iReminisce: Group B

me and Sahar in front of the beautiful Corsican hills

Bonjour mes amis (Good Morning My Friends

No way we’re in Corsica! My lovely wife Sarah is going to kill me for ruining this post with another of my digressions…But my fave cars of all time raced here and i can’t contain myself….Yes it’s Group B rally cars!  

Awwww i can hear that ferocious engine sound (and the monster dump valve) of one of my favourite cars…The Lancia Delta S4. It had an Abarth-designed supercharged and turbocharged 500bhp 1.8-litre engine, it could hit 60mph in just over two seconds…And this was 1986! 

But…After a fatal accident (here in Corsica) Group B rally cars were banned and a FISA investigation later proved that drivers’ reactions were too slow to keep up with Group B cars, and drivers’ eyes could not adjust their focus between the fast corners, which caused tunnel vision. Now that’s fast…And insane!! 

They said the cars had so much raw power but with little containment…I have a wife like that, lol! Sorry Sarah! 🤣  

View our full day in Corsica

iReminisce: The Original Olympic Start Line

The start line…

I thought the heat was blistering already but it didn’t prepare me for the inferno when we walked underneath the archway and onto the track. 🔥🔥

Sarah said “Steve you’ve got to get a photo of me at the original olympic start line! I’ve only been out of my aircast for a few weeks and it would make a great photo…Zena (Sarah’s friend) will comment straight away and tell me off, lol (she did). 😀  

“Here goes” i said “No pressure at all for this shot…It’s only a one off picture” But it worked and Sarah looks fantastic! Sarah had gone for months with an aircast, and now seeing her on the start line looking like a true olympian was another emotional moment for me. She really is my warrior princess wife! ❤️❤️❤️ 

Sarah doing a

View our full day in Olympia

iReminisce: Corinth Canal

Me stood right at the rear of the boat with the beautiful Corinth canal in the background

I’m not good in the sun but Sarah comes alive in the scorching hot weather. So i sloshed on my sun cream as it was already 36 degrees outside (ouch) I’ve also bought myself a ‘Tactical Sun Hat’ to try and keep myself cooler in the sun and provide a little shade with the wide rim…It worked really well but i was still dripping like a candle in a Salvador Dali painting! 🤣  

View our full day in Corinth

iReminisce: The Hokusai Dress

We were surrounded by a sea of blue, sky of blue, deck of blue and Sarah’s new “Hokusai” dress …of blue. 😎   

Sarah stood wearing her new Hokusai wave dress on the top deck of the Thomson Sirit  @ Dubrovnik 4.jpeg

⬆ Sarah wearing her new “Hokusai” dress! ⬆

view our full cruise from Croatia

iReminisce: Palma By Plane

Yay, the plane…

I was excited to be travelling on an airplane again, and was totally surprised i managed to capture a piece of Palma upon take off! 😲  

Palma from Thomson Dreamliner

iReminisce: Warrior Princess

Sarah stood directly behind a warriour throwing a spear pretending to throw it too

This has to be one of my favorite photos!! I’m glad to see Sarah(The Greatest Warrior” parting some of her knowledge and instruction to an inferior ranked warrior on how to correctly throw a spear! 💪🏼

View our full day in Alicante

iReminisce: The Coffee Port

My fave place “The Coffee Port” on the Thomson Dream cruise ship (now Marella Dream) for a birthday Cappuccino with a stunning view! 😲  

A Cappuccino on a window seat looking out over a beautiful blue seaat sea

⇧ My fave seat in the Coffee Port ⇧

iReminisce: The Unimog

The 1961 Yellow Unimog…

Awww friends….Let me introduce you to this Yellow, 1961 Unimog…..have you seen the tires, lol! It threw us around like crazy and i still can’t believe that he didn’t slow down for anything. There is no way a vehicle can hit rocks, huge pot holes, climb cracked hills and go around tight bends whilst travelling at break neck speed, it would have destroyed anything else and left them in a pile of spare parts, lol. I’m not sure they issued these with brake pedals! 😎

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

View our full day (Sarah’s Birthday) at Bonaire

iReminisce: Surf & Smile

Back at the dock…🛳 

After a short boat ride back to the ship, we had enough time to get changed, leave our bags and have a well needed iced-coffee before heading out to explore as much as we can without getting lost before the ship leaves.

We walked up one street and turned right before Sarah stopped and said “Wow, she’s having her photo taken in front of that cool wall art/sign. Quick get one of me” “Ok my lovely, you’re wearing your new yellow Michael Kors t-shirt too, i hope i get everything in”. Sarah had bought this t-shirt for our holidays and couldn’t wait to put on the lovely bright colours and flowers.

Sarah stood on a surf board in her new yellow Michael Kors t-shirt.

 This is one of my fave photos as it shows Sarah’s smile is as bright as her t-shirt. 

View our full day at Aruba

iReminisce: The Coconut Cake

Speightstown, Barbados…

And speaking of lovely architecture and colonial towns, your first stop is at Speightstown. Here you’ll enjoy seeing historic buildings and beautiful tropical beaches.

The tour guide kept talking about the PRC Bakery at our first stop, and said she was going in to get something for the trip. “OOohhhh maybe we could get a small cake for your birthday” “Yes let’s follow her and see what goodies they have?” As we walked in to the little bakery the guide said “Oh yes a lead pipe” as she picked one up and went to pay for it. “What’s a lead pipe?” i said to the guide “It’s a local cake but it can be used as a weapon too as it’s very heavy”. Sarah then passed me a bag with a cake in and said hold this “Wow this weighs about the same as a 16lb bowling ball” “everything is so heavy in here, nothing has fluffy cream like in England as it would melt instantly, lol”.

Sarah told the baker that we loved coconut and did e have anything with coconut in them? We only got 1 coconut slice as we didn’t know how sweet it was or even if we liked it?! 😋   

Me stood outsede the shop holding the coconut slice with my thumb sticking up and a big grin on my face!

 I never (ever) stop talking about this coconut slice as it’s the nicest cake i’ve ever tasted! The bell on the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ was destroyed as this flew to the top of the cakes list! If i’d have known i would’ve stayed in the bakery and continued to eat every single last one of them! But we only had that one and we’ve never been able to go back since this monumental occasion. Oh yes…This monumental occasion is my lovely wife Sarah’s birthday! 🤣

View our full “Barbados 360 Island Tour

iReminisce: Are You Looking At Me?

Tiger

A beautiful tiger taken from a day trip to Chessington world of adventures.

The cool thing is I had no idea this tiger was looking at me until I got home and zoomed right into the image! 🤣  

Camera Used ~ SONY Alpha a100

iReminisce: The St Maarten Necklace

The smell of the locals cooking on the market was amazing, but Sarah had found a sweet little craft stall. The lady created items from the coral found off the shores St Maarten. “Oooooh, i could have a necklace made from St Maarten”. I knew that to mean “i’m getting one, i just don’t know which one yet?!” 🤣  

close up photo of Sarah's neckolace she bought fromm a market stall in Marigot, St Maarten

⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧  

Sarah really was starting to feel at home here,  but we had to get back to the bus! We enjoyed our stop in Marigot, and we said we’d love to spend a week here to investigate more! ☀️ 😀 

iReminisce: The Blind Sightseers 1st Cruise

Sarah  i in Caribbean

⇧ Me & Sarah at St Kitts ⇧ 

From stunning, breathtaking views, horse riding in paradise, dancing with dolphins, River paddle boat trip, various island bus tours, 4×4 volcano ride, cable cars, OH…. and Sarah’s medical emergency in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, it’s been an unbelievable few weeks on our cruise holiday to the Caribbean, Azores & Spain (2015). 😲  

Please join us (The Blind Sightseers) on this incredible journey:

Transatlantic Sunset Tour: Day 1 ~ London – Jamaica

iReminisce: Vintage

Father in law playing 1960 Gibson J45

⇧ My Father in law Steve playing my 1960 Gibson J45 ⇧  

iReminisce: Ilfracombe, Devon

A black and white photo of ilfracombe bay

A photo taken from our new years eve (Dec 2011) holiday with friends (Rob, Shelley, Tom, Abbie & Ella)  in Ilfracombe, Devon, England, UK. It was very windy and very wet! We had a fantastic time as the holiday home was overlooking this bay so we enjoyed lots of coastal walks and enjoyed local restaurants.

 Camera used – iPhone 4s (as it was raining i was too scared to take out my DSLR’s) 😨 

iReminisce: V8

Pickup Truck

While on holiday last year in Hunstanton, Norfolk I kept hearing a fat american V8 driving around the town, and one day it was parked up so I could snap it with my camera! 😲  

My friends dad always had american cars  and vans and I’ve enjoyed them for most of my life, so I was excited when I could finally put a picture to that beautiful sound. 😀 

Camera Used ~ iPhone 4s

iReminisce: The View From Southern Palms, Barbados ☀️ 😲

Walking into the room was simply breathtaking and we couldn’t believe the view…And even better from the balcony…😲  

Room 112 Southern Palms

Room 112 Southern Palms view from the door to the balcony with the beach and palm trees as the landscape

 Wow we have a week of this view, i think i’m going to have a hard time leaving the room, lol! 😀

iReminisce: Twinkling lights 😲

A whole building completley covered in sparkling blue lights

The twinkling lights on this department store in Florence, Italy were simply amazing to just stand and look at, but it soon became dark and we didn’t want to get lost on our first day! All of the streets were decorated beautifully with illuminated stars, borbals & bells so we quickly headed back to the hotel. What an amazing, exciting and tiring first day. 😀 

iReminisce: Doughnuts 😋

DoughnutsMmmmmmmmmmSay no more! 😋 

iReminisce: Sarah’s Favourite Seat

Sarah sat in the window of the lighthouse looking out over the sea

This photo of Sarah sat in the window of the Old Hunstanton Lighthouse is a lovely memory for us. We rented the lighthouse for our honeymoon (2007) and then for the next 5 wedding anniversaries, and this is Sarah’s favourite seat! 😀 

Sarah works in London where it is very fast paced, crowded,  built up and very grey, she always looks forward to escaping the stress and relaxing by the sea. 💪🏼 ❤️

iReminisce: The Old Lighthouse

The old lighthouse2

As you may already know from my previous photos of “The Old Lighthouse” this is our favourite place to hire for a holiday in Norfolk. 😀  

“The Old Lighthouse is a holiday home with a difference! Built in 1666 on the cliffs of North Beach in Hunstanton, The Old Lighthouse was fully restored and converted to holiday accommodation in 1997.” 

 

 Camera used – Samsung WB550

😲 Wow…Look What The Blind Sightseers Have Just Found??

Ablenet facebook cover logo

ablenet

Our Mission…

Our mission is quite simple: we want to get more disabled and visually impaired people enjoying new, fun and exhilarating activities. We want to help people with disabilities feel confident that they can enjoy the same activities and life experiences as someone without a disability.

 Hi readers!

Just guess how excited i am right now?? 🤣

I have just stumbled onto the ablenet website and found this…?

