🎶 “Blind Lockdown Rag!”” Me Playing Baby Taylor

This was recorded by my lovely wife Sarah whilst on holiday in Pembrokeshire with Sarah’s family on 18th Jan 2020. It was before the lockdown happened…But it looks like we were trapped inside and i was finding a way to entertain Sarah’s dad and brother Marshall, lol! 

I also had no idea Sarah was recording this…But i hope it can shine into your homes and bring a little smile. 😀 

Here is a constellation of wonders!

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Here is a constellation of wonders! 

(Charles Spurgeon

“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7 

Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word “forgiveness,” when it sounds in a guilty sinner’s ear! 

Can it be possible that sin–such heinous sin as mine–can be forgiven, forgiven altogether, and forever? Hell is my portion as a sinner–there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me. 

Can the unfathomable load of my guilt be removed? Can the crimson stain of my sins be blotted out? 
Can the adamantine stones of my prison-house ever be loosed, or the doors be lifted from their hinges? 

Jesus tells me that I may yet be forgiven. Forever blessed be the revelation of redeeming love, which not only tells me that pardon is possible–but that it is secured to all who rest in Jesus. I have believed in the appointed sin-atoning sacrifice, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and forever–forgiven by virtue of His substitutionary sufferings and death! What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul! My soul dedicates all her powers to Him who of His own unpurchasable love became my surety, and wrought out for me redemption through His blood. 

What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! 
To forgive at all
to forgive fully
to forgive freely
to forgive forever
Here is a constellation of wonders! 

When I think of . . .
  how great my sins were,
  how dear were the precious drops which cleansed me from them, and
  how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me,
I am in a maze of wondering worshiping affection! 
I bow before the throne which absolves me!
I clasp the cross which delivers me!
I serve henceforth all my days–the Incarnate God, through whom I am this day a pardoned soul! 

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  
 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him!” Romans 4:7-8 

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

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🇦🇼 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, lol.

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 ⇧ 

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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 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? 🤔

To be continued… 

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Oh how ashamed you would be if men could see your thoughts!

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Oh how ashamed you would be if men could see your thoughts! 

(Richard Baxter)

Oh how ashamed you would be if men could see your thoughts! 

Is not the eye of God ten thousand times more to be regarded?

You alone know each human heart!” 2 Chronicles 6:30 

Behold, I know your thoughts!” Job 21:27 

“Would not God have discovered it, since He knows the secrets of the heart?” Psalm 44:21 

“You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence!” Psalm 90:8 

“You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar!” Psalm 139:2 

“Death and Destruction lie open before the LORDhow much more the hearts of men! Proverbs 15:11 

I know what is going through your mind.” Ezekiel 11:5 

“I know their works and their thoughts.” Isaiah 66:18

Lord, You know everyone’s heart.” Acts 1:24 

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14 

“God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.” Romans 2:16 

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 
   Psalm 139:23-24 

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

The Blind Sightseers logo

Tough Mudder 5K

Good morning friends! 

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 Monk 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! 😀  

To be continued…

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Heaven has become a trifle to you, Hell is almost a jest, eternity an empty notion, and death but a bugbear!

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Heaven has become a trifle to you, Hell is almost a jest, eternity an empty notion, and death but a bugbear!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able!” Luke 13:24

I do not wonder that so many are deceived, when I see the careless way in which they deal with their souls. When men have to do with their estates, they are very careful; they pay a lawyer to go back over the title-deeds perhaps for two or three hundred years. In trade they will hurry hither and thither to attend to their commercial engagements; they would not launch into speculations, nor would they run great risks. 

But the soul, the poor soul–how men play with it as a toy, and despise it as if it were worthless! Two or three minutes in the morning when they first roll out of bed; two or three odd minutes in the evening, when they are nearly asleep–the fag-ends of the day given to their souls, and all the best part given to the body! 

And then, with what indifference do you lend your ears too often to the preaching of the Word! It is an old song–you have heard it so many times. Heaven has become a trifle to you, Hell is almost a jest, eternity an empty notion, and death but a bugbear!

Alas! it is a marvel that there are not more deceived. The wonder is that any find the gate, that any discover eternal life, when we are so, so mad, so foolish, so insane–as to trifle where we ought to be solemnly in earnest; and to play and toy–where the whole heart should be given to a work of such everlasting importance. God help us, since it is so easy to be deceived–to search, and watch, and look, and test, and try, that we be not found castaways at the last!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it!” Matthew 7:13-14 

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5

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

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 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

 To be continued… 

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A beloved child, watched over, cared for, supplied, and defended by your Lord!

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A beloved child, watched over, cared for, supplied, and defended by your Lord!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people!” Psalm 149:4 

How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people’s interests which He does not consider. There is nothing which concerns their welfare which is not important to Him. Not merely does He think of you, believer, as an immortal being–but as a mortal being too. Do not deny it or doubt it: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered!” It would be a sad thing for us if His mantle of love did not cover all our concerns–for what harm might be wrought to us if any of our matters did not come under our gracious Lord’s care! 

Believer, rest assured that the heart of Jesus cares about your smaller affairs. The breadth of His tender love is such that you may resort to Him in all matters; for as a father pities his children–so does He pity you, His redeemed child. The smallest interests of all His saints–are all borne upon the broad bosom of the Son of God. Oh, what a heart is His, that does not merely comprehend the salvation of His people–but comprehends also, all their diverse and innumerable concerns! 

Do you think, O Christian, that you can measure the love of Christ? Think of what His love has brought you–justification, adoption, sanctification, eternal life! The riches of His goodness are unsearchable; you shall never be able to tally them–or even conceive them. Oh, the breadth of the love of Christ!

Shall such a love as this have half our hearts? Shall it have a cold love in return? Shall Jesus’ marvelous loving-kindness and tender care, meet with but faint response and tardy acknowledgment? 

O my soul, you are no desolate wanderer–but a beloved child, watched over, cared for, supplied, and defended by your Lord!

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!” Ephesians 3:18-19

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

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’ yes 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! 

To be continued… 

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☀️ #54 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #2” 🇧🇧 (2018)

Barbados logo

Good morning friends! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!! 😀  

Wow what a view to start your Bajan Birthday whilst eating an amazing fresh and juicy breakfast. 🍍 🍌 🍉 🍊 🍇 🥓 We could’ve stayed here forever…But we have a fantastic birthday trip starting in a moment! 😀  

Palm tree on the left with an empty picture postcard view of the caribbean beach and sea

 The Barbados 360 Island Tour…

 The Barbados 360 Island Tour is a great way to see BarbadosYour incredible experience begins with pick-up at your hotel by a friendly local guide/driver.

Southern Palms…

We didn’t even have to leave the hotel as the coach pulled right up to the entrance. We were one of the first on the coach and it was nice to get the chance to see the other hotels as the driver stopped to pick the other people up.

Bridgetown…

You’ll be driven through our bustling capital city of Bridgetown which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here the architecture and charm of a bygone era merges with the beauty of a modern city.

The tour guide told us lots of history as we drove through Bridgetown. It looked (and sounded) fantastic and it’s a definite place for us to go and explore at a later date! 😀 

Speightstown…

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! 🤣 

me stood unwrapping the coconut slice in front of the sea and a wall

 “If i can just break this cake in to small pieces then i could hide it in my pockets. I’m sure this cake is too sweet for Sarah and she just won’t like it!” 🤣  

e stood looking towards the camera in front of the sea

“Nothing to see here, i hope i havn’t got crumbs all over me!” 🤣  

Me and Sarah cuddling with the sea behind us

A kind person from our group asked if we’d like a birthday photo together? I’m sure she must have noticed us fighting over the coconut slice, and thought she’d better break us up, lol! 🤣  

sea view over a sea wall

Oh yes, this beautiful place wasn’t just about the coconut slice…Who am i kidding? Yes it was! 🤣  

But it’s not my birthday and it was time for us to get back on the coach.

view of the town from the bus

Morgan Lewis Windmill…

Get your cameras ready for the stop at Cherry Tree Hill, our favourite look-out spot on the island! Sugar cane fields and the lush countryside lead down to a beautiful coastline.

