Springtime in Upper Canada, 1820…

Just Released. "Two Irish Lads: Second Edition" - Available in Nook and Kindle formats.
Just Released. “Two Irish Lads: Second Edition” – Available in Nook and Kindle formats.

Story outline

About this New and Revised Edition:

What happens when Two Irish Lads set off for an adventure of a lifetime in the wildness of Upper Canada?

Adventure, discovery, comedy, and pathos!

From the time Cousins Sean and Patrick McConaghy board the Lovely Nelly in Ireland, travel up the Mighty St. Lawrence by voyageur canoe, and find themselves surrounded by primeval forest in Upper Canada, it is adventure and discovery on every page.

Then, just as they are about to despair at the seemingly impossible task ahead, a champion appears in the person of a calculating squire with two unmarried daughters on hand. The problem is that Sean and Patrick are already in love – with one another. The scene is then set for an adventure of a different kind.

Also appearing are a gossipy storekeeper; a hard-drinking blacksmith who befriends them; a talented but misunderstood schoolboy; a draconian priest; a sinister claim jumper who haunts the vicinity; and a loveable wolf cub by the name of “Canada.”

Adventure awaits at every turn in Two Irish Lads: Second Edition, so come along for the fun of it!

Order from: Amazon (paperback and Kindle)

Order from: Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook)

And the beat goes on …

Easter weekend is just about over, and that’s the good news. The bad news is that Spring Break is just about to begin.

About 50 of these young turks showed up for breakfast this morning – examples of ‘higher education’ – and promptly proceeded to make asses of themselves (…before 10 AM, mind!).

The experience was made even more anoying because my 15″ computer (Microcrap “Surface”) refused to boot properly. Micrcorap is bound and determined that everyone is going to download Windows 10 (whether we like it or not), so I think this has something to do with it. Anyway, it finally worked when I got back to the hotel.

In my experience, which covers nearly 8 decades on this earth, San Pedro has to be home to the greatest number of inconsiderate people I have ever come across. Yesterday I encountered four girls who were not only spread across the side walk, but had their groceries (a 2-4 of Belikan beer plus other things) spread across it, too. Nor did they offer to move themselves or the groceries.

Consequently, I had to get down from the side walk (on my walker) to go around them.

Then, today, someone in a golf cart had back right up to the door of Fido’s Restaurant, so that there was only room to squeeze by.

Were these people not taught to think, or is it a lost skill?!

Speaking about “Fido’s,” it’s a new restaurant I found. The food is okay, reasonably priced for Ambergris, and generous, but it’s the setting I like. It has that Kon-Tiki atmosphere that I like in a tropical bar. It also has the largest palapa (palm-thatched roof) in Belize.

I’ve attached a couple of photos for your interest.


Fido's Restaurant looking up at part of the palapa
Fido’s Restaurant looking up at part of the palapa


Fido's Tiki bar
Fido’s Tiki bar

Another day in ‘near-paradise’…

What does that mean?

Well, my day starts between 9:00 and 9:30 AM, depending on whether it’s a shaving day, and then down the beach for breakfast. Of course, I take my 15″ computer with me, and so over coffee I check the headlines (680 news), the weather back home, the Canadian dollar, my mail and reports, etc. It saves time when I settle down to work at the hotel.

Breakfast generally consists of “Breakfast Burritos” – Two big burritos filled with scrambled egg, cheese, and re-friend beans. Then it’s back to the hotel to work.

I never have to worry about the weather, because it’s always the same – between 75 – 80, with no rain. We haven’t had rain for a month. However it is windy, and that blows the sand around – a fine sand that sticks to everything.

During the day I generally work on putting out brush fires, and advertising and promotion. Also, general things that interest me. It is not that these take up much time – in and of themselves – it’s having to do them them at least two or three because of finkicky computers or dense people. So what should have taken minutes stretches into hours.

Lunch comes at about 3:00 PM (I only eat two meals a day – even at home), and then I write until 11:00 PM.

After that, depending on the music and drunks, I try to get some sleep for the next day.

The island is starting to fill up with tourists – Easter weekend. Ulp! Apparently it’s the busiest weekend of the year, with lots of celebrating (noise) and screaming kids on a sugar rush. Oh joy!

Time for lunch.

Cory and Reb. "Coming of Age on the Trail".
Cory and Reb. “Coming of Age on the Trail”.

Starting to think of the trip home…

I can hardly believe it, but that time is peeking over the horizon.

Travel is always a stressful experience for me. First, I hate schedules. They generally involve someone else’s dictates, and I’ve hardly ever thought like anyone else. Worse, I have to depend on someone else to get me there, which has not always been the case – Take the case of the taxi driver who dropped me off at the wrong terminal in Toronto (at the advice from Google) for example.

