“Grand Hotel” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Up bright (well as bright as I’m ever likely to be nowadays) and early this morning and out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one – with a mug of black coffee and my iPad by 05.15 hours.

I sat out there enjoying the tranquility and solitude for a couple of hours (or three mugs of coffee’s worth) before showering, shaving, taking care of the molars and dressing (and yes, I do it in that order) and setting off for breakfast. But it’s Tuesday you’re thinking –Estel’s Dine By the Sea isn’t open on Tuesday. And you’re right, but I wasn’t going there. I was going to Caribbean Villas Hotel


for one of these


And very good it was too.

Knowing that Rose and I have been invited to the Grand Opening


of the forty-eight room extension I took the opportunity to take a look at how things are progressing with just a week and a half to go.

I hadn’t noticed much when I was eating my breakfast but the place was a hotbed of activity ranging from wood being prepared in the woodshed



to making headboards for the beds


to working on the second swimming pool


Nice and close to the existing one.


Work on the dive shop underway.


And of course they’re still working on the new forty-eight room building.


What with the work that’s already been carried out like the


large palapa and the


beach-side deck in front of the



Oh, before I forget (as if) whilst I was eating my breakfast a staff meeting was going on and (not that I was eavesdropping – much) I can bring you the ‘hot off the press news’ that the new restaurant that will open on 15 November will be called Amber.

Seeing all the work that is going there is little doubt in my mind that the owners intend that it will be a grand hotel.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the album released in 1973 by Procul Harum which reached number 21 in the US Billboard Hot 200.

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Regular readers will know (well I have probably mentioned it to the point of boredom) that I spend a fair amount of time when I get up -‘me time’ as I refer to it- out on the veranda (the western, lagoon facing one on the first floor) with a mug of black coffee and my iPad (yes, equipped with a camera Mike).

I normally start off with The Times online but when I’ve satisfied my need for news I normally switch to Facebook and it was while I was on Facebook that a couple of posts really caught my attention.

The first was posted by a guy by the name of Larry Harmon who has created a free to use type of craigslist specifically for Belize amazingly called Belizelist.

The concept of this type of website specifically for Belize intrigued me and I contacted Larry to find out a bit about him and the aspirations he has for his website.

First Larry. Well, he came and lived here for six months around four years ago with his business partner before returning to Ohio but he continued to have Belize in his heart and in his thoughts . Last year he returned for a holiday but this time with his girlfriend. She obviously liked it too because after a little bit of persuasion on Larry’s they recently moved here.

So why Belizelist? Well Larry is a software developer by profession and wanted to use his skills to ‘put something back in to Belize’.

He assures me he’s not looking to make money from this (all adverts can be posted absolutely free of charge) but he does want the website to be a success. So if you’ve got something you want to shift. Or something you’re looking to buy, then try Belizelist

If you’ve got any questions or suggestions then Larry would like to know and you can do this via email :

or via Facebook

The other post that really caught my attention was by the San Pedro Business Association to try and engender participation in and sponsorship of the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade which last year had to be cancelled because of a lack of support.

Rose and I were fortunate (purely happen chance) to be in San Pedro for the inaugural event in 2006 and have attended every one since apart from 2011 when we were preparing for our full-time move here. We resumed the love affair though in 2012 and do hope it reemerges this year stronger and better.

Friday was the big day, the day to take Ziggy back to the San Pedro Animal Hospital to find out if the medication had cleared up the ear infection he had caught through his Iove of swimming in the Caribbean Sea.

Before we set off though we fitted the golf cart with the ‘raincoat’ we bought for it last year. We’d got absolutely drenched on the Wednesday evening and with the sky showing every sign of rain I said to Rose “We won’t get fooled again” (didn’t see that headline link coming, did you).


Not the most stylish of ‘raincoats’ but … when you see this


and it turns to this





‘Park’ the brolly (umbrella for non UK readers) for a bit of shopping!

style doesn’t come in to it. Whether it’s effective and keeps you dry does. And it did!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1971 by The Who which reached number nine on the UK Singles Chart and number fifteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Somethin’ Stupid” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Do you ever have the thought that you might just not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier? Not the sharpest pencil in the box? A few chips (fries for non UK readers) short of a happy meal? A few pence (cents to a dollar for non UK readers) shy of a £ (dollar)?

