Well if you read the previous edition you’ll know that Rose, Ziggy and I got through Hurricane Earl with very few problems and we felt confident that we could cope with the three , yes three, hurricanes that were due to ‘hit’ Ambergris Caye on 7 August.
We’d known that Hurricanes Alfie, Louie and Frankie (I know that these names don’t appear within the list of hurricane names for 2016) were going to ‘hit’ Ambergris Caye since August last year. We just didn’t foresee that they would arrive just four days after Hurricane Earl.
When Rose and I sat down (on many, many occasions) to lay out the design for the house we planned to build on Ambergris Caye we had a clear consensus that it would include a clearly defined and separate area that family and friends could use if they (and we hoped that they would) came to visit us. Eventually we decided that the best way (well for us at least) was to incorporate a two bedroom/two bathroom, self-contained apartment built on the ground floor. Well actually if I’m truthful it started out as being a one bedroom/bathroom apartment but we changed our minds (and the design) mid construction.
Since we moved in to our home in December 2013 the apartment has been used spasmodically -more often than not used by the friends in BATSUB that we have – but when this has been the case it’s use more generally has been for durations of not more than three or four days. And then there have been months before it has been used again.
All that changed this year and since the beginning of June it seems like we have been in a constant mode of apartment cleaning. Getting it ready for one visit after another. And we’ve loved it.
First to arrive was Frank. Long time readers will recall that it was Frank, when serving as a member of BATSUB, who had found Ziggy and his brother Grizzly when they were four week old orphans (c’mon put the tissues away).
Ziggy is the cute blond one on the left.
Frank is the ‘cute’ ginger one (I may well be in trouble for that) at the back.
Frank stayed with us for eight days before he set off a year’s posting in the Falklands and five days later Rose’s sister Pat arrived with her eldest son Dylan. Perfect timing to experience Lobsterfest and for me to wear the snazzy shirt that Frank had bought me.
They’d already sampled Belizean hospitality before they met us when they tried their first Belikins at Jet’s Bar at Philip SW Goldson International Airport.
I love Jet, he makes me feel tall!
Pat and Dylan had, prior to their trip to visit us, never ventured further afield than Spain and we were a little concerned that Belize might not be their ‘cup of tea’. We needn’t have worried. They loved it.
Dylan spending quality time with his ‘cousin’ Ziggy.
Rose and Pat enjoying some sister ( and Belikin) time together.
Oh look, there’s some more of that ‘sister’ time!
All too soon their two visit came to end
On their way to Philip SW Goldson airport
but not before they had made their ‘reservations’ for next year!
With Pat and Dylan gone we then had time to prepare for the onslaught of the hurricanes. And as it transpired Earl was a doddle when compared to hurricanes Alfie, Louie and Frankie. Why? Well let me introduce you to Alfie, Louie and Frankie.
From left to right my great nephews (and they are great) Frankie, Alfie and Louie. They look angelic don’t they. They’re not bad boys but … well, looks can be deceiving!
They’d come with their Mum and Dad, my niece Laura and her husband Martin, for a three week visit and I had three weeks of endless questions. As one of them finished with a question and answer session so another one of them was ready to fire another one at me. It seemed too coordinated but it couldn’t be, could it? They’re 6, 8 and 12 after all. Was I being singled out for some form of sensory bombardment? What had I done to deserve this?
So, out on the veranda, the western, lagoon facing one, early one morning (the boys got up early- but not as early as me) with a mug of coffee – instant, black and unsweetened if you are interested – I pondered (and regular readers will by now have realised that I’m a very adept ponderer). “What could I do?” How could I combat and then overcome this verbal onslaught?
And then my finely honed pondering skills effortlessly slipped in to overdrive and I had a eureka moment. “Divide et impera” I exclaimed to no one but Ziggy and myself.
But where would the battleground be I pondered. It had to be territory familiar to me but alien to my opponents, the boys. And then a strange feeling came over me as I experienced eureka moment number two. There could only be one place so I issued the first invitation to Alfie. Beat the oldest and biggest one first and the other two adversaries , I was sure, would capitulate.
Alfie -the young are so naive – readily accepted the invite. Even when I told him he had to be up and ready by 07.00 hours the next morning. He was up to the challenge though and was sitting on the golf cart waiting for me!
We drove to ‘Town and the interrogation began. I answered each question without any resistance. I knew, I knew that soon we would be on my terrain and my guerilla war would begin.
I parked the ‘cart and we walked. “Where are we going?”, Alfie questioned. “I’m taking you to breakfast”, I responded .
The battle was won at MY table at Estel’s Dine By the Sea!
The next day I went through the same routine with Frankie, the youngest of the brothers.OK, so the element of surprise was gone but c’mon, he’s only six years old!
We talked football (soccer for US readers). He was a pushover!
Showing just how resilient I can be (looks can be deceiving you know) day three was Louie’s turn.
Some pancakes and syrup and he was eating out of my hand!
Joking aside (honest Laura and Martin, I am joking) the boys were great fun to be with and around.
They loved everything about Ambergris Caye, the place that Rose and I call home.
They loved the golf cart as the mode of travel and skirmished daily as to who would sit in the front.
They adored meeting and playing with their ‘cousin’ Ziggy.
And Ziggy loved it too!
They thought Caye Caulker was cool.
And they didn’t stop talking about their trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley on No Rush.
It’s rare to see Aubrey in one spot this long!
I got in the water too!
But then it was time for what I’m really good at
Time for a little bit of pondering!
And for Frankie?
Forty winks. What else!
A great time under the supervision of Captain Steven Rubio.
Who needs to get there quickly, there’s No Rush!
They enjoyed making new friends.
Louie and Jaymon.
Louie, Frankie and Alfie with Jaymon and ‘Uncle’ Norman.
Rose, Louie, Alfie and Frankie with their ‘friend’ Mr Turtle.
The three weeks fairly whizzed by and all too soon it was time to say goodbye and Rose and I were joined at Tropic Air’s Departure Lounge by Carlo (he of Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill) and his youngest daughter Aubrey.
Laura, Martin, Alfie, Louie and Frankie are so confident they are coming back next year that they left their beach towels and snorkelling gear with us. We’ve now got the house up for sale!
We didn’t have too much time to feel unhappy because no sooner had we waved goodbye it was straight back to the apartment to get it ready for our next guest, Geordie. You remember Geordie don’t you?
Geordie is the one on the left!
The headline for today’s edition is based on the single first released in 1987 which, after being re-released in 1993 reached number 52 on the UK Singles Charts and number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100.