“I Remember You” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Hi all, Ziggy here.

Yes, I know it’s been an absolute age since I last commandeered John’s iPad and knocked out an edition for you, my adoring fans. But I’ve been busy. Enjoying myself if you must know.

I thought something was afoot when Rose and John spent time at the beginning of last week in the ground floor apartment. Giving it a bit of a dust over is, I think, the way Rose described it.

Now it’s not that uncommon for them to both descend the stairs with brooms, dusters, buckets and other cleaning paraphernalia and go into the apartment but it’s normally on a Thursday or Friday (getting quite clever with the days of the week aren’t I). Never on Tuesday.

This was puzzling. What was going on? Wednesday came and Wednesday went and still nothing. I was getting quite perturbed and agitated. The suspense was excruciating. If they were doing this to test my patience then they were succeeding.

Now if I had thought something was up before I knew for sure that it was on Thursday when I saw Rose with my lead in her hand doing her best impression of Barbara Woodhouse as she cried out “Walkies”.

Lead on it was onto the golf cart and down to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill where John dropped Rose and I off, turned the ‘cart around and headed off down the road.

Minutes later I heard the sound of our ‘cart (they don’t sound all the same you know) as it pulled back in to the cartpark. And then I saw. And I knew. I thought “I remember you“. It was Frank. He’d come back to see me.

Now for those of you who are not aware of my background (shame on you) I was found , along with brother Grizzly, as a three week old young whippersnapper by Frank who, at the time, was a serving member of BATSUB.


Grizzly is on the right. The ‘blonde’ handsome one on the left is me. The Zigstar!

I was so excited and must admit that I lost my cool and jumped up down, licking and scratching (not intentionally of course) Frank at the same time.

But I’m an old soldier and there was only one way to celebrate seeing Frank again.


“Cheers Frank”.

It was great to see Frank again and we got to go back to our favourite haunt when we used to visit Ambergris Caye.


Recognise it? No.




They’d spotted I was in the bar.


That’s right, The Palapa Bar & Grill.

We spent a lot of time together during his stay but he also got to see some of his ex BATSUB colleagues too.



Funny they’re always at the bar isn’t it!

The time passed so quickly though and this morning it was time to say au revoir (I just know I’ll see Frank again).


Frank leaving the apartment for the last time on this visit.

But not before we’d squeezed in one last breakfast for Frank at Estel’s Dine By the Sea.


And then it was off to the San Pedro airstrip


where we said our farewells.



And I got back to doing what I do best.


Yes, that’s right, sentry duty!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1962 by Frank Ifield which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Those of you that read this blog with any degree of regularity will know that I like football. And by football (or futbol) I mean the eleven-a-side version referred to as football (futbol) around the world and NOT the inappropriately named game played in America!

So when the opportunity was presented to Rose and I to go and watch Belize’s World Cup 2018 qualification group game versus the Cayman Islands it was , as The Godfather put it so eloquently, ” An offer we couldn’t refuse”.

We met the other rabid (OK so maybe not rabid but we were enthusiastic and hopeful) Jaguars followers at the Ramon’s Village Resort dock yesterday at 16.30 hours to make the journey to Belize City on a boat chartered just for us.


Fellow supporters waiting to board. Enough time though for Rose to ‘sink’ a Belikin. There’s always time for a Belikin!


Some of the Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill crew. Oh, and Rose.

And the really, really important stuff.



It wasn’t just for the boat trip!

And then San Pedro was in the distance behind us.


as we headed to Belize City



and around an hour after we departed were mooring up


at the Ramada Belize City Princess hotel.

Just time to check in, a quick change of clothes and then the coach


But not before the ‘valuables’ had been loaded.

to the FFB Stadiumin Belmopan.

Around eighty minutes (and three Belikins – well, for me anyway) later we arrived to join the crowds trying to enter the stadium



via orderly (by Belize standards) queues. And fairly quickly found our seats. Game on!



The Jaguars had the lion’s (terrible I know) share of possession but the final pass or cross of good quality just couldn’t be conjured up and the penalty awarded in the first few minutes was saved by the Grand Cayman goalkeeper and the first half ended scoreless.