Sarah with a beautiful smile

Me and Windmill

Me and Windmill

Sarah stood in front of the windmill moving her arms to the sails of the windmill

 Oh wow, it’s not my birthday but Sarah treated us all to a stunning stupendous panorama! 😲 

A beautiufl view of the bay with me on far left

Palm trees 

North point and Saint Lucy…

After a short drive we ended up at North Point, the most northern part of Barbados. Instead of flat sandy beaches this place had cliffs and big waves. But first Sarah had to have her photo taken with Saint Lucy. 😀   

Sarah and saint lucy

Sarah north point

Waves crashing on the cliffs at north point

 We walked inside the cafe/bar area as we had enough time for a cold drink, and then lots of noise and singing…It was the tour guide and a few of the staff singing Happy Birthday (stevie wonder style) bouncing and dancing around whilst carrying a bowl of flying fish with a sparkler sticking out of the top! It was a special moment for Sarah and we’ve never had anything like this before, a lovely thing for them to do. 😀  

It was an amazing place and totally different to the postcard beaches we’re used to at our hotel. ☀️

Bathsheba & the soup bowl… 

Next you travel along that coastline to the seaside village at Bathsheba, to see fascinating rock formations standing strong against the battering waves. You might also see surfers enjoying the white surf of the world famous “Soup Bowl”.

 Leaving the coach we realised why this was great for surfers…The wind was really strong and we had to be really careful not to get blown away!  

The soup bowl

The soup bowl

The soup bowl

The soup bowl

 Hey Sarah has tried to sneak another monumental panorama! 😀 

The soup bowl

Sarah at the soup bowl

Sarah at the soup bowl

 This place was beautiful and wild and also very different from the normal beaches. Just before we arrived at the next location our driver treated us by singing (with a great voice) “All of me” by John Legend. Every time we hear this song playing it takes us back to this stunning place! 😀  ☀️  

 Sunbury Plantation House… 

By now you might be feeling a bit hungry, so it’s off to Sunbury Plantation House, for a delicious local buffet lunch and a tour of this beautifully restored historic home.

Wow what a place packed with so much history. We had a short walk around looking at the antiques then sat down for a stunning buffet birthday lunch. We tried an omnifarious amount of local foods and it was so tasty! 😀  

View from the restaurant

 This was the view from the table…Stunning! 😀 

View from the restaurant

 We were sad to leave this place but the ‘Bajan Birthday Tour’ hasn’t ended yet. 

St. Johns Church…

After enjoying the beauty of nature it’s time to visit St. Johns Church, a gothic Church that boasts amazing views from its hilltop location. 

 This was the last stop on our epic tour of the island and it was beautiful.  

Church

Inside the church

Inside the church

 The day ends as you are safely returned to your hotel…

After a long day filled with excitement, surprises and beautiful scenery, the coach pulled up outside our hotel. We said our goodbyes and headed back to our room.

And then…

As we opened the door to our room we were greeted with this lovely surprise for Sarah’s birthday from the hotel staff.😀   

Champagne in a bucket for Sarah's birthday

 But the birthday isn’t over yet. Sarah then dragged me out on to the beach for a lovely walk before it gets too dark. 

Sarah with arms in the air on Dover beah Barbados

Palm tree on dover beach

Southern palms hotel from the beach with palm trees and me in the front

Sarah leaning on a palm tree

 Wait a minute…Is Sarah getting tired…Impossible! 🤣  

 Today was a perfect day and Sarah really enjoyed her bajan birthday. It’s been great having you guys with us to celebrate too. Have you enjoyed Barbados? 

To be continued… 

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Serve Him Today

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Don’t look to the future when you might be in a better situation to serve God. Serve Him today, whatever your situation may be.  🙏  😀  

☀️ #53 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Barbados #1” 🇧🇧 (2018)

Barbados logo

 Good morning friends! Yay we’re in Barbados! 😀  ☀️  

After our relaxing breakfast (as no excursion today) we had a couple of hours on the ship. We were excited not to be flying home as usual but to be staying a week on Barbados. We’ve never done a cruise and stay before so had no idea what to expect. But while we are waiting…How about a game of blind crazy golf? 😀   

Sarah playing crazy golf on the top deck of the ship

 We made sure there wasn’t many people playing as i take too long on a shot. I can’t see my feet never mind a golf ball, lol! To take a shot i bend down and place the ball on the floor while holding the club against it. Then slowly rise up whilst at the same time trying not to move the club or the ball at all. Hopefully the wind hasn’t blown my ball away from the club (happened a few times as i swung and just hit air) then i swing. If i make contact with the ball it’s a bonus, but sometimes i just fluke a hole in one! 😀 💪🏼  

Me playing crazy golf on the top deck of the ship

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 After a very hot round of crazy golf (i think Sarah won) and a farewell iced coffee it was time for us to leave this lovely ship. 

me stood on the dock next to the massive marella dicovery

 🌴 Southern Palms 🌴…

 After a short ride in a minibus with the driver telling us some great places to visit if we get the chance, we pulled up a the hotel. We were welcomed by a steel drum band and Sarah just had to get a video of this place! 😀  

Once we’d been shown around our room with lovely air conditioning, we unpacked our case and went for a little walk round which included the beach. ☀️ 😀 

Welcome to our perfect Caribbean postcard beach…

Palm tree on the left with an empty picture postcard view of the caribbean beach and sea

Me stood on the beach with my thumb up in Barbados

 We couldn’t believe how empty the beach was and had a walk up and down up to the limits of our hotel (the hotel was wider than we’d thought) and there were not many people on the beach at all. We walked around the whole bay (which wasn’t very big) and there were more people on the beach in front of the next hotel down, but hardly any in front of our hotel..Excellent. 😀  

Sarah shadow across the beach looking over the whole bay of Barbados

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The sunset photo…

As the Southern Palms faced directly south we headed right along the beach so i could find a lovely sunset photo, i knew the sunsets must be amazing here so wondered where we could stand to get one?! Wow i think this looks like the place! We couldn’t believe it as this place was about 50 meters from our hotel, and it was the end of the bay so we couldn’t walk any further anyway. Sarah quickly found her new ‘Happy Place’ on the top of the rocks. 😲

Sarah sat on rock in front of a beautiful Barbados sunset

Sarah sat on the rocks in front of the beautiful Bajan sunset

 It was beautiful and we stayed as long as we could before it got too dark for us. It had rocks, coastline and trees for composition and we were happy to come here for the next 7 days!  

The beautiful bajan sunset

 We knew instantly that this place was something special and we’d love it…And i havn’t even mentioned the evening meals yet!! Oh the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic Leaderboard’ is going to get busy! More about that on a later date. 😀 

The following day…

We had breakfast and evening meal included at the hotel, and wow what a breakfast (tell you later!) So when we’d filled our tanks we headed out of the hotel for a short walk. As the hotel was located on St Lawrence Gap we thought even if we get lost, someone would always know about the gap and take us home, good plan. 

St Lawrence Gap…

It was scorching hot (and then some) but there was a sprinkling of stalls, shops and cafe/bars along the gap, so i could stand underneath in the boiling hot shade, lol! Then walking further along the gap we found (which is now) our favourite and most colourful cafe…‘Sharkey’s Tropical Cafe”. 

Sharkeys cafe in Barbados

 We didn’t have time to stop at the moment as we were on exploration mode. The gap then turned 90˚ to the right until we hit the main road. We knew we could just turn back and get back the way we came, but we’d read about the legendary public buses and wanted to try one! 

The bus…

Wow, let me tell you a little about the bus! Remember how i was telling you about my favourite cars of all time back in Corsica, yes the insanely fast ‘Group B’ rally cars…Well when we’d walked along the main road a little, on some tiny paths that took some navigating…One of these blasted past (i enjoyed the breeze,lol). “Wow that was close” i said whilst trying to sort my shirt out as it had been blown violently around. Climbing on board one of these missiles (it was heading the way of another coffee shop i’d found on Facebook) the first thing that we noticed was the noise! It had a hugely loud raspy exhaust (like Group B cars) and it only accelerated hard and fast. There were no cruising and just hard braking for anyone else brave enough to get on. It took us about 7 seconds (maybe 10 minutes) before we could breathe again and the g-force came down to normal and we could step off.

