“The Boys Are Back in Town” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

For the last thirty days (Tuesdays excepted) I’ve been like a boat without a rudder. Fred Astaire without Ginger Rogers. Laurel without Hardy. Napoleon without Joséphine. Morecambe without Wise (for non UK readers they were a famous double comedy act ). Debbie without Dallas. Think I’ve started to lose the thread but I think you get the idea of the condition I found myself in.

What could cause such a state of mind you’re thinking. Did the rainwater collection tank under the house run dry? Did Rose see sense and leave me? No, nothing as trivial as that! Estel’s Dine By the Sea has been shut so that the owners and staff could all take a well earned break (now that little comment has got to be worth a couple of extra rashers of bacon).

I found other places to have breakfast during the closure. Obviously I did. I mean it’s not like were not spoilt for choice here and they’re all very good in their own way but…

I’ve still been enjoying my early morning “me time” out on the veranda -yep, the western, lagoon facing one on the first floor – with a mug (or two) of black, sugarless, coffee, the iPad and Ziggy but it just wasn’t the same. Something was missing.

They say (well I’m pretty certain someone did) that the older you get the quicker time passes. And it does, I’m sure it does. The two week holiday that’s over before you know it. You know the feeling. But this thirty day abstinence has dragged to the extent that it’s seemed like an eternity (OK I may be over-egging it a bit but I want you to understand and feel the graveness of the situation. Are you feeling it? Good, I’ll continue then).

This morning though I got my equilibrium back. Estel’s reopened and in honour of this momentous occasion I needed something special to wear. No not a tuxedo but something far more classy and fitting, my honorary Estel’s ‘T’ shirt. The decision made itself!



Awarded to me for outstanding loyalty! Jealous? You should be!

I was tempted, sorely tempted to be there when the doors opened at 06.00 hours but I showed amazing levels of self control and didn’t set off from home until 06.30 hours. Impressed? Of course you are.

As I pulled in to my usual parking spot in Buccaneer Street I saw what I had been waiting for. I should add that my ambitions, wants and needs are so much less than they used to be. But I’m happy with this.


I strode purposely across the road, entered Estel’s and found myself a table (very easy to do at that time of the morning) and reacquainted myself with familiar sights.


But something was different. What was it? And then it “hit” me. They’d freshened up the murals above the northern and southern beachfront entrances.


Northern entrance.


Southern entrance. I’ve only described it as an entrance because once you’re there you (well I can’t speak for you ,so me) don’t want to leave!

Check out the new artwork on the toilet doors too.



Neat eh. No excuse for being confused now!
I’d only been sitting there a few minutes when my mug (the third of the morning) of caffeine arrived.


“Thanks Sam. I’ve missed you”.

And then it arrived.


“Come to Daddy!”

Sam meanwhile assumed photographer duties for some backpackers that were heading off to Mexico.


What about Charles, you’re thinking. Don’t worry he was inside.


“Not considering price increases Charles, are you?”

I’ve not been sitting around waiting for Estel’s to reopen and I’ve got quite a lot to tell you about in future editions but for today I’m just so pleased that the boys are back in town.


The headline for today’s (long awaited) edition is based on the single released in 1976 by Thin Lizzy which reached number eight in the UK Singles Chart and number twelve in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Careful What You Wish For” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Regular readers will know that I’ve been harping on about the paucity of rain for some time. We’ve got a large (well I consider a 45,000 gallon capacity fairly large) rainwater collection tank under the house but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to see the overflow pipes in action.

There’s been some rain during this “the rainy season” but the downpours haven’t lasted long. Sometimes as quickly as I got excited (and where rain is concerned I can throw off my normally reserved and reticent demeanour and become highly excitable) my mood turned to one of deflation as the rain dwindled to a gentle pitter, patter just as quickly as the downpour appeared.

This changed during the course of Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning (I really don’t know when it started) when the heavens opened up and the rain came down in a torrent. It was bucketing down when I ‘hit’ the veranda (yes, it was the western ((lagoon) facing one)) with my mug of black coffee (absent sugar) and the iPad. Oh, and Ziggy too – he now, more often than not, joins me for some early morning “me (and “him”) time”.

We settled down. Me in my chair and Ziggy in his early morning spot.


“Now that’s how to chill out!”

While Ziggy dreamt about whatever dogs dream about I took a walk-around (I don’t just sit there doing nothing!) to see what the effects of the rain were.