Before departing the pitch the team had a group huddle. Tactics for the second half?


We discussed our tactics too and quickly decided that another Belikin was in order. Carlo to the rescue!


“Push to the front”.


“Yeh, Carlo has scored !”

The second half started and The Jaguars with some inspired substitutions went on attack after attack but were profligate in finishing. The goal we all wanted eluded them and the game ended goalless. Hopefully the forwards will find their scoring boots when the teams play the return leg on Sunday in the Grand Cayman Islands. Just sorry I won’t be there.

Disappointed but not downhearted we made the return journey to Belize City and around two Belikins later (I’m never as good in the second half!) -or around midnight- we arrived at the hotel.

Rose and I were up bright (well as bright as I could muster) this morning to make the 06.00 hours (or so we thought) departure for San Pedro.

We got to the dock at 05.50 hours. Early we thought. Nobody else thought that though. The boat had gone. And looking out to sea we could see where. It was on its way back to San Pedro. BUT… without us.

What had gone wrong? Simple. The normally super efficient and sometimes Teutonic Carlo had forgotten to tell us that the boat was leaving at 05.30 hours and not at 06.00 hours.

You can well imagine – I’m sure – how we felt as we made our revised travel arrangements. We felt much better though when we found out that Carlo had overslept and the missed the boat too.

This last leg of the journey mishap didn’t detract from was a fantastic experience . But Carlo next time don’t you forget about me!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1985 by Simple Minds which reached number seven on the UK Singles Chart and number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Some Kind of Wonderful” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

One day last week Rose and I were invited by a friend to go see the house that he has built on the beach three and a half miles south of ‘Town. Being the inquisitive (no, not nosy) types we are we readily agreed. And I’m pleased that we did.

He built the house as a business investment but given the thought, care and attention you’d think that he built it to live in himself.

Now I’ve got to admit here and now that I have a vested interest. Why? Well, Pelican Properties Limited/Belize Real Estate -which I have a shareholding in – is marketing the property for him but that hasn’t influenced my description of the property one iota. But even if it had, the photos don’t lie (no photoshopping here I assure you).

As we pulled in behind the house we could see it was big


but we didn’t realise how big until we climbed the stairs and entered the living, dining and kitchen area. A huge space.




With a complete ‘wall’ of windows looking out at the Caribbean Sea


that provide access to a huge veranda and fold back to allow the cooling breezes to flow through the house.

The house has three spacious bedrooms, all en suite



Bedroom one


Bedroom one’s en suite. Like the other bathrooms this will be finished to the lucky owners specifications.



Bedroom two.

The Master Bedroom.




With a stunning view of the Caribbean.

A gigantic roof terrace will be just the place for those sunset parties



after spending sun filled days in and around the pool


or on the beach


The property also benefits from a cavernous garage that will also house the washing machine and dryer.


and provide access to the house itself via a spiral staircase.


Clean, modern lines. It’s just some kind of wonderful.

And if three en suite bedrooms isn’t enough for you there’s space next to the garage to build a self contained apartment.

Interested? Well for US$1.5m it’s yours. You just need to get in touch with Pelican Properties Limited/Belize Real Estate. Or, let me know – I could do with the commission!

Price Reduction! Special of the Month! Simply Stunning Beach Front Home! PBH

The headline for today’s edition (alright, advertisement) is based on the single released in 1960 by The Drifters which reached number thirty-two on the US Billboard Hot 100.

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

Now Rose may only have been away for a month but since we’ve been reunited she’s been amazed at the number of changes that have taken place while she was away.

Those who live here and those that visit love this place -understandably in my opinion – for it’s laid back, slower pace of life. But in reality things don’t actually move that slowly (and no, I’m not talking about taxis and trucks on the new paved road north of the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge!).

In all of the years we came here for our holidays (more often than not we made two visits a year) we noticed change but investment was buoyant, the island was growing as a tourist destination and we only came every six/seven months.

Things then started to slow. Projects started only for investment in them slowing to the point that some developments, having started, were never brought to the point of completion.

