“Last Christmas” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Did you enjoy yours? Christmas I mean.

I enjoyed mine. Difficult not to really when living here on Ambergris Caye. And we even got a drop in temperature to make it feel just that little bit more like Christmas.

On Tuesday, after enjoying my early morning ‘me time’ out on the veranda with a mug of black coffee and The Times online, I went in to ‘Town to ‘hit’ the shops to buy presents for Rose. What could you possibly buy for the woman that has everything – well she does have me, doesn’t she- you’re probably thinking.

I’d already got her a new Kindle – the old one had developed so many lines on the screen since we moved here that it was beginning to look like she was reading from a lined textbook – but had to find some stocking fillers.

Ever since Rose and I met each other – forty years ago next March 1 – we’ve bought each other loads of little gifts. Some of them not terribly expensive but hopefully the kind of things that you genuinely have a use for . And, if we really think about the purchases, something that you might even have bought for yourself!

Before shopping though I just had to go to


yes, that’s right, Estel’s Dine By the Sea, for breakfast.

I knew the Christmas spirit was in the air when the time came for me to pay. I handed over a BZ$ 100 note to Shanty only for him to return it to me a few minutes later with the words ” This one is ‘on’ everyone at Estel’s”. Nice one Charles and the rest of the team – an early Christmas present for me!

So where to go? First stop at


You can never have too much soap. And this place has so much choice:


Wasn’t brave (or stupid) enough to get this one for Rose!




“Anyone for tennis?”

And then it was on to get some




Then on to the A & R store in Pescador Drive (middle street) to get some wrapping paper and that where Christmas good deed number two took place.

I chose what I thought was some stylish silver paper with little bell emblems and was quite pleased with myself when I took it to the counter where the young lady asked me if I really did want see through wrapping paper! I hastily changed my choice and set off home and this is when Christmas good deed number three occurred.

I’d got to Boca Del Rio when I heard the constant beeping of a car horn. I looked in my mirror (yes some people in San Pedro do use the mirrors!) to see a taxi close behind me. Another one trying to ‘bully’ it’s way ahead?

I held my position but the honking on the horn got louder so I pulled over. And the taxi pulled up beside me and inside was the driver holding up my wrapping paper.

Profusely thanking him I continued on my journey and that’s when Christmas good deed number four took place.

As I approached Reef Village Resort I saw that a Transport Department checkpoint had been set up so I pulled over to get the necessary documents from my rucksack.

I hadn’t quite got them out of the bag when the Transport guy got to my cart. In fact all I done was remove the wrapping paper from the bag. The guy looked and me then looked at the wrapping paper and said “Oh you’ve got presents to wrap, best you get home and do that straight away”.

Feeling a bit like George Bailey in ” It’s a Wonderful Life” I got home feeling very happy and tackled the wrapping with gusto (it’s not normally something I enjoy doing – I’m not the most dexterous individual around!).

In the afternoon we collected our friend Dave ( he’s a serving member of BATSUB) from the airstrip. He come to stay with us for the Christmas break.

On Christmas Eve, wishing to give him a day with a difference, we took the boat up to the southernmost point of Ambergris Caye and then made the homeward journey via the Caribbean Sea side, stopping on the way for a beer at Caribbean Villas Hotel. Only the one for me, I assure you!


Dave enjoying the view


No, not me


but this. Much better, I’m sure you’ll agree!

By the time you back to the lagoon side the sun was just getting ready to set for the day.


On Christmas Day we joined the other forty- seven guests at Pedro’s Hotel for the thirteenth consecutive ‘Sad Bastards Christmas Day Lunch’ (honest, it is called that).


Table set out.


Rose (the stylish one) posing with Forrest who had been forced to wear his Christmas present.

We waved goodbye to Dave on Boxing Day but Christmas wasn’t finished for me because on the Saturday (Arsenal didn’t have a game!) I joined three friends for a day of fishing.


Roman (don’t ask, I didn’t!) getting ready to cast the net for sardines.


Success. Time to get fishing!

I was the first one to bring one in. But, like me (and Garfield for that matter) it was undersized so back it went. And that was it for me for the day. A different matter entirely for the others though.


Bill (the organiser of the trip) reeling in


a barracuda.


Think he was telling me that it was the first of many. I could be wrong though.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what Rose got me for Christmas it was this


Neat eh!

Well now you know. That’s how I spent last Christmas on Ambergris Caye.

The headline is based on the single released by Wham in 1984 which reached number two in the UK Singles Chart.

“Cruel to Be Kind” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Now where was I? Oh yes, telling you how cold (cold is relative you know) it has been recently.

Well the weather has shown a general improvement and there’s been no rain to speak of. The temperature though – and,more saliently, it’s affect on me – has been subject to the occasional chill. Some early mornings out on the veranda (c’mon you know which one by now) even with my mug of black, unsweetened, instant coffee I’ve been cold. Not freezing, but not comfortable.