Lamborghini Giado

All images supplied by the ablenet facebook page ⇧ 

Are you ready for the drive of your life for an astonishing 6 miles each per Supercar? 

If you love supercars and are visually impaired, our ‘3 Supercar Blind Driving Experience Super Thrill’ is an experience you won’t find anywhere else. It is the best way to get to you in your favourite supercars and experience the peed, and thrill, of a high-performance beast.

Yes, it is true. Whatever your level of visual impairment, you can drive a Supercar with Ablenet. All of the cars are automatic and a super skilled instructor will guide you around the track whilst having access to a footbrake should it be necessary.

So, whether it’s a Lamborghini, Ferrari F430 spider, Aston Martin DB9, Audi R8, Nissan GTR or Porsche 911/997, we put you with the largest fleet of cars in the UK for you to choose from. The hardest part is choosing…

The great benefit to driving on a race circuit is feeling the pure power of an awesome car. You will be with a professional instructor who will teach you the art of driving.

The experience also includes a thrilling hot lap ride when the race driver will show you what a performance car can do around the circuit. Typically in a BMW M3 V8 saloon car or Vauxhall VXV8, both with 3 passengers.

Since going blind at 25 (21 years ago) i’ve been waiting for someone to give the blind a truly accessible experience like the ones ablenet offer! I’ve always said “i can still drive…I just can’t see where i’m going”. 🤣 
 
I’ve always loved cars as when i was fully sighted i worked in a bodyshop as a panel beater and used to customise cars etc…Even my own! My dad, uncles and my cousins have always been mechanics in the motor trade so i’ve grown up with cars too. So when i stumbled onto their website, i just exploded with passion to drive a supercar or 3, lol! 
 
Sorry for sounding like a group b rally car “too much raw power with little containment”…But getting involved and trying out all of the experiences on the ablenet website is like a dream come true for me. 😀   
 
Other experiences for the visually impaired by ablenet…
Flying a plane, diving with sharks, shooting, archery, skiing, indoor sky diving and much more…Wow i think me and Sarah are going to have some fearful fun! 🤣💪🏼 😨 

iReminisce: Carousel Horse

Brighton 031

This is one of the first photos i’d taken since being registered Blind. I only had a compact camera back then as I didn’t know I would be any good at all at taking pictures, I thought it was a silly idea as it is a sighted person’s thing to do! 🤣  

This photo was taken in Brighton, Uk, and is of the carousel horse that is right on the beach front.

 Camera used – Fuji F10

iReminisce: Ordinary Squirrel Shot

A close up shot of a squirrel eating a mini cheddar whilst looking into the camera.

This might look like an ordinary Squirrel shot, but i honestly thought i was taking a photo of a Pigeon! lol 🤣  

Camera used – SONY Alpha a100

iReminisce: Elephants Foot

Elephant s Foot

After being back in my home town of Derby this weekend, i didn’t want to leave without having an ‘Elephants Foot’ from Birds. Other bakers around the country do similar styles of cakes, but never taste anything like one of these beauty’s, they simply can’t be beaten! My sister got me a box of 4 to take back home and Sarah & i can’t thank her enough! 😀  

If you visit Derby or Derbyshire then i recommend that you try one!

iReminisce: When Sarah Smiles

Sarah Sunflower

This is one of my favourite photos of my lovely Wife Sarah, and it shows what happens when she smiles! ☀️  

iReminisce: What’s Happening? 😨

Me looking Terrified in front of the river with volcanic rocks behind

When i found this photo which Sarah had taken in the Azores, we both started laughing and thought this was probably the best photo of me ever! 🙂  Don’t ask me what i was up to, i can only imagine that i heard a T-Rex or a volcano erupt!! 😲  

Please let me know in the comments below if you have any great captions to add to this photo??!! I look forward to hearing what you come up with! 🤣

iReminisce: The Cross

The Sun on the Cross  PNG

During our 5th wedding anniversary at the Lighthouse, Hunstanton, Norfolk. (2012) while walking into Hunstanton along the cliff top  we spotted this cross that had been put there by surveyors and as it was only a few hundred yards from the lighthouse we thought we would try and get a nice photo whilst the sun was setting. 🤔  

If it wasn’t for digital camera’s it wouldn’t be possible for me to enjoy photography and after about 50 photos later and a wait of a few days until i could get home and download the images onto my computer i was shocked to find this waiting for me. 😲  

 Camera used – Nikon D2Xs

iReminisce: Caribbean Palm Tree 🌴

Please click photo to view full gallery

Sarah & i (whilst on holiday in St. Kitts, Caribbean 2015) kept saying “Wow, this is Amazing! How did we get here, it’s like a dream”. The beautiful hot sun shining down, a lovely cool breeze and those stupendous palm trees! ☀️🌴😀 

iReminisce: Dandelion Clock

Dandelion clock

As we were walking around the gardens of Nonsuch Park (2008) my lovely wife Sarah pointed out a dandelion clock, I quickly drew out my camera and did my best! 😀 

 Camera used – SONY Alpha a100

iReminisce: Heacham Breakers

Heacham Breakers

As i was walking along the lovely quiet beach in Heacham, Norfolk (2006) with Sarah & Bruce i stopped to take this photo. As i have very little sight i still think this looks like a snake! lol 🤣  

Camera used – SONY Alpha a100

iReminisce: Sunflowers

Sunflowers

A photo of my lovely wife Sarah’s wedding bouquet. ❤️😀 

 Camera used – Nikon D2Xs

iReminisce: Sunset & The Bird

A beautiful sunset with a bird flying in from the right hans side

Description

This Sunset was taken from the living room in the Lighthouse we stay in every July to celebrate our wedding anniversary! I had no idea that a bird was in the shot when I took the photo, i only noticed it when i got back from holiday and zoomed in on the image once I viewed it on my Large screen! (a nice gift) 😲  

 Camera used – Samsung WB550

‘Steve’s Blindman Trail Marathon’ in memory of my mum Valerie ❤️

Hi all, this is the official release for my fundraising towards my brobdingnagian challenge…It’s exactly 7 calendar months until my trail marathon! 💪🏼 

‘Steve’s Blindman Trail Marathon’ in memory of my mum Valerie ❤️

I’m planning to step off the sidelines again soon… this time in memory of my wonderful mum, Valerie who died after a 14 yr struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, in the same month that I was registered blind.
I’ve always wanted to do something positive to celebrate her life and as you may know, my lovely wife Sarah has just started work at the MS Society. I can think of no better time or charity to make my fundraising in memory wish come true and I can finally add my mums name to the MS Society fight to stop MS. 💪🏼

I know I’ll be stretching myself past my limits for this challenge and so your encouragement and support would really help me to keep my training on track. Any donation you can spare would build my morale and endurance so I can smash this and reach my £1,000 goal to make my mum proud.

Together we can be a force for change and BEAT MS

1 MS Society Banner Marathon 001

Steve’s Blindman Trail Marathon
Fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis SocietyIn Memory of my mum Valerie

Story…

Hi, I’ve chosen to raise funds for MS Society and I’d love everyone who kindly decides to support me and this amazing charity, to take a moment to remember my lovely Mum Valerie!

She spent so much of her too short life giving to me and my siblings before MS took her independence and eventually her life. This is why I’ve decided to give something positive back. I want her name and face to join the fight so that she can live on through the tireless work the MS Society is doing to find treatments that will stop MS for good. 💪🏼

My beautiful mum passed away from progressive MS, after a courageous and tiring 14 year battle, in July 2000.

As you may know I’ve been registered blind since I was 25. My sight loss happened in the same month my mum finally lost her life and missing her added misery to my own struggle to come to terms with the isolation and insecurities of managing my new life as a blind man.

And so…….

My Challenge…Sunday 24th April 2022

I originally planned to take part in an MS officially organised event but quickly realised that with my sight loss walking an unknown route amongst so many people would create too much external stimuli on my senses and be too confusing for me to manage without serious injury.

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do the challenge at all but I’ve finally found a safe(ish) trail about 2.5 miles long, in the woods and past a lake near my home. I am hoping this will work well as my walking route, (I’ve now learned it enough to be able to follow it without guided help). I think this trail will work really well for me to do my trail marathon challenge … if I can manage to make my way safely around this uneven, hilly, rough terrain about 11 times! 😰

I’ve begun to realise, as I write about this challenge during the start of my training, that I’ve only managed 2 laps each time so far, after which I collapse, needing water and food, lol! I have no idea how I’m going to continue for 11 laps non-stop but I’ve got seven more months to build up my strength and endurance… I hope. 🙏

It’s slowly dawning on me that this challenge is going to include around 8 hours non-stop blind walking… Ouch that’s going to hurt and take a lot of concentration, mental effort, strength, energy and discipline. And so before I get time to change my mind, I’ve decided to create a JustGiving fundraising page and I’ve notified the MS Society…so no backing out now 🤣.

Please help me complete what feels like an impossible challenge in memory of my wonderful mum… because Together we are strong enough to beat MS. 💪🏼

You can follow my training over the next 7 months on my Fitblitz blog and I will use my apple watch to count the steps, miles and elevation etc of the challenge, uploading the screenshots to let you know of my adventures and celebrate with me if I finish, lol! 🙌  

About Multiple Sclerosis Society

Over 130,000 of us in the UK have MS. It’s unpredictable and different for everyone. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re the MS Society. We understand what life’s like with MS. We’re here for you through the highs, lows and everything in between. Together, we are strong enough to stop MS.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Click HERE for my JustGiving page.

QR Code for my JustGiving page: 

Please click of hold your camera at this QR code for my Blindman Trail Marathon JustGiving page

iReminisce: Bruce THE Boxer

Bruce Portrait

Hi all, here is a photo of my (late) beautiful Boxer dog “Bruce”. If you have read my testimony then this name might already be familiar to you! 😀  

Camera usedSONY Alpha a100

Continue reading

iReminisce: Hunstanton & The Cross

myWPEdit Image

Photo taken on holiday in Hunstanton, Norfolk (2012).

Fire Up The Quattro…Both Of Them!!! 😨

Hi all! Today’s post is a little different, as i rarely get the opportunity to experience a proper car…Never mind get to talk all about the engine, tyres etc with another proper petrolhead! 💪🏼 🤣 Well it all started at the end of Eileen’s funeral last week when we needed a lift to the train station to head back home. Ben (ex brother in law and friend) said he’d give us a lift and disappeared to go and get his car?!

What is that visceral rumble outside?? 🤔 

Audi $S4 1

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

  Please meet the RS4…😲   

Ben: “Firstly, the RS4 was hand built by quattro gmbh (Audi’s in-house performance arm). The B7 RS4 is powered by a direct fuel injected (FSi) 4.2litre V8, producing 420bhp and revving to over 8,000rpm.

Mine is around 450bhp and revs to 8,500rpm due to some minor modifications. It has the quattro all wheel drive system with a 60:40 power split with a rear bias to aid handing. Front brake are floating discs with 8 piston callipers (also used on the Lamborghini Gallardo). As with all B7 RS4s, it’s a 6 speed manual (has to be manual).” 