What I’ve noticed lately, and this awareness being made more acute by Rose’s absence and the observations she has made since returning, is that there has been a recent lifting of confidence and an injection of funding to develop. And that’s both new builds and extensions of existing ones.

Doubting me? Well let’s take a look.

Remember Sam’s Hardware in Pescador Drive (middle street). No. Well it used to look like this.


And then this


And this


And now this


I’m told that retail units are going up, probably with apartments above.

And then there’s the sixteen room, new hotel, Park Place, going up in Boca Del Rio


which I understand could be operational by July.

And then there’s the new supermarket going up near Annie’s Pastries


And the huge extension above Save On


Just around the corner – opposite Tropic Air’s Arrivals- an extensive refurbishment and extension is being undertaken.


Oh, and the build on the lot immediately north of us has been completed.





What we thought was going to be a house is in fact two apartments. And one of them is now occupied. We have new neighbours!

It’s not all new stuff though. Remember I told you about Tengo Cocos


Well it’s gone. Yep, just like that.


And it’s been replaced by?


What ? The Jolly Roger!!!

It also looks like the rumour I told you about as long ago as last November (now you starting to think I have a crystal ball, aren’t you) is true because the place was sold and it’s increasingly looking likely that come next January The Palapa Bar & Grill will have new management.


Now one change I do like. Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill has got new signage for the Gent’s (male restroom for non UK readers).


Now I liked the place anyway but now …

Oh speaking of Arsenal, Rose got me terribly excited yet jealous at the same time when she told me she’d had her photo taken with Arsene Wenger when she visited the Arsenal shop. I rushed around telling all of the Arsenal fans on the island (all six of them!). And then the photo arrived.


It was with a cardboard cut-out! Oh, Rose is the shorter one with the sunglasses.

Nothing to do with this edition whatsoever but just a couple of things I looked at from the veranda. The western, lagoon facing one.



The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Peaches & Herb in 1978 which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the UK Singles chart.

“I Saw Her Standing There” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

They say – whoever these sage like people are – that the older you get, the quicker time flies. Well I must be getting horrendously old because the month that Rose was away (visiting her family in England) just whizzed by.

It only seemed like a few days ago when the tears were streaming down ( her face, not mine!) when I said goodbye to her. On reflection though her tears may have been tears of Joy and not, as I thought at the time, sorrow. I’m only joking. Honestly Rose. Believe me. PLEASE!

But the month flew by and on Monday Rose left her North London base at 05.30 hours and caught the United Airlines 09.30 hours flight to Houston but not before she enjoyed breakfast at the United Club (we’d upgraded her return ticket to Business Class – contrary to what some think I am not tight!).

After a restful night at a hotel fairly close to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport she then caught the 13.14 hours flight to Belize which was scheduled to arrive at 14.43 hours. But it didn’t. It was delayed by forty minutes.

Eventually though the plane landed and Rose, brandishing her Qualified Retirement Program ID card cleared Immigration, collected her two suitcases


and cleared Customs so quickly that she was able to present herself at the Tropic Air Check In desk for the 15.40 hours flight to San Pedro. Seventeen minutes within landing. A new world record?


What were you doing, you’re thinking. Waiting at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill. That’s what. Drinking a Sprite (yes, a Sprite) watching Real Madrid play FC Schalke 04 in a Champions League game.

I wasn’t there for the football (soccer for readers from the US) though. And definitely not for the Sprite. I was there because it’s a great location and vantage point if you’re meeting someone flying to the San Pedro airstrip.

I waited there patiently – after four weeks what’s another hour- and eventually heard the sound of an aeroplane about to land ((it’s not that I’ve spent that much time at Carlo & Ernies (???) but I really do believe that I can now distinguish between a Tropic Air and Maya Island Air aircraft)). And then … I saw her standing there.


I gulped down the remainder of my Sprite, delaying only slightly to watch Schalke score a goal (c’mon, it was a corker of a goal) and whizzed around to Tropic Air’s baggage claim area to get my baggage. And Rose, of course.