Our lot immediately south of our home. An extension of the lagoon?

And what about our garden?


Northern side of the front garden.


North western side of the front garden.



And the front gate. Oh dear …

The rain has highlighted pretty demonstrably that more landfill is required for the front garden. The back garden though has held up pretty well and Ziggy has put this to the test with his early morning exercise.


“There’s got to be something to play with in there”.



“Yes, I know I’m good looking. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, I say”.

The rain has also made a real mess of the road south to the bridge.






Aside from creating a pot-holed road that puts even the most supple if backs to the test the rain has also brought out the mosquitos who have been particularly virulent. I suppose its the classic case of being careful what you wish for!

But hey, what’s a few potholes and some mosquito bites when my tank is filling up! And it’s still raining as I finish this edition.

The headline is based on track twenty-two of the album entitled “Relapse” by Eminem which was released in 2009. The album reached number one in both the US Billboard Hot 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

Oh, before I bring this edition to a close I just wanted to let you know that abelizehomeforus has now got a Facebook Page. You can find it on Facebook at:

I’ll be posting the occasional photo (or three). It’d be great if you take a look. Even better if you LIKE it!

“Freedom” – Independence Day Parade in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

When I went out earlier this morning to witness the San Pedro Sailing Club’s involvement in an attempt (I’m sure it will be successful) to set a Guinness World Record I thought that my account of the event would be my one edition of the day. I mean I’m getting older. The stamina is starting to wane. And is the appetite still there?

By the time I got home from Bart’s Bash at around 12.30 hours I was feeing slightly tired. I’d been out since before 07.00 hours (and this after watching the firework display the previous evening !) and had “knocked out” an edition (the first to “hit” the Internet – I think). Oh, and I’d drunk four Belikins. Regular if you need to know.

But you can’t keep an old dog down and Ziggy (OK he’s a young dog) as a Belizean was insistent that we went to watch the San Pedro Independence Day Parade. So we did.

We positioned ourselves in Angel Coral Street (back street) around 13.10 hours (yes I know the parade was scheduled to start at one but this is Belize and …) and sat there and waited patiently. We chose Angel Coral Street because it’s fairly early on in the parade and the participants are fresh and lively. Oh, and you can get some fairly good photos (but I’ll let you be the judge of that).


Ziggy settled down to watch HIS people in HIS Independence Day Parade. The parade that this year celebrated the thirty-third anniversary of when the country and people of Belize gained freedom and became a country in its own right.

We didn’t sit there too long before the fun started and given that I’m now feeling the effects of a long day (by my standards now anyway) I’m going to let the photos do the “talking”.


Next year Ziggy, next year (maybe).


The fire brigade always leads the procession. Don’t know why but it does.







Miss San Pedro looking very serene. And the Mayor too, handing out sweets (candies for non UK readers).



No, that’s not me in disguise!








Independence Day in San Pedro – a truly wonderful day. If you haven’t experienced it then you should. One for the bucket list?

The headline for today’s (second) edition is based on the single released in 1984 by Wham which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart and number three in the US Billboard Hot 100.

You can find more Independence Day Parade in San Pedro photos on Robert J Hawkins blog.

“Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” – Bart’s Bash in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

A few months ago when on Facebook I started to see postings about Bart’s Bash. I didn’t really take a great deal of notice of them. I just assumed that it was some sort of Simpsons family reunion!

The number of posts increased though and this piqued my interest and I got on to Google and found that I couldn’t have been more wrong (not a “first” for me I’m sorry to say!). It had nothing to do with the long running TV series at all.

Bart’s Bash, I now know, is a global sailing and fund raising event set up by The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to join together sailors across the world to set a Guinness World Record and, more importantly, raise money for charity.

For those of you not aware, Andrew “Bart” (nicknamed after THE Simpsons’ character) Simpson, MBE was an English sailor who won a gold medal for Great Britain in the Star class in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was tragically cut down in his prime at only thirty-seven years of age when the catamaran he was training on for the America’s Cup capsized.

So what’s this got to do with San Pedro you’re thinking. Well, quite a lot actually because the San Pedro Sailing Club was one of the 754 clubs from 65 countries around the world taking part in this momentous event today.


An invitation I just couldn’t resist!

I arrived at Caribbean Villas Hotel around 07.20 hours for an English breakfast. I’d been told years ago that if you’re going out on the sea eat a hearty breakfast. Well I know I was only there to watch but … you know me by now, any excuse!