It stopped right outside the ‘Victoria Coffee Shop’ and we were greeted with this fantastic sign as we walked in… 

Victoria coffee shop sign

 The coffee shop was beautiful and we had a lovely strong coffee with some local banana bread, Mmmmm.  😀  

Me stood outside the coffee shop with my thumb up

 After another dizzying blast on the rocket fuelled bus we managed to get back to the hotel after a good time exploring. Sarah said (i think she’d seen my hair after the bus ride) “Shall we book you in to get your hair braided as the hotel has it’s own hair salon?” My hair did look like a cross between ‘Aslan’ and ‘Worzel Gummidge’ so i was happy to get it out of the way for a whole week! 😀    

photo of my long hair taken by the lad who is about to braide them

photo of my braides from the back taken by the lady who did them

 The lady did a fantastic job and we had a great time chatting to her and learning more about Barbados.

Sarah’s Birthday in Barbados…

Tomorrow will be Sarah’s birthday and we’ve booked an excursion that will take us all around the island, showing us the different coastlines of this beautiful place. We’re really looking forward to it and can’t wait to share Sarah’s birthday with you in Barbados. 🇧🇧 😀    

To be continued…

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On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

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On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

When the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and preaches them to the heart–oh, what a sweet peace follows! For the believer then finds himself saved from all the miseries of sin, and entitled to all the blessings of eternal glory.

Being thus persuaded of his safety by believing in the sin-atoning blood of our Great High Priest, the Holy Spirit then teaches him how to live upon Christ, and how to make use of Christ’s fullness. 

On our learning this lesson depends our comforting walk heavenward. For Christ does not give us a stock of grace and expect us to improve it by being faithful to grace given. No, no, that is not His way. Our souls must depend upon Him, just as our bodies do upon the elements of this world. Every moment we must live by faith upon His fullness, and be every moment receiving out of it grace upon grace. 

And this is our happiness–to have all in Christ!

A beggar in myself, but rich with unsearchable eternal riches in Him. 

Ignorant still in myself, but led and taught by His unerring wisdom. 

A sinner still, but saved by His blood and righteousness. 

Weak and helpless still, but kept by His Almighty love.

Nothing but sorrow in myself, nothing but joy in Him. 

Oh, this is a blessed life!
 

No tongue can tell what a Heaven it is, thus to live by faith upon the Son of God. Thanks be to Him, that I do know a little of it. Surely I could not have thought, some years ago, that there was such a Heaven upon earth as I now find. May you find it more and more! Sweet Jesus keep you, my dear friend! 

Yours, 
William Romaine

☀️ #52 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Grenada” 🇬🇩 (2018)

Grenada logo

 Good morning friends and welcome to Grenada! 😀  

 Sarah’s really looking forwards to Grenada and visiting the nutmeg factory, she loves nutmeg! It reminds her of lovely memories of her even lovelier nan, and the beautiful smell of her legendary rice pudding.

After yesterdays post (short story) i thought we’d have a lovely gentle coach ride…What can go wrong, lol! 🤣   

Where are we going today… 

All cinnamon, cloves and allspice, it’s little wonder Grenada’s known as the Caribbean’s Spice Island. But they’re not the only treats that grow here. There’s plenty of citrus, bananas and cocoa beans too. In fact, the menu of plants that call this place home reads like the ingredients for a Nigella recipe, so it’s easy to see how this place came to be one of the world’s leading spice suppliers.

You’ll wind through the rainforest to the Grand Etang Lake viewing point. A giant volcano crater filled to the brim with cobalt water, it’s certainly easy on the eye. And its volcano-top location makes it all the more breathtaking. From here, you’ll travel to Annandale Falls, a fairytale paradise of cascading water, hanging ferns and dainty orchids that’s like a secret Caribbean garden. Then it’s of to the nutmeg factory!

 On the dock…

Wow you can smell the lovely warm spices even from the dock! Oh and what a beautiful place! 😀 

Me on the dock with the sea behind me and the cliffs slowly drifting into the sea behind me

Island of Grenada from the sea

 We boarded our air conditioned coach and met our guide who was very knowledgable about the history of this incredible island. The first thing we noticed is just how green it was. Massive fruit and all kinds of food just grew along the roadside, it was just lush with life! It wasn’t long before we were getting off the coach for our first stop of the day.   

 Annandale Falls…

Sarah expertly guided me down steep paths and large steps to get down to the waterfall…And it was totally worth it. 😀  

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 Wow i really hoped you could feel how fresh and cool it was when stepping nearer this waterfall, i could’ve stayed there all day but it’s back to the coach. 

the bus rear whell is so close to a sheer drop off the cliff

Wait a minute…That’s a sheer drop! I kept asking if they wanted me to drive?? 🤣   

Grand Etang Lake viewing point and national park…

Every time we stepped off the coach we were greeted with the amazing smell of the spices, and walking through the national park there were a few stalls where we could finally buy some! 😀  

It was so beautiful up here. 

Beautiful green landscape of trees and rolling hills

Beautiful green landscape of trees and rolling hills

me in my blue chequed shirt in front of the green landscape and rolling hills

 Back on the coach… 

We were driving past many nutmeg trees when the coach slowed and came to a stop and the guide jumped out, picked something and jumped back on the coach. 

He held up the freshly picked spice and told us all about the nutmeg and it’s various uses, he was showing us their yellow apricot-sized fruits, that were often split open, showing the red mace covering the hard-shelled nut with the seed inside. He also told us that Grenada is one of the biggest producers of this spice in the world, after Indonesia from whose Banda islands this nut originates. 

The coach then pulled away and we had a beautiful scenic drive until we reached the nutmeg factory. 😀  

View of the bay of Grenada

The nutmeg factory…

 Wow…What a delight for the senses! The wonderful aroma ensconced us as we walked into the factory and it never let us go until we were back on the coach.

We were shown and told all about the process from farming to distribution around the world. The ladies were smiling (some even singing) which gave a lovely feel to the place. My favourite part was the snapping and popping of the used shells under our feet, it was so loud. The guide told us that not even the shells are wasted as locals put them on their paths and around their gardens so they know if someone (or something) is coming!

Inside Nutmeg factory

Inside nutmeg factory 2

Inside nutmeg factory 3

Inside nutmeg factory 4

This nutmeg factory industry is an essential part of the island economy and it’s gratifying to contribute in some small way to its continuance.

The shop… 

At the end we went to a souvenir shop, where nutmeg products are sold in all kinds of forms, from powder and jams to syrups. Most of our group were already on the coach and we only had a few minutes. It smelt amazing and we wanted to take everything. Sarah bought an incredible smelling cream then we rushed back on to the coach.

We later found out the Sarah had bought an insect repellent “No way i thought it was a moisturising cream…But it smells so amazing!” We used it lots but made sure to save some as it really does smell incredible! 😀 

Me in a bright yellow t-shirt waving my arms in the air in front of the cruise ship

Back on the ship…

I was happy for the refresh as the plaster on my leg (from yesterday) wouldn’t stick as i was so hot my legs felt they had custard drooling down them. 😀  

Well we’ve sadly made it (mostly intact)  to the end of another cruise (Seven Isles Cruise) but the adventure doesn’t stop here! This is the first week of our 2 week cruise and stay, so tomorrow we head for Barbados. We are staying for a week at ‘Southern Palms Beach Club’ and hope to meet with you there! 😀  

To be continued…  

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☀️ #51 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Martinique” 🇲🇶 (2018)

Martinique logo

 Bonjour mes amis (Good Morning My Friends) and welcome to Martinique! 

Sorry but Sarah & i took no photos at all on the very wet shore excursion. Yes even i was in my wet gear (last time ever) and we had no water proof cameras. But this is a must read and a gripping drama of an adventure we’ll never forget! 

