secure seats at the bar. We were just about to take the first swig when behind me I heard “Are you John? John that writes the blog?”. Turning around and nodding in assent I saw a guy who then introduced himself as Ed.

Ed told me that he had been reading the blog for some time and enjoyed it (you don’t think I would have mentioned this if he didn’t, do you?) and owned a condo south of town that he and his wife had bought in 1997 (around the time that Rose and I first came to Ambergris Caye). It’s the chance meetings like this that ‘reward’ me for the blog. And, remind me of how powerful the Internet is. Without it Ed and I would have remained strangers in the night ( relief – that’s the link to the headline ‘out of the way’).

So with the headline taken care of I’ll let you know how I filled up my time since the last edition.

Having cleared the south-east corner of the front garden I decided that I would start repatriating some of the coconut trees that we have been cultivating (who am I kidding, we just planted them!) in our adjacent lot.


If you look hard you can just see me in the undergrowth.


“This one will do”.


Marley has a companion!

I had just started on uprooting the second coconut tree when I heard a voice behind me and on turning around I saw it was Edward, the guy that we bought the dwarf palms that we planted in front of the house from. He had some dwarf coconut trees, avocado trees and some bamboo plants if we wanted them. I got Rose (such decisions need to be joint!) and we had a chat and told Edward we were interested to have a look at them so he set off on his bike to bring them to us in his boat.

While we were waiting for Edward to return Rose and I had a walk around the garden to decide where we would plant them if we bought them and we were still doing this (decisions, decisions) when we saw Edward approaching with his father, Edward senior.



The ‘shopping cart’.

I took a backward step and let Rose carry out the negotiations. She’s like a terrier! After beating young Edward up, not literally of course, the deal was done and Edward The Younger and Edward The Elder brought our purchases ashore.


The dwarf coconut trees.


The bamboo plants and avocados.

And then the planting began.


Edward The Elder didn’t get the easy jobs. He got to carry the black dirt.


Time for the one for the north-west corner.


It’s in!

And then the bamboo plants.


For the southern side of the back garden.

We then moved to the front garden for the planting of the avocados in the south-east corner.


More company for Marley!

There’s still a lot more purchases to make and a lot more planting to do but the back garden is starting to look less like a large litter tray.


For those of you that are interested ( and for those of you that aren’t for that matter) we bought eight dwarf coconut trees, nine bamboo plants, three avocado plants and ten bags of black dirt. And we didn’t even have to leave home to do so. A bit like on-line shopping!

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

“More, More, More” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Well, it’s been a while since the last edition so (once again) there’s some catching up to do for those of you that find this blog either interesting, informative, amusing, irritating (I could go on but will not for fear of adding ‘boring’ to the list!). Or just have some time to fill-up.

So, where do I start. Well on Sunday I enjoyed a relatively easy, ‘don’t do too much’, type of day. For a start I got up later than usual, not rousing from the bed until around 06.15 hours. I then enjoyed my quality ‘ me time’ on the veranda. I don’t have to think about what I have to do. I’m on auto-pilot. Mug of coffee ((for new or erstwhile readers the coffee is instant (I don’t profess to have ‘taste’ where coffee is concerned), black with no sugar)) and the iPad and straight to the veranda. The one on the first floor on the western (lagoon facing) side of the house.

I enjoyed a really enjoyable, long read of The Sunday Times on-line (devoting a disproportionate amount of time to the Sport and Business (why the Business section I have to ask myself when I’m not ‘in it’ anymore) sections and then it was time for breakfast prepared and cooked by Rose. It was equally as good as Estel’s. No, in fact it was AWESOME (now that has got to be worth another one Rose!). OK, so it wasn’t AWESOME, but it was GOOD (Question to self – ” Why are you shouting?” Answer to self -“Because bloggers use capitals a lot”. Question to self – “Why?” Answer to self -” I don’t know why, they just do”.).

With breakfast over it was time to settle down in front of the TV to watch Arsenal play against Crystal Palace and claim a two, nil win which put them back at the top of the table.

Late in the afternoon we headed in to ‘Town to watch the Super Bowl at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. I don’t profess to fully understand the game yet but I do enjoy watching it and this season have grown to admire the skill of Peyton Manning. So, for me, there was only one team to root for. Denver Broncos. And I chose an orange Polo shirt to show this.

We arrived at the bar at around 16.30 hours and the place was already packed (if there was anywhere busier on Sunday afternoon/evening I would be amazed – this place has now got to be THE sports bar on Ambergris Caye).


Getting ready for the game under the large tent erected in front of the bar.


A packed bar. No seats available.


Our ‘bucket’ of Belikins. Six beers for the price of five. It would have been rude to say no!

And then the game started -or did it because there was only one team in it. The ‘Broncos were annihilated. They might just have well stayed in Denver!

On Monday and Tuesday I resumed work on clearing the south-east corner of the garden of weeds but not before I had gone to Estel’s for breakfast.


My breakfast. And, if you look hard, a reflection of me on the screen of my iPad. Warning for the sensitive – don’t look too hard!


The view from my table. Not bad eh.

And then ‘fuelled up’ I started on the garden intending to get rid of more, more, more of those weeds. And I did and then it was time to move Marley to ‘his’ new home.


Marley shortly after we adopted ‘him’.


Me posing for a photo before I begin. Check out the gloves. Neat fashion accessory!




And ‘he’s’ out.

With Marley successfully out of ‘his’ old home it was time to move ‘him’ to ‘his’ new one.


Me doubling up as the removal man.


And then back to being the gardener!


And ‘he’s’ in.


Just in time for dinner!


Marley and ‘his’ new neighbour.

If you have found this edition a little surreal don’t worry because so have I! A more normal service will resume when I start painting the fence again.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1979 by “The Andrea True Collection” which reached number four in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number five in the UK Singles Chart.