No. Well I wish I could say the same.

I’d always considered myself reasonably bright. Not brilliant, but reasonably bright. Someone who may not have scaled the academic heights but someone who – or so I had thought- had been ‘given’ fair sized dollops of common sense and street savvy.

I use the past tense because it appears that these attributes are on the wane. Or at least prone to go AWOL when I most need them. Why are you being so hard on yourself you are probably (and quite rightly too if I may say so) thinking. Well I showed the dumber side of myself (now the less kind of you are thinking ” and not for the first time”) in the previous edition when I mentioned that I was too enraptured with the red sky to get up and get my camera.

Nothing stupid about that I thought. That is until long-time reader Mike pointed out that iPads come equipped with a camera and, as you all know by now, I never go out on the veranda (yes, the western, lagoon facing one) for my early morning ”me time’ without my iPad. As I started to read Mike’s comment I just knew (I do have the occasional perceptive moment) that I’d written somethin’ stupid!

Now I must admit that when I read Mike’s comment I did feel a tad embarrassed and wondered if you’d think I’d lost my credibility (if I ever had any, that is). My confidence was shot and I didn’t have the drive or inclination (and subject matter if I’m really honest) to put out another edition.

All that changed, however, when ‘Champion’ (you must tell ‘Champion’ why you chose this name) posted a comment to implore (OK -guilty of over-exaggeration, he asked ) me to put out editions more frequently. He missed my storytelling, he said. So I was stirred in to action. Now if you don’t like it, well, you know who to blame. It’s the fault of ‘Champion’!

So what’s been happening in my little life since the last edition? Well I’ve obviously been to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for breakfast a few times. Actually I reckon I go there between two and a half (yes I know you can’t make half a visit) to three times a week and I’ve been doing this since we moved here in May 2012. Their best customer? Probably not if we use the strictest of definitions. But definitely amongst the more frequent.

With the municipal elections scheduled for March next year I thought it about time that I registered for my vote. As a Commonwealth citizen I’m entitled to vote and I want to exercise this right. So I visited the Elections and Boundaries Department in Pescador Drive (it’s located in the Four Sisters Plaza, just behind the Post Office).




It was a painless process. I presented my passport. They photocopied certain pages of it. They took my photograph. Filled in a form detailing my address and the names of my parents and asked for my signature. All done in fifteen minutes. They’ll visit my house in the next few weeks to verify that I live there and then I’ll get issued with my voter I.D. card. Simple. And then I presume the gifts will come flooding my way so that I cast my vote one way or the other. It could be like Christmas in March!

I thought I’d give myself some excitement so I cleaned the windows – inside and out- on the first and second floors. No big deal you’re thinking. Well it is actually because we’ve got so many windows.


I left the windows of the ground floor apartment for another time (I have to leave something to do!) but even so still cleaned nearly 1,000 square feet of glass. Who said retirement is easy!

The excitement didn’t stop there though. Rose and I received an invitation to be guests at the Grand Opening of the extension at Caribbean Villas Hotel.


Now there’s probably a couple of hundred people on the guest list but it’s always nice to know that you’ve been included! And it’s free!!


Photo of the 48 room extension – with a lift (elevator for non UK readers) – that I took around four weeks ago.

This feeling of importance didn’t stop there though. Oh no. Why? Well on Tuesday I got an invitation from Grand Caribe to attend a Press Appreciation Day that they are holding this Friday. Apparently they’ve invited media houses and Belize based bloggers to this inaugural event. Now the closest I come to a media house these days is when I take the San Pedro Sun home!

Regrettably I’ve had to decline the invitation because we have Ziggy booked in with the vet to examine his left ear (hopefully we will find out that the treatment has worked) but I’m sure it will be a great success.

I had a good look around the resort a few weeks ago when I went up there prior to the opening of Rain Restaurant & Rooftop Terrace and I was mightily impressed with what I saw. Oh well there’s always next year but I really would have liked to have had a press card again!

My early morning ‘me time’ hasn’t been the same in recent weeks as work on the house being built on the lot immediately north of us progresses. The guys start work some mornings around 06.00 hours and the sound of the birds trilling has been intermingled with the sounds of cement mixers and hammers. They’re making great progress though and I’m sure it won’t be too long before it’s finished.