Audi $S$  2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Fire up the Quattro…

As Sarah was getting into the back seat she said “You’ve got to be in the front for this one” i said “Fantastic” as Ben kindly guided me around and opened the door as i got in. I said “Awww these Recaro bucket seats are amazing, and i can fit in them properly now i’ve lost 5 stone, lol!” 🤣 

Audi RS4  Dash

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

I was listening to the rumbling beast ticking over as Ben slipped into the drivers seat. “Awww i love a V8 it just sounds amazing and it’s only just ticking over!” Ben then blipped the throttle a few times (to widen my smile even further) and pulled  away.

Sadly the train station was only about 10 minutes away, but when we reached the duel carriageway…Ben wound the windows down and floored it!! 😲

I’m not sure if it was the instant force of being blasted back into the seat, or the symphony of the 450 angry beasts filling my ears that gave me that feeling like nothing else…I simply couldn’t stop the huge grin from leaving my face! 😀

“Wow that was immense” i said whilst pealing my head off the rear window, lol. “That was only 6500rpm as we keep running out of road, we have 2000rpm left” Ben said as he gifted me with another blip of the throttle to evoke the awesome symphony!

The tunnel…😲

Audi $S4  4

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

We even had a tunnel moment where you can really hear the deep growling boom of the V8 through the open windows, awwwww…I’ll pause for a minute for you to imagine the beautiful sound of the V8…😲
The exhausts…

2 Audis

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Pulling up outside the train station (oh no the car experience is coming to an end) we all got out. I was wondering why Ben had left the car running as i knew he’d already said he’d come inside to check everything was ok and our tickets worked in the gates etc…Above and beyond kindness! 😀   

When…🤔 

Ben walked me around the rear of the car on the nearside about level with the tyre. He then placed Sarah in a similar position on the offside, “Stay there a minute and listen to this!?!” 

It all happened at the same time…My ears were blessed and blasted with the massive sound of the V8 from the rear, then my lower half of my trousers blew backwards from the wind (tornado) blitzing me from the tailpipes…And as the revs lowered we could hear the huge pops, bangs and explosions coming from the exhaust! Wow what a finish, and now we understand what you were up to, lol! 🤣 

I can’t thank Ben enough for giving me and Sarah this amazing experience, and Sarah was happy that i got to talk all about cars without boring her to death, lol! 

Oh just one more thing…This monster has 275mm tires and 20 inch rims! 💪🏼 

The Audi 4.2 V8…

Audi 4 2 V8

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

 

Fire up the second Quattro…😲 

2 Audis 2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Please meet the Audi 90 quattro 20v sport…
Ben: “The old one is a 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20v sport (One of only 92 ever built), it’s a rare car. Powered by a 2.3litre 5 cylinder twin cam engine. It has a 5branch exhaust manifold and fully electronic multipoint fuel injection (very advanced for its age). It was an early adopter of catalytic converters but as mine is pre 1992 I’ve removed mine (totally legally).”

“Along with some internal engine work it’s power is up from original 170bhp to around 220bhp and this revs happily to around 7,400rpm now. It too has Quattro all wheel drive with TORSEN centre diff and lockable rear diff. It has cast front suspension arms and is considerably lighter than a normal Audi 90. I’ve had this for about 15years.”
Audi 90 Quattro 2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

About 5 years ago on another trip to Derby, Ben kindly gave me and Sarah a similar blast in this classic Quattro. It sounded and felt fantastic and it was a real blast back from the past! I remember Ben opening the sunroof and windows to get the full exhaust tone playing in our ears…What a beautiful sound! 😀  
Audi 90 Quattro 5

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

What’s under the hood?!
Audi 90 Engine

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Engine 2

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Quattro 7

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Quattro 6

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

Audi 90 Quattro 8

⇧ Photo supplied by Ben – ©Performance Prestige ⇧

 My story and a little about my “Novadose”…🤔 

As you may know my last car before i went blind…Was my custom 1991 Vauxhall Nova 1.4SR resprayed in dark pearlescent purple (bottom half) and white for the top half after i’d fitted a full Zender body kit. . As i worked as a panel beater in a bodyshop, my fave part was hammering out the rear wheel arches, filling them for a slightly wider arch…So i could squeeze in the 205mm tyres on the 17 inch rims. I’d only ever seen 16 inch rims on a Nova in Derbyshire before, so i had to see if i could fit the 17’s…That’s why i called it the “Novadose”. 🤣   

I’ve always been interested in cars as most of my family are/were mechanics…I think that’s why i get so excited whenever i have a car experience like the one above…And why i’ll always share it with you guys! 😀

Do you have any car experience stories to share? 🤔 

❤️Love At First Sight…Village – 17 Years On!!!

Red Love logo with reflection

 Today i’m celebrating a brobdingnagian 17 years since i met my lovely wife Sarah at “Sight Village, Birmingham, UK” 🙌  

This is a major Sight Village show in Birmingham which is held in July each year. Exhibitors throughout the world take part and welcome many thousands of visitors, including people who are blind or partially sighted, professionals, business people and family members.

I was there (from Derby) working for a charity called LOOK and Sarah was there (from Surrey) working for RNIB. She came to my table as she had a magazine which she had just published an article about LOOK and wanted to show me. Sarah opened the magazine and said here are the pictures and the article, i said “Wow, Mmmm, Awww and fantastic…It all looks great” which made Sarah quite proud of her work. I then said while laughing “you know i didn’t see any of what you’ve just shown me, as i’m blind!”. Then as always, a brief pause as Sarah tries to check out my eyes to see if i’m joking, then Sarah laughed and said “No way, me too!”. We both approach blindness in a similar way and love blossomed from that point. ❤️💪🏼 😀 

Our Photos Throughout The Years….

Sarah  i 2005

 ⇧ 2005 ⇧ 

Sarah  i 2006

Me Sarah  Bruce 2006

 ⇧ 2006 ⇧ 

Sarah  I Wedding photo

 ⇧ 2007 ⇧ 

Me Sarah  Bruce 2009

⇧ 2008 ⇧ 

Sarah  i 2009

⇧ 2009 ⇧   

Valentines heart

 ⇧ 2010 ⇧ 

Steve sarah at friday street1

⇧ 2011 ⇧  

Sarah  i 2012

Me  Sarah in Church

 ⇧ 2012 ⇧  

Sarah  i holding hands 2014

 ⇧ 2013 ⇧ 

Me  Sarah at the river Arno

 ⇧ 2014 ⇧ 

Me on the left in my bright orange shirt hugging Sarah on the right with the beautiful panorama of volcanic hills and blue sea behind us

 ⇧ 2015 ⇧ 

IMG 0270

 ⇧ 2016 ⇧ 

MIL 6290

Me  Sarah

 ⇧ 2017 ⇧ 

Sarah as my Backpack

IMG 3598

 ⇧ 2018 ⇧ 

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

1 Me and Sarah gugging at room 112

 ⇧ 2019 ⇧  

1 Sarah snow walk

Me Winners Trophy

 

2020 ⇧ 

1 Sarah Doughnut

Me Engand Shirt

21 ⇧ 

📖 Bible Verse

Ephesians 5:25 Easy-to-Read Version

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.

🤔 My Thoughts… 

This is one of my favourite Bible verses that i try desperately  each day to live up to. As soon as i first read this verse it convicted me straight away and i knew i wanted to be a husband like that!

🙏 Prayer

Holy Spirit, thanks for being a constant guiding presence in my life. Give me the faith to take practical and radical action to keep in step with You, so that You can love my spouse through me in a way that will sustain a fun, loving & trusting relationship. Amen.

☀️ #66 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #4” 🇧🇧 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 66 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Barbados logo

map of the Caribbean islands with the blue GPS marker on Barbados

  My ‘Blind Sightseers’ shirt collection…🤣 

All of my Caribbean shirts in a row in my wardrobe in room 112

 I wanted to take a photo of all of my shirts that i’d collected whilst on my travels, to show everyone (especially Sarah’s dad) that i don’t only wear black, lol! 🤣 

The Gap…

We had a final walk along the gap to say a sad farewell…When Sarah found another way for us to cool down, lol! 🤣  

Sarah and Banks beer truck

 My birthday Bajan towel…🇧🇧 

On my birthday, Sarah also bought me this great colourful towel from the gift shop…I wouldn’t stop talking about it! I said “Hey Sarah can you take a photo of me on the beach holding my towel in the wind? I can hold it out like a flag”. I was failing miserably to hold it against the wind…But just as i was about to give up, George and Cynthia walked past and asked if we’d like them to take some photos?! 💪🏼 😀  

Me Barbados towel

Me and Sarah with Barbados towel

Me and Sarah with Barbados towel

Then as we were finishing…A kind person asked if we’d like a photo all together? Wow another photo we’ll cherish. 😀 

Me, Sarah, Cynthia and George

 We’d had an amazing time here in our fave place on earth…But it was time for a few more farewell photos before we head back home. 

Me in my Barbados birthday t-shirt

Me under palm trees

Sarah on Barbados beach

Sarah on Barbdos beach

Sarah on Barbdos beach

Me chilling on a sun bed

 The final sunset…

Just as we were watching the sun fall away for the last time here in paradise…A kind lady asked if we’d like a photo together? Awww what a lovely surprise on our final evening, more precious memories.😀  

Me, Sarah and the Sunset

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☀️ #65 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #3” 🇧🇧 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 65 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends!  

Room 112 Southern Palms

Palm tree on the left with an empty picture postcard view of the caribbean beach and seaNOPE..I just can’t get bored of the view…Ever! 😀  

Breakfast and bathing…💪🏼  

NOPE…I can’t get bored of this breakfast either, lol! 🤣  

Then it’s time for Sarah to have a swim in the pool whilst i try and not get fried. ☀️   

Sarah in the empty pool enjoying the sun

Me sat in blue Caribbean shirt next to the swimming pool and the beach

 Sarah showed me where to get the lovely ice cold water (with cucumber or lemon) so i could refill while she was in the pool. Once i’ve been shown i’m pretty good at remembering where to go and what to do. The water was on a table underneath a tent like thing…And i could just make out a shape of a palm tree above it but i didn’t know it was glowing! ☀️ 🌴 

Palm tree in the sunshine  with the water tent in view

The beach and Bajan blast…🌊

Photo of the pink hotel taken from the beach with palm trees around

Wow…I don’t think we’ve ever been anywhere that is so accessible for us. It’s so much easier for us to be independent and do everything that we want to without too much hassle or struggle…And everything is so near by and we find it hard to even leave Southern Palms.