Then, there’s the fact my walker is stored in baggage, so if I have to go to the washroom I have to depend on the flight crew to get me there.

This year I have naively made it even more difficult. To accommodate the management, here at the inn, I agreed to move out for a week in April. That means I have to pack twice – once to move to the hotel, and once for the return fight home. It also involves and overnight stay in Belize City, and again in Toronto (late arrival from Miami) before I get home.

Oh well, once step at a time.

Sorry to see it’s snowing on the home front. [Note to home: Please get rid of winter before May.]

It is a partly overcast day here in Belize. However, the temp if 24C. If it was just the temp and the scenery to contend with, I’d tell Wynne to stick her rules and taxes up her skirt and be out of Ontario in a flash. I may anyway, but it will take a bit more thought before I decide.

The double iis (‘incompetence’ and ‘indifference’)

I’m still trying to get Amazon sorted out. I sent them a full page memo with links and “do this” instructions, but they still screwed up. And Barnes and Noble still haven’t listed the new novel at all. That means I’ve lost my primary, St. Patrick’s Day market.

Meanwhile, the writing of Coming of Age on the Trail is coming along nicely. The mythological is blending in with the hard-nose cattle drive, and that was the hang-up before. I’m aiming at the Christmas market, and I should make it with ease. Still, I hhave to keep my nose to the screen.

PS: I’ve learned to chew with my broken dentures, so I can hang in until I get home (… Touch wood!)

Visit the Coming of Age website, go to http://www.comingofagenovel.ca. “Vintage photos” is an interesting link.

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Let’s see … Where did I leave off?

I think it was at the point my denture plate broke. A dentist friend here in Belize kindly offered to try to temporarily fix it with crazy glue, but it merely broke again. Not only that, but it left a sharp edge that chaffed my tongue.

Ever innovative (after years of dealing with life), I just happened to have an emery board for shaping nails, so I attacked the offending spur with it until I can at least wear the partial plate (for appearance.)

Oh, yes, then there was Amazon and the way the have screwed up my listing. So I sent them a detailed list of the screw-ups – including links and ‘do this’ instructions – and they still screwed-up! This is their own information we’re talking about (like listing the price as $7.07 on one page, and $6.98 on another.) So another email is in order.

And did I mention Barnes and Noble? Two Irish lads: Second Edition was published February 26, 2016, but it still hasn’t appeared on the B&N site. They say it is because of a new “review process”, which sounds disturbingly close to censorship, but that won’t retrieve the lost sales from the St. Patrick’s day market.

To get around the benefits of my advertising campaign going to my former publish, I sent them a cease and desist order to stop production of the 1st edition, but they (not surprisingly) are dragging their heels.

And so it goes… *Sigh*

I am pleased to see the warmer temps in the cold country; also the dollar at 76-cents this morning. Mind you, I only have one more payment to the hotel on April 5th, so I’ve paid my dues from 68-cents on. Oh, and I just got my Feb. Hydro bill – $395.

It’s overcast today, but the temp is still in the upper 70s.

More next time.

St. Patrick's Day lunch with my friend, Dr. Mark. No, that not green beer I'm drinking. It's local rum and coke -$4.00 CDN a shot.
St. Patrick’s Day lunch with my friend, Dr. Mark. No, that not green beer I’m drinking. It’s local rum and coke -$4.00 CDN a shot.

Why can’t surprises be good for a change?…

It’s a question I’ve asked many times before, but no answer yet.

This morning I got two surprises, neither of which made life any easier or happier. 1) My lower denture plate broke. I can wear them for appearance, but I can’t chew with them. Fortunately I can manage without them, but it changes the taste of food entirely.

2) I discovered that two of my web pages have gone missing. One is my Burnie Family Album web page which took me years to develop. I’m sure I have the files saved on disk, but I won’t be able to access these until I get home. The other is my ‘Coming of Age on the Trail’ site (my forthcoming book) which I can rebuild again.

Fortunately I was able to tap into my ‘Gerry Burnie Books’ website files, so I was able to update it with the new book. However, as usual it fought me tooth and nail, and I have yet to be able to link it to Amazon.

…And speaking of Amazon: Yesterday, I sent them a one-page letter email listing (in detail) the problems on my Two Irish Lads catalogue page, and today I received an email in which they had totally screwed it up. So, which is it: Incompetence or indifference? I don’t know, but it’s driving me to distraction!

The good news is that the weather is perfection (78F) as it always is; I’m settled at my work station on the veranda; the interest in Two Irish Lads has been encouraging; and the writing of Coming of Age on the Trail is coming along nicely.

Available for purchase or as a gift from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Order yours today!
Available for purchase or as a gift from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Order yours today!