“Reach Out I’ll Be There” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Now I’m sure that some of you (actually now I think about it , probably many of you) think that all I do out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one- in the early morning hours is drink black, unsweetened coffee and play around with my iPad. You do, don’t you.

Well I do up to a point. But I do other things too. I enjoy the stillness and quiet although both are ‘broken’ by the sounds of birds chirping ,or a breeze rustling the leaves of the trees, or the sound of a vehicle as it passes the front gate. Or the barking of a dog as it scares off what it considers to be a potential invader of its territory (sometimes that dog is Ziggy). But I also have thoughts about things I want to do in the days,weeks and months ahead. A sort of loose (well, extremely loose) form of planning.

Some time ago (I’m unable to be more precise because I’m beginning to lose a real comprehension of time) when I was sitting there – thinking about nothing in particular – I noticed that the railings were showing distinct signs of wear and tear. Or, to give a more technical description, the humidity and salt had ‘got to them’. I got up and grabbed my camera and took a walk around.


Railings on the ground floor looking a little ‘sick’ with heavy duty rust forming.

Even the ‘burglar bar’ gates that we had installed just over a year ago had been affected.


After the tour I made another mug of coffee (instant, if you’re at all interested) and returned to my seat on the veranda to ponder (since relocating to Belize I’ve gotten really, really good at pondering. In fact I’ve virtually made it an art form!) on what action to take. It didn’t take too long. Take the railings and burglar bars back to bare metal, treat them with a rust retardant, apply primer and then a finishing coat.

So I knew what course of action was required but who to do it, that was the question (you didn’t think ‘me’ did you?). Who did I know that I trusted to do a thorough job. Someone that displayed pride in what they do. So I went in to ponder mode again ( I’m quite adroit at slipping in and out of it you know).

I thought of the guys that had worked on our house build and started to mentally go through them and it became obvious. There was only one man that I trusted for the job. Nicholas.


Those of you who read this blog during the build of our home will, I’m sure, remember Nicholas. The above photo was taken during the early phase of construction when Nicholas helped to lay the blocks.

So I contacted Nicholas and explained what I wanted to be done. “Are you interested” I asked. Silence (he was probably pondering. It’s very popular you know). “Yes, I am” he replied. ” I’ll come to your house after work. I’ll be there around 5.30 p.m.”

Nicholas arrived that evening and Rose and I showed him what needed to be done and explained how we wanted the work carried out. He didn’t take any notes but we could both see that he was paying careful attention. He left us after around forty minutes promising to get back to us the next day with his price to do the job. And he did, and we accepted it. We thought it to be fair and reasonable.

He returned on the Sunday (his only day off during a working week) and started off by filling in some settlement cracks that had appeared in the exterior ceilings of the verandas and the walls of the house.


 Nicholas then started work on the big challenge – removing the paint (and rust) from the railings.


And then it was turn of the burglar bar gates.



With the paint and rust off it was time for a quick rub down with 


the Ospho.

Time for the undercoat.
And then , after I can’t recall how many evening and Sunday sessions, work began on the finishing coat.


On one of the rare days that Nicholas had help.


Nicholas, even though he was working 07.00 to 17.00 hours Monday to Saturday came straight to our house at the end of each working day and then turned up on the Sunday, his one day of the week off.  And I hear people say that Belizeans are lazy ! And Nicholas, by now working in solitude again, finished the job.

And don’t forget if you’re thinking of buying ( or selling)property on Ambergris Caye please do give Belize Real Estate/Pelican Properties Limited the chance to help you find just what you are looking for. You just need to reach out I’ll be there !

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1966 by the Four Tops which reached number one on both the UK Singles Charts and the US Billboard Hot 100.


“Love Is a Losing Game” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In the previous edition I mentioned that Arsenal had an important Champions League game against Barcelona. I also mentioned that Rose and I get invited to join them when friends have a ‘no work today’ outing. And yesterday was one of those days.


There’s a large number of Belizean’s on Ambergris Caye that avidly follow La Liga (the premier football league in Spain) . Predominantly though they are either Real Madrid or Barcelona fans with the majority (based upon my observations) supporting the latter. When Barca are playing the distinctive shirt is to be seen all over the island.

Quatar Airways pay Barcelona £48 million a season to have its name on the shirts.