San Pedro’s origin is that of a fishing community with people that had a love of the sea. Today that spirit and proud heritage was rekindled when seventy sailors from San Pedro with ages ranging from 10 to 72 assembled to “man” the thirty-one boats representing San Pedro’s involvement in this world record making event.

And they were there to do it together because sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

“Team San Pedro” at a pre race briefing yesterday.


Photo courtesy of the San Pedro Sailing Club.

Oh, I forgot to describe the course.


Map (???) again courtesy of the San Pedro Sailing Club.

I’d just taken my first bite of breakfast when the first of the competing boats arrived.


No Worries Tours – based 7 miles north of ‘Town.


Greeted by Cindy, one of the organisers.


And a boat with my name on it . How cool is that.

Slowly but surely the boats arrived for the race


and then set off for the start line.





And then the Mayor arrived to get the race underway.


He studied the course


and the control center


and they were off.


It was a hard fought and tight finish but Willy Leslie just edged past Andy Milner at the finish line to come in first.


Today wasn’t a day for first, second or last. Every single participant was a winner. And for once I’ll say that everyone was AWESOME.

Today I witnessed “Industrious hands, Intelligent Minds, Together For Belize.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2005 by U2 which reached number 1 in the UK Singles a chart and number 97 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

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

Some of you (OK none of you -but allow me a little bit of ego) may have been wondering why I haven’t put out an edition lately. Quite simple really, there’s not been much that I’ve felt inclined to sit down and write about.

There’s only so many times (me? I want it to go on forever!) you want to know that I got up early, made a mug of black coffee, grabbed the iPad and headed out to the veranda (the western, lagoon facing one) to enjoy “me time”.

So what’s forced me out of this period of blogging inactivity. A force of nature that’s what.

Yesterday morning I was sitting out on the veranda – probably been there a couple of hours or two mugs of coffee – when my reverie was broken by shouts from Rose telling me to get a machete and the key for the front gate and get down to the Garage on the ground quickly, very quickly. “Why” I called out. “There’s a snake there” she shrieked back. Obvious terror in her voice.

I got the machete double quick and headed downstairs stopping only momentarily to pick up my camera (I just had to!).

As I reached the bottom of the stairs Rose was there pointing at the Garage doors. “There it is” she said. I looked up to see Ziggy around a yard from the Garage doors barking at a snake.

“Open the front gate” Rose cried. “Why?” quick as a flash I replied. “Does the snake want to get out?” I sensed from Rose’s general demeanour (well the scowl on her face actually) that she wasn’t at all impressed with my response. “No” she tersely replied, “A guy from the build next door heard me screaming -good job he did because you didn’t – and is coming in to catch the snake”.

I rushed down to the front gate, machete in hand, to let him in proffering the machete as soon as he entered. He declined, pointing to a stick that he held in his hand. ” I’m Ernesto” he announced, “Where’s the snake”. “In front of the Garage doors” I responded, pointing the way.

Ernesto (we subsequently found out that his real name is Ignacio. Don’t ask. I don’t know the answer) walked purposefully ahead of me (I obviously hung back so that I could take photos. And no matter what anyone says that was the only reason).


“Ernesto” on his way to meet the snake.

Using his piece of wood he expertly encouraged ((in fact I’m sure I heard him sing “I want to reach out and grab ya” (clue for the song title there)) the snake, which he identified as a boa constrictor,to move from it’s hiding place


so that he could pinion it to the floor just below its head.


He was then able to hold it beneath its head and away from the teeth



and pull it out of its hiding place.


“Ernesto” headed off to the beach to find a new home for the snake a new home and abracadabra the emergency was over.


With the panic over I headed off for


at Caribbean Villas Hotel and admired the view in between bites.


When I got home I tackled the weeds (yet again) but did take time out to watch the ceiling of the water tank/floor for the house being built on the lot immediately north of us.


I’ve already mentioned how organised this build appears to be and how quickly the house is going up. Today they started to lay the blocks and as I write this they’ve just finished for the day.


It’s increasingly looking like they will achieve the target of being finished by Christmas.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1982 by the Steve Miller Band which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK Singles Chart.

“Dedicated to the one I Love” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I wrote this towards the end of July and thought that I had published it but obviously the emotional roller coaster I was on that weekend left me in a state of confusion and …

But as I’ve heard John say quite a few times to Rose (she really is rather nice) “Better late than never”.

