“Memories Are Made of This” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With a day off from the World Cup last Friday I focused on the weeding. I started the day though -regular readers know what’s coming now – with a mug of black coffee and my iPad on the western veranda – and got out there around 04.30 hours.

First up was a bit of time with The Times online. I’d watched (if not live, then when its been replayed) nearly every game of the group stages so didn’t need to spend much time looking at the supplement that The Times is publishing just for the World Cup. Instead I spent my time reading the match reports and articles about The Wimbledon Championships.

I’ve caught some of the matches on TV but there’s only so much sport you can watch in a day and although I’ve taken to lounging on the sofa, with the remote control at the ready, like a duck to water even I have found it challenging.

As I read the ‘paper (sic) my thoughts took me back forty-three years ago to probably one of the best jobs I ever had.

At that time I was working for the Daily Sketch which, at the time was Britain’s oldest tabloid national newspaper. It had struggled for quite a few years to compete with the Daily Mirror and then had to contend with The Sun which had been purchased a few years earlier by a very young Rupert Murdoch.

The owners , Harmsworth Publications (subsequently to become Associated Newspapers) took the decision that they would close the ‘Sketch and merge it with their other national daily the newspaper, the Daily Mail.

I was offered the opportunity of transferring to the surviving newspaper but when I found out that I would get £365 severance (redundancy) pay – I wasn’t quite twenty-one at the time – this seemed like a king’s ransom to me. So I decided to take the money and head off to mainland Europe to ‘bum around’ until the money ran out.

The company asked me to stay on for a month after the closure of the ‘Sketch to help effect a smooth change-over (why they should have thought that a twenty year old could help with this I will never know!) and I agreed (extra money for my European ‘jolly’ I thought) so didn’t end my employment until 11 June.

I was at home the following week busily making preparations for my trip when the ‘phone rang. It was the head office of the union (in those days you couldn’t work for a newspaper unless you were a member of the ‘appropriate’ union). I was a member of NATSOPA. “Did I want a short term job?” “Doing what, where?” I replied. ” At the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship, filing copy for the Evening Standard’s tennis correspondent.” It took me all of twenty seconds to blurt out “Yes please. When do I start”.

For the life of me I cannot remember what the pay was but it wasn’t bad and they paid my travelling expenses and gave me a daily subsistence allowance. The real perk though was that I got free entry to Wimbledon. No queuing. A place to watch at every court (and I think that there were nineteen of them). And yes, this included the Centre Court.

From memory I had to phone in copy written by a sports journalist by the name of Barry Newcombe (in ‘his’ day he was one of the top tennis correspondents in the UK) four times a day (editorial deadlines were so much earlier before the introduction of computerisation) and then the time was my own. Free to wander from court to court. And getting paid for it!

I watched enthralled ,and perhaps a little love struck, as the young Aboriginal, Evonne Goolagong, majestically swept all of her opponents aside as she gracefully moved around the court displaying grace and power.

It’s wonderful how you can travel – and back in time – with just an injection of caffeine and the stillness of the morning. Memories are made of this!

What’s this got to do with Belize, and Ambergris Caye in particular? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just thought I’d share my thoughts with you. Oh, by the way, I never did get to ‘bum around’ in Europe. I was offered a job on The Sun. And I took it. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I can’t sit in the chair dreaming all day though and have been tackling the weeds in the garden. It’s hot work and I’ve realised (it took me a while I’m sorry to say) that its best to tackle it early in the morning. So I’ve been starting at around 06.00/07.00 hours and ‘going at it’ for three hour stints.

It took me three such sessions to clear the weeds (roots included wherever possible) and I’m now sitting around waiting for them to grow again!


A (nearly – couldn’t get them all out) weed free south-east corner of the front garden.


Not a lot to show for so much back breaking (slight exaggeration) effort.

The area in front of the front fence looks nice and tidy though.

Talking of memories I’m sure that those of you that either live on or visit Ambergris Caye will have at some time frequented the little food stand in Barrier Reef Drive (front street). You know, the one near the corner of Pelican Street.


Well you won’t be going there any more. It’s gone. Razed to the ground.


Work has already started on the office for the scooter rental company that will be opening soon.

And as one business closes another one opens. Many of you will remember Fido’s South, or the Sandbar as it subsequently became. Well, following a major refurbishment, it’s now the ‘home’ of Island Time Beach Bar and is being operated by Ruth and Graham Verralls who previously managed Caribbean Villas Hotel. Worth a visit when you are ‘down’ south.

Anyway, got to bring this edition to a close because I’m going fishing!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1956 by Dean Martin which reached number one in both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

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

It’s taken me nearly week to get this edition out. I tried to start it when I was sitting at Estel’s Dine By the Sea on Monday morning waiting for breakfast. But I just sat there looking at the Caribbean Sea wondering what in the hell I was going to write about. I had gone through the same fruitless process earlier when I was out on the veranda -the western one on the first floor – from around 05.00 hours taking my caffeine fix.

I could have taken the easy way out and produced another edition on Lobster Fest .I’ve got loads of photos that I took on Saturday night that I could have used but I decided not to. Lobster Fest has, after all, been ‘done to death’ by anyone who has a blog. And I include myself.

Had I shown a tad of foresight I would have taken the camera out with me on Sunday so that I could have taken a few snaps, ‘wrapped’ a few words either side of them and, voila, another edition ‘out of the way’. But I didn’t. The closest I came to foursight (yes I know I’ve chosen the incorrect spelling but …) was when I put a pair of glasses on!

Struggling to find the creative juices (who do I think I am kidding!) I started to wonder (question even) why I had started the blog. Oh yeah, to keep a record of the build of our house and a very easy (or so I thought at the time) way of letting family and friends know what we were up to. And then it took on a new ‘face’. I started to get readers that I didn’t know. From all around the world. And the best part was that they (and you might be amongst them) started to interact.

I’ve gotten questions. I’ve had suggestions. I’ve been sent photos to include in the blog (I haven’t forgotten you Julian). I’ve had long time residents of Ambergris Caye ask me for advice because we’ve done something that they were about to do. We’ve received presents. And, most importantly of all, we’ve made the acquaintance of some really, really nice people.

Last week we met Kathy and Ron who hail from Wilmington, North Carolina. Kathy had brought a whole bag of stuff for Ziggy. Oh, and some sweets (candy for non UK readers) for me (and perhaps a few for Rose?). Regrettably they didn’t get to meet Ziggy to personally give the gifts.