Got to bring this edition to an end now – I’ve got to go to ‘Town to pay some bills. But at least for some of the way I get to travel on the new road being constructed north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge.


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1967 by Frank and Nancy Sinatra which reached number one in both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

“Move Closer” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Out on the veranda this morning at around 05.40 hours ((obviously I had my mug of black coffee (sugar-free) and iPad (Air if you must know) with me)) the sky suddenly started to turn red. This as the darkness started to disappear as the sun came up.

But this morning it just felt different. I don’t know if it was because it had been raining heavily. I doubt it because it’s rained before just as the sun was rising. Whatever caused it though created a sky with a rich red hue. I should have stirred myself (not the coffee obviously – no milk, no sugar!), got up and grabbed the camera. I didn’t though – I was enjoying it too much. You’ll just have to believe me (or not if that is your inclination) that it was a sight to behold. If it happens again though I will take a shot – I’m now going to take the camera out on to the veranda first thing in the morning!

Anyway enough of today for the moment, I want to take you back in time. To yesterday!

After spending my ‘me time’ on the veranda I showered, shaved, dressed and headed off to take the golf cart to Giovanni’s (its in Sea Grape Drive if you’re interested) for a service and oil bath. I also wanted him to take a look (stupid thing to say actually) at a squeak that’s been coming from the rear off-side wheel.

I dropped the ‘cart off shortly after he opened at 08.00 hours and then took a leisurely stroll along the beach.





Diamante Beachfront Suites coming along nicely.


On her way to setting up the stand for the day.


“Service, I demand service”.

And then I reached my target


“Aw c’mon, I had a couple of hours to kill!”

I’d just finished eating


when the ‘phone rang. It was Giovanni, the wheel bearing needed replacing. That north road!

When I got to Giovanni’s I could see my cart up on the ‘ramp’ (I use this description very loosely of course)


so I sat in the Reception area


Just like the Volvo servicing agent I used to use in the UK. Not!

and watched him finish off cleaning the cart.




Now back to today (I feel a bit like Marty McFly!).

Work on paving the road north of the bridge continues as the road building team tackle the stretch between Solitude and Bermuda Landing


It’s slow going but every day I see the road move closer to my home. Are you reading this wheel bearings!

I can’t end this edition without letting you know that it’s happened eventually.


Yes, the water tank is full. Get in there! Oh, it is.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Phyllis Nelson in 1985 which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart.

“Birthday Cake” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Very pleased to ‘say’ that another day started for me. I enjoyed my early (it was 04.35 hours when I got out on the veranda) morning ‘me time’. And yes regular readers it is the western, lagoon facing one. And you will, I am sure, be pleased to know that I had my mug of black coffee -instant, with no sugar if you are at all interested- and my iPad with me. Well without the iPad there’d be no blog!

I sat out there reading The Sunday Times (well it is Sunday) online until around 06.45 hours when I showered, shaved and dressed and then headed off to Estel’s Dine By the Sea for a breakfast before the Estonia v England European Championship Qualification game.

The recent rainy spells have made a real mess of the road to ‘Town with stretches of deep water, the first of which is immediately outside our front gate.


I’ve developed the art of avoiding wet feet. Pull out, straighten up and then reverse. Once in position alight (what an old-fashioned way of describing getting out of a vehicle) and secure the gate. Easy!


A really bad stretch of road in front of Reef Village (or whatever it is now called!).

Anyway, enough of today, I can always tell you about this in a future edition can’t I!

In the previous edition I mentioned that it was Rose’s birthday and I had to bring the edition to a close because I was taking her out to celebrate it.

I’ll tell you how a bit later but first wanted to let you know how we spent the rest of her special day.

First on the ‘things to do’ list though was to give Ziggy drops for the ear infection he contracted.


When I first started giving him the drops he would try to run away. Now though I show him the tube, head out to the veranda with him following closely behind me. I sit in the chair. He sits too, rests his head on my lap and waits for the treatment. I think the massage (cleverly disguised as stroking) he gets afterwards has helped!

After getting ready Rose and I headed off to ‘Town. Me for breakfast (yep, at you know where) and Rose to wander around the shops. What she does (and will continue to be if I have anything to do with it) remains a mystery to me.