After my exertions early last week producing an edition I took a well deserved rest. I’m still fairly young and am definitely a novice when it comes to finding my way around John’s iPad (well any iPad actually). I think I found this blogging thing a bit more of a challenge than I initially thought it would be. I suppose that’s understandable though really given that my previous experience with and knowledge of the written word has been with Army reports. But I’ve enjoyed some “R and R” ( that’s an Army term referring to “rest and recuperation”) and I’m ready to give it another go.

I spent quite a lot of time during the week getting to know Rose ( I now like her quite a lot) and John a bit more and on the Tuesday I helped them to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They didn’t do this in a big way. Actually it was a rather low key affair but I enjoyed it nonetheless and especially when all three of us spent some time looking at some old photographs of the two of them.


They told me that this one was taken in 1984 when they were on holiday on the island of Kos which, if you’re not aware (and I wasn’t) is in Greece.

It wasn’t all about their special day though because when they went out shopping (leaving me behind to guard our house) they bought some presents (well that’s what they told me they are) back with them.


A nice brush to keep my coat (and me) looking good. And


this thing that they keep walking around the garden holding. I know that they want me to “do my stuff” in the south west corner of the back garden but I’m enjoying watching them so I think I’ll keep it this way for a week or so before I “see the light.” And then I’ll be in for some treats!

In the afternoon John let everyone in the area know that “the Zigster” is now in residence when he put my sign up on the front fence.


“Up a bit.”


“Think I’d like ‘dog’ replaced with ‘Ziggy’!”

I’ve -as you’d imagine – spent lots of time in my new garden and have found just the spot for when John is out there weeding.


“What idiot goes out in the sun when it’s hot?”

On Thursday Rose and John took me for my first ride in our boat Gunner. I very quickly found my spot in the shade of the Bimini.


We hadn’t been going very long when John had to get out of the boat and push.


There are some very shallow spots on the lagoon side!

On Friday I helped (well I tried to help!) Rose (I really, really like her) and John tidy up the ground floor apartment. We dusted and then washed the floors and made up the beds ready for the visit of my BATSUB ex-colleague Geordie and his daughters Jamie Louise and Leah Melissa who were coming over to stay with us for a few days.

On Saturday Rose and John went in to ‘Town to pick them up from the airport and bring them back to our house where I helped to settle them in very quickly. They’re around my age so we get on like a house on fire.


Leah is on the right and Jaime is on the right. Me? I’m the good looking guy in the middle!

John hadn’t been home long before he went out again but returned around forty minutes later with … my Dad Frank. He’d come over to Ambergris Caye to spend his last weekend in Belize with me! Oh, and show his replacement Sean around as well.

After around an hour showing everyone around my home we set off for some fun at the http://www.palapabarandgrill.com.


My Dad and me. Let’s party!


“Time for refreshment”



“That’s better!”

And then some group shots.


The day ended too soon for me but I did get to play with the remainder of my toys that Dad brought over with him. He also brought over the papers that Rose (she’s very nice you know) and John now need to submit




to officially adopt me.

On Sunday morning Jaime, Leah, Geordie, Rose (the nice one), John and me crammed on to the golf cart and went to Estel’s Dine By the Sea to meet my Dad Frank and Sean for breakfast.

We spent a couple of hours there (I now know that John is a notoriously slow eater. Not at all like me) and then it was time to take Sean and my Dad Frank to the airstrip so that they could take the plane back to the mainland. It was sad, very sad saying goodbye to Dad but I just know that he will come back to Belize to visit me one day.

Today’s edition is dedicated to the one I love. My Dad Frank. Oh, and Rose (been telling you that I like her).

“Dedicated to the One I Love” was released in 1967 by The Mamas & The Papas and reached number two in the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

A sad footnote (well for John anyway) – Estel’s Dine By the Sea is closing for the whole of September. Bummer!

“Travelin’ Man” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up at 04.15 hours yesterday morning and out on the veranda with my mug of black coffee (no sugar) and iPad and settled in my chair five minutes later.

It was still. Very still. There were sounds, obviously there were, but they were hardly discernible. No barking dogs. No birds chirruping. No fish jumping out of the water. No breeze to speak of. Even the leaves on the trees were silent. It was so quiet it was bordering on being eerie.

It didn’t remain that way for too long though because within around thirty minutes of being out there the wind started to whip up. The trees started to rustle and then there were the differing sounds of the pitter patter of the raindrops as they hit the leaves, the trees, the ground and the concrete wall of our veranda.