Speaking of which…”Steve let’s go on the beach” Sarah said as she blew pas me! I love this time of day and i’ll never get bored of seeing Sarah run, splash and play on this empty Caribbean beach. My only struggle is trying to point the camera towards the happy sounds! 🤣   

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah on Dover beach in Barbados

 After another fantastic time on the beach, it’s time to dry off and cool off…And what better way to cool off than a iced coffee at Sharkey’s! 😀  

Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe…

Sharkeys cafe in Barbados

Sharkey s Tropical Cafe Sign

Sarah sat with an iced coffee in the very colourful Sharkey's Tropical Cafe

 Surf and turf…🍔 

 And guess what?? It’s time for  the ‘Southern Burger’ and the ‘Shrimp Cocktail’ again, Sarah says the shrimp are as big as your face and she’s never seen anything like it before! 🤣  

The shrimp cocktail

Southern burger

Sarah’s beautiful new green dress…

Sarah was excited to wear her beautiful new green dress, and as our room was right on the front facing the beach i said i’ll stay on the balcony and get some photos…No pressure, lol! 🤣 I didn’t have my ‘Big Burtha’ (Nikkor 80-400mm lens) or any of my DSLR’s but i did have my iPhone and tested the digital pinch zoom range! 😀  

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah and the green dress walking on the beach

Sarah and the green dress

Sarah and the green dress walking on the beach

Sarah and the green dress

Sarah and the green dress on Dover beach in Barbados

 Hey look who’s back…? 😲  

Sarah, Cynthia and George

Just as Sarah was walking back from the beach we heard “Sarah…Hello we’re back” it was George and Cynthia! They’d had a lovely time visiting family in Saint Vincent and you’ll never guess…?

If you remember when we stayed here last year and i had ‘The Coconut Slice’ in Speightstown on Sarah’s birthday island tour…Well obviously i was telling George about it and he said “We have a local one like that can Saint Vincent called ‘Red Belly’ and it sounds the same”. 

Then…🤔  

George said “Put out your hand” and continued to place a ‘Red Belly’ coconut slice into my hand! I couldn’t believe it…His kindness was ineffable. He continued I went to the bakery on the island and they only had 2 left and were not making any more, i got one for you and one for me”. 😀 I don’t have the hyperbole to describe the coconut slice, and sorry i don’t have a photo as it disappeared so quickly…Not sure where it went, lol! 😋 🤣 

The Bajan sunset…

me stood in front of the amazing sunset

 Wow what a relaxing day on this incredible holiday. Thankfully we have 1 more full day at this beautifully colourful place before we head back to Gatwick and the cold, wet and grey London hue!

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀

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☀️ #64 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #2” 🇧🇧 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 64 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends! 

Breakfast and braides…🥓🍌🍉🍍🍊

After the consistently delicious, fresh and tasty breakfast we headed off to the salon. It was the same lady from last year, so she knew exactly how we liked our hair and we had a good catch up too! 😀   

My braides and Caribbean shirt

Me and Sarah's braides

Our new friends George and Cynthia…

Me Cynthia Sarah and George

If you remember the 1st day of our cruise in Aruba, we met George and Cynthia at the evening meal when we’d shared a table. We had no idea that they were also staying at Southern Palms for a week too. They had stay here 20 years ago and wondered if it had changed and to get a photo at the same spot they’d had a photo back then. George and Cynthia were going to Saint Vincent to visit family for a few days and we’d meet back up with them for the last couple of days. 

But before they left (as they are so loving and kind)for Saint Vincent they knew it was our birthdays and as a complete surprise present they bought us a top each with Barbados written on them. Yes mine is the stupendous blue Carribbean shirt i’m wearing! 😀   

Me and Sarah with our birthday tops

 Right now we don’t have to fight against the wind all holiday…Let’s see what we’ll be doing on this cool excursion. 

Harrison’s Cave…

Go deeper underground with a visit to Harrison’s Cave. All limestone stalactites, caverns and grottoes, it’s like taking a trip to the moon. Add rock pools, streams and some red and orange mood-lighting, and it takes on a volcano-like edge. It’s easy to see why the locals call it one of the seven wonders of the island. Boarding a little electric tram, you’ll take a mile-long tour through the chambers, passing pillars formed by stalagmites and stalactites that have met in the middle. At the bottom, you’ll see the star of the show – a mighty waterfall below the ground.

The hard hat…

First off, take a comedy picture once you’ve put on your hard hat…Check! 🤣   

Me with Harrison's Cave hard hat

 We’d just listened to about 15 minutes of history inside a mini cinema type place before boarding this cool little tram, then it was into the darkness to find some light. 😀  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tEmSnb3H9k

Harrison's cave in the dark with the lighting and running water

Harrison's cave in the dark with the lighting and running water

Harrison's cave in the dark with the lighting and running water

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jbqR1XN0lg

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Is_dUBJCYk

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

view of Harrison's cave in the dark with mood lighting

 Wow what a ride! We had a fantastic trip and were very thankful that we’d not had to walk as it would’ve been impossible. But sitting back and relaxing in the tram was fantastic and the guide was knowledgable and we learned lots! 😀  

Bac at room 112…

Wow i could stay here for the next 40 years, lol! 🤣  

Sarah stood at room 112

Sarah sat at room 112

Me stood in room 112

Me and Sarah sat at 112

Me and Sarah gugging at room 112

 The sea and the sunset…

“Quick Steve there’s still time to play in the sea before the evening meal and sunset” Sarah said as she blasted past me and ran for the sea, lol! 🤣  ☀️  

Sarah on Dover beach

Palm trees sunset

 Wow what a sunset on another blessed day! Thanks so much for taking the Barbados underground with us on this monumental adventure. 😀

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #63 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #1” 🇧🇧 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 63 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends!

Welcome to 🌴 Southern Palms 🌴…!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms6f0NgnzMI

Yay, it’s also my birthday today! We’d managed to book this cruise and stay which covered both of our birthdays, and after Sarah’s ‘Unimog Birthday Blitz” i knew this would be a little more relaxed! After our amazing time here last year…We’d said if ever we had the chance to come back here we’d try and book room 112. Last year we had a side room which had no window at all but 112 faced directly south and looked out over the stupendous beach, palm trees and sea. I’d messaged Southern Palms to ask if they could hold the room for us…And they did! 😀 ☀️ 🌴

Walking into the room was simply breathtaking and we couldn’t believe the view from our room…And also from our balcony…😲  

Room 112 Southern Palms

Room 112 Southern Palms view from the door to the balcony with the beach and palm trees as the landscape

 Wow we have a week of this view, i think i’m going to have a hard time leaving the room, lol! 😀  

It didn’t take long for us to unpack and make this our new home, then we quickly walked up to the reception to see if we could book ourselves to get birthday braides. The staff were incredibly friendly and knew we’d be back! The on site salon didn’t open until the next day so we didn’t have long to cope with fluffy hair, lol. As we are the ‘Blind Sightseers’ we also booked an excursion to ‘Harrison’s Cave’ tomorrow as we missed doing it last year. 😀  

Before we had a walk along the gap to see if our favourite cafe was still there, it was time tfor Sarah to put her feet on the sand and have a paddle in the sea. As you could tell from the photos of our room (above) it wouldn’t take long! 🤣   

Sarah and the Bajan blast…🌊

Sarah running on Barbados beach

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

Sarah playing Bajan blast

My birthday treat…❤️

I know it looks like Sarah is having all of the fun, but for me to watch (well listen) to Sarah laughing, playing and totally enjoying herself without having her insulin pump attached is one of my best feelings, and it’s certainly a birthday treat for me…Well one of them as i’m hoping they still do the ‘Southern Burger’ tonight. 😀  

Palm tree taken from our balcony

Southern Palms with me stood on our balcony on the bottom right of the hotel

The Gap…

Right…All of that standing still and taking photos of my lovely wife Sarah whilst being burnt to a crisp is really thirsty work, so let’s go and see if the ‘Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe’ is still there.  

Sharkeys cafe in Barbados

Sharkey s Tropical Cafe Sign

Sarah sat with an iced coffee in the very colourful Sharkey's Tropical Cafe

 Southern Palms…

IMG 1851

After a couple of hours on the gap it wasn’t long before the sunset would be blessing us with it’s slow descent, then it’d be time for the evening meal until we could sit on our balcony to watch the sun completely disappear! We did this every night and it was stunning every time! 😀  

 Evening meal…

DING…DING…DING…BOOM…💥

Although it was my birthday Sarah’s ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ bell exploded…It was for the best ‘Shrimp Cocktail’ she’d ever tasted, anywhere! 😀  

The shrimp cocktail

 And guess what?? They still did the ‘Southern Burger’ and it was consistently stupendous for the whole week. As you know this burger hit the top of my leaderboard last year so no bell this year for me…Just the amazing taste! 🍔  😀 Oh and it’s my birthday too…What a time to have the ‘Magnum Opus’ of the southern palms.! 😀  

Southern burger

Fruit

 Sunset and the rocks…

Now it was time for us to walk off some of that delicious food, and take a lovely slow walk along the Barbados beach until we reach the rocks for the sunset. We needed to get back to our room before the sun set totally as it would be too dark and our eyes really don’t work in the dark! We had just enough time for Sarah to say hello to you guys!  

Sarah sunset

sunset behind lots of palm trees

 The balcony of 112…

☢️ HEALTH WARNING…😲  

I asked Sarah if she could take a monumental birthday panorama for me from the balcony… 

Room 112 balcony view

 After i thanked her and we were sitting down enjoying the sunset, saying hello to the other guests as they walked by Sarah said “Wait a minute…I’ve never seen that before?!” She stood up looking to the right and then to the left. “Steve, the moon is shining over there on the left, and the sun is shining over there on the right, let me try and get them both in a panorama”. 

Panorama with a sunet in the far right and the moon on the far left

 Wow…I have never seen anything like this before! Have you? 🤔

Thanks for joining us today, and What a way to end my birthday and begin our Bajan blessing.

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #62 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Castries, St. Lucia” 🇱🇨 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 62 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

St Lucia logo

🇱🇨 Good morning friends!

Sarah & i booked a Catamaran cruise to the Pitons…What a stunning trip. Last year we had booked a trip through the multiple layers of the rain forest (read post) so we thought we would see Saint Lucia by sea this time. Let’s see what we’ll be doing…

Pitons Cruise…😲  

Beaches. Mountains. Rainforests. Volcanoes. Springs. When it comes to natural beauties, St Lucia’s in a league of its own. This trip takes you on a tour of some of the island’s best bits and, because they can all be seen from the sea, you’ll get to enjoy them from the comfort of a catamaran.

Setting off from Castries, you’ll glide along the island’s west coast, passing mangrove-lined beaches and lush forests. And then it’s time for the star of the show. As you enter Soufriere bay, the twin mountains of Petit and Gros Piton will rise out of the sea before you. Topping over 2,000 feet each, their summits have only been tackled by the most daring of climbers. We’ll circle the bay for some great photo opportunities, before heading to one of the scenic bays along the coast. We’ll make a quick stop, and you’ll be served snacks, drinks and get the chance to dive into the Caribbean Sea for a quick swim. Last up is Marigot, the most famous cove on the island. This was a favourite battleground of the English and French back in the 18th century and, more recently, was the setting of Dr Doolittle.

