“When I’m Sixty-Four” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Sitting out on the veranda the other morning with a mug of coffee ((I’ll skip the usual description – regular readers will know which veranda and what type of coffee and if you’re not a regular reader (why not?) then go through the archives)) and I started to consider (I have no idea why) how I might have changed since moving to Ambergris Caye just over three years ago.

Well obviously I’m three years older ( some more about this later). I’ve got a little greyer. Gained a few lines and wrinkles. I’ve lost some weight. Not intentionally. In fact people that know me will attest that I can ill afford to lose a few ounces let alone pounds. But the biggest change of all can’t be seen. It’s my state of mind.

When I think back to the days when I was working (and trust me I don’t do that very much now) I’d wake in the morning (as now that was anywhere between 04.00 to 05.00 hours), make a mug of coffee and start working or thinking about work straight away. And that was the way it was through to around 19.00 hours later that day.

Now? I get up, make the coffee, head to the veranda and listen to the early morning sounds. The birds awakening for the day. Fish leaping from and re-entering the lagoon. Racoons squabbling with each other. The barking of neighbours dogs. The occasional sound of a golf cart or truck going by the front gate.

My thought process might take me to thinking about what I might do during the day ahead. But it might not. If it does it’s most likely going to be something that has the potential to be physically taxing. Nothing too much that stretches mentally though. And that’s generally the way it’s been since we moved here. That was until I collected the mail from our P.O. Box a few weeks ago. Amongst the pile of envelopes was a letter from my UK Bank.

Upon opening the envelope I read to my dismay that I was being given notice. They intended to close my account!


Obviously cropped to omit the inclusion of account information. I trust YOU but I don’t know who else might read this!

Now this wasn’t the first time that I’d gone past my ‘sell by’ date (I was made redundant!) but this news hurt. It really hurt.

What could I do reverse this horrendous decision? Get in contact with Customer Services of course.

Well we (really haven’t got a clue who I was communicating with) exchanged a few emails. The tone was very courteous but you just know when you’re not getting anywhere. And I wasn’t getting anywhere.

I’d been with this bank for close on forty-four years. How could they discard me so easily and dispassionately. I’d never caused them any trouble – my last overdraft ((a miserly £5 (around US$7.50)) was over twenty years ago. I’d always kept a reasonable amount on deposit. This was so unfair. Time to bring in the big guns.

So I did what I always do if I’m not getting anywhere with a service provider. I try to make contact with the person ultimately in charge. In this case the CEO, a Mr Ross McEwan.

I did a search on Google and managed to get his email address and very quickly knocked an email out to make my case. An email full of facts and figures but littered with some emotion.

Now I didn’t get a response from Mr McEwan (if I’m honest I never really expected to) but I did get an exceptionally quick reply from the Executive Response Team.

Two emails and three telephone conversations later I got the good news that they had decided to keep me. I wasn’t after all an old fogey.

Or was I?

I pose this question because in the same delivery of mail I received correspondence from the Department for Works and Pensions. A form to fill in so that I can claim my State Pension when I reach the age of sixty-five. Ouch!


I should have realised I’d get this when I’m sixty-four shouldn’t I!

I suppose with this milestone age getting closer and closer it’s no wonder that I’ve taken (sic) to the leisure (sic again) activity favoured by those of advancing years. Yes, that’s right, gardening.

We’ve tried growing banana and plantain plants before – with abysmal results – but undeterred by our experiences we decided we’d give it another go. I think that one of the benefits of getting older is that you gain a certain resilience. Perhaps a more determined attitude. Or is it that you just become more stupid.

Anyway, whatever the reason, we collected some plants from Carlo ((he of Carlo & Ernie’ Runway Bar & Grill fame (time for another sic I think)) loaded them on the golf cart and were headed home when I saw in the rear view mirror that we were being followed by someone from the San Pedro Transport Department on a motorbike.

Fearing that I might be in for a ticket for overloading the golf cart I slowed down a bit. The motorcyclist drew up beside us and it was then that I could see that it was Freddie G.

Leaning slightly to his right he opened his mouth and said (and I swear he was looking directly at Rose when he said it) ” Do you want some babies?” ” Come, follow me.” I’m generally a trusting sort so casting aside Rose’s reservations we followed as instructed.

A short distance down the road we took a right and then pulled up behind Freddie G. He dismounted and headed to a gate all the while beckoning us to follow. Like lambs to the slaughter you’re thinking.

Once inside the garden he pointed to a pile of small banana and plantain plants. ” Help yourself “he said. So we did.



We’d already discussed positioning for our new plants so without further ado the shovel and hosepipe were out of the garage and Rose’s babies were in their new home.