Like so many of the downpours we have had so far this year this one didn’t last very long. Within twenty or so minutes it was over. Not even long enough to create meaningful puddles in our garden but enough time to whip the mosquitoes up in to a feeding frenzy. And I was breakfast!

They can be a real pain but I’m pleased to say that aside from the initial irritation/distraction when they “go for their nibble” I’m not really too bothered by them. I find myself scratching the attacked area but I’m not left with the weals that I see so many people affected by.

Not much time for “breakfast” for the mosquitoes yesterday morning though. Oh no. I was going to be a travelin’ man. I was headed off to Belmopan to get my passport extended.

Now I could have got either of the early morning water taxis to Belize City and caught a bus. Alternatively I could have flown to the Municipal Airport, got a taxi to the bus station and got a bus. But I chose the quicker, easier and by far more expensive travel option of flying all the way. At US$ 165 it is around US$ 110 more than the cheapest route (water taxi and bus) but …

Rose dropped me off at Tropic Air shortly after 07.30 hours for the 08.00 hours departure (which, as it transpired, didn’t leave until 08.20 hours) and I was the only passenger on the seven seater aircraft.


“Just for me. Oh, and the pilot of course!”

We got in to an animated conversation as soon as I asked him his name. “Juan” he replied. “Me too” I responded. It takes Juan to know Juan (yes I know its terrible).

We retrieved time lost from the later departure (my lack of body weight (some might call me skinny) and we landed at 08.55 hours whereupon the Tropic Air staff called a taxi for me (you can just see British Airways or American Airlines, etc doing that can’t you!) and ten minutes or BZ$ 20 later I was dropped off at the British High Commission in good time for my 09.30 hours appointment.



From being cleared by the security gate and handing over my application form and passport took no more than ten minutes. “Are you able to return at 2.30” I was asked. “Of course” I responded as I took off for a little walk around the City. And to get something to eat – I hadn’t eaten breakfast!

Here follows a few photos that I took along the way:








And then I came across the little fruit and vegetable market.


What goodies did they have on offer? Well quite a lot actually.




I made a few purchases – haggling all the way – and decided that I decided lunch. Where to go? Well I’d heard about Corkers and decided I’d give it a “go”.

I took a table on the very small veranda, made my selections from the menu and enjoyed the view.


And had a look around the place.




A very British feel to the place. Not surprising really. The husband and wife owners are from the UK.

The service was very good and it wasn’t long before my Starter arrived


An Italian vegetable soup that at BZ$ 10 I thought was good value. Very tasty. And filling. Would I have room for the Main Course of


Fisherman’s Pie? You betcha! Oh the price? A very reasonable BZ$ 18.

Wondering about Corkers? Wonder no more.


The sign that did a use me though was hanging in the Gents (Restroom for non UK readers).


Mystery unravelled!

Belly full I took the walk (a very, very slow walk – I’d put on pounds!) to the British High Commission, got through security and picked up my newly extended passport. Mission accomplished!

I grabbed (where does this expression come from? I mean you don’t actually grab a cab. You’d need to be a superhero. Oh well, maybe!) a taxi and headed off to the airport but being early for my flight stopped off for a Belikin (or two). You’ve got to, haven’t you!


El Rancho, conveniently located just across the road from the airstrip.

At these prices I was sorely tempted


but common sense prevailed!

For the return journey a four seater aircraft awaited and I was the only passenger until we stopped off at the International Airport to pick up another two passengers. My time of flying solo was over.

What did I buy you’ve been thinking. C’mon you have, haven’t you.


Not bad for BZ$ 50.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1961 by Ricky Nelson and reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100.

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

I was sitting out on the veranda the other morning -the western,lagoon facing one on the first floor if you’re interested – with a mug of coffee and my iPad when I took a break from reading The Times online. That’s one of the beauties of being retired, you can just stop what you’re doing and do something else. Or, do nothing at all!

I switched to Facebook and, I don’t know why (the brain is a strange yet wonderful thing), but I wondered how many Facebook Friends I had (I’ve used the past tense because I’ve got a few more since then!). This then got me thinking (told you the brain is a strange thing) about how many of them I could truly describe as friends. I mean some of them I’ve never actually met!

For many of them we’ve become “Friends” because we share a common interest or interests. Or we both know the same person or people. Or we’ve become Facebook Friends because we were both members of a Facebook Group and an invitation to become “Friends” ensued.