And the name seen on the back of the shirts more often than not is

Messi (Lionel) who in the opinion of many (me included) is the best football player in the world is the player’s name that adorns the back of the majority of the shirts.

So with so many Barca fans on the island I think they thought it would be good to have an Arsenal fan amongst them during the game to poke fun at and they saw me as ‘fit for purpose’ so  they invited me to watch the game with them. 

Those that know me reasonably well will know that I sometimes have dumb/stupid moments and I was experiencing one of these moments when the invitation was issued. Those same people that know me reasonably well also know that I love football (the REAL football that is) and I love Arsenal so … There was only one answer. And I gave it. “Yes”.

What I didn’t know though was that we were going to play ‘away’. We were going to Caye Caulker to watch the game. 

We assembled at Hurricane’s Ceviche Bar & Grill for a couple of pre-match nerve settlers.

 I think the ‘nerve settling’ was for my benefit because the Barca fans looked supremely confident. They were bordering on being blasé about the outcome.

Our boat came to collect us 

An extremely confident looking Chris.

I boarded and very stealthily commandeered the boat on Arsenal’s behalf.

And we set off for the very quick journey (it doesn’t take long when you have two 200HP Yamahas on the back of the boat) to Caye Caulker where we moored at Popeye’s Beach Resort‘s pier


and quickly made our way to the Barrier Reef Sports Bar & Grill

where we managed to secure ‘front of house ‘ (OK, in front of TV) seats. Game on!

The match started. Arsenal were tentative, Barcelona supremely confident. But we (I’m that close to Arsenal) stuck manfully to the task and the game reached half time at 0-0.

I looked around the bar. There was one other Arsenal fan.

Look hard below the yellow wallboard to the middle right of the photo.

The game restarted and we looked more confident. We had some chances to score but spurned them and then Barcelona struck in the 71st minute when the irrepressible Messi slotted one home. We battled bravely but he increased the lead in the 83rd minute when he calmly converted a penalty kick, sending our goalkeeper the wrong way. Game over!

To lose the game at home hurt and we now face an uphill battle in the return leg at Camp Nou on 16th March. But credit to Barcelona and credit to their fans. Well at least the ones I was with. They were gracious with their victory and didn’t rub my nose in it.

Only one thing for it. Drown my sorrows. So we headed to the Lazy Lizard

where I was surprised to see a face that I hadn’t seen for years.

Frequenters of BC’s I’m sure will remember Julie.

A few Belikins taking in the nice views 

I’m only human!

and I felt much better. So we lost. That hurts. But I still love Arsenal. But sometimes love is a losing  game!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released by Amy Winehouse in 2007 which reached number 33 on the UK Singles Charts.

Oh and don’t forget if you’re thinking of buying property on Ambergris Caye please do give Belize Real Estate/Pelican Properties Limited the chance to help you find just what you are looking for. Help me in my time of dotage!

“Got My Mojo Working” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Some mornings out on the veranda – the western, lagoon facing one – I take time out from reading The Times on my iPad and just sip my coffee (black and unsweetened) and I enter a state of cogitation (sounds like something that Mr Spock might do, doesn’t it. No. Oh well).

These cogitative states have covered a myriad of subjects but just recently I’ve kept coming back to the same one. “What changes have I undergone since moving here coming up to four years ago?”.

Well obviously there’s the physical changes. Advancing age – no matter how hard you try to fight it ((without the aid (sic) of cosmetic surgery and/or drugs ))- is one thing you just can’t beat. Well, not if you want to carry on living.

So I’ve grown a few more grey hairs (not complaining though because I’ve still got it. Hair, that is). I’ve gained a few more lines in the face. I blame the sun for that though, not aging! I’m not as agile as I used to be. I can still touch the floor – keeping the knees straight of course – with my fingertips. But … I used to be able to do this with the palms of my hand. I can’t lift the weights I used to be able to carry very easily . My days of sprinting are long since gone. Oh, I’ve lost weight too. Weight with my slim (OK, skinny) frame that I could really have done without losing. 

And there’s the mental changes to contend with too. The memory is nowhere near as good as it once was. The days of storing hundreds of telephone numbers, company names, clauses/page numbers of contracts is a thing of the past. I’d say “distant past” but I can’t really because I only packed up working for a living just under four years ago. Actually in all truth working packed up with me. I was deemed to be redundant. Surplus to needs. I suppose this evaluatin of my worth (or lack of it) hurt at the time. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions ever taken for me.