But I’m pleased to report (sounds very newspaper like doesn’t it) that this was put right on Sunday morning.

After the travails of the Lobster Fest Block Party (I only mention Lobster Fest because it has relevance to this anecdote) I got up later than usual. Not until 07.30 hours. Shock, horror. How could I get up at such an ungodly hour!

I spent around an hour or so on the veranda (c’mon I needed the coffee) showered, dressed and went to pick up Frank (Ziggy’s Dad) and -more importantly – Ziggy from Pedro’s Hotel. They’d come over for the Block Party.

We headed down to Estel’s for a late breakfast, more like brunch really, and hadn’t been there long when I heard “John”. Looking up I saw that it was Kathy and Ron. They were taking a morning stroll along the beach.

After making introductions Frank took Ziggy out to the beach to meet them. Now if I was a serious blogger, or at least one that demonstrated a modicum of foresight (see, I can spell it correctly) I would have had my camera with me! Trust me though, Ziggy was very pleased to meet his newest benefactors.

With breakfast over we headed home so that Rose could spend some time with Ziggy.


“Best smile Ziggy. Oh, and you too Frank.”

In the afternoon we took Ziggy and Frank to catch the 15.00 hours Belize Water Taxi service back to Belize City and then headed to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill to watch the USA versus Portugal World Cup Group G game.

We were sitting there soaking up the pre-match atmosphere amongst the crowd of expectant Americans there, when a female voice asked ” Are you John?” Not knowing whether it was a debt collector I hesitated, turned around, saw that it wasn’t and replied hesitantly “Yes”. ” Hi I’m Jan” the lady replied.

I knew that Jan (a reader of my blog) was going to at the bar (she’d emailed me to that effect earlier) but I hadn’t clue what she looked like. She was there for the match with her husband Clive and it was obvious from the conversation that ensued that she understood football (and no, I do not mean soccer).

Jan and Clive are relocating to Ambergris Caye later this year and were over to ‘knock off’ some things from their ‘to do’ list. Not least to find some accommodation to rent whilst their new condo is being finished. Good to meet you Jan and Clive and hope that you had a successful visit.

We settled down to watch the game and during the course of it struck up a conversation with a young couple, Claire and Ian, from Seattle. Over here for their first ever holiday together they are ardent ‘Sounders fans and really knew their stuff about football. And pleasingly for me, that’s what he called it. It was difficult not to like him!

Football hasn’t totally dominated my week – although it has had a more than fair share of my time. I’ve managed to fit some weeding in (having had the garden cleared we’re determined to ‘hit’ the weeds as they appear). And I’ve been monitoring progress on the making of the burglar bar doors/gates for our home.


For the entrance to the first floor (where we live).


For the ground floor Store Room/Garage (on the left) and the apartment.


Pump Room.

Franco has made a good start on the gates/doors and they should be finished and fitted in around two weeks.


Pump Room and apartment gates/doors.


Gates/doors for the first floor.

While I have been busy taking care of stuff Rose has found the time to get some practice in with the fishing rod.





Looks the part, doesn’t she! (The photos are in reverse order but you’ll get the idea).

And she was.


A snapper.

It wasn’t all work and no play for me though because I found time (who am I kidding) to take the boat out for its maiden voyage with me at the helm.


Ahoy there Cap’n.

We got as far as Brahma Blue, the uncompleted and unused resort on a caye west of Ambergris Caye before I turned back


Brahma Blue in the distance.

We didn’t go that far but far enough for Rose to get the rod out for a bit of trolling and she struck a little barracuda.


That evening when imbibing with a well deserved Belikin (c’mon all seaman drink) we had the pleasure of meeting another couple of really nice people. Jessica and Tony, a young couple from England (actually from Forest Gate where I was born) who have taken a ‘year out’ to travel around Central and South America. It was their first day on the island and they loved it and had already extended the duration of their planned stay. We know the feeling Jessica and Tony.

I’ve just seen the theme (submitted by a female by he name of Denise Bowman) for this year’s National Celebrations, ” Industrious hands, intelligent minds, together for Belize”. I think she had me in mind. I mean I’ve got an industrious mind and intelligent hands. Oh, maybe not!

The headline for today’s somewhat higgledy-piggledy edition is based on the single released in 1964 by Barbra Streisland which reached number five in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart .

“Go Now” to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I’m out on the veranda. Yes the western (lagoon) facing one. It’s just past 01.00 hours. I’ve got no mug of black coffee with me – come on , it would keep me awake for hours- but I do have the iPad with me.

Regular readers are now starting to think thworld has turned upside down. I mean he (that’s me) always gets up early. And that’s the time of the day that he writes about. Why’s he writing his blog at 1 pm (remember you’re thinking this, not me. If it had been me I’d have said 01.00 hours).

Well I’m writing it now because I’ve got just back from attending the 2014 San Pedro Lobsterfest Block Party and, because I had a particularly good time and a fair amount to drink, I still feel wide awake. So I thought why not knock out an edition now.

Now if I were erudite – and I’m not- and had the energy – which I don’t – I’d give a couple of paragraphs to how Lobstersfest started in 2008 (or was it 2007 ?) . But I won’t. I mean its late and I need to go to bed. If not how can I be expected to be out here ( on the western veranda) at 04.00 hours (it’s me now so it’s the 24 hour clock).

Rose and I were here for the first Lobsterfest (2007 or 2008) and since then each one has got bigger and better than the one before . And this year’s Block Party to bring the event to a culmination was the best so far.

Now I could sit out here ( that’s on my western veranda) padding out a few paragraphs but in all honesty it’s been a long day and I think I really should go to bed . So I’ll just leave with a few photographs that I took.

Stands being set up around 13.00 hours.




Rose and I got to Central Park (that’s where it’s held) around 19.00 hours and it was in full swing.




There was, obviously, lobster around


Told you!


And music too.

And loads of people enjoying themselves.




Plus Super G.


I wish that I could sit out here a bit longer and wax lyrical about the wonders of Lobsterfest but in all honesty I’m not going to. No for me its time to go now. To bed. Goodnight.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1965 by The Moody Blues which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart and number ten in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“The Tracks of My Tears” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The day had started so well yesterday. I was up nice and early – around 04.15 hours I think – and out on the veranda within a few minutes with the mug of black coffee and my iPad.