It was then time for Rose’s treat.


Why? Well very simple.




With the purchase made it was time to head home so Rose could sample some of that ‘love’ but not before we stopped off to get her a birthday cake.


I know it’s only little but it’s the thought that counts!

In all seriousness (I can be serious sometimes you know) neither Rose or I are great lovers of cake. We’ve found out, however, that Ziggy is. And he loves bananas too.

Not much effort on my part to celebrate Rose’s birthday you’re thinking. C’mon you were, weren’t you. Don’t be too hasty with your judgement. There was more to come!

In the evening I took Rose to Rain Restaurant & Rooftop Terrace.

To start Rose had


Coconut crusted shrimp

and I had


Shrimp Aracini di Riso (Italian rice balls stuffed with shrimp).

I should have spent more time and effort taking the photos but, in all honesty, I couldn’t be bothered. I wanted to tuck in. Both were delicious (well I had to sample Rose’s to make sure it was OK for her. It was the chivalrous thing to do wasn’t it!).

For the main course Rose chose


Shrimp curry

and for me it was


Creole shrimp.

Yes, we like our crustaceans!

The meal – which was exceptionally good, along with the attentive service – was nicely topped off with a Chilean Sauvignon


and a bit of Mariachi with a hint of Gypsy Kings



Now don’t we look happy!

We finished off the evening (and the wine) on the Rooftop Terrace.


It was so good I think we’re in for a return visit to Rain Restaurant & Rooftop Terrace in a few weeks time when it’s my birthday!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2012 by Rihanna , and featuring Chris Brown, which reached number twenty-four in the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Another One Bites the Dust” in San Pedro,Ambergris Caye,Belize.

It’s been a while since the last edition. I just didn’t know what to write about. I mean it shouldn’t be too difficult should it? It’s not like I compose (allow me this rather grandiose description – I know it’s not the case but egos need massaging occasionally. Yes, even mine!) literary works of art. I’d like to describe myself more as a raconteur. I’d like to but …

Now I know I could have taken a walk along the beach or around the ‘Town and taken a few snaps, wrapped some words either side of them and voilà. Job done. Edition produced.

For sure I like to include photos of the beautiful sights around Ambergris Caye. And no matter how often I see them they still remain beautiful. I also like to let you know about changes that take place on the island. You know, what new bars and restaurants are opening or have just opened. What’s the condition of the roads. What the weather is like (especially if it’s raining and my water tank is filling up!).

But that’s not what this blog is about. Well not for me anyway. Oh no, it’s about me (told you I had an ego) and what fills my days!

This realisation didn’t help and I spent days wondering how to start. But try as I might, nothing. And then it hit me! Why not start at the beginning of a normal day for me. Novel eh! So …

I got up early -around 04.30 hours if I recall correctly (it doesn’t matter what day it was because they all start the same way for me. I wake up and then …) – and went straight to the kitchen. Kettle on and within minutes there I was out in the veranda – yep, the western, lagoon facing one- with my mug of black coffee and the iPad.

I watched the rain teem down


and wondered how the recent landfill was holding up so took a walk around the veranda to the front of the house.



Not bad. But what about the back garden that got hardly any landfill?


Not so good. Looks like its time to ‘phone Lloyd again!

But with so much rain surely the water tank would be full.


Not a dribble coming out of the overflow pipes!

The rain though hasn’t slowed down the work on the concrete road from the northern side of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge and working at night has definitely aided progress



and the road is taking shape. Still a long way to go until it gets to our house but…

On the ‘what’s new front’ it looks as if the Jolly Roger might be about to open again. Why? Well the roadside sign has been freshly painted.


Strange choice of name though.

And I hear that the building going up on the lot immediately next to Super Buy in Angel Coral Street (back street)


is going to be a Super Buy for wholesale sales only. Looks like I’m going to be buying in bulk!

Now I’m in full flow I’ve just got to bring this edition to a close. Why? Well it’s Rose’s birthday. Her thirty-ninth if you must know (it’s not really but I’m trying to win points) and I’ve got to go get ready.

So I found it difficult to come up with something to write about but in the end (wait for it), another one bites the dust! (could this be my worst link yet? Answers on a postcard please).