The catamaran…

Once again we din’t need a coach as the catamaran was waiting for us at the dock. My main concern was actually getting on board the catamaran. I had movies playing in my mind of the catamarans from ‘JAWS’ an it’d be hard to climb on board, never mind staying on top of the net thingy in the centre as it bobbed up and down. “Wow…That’s massive i didn’t know they made catamarans that big” i said as Sarah expertly guided me (step by step) on board . Now that was over and i was sat down i could simply enjoy the fantastic ride! 😀  

The Pitons…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll3Fg_ctrRs&t=7s

The guide was great and told us all about the Pitons (see Sarah’s video above) as we just marvelled at this beautiful creation. 😲

View from our boat of the Pitons

View from our boat of the Pitons with Sarah in front

View from our boat of the Pitons

View from our boat of the Pitons

view of the Pitons from our boat

view of the Pitons from our boat

Summer bay…

Beutiful bay with our boat anchored

Upon leaving the Pitons we travelled to a small bay and stopped for about 30 minutes. The guide told us we could have a swim in the water if we wanted, Sarah said to me “Don’t even think about it! You’re staying right here as you’re banned from swimming” We all know why this is!! (read Martinique drama post) 🤣  

Beautiful bay from our boat

The guide also told us the locals would paddle up to the catamaran and try and sell you small crafts they’ve made themselves. This was a main income for the people so don’t worry we are not being invaded, lol! 😀  

view of our Beautiful bay from our boat

We love getting a small souvenir from each place we’ve visited, so when he paddled to us we said “Wow we don’t even have to move and risk tripping up, the crafts are coming to us”. 😀  

Sarah bought a small turtle ‘Timothy The Turtle’ that lives on our sideboard. 🐢

Timothy the turtle

view of our Beautiful bay from our boat

We had a few more minutes to soak up more memories of this lovely bay, when a nice lady asked if we wanted a photo together?!

Me and Sarah on the boat

Me and Sarah on the boat

Leaving the bay…

☢️ HEALTH WARNING…😲  

Leaving the bay we had a nice long ride back to the dock…But just when you’d thought you’d finished, Sarah (having already blessed us with a video) surprised us with a stupendous panorama! 😀  

Sarah panorama of the beautful coast line

Back at the dock…🛳  🌧

As we were here a year ago on the ‘Bread fruit tasting mission’ we knew exactly where to go. This is great when you’re blind as it instantly familiarises you with your environment. We were walking along the right hand side of the road when Sarah spotted a very colourful market stall up one of the side streets. “They might have a Caribbean shirt for you” Sarah said as we stopped in front of the stall to have a look. Although it was overcast the sun was burning as we tried to edge our way closer to the small shade of the stall.

Sarah found a shirt with both her favourite colours but it was tiny as it was for a small child. We said hello to the lady and she told us her daughter was living in England and we got chatting further.

After about 5 minutes…🤔  

“Do you have a shirt in his size” Sarah said whilst pointing at me. The lady started looking around her stall and said “Wait a minute, i think i can get one of those. Do you have time to wait here while i’ll go up the road and see?” “Yes of course we’ll wait here” Sarah said as she was stood like she owned the stall behind all of the products. Sarah said as the lady disappeared up the road “Steve, it looks like i own my very own Caribbean shirt stall in Saint Lucia!” 😀 I still can’t believe i didn’t take a photo of this monumental moment! The lady returned after about 10 minutes, nobody came to the stall but the lady did bring back the right size, and it is now Sarah’s favourite shirt! 😀  

Saint Lucia Caribbean Shirt

We walked away from the lovely lady with huge smiles on our faces, my smile as i had a fantastic new shirt and Sarah’s as she’d owned a stall in Saint Lucia for 10 minutes. Then it starts raining but it was nothing like the rain in England. The mixture of the burning hot sun and the slight cooling rain gave it a soothing feeling. “It’s liquid sunshine” i heard a few people saying as we walked our familiar route back to the ship after looking at all of the stalls. Yes ‘Liquid sunshine’ is exactly what it felt like! 😀  

On the ship…🛳  

We couldn’t believe it was the last day of the cruise, although we’ve had a fantastic adventure and we’ve still got a week stay on Barbados! We had another excellent evening meal and decided to have a last walk around the ship. Sarah had seen these circular seats earlier on the cruse but they were always taken, so she jumped on the cushions and said “Steve take a photo of me on my favourite seats”. 😀  

Sarah relaxing on a cool circle seat thingy

Walking around even further Sarah captured a lovely photo of the dock and the island all lit up at night. This was a perfect image to end our cruise in Saint Lucia, as the sun would rise upon our next week in Barbados! ☀️ 🇧🇧 😀  

Island by night

Thanks for joining us on our trip to Saint Lucia! Have you been here before? 🤔

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #61 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “St. George’s, Grenada” 🇬🇩 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 61 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Grenada logo

Good morning friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-6pkbgL3Ho&feature=youtu.be

One of my first attempts at a Time-Lapse video…

The Marella Explorer

Yay, Safe On The Dock….🛳

Upon leaving the ship it felt like coming home, as we knew exactly where we needed to go as we were here last year (read post). Once we found and boarded our coach ready for our excursion to the nutmeg factory, then on to the chocolate factory, we settled back and enjoyed the view. We had visited the Nutmeg factory last year as it’s Sarah’s fave place, as the incredible smell of nutmeg fills her with warm memories of her Nan Peters when she used it in her legendary rice pudding. And now we knew what to expect…We could find and buy more nutmeg. 😀  

The nutmeg and chocolate factory tour…🚌

We were blessed once more with the stunning beauty of this place as we drove around the coast and the luscious hills. ☀️  

Island of Grenada from the sea

View of the bay of Grenada

The Nutmeg Factory….

Inside Nutmeg factory

Inside nutmeg factory 2

Inside nutmeg factory 3

Inside nutmeg factory 4

This time we were the first ones in the gift shop and ready to get some of the amazing nutmeg that fills all kinds of products. Sarah bought an omnifarious mixture of products including…Aloe Vera oils etc (wow nutmeg and aloe vera)…She had missed getting some of this last year when we had a similar tour. We really didn’t think we’d see this place again (never mind the first time) and it was such a blessing to be here…Aawww that smell! 😀  

The Chocolate Factory…🍫

This was very educational and interesting. The local guide took us around the beautiful grounds and factory showing us different plants they grow, including the cocoa trees and how they harvest the beans, dry and ferment the seeds, crack the shells to emit the cocoa nibs (the actual cocoa their chocolate is made with)…Watch video below. 🍫 😀  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJIjTbbuKpM

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Sorry but didn’t get any photos or videos of the factory. But the local Mango & Lemon punch was amazing and refreshing…But that was a shadow of the ginger & dark chocolate bar! I saved it until we were back in the UK but i now wished i’d bought about 10 of them instead of 1, i think we need to go back next year!!   

Thanks for joining us on our trip to Grenada! Have you been here before? 🤔

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #60 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Kralendijk, Bonaire” 🇧🇶 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 60 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Bonaire Logo

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!!!

Welcome to Bonaire on this fantastic occasion…I wonder what surprise is in store for Sarah? 🤔  

Arawak Off-road Safari… 

This trip is all about getting to grips with Bonaire’s historic best bits. Clamber aboard one of the 4x4s, and in a couple of minutes you’ll be whizzing along the off-road trails. 

First, you’ll climb into the Subi Rincon hills, where the convoy will stop at a set of time-worn Indian caves. Then, it’s on to one of the island’s only two towns – Rincon. Keep an eye out for the honey-yellow church tower as you pass through, then hop off the truck when you arrive at pretty Boca Onima. This rocky stretch of coastline is home to some of the best cave art in Bonaire, which gives you a real glimpse of the island’s past. 

One of the best bits is saved ‘til last – the beauty spot, Seru Largu. This cross-topped monument sits on a raised platform, setting you up with panoramic views of the capital, Kralendijk.

On the dock…🛳 

This shore excursion was a second choice as the first choice was sold out weeks before we’d even started our cruise. We were thinking about the 4×4 Land Rover trip we’d done in the Azores(see here) but couldn’t really get excited…As it was much hotter here and the thought of being crammed in the back of a Land Rover really wasn’t doing anything for us today. So what we thought was going to be an anticlimax…Turned out to be the best trip of the whole holiday! Oh and i’d just travelled in my best vehicle of all time! 😎 

The 1961 Yellow Unimog…😲  

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

Awww friends….Let me introduce you to this Yellow, 1961 Unimog…..have you seen the tires, lol! It threw us around like crazy and i still can’t believe that he didn’t slow down for anything. There is no way a vehicle can hit rocks, huge pot holes, climb cracked hills and go around tight bends whilst travelling at break neck speed, it would have destroyed anything else and left them in a pile of spare parts, lol. I’m not sure they issued these with brake pedals! 😎

Subi Rincon hills… 

 Bertrand was our fantastic guide, and even better rally driver, lol. He said he had a PHD(pot hole dodger) although he didn’t dodge anything but drove straight over everything which made the ride so much fun…We were all hanging on for dear life as our bums were ‘getting air’ as they lifted off our seats!!   

We  climbed higher and higher into the Subi Rincon hills, where the amazing yellow Unimog stopped at a set of time-worn Indian caves. This place had lots of rocks to walk over and Bertrand told Sarah “You’re a fantastic guide” as she was expertly weaving me through the rocks! He told the group how the first explorers crawled through these caves in the pitch black, an inch at a time without knowing what was coming. 😨  

Cave in Bonaire

 Back on the Unimog…

Bertrand put the ladder in place at the rear of the Unimog so we could climb in and out. I was very careful the first time as i was feeling with my feet to find out how many (and where) the steps were. But after a few times i was flying off them! 😀   

He kept slowing down and then (klunck) slamming it into low gear as he climbed ludicrously steep and rocky slopes until we got to a high viewing point. Ikept forgetting it was Sarah’s birthday and not mine! 🤣  

view overlooking the island of Bonaire

 The Bonaire Donkey’s…

The Bonaire Donkeys

We were screaming down a dirt track when Bertrand hit the breaks. He jumped out of the Unimog and tried to call out to the Donkeys to see if they’d come over. He told us:

Donkeys have been around on Bonaire since the 17th century. The Spanish brought the donkeys for transportation. When modern vehicles became available like pushcarts, donkeys were redundant and left to their fate.

Bonaire is a predominantly rugged and arid island, making it difficult for the donkeys to survive. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of donkeys on Bonaire present. Because the donkeys can move freely on the island this regularly leads to traffic accidents. 

Fauna ezel thumbThe donkeys live in small herds of about 20 animals and can be 40 years old. During the day they seek the shade of the trees. In the early morning or early evening the donkeys are usually active.

Since 1993 injured, sick and orphaned donkeys are cared in a shelter, called Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. Volunteers take care over 400 donkeys in a closed area. The shelter is open to visitors and is located south of the airport on the Kaya Ir.R. Statius van Eps. 

I heard “EEEYYOOORRREEE, HONK, HONK, HONK) and Bertrand said “Ok i hear you” to the donkeys and “They don’t want to say hello” to us as he climbed back into the Unimog and drove to our next stop…

☢️ HEALTH WARNING…😲 

Wait a minute…How did Sarah take a panorama whilst sat in the Unimog? “Nobody likes a show off, lol” 🤣  

Panorama of the lakes and saltflats with the wind turbines in the centre on the horison
 
After another blitzing ride we parked at the beauty spot, Seru Largu. We walked up quite a few steps to get to the top, but it was worth it!
 