It’s the one at the rear. They’re ‘babies’ remember!




It’s not all been about doing battle with the big banks and gardening though. Oh no, far important things than that. I’m talking football (the REAL football I mean).

We’ve got


which we will watch on TV at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill.

And then the return leg at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan on Tuesday 8 September.

We’ve got our transport arranged. We’ve got our accommodation booked. We’ve got our Belize Jaguars T shirts on order. Bring it on!

The headline for today’s edition is based on track nine on the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band released by The Beatles in 1967 which topped the albums charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

“Feel The Need In Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Earlier this week after a shower I looked at myself in the mirror and I knew, I just knew. So I said to myself (yes I am ‘guilty’ of talking to myself but at least this time I could see who I was talking to) “Do you feel the need in me?”

I’ve never felt this way before but I had a compelling urge for a ho. I’ve had these thoughts before but I’ve shown tremendous restraint and controlled them. But this time the need was too strong! I needed a ho that would do most of the work for me. I’m not getting any younger you know.

I think I could have fought the desire for a ho if it were not so easy to find one here on Ambergris Caye. But the establishments where they are available are so well known and the signage makes it obvious that you’ll find a ho inside them.

I decided that I would not tell Rose about my needs.- she might not understand and we might end up arguing about it. Sometimes in life you’ve just got to do what your body is telling you it needs.

So I filled my wallet with BZ$ 50 notes, surreptitiously left the house (OK, OK so it was sneakily) and headed south to where I was confident I’d find the ho that I was looking for. And needed so badly.

I hadn’t been driving for long when I saw what I was looking for


Not this one. I had something far more upmarket in mind!

So I drove a little further and there it was. A much cleaner looking building where I just knew I’d find the ho of my dreams.

I parked and locked the cart (you have to be careful outside such establishments so I’ve been told) and strode purposefully inside. I looked around for masculine assistance ((like you do when you go to a chemist (drug store for non UK readers) for that ‘little something for the weekend)) but saw females everywhere. Panic was about to set in when a deep, baritone voice said ” Can I help you sir?”.

I turned around to face the questioner and mustered up my most confident sounding voice. ” I’m looking for the most versatile and expensive ho you’ve got” I exclaimed.

He pointed to his left. ” Go try them out” he said. Barely containing my excitement I rushed over to them and after carefully inspecting each and very one of them I made my choice. This one was ‘made’ for me!


The ho of my dreams. Now isn’t ‘she’ a beauty. And only BZ$ 34.25.

Oh, I found ‘her’ here.


You didn’t think I was talking about another type of establishment did you?

So I’m now equipped to keep the weeds under control in our freshly cleaned garden . A garden that is still taking shape as you will see from the photos that follow.


Black dirt ready to fill one of the beds.

Plastic sheeting in place to keep the dirt in Lloyd and his son Anthony set to working


their way around the garden.





Waiting for the next delivery of black dirt to finish the south-East corner of the front garden.

And the road side of our front fence looks tidier too.


Just need some shrubs, trees and flowers now.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1973 by the Detroit Emeralds which reached number four on the UK Singles Charts.

NB Please don’t write to tell me it’s spelt hoe. I know but …

“Mercy Mercy Me” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Last weekend seems like a blur to me. Probably because I spent a good deal of it in a blurry Belikin state!

It all started Friday evening when I picked up Geordie (regular readers will ‘know’ Geordie from previous editions) and his colleague Chrissie who recently replaced our friend Dave as 2 IC for BATSUB,

They caught the last Maya Island Air flight from the Municipal Airport and I collected them from the San Pedro airstrip and took them back to the two bedroom apartment we have on the ground floor of our house.

They stowed their bags and then joined us upstairs and within minutes Chrissie and Rose were chatting away as if they’d been friends for years. We’ve always had great times when in the company of the BATSUB team but now Rose has someone of the same gender to chat with.

In the evening we went out for a few beers (well maybe slightly more than a few) at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill but were all up bright and early (early is a relative description in this case), had breakfast (bacon sandwiches if you must know) and then set off for a drive north to show Chrissie a little of the island.

When we got to Venetia del Caribe I took a left and parked the cart on the lagoon side so that Chrissie could get a good look at the crocodiles. If you haven’t been yet there are currently between fifteen to twenty good sized specimens there. Don’t stand too close to the water’s edge though otherwise you could be leaving more than your heart and money in San Pedro!

On the way back home we stopped off at one of the islands ‘must go to’ places


“Yes, that’s right, the Palapa Bar & Grill“.

On the way home I showed Chrissie and Geordie where Im informed (sounds very official doesn’t it) the Palapa Bar is moving to.


From the roadside.

Virtually opposite


Bamboo http://www.bamboohousebelize.comHouse.