I spent well over an hour devouring every little snippet about the World Cup, and particularly England’s upcoming game against Uruguay, via The Times online. This was an important day. No, a vital one. I needed to be prepared. To have all of the facts at my disposal. There could be no room for error. It mustn’t all end in tears!

A leisurely shower (we’ve had some rain recently so I’m not worried about the tank below the house being empty), followed by an even more leisurely shave (wouldn’t want to cut myself, would I), a scrub for the molars and the selection of my wardrobe (which pair or shorts and polo shirt – decisions, decisions!) and I was ready to hit the road for breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. I mean you wouldn’t want to send a man to the gallows on an empty stomach, would you!


A very empty Barrier Reef Drive (front street) at 06.40 hours.


My breakfast. Looks good, doesn’t it.

And the view was pretty good too.


After a while of just taking in the views – whichever direction you point your eyes in is good – I achieved a state of serenity. I was in the right frame of mind for THE game.

Around 11.00 hours Rose and I headed north to Grand Caribe. We were going to meet Kathy and Ron Chavis.

Kathy is a reader of this blog (Ron may be too but he didn’t mention it – if you aren’t Ron, you should be!) and some little while ago she Facebooked me (is there such a thing?) to let me know that when she visited Ambergris Caye she was bringing a present for Ziggy.

We’d never met Kathy and Ron but within minutes we were chatting away like we’d known each other for ages. They are from Wilmington, North Carolina and in three years will be relocating to Ambergris Caye. Great choice Kathy and Ron. And the three years will just fly by. Trust me.

When we opened the bag that Kathy presented us with we were overwhelmed. There were gifts for all of us.


A collar and lead


For Ziggy. Or are they for me?


And a matching bandana and



And the coup de gras


Or should it be ‘poop de grass”? A poop bag, bag!

And for Rose?


They should keep her quite for a while! Only kidding Rose.

And what about me, you’re thinking. Well …




It’s alright Rose, you will get some. And Ziggy too if there are any left when he rejoins us.

Thank you again Kathy and Ron (if you’re reading this) for your amazing generosity.

We gave Kathy and Ron a lift in to ‘Town so that they could connect with the trip on the Reef Runner Glass Bottom boat they had booked and then Rose and I headed to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. The BIG match awaited.


The English crowd starts to build.

The players come out on to the pitch.


The crowd had swelled


England went one nil down to a Luis Suárez goal and then it was half time. Time for lunch.


Cottage pie courtesy of “Chef” Carlo. And very good it was too.

The second half kicked off and England drew level with a goal by Rooney. Our hopes were revived. Could we get a winning goal or would we hold out for a draw? But no. Suárez struck again. Our hopes were dashed. The whistle blew.


Our hopes were dashed. I feared that it might end in tears and it did. Head bowed I looked down at the bar and there they were, the tracks of my tears. Only one thing for it.


We still have the slimmest of chances of making it to the next stage but it depends on other results. Oh well, only four years to the next one!

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

“Have a Nice Day” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up at 03.50 hours yesterday morning. I do sleep very well – it would probably take a cannon to wake me- but when I wake I just have to get up. Try as I might I find it exceedingly difficult, if not nigh impossible, to go back to sleep again. Some people can, I just cannot. But looking at it on the positive side I get so many more conscious hours than a lot of people.

It didn’t take but a few minutes to make my mug of black coffee, unplug the iPad and seat myself comfortably in my chair ((you might be interested to learn that one chair is looking decidedly more used (and worn) than the other three)) on the lagoon facing veranda.

I whiled away a few hours catching up on the news via my subscription to The Times online, a bit of time on Facebook and reading and responding to emails by which time it had got light and time for me to get cracking.

Get cracking on what, you’re probably wondering. Work out my viewing arrangements for the World Cup games that would follow later in the day? Oh no, I had things to take care of for Gunner.

Last Friday I took all of the relevant paperwork for the change of ownership of the boat to the Belize Port Authority office in the DFC area. Now anyone that knows Ambergris Caye will know that from Tres Cocos this is a fairly long journey (by island standards) over some fairly rough roads. It’s a bit of a schlep.

Knowing this I made sure that I had all of the necessary documentation. Or so I thought! Well I did have all of the paperwork that was required but … two of the documents ((the declaration by us (Rose and I) that we had bought the boat and wanted to change its name and the ‘bill of sale’ from the previous owner)) had not been signed and stamped by a Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Belize . This was necessary because the previous owner is not in Belize currently (normally the seller and the buyer would visit the office jointly and sign the necessary paperwork in the presence of the ‘Authority officials.

Could a Justice of the Peace notarise the documents, I asked (we know one or two JPs on the island and I knew this would make the requirement a simple one to fulfil. “No” came back at me, “It has to be a Commissioner”.

The look on my face must have been one of bewilderment. Maybe even panic. Seeing this, Aaron (the guy that was dealing with me) proffered two names -both of which I was familiar with – of Commissioners living on the island. Panic over. One of the individuals is the father of a longstanding acquaintance who we are friendly with (he is an Arsenal fan!)

A phone call later arrangements had been made for the necessary stamping and signing of the documents and I collected them on Tuesday evening.

So what on earth has this got to do with me needing to get cracking yesterday morning? Simple. We were going to take the paperwork and Gunner to the Port of Belize Authority office for the change of ownership, the name change AND the inspection for the Seaworthiness Certificate and I had to get Gunner ready.

Life jackets (six) – check. Fire extinguisher – check. Life ring – check. First Aid kit – check. Whistle ((for distress signals not in case I’m required to referee a football (soccer for non UK readers) match)) – check. Compass (well a GPS actually) – check. Anchor (with rope secured to it) – check. Everything in order and done by 07.15 hours. Time to get showered, shaved, brush the old molars (well given the number of implants I’ve got some are not that old) and get dressed ready for the off!

I’d phoned Lloyd (remember him? He’s that guy that cleaned up our garden, built the dock)


The better side of Lloyd (only kidding). He’s the guy wearing the grey ( gray for non UK readers) T shirt

to ask him to drive the boat for us. The lagoon side has very shallow stretches and this would give us the chance of plotting the route on the GPS. It would also mean that we wouldn’t run aground!