Side note…Although it’s called a post it’s actually more like a short story. So settle back with your favourite beverage and enjoy the drama! 😨  

Let’s have a look and see where we are going… 

Kayaking Mangroves Martinique

Had your fill of sunbathing and swimming? This is one for the more active crowd. You’ll first travel to a nearby islet to pick up your kayaks. And with paddles at the ready, you’ll head off into the quiet mangroves. You’ll be in the water about 40 minutes, gliding under tropical canopies. And red and black mangrove trees sprout from the water. Guides are on hand to make sure you get the most out of the day and help you perfect your technique. Plus there’s plenty of time to chill with a fruit juice, or swim in the sea before taking the boat back to the ship.

On the dock and boarding the boat…

After another lovely breakfast we left the ship and joined our excursion guide on the dock. We stood waiting for a while and started talking to a lovely man and his grandson who he was taking on our trip. When the man knew i was registered blind and still kayaking and swimming he seemed to relax a little. Yay i can help without helping! 😀  

We were then guided onto a small fun boat, it had a totally flat and wide floor (like a dance floor) so was easy for me to get on. We took our seats around the edge of the boat and it pulled away bobbing across the sea. The cool sea breeze flowed briskly through the boat (which i enjoyed) and before long we were pulling up to a small islet. Sarah unplugged her insulin pump and stored it safe in our bags that we’d left on the boat, then we stepped off the boat and after a short lesson on kayaking we were ready to get in. 

The kayak and the mangroves…

 As this was the second time we’d tried kayaking (see 1st time in Mexico) we thought we knew what to expect. Sarah climbed in the back seat and i sat in the front waiting for the navigator (Sarah) to direct. The guide took us across the open sea and we swiftly pulled into line about half way up the group. We were kayaking across the open Caribbean sea and it was incredible, it’s such a lovely feeling being out in the open sea. Then we started to turn towards the mangroves. The group pulled in tight as we made our way along the stunning narrow waterway. 

Then…

I heard a commotion a head of me and a screaming/shouting. As we pulled nearer a woman had fallen in and her husband was still in the kayak trying to help her. The woman was freaking out and on the verge of hysterics and could not be reasoned with. As a side note…During our boat ride from the ship the guides showed the group huge photos (about A3) of the omnifarious types of creatures out there including huge crabs that lay on the floor and the sides of the mangroves, and i think the woman had those photos still etched in her mind. Sarah said the woman was up to her shoulders in water and couldn’t get back in to the kayak. Her paddle had hit the side of our kayak so we stopped to give her support and save her paddle for when she gets back in. 

 With the woman safely back in the kayak (she was fuming) the group continued along the amazing mangroves until we stopped for a rest before heading further along for about 20 minutes until it opened back out in to the Caribbean sea. Now we could test the top speed as we flew back to the little dock thingy. I wouldn’t say our kayaking always went smoothly and we have had a few crossed paddles along the way, but we had fun and made it back.

The boat and the short beach break…

 We sat back down on the boat (tired) after a fantastic kayak trip and the guide said “It’s about half an hour until we get to the beach, so relax and come and have a fresh cold drink at the bar area at the front of the boat. I said to Sarah “That was the Blind Sightseers 2nd kayak trip and we made it without sinking or capsizing again” “Yeah i know” Sarah said very slowly and quite slurry. At firs i thought she was just tired as it took a lot out of us with all of the paddling, and how could it be a hypo as she hasn’t had her pump attached? But i said “Are you ok?” If it is a hypo then i need to hear her speak so i know it is for definite. “I think i’m having a hypo?!” Sarah said as she looked at her pump to clarify the very low reading. I knew Sarah really wanted to enjoy the beach we were heading towards but this was going to be a big hypo! 

I jumped up and headed for the juice bar and asked for any full sugar orange juice if they had any? They did and Sarah was just with it enough to be able to drink it…Now we wait to see if the sugar kicks in or Sarah passes out. I do not enjoy this bit at all, but i just think about how Sarah must be feeling and stop complaining! The music on the boat was loud, the people were chatting away while i was trying to keep Sarah sat upright. About 15 minutes had passed and the juice wasn’t really working, so i got up and asked for another one. I knew Sarah really wanted to go on the beach and would be upset if she missed it, but i also knew she’d be absolutely freezing after this hypo…The T1D’s who read this will know exactly what i’m talking about, the bone chill that happens is like your bone themselves are frozen and the only way to get warm again is to have a hot bath. 

With about 5 minutes to go Sarah’s speech became much more normal again and she asked if we’d already been to the beach. “Not yet my love, we are about 5 minutes away but we can just stay on the boat where it’s safe” I said with my arm around Sarah trying to get her warm. “Now way it’s freezing on here and it’s in the shade, at least the beach will be in the sun and i can warm up” “Good thinking” i said as people were getting ready to leave the boat. “Hang on” i said as i heard a couple of people splash into the water “It sounds like we are not on land” “No we’re not, we are in a beautiful film set looking place but the beach island is a long way over there” The guide said we have about half an hour until the boat sounds it’s 1st of 2 horns then you have a few minutes to get back on board, the guide continued You can swim over to the  beach if you want to as we have permission to use the bar there etc but make sure you’re back on the boat shortly after the 1st horn blast”. Sarah said “The sea should be warmer than being trapped in here and lots of people are getting off so we can have a swim over to the island and get warm” “Sounds like a plan, let’s go”.

The sea and the island…

Sarah guided me to the back of the boat and there were steps leading down to the sea. “Steve you can sit on the bottom step and then push yourself off” “Which way is the beach?” Sarah pointed at a 90˚ angle to her right “Ok thanks if i can’t tread water i’ll head that way until i hit land”, here goes…

As i slid off the last step i went straight under and started to sink like a stone. At the same time salt water filled my lungs as i panicked and i seemed to stop breathing. I kicked my legs and frantically thrust my arms in a a swimming motion with little effect…At first. More water filled my mouth and lungs and finally my head poked out of the water. I think the panic of drowning was overtaking me as i couldn’t keep my head above water long enough to spit out all of the salt water. Treading water was out of the question but if i swam i seemed to stay on top. I only know 2 swimming strokes Breast stroke and doggy paddle (doggy paddle really wouldn’t work right now). I said to myself “Steve you’re not drowning here and leaving Sarah all on her own…Just swim to the beach” I knew if i stopped then i’d drown , and i knew roughly which way the beach is so i started the breast stroke (i’m really good at breast stroke). The faster i went the less likely i was going to drown so i kicked and pumped my arms as hard as i could!

I seemed to be swimming for quite a while and i couldn’t hear Sarah at all, i thought Sarah wouldn’t leave me out here alone? But maybe she is next to me or behind me as i can only hear the water forcing it’s way into my ears, either way i’ll meet up with her on the beach as she is an amazing swimmer”. There was no beach or island getting any closer and i tried looking and i thought i could see a shadow of something to my right (it was just blue everywhere else) so i steered myself towards the shadow and kept pumping my quickly tiring arms and legs.

“YES” i said whilst spitting out another mouthful of salt water “This looks like an island. OUCH” i said as my knee hit something sharp and hard, it stopped me dead and i kicked my legs around to try and get purchase on something. I was so thankful that i’d bought some ‘Hot Tuna’ beach shoes with heavy rubber tread, as all i could feel with my feet were lots of points like hundreds of tall pointy pyramids trying to pierce me. As i’m blind i’m really good at feeling with my feet to compensate my sight loss, and after a few attempts i managed to grip on with a foot either side of the huge point. I was crouched and wobbling as i tried to counter the waves hitting me constantly but i was glad of the rest. Looking straight ahead (where i thought the boat would be) i saw nothing but blue. “Wow no boat or people” i could also hear nothing or no-one. “How far have i swam” i thought whilst looking to my left, i was using and straining my very blurry sight to it’s limit but i could make out that this islet i was on continued further along. Realising i couldn’t stay hear (especially as my foot slipped and my left shin is stinging like mad) i pushed away. 