But are we truly friends? Well in my opinion we’re not. We’re social network acquaintances but Mark Zuckerberg chose “Friend” as the nomenclature to describe the contacts that we interact with. We may get friendly with them and enjoy a joke or two over the Internet. We may even get to meet them and spend some time in their company and have a very enjoyable time. But friends?

I can count the people that I would describe as friends in the strictest sense on the fingers of one hand. They’re the people that truly “know” me and I “know” them. They can sense what kind of mood I’m in. They’d be there if I needed help (as some have already demonstrated). They wouldn’t ask any questions, they’d just ‘do”.

The description of “friend” is assigned to someone so easily now that -a bit like the use of “awesome”- it’s been devalued as far as I’m concerned.True friendships and, therefore, friends are formed invariably over the passing of time and the sharing of experiences -good and sometimes bad. And from my experience it’s from the latter that you truly find out who your friends are.

I probably sound a bit like a Victor Meldrew type character( for non UK readers this was a character in long running, very popular TV comedy series) but I don’t think I am. I just feel that the term “friend” is now assigned rather frivolously.

See what having too much time on your hands does to you. It allows your mind to wander off in directions that it chooses to. It never, ever did this when I was working for a living. It was always too busy. Now though it’s got time to think about stuff like this. It’s like it’s developed a mind of its own (sic) !

I forced myself to regain control of it. There were important things to think about -where was I going to go for breakfast?

Fully in control of my thought processes again I reached a decision very quickly. Let’s give Lily’s Treasure Chest Restaurant a try I thought. So I showered, shaved, dressed, jumped in (on?) the golf cart and headed south seeing along the way the houses and businesses adorned with bunting and larger versions of the Belize flag in readiness for the 21 September Independence Day celebrations.


House in Boca Del Rio.


The Liquor Shop just north of “Ritchie’s Roundabout”.


Sandy Toes Beach Bar & Grill, Boca Del Rio.



Barrier Reef Drive (front street).


And I’m there. Time to park the ‘cart and walk to


Take a seat and take in the views.




And then breakfast!


The breakfast was ,as always , very good but at BZ$ 27 it’s a whopping BZ$ 7.50 more for virtually the same meal at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. And, I’m sorry to say, served on a plastic plate (no need to send comments re the pros and cons of plastic plates).

Oh, by the way, I ate alone. No friends!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single (from the album of the same name) released in 1968 by The Beach Boys which reached number forty-seven in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-five in the UK Singles Chart.

“Walk on the Wild Side” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The tranquility of my early morning “me time” out on the veranda (the western, lagoon facing one if you’re wondering) with the mug of coffee -black,no sugar as frequent readers will know- and the iPad has been disrupted over recent months occasionally by worrying thoughts.

What could have been so invasive you’re thinking (actually you probably don’t give a damn) to interrupt this period of the day that I enjoy so much.

Worrying that Arsenal won’t qualify for next season’s Champions League (yes I know that this season has only just begun but you have to think ahead) ? No. Too soon to start worrying about that even for me.

Worrying that the water tank under our house will run dry? Well I have been a little (OK, a lot) that I’d get up one morning, turn the tap and … nothing. But the rain last Sunday washed (terrible I know) those concerns away.

Worrying that I’m getting old? Nope. I know which of the two options I’ve got and I’ll go for “the getting older” one every time!

I could go on but I won’t. Quite honestly I’m a bit bored with the sequence of possibilities and you probably are too.

So what have I been worrying about? My passport, that’s what. It expires in October.

Now had I been thinking lucidly I would have renewed it before we left the UK. But it had nearly two and a half years left on it so I didn’t. And two and half years is a long time. Right? Well yes and no.

Those months have just flown by and I realised that I needed to do something about it and I was going to but then I read about the chaotic situation that the UK Passport office was in and decided that I’d wait until they cleared the backlog. Problem is, they haven’t. But the problem has been acknowledged and British government is allowing passport holders to extend their current documentation.

So yesterday I ‘phoned the British High Commission in Belmopan (well I thought I had contacted Belmopan until the guy on the other end of the line asked me where in Brasilia I lived !) and made an appointment to for next Tuesday to extend my passport by a year. Worries over. Well, for twelve months at least!

Actually whilst mentioning the British High Commission in Belize, if you want a good laugh phone the number and you’ll get through to an automated answering system. I don’t from where or when they got it but it’s like a throwback to the 1940s. Clipped enunciation and awfully, awfully posh. It was worth the wait until I got to speak to a human!