Lloyd arrived with Anthony , his eldest son, around 09.00 hours and within minutes we were on the boat. A turn of the key and the engine purred in to life, we cast off and we were on our way.


Our house behind us in the distance.


And open water before us.


Anthony sitting comfortably.


Rose too.


And a friendly pelican for a while until he realised we weren’t going fishing!

As I mentioned earlier, the water can get pretty shallow and the next photo gives a reasonably clear indication of this.


There’s a stretch with low, over-hanging mangroves


for which we had to lower the Bimini (I’d remembered the screwdriver) but once through it the Bimini was back up and Lloyd ‘opened up’ the engine


and in no time at all the ‘testing station’ was ahead of us


We moored up and I went ashore to take care of the paperwork. I won’t give you the boring details (probably bored you enough already – don’t answer that!) but will just let you know that it was a successful visit. We’re now ‘legal’ to take the boat out.

For the return journey Lloyd took the Caribbean side of the island so we headed off to the southernmost point of the island and then headed north to home.




Past TMM Yacht Charters , close to where BC’s once stood.

And then we were approach the cut at Boca Del Rio


Under the bridge


and on the way home.


We moored up at 12.50 hours and just in time too because the heavens opened up


AND in time to see Spain, the current World Champions go out of the completion, losing two goals to nil to a very good Chilean team.

My tip for you today? If you want to have a nice day when you next come to Ambergris Caye go out on a boat trip!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2001 by the Stereophonics which reached number five in the UK Singles Chart.

“The Girl from Ipanema” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Do you ever feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven? Found your nirvana? No? I can understand that. I mean, I’m sure not too many people feel like they have found that magical state. If I’m honest , and there’s no point being otherwise, I never thought that I would. But that’s how I feel now.

I’ve had some good times in my life. I had great parents. A happy childhood. Some fantastic teen years. I loved my job and looked forward every day to going to work. In fact many were the days when Rose had to ‘phone me to get me to go home! And, of course, I met, fell in love with, and eventually married Rose. The love of my life AND my best friend ( some of you will now be thinking “How delightful”, others ? Looking for the sick bag!).

So with all this why do I suddenly feel like I reached heaven? Well for the first time in my life I’m able to watch every single game in the World Cup. Now the fact that I haven’t watched every game – I’ve missed watching three and a half (only saw one half of the France v Honduras game) up to yesterday- has been my choice. My World Cup viewing has not been dictated by being at work as it has been for previous competitions.

Yesterday I decided that I would ‘go’ for some atmosphere for the Brazil v Mexico game and watch the game at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. There are four TVs there and plenty of space to find a seat in front of one of them. First though I wanted to get the caps to finish off the posts on our dock so I took a drive down to Harmouch’s Hardware store in Boca Del Rio.

He had just what I wanted and they were priced at BZ$ 38 each. After some haggling I got him to drop the price to BZ$ 36 and after some more determined haggling he dropped the price again. This time to BZ$ 32. We had a deal.


A snip (???) at BZ$ 32.


“Naked” posts.


First caps fitted.


“Much better”.

With the bit of DIY done I headed off to the ‘Runway bar for the 13.00 hours kick off and when I got the found a good number of people around the bar.



Recognise any faces you know?

Prices had been lowered for the big game.


I mentioned in a previous edition that team support on the island favours Brazil closely followed by Argentina and the yellow shirts of Brazil were in evidence on both sides of the bar.



The girl from ipanema?

The Mexican fans – and there were quite a few (I presume their forefathers came from Mexico)- were vocal in their support as the game progressed and their team grew in confidence. It ended up as a nil, nil draw but Mexico came out of it with a great deal of credit.

Twenty-five more days of World Cup football and I’m going to be in front of a TV for every one of them. Heaven, I’m in heaven.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1964 by Astrud Gilberto which reached number five in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-nine in the UK Singles Chart.

“Turning Japanese” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I’ve had a busy -well by my standards- few days since the last edition. Not so busy though that I haven’t started the day out on the veranda – the first floor, western one for those of you that are interested- with the ‘must have’ mug of black coffee and my iPad.

In between what I needed to do I’ve done my utmost to catch as many of the World Cup games as possible.

Last Thursday afternoon I got a telephone call from Louis Gillett, the engineer we’d chosen to make our ‘sick’ engine ‘healthy’. When I heard his voice I thought he was going to give me bad news. But no. He’d finished his work, the boat was ready to collect. Feeling pretty elated I told him I’d be down the next day to pay him and collect the boat.

Knowing that I needed someone conversant with the waterways from Louis’ boatyard in Boca Del Rio to our house I then ‘phoned the multi-talented, ever dependable Lloyd. He told me he had some work to do up near Journey’s End but would come and collect me around noon.

I was up way too early (even by my standards) at 03.45 hours) the next morning (Friday for those of you that may have lost track) and although I enjoyed my ‘me time’ there was a restlessness about me. Noon just couldn’t come quickly enough!

Lloyd arrived at the appointed time and Nelson, Anthony (they were going home for lunch) and I jumped on his golf cart and made the five minute journey to Lloyd’s house where we left his ‘cart and walked to Louis’ workshop.

I handed Louis his cheque and he handed me the keys to the boat and Lloyd and I stepped on board. Lloyd fired up the engine -and it sounded smooth – and I untied the mooring ropes and with Lloyd at the wheel we were off. First stop the petrol (gas for non UK readers) station on the western side of the island near the Sunset Boardwalk to put some much needed fuel in the tank.

Topped up Lloyd headed the boat in a northerly direction and we headed towards the boat’s new mooring spot at the end of our garden. We had an opportunity once we were away from the petrol station to give it some throttle and the engine performed very well. A throaty yet smooth sound. Power without too much noise. A bit like me I suppose!

The route back after that was taken very, very slowly because in parts the water is exceptionally shallow. It was obvious though that Lloyd knows these waterways like the back of his hand.

Along the way he pointed out schools of snapper and bonefish swimming in twos and threes. We also saw a couple of rays. Lloyd also showed me where a couple of caves are where lobster apparently ‘hang out’.

Meandering our way slowly back there was a quietness only broken by the soft purring of the engine and my constant questions to Lloyd. It was almost ethereal. I just know that Rose and I are going to really enjoy exploring this side of the island.