Finally after swimming around those nasty pointy things  i crawled my way onto the beach. “I thought they said there was a bar here” i thought whilst hearing nothing as i sat down to catch my breath and to think about what had just happened. I expected to hear Sarah calling me…But nothing. I looked out again straining until my eyes burned but couldn’t see a boat either. My left shin was really stinging and i knew it was bleeding and had salt water in it,…

Then…

As i was rubbing my hands to get the sand off i noticed my wedding ring was missing. My heart dropped through the floor so i checked again…Still missing. My first thought was “Sarah’s going to kill me” as i dropped to my knees to search around the sand with my sweeping hands. I couldn’t find it and knew it probably flew off in the mad panic from the boat, so i started walking up and down the beach at the sea edge and thought, “if people were looking for me at least they have a better chance of spotting me if i’m up and moving”. The beach was only about 50 meters long and i’d done a few lengths already and still heard nothing. I walked another time up and down the beach with the realisation of my predicament setting in. I was tired, i’d lost my wedding ring and i was lost on a Caribbean islet, i’d stopped walking at this point and was just looking out into the vast blue sea deep in prayer and thought when…

“Steve?” i looked a little to my right where i’d heard the noise and thought “That’s not Sarah’s voice” “Steve?” “Yes” i said as the man continued “Sarah (your wife) has sent me to guide you back to the boat” I was almost in tears of relief as i started to walk into the sea and join him. He continued “How much can you see?” “Very likktle” i said “Ok just follow my voice as i keep shouting at you”. I was back in the water and swimming along behind my navigator as we arrived at the rear of the boat. My mind was picturing me swimming into the propellers and slicing me into a thousand pieces just as i thought i’d made it, but i hit the bottom step instead. 😲

Here is a photo of my wedding ring that is still in Martinique! 

Wedding Rings

Climbing the last step and into Sarah’s arms she said “You’re not swimming ever again!” i replied “I do not disassociate myself from that statement!”. Sarah continued “Do you have any idea how terrified i was that i’d lost you?!

I heard you enter the water as i was looking down to make sure i didn’t trip on any of the tiny steps. A lady who was smashing around with an inflatable lilo and another person were totally distracting me with another inflatable they’d pulled out of nowhere, so when i’d looked up…You’d disappeared. I quickly looked to the right (towards the beach) to see if i could see anyone swimming in that direction, nothing. I looked straight ahead and still nothing. For some reason i looked out to the open sea, and just caught sight of your head bobbing up and down, The woman on the lilo kept chatting and chatting really loudly, people were behind me getting more drinks and some were trying to get into the water, it was really confusing. I tried asking the woman on the lilo to help but she wouldn’t leave her lilo, so i asked a man behind me for some help, and when i turned back around…You’d vanished again! More time passed and my thoughts didn’t get any happier. I was still freezing and feeling a little sick after the hypo, i just wanted you back and to get a hot shower back in the cabin to get rid of this bone chill.

I continued asking for help when this kind man came over to me and i told him how you were heading for the beach, but i’d seen you in the opposite direction heading out to sea! The man looked out to sea and couldn’t see you anywhere, then he looked towards the beach and couldn’t see you there either. A few more minutes went by and the man said “There he is!” “Where?” Sarah said “He’s on the beach walking up and down the beach” “Is he ok?” “he looks fine” “Steve is registered blind and won’t be able to see the boat never mind how he’s going to get back. Could you please go and guide him back?” I was so relieved when the man left to go and get you…And now here you are! You’re banned from ever swimming again and you’re never leaving my sight! 😡 

Safe on the boat…

We’d sat back down when i was about to tell Sarah about losing my wedding ring when she said “What have you done to your leg?” I lifted my throbbing leg up for her to see “Wow it’s cut and bleeding” “I know it’s stinging like mad” “Ibet it is, how did you do that?” I thought about a reply but it would be too long, and i’ll tell her the details later “I’ve got even worse news than my leg” “What could be worse than this?” I held up my hand and said “My wedding ring has gone, it must’ve come off in my blind panic (pun intended)”. I was expecting a drilling but got a hug instead “That’s ok i’m just glad to have you back” ❤️

Back on the ship…

Me and the marella discovery

⇧ Photo of the Marella Discovery from a later date ⇧   

After a refresh and a very strong coffee, we went to reception and asked if a nurse could take a quick look at my leg to make sure it wasn’t infected. We went down to the hospital deck and had my massive gaping wound (large cut) cleaned and got lots of large plasters to keep it covered for a couple of days. 😀  

We decided not to get dressed up for the evening meal and just go up and get a snack from the buffet restaurant. We were just walking in when…

The man,  his wife and his grandson walked up to us. The man was really limping as he approached and Sarah said “Oh no what happened? Did you enjoy the adventure today?” The grandson said he’d really enjoyed himself and the grandad said “I stepped onto a sea urchin and it pierced straight through my sea shoes and deep into my foot”. Sarah & i made the noise together “Aawwwww” “Yes it really hut and when i stepped backwards after the first sting, i stepped onto another one but luckily it didn’t get me as bad! Did you 2 enjoy the day?” Sarah relayed the story of what happened and showed him my leg. As we said our goodbyes i was in need of a chip butty! 😀  

As we sat down and chatted about the usual Blind Sightseers adventure i said “I didn’t know i could swim that fast?!” “Don’t start” Sarah said with a smile lighting up her face. 😀  

Thank you…

If you are still reading this and can’t quite believe what ’The Blind Sightseers’  can do on a simple shore excursion…Then we thank you profusely for coming along for the ride! This is still an abridged version but i know i can’t go on and on and on like Sarah says i do, lol! 🤣    

We’ll see you in the morning for another (hopefully less dramatic) shore excursion.

To be continued…

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God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

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God’s jewels are often found buried in the worst filth!

(James Smith, “Exhortation and Encouragement” 1859)

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10 

What kind of a city was it?
Corinth was one of the most worldly and immoral cities of the east. Here was the temple of Venus, with its degrading and disgraceful services.

What kind of people were they?
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers norswindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. 
This is the apostle’s own reply to the question.

Observe: 

  1. The Lord’s people are often found in the most unlikely places! Who would have expected to find God’s chosen people–a multitude of them–in a place so foul, so polluted, so degraded, as Corinth? 
God’s jewels
 are often found buried in the worst filth!

   2. The Lord chooses the most unlikely people! Who would ever have thought that the Lord would have chosen the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers–to be saved? But He did! 
God’s people
 are picked off the foulest dunghills!


O the wonders of sovereign grace!

☀️ #50 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Saint Lucia” 🇱🇨 (2018)

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Good morning friends! We are in Saint Lucia! 😀 ☀️ 🌴 

Wow…It’s our 50th day of our trip. I can’t believe we’ve hit this milestone already time is cruising by and i hope you’re still enjoying this adventure?! 😀  

What a day yesterday! As we had to focus on not falling to our death we didn’t get to see much of the rain forest canopy…So we thought we’d book this excursion today at a more relaxing pace. Wait a minute…Did i say relaxing? This can’t be right we’re ‘The Blind Sightseers’ lol. 🤣  

Aerial Tram: Scenic Tour

Soar above a tropical rainforest reserve on this sky-high tour. Hop on to an open-air gondola and rise up through Castries Waterworks Reserve, where you’ll have a bird’s eye view over the rainforest. With towering trees, tangled vines, and brightly coloured hummingbirds, this exotic jungle is Mother Nature at her best. As you glide through the canopy, your experienced guide will share their knowledge, point out unusual plant life, and identify the calls of local birds.

Once your feet are back on the ground, your guide will take you on a short walk through the forest, so remember to wear your walking boots. And, of course, you’ll need a camera to capture the colourful sights around you.

 On the coach…

We sat at the front of the coach (thanks excursion team) and even though our muscles were hurting from yesterdays zip lining and from walking up a million steps through the rain forest, we sat back and listened to the guide tell us about Saint Lucia. I was excited as our excursion involves an arial tram…Could i call it a cable car? If so then it’s the 4th cable car of our lockdown memory trip! 

We heard a lot of people worrying about heights and if the arial tram would be safe. This is where another of our blind perks help us. As both me and Sarah have severe sight problems we don’t know how high we are, which works great as i’m scared of heights…And it worked brilliantly yesterday walking and zip lining above the rain forest canopy! So it should work well today too! 🤣  

 The arial tram… 

Me waiting for the Gondela

 Standing at the start of the arial tram circuit we had a few minutes to wait for our turn to begin. 