Access to the beach and what I assume will be a cart parking area.



Pier under construction.


And it’s a long one too.

We’ll find out in a few months if my informant was telling the truth or if it was just bull&@%t.

In the evening we took Chrissie on a Poker Run and all was going great until we left Lola’s Pub when I realised that all was not well with the golf cart so I pulled up at Harmouch’s Center Hardware House.


Within about a minute three carts pulled in behind me with the drivers (they were all on the Poker Run too) wanting to know what was wrong . There was no time to dally so I drove the cart over to the Fire Station


asked if it was OK to leave it there overnight – it was – and the four of us split up and grabbed a lift from our guardian angels (OK maybe not angels because Peter aka Pedro was one of them).

We continued on the Poker Run (no, we didn’t win) and at the end of the night Peter lent me a golf cart so we could get home.

The next morning Geordie and I drove to the tyre (tire for non UK readers) repair shop in Boca Del Rio.


After explaining my predicament to Reuben he grabbed a wheel and a ratchet and jumped on our cart and we proceeded to the Fire Station where he changed the wheel. Back to his workshop and within ten minutes the puncture had been repaired and the wheel back on the golf cart. And the price you’re thinking. A mind bogglingly low BZ$15. Unbelievable right.

Geordie and I headed back home, collected Rose and Chrissie, returned Peter’s golf cart and then headed to Caribbean Villas Hotel


for Pedro’s 60th Birthday Fundraiser Bash.

The place was packed. I took a bunch of photos. And, I think, some really good ones. I can’t show you any though. My SD card got corrupted. Hanging out with me too much I assume!

Without photos you’ll just have to trust me that it was a fun event and one that raised BZ$ 15,000 to be split between the San Pedro Sailing Club and the San Pedro Animal Foundation.

Geordie bid very aggressively and scooped the auction for a great selection of activities and accommodation. And I won the bidding war for two nights for Rose and I at the HiddenValley Inn. Matt Hoy wanted it but he could see that I wanted it too. He tried to dissuade me from bidding against him when he cried ” Mercy, mercy me” (is this my worst ever song title link?) but I showed no mercy. I’ve still got that competitive spirit!

In bringing this edition to a close I’d like to say “Hi” to the guy that came up and introduced himself to me. I’m really sorry that I can’t remember your name (I’m getting old and my memory is not what it once was) so do please make contact and remind me.

Why do I mention this? Well, it’s because he came up to me and asked if I was John, the guy that writes the blog. ” Yes” I replied. “Thank you” he responded, ” You inspired my wife and I to build a home on Ambergris Caye”. And you know what? I felt really chuffed.

The headline for today’s edition is based on the (brilliant) single released in 1970 by Marvin Gaye which reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.

“Good Time” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

My day yesterday started much as every day starts for me. I wake up! Then it’s to the kitchen (I do put some clothes on), kettle on and then the mug of black, unsweetened instant coffee. Mug in hand I then unplug the iPad Air and take both out to the veranda. The western one on the lagoon side.

I then spend around an hour to ninety minutes catching up with what’s been going on in the world. Well, to be honest, not everything, just the bits that interest me.

I then shower, shave, dress, pat Ziggy, kiss Rose goodbye (I have been known to get this in the wrong order) and head off for breakfast at Estel’s Dine By the Sea.

During my time at Estel’s I normally give some thought as to what I plan to do for the rest of the day. What tasks I think I might like to tackle. I never put too many on my mental list because I don’t want to fail.

I didn’t draw up the list yesterday though because I knew that we had Peter Lawrence’s (aka Pedro of Pedro’s Hotel) birthday lunch to attend at Caribbean Villas Hotel so I just spent a bit of time watching (it’s so much easier watching) Lloyd and Gonzalo working on the garden.

After breakfast I’d gone to the Caribbean Depot to order eight yards of shingle (gravel for non UK readers) and shortly after I arrived home this was delivered and straight away Llyod and Gonzalo set about spreading it along the driveway.




Gonzalo on wheelbarrow duty.

Lloyd had to leave after a while so Gonzalo turned his attention to building the rock walls for the beds that we want for flowers, shrubs and trees.


Choosing the right rock.


And the wall starts.


And in no time at all.








three and four.

Enough of the garden you’re thinking. What about Peter’s (Pedro’s) birthday lunch. Well it was good. Really good. Smoked salmon, steak (cooked to perfection), duck (I opted ‘out’), mashed potatoes, rice and salad. Finished off with cheesecake and key lime pie. Oh, and we toasted Peter with champagne too. No photos though – I was too busy having a good time!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2008 by Alan Jackson which reached number forty on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the US Hot Country Songs chart.