I’d imagined – don’t know why really- that the journey would be a relatively quick one. It wasn’t. I hadn’t legislated for the fact that the recent addition of a bridge near the Reef Village Resort


forces you to take a westerly course up to Grand Caribe where you are able to turn and head south to our home. Along the way though we had to take the Bimini down (very slowly because with no screwdriver on board (there is now) we had to use a key to loosen the screws) to avoid getting tangled with low hanging mangroves.

I’d left the camera at home so Rose could take some photo’s of Gunner making its way to its new home.




I’ve spotted Rose.


Carefully past the guys digging for landfill.


Time for another wave and


we’re heading towards our dock.



Safely moored.

It has been a great experience but the bummer was that it took so long that I’d missed the Spain v Holland game! But it was worth it.

On Saturday Rose and I had a few things to do but our real plans revolved around England’s entry in to the World Cup. The game versus Italy at 16.00 hours.

We’d already decided that we were going to watch the game at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar& Grill ( the only other serious alternative for a game involving England with plenty of Brits being present being Cholo’s) where we were going to be joined by seven British Army guys.

To give it an ‘English’ feel I asked Carlo if he could make English style fish and chips (CHIPS not fries) and he did a spectacular job of it.


Chunky chips with the potato skin left on them. Seasoned with salt and malt vinegar. It looked so good that I’d already started on it when I remembered to take a photo!

Unfortunately England’s performance didn’t match the fish and chips and we went down two to one. We now must win on Thursday against Uruguay to give ourselves a chance of staying in the competition.

Depressed by our defeat I perked up when the next game started and Japan raced in to a lead against the Ivory Coast with a goal scored by the aptly named Honda! These guys were giving it their all and I was rooting for them. So much so that I felt like I was turning Japanese (yes, I know its bad but I needed to get a headline!). It didn’t last though and for the second time in the day ‘my’ team lost.

On Sunday (that’s yesterday if you’ve not been paying attention) I was up around 05.15 hours (yes a little later than normal which was probably caused by an intake of too much Belikin the day before) and spent around twenty minutes on the veranda. Time enough for a coffee before taking a shower in advance of the loss of power at 06.00 hours (this was scheduled to run through until 14.00 hours).

Rose and I then spent a couple of hours cleaning the boat. Our aim to remove the rust spots.










A sparklingly clean Gunner!

With the boat in a shipshape condition Rose and I freshened up and went for a late breakfast (Estel’s of course) and then headed to an exceptionally packed Caribbean Villas Hotel where we met the British Army guys.

Attempts were made to hook up the TV to the generator but to no avail. Fortunately though the Belize Electricity Limited (“BEL”) guys got the power back in good enough time for the Day Four entry of Argentina in the World Cup. With so many Argentina fans on the island I fear what may have happened to the “BEL” guys had they failed.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1980 by The Vapors which reached number three in the UK Singles Chart and number thirty-four in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

With my selections for the World Cup taken care (dreaming of getting my hands on the prize money already!) of I was free yesterday morning to revert to my usual routine. You know, out on the veranda early (yesterday it was around 04.30 hours) with the mug of black coffee and my iPad.

Intuitively feeling that it won’t be long before we get the call from Louis to let us know that he has fixed the engine of the boat we have bought I started to give thought to what we need to buy for the boat and drew up a short list for the shopping trip I was going to make later.

With the list ‘out of the way’ I turned my attention to The Times online where I found at article about a Swedish ecommerce start-up that has introduced a number of employee perks. One of which made me think of Ambergris Caye.

Apparently Tictail, that’s the name of the company, offers it staff “mindfulness breaks” (“set times in the day during which employees use no tech, have good food, take exercise”) and flat hierarchies (“using first names for senior positions”). It’s now introduced shoelessness or, as the company email describes it, “shoes at the door, everyone barefoot to keep the space pleasant”. Ambergris Caye , although behind the times in many things, saw the merit of this approach years ago with its ” No shoes, no shirts, no problems” slogan.

Before ‘hitting the road’ to go and make my purchases I let Lloyd, his son Anthony and Nelson in and watched for a while as they set about finishing off the work on the dock. They started off by making a small table that we can use to clean the fish that we catch. There’s confidence for you!


Lloyd cutting the holes for where the legs will go.


Legs (supports) in.

I left them to go shopping and returned around ninety minutes later with:


A fire extinguisher and petrol (gas for non UK readers). The former a requirement for the issuance of a seaworthiness certificate and the latter so that we don’t run out! So still a bit of safety first I suppose. Total cost with discount (always, always, always ask for a discount when shopping on Ambergris Caye. As my Mum used to say, ” If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”) BZ$ 113.

And a whistle -our chosen means of being able to make a distress signal – for compliance for a seaworthiness certificate.


A bargain at BZ$ 5.75!

Oh and I also bought a copy of the latest issue of The San Pedro Sun to make sure that our Public Notice advert was in it. It was.


Exceedingly good value at BZ$ 1.

By the time I got home the guys had finished work on the dock.


Ramp from garden to the sea wall in.


‘Cutting board’ in.

The headline for this edition is based on the single released in 2003 by Kenny Chesney which reached number two in the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number twenty-eight in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“The Game of Love” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yesterday morning out on the veranda -yes with the mug of black coffee and my iPad- my thoughts were not as they have been in recent weeks (it seems like months though) on what is the next job to do/get done. Oh no. They were focused entirely on what is the most important thing in the world for me right now.

I honestly do want to get the garden clean up finished so that Rose and I (more her than me) can start deciding what we want to plant where (soil condition permitting of course). I want the dock to be finished. Of course I do. And obviously I want the sick engine on our boat brought back to full health. But for the next five weeks the most important thing in my world is the 2014 World Cup.

Now I know that football (and for non UK readers you call it soccer) is not for everyone but I am from the Bill Shankly ‘school’ where football is concerned and totally ‘buy in to’ his view, and I quote:

“Some people believe that football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

So yesterday morning top of my agenda – yes before The Times online and Facebook – was to make my selections for the bracket that Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill is running for THE World Cup.


As I worked my way through the group stage and on to the next rounds I really wanted to select England to win it but in the end the head overpowered the heart. I know it’s the game of love but there’s a big prize at stake for the person that gets the most selections right and I’ve got a sick engine to pay for!

With my winning (I hope) selections made it was time to open the front gate so that Lloyd and Nelson could get to work on finishing the garden and the dock. And it was obvious that Lloyd has the World Cup on his mind because he brought his eldest son Anthony along with him.