Me and Sarah sat in the arial tram

 Yay we are on board and ready to go! Unfortunately we didn’t take many photos as we simply didn’t want to drop our phones out of the arial tram and onto the floor miles below us. 

close side profile of my face as Sarah is sat right next to me and the rain forest behind me

Hey…That’s a sneaky shot, lol! 🤣   

We continued to travel through the multiple layers of the rainforest in our open air ride, we travelled all the way from the forest floor and all the way to the top (and beyond) of the canopy!

Our new car was sturdy and felt very safe, and our guide continued to tell us about the incredible trees and plants we were passing, then as we climbed a little higher the leaves of the trees began to overshadow us and block our view…

And then…

I’m not sure what just happened? But it seems like we’ve just travelled through a classic literature portal in our arial tram which has just trasformed into a ‘travel box’ and we seem to be travelling through ‘Brobdingnag’ as we glide through the pages of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ part 2.

This is my roundabout way of saying the leaves were enormous! I’ve never seen leaves this big ever, 1 leaf easily covered the whole tram and was so wide it was beyond belief!

We were coming up to the half way point where the tram turns around to make the return trip down, the breeze up here was lovely and there is a nice view of the northern part of the island and both oceans come into view…If you could see them, lol! 😀  

Sat looking from the arial tram looking over the top of the rain forest

view over the huge rain forest

Very close up of me looking near the camera with the rain forest behind me

 The rain forest floor…

After the tram ride, our guide took us on a 20 minute walk and continued our education of the fascinating trees and beautifully vivid flowers on the forest floor. The path was treacherous and laced with tree roots, rocks and hidden holes, so when i’d engaged my knees into full suspension mode i was ready to go! The combination of my warrior wife and my super duper sandals protected me once again…Thank you Sarah! ❤️ 

A complimentary (and very tasty) glass of non alcoholic punch  was welcoming us upon our return from the all terrain walk. There is a nice gift shop with locally made sauces and spices. We bought the photo of me and Sarah sitting in the tram from here (2nd photo in this post) which is a lovely memory for us. 😀

Back at the dock…

Right we were on a mission to try and find (and eat) some Breadfruit. This was our 3rd cruise in the Caribbean (5th in total) and the guides always talked about the Breadfruit but we’d never got the chance to eat it. But today is the day. We walked out of the dock and we were instantly greeted by a street with shops, market stalls and men trying to arrest you (i mean sell you things). Our plan (so we didn’t get lost) was to walk up the right hand side of the street as far as we could go, then return by crossing the road and walking back down to the ship…Sound simple enough. 😀  

We didn’t have to walk far before we stumbled upon a fruit and veg stall, and after a while of Sarah looking at each vegetable she said “Steve i don’t think i recognise any of the vegetables at all?!” The man on the stall asked if we needed any help? Sarah said “Your vegetables are amazing and look nothing like anything back in England” “Thank you and that is Dasheen you were just looking at, it’s local to Saint Lucia” he said as Sarah continued “We are looking for some Breadfruit to try, is there anywhere here we can try some? We’d also like to try Dasheen too?!” “If you go over the road into the indoor market there is a place who cooks it all day” “Wow thanks very much” Sarah said and we crossed the road.

Breadfruit & Dasheen… 

We found the little cooking place and it had a few tables outside. The lady said “ Hi Can i help you?” Sarah said “We’re looking to try some Breadfruit and Dasheen if we can pleas?” “What would you like them with?” “Just some Breadfruit and Dasheen on their own please” “What with?” “It’s ok we’d just like to try them to see what they taste like, so on their own please”. The woman getting a little impatient said “You have to have them with something they’ll be too dry on their own” I thought it wouldn’t be too dry for me as i can eat dry toast without butter for some reason, but i digress. Sarah asked “What would you have with them as we can’t see well enough to see your menu?” “I’ll make it nice for you, take a seat”. 

The lady placed the food down in front of us and we got stuck in. Sarah said “Wow it looks like Tipex” We both tried some Breadfuit and decided it tasted of absolutely nothing! I said “I didn’t think something could taste of nothing?!”  After we both decided it was used as a filler like a potato we started on the Dasheen. “Wow, now that’s nice” we both said “it’s so herby and really tasty we should’ve just had a plate of this” i said “Yeah but there is no way i’m asking the lady, lol!” 😀  

The bird feeder…

We left the indoor market discussing Breadfruit and Dasheen as we walked back towards the ship, when a really funny and cool guy walked over to us. He said with his thick Caribbean accent  “Would you like a bird feeder?” Sarah said “No thanks” we had only slowed our pace down a little ⇧This bird feeder is the one you want” “We’re good thank you we don’t need a bird feeder” The man had walked in front of us now so we stopped “I made this bird feeder and it’s just $30 US” “£30 dollars, we are fine thanks and that’s too much” “ok, $25” the man said as he was making us laugh with his humour “That’s still too much and we don’t have room in our suitcases anyway for a bird feeder” The man made a small laughing sound and said “Watch this…You see this is a special bird feeder” he continued as he pulled a couple of wooden bits off the bird feeder and made it smaller “This is a special travel bird feeder as it comes apart” Oh man i thought he’s got us on that one, lol. Sarah continued “It’s still too much for us” Afterr another 20 minutes chatting with this man (we really liked him he had such a cool character) Sarah bought the bird feeder for $15. 😀 

The bird feeder

Back on the ship…

 With another relaxing strong iced coffee we chatted about the fantastic day we’d had and the experiences we’ve shared, and it wasn’t long before we had the photo shoot and the lovely evening meal.

The food photo quiz…

I wonder if you guys could help us? We’ve taken this photo of a fantastic plate of food but we have no idea what it is? And we can’t remember? Could you have a go at describing it for us? We just know we must have loved it as it inspired a photo. 😀   

IMG 0352

 The photo shoot…

We had such fun messing around (i mean being serious) during the shoot. The photographer was great and kept talking so i could have some idea where they were standing. Now we have even more photos together that we’ll cherish. ❤️ 😀   

Sarah and me touching foreheads

Me and Sarah both looking at the camera

Sarah * i looking at each other and Sarah has her hand on my cheek

Sarah with arms aound my shoulders

Sarah with arms aound my shoulders

Photo of me in a suit and a purple spooty bow tie

Sarah with head laying on her arms and a huge smile

 We’ve had another memorable day, isn’t Saint Lucia beautiful? Have you got any rain forest experiences? 

Thank you once again it’s such a blessing to have you guys join us on our adventures. 😀  

But the drama, fun and exploration hasn’t stopped yet!

To be continued… 

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day  ➡

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Let All That I Am Praise The Lord!

‘Lord, You are worthy of our praise, our worship, our gratitude and our love!’ Amen. Huge thanks to Lesley for blessing us all today! 😀

Abide In God

Psalm 146 New Living Translation

Praise theLord! Let all that I am praise theLord.

I will praise theLordas long as I live.

I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.

When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them.

But joyful are those who have the God of Israelas their helper, whose hope is in theLordtheir God.

He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.

He keeps every promise forever.

He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry.

TheLordfrees the prisoners.

TheLordopens the eyes of the blind.

TheLordlifts up those who are weighed down.

TheLordloves the godly.

TheLordprotects the foreigners among us.

He cares for the orphans and widows,

but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

TheLordwill reign…

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From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

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From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.” Psalm 119:15 

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering spiritual strength for labor in His service through meditation on His Word. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment for our souls out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it–we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down repeatedly upon the grapes, or else the juice will not flow and much of the precious liquid will be wasted. 

So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscles, and the nerves, and the sinews, and the bones–is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the food becomes assimilated with the inner life. 

In the same way, our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inward digesting to complete their usefulness–and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it.

Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? 
Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. 

They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; 
they would have the grain, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; 
the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; 
the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. 
From such folly deliver us, O Lord!

May this be our daily resolve, “I will meditate in your precepts.”