Why? Well it accelerated the relocation to Ambergris Caye, Belize for Rose and I. Over five and a half years earlier than we had been planning. 

But the physical and mental changes are not all negative ones. I’m sure that I walk with a much straighter back now than I ever did in England. The cold and rain do tend to make you hunch over. My skin is a lot better and doesn’t suffer from the dryness that the sometimes harsh English weather caused.I think the perspiration opening the pores creates a natural cleaning agent. Apologies if this sounds a bit girly but I’m told we all have a feminine side …

But most important of all is that I feel much better. Now this could be a mental thing of course but I genuinely believe it’s a physical thing too. It’s the mental changes though that are most noticeable to me. 

I’m far, far more relaxed about things now. When working for a living it wasn’t uncommon for me to be unable to go to sleep at night because I had so much going on in my head. I’m sure that many of you reading this have the same problem. That list of things that you MUST do the next day. Sound like you? Not me anymore. Now my head rests on the pillow and zzzzzzz until I wake anytime between 04.00 to 05.00 hours the next morning. 

In my previous life – the one that included overcoats, rainwear, working 12-14 hour days- the day started with me compiling a list of all of the things I had to do. Had, not wanted to do. Now ? Well I do occasionally write a list. It normally isn’t very long. And … sometimes I don’t refer to it for weeks. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve compiled some lists that I’ve never looked at again! How times change.

Now I generally only concern myself with two things. Concern One – will our 45,000 gallon rainwater collection tank last through the ‘dry season’? Concern Two – that GBP doesn’t weaken against the dollar when I’m about to exchange currency for our living expenses. The rest I just ‘allow’ to happen. I now ‘go with the flow’ as opposed to trying to go against it.

Oh, I nearly forgot. There is a Concern Three. Will Arsenal ever win the Premiership again in my lifetime? And you know what. It’s probably the thing that concerns me most!

Now what brings about these physical and mental changes? Well I’ve already mentioned the much, much ‘kinder’ climate. I mean it really is difficult – perhaps nigh on impossible – not to feel physically better when the sun is warming your aging bones. 

But you know what I think is also a contributing factor – and a big one at that ? The friendly and welcoming nature of the Belizeans. 

We’ve made many, many Belizean friends since we moved here. And I believe that we are friends because of how we are and not who or what we are. 

We’ve been invited to family events 

Rose at a Baby Shower. Not too sure what she’s supposed to be.

And I haven’t a clue what she’s doing here. Rose told me it was some kind of competition!

At least the expectant Mum controlled herself.

We’ve been to a 3 year old’s birthday party. Probably the first one I’ve been to since I was 3 myself. And we’ve been on numerous ‘no work day’ (for our friends that is. Me? I gave that stuff up nearly 4 years ago!) outings.


Not a bad place to enjoy a ‘foreign’ beer. 

Anyway enough of this reminiscing, let’s get back to Concern Three. You’ve forgotten what that is, haven’t you! “Will Arsenal ever win the Premiership again in my lifetime?”

Well I wasn’t prepared to just sit idly by and let things be what they are going to be. But what could I do? And then it ‘hit’ me. I needed a mojo. And a big one at that. So I placed an order for one and then I waited. And I waited. And then I got word that it had arrived, so I rushed to Tropic Air Cargo and collected it.

The next day after having breakfast – at Estel’s Dine By the Sea (where else!) – I rushed to my mojo’s new home. It’s temple of dreams, Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar where I’d arranged to meet THE Carlo.

I very quickly unopened the box and pulled the content out and laid it carefully out on the deck of the bar where Carlo was waiting with a pair of scissors.


Displaying speed of hands that Bruce Lee would have been envious of Carlo brandishing the scissors in all directions and my mojo started to take shape.

And then it was time to place it in its new spiritual home. The ceiling above the bar.

Rafa lending a hand. Well someone had to take the photos!

And then the finishing touches.

Mesut Özil (Arsenal and Germany).

Now hopefully Mesut will work the magic at the Emirates (and in the ‘Runway) on Tuesday when Arsenal take on Barcelona in the Champions League. And you know what? I think he will because I got my mojo working before he even arrived. I won BZ$ 1,000 in the ‘Runway’s Super Bowl Pool!

The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 1957 by Muddy Waters