“Higher Ground” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Sitting out on the veranda, the western, lagoon facing, one on Sunday morning shortly after 04.00 hours with the prerequisite mug of black, unsweetened, instant coffee and my iPad reading the Sunday Times online I relived Arsenal’s superb performance the previous day when trouncing Aston Villa to retain the FA Cup.

The day had been a good one. No, a tremendous one (if I were from the USA I might be tempted to say it was an awesome one. But I’m not, so I won’t.). A morning spent with the one I love -Arsenal – only kidding, I mean Rose of course. And some good friends.

On the day I left home at around 08.20 hours to pick up some groceries that we needed for our pre-match breakfast. Eggs, bread, milk and orange juice if you must know and then went straight to Maya Island Air to pick up our friend Geordie who is one of the six strong BATSUB team based at Price Barracks, Ladyville.


The Geordie has landed!

We drove straight home and then around 09.30 hours Peter Lawrence (aka Pedro of Pedro’s Hotel)arrived and Rose , with culinary direction from me (who do I think I’m kidding), rustled up breakfast. What did we have you’re thinking. Well, we had:
scrabbled eggs
sausages (Cumberland style)
beans (Heinz of course)
orange juice

Now I know that I should have taken a photo or two but there was no time to waste waffling around with the camera. We had an important game of football (the real type I mean) to watch. So you’ll just have to trust me that it looked as good as it tasted.

We then settled down to watch the game which Arsenal won at a canter


and we retired to the veranda (yes, the western, lagoon facing, one) to celebrate.



“Don’t you just hate it when the bottle is empty”.

With the champagne finished Peter left us – our company obviously was not scintillating enough for him – so we cleared up and went to Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill where we continued to celebrate. With Belikin this time though!

Anyway, enough of Arsenal’s FA Cup victory (did I really just write that) because I’m going to bring you up-to-date on our garden clean-up.

In the last edition I included a few photos showing what an overgrown mess of weeds our garden has become. I’d tried manfully to keep the weeds under control (OK maybe not manfully enough) and had failed miserably. Only one thing to do. Call in Lloyd, our ‘go to’ man!

We ran through with Lloyd what we wanted to be done and last Tuesday shortly after 07.00 hours he turned up with Gonzalo. Introductions were made, Lloyd departed and Gonzalo set about the task in hand wielding his machete like a man possessed.

The piles of weeds grew and grew


and clear earth could be seen again!

And then Gonzalo – with Lloyd’s son Anthony manning the wheelbarrow – started work on the southern corner of the front garden.


With the pile of weeds in the back garden getting higher and wider


and all the while the front looking cleaner and cleaner.






There’s lots more to do. Some beds to create, a mini rock wall in front of the front fence and a lot of black dirt to be spread so that we end up with some higher ground (this could go down as my worst ever song title link) that we can grow trees and plants in.

I’ll of course share this project with you (if only I could share the cost as well!).

Before I bring this edition to a close I’m including a plug for a fundraiser being held this coming Sunday. If you’re in San Pedro it’s an event not to be missed.


The headline for this edition is based on (I know that you know but …) the single released by Stevie Wonder in 1973 which reached number twenty-nine on the UK Singles Charts and number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Maybe I’m Amazed” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

To those of you that have missed me , thanks. Sorry I’ve been extremely lax in knocking out editions. To those of you that haven’t missed me I’ve only one thing to say! Why not ?

Tomorrow Rose and I will celebrate (and it will be something to celebrate) our third anniversary of upping sticks and moving from London, England to Ambergris Caye, Belize.

I must admit that this anniversary was not front of mind for me (not a lot is nowadays though) but the fact was highlighted for me when driving home from ‘Town the other day.

Looking in my rear view mirror I could see a bicycle coming up on the inside of me and then I heard my name cried out. I pulled over and saw that it was a fellow Englishman who, funnily enough, arrived on the island exactly the same day as Rose and I.

We spent the first few minutes catching up on what each of us have been doing recently and then he told me with great excitement that he’d been informed a few days previously that his application for Residency had been approved. And he’d be getting his paperwork within the next week or two.

The look of pleasure on his face was something to behold and when he gave me the background to his application I understood why.

Now this chap (he’s British so I’ll refer to him in this manner as opposed to ‘guy’) spent the required twelve month qualification period in the country. He never left at all even though he could have done. He wanted no complications. He personally took his application to Belmopan. He wanted to be certain. And then he waited. And he waited. For two years!

You know what though? He told me it’s been worth the wait!

Not everything takes an age in Belize though. And some things beat where I originate from by a mile.

Last week the ‘cart started to make noises that I didn’t like the sound of at all (too technical for you?). I didn’t have a clue what the problem was but I intuitively knew that something was not right and that something was going to break real soon. There was only one thing to do. Get a new ‘cart? No, take it to Giovanni!

Giovanni operates his business in Seagrape Drive and although it may not look much


I’ve found -thus far- that he does a first class job.

He asked me what was wrong and although I did my best (as we all have probably experienced from time-to-time this sometimes just isn’t good enough) he was none the wiser so he jumped on to the ‘cart and took it for a short ride. Returning within minutes he exclaimed “It’s the clutch. You need a new one”.

Rose ( she’s my technical adviser), Giovanni and I got into his ‘cart and made the short drive (it’s in the same road) to FCS Aluminum where we purchased a new clutch. But not before Rose (she’s my negotiator too) uttered the word that retailers and sellers of services around the island have come to dread. “Discount” she said with a steely (and scary) glint in her eyes.

The price tumbled from BZ$ 532.50 to BZ$ 472.

