“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.



  1. Gary & Ann says:

    Any expats interested in providing insight/information to new mainlanders coming to San Pedro next month and possible retiring there, most of you have been there and most likely searched like we are doing in the beginning.

    1. Hi Ann and Gary. Fire the questions you have to me and I’ll do my best to answer them. If I don’t the answer I’ll tell you.

  2. Tom wagner says:

    Rust never sleeps!

    1. It would be good if it took a snooze sometimes though Tom.

  3. 4sarge says:

    Robert, there is a paint designed to kill rust. It actually will stop the Rust in its tracks. It works here in the US Rust Belt. Its an undercoat unless Black is your desired Color. It’s used on Snow Plows, Outdoor Implements, etc. Several different brands sold to farmers, businesses, etc,. Sorry, I do Not know the Brand Name (I’ll blame old age) but I’ll come across it and let you know.

    1. Thanks for the information 4Sarge I’ll do a bit of Googling!
      Oh, and by the way, I’m John.

      1. 4sarge says:

        Sorry John. I saw a Reply and it was to Robert – I’ll blame it on a lack of Coffee. 🙂 Salt is Brutal

      2. No worries. Stop putting salt in your coffee then!

  4. Tom wagner says:

    John, You should try Caye Coffee excellent!

    1. I know it’s good Tom, I drink it every time I go to Estel’s. Oh, and I go there quite a lot!

  5. woof4treats says:

    Love the paint job. Good job Nicholas! What is next on the “to do list”?

    1. We’re very pleased with it Kathy. As to next jobs, that would be telling. And then I’d have nothing to write about!

  6. Kristina H Nadreau says:

    I can so relate to the “pondering”. and also to the rusting or mildewing on every surface. thanks for posting the prep work products, “ospho” I will need some.

    1. I’m what I consider an expert ponderer now Kristina. Oh, and Ospho isn’t that expensive .

  7. robert vernon says:

    Hi John. I did the same as you , stripped back to bare metal , rust proofer, primer and top coat , all Rustoleum products, in 3 months rust started coming through. Only bone way to solve, get the metal galvanised, it should have been in the first place.
    You’ll be pondering for ever now, and even worse,the Gunners got shot away by a teen anger, sorry, not trying to rub salt into the wounds, but it gets in everywhere. LOL. PS. Can you work as a QRP .?

    1. Hi Robert. Important things first. Watching Arsenal struggle against a team including so many novices was embarrassing. I’m not looking Gerard to playing Spurs next week at all.
      The railings should have been constructed with galvanised steel but …
      You can’t work as a QRP but you can own (co – own) a business (es).

  8. tacogirl says:

    Love the color choice, looks great.

    1. Thanks Laurie. We like it too. Before it had a Matt finish. Now it’s got gloss.

  9. Susan says:

    Looks good!

    1. Thank you Susan. Perhaps ‘an every four years job”!

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