One year on…

Its nearly 18 months since our last post.

So much has happened, yet as I look through the photos of the last year, so much is exactly the same.

Jonah turned 6 the other day and I turned 51.  Sophie beat me to it a few weeks ago and Milo will be 10 this year.

What’s exactly the same? We’re all still having dental work, planning summer holidays, cooking, cleaning, schooling, arguing, struggling with being parents, daily life continues like everyone else, be under no illusion that we made paradise. It’s the same circus as every one else …just in the sun.

Whats different? We’re 90% vegetarian. Attempting vegan, ’till the boys want a burger or pepperoni pizza…     Oh and we finished building the house!!! So finished in fact that we’re selling it and buying a different house slightly further up the beach. More on that in the next post as we only wired the money to buy it this morning.

What happened in the meantime? Well the statistics are 3 trips to England, 3 weeks driving round Central America, 56 visitors last year, including my 80yr old Dad, 6 trips to Belize to buy a boat that ran aground 1 day after I got it here, 8 different hire cars, 1 new truck, 1 finished house and 1 new dog.IMG_5912

Who is AWESOME, but has already grown to this….

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After spending hours arguing through all the names we had for her, we’ve decided on Takita Bella Circus. Or Taco Bell for short. Or just Taco. She’s mexican so it was better than Quesadilla.

The local Mexicans are bewildered that you’d bother naming a dog, let alone feed it home cooked meat, free range vegetables and filtered water, but our conscience is clear.

So whilst I’m getting fitter taking Taco for a run/swim/walk, there’s a host of other sports going on.

Sophie went caving in some incredible, barely discovered caves, that are still being mapped out for the government by some local enthusiasts.

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I took the boys through a separate cave system which the guys here are hoping link up with the system above, but there’s miles and miles of them and all largely unexplored since the times of the Maya civilisation.

Other sporting activities include Beach cricket:

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Tennis club for Milo and Jonah two afternoons a week

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We’re still maintaining many of the traditions from the UK such as Easter Egg hunts:

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Some of the others involve a little bit of dressing up, such as Halloween…..

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As for me, I finally got a boat. Its been a lifetimes dream to sail my very own wooden sailboat in the Caribbean and I got to sail it from Northern Belize, past Ambergris Caye and up, past the largely unexplored Southern tip of Mexico, over 4 days and nights, anchoring behind islands, fishing, mooring in small fishing village bays and getting used to the boat. She’s only 28ft long and these boats are hand made with Belizean hardwoods like bullet wood and mahogany, by a single craftsman. Shallow draft they can fish in 3 feet of water. Milo has already caught his first tuna here and we’re looking forward to the Mahi mahi season.

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Don’t be under the impression that its all plain sailing. Obviously this has been massively stressful, spending days and days trying to get the boat registered in Belize City; travelling 4 hours from Sarteneja where she was built, by bus that leaves at 3.30am only to be told by the Port Authority that the boat builder actually needs to come with me to register the boat…  We shredded the mainsail on the way, had the engine stolen and finally, after leaving her at anchor overnight here in our home bay, strong winds came overnight and pushed her onto the rocks….

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Unbelievably, she suffered almost no damage at all. The bamboo boom took a crack and the mast stays need tightening, but after so much help from everyone she’s now moored safely in the local port and, with the addition of a fish finder, we’ll be back out to sea asap.

Apart from that, i’ve had the occasional round of golf with friends here…

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and am massively looking forward to the rest of this year which looks like it could be amazing. Costs are low here so we’re packing a lot in.

I’m taking the boys to Nicaragua for an immersive Spanish course up in the mountains with volunteering work in the afternoons. Milo is going to his Tinkering School summer camp in San Francisco again, we’re hoping to go skiing in Chile in August and have a 3 week trip through Colombia over Christmas and New Year. Sophie’s massively excited about the new house build that this is either a total hiatus or the peak of positivity. The reality will be peppered with disasters as usual, but more on our property plans in the next post. Including the house we backed out of…that was big, but just too sketchy…

Meantime i’m just trying to maintain what little dignity I have left….

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“Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.”

Herman Melville

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5 responses to “One year on…

  1. Love, love, love it. Particularly taken by the bunny suit. What an extraordinary life your children are enjoying. And you grown-ups too.

    Wow!

    I am still applying my winning-the-lotto approach to financing my early retirement hence am going nowhere soon. Actually, no, that’s not true. I have had some adventures – what am I talking about. Went paragliding off Hong Kong’s highest peak to mark my 51st birthday, took the girls to Tanzanian on the most extraordinary African adventure, am going to Japan next week for my birthday (yikes, that must mean there is now a 2 next to a 5) – Kyoto and Hiroshima – and am planning my annual two weeks without my girls trip to Madrid and Croatia (Zagreb and then the islands) in July.

    And I am looking for work so am clearly delusional.

    Look forward to the next instalment. Jacinta

    >

  2. Wow… We met the Danby Circus in Nov 2014 at Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre, FL. My wife Michelle and I were endeared by your family and passion of travel. We love reading your posts. Regards from the Silver Family from Frisco, Texas.

  3. Russ, mate – things sound really desperate. Best bet is to rush back home and get back to the old days. Oh by the way, you will need to give up sailing for UFC, as there are morons stabbing people quite regularly, the trains are worse now and inflation is higher than wage growth. In seconds thoughts, get me a rabbit suit – we’re coming to join you!! Much love. S x

  4. Darling Russ…

    What a terrible life you are having! My heart bleeds for you!! J

    Honestly it sounds absolute heaven….

    Looking forward to your next visit!!!

    All my love and kisses to you all,

    Rho XXX

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