Sarah & i overlooking the island of Bonaire
 
This beautiful place sits on a raised platform which set Sarah up with panoramic views of the capital, Kralendijk.
 
Panorama of the island of Bonaire

 Bertrand stopped in many interesting places, he even fed lizards by hand as we stood on a sandy park burning to a crisp.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd0phsrO6V4

We’d had a simply breathtaking trip on the fantastic yellow Unimog and we were really sad when we pulled back into the dock.

Back at the ship…🛳

After the incredible and mind bending ride in the Unimog, we quickly went on board and had an iced coffee before heading out into the town to see what goodies we could find.

It was absolutely scorching so the first place was a tiny local bar where Bertrand told us to try the locally (and traditionally)  brewed beer ‘Bonaire Blond’. Sarah sat me down at a small table and soon came back with a birthday celebration drink…The 2 bottles of ice cold Bonaire Blond. The bottles were soon empty as the room was just too hot and we needed to get back outside. 

Yay, we managed to buy another bauble for our Christmas tree…Oh and i bought another bright and colourful shirt that you’ll see at a later date! 🎄  😀   

The Evening Meal…🍽

 As we walked into the usual evening restaurant we were guided to our seats. Sarah said “Steve i think we’ve sat somewhere we shouldn’t, it looks much posher here and even the napkins are red instead of white”. After a few more seconds Sarah continued “Oh have you done this? Have you booked me a surprise birthday meal? I bet you’ve done this!” I’d kept quiet so far wondering myself what had happened, and wondering if i should tell Sarah that i had booked a special table for her birthday even though i hadn’t, lol!
 
“No i havn’t booked anything special but i wish i had now” i said as the waiter brought Sarah the menu. Sarah used the built in magnifier on her iPhone to read the menu aloud “It’s the italian restaurant, you’re going to love this” “No way i thought you had to book for this one” i said wondering if they did Arancini (they did). 
 
The Italian restaurant was free like the main restaurant, the only difference is that you had to specify that you wanted to eat there which we hadn’t. We still think they knew it was Sarah’s birthday and sat us there without saying…But we still don’t know and it was a lovely surprise for Sarah’s birthday. 😀  
 
Then…

 DING…DING…DING…DING…BOOM!!😋  
 
Profiteroles
 
YAY, It’s Sarah’s bell from her ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’. Moving straight to the top of her ‘Desserts’ leaderboard were the sugar free Profiteroles. Sarah said they tasted amazing and never seen any of these anywhere that were sugar free and didn’t mess her blood sugar up. We told the waiter how good they were and soon the chef came over and chatted to us as we thanked her too! 😀  
 
Now that was a fantastic ending to an even greater day! Happy Birthday Sarah!! ❤️❤️❤️ I LOVE YOU!! ❤️❤️❤️  

Sarah Happy Birthday Cards
 
 Thanks for joining us on this fantastic day on Bonaire! Have you been here before? Have you ever been in/on a Unimog? 🤔 
 

☀️ #59 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Willemstad, Curacao” 🇨🇼 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

   Hi friends and welcome to Day 59 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Curaçao Logo

 🇨🇼 Good morning friends!

 Welcome to day 2 of this ‘Tropical Delights’ cruse. Wow what a colourful place! Let’s see what shore excursion we’re doing today?! 😀  

Discover Curacao Island: 😲  

You’ll get to see two of the island’s biggest attractions on this tour, starting with a drive past the island’s salt flats and on to the Hato Caves. They were formed below sea-level and today they’re full of stalagmites and stalactites.

Next up, we’ll head over to the Chobolo Liqueur Factory, passing the Queen Juliana Bridge on the way. At the factory, you’ll get to see how the island’s famous Blue Curacao Liqueur is made. The drink is distilled from the dried peel of bitter oranges, and you’ll get to taste it for yourself.

Lastly, you’ll head back to the ship via downtown Willemstad – you can get dropped off if you’d rather stay and have a look around. 

Our ship in the dock looking down from the bridge with the surrounding town

On the coach…🚌

After we boarded the coach and met our tour guide, we drove up and over the dock and had a fantastic view of the ship!

Hato caves…☀️  

Leaving the air conditioned coach we walked into a wall of fire (i mean heat) and made our way to the bottom of the steps for the Hato cave. After a steep, difficult and gruelling climb up lots of uneven and twisty steps, we finally made it (super sweaty) to the top which is the mouth of the cave. 💪🏼  

Upon entering the cave we were quickly ensconced with darkness. Our torch could not pierce this blackened world so we stopped, turned around and let other people squeeze past as we walked back out. We told the guide (who was waiting outside) that it was way too dark and dangerous for me and Sarah, so we made our way carefully back down the steps on a tactical withdrawal. 

On the plus side, We found a fantastic small yellow cafe which served local coffee. We walked to a table with a beautiful view (and breeze) and it was so quiet with only a handful of locals sipping their drinks and chatting. 😀 We heard the group arriving and it wasn’t long before we were back in the coach. 

The Chobolo Liqueur Factory…🍹

bottles of Curacao hanging on a display wall

Sarah was excited to learn all about the origins of this drink and how it was made, as she and her friend Caroline used to like this drink back in the day! The guide also gave us little testers of each flavour to see which ones we liked and disliked, then we could buy the ones we wanted in the gift shop. Sarah bought a bottle to send to Caroline as she’s never had one from the actual place before and we thought she’d love it…She did! 😀 

Back at the ship…🛳

After a lovely iced coffee and quick refresh we thought we’d have a little walk into the town. It was pure midday burning sun and it seemed to take about half an hour just to walk the length of the ship. But we kept going and finally got to the stunning bridge, and knew we were heading in the right direction. 

Me stood on the right of a panorama with the boat in the centre and the colourful buildings behind me.

This was Sarah’s favourite place as she could gaze upon the vivid colours of the buildings that lined both sides of the dock.

View of Curacao colourful Buildings 1

View of Curacao sock 1

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The town…🌇

We had a little walk around this beautiful town to see what we could find, and first of all we found a clothes shop! “Ooohhh i wonder if they sell a caribbean shirt for me” i said as Sarah was trying to find the most colourful section. Sarah then pulled out a fantastic orange and black shirt with Curacao written all over it (see image lower down). “Yes i’ll have that one” i said with a huge smile on my face. Sarah also bought a top with Curacao on the front and we left the shop to find more souvenirs. We didn’t have to wait long as we found another bauble for our Christmas tree, yay! 🎄  

The sun was burning hot and microwaving my bones as i walked round like the ‘Ready Brek’ man causing a heat haze around me. So Sarah stopped at a small bar and got us a bottle of ice cold ‘Amstel’. 

Then…😲  

“HOWDY!” Both Sarah and i spun around and faced the american man from yesterday as he continued “Oh Sarah, I love your trainers they’re so colourful” we said “Wow how amazing that you’re here, we thought we’d never see you again. How are you?” He said that his cruise ship had to wait a long time for the big bridge (one we’d just walked over) to lift and let us into the dock, so we arrived a lot later than you. Shortly after his wife turned up and we started chatting for a while, before saying “Maybe we’ll see you tomorrow? I can’t believe you’re here today”. 😀

After parting ways (again) we started on the long trek back, but we did get to walk back over the bridge with the colourful buildings, yay!  

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 On the ship…🛳 

We quickly nipped back to the cabin so i could put on my new shirt, then we walked out on deck as i wanted a photo in Curacao whilst wearing my new Curacao shirt. 😀   

Me stood in front tof the colourful Curacao buildings wearing a Curacao orange shirt

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Towel creature… 

 On our return to our centre front cabin we found our first towel art. Sarah thought is was a rabbit sniper…Please let us know what you think it is in the comments below?! 😎 

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 ⇧ Sarah on her tranquility seat ⇧ 

 And finally we were blessed with a beautiful sunset from our cabin window, wow what a day!

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Thanks for joining us at this wonderfully colourful place…Have you been here before?

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #58 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Oranjestad, Aruba” 🇦🇼 (2019)

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 58 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Aruba Logo

🇦🇼 Good morning friends!

Thanks for joining me and Sarah on another Birthday celebration cruise and stay in the Caribbean, it’s great to have you guys along for the ride.

Marella Explorer (Apr 2019)…🛳  

Unbelievably this is the Blind Sightseers 6th cruse! We have never been on the Marella Explorer and Sarah had booked cabin 8001 which is dead centre and right at the front of the ship. She chose this cabin as she thought the views from the window would be fantastic….She’s right again! 😎 

All it was missing is a steering wheel. 🤣  

A view of a sunset from our cabin on the Marella Explorer looking directly forward and centre at the front of the ship

⇧ View from our cabin Nø 8001 ⇧ 

Sea logo

Sarah stood on the deck looking out to sea with a cargo ship in the far distance

Before getting to Aruba we had a day at sea. We were pleased with this as it gave us time to walk about 80,000 steps to find out where we could get Breakfast and the evening meal…But most of all find the Coffee Port to see if they made lovely strong coffee? They did! 😀  

 🇦🇼 Aruba…

As usual we had booked an excursion for each of the 5 islands we were visiting (you didn’t think you’d come away to rest?!) and todays excursion is: De Palm Island – Full Day, Aruba.

De Palm Island has got it all. Set adrift off the Aruban coastline, this private reef offers up pristine waters and a huge variety of exotic marine life, it’s a first-class spot for an underwater exploration. Your day will start off with a short boat trip over to the island, where the friendly staff will be waiting to meet you. After a short safety briefing, you’re ready to slip on your mask and wade into the warm, clear waters. Expect to meet friendly blue parrotfish and angelfish. Back on dry land, there’ll be time to sprawl out on the sand, take your seat for a banana boat ride or visit the island’s small waterpark before heading back to the ship. Don’t forget that a full buffet lunch and refreshments throughout the day will be included. 

On the dock…🛳  

Marella Explorer over the sea whilst stood on the dock

 We had a short walk around the dock until we arrived at the place to get the little fun boat. 

The little fun boat…🚤

 Yay, it didn’t disappoint as it bobbed up and down spraying us in the face with nice cool sea water. 