They started off – and Nelson got the ‘honour’ for this – of knocking up some cement to finishing off filling the supporting posts for the dock.


“Go Anthony.”

And.then it was time for the pour.


I didn’t just sit around watching them work though. Oh no. I got the bucket and squeegee out and started washing the windows (and we’ve got a lot of windows).


Whilst I was on the top floor though I took some time out to go up to the roof to enjoy the view and to catch the breeze.


And to watch the guys working of course!



Leaving the cement to dry Lloyd, Nelson and Anthony then started work on the cement strips we want for the front gate to provide additional support and freedom of movement for the front gate.


Lloyd ‘creating’ the path for the wheel on the front gate.


Nelson nearly at the end if his long walk from the back garden with the cement.

And ready for the pour.





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

“Morning Has Broken” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up around 04.15 hours yesterday. A bit earlier than usual I think because in my sleep my subconscious thought was reminding me that this was going to be a BIG day. The day that our boat was going to be towed from Captain Shark’s Boatyard in the DFC area to Louis Gillett’s workshop in Boca Del Rio. Louis is the engineer who we hope will make our sick engine well.

It didn’t too long to make my mug of black coffee (it never does, that’s why it’s called instant!), pick up the iPad and be out on the veranda. In the dark.


I took the camera out there as well just so you get an appreciation of just how dark it is.

There’s very little that can be seen at that time of the morning but there are plenty of sounds. The breeze rustling through the trees. And now that we have a palapa either side of us I can hear it rustling through them too. There’s the sound of fish (I’m told its snappers) launching themselves from the lagoon and then the splashing sound as they re-enter the water. I’m also convinced that I hear the sound of crocodiles as they swish their tails to propel themselves though the water.

There’s also the clicking sound that geckos make as they awaken for the day ahead. And of course the sound of barking dogs as their peaceful slumber is broken by the sounds of people making a long trip north -either on foot or on a bike – for the start of their working day. When that happens I know that morning has broken.

As the sky starts to brighten the birds start to chirp to let their friends know where they are before they break in to song. And sometimes one them might join me on the veranda.


I passed the time reading The Times online but have to admit that I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was reading. I know that there’s a lot of important stuff going on around the world but yesterday my thoughts were selfishly focused on collecting the boat.

Around 07.00 hours my phone rang. It was Lloyd. He’d found someone to tow the boat for me (his boat is being used on an island off of Ambergris Caye) and he would come and collect me at 08.00 hours.

I knew that I had time to spare but clear and logical thought went out of the window and I had showered, shaved, brushed my teeth and dressed within twenty minutes. Not a record for me (I once accomplished this in ten minutes when I overslept for a plane I was catching) but quick by my Ambergris Caye standards.

Lloyd arrived around ten minutes early and we drove the short distance to Boca Del Rio to meet his friend John and within minutes we were off, heading down the waterways on the western (lagoon) side of the island.



Within minutes we had the San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal to our left


and then it was behind us.


John (the other one, not me) at the tiller.

Within a few more minutes we were heading down the canal to Captain Shark’s Boatyard



We moored up and I hopped ashore (I can still hop even at my age!) and found Omar so that we could get our boat in to the water.

Gunner (that’s what we have named it) was already on a trailer and in no time at all Omar had hooked it up to a tractor and it was heading towards the slipway.




Lloyd observing proceedings intently.


And ‘she’s’ afloat!

Lloyd and John then secured the ropes


and we were off!



I travelled back in Gunner but Lloyd started the journey with John but after a short time joined me to Captain the boat.


“Your fingers are facing the wrong way Lloyd”. Or are they?

We took the same route back and passed the vegetable and fruit sellers who were by now in ‘full swing’.


We then pulled in to the canal where Louis has his workshop


and Lloyd punted Gunner to its temporary (really temporary I hope!) mooring.



Safely moored.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1972 by Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) which reached number six in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number nine in the UK Singles Chart. Now I’m under instructions to include this next bit of information. Cat Stevens went to Hugh Myddleton school. The same school Rose went to. She’s much younger than him though (under instruction to point this out too!).

“The Young Ones” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I mentioned in the previous edition that Lloyd and his guys started the real work on the build of our dock on Sunday.

As much as I want the dock finished though I wished that they had observed Sunday as being a day for rest. Why? Well Rose and I went on a Poker Run the night before and I really stupidly (I know that I should know better at my age) tried to keep pace with the British Army guys over for the weekend and could have done without having to get up before 07.00 hours to open the front gate!

I felt tired anyway but just watching them made me feel even more listless as they set about ‘sinking’ the supports (PVC filled with concrete) for the dock.

First job was to get the pump in place to move the mud, silt or whatever else you might want to call it so that the supports could be securely positioned.



A framework, to ensure that the supports are ‘sunk’ in the correct places was installed


and then the posts started to go in.





And then it was time for the last one to go in.



and the working day for Lloyd and his boys was over. For me? I was still tired!

Feeling much better yesterday I was up bright (well actually it was still dark when I got up at around 04.30 hours) and early and headed out to the veranda -the western one on the first floor – with my mug of black coffee and the iPad. It was good to be able to enjoy my ‘me ‘ time. And I did for nearly two hours until it was time to shower, shave, brush the teeth and get dressed. I had errands to do!

First though? Yes, you’ve guessed it- breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. With breakfast over it was straight to the bank for the Monday morning queue. I knew that I would have a long wait but I needed the cash (bills to pay for the garden clean up).

I then popped in to Caribbean Depot to order three yards of gravel to finish off the garden and then it was straight to Captain Shark’s Boatyard to pick up paperwork for the boat and then just down the road to the Port of Belize office to register the boat in our name. It was all going so well and then … we found that absent from the raft of paperwork was the boat’s registration certificate.

The Port of Belize guy came up with a simple (and I would imagine well used) solution. Take out an advert in The San Pedro Sun and then return with a copy of the newspaper with the advert in it. So, only one thing for it. Straight to The San Pedro Sun’s office in Barrier Reef Drive


where I booked the following to appear as a Public Notice:

” Jerry Jeff Walker hereby declares that his vessel registration certificate #SPR 0084 has been lost”.

The notice will appear in the next two issues for an advert rate of BZ$ 54.

On Thursday, when the next issue of The San Pedro Sun is published I’ll buy a copy and take it to the Port of Belize office when – hopefully- the boat ownership will be assigned to us.

