“Shop Around” for San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

In the previous instalment I left you in the United Club lounge at Houston airport where I was whiling away the time waiting for my plane to Heathrow Airport.

Rose had caught the 13.17 hours flight back to Belize but my plane wasn’t  taking off until  17.45 hours so I got myself a beer, a plate of nibbles, found a comfy chair and settled down with the paperback ( A Little Life) that I bought in the airport bookstore.

A few beers and a hundred and something pages later it was time to report to the gate for my flight.

Once on the plane I settled down in my seat, asked for a glass of champagne and got the movie channel on. Two films and a lovely tenderloin, followed by the cheese board and then ice cream all complemented by a very nice Pouilly- Fumé and I was ready for some shut eye.

I awoke for breakfast and by the time I’d finished eating we were making the descent and eventually touched down at 09.40 hours, some 9 hours and fifty minutes after departing from Houston.

I disembarked from the plane and made the long walk (Terminal 2  has grown so much since I left the UK) to Immigration where I joined the long queue but thanks to my new ePassport only took around 10 minutes before I was collecting my suitcase (actually to be precise it was bags- I had a rather large empty bag in my suitcase ) and walking to International Arrivals 

where I scanned the area looking for a board with my name on it, I’d booked a taxi to collect me and take me to my hotel. 

Not seeing anything with anything remotely like my name on it I got on the ‘phone to the taxi company and was deep in conversation when I could feel my space being invaded. There was an unseen person getting ever closer to me. I moved slightly to my left but the body moved with me. I went to move again when an arm wrapped around me and pulled me closer. I looked around ready to vent my feelings when I saw it was my best friend, John Townley. He’d come to the airport to welcome me back to the UK.

What a nice gesture you’re thinking. You are, aren’t you! Me? Well I know he was trying out his new free travel pass that he got when he reached the age of sixty. There’s no way he would have spent money to come and greet me! He’s normally very careful (some might say tight) with his money.

We were both telling each other how good the other one looked (why do we do this?) when we interrupted mid-flow. My taxi driver had found me. John and I said our goodbyes and I headed to Central London and pulled up outside my hotel.

No, not this one. But this one.

I checked in at Reception but was too early for my room so I ‘dumped’ my luggage with the Porter and headed straight to the nearest branch of NatWest. I needed to get some ackers (for non- UK readers this is slang for money) if I was going to be able to shop around!

With money in my pocket I took a short stroll through Covent Garden 


dwelling for a while to watch and admire a very talented street entertainer.

No wires to be seen!

And then to the underground station to load up my Oyster card with some spondulas ((for non UK readers this is another slang word for money  (see how easily I slipped back in to the vernacular)) and I was on my way to Tottenham Court Road. I had suitcases to fill!

First stop was 

I needed some underwear and socks .

And then I was ready for the important stuff. Shopping for Rose!

Primark , or Primani as Rose calls it, a retail chain (now with a store in the USA) that sells fast  fashion at inexpensive prices.

I walked in to the store to be confronted by an ever moving mass of females that moved effortlessly from rack to rack taking all in its way along with it. Undaunted I removed my iPad from my backpack and found the photos that Rose had sent me. Photos of the clothes and shoes she wanted me to find and buy. 

I wandered around the racks, floor to floor and then back again and one by one I found nearly all of the selections Rose had made. I did have to improvise occasionally and choose an item that bore the greatest resemblance. 

Feeling battered and bruised I made my way to the counter, paid and made my escape. I shopped at Primark and lived to tell the tale!

Needing some respite from that most brutal of shopping experiences I saw a most welcome sign above a store

Lush where the aromas made my Primark experience a distant memory!

And look what I found.

Swiftly joined by

How sweet!

And then my nose took me to

A simply amazing aroma.

Totally refreshed (and smelling very nicely courtesy of the free samples) I hit the next store on MY list.

Where I found that they had Ray Palour’s latest book on special offer. Too good to pass up!

Now I’ve not reached this age in my life without learning some lessons and I knew, I just knew, that I’d had enough shopping for one day. I was well and truly Primanied! So, only one thing to do. Head back to Covent Garden and


A pint and a proper newspaper!

It couldn’t get much better could it? It could you know. There was another pub on the opposite corner of the street.

I just had to, didn’t I!

Suitably refuelled I headed to hotel, went to my room, showered , changed and headed out again. I had meals to cross off my Cuisine List.

“Don’t mind if I do”.

Butterfly prawn for the Starter. Followed by

Prawn Biryani, Aloo Gobi and a plain Naan. Got to admit though that my eyes were bigger than my belly. I failed to clear the plates! I found room though for :

It just had to be done.

In tomorrow’s episode I venture to deepest North London for a pilgrimage. Another culinary experience. And a meeting of kindred do spirits. Exciting isn’t it!

Today’s headline is based on the single released in 1960 by The Miracles which reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.


  1. Harry the Hornet says:

    References to meanness!! All I will say is ‘pots and kettles’. You have been known over the decades to be a bit slow to share the spondoolies (for non- UK readers this is slang for money). Now don’t get defensive and sensitive.

    1. I was an AMATEUR until I met you!

  2. robert says:

    I was in the Nags Head a few yrs back when the families met up in Covent Garden, I hadnt been to the ‘New” CG before, wow what a change. Not sure when we’ll be back there , probably a death in the family, Oh Dear, did i say that. Have a great stay in town, i do miss nights out in the city. And wow , how thats changed over the last 15 yrs !!!!

    1. Loads of money being spent on Covent Garden Robert. I enjoyed my time there but back on Ambergris now. Wouldn’t post until I got back.

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