We grabbed the new clutch and returned to Giovanni’s workshop and fifteen minutes later – for the princely sum of BZ$30 – it was fitted. I just stood there with an incredulous look on my face (or was it just a stupid look? You’ll have to ask Rose as to which) and Rose asked what was the matter. “Nothing”, I replied. “It’s just, well, maybe I’m amazed at quickly he did it” (OK, OK I know it’s probably my weakest and corniest link yet but I’m out of practice).

So what else have I been doing you’re wondering. You are, aren’t you.

Well we’ve started our garden clean up/landscaping with seriousness. I started the ball rolling by clearing the mess outside our front fence. This area (and I really cannot understand why) appears to be seen by users of the road north as an ideal place to throw their rubbish. Bottles, plastic beakers, polystyrene food receptacles, cardboard boxes. Get the picture. No?




Got the picture now?

Rose and I filled a rubbish (garbage for non UK readers) bag from just 125 feet of road frontage. And then I started the weeding.


They’re weeds. Honestly.

And within no time at all


it started to look a lot tidier.

Now our plan is to create a bed -we’ve yet to determine with what – in front of the fence that will hopefully signal to travellers along the road that it’s not a convenient place to dump their rubbish.

But the real work is going to take place on the other side of the fence to turn this





into something that will hopefully resemble a garden.

I’ll bring you up to date in the next edition but must bring this one to an end. Arsenal just retained the FA Cup by beating Aston Villa four goals to nil and … well I’m out to celebrate!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the Wings single released in 1977 which reached number twenty-eight on the UK Singles Charts and number ten on the US Billboard Hot 100.

(San Pedro Animal Hospital) “Please Don’t Go” from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye,Belize.

Hi Ziggy here. Managed to grab hold of the iPad while John’s taking a shower so I thought I’d let you know how things have been for me lately.

Those of you that have been reading John’s blog for a while will probably recall that last October I was diagnosed as having an infection in my left ear and medication was prescribed to cure the problem.

John applied the drops religiously (well actually John isn’t that religious but you probably understand what I mean) and we thought the problem had been eradicated.

Much to my chagrin though we were wrong. We (( Rose (have I mentioned that I really like her), John (he’s OK) and me)) went to the San Pedro Animal Hospital (‘S.P.A.H.’) a few weeks ago for me to get a shampoo, pedicure and a general ‘once-over’.

All was going swimmingly until Doctor Patricia (Tricia to her friends like me) took a look at my left ear. Uh, oh – a problem. There were still traces of bacteria. So it was back on the medication for me.

We went back to the surgery last week and … problem solved. Goodbye nasty bacteria!

I thought that was it as far as visits to the ‘S.P.A.H.’ was concerned until it’s time for my next bit of beauty treatment (I know, I know – I don’t need it). But boy did I get that wrong.

I sensed something was wrong yesterday morning when I got out on to the veranda (the western, lagoon facing, one) with John around 04.30 hours. Him to chill out with his first mug of coffee (instant, black and unsweetened if you must know) of the day and me for a good slurp of water and some chow.

Well he had his mug of coffee but where was my stuff? An empty water bowl and no food dish.


“Not happy”.

All became clear not long later when Rose appeared with my lead. We were going out . Great. Or so I thought.

I was quite happy when I got on to the ‘cart


and my happy mood prevailed all the way in to ‘Town. Until


we stopped in front of the ‘S.P.A.H’!

And then John (by this time I was starting to think that he’s not so OK) grabbed hold of my lead and we went to the ‘Hospital’s Reception and he handed me over -without a second thought – to Xiomara and Abdy (they assist Doctor Tricia) and just left me there!

I don’t remember a lot after that. I know that my front left leg was shaved


and I was given an injection. What happened after that is just a blur.

Some time later (sorry but I haven’t a clue how much later) Rose and John appeared and I very quickly (well as quickly as my drowsiness would allow) positioned myself right next to Rose (I trust her).


John handed over some money and then we headed home. I was pleased. I still felt a little queasy but I was hungry and thirsty. I hadn’t eaten or drank since the previous night.

I now know that the reason for the visit was to have my teeth cleaned. I’d like to show you just how clean they are but I still don’t feel like smiling.

Now as much as I don’t like going to the ‘Hospital there is a really serious side to this little story. Unless the Belize Veterinary Association, Veterinary Surgeons Board and Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) relent and renew Doctor Laurie Droke’s (she started the ‘Hospital in 2009) licence and permits to operate in Belize then the facility will close.

This would be a catastrophe (apologies to my feline friends). I mean where would I and my four legged furry friends on the island go when we are not feeling well?

I’m far from being an expert but the ‘Hospital seems very well equipped to me





That’s me trying out the weighing scales. A svelte 57lbs if you must know

and the staff are fantastic.


From left to right: Xiomara, Doctor Patricia and Abdy.

What can be done you want to know. You do, don’t you! Well send emails to the people that hold the future of this much needed island facility in their hands. It will only take you a few minutes but it could mean so much to my friends and I:

Dr. DePaz: depaz_miguel2004@yahoo.com
Dr. Gongora: victor@gmail.com
Dr. Chimilio: bchimilio@yahoo.com
Dr. Crawford: janecrwfrd@yahoo.co.uk
Dr. Paquet-Durand: ipaquet@gmx.net
Dr. Myers: joe_my2003@yahoo.com

Let the above people know just how important the Hospital is. Please.

I may not always welcome my visits to the San Pedro Animal Hospital but … please don’t go.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1979 by KC and the Sunshine Band which reached number three on the UK Singles Chart and number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.