Wearing of the windcheater (windbreaker for you Wes) has been a more than necessary, and very welcome, addition to my normal attire of T shirt and shorts. This feeling a drop in temperature might be the result of me finally becoming acclimatised. Or -perish the thought- another sign of the effects of advancing age. They (whoever they are?) do say, don’t they, that as you get older you feel the cold more. Me? I’m firmly of the opinion that it’s the mercury falling in the thermometer. Well I would, wouldn’t I!

The decidedly chilly weather though hasn’t stopped me (I’m a tough type really) from making the morning foray in to ‘Town for a breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. Well someone has to do it and they’d miss me. OK maybe not.

The cold snap didn’t deter Lloyd (regular readers will be aware of him as our ‘go to guy’ for the bits and pieces around the garden that we have been slowly but surely taking care of (well, he’s been taking care of it actually)) from starting work on the fence we decided to have erected along the southern side of the lot we have adjacent to our house (I might just have set my newest record for my longest sentence).

The purpose of the fence is more to delineate our property rather than, for example, to deter intruders so we elected to ‘go for’ the lower cost option of bush sticks and chicken wire.


Bush sticks at the ready.

Lloyd and his employee quickly (one of the benefits of colder weather is that people generally want to move faster!) set about ‘planting’ the posts.


They went at it fast and furious but not so fast that Lloyd didn’t see the opportunity for a pose.


Say cheese!

Before long all of the posts were in


and then it was time for the horizontal rails to be fitted


and then the chicken wire.


They couldn’t quite finish the fence because we (actually it was them – I was just watching!) ran out of ‘wire. A trip to Hermano’s


by me quickly revealed that I’d cleared the stock with my purchase. The fence remains unfinished while we wait for replacement supplies to be sent from the mainland. Island life …

This time of the year -in addition to the drop in temperature – brings with it the need to renew certain permits with the license for our boat being one of them. So it was necessary to take Gunner (for first time or occasional readers that’s the name of our boat) to the Belize Port Authority office at the southern end of Ambergris Caye.

It’s not a particularly long journey by water -perhaps five miles – but because of the fairly frequent stretches of extremely shallow water close to our home it’s not possible (or sensible) to ‘open up’ the engine. As a consequence the journey took us around thirty-five minutes. This is a problem though when you’ve got great scenery like this


and – even better – this


Captain Rose!

The whole process – checking the engine serial number, type/colour of boat, paying the fee of BZ$ 50, etc only took around ten minutes and we were on our way. We should get the new license around the first week of the new year.

In addition to renewing the boat license it was also the time of year for Ziggy to get his shots ( rabies, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus /corona virus and distemper/hepatitis) so we took a visit to the San Pedro Animal Hospital.

This proved to be a hugely embarrassing experience for me. It turns out that Ziggy, just like his Mum Rose, is a baby when it comes to needles. He made so much noise you’d have thought he was being operated on without the use of anesthetic. I know that the rabies shot was a three year booster but …

While we were there we also had the new vet, Trish Kelly, give Ziggy a once-over and when he got on the scales the truth came out. One of us has been giving him too many after meal treats. Since his last weight check he’d put on five pounds, a ten percent increase in body weight!


A disconsolate looking Ziggy after finding out the ugly truth. He’s fat!

I should have seen the signs because they were there to be seen. The normally swift movements by Ziggy to catch iguanas had gone.


As had the iguana!


He’s just too slow.

Drastic action required – much reduced level of treats for Ziggy. Sometimes you’ve just got to be cruel to be kind!

The headline for today’s somewhat disparate edition is based on the single released in 1979 by Nick Lowe which reached number twelve in both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Charts.

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

If you’re a regular reader of my blog I suppose it’s a bit like waiting for a bus (I’m not suggesting that my blog is anywhere near as important as a bus by the way). You wait an absolute age for one and then, blow me, another one follows straight behind it!

After a prolonged absence I appear to be back in the groove (no that’s not a link for the headline). Out on the veranda -the western, lagoon facing one- with a mug of black coffee and the iPad. The big difference of late though is that I’ve had to wear a windcheater (a windjammer for non UK readers) to protect myself from the early morning chill.

I obviously hadn’t protected myself enough against this change in temperature though because I managed (I haven’t a clue why/how so don’t ask!) to catch a cold which gave me some pain (it was more than discomfort I assure you) in my ear (the left one).

I didn’t let this affect my normal routines though. I mean I’m a big boy. Well actually Im neither big or a boy but you know what I mean. So after showering, shaving and getting dressed I headed off to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea. Very pleasant it was too.

With the important stuff out of the way (feeding me) it was time to pick up on some chores and number one on the list (I didn’t actually have a list because my memory is still pretty good) was picking up my voters ID card.


Now that’s what you call a ‘mug’ shot!

They managed to elongate my face for the photo and reduce my height for the information on the reverse side of the card.