“But his delight is in the law of the LORDand on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2 

“Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97

“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes.” Psalm 119:99

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” Joshua 1:8

☀️ #49 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Antigua” 🇦🇬 (2018)

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 Good morning friends…Wow we’re in Antigua! 😀 ☀️  

Well the trip is still going ahead (i knew they wouldn’t cancel this one) but let’s remind ourselves what we’re doing today?!  

Antigua Zip Line Canopy Adventure:

Hear the distant sound of running water, exotic chirps and the whistling of birds flying over the canopy. This is an adventure playground with a difference. It all takes place 50 to 300 feet off the ground in Antigua’s rainforest canopy, including a series of 12 zip-lines – some stretching lengths of over 300 feet, a leap of faith, 3 aerial walkways and a suspension bridge. Not forgetting the hidden tree house where the world seems to stand still.

This thrilling journey includes 26 elements and 9 typical challenge course features, with water stations along the way. This really is an adventure in the sun! Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands, all the rangers here are trained to world challenge course standards and before you set off in your harness you’ll have a full safety briefing, to learn all about the equipment.

On the dock…

Yay we’re back in Antigua! If you remember the last time (our first time here) we did horse riding across the beach (click here for the post). We love that all of the assistance people on the dock wear bright yellow t-shirts too. After following our assistance person to the taxi place we got in a nice minibus that took us to the deadly zip lines. 😨

The safety harness…

Our small group went inside and had a short safety briefing and as they know i’m registered blind i got my own assistant. They let me hold the harness and the huge carabiners. I started to feel a little better after holding the super heavy duty harness. The assistant strapped it on really tight and i was ready. I checked that Sarah was still next to me and had everything sorted too. Sarah often gets neglected as the people see that i’m the blind one and then leave Sarah to carry on without help…But Sarah is also registered blind but not quite as severely as me (totally different eye problems). 

The ranger dude…

Walking out and onto the start of the wooden bridge with thousands of steps leading up and through the rain forest and above the canopy Sarah and i was greeted by the amazing ranger guide (forgot his name unfortunately). He was simply fantastic and guided me up every step by calling out when a step was coming etc. He said “I’ll clip onto the cable behind you and fly down with you” i said “Thanks as i won’t be able to see the end and when i need to brake, i’ll just fly straight into the tree at the end like a cartoon character”.

Here goes…

Me on the zip line with te zip line dude attached to me

He used really clear instructions and before long i was lifting my feet up and landing on the platform at the other end. “Wow that was cool” i said whilst laughing and trying to find the rail to lean against. I wonder where Sarah is…Sarah was last and all on her own to figure out how to do it all, she of course managed it somehow! 😀 The ranger asked if we were both ok and if we enjoyed the little zip line to start with.

I said “Little one? Yeah it was amazing, so is there longer and higher ones?” “Oh yes the longest one is called the screamer and i’ll let you know when we get there as it takes a video of you too”. 

I remember wishing i had a camera up here as it was beautiful, and i still can’t believe we only had 2 photos and 1 video of the day…But that’s better than nothing. 🤣  

We had much more fun on the longer zip lines, climbing higher and higher steps with the guide passing us cups of water at each water station, wow i needed that. 

And then…

We finally arrived at ‘The Screamer’…It’s the highest, fastest and longest zip-line in this place. It stretches 328 feet across a ravine and is 350 feet above the rain forest floor.

I stepped slowly to the edge of the platform, my heart was trying to pound its way out of my chest…Even though i’m on beta blockers and my heart rate cannot go over 120bpm no matter how hard i try. I reached above my head and clipped my carabiner onto the cable and took a deep breath as I sat my whole weight into my harness. “Are you ready to make some noise?” the ranger dude behind me said “Oh yeah” and we stepped of the incredibly high platform…

Yay!! We’ve done it!! Sarah flew down too and even did a couple of spins (nobody likes a show off, lol) we both laughed lots and with just a couple of zip lines left we could safely say ‘The Blind Sightseers’ have conquered another challenge! 💪🏼  😀  

Me on the zip line with the zip line dude attached to me and we are high above the rain forest

 The cafe, bar and gift shop…

Finishing the last zip line and then walking across rope bridges we ended up in the gift shop. I thanked the ranger profusely as he left to guide another group. 

“Wow it would be fantastic if we could buy something from here to remind us of this monumental day. Sarah found a beautiful Antigua bauble for our Christmas tree and she bought a really cool t-shirt (Sarah modelling it below) that says “For a good attitude, change your latitude”.

Photo of the back of Sarah's t-shirt

Returning to the dock…

We had a quiet ride back as we both were reflecting on managing zip lining as blindies and the relief that i didn’t die today. 😀 The minibus pulled in and we started walking back towards the ship for our iced coffee refresh when…

Sarah said “My hat” “What do you men?” i said “I’ve lost my hat?!” “What your really cool one that you’ve had for years” “Yes that one, i think i’ve left it at the zip lining place or on the minibus. I lost my sunglasses yesterday and now my hat today”. We walked back to the taxi rank and asked the man who then phoned one of his drivers. About half an hour later another minibus arrived with the second group from our tour and the driver had Sarah’s hat! Sarah must have left it in the cafe after all of the excitement! Phew! 😀  

Back on the ship…

“Aww now that’s a  nice cold coffee” i said whilst sitting back in the lovely big arm chair in the coffee place “I can’t believe we’ve done it, a blind man (and woman) have done zip lining!” “I knew we would do it and i still get to keep one of my fave hats”. 😀  

We’ve booked a photo session tomorrow like the one we had last year when we were at ‘Olympia’, it’s a colour shoot this time instead of black and white. And of course as it’s another lovely new island we have another shore excursion booked too. 

Did you enjoy your time in Antigua? Have you ever done zip lining before?

To be continued…  

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God is For Our Marriages

Amen! 🙏 😀

Faith

There is hope for our marriages through the word of God. We need to be seeking scripture for this as well as for everything in our lives. The focus we should have is on God. Remember the J.O.Y. acronym? Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last spells JOY. Jesus first in our selves, Jesus first in our marriages, Jesus first in our parenting, Jesus first with our extended family, Jesus first in our friendships, Jesus first at our place of employment and Jesus first in our entertainment. We need to put Jesus first. Then we will be able to spell JOY in our selves, marriages, parenting, family, friendships, work and entertainment. In order to put Jesus first, let’s look to the word of God for our answers.

Genesis 2:24 NLT

 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two…

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A rare creature!

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A rare creature! 

(Charles Spurgeon

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.” 1 Timothy 1:12 

faithful preacher is rare creature; and, like a diamond, as precious as he is rare!

If you always enjoy his sermons, that minister is not a faithful steward. He who gives out nothing but sweets is not acting wisely.

It is the duty of the Christian pastor, if he would make full proof of his ministry to warn men of the results of sin to tell them that there is a judgment that for every idle word they speak they will have to account. 

Some preachers do not preach of eternal wrath and its terrors. This is cruel, for they ruin souls by hiding from them their ruin! 

The object of all true preaching is the heart. Godly ministers aim at divorcing the heart from sin, and wedding it to Christ. 

“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.” 1 Timothy 4:6 

☀️ #48 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Guadeloupe” 🇬🇵 (2018)

Guadeloupe logo

Bonjour mes amis (Good Morning My Friends) 😀  

With your detective hats on did you guess we were landing on Guadeloupe? Sarah & i had never watched any of the ‘Death in paradise’ TV shows so didn’t have a clue that it was filmed on this island….When we returned home we watched (and loved) the whole series! 😀 There was even a shore excursion visiting all of the places from the show…We want to come back here now and do that excursion, maybe one day! 😀  

 Anyway let’s see where we’re going? 

Botanical Garden & Deshaies Beach Walking: 

Locals used to refer to Guadeloupe as Karukera – the Island of Beautiful Waters – and this trip shows you exactly why. You’ll start by visiting the island’s vast botanical gardens, which sprawl out for 17 acres. Packed with everything from tropical palm trees to colourful lotus flowers, it’s one of Guadeloupe’s most-prized possessions. It’s even home to flamingos and a huge parrot aviary. From here, you’ll drive to the biscuit-coloured beach at Deshaies. This long sandy number is tailor-made for lazy days in the sun, and the glassy waters are great for swimming. Head to the waterfront food shack when you’re done tanning, and you’ll get to tuck into spicy fish fritters and handmade coconut sorbet.