Me bottom right with a view over the little boat filled with our group

De Palm Island…🏝

My lovely wife Sarah

 ⇧ My lovely Wife Sarah catching some long awaited sunshine outside the cafe ⇧ 

When booking this shore excursion we had visions of excitement and adventure from the amazing Xel-Ha island in Mexico, unfortunately this wasn’t like that. This place was tiny in comparison which worked well for us not getting lost but there wasn’t much to do either. The weather was overcast and muggy, until the clouds parted and gave the sun chance to burn a hole through your flesh! 🔥 

I was well impressed by the solid wooden walkways that curled around the whole place, and i marvelled on how long it must have taken to construct this very accessible path. When i was fully sighted i worked as a panel beater in a bodyshop so i know a little about sanding etc. I was enjoying the smoothness of the wood when Sarah pulled me from my reverie…“Steve! Come on stop touching everything to see how smooth it is, lol!” 🤣  

We found the cafe first (funny how that happens) and use it as our starting reference point. We found a souvenir shop (we’ll be back) then the toilets (useful) and passing the bar and food court (Mmmmmm) we stumbled upon the sun bed area. Seeing that all of the sun beds were taken and we’d only just got here, we walked back to the cafe to see if they had iced coffee?! 😀  

Walking around the cafe looking at the assortment of food we suddenly heard an american man with a bright and cheery accent right behind us “HOWDY” Sarah and i turned to face him and he continued “I hope you don’t mind me interrupting? But i saw you have an insulin pump and wanted to ask about it” Sarah talked to him about how long she’d had Type 1 diabetes and how long she’d had the pump. The man was a chemist/Pharmacy person and his niece was debating whoever to get one or not? After Sarah talked about how much of a life saver the pump has been i think his niece will be getting one! The man (sorry forgot his name) had arrived on the ‘Celebrity Silhouette’ cruise ship that we’d noticed towering over ours in the dock, and it was also his first time in Aruba, then we finished up our coffees (no iced coffee, just a machine) and parted ways with the lovely man. 😀  

Me stood on the left in a orange caribbean shirt carrying a black backpack with views of palm island, Aruba in the background

 Yay…It was the first time in a while that i’d been able to wear the bright orange shirt i bought in Saint Kitts from our first cruise…Read all about it here.

We quickly figured out that this place was mainly for snorkelers, and that wasn’t an activity the ‘Blind Sightseers’ could do (yes even we have limits, lol). We managed to secure 2 sun bems ( nobody wanted them as they were in the shade) and as i sat down Sarah went to see if she could have a paddle in the sea?! Sarah quickly returned looking sad as they’re were rocks pretty much all the way round and lots of ‘Beware of Jellyfish’ signs. More clouds came and lowered the temperature so we walked into the food court place as it was lunchtime already.  

Yay…I was happy as they were mainly serving burger and chips (well french fries which are fake chips) and Sarah said they served salad too! 🤣 Once again (like the sun beds) every table was taken except the only one in the blistering sun no-one wanted…So we sat down and i placed my ‘Tactical sun hat’ on my frying head and enjoyed the burger, although i wasn’t sure which one of us was barbecued, lol!  🍔  ☀️  😀  

“HOWDY” the man said whilst walking past, i said to Sarah “I don’t have to ask who that was as his accent is fantastic” as we waved in his general direction. As Sarah and i can’t make eye contact it’s almost impossible to make friends or start a conversation unless people come over to us. So it felt great to make a friend here who always says “Howdy” when seeing us! 😀  

Sarah & i had a great time wondering around this beautiful little island and we found lots of little places until stumbling into….The gift shop! We love to find souvenirs that help us remember the amazing journeys/adventures we have conquered, and Sarah bought a fantastic t-shirt with “Biba Dushi” written on the front. Biba dushi in Aruba means “living the sweet life”. The language is actually called Papiamento and is one of Aruba’s two official languages spoken by many on the island. Papiamento is a Creole language derived from Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, and African languages.

Back at the ship…🛳 

After another fun ride on the little boat back to the ship, we had enough time to get changed, leave our bags and have a well needed iced-coffee before heading out to explore as much as we can without getting lost before the ship leaves.

We walked up one street and turned right before Sarah stopped and said “Wow, that lady is having her photo taken in front of that cool wall art/sign. Quick get one of me” “Ok my lovely, you’re wearing your new yellow Michael Kors t-shirt too, i hope i get everything in”. Sarah had bought this t-shirt for our holidays and couldn’t wait to put on the lovely bright colours and flowers.

Sarah stood on a surf board in her new yellow Michael Kors t-shirt.

 This is one of my fave photos as it shows Sarah’s smile is as bright as her t-shirt. 

Walking back to the ship we finally found a local Bauble maker…Her daughter makes and paints them herself. We bought a beautiful one which even had a cruise ship painted on with the Aruba island and even 2019 on it. 🎄 😀  

We’ve started collecting Christmas Tree Baubles since i started going abroad 5 years ago. We love unpacking them at Christmas and filling the tree with all  of the places we visit. We think its a lovely idea to fill the tree with our lives journeys and give thanks to God for everything.

Our wonderful new friends…😀  

Photo of 6 of us after a lovely evening meal. Sarah & i meeting 5 new friends

Sarah & i like to share a table with other passengers, mainly to take this opportunity to try and be sociable( being blind and trapped in your very small world & not having any eye contact it’s almost impossible to be sociable. or start conversations). So asking someone to read the menu for you because we are blind is a great ice breaker, lol! 

We met 2 lovely couples that night and you will hear a little more about them throughout this trip.

Thanks for joining us on our visit to Aruba! Have you been here before? 🤔

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #57 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Blindman Tough Mudder” 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (2018)

The Blind Sightseers logo

Tough Mudder 5K

Good morning friends! Are you ready for a challenge?

Adie, Me & Josie at the start with smoke covering the landscape

⇧ From left: Adie, Me & Josie ⇧  

It was amazing to have my friend of nearly 30 years Adie join our “Hard As Nails” team. I thought we’d sit and catch up over a coffee….I didn’t have this in mind, lol! 🤣  

Adie on my back as i carry him on the hero carry

 ⇧ Me carrying Adie on the “Hero Carry” ⇧ 

After jogging a little, we came to this…….

“At over 2 stories high, this is one of the most impressive obstacles in the UK. It is a giant A-shaped cargo net that you and your team will have to scramble up and over it. Working together will be the only way to overcome”.

Adie, me & Vini on the scramble net

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This was easily my favourite obstacle of the day as i could get my hands on it. Also it’s where my new trainers just hooked perfectly around the rope and it felt completely solid.

My blindness helped me out for once as i couldn’t see how high i was climbing and scrambling over the top. I heard a lot of fear from other people and a few of them froze going up and were glued to the spot. 😨

 Then….When getting to the bottom i hear “Yay, Whoop Whoop, Steve, Steve, Steve” and the sound of the plastic clapper hands were going crazy! What a feeling to know my lovely Wife Sarah and the Crazy Clappers team were cheering me all of the way, a great feeling! 😎

Me, Vini & Ashley cheering

 ⇧ Me, Vini & Ashley biggin’ up the cheering team ⇧ 

More jogging….Adie and the team were excellent at guiding me when jogging. Moving low hanging branches, telling me of tree roots and pulling me in the right direction. Adie said “I tried running with my eyes closed for a few steps…And there is no way i’d try any of this if i couldn’t see”.

Then….. 

“We’ve taken the 10′ Hero Walls and tilted them right at you. By removing the ability for you to climb up and over this wall, you will have to form a strategy with your team, work together and boost each other to the other side”.

Vini on top of the wall and me trying get my leg up to get grip for my pull up!

 ⇧ Ouch, my leg hasn’t bent that far in about 20 years, lol! ⇧ 

More Jogging…..

“This obstacle will have you crawling on the ground, pinned down by a giant cargo net. Working your way through this one will require lots of communication, teamwork and a strong will”.

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You’ve guessed it…..More jogging and then….

“The aim of the game is to get your team up and over this stack of super-sized hay bales. There is no right or wrong way so boost, shove or yank every last team member over the other side”.

Ashley helping Josie

⇧ Ashley helping Josie in a display of team work ⇧  

Next…….

“Can’t go through it, can’t go round it, you’ll have to go over it. Work together to boost and shimmy your teammates up and over this 10′ Tough Mudder staple”.

Ashley at the top of the wall

Josie on the top of the wall with all of us cheering at the bottom

Vini helping Josie at the top of the wall

Yep, more jogging…..

Time to get swinging. Grab on, hold tight, feel the momentum and swing yourself from ring to ring like a regular Tarzan. This obstacle will test your strength, coordination and flow. Hang in there, you got this”.

Really didn’t do well on this one…And i can’t really blame my sight for lack of strength, lol!

Me on the rings

After a little more jogging…… 

“One of the most teamwork-inducing obstacles in the Tough Mudder portfolio, this obstacle is difficult to complete alone. You’re going to have to work together to form a human pyramid and, like its namesake, climb up and over your fellow Mudders on the way to the top”.

As Vini was making everything look so easy…..It was great to look at the photos afterwards and see it wasn’t all too easy and he had to struggle too!! 💪🏼 🤣  

Vini & Ashley pulling Josie up the pyramid scheme

Vini, Ashley & me pulling Josie up the pyramid scheme

Pyramid scheme 1

Pyramid scheme 2

Pyramid scheme 3

AND NOW……MY NEMESIS!!!!

 “A true Tough Mudder legend. Everest will challenge participants to run up a quarter pipe to reach the summit. Can’t do it alone? Not to worry – teammates are encouraged to hang over the top to pull their new friends up and over” 

I knew this was going to be difficult for me as i needed to try it and get hands on before i could calculate what exactly i needed to do. Adie and Ashley kindly explained the process….But i knew i just had to do it before i would really know….As running at a half pipe wall thingy when blind is going to be interesting!

Here Goes Nothing…..

Me running at Everest

Me and Everest

I thought i’d feel the incline of the ramp and know roughly where i needed to jump and reach out for the top. But i took 1 step too many….And before i knew it the hard wall was in my face! 🤕 

“Awwww i was so close to reaching the ledge”.

Me crashing into Everest

After hitting the wall i dropped down hard on both knees, and as the obstacle was made of hardish tyre rubber, it simply burned and ripped the skin off both knees….”Wow that stings!”

Time to regroup and recalculate! I could sense the crowd went very quiet, and i heard a couple of people wonder how i’m going to get up there?

“Ok Steve, just do the same (not the face plant and flesh stripping knee thing) but with 1 step less”. Here i go again! 😲

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Yay!! Now that’s better, and once i had my talon trainers gripped to the ledge i was solid, now i  could just heave myself up. Wow i made it! 💪🏼 

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18JA3400⇧ Ashley showing how it should be done! ⇧😎  

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The team were fantastic and we all made it up. No-one was being left behind and you could just feel the team growing closer with each obstacle, it was amazing.

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Now the final obstacle was overcome, it was time for a short jog to the finish line,Yay!

The Finish Line & The Headbands……

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Yay…..We did it!

 

With more than a week past….My knees are still scabbed and bruised…..But i’d like to give an Elephantine amount of thanks for everyone involved! 💪🏼

 

A photo of the hard as nails team with our headbands on and our arms around each other

⇧From left: Adie, Vini, Me, Josie & Ashley ⇧  

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⇧ When words fail to say how thankful you are!!! ⇧ 

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⇧ Me, Adie & the headbands ⇧ 

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⇧ Adie, Vini & Me for a final photo ⇧ 

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Wow what a journey! 😲  

First…I’d like to give a stupendous amount of thanks to my lovely Wife Sarah….The amount of love and encouragement was mind-blowing! And for the “Hard As Nails” team…..”“my muscles were fading but the sense of team work was overwhelming and no matter what…..We were getting over those obstacles”.💪🏼

Second… I’d like to give a monumental amount of thanks to the “Crazy Clappers” team. “When i’d finished an obstacle and was about to collapse……I’d hear the Cheering Team and you’d put a big grin on my face to remind me it was alright and to keep going! 😎

 Third…I’d like to give a gargantuan amount of thanks to all of you guys for your donations to “World Cancer Research Fund” and encouraging me (and the team) every step of the way! We passed (and smashed my target) the whopping £1,000. “Intention isn’t Prevention……And you all have helped me spread the good news with everyone so we can all be aware and empowered to start fighting the cancers we can prevent.”