With the worries over I was able to enjoy my “me time” this morning before deciding that I’d give Ak-bol a try out for breakfast. I’ve been there for breakfast but that was a long time ago and, well, things change.

What follows is no more than some photographs as I went for breakfast (thrilling eh!).



Don’t know why (suppose I do really) but this sign conjured up a vision of the road awash with Belikin. Now wouldn’t that be something!


Hit the beach trail heading north.


The wind whipped up and the fronds of the coconut trees started to sway violently. I was in for a walk on the wild side (didn’t see that coming, did you?).


Seaweed still in abundance.


And along the path I meandered seeing things that I’d not noticed before.


A “baby” mangrove.


Members of his/her family.


One day they’ll be big and strong like “him”.


I’m all for keeping unwelcome visitors at bay but


a canon! Isn’t this taking it too far?


The Palapa Bar & Grill. Nearly there.


Old and derelict beachfront home. I bet this looked something years ago (nope – I refuse to say “back in the day”).


And I’m there!

I found myself a table (actually I could have chosen all of them – I was the only one there) and within a minute (maybe less but I can’t be precise because I don’t wear a watch anymore) Tua had brought me the menu.



“Now what shall I have?”



And the view. What’s the view like you want to know.


Pretty good I’d say.

The breakfast was good and at BZ$ 21 it was reasonably priced. But the ambience of the setting was spoilt for me. My breakfast was served on a plastic plate. Now I’m not snob (that unless my time listening to the British High Commission’s messaging service contaminated me) but a plastic plate just doesn’t “do it” for me.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Lou Reed in 1972 and reached number sixteen in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number ten in the UK Singles Chart.

“When the Boat Comes In” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Before I start today’s edition I’d like to make a few comments about an edition I published a few months ago entitled “Come Fly With Me“.

In this edition I wrote about a dispute between Tropic Air and Construction Depot over a strip of land close to the San Pedro airstrip.

I sourced all of my information from other media which I have now established did not always contain accurate information and/or all of the relevant facts. I (and this is rich coming from someone who worked over forty years in the national newspaper business) trusted everything I read and incorrectly published a very “black and white” piece”. I now know that the dispute was not that “black and white”.

I’m pleased to say though that the matter has now been resolved to all parties satisfaction.

Now to today’s edition.

Yesterday morning I got up at 04.00 hours and went straight for a shower, a shave and a brush for the old molars ((long-time readers of this blog will know that quite a few of my teeth (implants) are actually quite young/new)) and then dressed (this doesn’t take too long when you’re wearing shorts and a polo shirt).

Downstairs in the kitchen by 04.20 hours and out on the veranda (yep, the western, lagoon facing one) by 04.25 hours with a mug of coffee (black, no sugar) and the iPad and straight in to The Times online. No wasting time listening to the ripple of the water. No trying to detect from which direction the chirruping of the birds was coming from. I didn’t have time for that today.

So why the urgency you’re probably thinking . You always give the impression of just sitting there and taking it all in. And I do normally. But not yesterday.

In all the years that we came here on holiday and especially during the twenty-seven months we’ve lived here permanently we have often spoken about, but done nothing about, “being there” when the Mennonites bring a boat over from the mainland laden with fruit, vegetables, milk, cream and eggs.

Well around two weeks ago when I read a blog that Tacogirl had posted Rose and I had a chat and agreed that we would go and see exactly what was on offer. So now you know why the hurry on my part. And why I only got one mug of coffee!

Rose (unusually so) didn’t take too long to get ready and we set off from home at 04.55 hours.


It was dark.

We got to the pier where the Mennonites sell their produce from ( on the lagoon side just north of the new San Pedro Water Taxi Terminal) at 05.10 hours and saw fishing boats setting off for the day.


They weren’t the only ones working though. The Mennonites were there and what they had on offer was stacked neatly on the dock.





As we walked towards the dock we could smell the aroma of the fresh fruit and vegetables – at this time of the morning there was not a trace of the pervasive smells of cooking that can dominate as the day progresses.

As we walked down the dock we could see that there were already around fifteen to twenty people there testing the fruit and vegetables for ripeness. We joined the throng and shuffled around the dock as Rose filled a bag with “this” or “that” and passed it to me as she filled another one.