Things hadn’t gone as well as I had hoped but they’d still gone pretty well and I was feeling good about life in general. That was until I got home and picked up on the sad news that Rik Mayall had died suddenly at the age of fifty-six.

I’m not too certain whether Rik Mayall was well known in the ‘States and Canada but for those of us born in the UK he is recognised as someone who brought a new meaning to TV comedy.

Bursting on to the scene in 1982 as a member of The Young Ones he played the role of a self-proclaimed anarchist and tantrum throwing Cliff Richard fan. For me though I will always remember his cameo appearances in Blackadder as Lord Flashheart. A truly sad loss.

The headline for today’s edition (in memory of Rik Mayall) is based on the single released in 1962 by Cliff Richard (who else) and The Shadows and reached number one in the UK Singles Chart.

“What a Fool Believes” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up bright and early yesterday morning and out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one on the first floor- with a mug of black coffee (no sugar) and my iPad (the old one, not my iPad Air).

I sat out there for around ninety minutes , reading The Times online and catching up on emails and Facebook and then shortly before 07.00 hours I wandered down to the front gate to unlock it so Lloyd and his boys could get in for their day in the garden!

With the guys spreading the gravel I then showered, shaved, brushed my teeth, got dressed and headed to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea where I knew that I could tick off a few of Julian’s photo challenges.

Julian’s photo.


My photo


Location? The Gent’s toilet in Estel’s Dine By the Sea.


Believe me now?

Julian’s photo.


My photo (minus the birds).


Location? Under the Aqua Sub dock in front of Estel’s.


Returning home with a full belly and with two of Julian’s challenges off my list I was pleased to see the guys making good progress with the path laying.



And Lloyd was busy tidying up the area between the two staircases.


Looks pretty scruffy doesn’t it.




The guys stopped working on the path when a lorry (truck for you non UK readers ‘out there’) delivering wood for the dock arrived.


The driver took an absolute age (I lost count of how many times he reversed and then pulled forward ) manoeuvring his way through the gate. He displayed all of the signs of having a ‘blue note license’! So called locally because for the payment of BZ$100 (the bank note which is blue in colour) he obtained his driving license!

He eventually -with much barracking from all of us – made it through the gates and the wood was quickly unloaded.



By now it was becoming patently obvious that my calculation of twenty-four yards of gravel being enough was wrong. A classic case of what a fool believes. I need to order another three yards, I’d under estimated by 12.5%.

Knowing that the delivery would have to wait until Monday, Lloyd and his guys turned their attention to starting work on the building of the dock. And they started by preparing the supports.


Cutting the PVC pipes to size.


Rebar frames being moved in to position.

And then it was time for the concrete pour.



The guys were back again yesterday working on the dock but you’ll have to wait until the next edition to follow the progress. Cruel? You bet!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1979 by The Doobie Brothers which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number thirty-one in the UK Singles Chart.

“Close to You” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

On Thursday Rose and I went to Belize City to attend the July Wine Club Social at the Radisson Hotel.


I booked seats on the 17.00 hour Tropic Air flight to the Municipal Airport and cognisant of this I had arranged with Caribbean Depot to make the final (well I hope they prove to be final) two deliveries of gravel by 15.00 hours. We’d agreed -Carmen of Caribbean Depot and I – (well I thought we’d agreed) that if they couldn’t be made by this time that it would be deferred until Saturday.

Three o’clock came and went and I was just about to go and shower and change when the ‘phone rang. It was Carmen, the lorries (trucks for non UK readers) were on their way. The best laid plans and all that …

Fortunately the two deliveries were made within minutes of each other and the 16 yards of gravel had been tipped by 15.50 hours.




Ready for Lloyd’s boys!

Rose and I got to the Radisson Hotel in good time for the 19.00 hours start and had time enough for coffee before meeting the guys from BATSUB (Nick, Tod, Nanda, Geordie and Frank (Ziggy’s Dad) for a fun filled evening.

Frank was MC for the evening and had chosen some extremely high in alcohol content (lowest 13.5%, highest 15.5%) for the evening which included his own contribution of Buckfast. A particularly lethal wine that reminded me of drinking cough syrup!

At my age I should know better but I’ve got to admit that I over indulged. Caused in no small part by Frank’s very deft habit of just being on hand with an evil glint in his eye and a bottle in his hand when a glass empties!

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur for me.

Hi Ziggy here. The lovely Rose – my new Mum- and John came back to my house with my Dad, Frank in the early hours of the morning. They were very happy to see me and I was happy to see them. There was a lot of giggling going on and I think they had been out drinking some of that stuff called wine.

Rose (or Mum as I think I will now call her) made a big fuss of me. Stroking me and kissing me on my face and neck. I think I will get quite accustomed to this. And she smells so nice.

They stayed up for a while but it was fairly obvious to me that they were a little ‘worse for wear’ and it came as no surprise when they went to bed which gave me the opportunity I’d been waiting for to commandeer John’s iPad and camera!


Selfie. Good looking guy, aren’t I!

The next morning I was up bright and early waiting for them to get up. I mean I know from my time at their house that John gets up early but I think someone must have slipped some sleeping tablets in his drink because he didn’t get up until 08.30 hours.

I was ready for some more kissing and stroking from Rose but I had to wait until they’d eaten breakfast. It was worth the wait though! And then it was time for some games in the garden.


“Stay there Mum, I want to be close to you“.


Not as big as their garden but I like it.

I’m going to have to ‘sign off’ now before he (John that is) sees that I’ve got his iPad. So until the next time …

Rose and I got the 15.30 flight back to San Pedro and on landing went straight to Captain Shark’s Boatyard to check on the adjustments they had made for the Bimini.


Looking good!

We hadn’t been there very long when the guy from Giovanni’s Plastic Signs turned up to fit the name on our boat.


Rose posing with the name.





It’s on!


Proud owners of Gunner.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1990 by Maxi Priest which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

Come back tomorrow for the next thrilling instalment!

“Lay It Down” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In the previous edition I mentioned that I was diligently (OK, maybe not diligently but I am gradually ‘ticking’ them off) working my way through my current ‘to do’ list.

Yesterday I felt like I was really going to start cracking it when I set off from home with my mini list. And my instincts subsequently proved to be correct.