Finally…A colossal amount of thanks to John and Sarah Atherton (from the Epsom Camera Club) for giving up your Saturday and taking the amazing photos of us all….We’ve got fantastic memories of the day which we simply wouldn’t have without you!

Thanks for cheering me on around the course! Have you done anything like this before? 🤔

Now i need a holiday! Wait a minute…The ‘Blind Sightseers’ havn’t finished yet, Yippeeee! 😀  

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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☀️ #56 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #4” 🇧🇧 (2018)

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 56 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….!

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends!

This is our last full day before we have to fly home. 😭 We’re going to miss this view!  

Dover beach with a palm tree on the far right

Breakfast…😋  

Me and Sarah at breakfast in Barbados

 We had our penultimate breakfast (yes sausages…I mean fruit) and i was wearing my new ‘Birthday’ t-shirt. Sarah had seen it in the little gift shop (on site) and knew she just had to get it for me. It says “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and has a surf board with a large bite mark out of the side, it also has Barbados written on it…Fantastic! Sarah was wearing her ‘World Cancer Research Fund’ t-shirt which is the charity she works for, and it’s the reason for my impending doom…Let me explain…

The Blindman Tough Mudder! 🤔  

People who know me?! know that I’ve been struggling and fighting all kinds of obstacles for the past 18 years since being registered blind…..BUT I‘ve never faced obstacles such as these.

I was recently challenged (strong-armed) to do the Tough Mudder 5K by Sarah’s nail tech/artist Ashley, who works at Ooh La La Hair & Beauty Salon. I chose the team name ‘HARD AS NAILS’ and I’ll be competing and raising funds for one of my favourite charities  -World Cancer Research Fund

My lovely wife Sarah works for World Cancer Research Fund and I was stopped in my tracks by one of the statistics she showed me – That 40% of cancer cases are preventable ….that’s around 147,000 cases each year in the UK alone. And that after not smoking eating a healthy diet, being more active and maintaining a healthy weight are the most important things you can do to reduce your cancer risk. This totally blew my mind!

“What??? There are cancers that I can prevent? I thought cancer was something that you just got!” 😱 

The light switched on for me and I thought “Why didn’t I know this? 

I want to share this good news with everyone so we can all be aware and empowered to start fighting the cancers we can prevent.” 💪🏼  

Since then I’ve been following World Cancer Research Funds recommendations and have never felt more healthy and energised (even though I’m on beta-blockers). Most of all I know I’m helping to not dig my own grave with my own knife and fork!

Can a blindman do a ‘Tough Mudder’…? (post coming tomorrow!)

Now it’s time to spend our last full day on the immensely packed beach! 🤣  ☀️  

Sarah stood on the beach in arbados

Sarah stood on Dover beach in Barbados

Sarah cooling her feet in the sea at dover beach

 After our 1st wave (see what i did there, lol) of beach fun it was time for a cool down, but first i had to try and get Sarah off the beach. 🤣  

Sarah looking out to sea on dover beach

 Just as i’d gotten comfortable in the shade…”Steve let’s play some crazy golf! I bet you can’t beat me, lol!” Not another challenge! 💪🏼   

Me lay back on a sun bed chilling in the shade

 Putting (pun intended) the ‘crazy’ into crazy golf…

This hotel and beach club was just fantastic for us as there were no steps to trip us up. Walking out of our room…The main swimming pool was about 10 meters away, the restaurant/bar was about 20-30 meters away, and the crazy golf course was about 30 meters and just around the back of the hotel in the beautiful grounds. 😀  

Sarah taking a shot on a lighhouse crazy golf course at Southern palms in Barbados

 We were happy straight away as the course had a lighthouse obstacle…Sarah loves lighthouses and we stayed in the ‘Old Hunstanton Lighthouse’ for our honeymoon and then for the following 5 anniversaries! 😀 ❤️ 

We didn’t have the course to ourselves as there were also some children playing, this really helped us out when Sarah did her ‘Happy Gilmore’ impression and smashed the ball off the course and into a load of bushes! The children (who were a lot smaller kindly returned Sarah’s ball as they could fit under the bushes! 🤣  

Sarah crazy golf

Me looking towards the camera whilst taking a shot on the lighthouse crazy golf course at southern palm Barbados

We had no idea who’d won the game as we were having too much fun! 😀  

 Back to the beach…

As the hotel is great and accessible for us…The empty beach was fantastic. When you’re registered blind you hardly ever get to walk freely without millions of obstacles coming at you from every angle. So once Sarah plonked me by the sea and said it’s safe to just walk up and down and follow the edge of the sea, i got moving. It’s a freedom i never ever thought about when i was fully sighted but now i love these brief moments!

me walking along the beach with my feet in the shllow water

Me on the beach

Sarah volly ball

Sarah beach running

 After spending lots of time playing in the shallow water and being splashed (blasted) by the waves, we walked as far as we could along the bay (east), then we walked all the way back to Sarah’s favourite place…The rocks (west). You may recognise this place as the sunset location, as this is the place we always come to every night to capture a sunset. 😀  

Sarah on the rocks

Sarah on the rocks

Sarah on the rocks

 It was a beautiful place to stop and listen to the sound of the waves crashing and to sit  (or stand) in reverie. 

Well now that’s out of the way it’s time to try and catch up with Sarah. I really need to take more video clips as the auto focus isn’t fast enough to keep up with Sarah, lol! 

Sarah on the beach

Sarah running on the beach directly towards us

 Goodbye Sharkey’s…

After our scorching day on the beach we headed off to our local for an iced coffee! 😀   

Sharkey s Tropical Cafe Sign

  Farewell Barbados… 🇧🇧  

 We’ve had such an amazing time staying at the Southern Palms Beach Club, playing on Dover beach and enjoying Barbados! So i thought there would be no better way to leave this place as to let the beautiful Bajan sun set on our holiday. 😀 

Bajan Sunset

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀

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☀️ #55 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #3” 🇧🇧 (2018)

The Blind Sightseers logo

  Hi friends and welcome to Day 55 of this monumental, inconceivable and definly memorable blind sightseers tour….

Barbados logo

Good morning friends! Yay we’re still at the 🌴 Southern Palms 🌴 

Photo of the pink hotel taken from the beach with palm trees around

 Southern palms breakfast…😋  

“Wow, how nice are these bananas with a little fresh orange juice drizzled over them!” i said as Sarah puts some fresh water melon next to me. “What a way to start the day, they taste so much fruitier and juicier than back home”. Sarah loved going over to the numerous tables and getting fresh fruit, nuts and best of all…The coconut bread! We then walked over to the cooked food table where we ordered our fresh omelettes.🍌🍊🍉🌰🥥

But then…

DING…DING…DING…😋 

Yay…That’s the sound of my (not Sarah’s) ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ bell again. This time it was for the nicest sausages i’ve ever tasted. I have no idea what herbs and spices they used but it’s right up at number 1 for sausages! 😀  

After being dragged (kicking and screaming) away from the sausages, we had a monumental walk back to our room (about 30 meters) as Sarah wanted to go for a swim. The pool was fantastic and not very busy! 😀   

Sarah in the empty pool enjoying the sun

 There was always a cold fresh jug of water (with cucumber or lemon) available under an umbrella for guests to drink. It was a life saver for me who just boils to death the second i leave the air conditioned room. Being sat under an umbrella next to the pool, hearing Sarah splashing around and having fun with the view over the beach (see image below)…It wasn’t the worst place to be, lol! 🤣 ☀️   

view taken from my seat next to the swimming pool looking out onto the beach

Sitting still is not the usual Blind Sightseers way of doing things but suddenly  i heard an airplane pretty close to us. I just pointed my phone towards the noise and i didn’t expect to capture anything, but to my surprise i managed to get the plane. My ears must be well calibrated! 🤣  

photo of a airplane flying through a fluffy white cloud in the blue sky

 Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe…☕  

 You may remember from my ‘Barbados #1‘ post that we’d had a walk up the ‘Gap’ from our hotel to explore. We walked past Sharkey’s and thought we’d try it another day…Well now we are here! 😀 We absolutely loved the incredibly bold and vivid colour scheme and it wasn’t long before we’d sat down and had our iced coffees. We chatted with the man (making the coffees) and when he found out Sarah was diabetic he said “Hey, i can make a special one for you! It’s good that you told me as nobody dies on my watch, lol! 🤣  

Just when i thought this place couldn’t get any brighter…Sarah hits me with that amazing smile!  

Sarah sat with an iced coffee in the very colourful Sharkey's Tropical Cafe

 The Birthday Bajan Braides…

As we were on a ‘Full Day Island Tour’ yesterday, we didn’t have time to book Sarah into the on site hairdressers to get her birthday  braides. As you may know the wind here is quite strong (and cooling) so i already had my hair in braides, as it’s my birthday 4 days after Sarah’s. It was the same lady who’d done my braides and Sarah looked fantastic! 😀 ❤️ 

photo of Sarah and her new braides with her smiling in the mirror

Me on the left getting a kiss on the cheek from Sarah

 The evening…

Southern palms by night

We’d already had another lovely day but it was time for the evening meal. The hotel had a different band playing every few nights, and sitting in the restaurant next to the perfect postcard beach was stunning.  

Southern palms house band

 DING…DING…DING…DING…😋  

Yes you know what this means…It’s my ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ and something has just smashed it’s way to the top, i wonder what it could be??

This one isn’t for the faint hearted but i don’t have enough hyperbole to do this justice! So i’ll just introduce you to my favourite burger of all time…The ‘Southern Burger’ This is hard to write about without drooling. 😀 I must confess that i ordered this on the first night and then for all 7 nights! Once you’ve hit the top there’s nowhere else to go! 😀 🍔   

The Southern Burger

 The sunset…

Thankfully we walked along the beach for the sunset before we had the evening meal. We always knew exactly what time to leave for our daily beach sunset walk as the ‘Bajan Whistling Frog’ would start singing at the same time every night! 😀 

🌴 The ’Southern Palms’ and Barbados was already our fave place and island and we’d not even been here a week. As the sun set on another fantastic day i wanted to leave you with this stunning view.  

me stood in front of the amazing sunset

 I’d like to say that i’d set up a tripod, set the self-timer and walked into position, But (you guessed it) Sarah ‘Top Trumped’ me again with this beautiful photo! 😀  

Thank you so much for taking time to join us in Barbados, but it’s still not over yet! 😀  

Have you ever been to Barbados? I’d love to hear about it! 

We’ll meet tomorrow…Same time…Same place for another adventure! 😀 

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