Having chosen everything that we wanted we joined the queue whereupon Rose adopted the “elbows out, you will not pass me position” ((skilfully (and expensively) developed from years of supermarket shopping in the UK)). It worked to a degree but there were some very expert queue jumpers there.

Eventually though we did make the front where the Mennonite in charge of the operation either weighed or counted our purchases, tapped the requisite amount in to his calculator until he’d tallied everything up whereupon he “presented” the calculator to Rose. BZ$ 88.25.

Rose handed over the money, we loaded the golf cart up and headed home and were in the kitchen ninety minutes after we had set off.




Do we think it was worth the effort? Oh yes. Will we be doing it again? But next I’ll go alone and be there 03.00 hours when the boat comes in!

To keep Ziggy occupied whilst we stored our purchases we gave him one of the trotters


we got when we purchased a pig from the mainland a few months ago.

Ziggy made short shrift of it


and in less than twenty-five minutes the trotter was no more. Good boy Ziggy!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the theme song of the TV series of the same name which first aired on BBC in 1976. The song was sang by Alex Glasgow.

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

On Sunday I enjoyed a bit of a lie -probably caused by the exertions (for exertions read Belikins) of going on a Poker Run– and got out of bed unusually late at 06.15 hours.

I hurriedly (well you can’t hurry up a kettle really apart from putting less water in) boiled the water for my mug of coffee fairly well rushed -OK, I walked quickly- out on to the veranda. Yep, the western, lagoon facing one.

Why the hurry (or maybe you’re not), you’re thinking. Simple. The Spurs versus Liverpool game was on TV with a 06.30 hours kick-off. What right minded Arsenal fan wouldn’t want to watch Spurs take a good hiding. And they did. What a perfect start to my day. Or so I thought.

Time for another mug of coffee and my breakfast (no time to go to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for a last breakfast before it closes for a month) before the Leicester City versus Arsenal game. Exquisite scheduling by the Premier League (or was it the TV companies?).

I settled down for the expected (don’t know about you but I expected it) win but although we dominated the play and we huffed and we puffed we could do no better than get a draw. But it wasn’t all bad because the game hadn’t been going more than around fifteen minutes (it started at 10.00 hours) when I heard the sound of rain. Yes, rain. And it was coming down heavily.



There wasn’t a cloud to be seen. The sky was just a dark greyness. This was not going to be a brief downpour. Time to revise my plans for the day. No gardening. No giving Ziggy his weekly bath. Oh no. This was going to be a morning just for me! Only one thing for it. Time to lay me down and overdose on football. And I did.

I finished watching the Arsenal game (don’t really want to say much more about that) and then watched Villarreal lose to Barcelona and Real Sociedad beat Real Madrid (that was a shock by the way). What a heavenly Sunday morning.

Late afternoon Rose, Ziggy and I headed to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. Rose wasn’t too keen on going out in the rain. I was ambivalent but Ziggy was insistent.

We hadn’t been there long when it became obvious that he had been studying me during the morning. It took only minutes after arrived there before he took up the position.


A master at work!

When we got home we showed Rose that we could work (sic) as a double act.


I’m the one wearing the shorts.

Now I know that the vast majority don’t give two hoots about how I spent my Sunday. Actually you probably don’t give two hoots about how I spend my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, … No what you want to know is what I did for breakfast today now that Estel’s is closed. In your shoes I would too.

Well, I took a drive south to Caribbean Villas Hotel in Seagrape Drive and got there shortly after 08.00 hours and a “front row” table


with a view.

A quick study of the Menu “told” me that there was only one choice to make. The “full English”.


THE “full English”.

At BZ$ 24 I thought it well worth the money. Don’t let my size mislead you. I can tuck it away. But this breakfast just had the better of me. I had to leave half a slice of toast!

Before I left though I took the opportunity of taking a peek at the new building that is under construction that will provide forty-eight additional rooms for this Caribbean beachfront hotel.



The windows will start to be installed this week and everything and I’m reliably informed that everything is on track for the new rooms to be available early in November.

On the way home I had to stop off at Adrian’s in Boca Del Rio. Yes, another puncture.


When I started this edition I felt that I had so much to tell you but as I get to the end of it I question what. So if you haven’t got this far I think you made a good decision. If you’ve stayed to the end though, well, thank you.

The headline for today’s edition is based in the single released in 2013 by Sam Smith (if you haven’t heard this guy he has a great voice) and it reached number forty-six in the UK Singles Chart.