Hope they don’t measure me when I go to vote. But if they’re looking for people to star in a Snow White pantomime I’m in!

When I got home I was feeling decidedly rough so I took an ibuprofen tablet and went to bed and slept for a couple of hours and when I woke up ‘hey presto’ I felt much, much better. Who said men suffer from ‘man flu’!

This ‘miracle’ recovery on my part meant that Rose and I were able to go to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar and Grill to watch and support the Boxes of Joy Fashion Show, the brainchild of Shantelle Pascascio to raise funds to buy toys for less privileged children of San Pedro.

Now I’m normally a bit like Barry Norman when it comes to children because like him ” I like children but I couldn’t eat a whole one”, but this event is something else.

Anyway enough with the words, how about a few photos.


Packed crowd patiently waiting for the show to start.


Miss San Pedro gets things underway.


And the show starts with a bang.

Now I could litter the following series of photos with ‘cute’, ‘awesome’, ‘gorgeous’ and other superlatives but I’ve fought off the urge and will leave you to fill in the gaps.
















Now that’s what you call attitude. The RIGHT attitude.

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

“My Life” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Since publishing the last edition I’ve got up every morning fully intending to ‘knock out’ another one. Out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one on the first floor- with a mug of black, instant unsweetened coffee and the iPad. All ‘tooled up’ for a spot of writing (allow me my fanciful self indulgence).

It may have been the turn in the weather – it’s been decidedly chilly (OK maybe not by your standards) and it’s rained most early mornings – but I just couldn’t conjure up the necessary enthusiasm. Now you may not have detected any signs of enthusiasm in what I put ‘out there’ but believe me it’s there. I don’t sit down with any preordained ideas (you’ve probably formed that opinion anyway if you’ve read a few editions), I just write what pops in to my head. Well sad (for me anyway) to say that this week nothing has popped in to my head.

I must admit though that the longer the absence has gone on the harder it has got to think about what to write about. So why not let you know the problems I’ve had, I thought. Who knows some of you may sympathise. Some may even empathise. No? Oh well.

Anyway enough of this what’s been happening since I last communicated with you?

Well obviously (well it’s obvious if you’ve been following this blog) I’ve braved the weather (rain and cold) to head in to ‘Town for breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea.


Tourists obviously prepared for the rainy season!

On the way to and from ‘Town I’ve eagerly watched progress on the laying (OK pouring) of the paved road north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge.


Section between the ‘Bridge and Solitude completed.


Next section will take a single lane to Legends Burger House.

And the markers are in for the next stretch that will take it to Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant & Bar.


And the next stretch will take it to my front gate!

I’ve watched Christmas decorations going up. From the tree in


Central Park

to exquisitely and ornately decorated houses




in Boca Del Rio

to putting the tree up in our house


It’s also the time of year to renew our ‘QRP’ (Qualified Retirement Program) status – renewal is required at the end of a calendar year irrespective of when you enter the programme . So I took a completed application form, a passport sized photograph and a Belize based bank account statement verifying that the required sum of US$ 24,000 has been deposited during the current year along to the Belize Tourism Board office in Barrier Reef Drive. Oh, and a payment of BZ$ 50 for each new card.



Belize Tourism Board office ‘dressed out’ for Christmas.

It will take around four weeks for our new ID cards to be produced (I don’t know why it takes so long but …) and we’re all set for another year.

So what else has been going on you’re probably (understandably I might add) thinking. Quite a lot actually and a lot of it in Angel Coral Street (back street).

The new ‘home’ for Waruguma restaurant is now starting to take shape.


No opening date yet but as the sign states it’s “coming soon”.

And just across the street the old Olympic bar (??) has been refurbished and renamed.


‘Mamacitas’ – ‘hot Mexican babes’!

Probably explains why there are so many house rules!


Think I’ll be passing on this one. Honest Rose!

Further down the street work continues on the building next to Super Buy which, it is rumoured, is going to operate as a cash and carry.


And inside it looks cavernous.


On Saturday Rose and I joined what seemed like everyone else on Ambergris Caye to look and marvel at the creativity and immense effort that had been put in by the people that took part in the San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (organised by the San Pedro Business Association).

I clicked away frantically with the camera but try as I did I failed miserably to take one photo that came anywhere close to capturing just how great the boats looked.


See what I mean! If you want to see just how good the boats looked take a look at the San Pedro Business Association’s Facebook page.

What else have I got to tell you. Oh yeh, I won the week 14 NFL Pick at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. The English guy who hasn’t got a clue about NFL strikes again beating all of the knowledgable American and Belizeans! So I’m BZ$ 130 richer (don’t think it will change my life materially). But it’s not the money. It’s the look of shock, horror and indignation on so many faces that this know nothing Brit can beat them at their own game!

So there you are. A brief glimpse at my life in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. Scintillating isn’t it. Bet you can’t wait for next thrilling instalment !

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1978 by Billy Joel which reached number three in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number twelve in the UK Singles Chart.