After a quick hug (well it wasn’t that quick actually, she wouldn’t let go of me!) I loaded the cases on the back of the golf cart and went back to Carlo & Ernie’s for a ‘welcome home’ drink. This time I had Belikin. And then it was time to head home to see what she’d bought me. I love surprises.


Sorry The San Pedro Sun but I do miss a British national newspaper. These three I worked for and on for twenty-four years.

And there were some tasty treats



Yum, yum. Now how long will they last?



something more to read. Yes, about Arsenal.

And a new pair of sunglasses to replace the pair I (stupidly) lost when paying a bill in San Pedro.


And some new apparel.


Snazzy eh!

And some more


Arsenal stuff. All bought at Highbury House (yes, there’s another one) the Arsenal merchandise shop at the Emirates Stadium. The home of Arsenal and all that’s good about football (real football, that is).

Now this


is for our front fence. Some of the other stuff though were gifts for our fellow Arsenal fans that live on Ambergris Caye.

It wasn’t all about me though (it should have been but …). Rose didn’t forget Ziggy


she bought him this.


Now the presents are very nice but the best present of all was (wait for it) getting Rose back.

The headline for today’s (much awaited – well by me anyway) edition is based on the single released in 1963 by The Beatles which reached number fourteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Betcha by Golly, Wow” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Yep, still here. Still been getting out on to the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one – every morning with the mug of black, unsweetened coffee and the iPad. Nothing much changes but yesterday it just felt different.

Why, you might be thinking. You’ve been living on Ambergris Caye long enough (coming up to three years) for nothing much to surprise you,faze you, make you feel differently. And I think generally you’d be right. But yesterday was different. Really different.

I’ve felt ‘part’ of this place (and I know it’s the same for Rose) ever since we first visited. And that sense of ‘belonging’ has grown with every year that has passed. But yesterday I truly felt PART’ of it.

So what was so special. So momentous about yesterday? The Municipal Elections that’s what. So what, they happen every three years. Ah, but yesterday I got to vote.


At long last I could use my VOTER’s ID card and exercise my right!

I’d intended to get to the Polling Station at the San Pedro High School shortly after it opened at 07.00 hours but I spent too much time looking at emails from people thinking of buying property in Belize through Pelican Properties Limited/Belize Real Estate Limited and I ended up having to rush to make the 08.00 appointment I had for a fishing trip. Don’t worry though, I’ll get back to the ‘Elections later!

I arrived at the TMM Charter’s dock five minutes late ( considered to be early in Belize!) and we set off within minutes and headed south


No, there wasn’t a bank robber on board !



to get some sardines for bait.

Ali, the Captain, bait catcher, fishing guide/mentor and all round nice guy acted as pilot to get us through the mangroves to where the bait (the unsuspecting sardines) would be waiting for us. Just for us . Or so we thought!



We passed (just) by the mangroves whose roots appear like they’ve been sculptured.



I don’t know what it is about mangroves but I become transfixed. I can look and marvel at them for ages. They have an ethereal beauty. But we were there to fish, not for me to look at mangroves so Ali got to work with the net.


But it seemed like everybody out fishing had the same idea



and the pickings were slim so we headed over to Caye Caulker where, according to Ali, the bigger Mummy sardines lived!

And he was right because within minutes


the net was in the water



and some lovely big sardines were in the bucket. Time to fish!

I could tell a fisherman’s tail (yes, I know it’s not spelt this way) and tell you that I reeled them in all day. But I won’t. Because I didn’t. But I did catch this.


It was a close run thing as to whether I would go in or he (or she?) would come aboard but I won in the end.

And then it was back to Ambergris Caye so that Ali could clean my prize



so that I could go cast my votes at a very busy Polling Station.



Now where to vote?


No, not there.

But here.


Surnames D-F. That’s me!

After showing my ID card, having my name checked off the Electoral Register and immersing my right index finger in purple dye


I was allowed to vote.

Did I feel good ? You betcha by golly wow ( I never, ever thought I would manage to use this one!).

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1972 by The Stylistics which reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number thirteen on the UK Singles Chart.