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Queen in 1980 which reached number one in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

“Forever Young (Young Forever)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Out on the veranda -yes, the western, lagoon facing one (are you getting bored with me letting you know which one?) at 05.15 hours yesterday with a mug of black coffee (without sugar if you haven’t read the blog before) and my trusty iPad.

Straight in to The Times online and to the Register (formerly the Obituaries) – it reminds me how lucky I am. I can still read them, and am not one of them!

And then to the Sports’ pages to relive (Arsenal has this affect on me!) Arsenal’s convincing win over Galatasaray.

I finished off my early morning reading with the Business section – it reminds me of what I don’t miss! – and then it was time to get ready. We had errands to run.

First job on the list was to take Ziggy to the San Pedro Animal Hospital for a check up. His first since he joined our family.




Like a lamb to a slaughter


he went in to the lion’s den! He didn’t know that in addition to the check up we’d also booked him in for a tick and flea bath,


to have his nails trimmed. Oh, and a chronic irrigation -yes I know its colonic but it sounds chronic to me!

With Ziggy ensconced at the vets Rose and I headed to ‘Town to renew her Belize Drivers Licence. It seemed like only yesterday that she got it but that’s how quickly the year seems to have passed!

The first time you get a licence it’s for a year but for renewals you get the option of getting one for three years and that’s the option Rose elected to go for. You don’t save any money but …

Rose was dreading having to have her photo taken (every year that passes and all that) and was as pleased as punch when the lady told her they would use the same one as last year. As she was told this I heard Rose mumbling something about being forever young (or young forever)! If she’d had her way though she would have used this photo!


#TBT. No, not throwback Thursday but throwback Thirty (years ago!). I may be in trouble for this one!

With the licence renewed (BZ$ 180) we headed to Coral Cable to organise an Internet service to start at the end of the month. We’ve been using Smart’s service for the last year and although we know people that it works very well for it just hasn’t “done it” for us. The recent decision by BTL means that we will get double the bandwidth for the same price. I’m sure it will still be slow but hopefully not as slow!

I said goodbye to Rose at The Greenhouse so that she could take care of the more menial stuff (I’m either very brave or very stupid today) while I took care of the important stuff. Breakfast at Estel’s. To have got so close and … Well it would have been criminal!

Rose joined me for a coffee and just in time to get a hot off the sewing machine, stylishly chic 2014 version of Estel’s “T” shirt.


C’mon admit it, you want one too!

With the errands done we went to collect Ziggy and found out that he has an ear infection. Apparently caused by his love of swimming in the sea. The medication we got for him though should clear the problem up very quickly. It needs to. I mean we can hardly have a Head of Security that can’t hear!

We got home to find Lloyd and his boys hard at work land filling the garden


Or talking about filling the garden!

Not really. They’d actually been hard at work


Bringing in the fill.


And the pile grew.


And Lloyd and his young son Alex (they do start them young in Belize) spread it around.

Me? I sat around until it was time to bring the boat back to our dock. It’s a hard life!


The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2009 by Jay-Z and reached number ten in both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.

“The Boys Are Back in Town” (Part two) in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I was so overcome with excitement yesterday with the re-opening of Estel’s Dine By the Sea that I failed to notice all of the changes that have been made during the one month closure. Funny what happens when you get excited, isn’t it!

I just sensed that there were things that were different that I just didn’t pick up on so I just had to go back there today. Feeble excuse? Maybe. Or maybe I’m not as stupid as I look!

I was right though. They’ve changed the seating arrangements -both inside and out- and it’s a tremendous improvement in my opinion. The wooden tables that were on the patio area have been moved inside



and have been replaced on the patio with a row of four-seater tables.


We (Rose actually – yes it’s true- came for breakfast with me. Well, she didn’t have breakfast but did have a coffee) hadn’t been sitting there long when Charles came to our table.

“What size are you?” he exclaimed.

“Small, but perfectly formed” I replied. ” Why?”

” You need one of our new design “T” shirts” he told me.

And he was right, I did. And they’re great.



Pretty stylish eh!

And Rose got the long-sleeved version.


Now how long will it be before it “finds” it’s way to one of my drawers!

To save you the effort of looking for yesterday’s edition (I’m all heart) I’ve reproduced it below :

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.