Before I left home though some more of Lloyd’s guys turned up at the gate in the back garden with some more sand to complete the land filling job.


Approaching our back gate.

And within minutes the wheelbarrow was in action again.



With work underway I set off and my first stop was Giovanni’s Plastic Signs


to order the lettering for our boat’s new name. I chose the font and colour -red- was given a price and ordered it there and then. It will be ready and fitted on the boat Friday afternoon.

Next stop was Caribbean Depot in Blake Street to order three lorry (truck for non UK readers) loads (8 yards to a load) of gravel for our garden. My visit included measuring the width of the lorry to make certain that it could get through our gate. It could. So I placed the order!

On the way I home I stopped off at Osmin’s in Boca Del Rio to place the order for the galvanised steel gates/doors that we are having made for all external doors. They should be fitted within around (I try not to be too precise/specific since living here) four weeks.

I hadn’t been home long when the first load of gravel arrived.


Would it get through the gate?


Yes! And within minutes the load was tipped.


And then it the turn of Lloyd and his guy (don’t know his name yet) to lay it down.



had been laid on the southern side of the house and


at the back of the house.


Much better.

With time left it the day we hoped that we’d get a least one more delivery but it never arrived (get used to this kind if thing if you move here) so Lloyd and his guy called it a day. They were back here this morning though to start laying the small rock walks we want to define certain areas in the front garden.


Delineation of the path from the front gate to the house.



And within a couple of hours the walls were in place.




Before I get this edition off-stone there’s just time to feature another of the Julian photo challenges.

Julian sent me this photo and asked me to find the location and take a photo myself.


“Now where could this be?”.

The Bowen residence in Coconut Drive (opposite Wine de Vine)



The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released (rather aptly) by Lloyd in 2010 and reached number sixty-four in the US Billboard Hot 100.

Oh by the way, I’m still waiting for the two loads of gravel!

“A Bird In The Hand” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In an edition or so ago I mentioned that Rose and I were approaching our second anniversary of residing on Ambergris Caye.

Well the big day arrived last Saturday and we celebrated it in style with a bottle of champagne that I’d set aside for the occasion. You’re probably wondering why we didn’t ‘pop the cork’ on the first anniversary. Logical thought. But we decided that the second anniversary would have more significance for us:

We thought that by then the build of our house would be completed and we would be living it in. It was and we are.

We assumed that by then we would have gained acceptance in to the Qualified Retirement Programme. We did.

We also reckoned that we would have got our Belize Drivers Licences and bought our own golf cart (and dispensing with the costly rental fee in the process). We did and we have.

We would have taken the test, passed and got our Masters Licences. We have.

We also set ourselves the targets of having a boat and a dog by our second anniversary. We’ve got neither but we are close, oh so close. The boat should be with us in a few weeks and Ziggy returns to us for good on 25 July. So objectives nearly achieved.

Sitting on the veranda this morning- yes the western (lagoon) facing one on the first floor- with my mug of black coffee I spent a while reflecting on our (first) two years here. Things have gone pretty much as we had planned and hoped that they would. We’ve had to get used to some quite material differences to what we had grown accustomed to in the UK of course but we made the move having visited here many, many times over a long period and came here with our eyes wide open.

We’ve had to get used to things taking a little longer to get done than we’d got used to. We’ve had to get used to doing without some of the things that were so easy to source where we came from. But life has a way of offering up its compensations and for what we have ‘lost’ we have been more than ‘paid back’.

We’ve made a lot of acquaintances, many of whom we’re friendly with. We’ve got a great climate. And we get to see things every day that are a treat for the eyes.

My reverie was broken when my peripheral vision picked on an object to the south of me. Getting up I looked over the veranda railings and saw a golf cart with a lady sitting in it. Casting my eyes to the left of her I saw a small white dog in the act of ‘relieving’ itself. And then my memory (it still works occasionally) kicked in to gear. It was the lady (and dog) that I told you about a short while ago. You know, the one that takes her dog to ‘do its business’ on the vacant beachfront lot opposite us.

Now that irritated me but what I saw this morning really made me angry. Why? Well she’d chosen to let her dog ‘do its stuff’ in my neighbours (Pirate Villas) garden.

So I asked her what she was doing. “Giving my dog a walk” she replied whilst sitting in her golf cart! ” You are in someone’s garden” I replied. “He’s only having a walk” she retorted. “No he’s not” I replied, “He’s having a shit. Why don’t you take him to where you live to foul up the place”.

At this point she quickly said “Sorry”, called the dog to her and drove off.

As I write this some ten hours after the incident I still find it difficult to comprehend. How can someone drive past a bar/restaurant, see a house in front of her and not realise that someone lives there? Well they can. But only if they just don’t give a damn (I was going to ‘say’ “Don’t give a shit” but thought better of it!). And obviously this woman just doesn’t care.

I probably would have mulled over what I had seen for some while had Rose not called me to grab my camera and get down to the front garden. She’d seen a parrot on our little rock wall.


“Who’s a pretty boy then”.

We recognised that the parrot was Skully who belongs to Jason our neighbour who owns Pirate Villas so I slowly moved my hand forward until he jumped up on to my finger.


A bird in the hand. By the way, I’m the skinny one!

Walking very slowly we took Skully back to his ‘home’.


I told you we see some wonderful things and have some great experiences.

Now I know that quite a few of you have patiently stuck with this in the hope that I’m going to provide an update on our garden clean up. So here it is.

On Monday only Billy turned up for work. Apparently Noel, flush with money from his wages for last week, had gone walkabout (before moving to Belize I thought that only Aborigines did this. Now I know differently). This didn’t deter Billy though, he set about doing the work of two men to move the sand from the end of the back garden to the areas that needed ‘filling’.

Filling the wheelbarrow


and then placing it around the garden





Billy determinedly and resolutely stuck to his task making the long walk to and from the pile of sand




until the pile of sand was no more.


Now had it been me I would have taken the rest of the day off (more like the week actually) but not Billy. Oh no. Because no sooner had he put the wheelbarrow down he carried large branches to the bonfire.


Not content with that he then started clearing the area roadside of our fence.

Before Billy.



After Billy.



I’ve got lots more to tell you about because I had a successful day ticking things off my ‘to do’ list but you’ll have to wait until the next edition.

The headline for today’s edition is based on track eight of the album released in 1991 by Ice Cube which reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 200 chart.