On the coach…

After another bowl of porridge, a lovely omelette and a banana we made our way off the ship and onto the coach. Yay the excursion team had booked the front 2 seats for us again. The sun was already hot and i thought it might get a little cooler as rain started to hit the windows of the coach. But the guide was telling us that the climate changes as we drive into the centre of the island, then gets hot again at the coast. ☀️  

Botanical Gardens…

The first thing that hit us (no not the sun) was the vivid and saturated colours! I’m also colour blind but these colours were something else!  

Super clourful parrot

Super clourful parrot

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The whole botanical garden was full of massive trees with fruit, pinecones and other things that were as big (or bigger) than your head. Walking around this incredible place was like nothing else we’d seen especially at home.  

Crazy tree that Sarah liked

Garden

 Cafe & Waterfall…

After a while it was time for a short break and we stopped at a little wooden hut type thingy. The whole group sat down but we found this fantastic waterfall next to the rail. The air suddenly turned fresh the nearer we came to the waterfall…It was lovely. 😀   

Waterfall

Me wearing a vest in the garden

Small digression…

After returning home and watching the whole ‘Death in paradise’ TV show, there was an episode where the detective inspector stood exactly where i am now next to the waterfall! As you can imagine…I don’t stop talking about that either! 🤣  

Moving on we found these beautiful flamingos.  

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Flamingos

 We had about an hour free time to walk around this incredible place and to be wowed some more! 😀   

Tree and fruit

Tree and fruit

Tree and fruit

 Wow did i mention we were in Guadeloupe, colours so bold and vivid and then some more flamingos!  

Flamingos

 Sarah and i managed the hot walk back to the coach but all the way wondering if we could grow any of the trees back at home. We decided it just wasn’t hot enough and it was pointless trying! 

The coach slowed down on the way to the beach and people started getting up, talking and taking photos. I said “I’ve just heard them say that it’s the police station from Death in paradise” Like i said we’d never seen a single episode at this point…But if i did i’d be jumping off the coach by now and trying to get my photo taken, lol! 🤣 I think we need to go back!

 Deshaies Beach. 

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The guide said this was not the beach where the detective inspector lives but it’s not too far away…Man i need to let this go! 🤣  

I’d brought my rucksack with towels, sun cream and other things ready for this moment of Sarah playing in the sea, and it wasn’t long before she got to put her feet in the Guadeloupe water! 

The sea Embrace…

As you may have read on the older posts Sarah loves to splash, play and walk around the edges of the sea where the waves crash in and push her around, making sure she doesn’t go too deep as the current is very strong and doesn’t want to get her eyes wet or damaged.

Sarah was playing with the waves, smiling and laughing when…

A man grabbed her and pulled her further into the sea and past where the waves crashed which was Sarah’s fave. By the time Sarah was stood back up and not impressed she realised her special polarised Oakley Embrace sunglasses had flown off when the man grabbed her! There was no way of finding them as they had disappeared straight away into the sunglasses graveyard! 😭

I obviously didn’t see any of this as i was on the beach with the bags and towels but i knew that those special sunglasses helped Sarah see better than usual. When you have severe sight problems every small increment helps and Sarah said with the polarised lenses and the brightness of the sun her sight was at it’s best.

Beach and sea landscape with the coast line entering the sea

Well the fun was over prematurely and we headed off the beach. I gave Sarah my sunglasses but i knew they wouldn’t help much but at least they’d keep the harmful rays off her delicate eyes. 

The handmade coconut sorbet…

Stepping off the beach Sarah said “Wow that’s a lot of coconuts! Steve there is a table filled with coconuts and then there are piles of coconuts on the floor and the man has and huge machete in his hand” “Oohhh i’ve never had fresh coconut like that” i said as we walked over to the table. Sarah then said with excitement in her voice “They are making fresh coconut sorbet would you like one as i bet you’re roasting?” 

Whilst one man was hacking, whacking and smacking the coconuts the other man was passing Sarah the handmade coconut sorbet. As i tasted the first little spoonful i heard the sound of the bell as this dream food hit the top of the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic leaderboard’ for ice cream and sorbet! It was the best i’d ever tasted and seriously nothing comes close…And still hasn’t! 😀 We’d hit the low (losing sunglasses) and the high (coconut sorbet) in the space of about 20 minutes!

Back at the ship…

You’ve guessed it…We had another iced coffee during our refresh on the ship and left for the dock. We found a small market and slowly browsed each stall until…

A man from the upcoming sandal stall caught sight of Sarah’s ultra bright Asics triathlon trainers. Sarah has to wear these trainers all of the time whilst on holiday because it keeps her feet secure and safe as she needs protection from another ‘Charcot’ foot becoming active. The man lept out from the store and folded in half and said “Wooaahhh i love them! I have a pair of sandals like them that you’ll love, come and look!” We stopped at the stall and Sarah said that they were beautiful and brightly coloured but i can’t wear them. 

He said “I make the best sandals on the island look at the quality” “I know i can see they are good quality and i love the colours” Sarah said as the man ran around the stall with a pair of the sandals “I know feet and i guessed these are your size” They were the perfect size and he kept saying try them on whist Sarah was saying i can’t wear them as i need protection and can’t wear sandals. This good natured banter kept on for about half an hour until Sarah finally managed to get him to understand a little of the problem. 😀  

 Back on the ship…

After a lovely sail away coffee it was time for me to start thinking of the shape my squishy mangled bones would be in if i fall off the zip line tomorrow, and continue to fall all the way down to the hard rain forest floor. 

But first we’ll think about our memorable day in Guadeloupe. 😀  ☀️  

I hope you enjoyed your little tour around this stunning island?

To be continued… 

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He can extract pleasure out of pain!

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He can extract pleasure out of pain!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

Dear friend,
He loves you more than you can possibly love yourself; and He will send you nothing but what is for your real and best interest, and He will let you find it so. His love is almighty, and it is unchangeable. What can He not do, what will He not do, when His heart is set upon blessing His people!

He does all things well! Yes, He intends to do better for you, far better than you can even imagine! 

It is a common thing with Him to bring spiritual good out of temporal evil. He can extract pleasure out of pain! Yes, He can enrich by impoverishing; and turn losses into gain. To you it is now given, as a matter of His choice favor, not only to believe on Him, but also to be conformed to Him by bearing His cross. This He is aiming at. 

📜 Psalm 91

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Assurance of God’s Protection
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
   who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 
will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
   my God, in whom I trust.’ 
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
   and from the deadly pestilence; 
he will cover you with his pinions,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 
You will not fear the terror of the night,
   or the arrow that flies by day, 
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
   or the destruction that wastes at noonday. 

A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you. 
You will only look with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked. 

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
   the Most High your dwelling-place, 
no evil shall befall you,
   no scourge come near your tent. 

For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways. 
On their hands they will bear you up,
   so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. 
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
   the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. 

Those who love me, I will deliver;
   I will protect those who know my name. 
When they call to me, I will answer them;
   I will be with them in trouble,
   I will rescue them and honour them. 
With long life I will satisfy them,
   and show them my salvation.

☀️ #47 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Tobago” 🇹🇹 (2018)

Tobago logo

 Good morning friends, welcome to Tobago! ☀️ 😀 

 Yay we’ve made it onto another cruise ship and it’s in the Caribbean! ☀️ We have booked a 1 week cruise (Seven Isles Cruise) and then a week stay on Barbados at the Southern Palms beach resort. Wow we are excited! 😀  

It’s time to see what the Blind Sightseers(and you) will be doing today…  

Tobago South Walking: Easy Scenic TourThis tour offers up Tobago’s natural beauty and history rolled into one. After travelling through Scarborough, you’ll arrive at the Mysterious Tombstone, the burial place of an 18th-century woman called Betty Stivens. Her gravestone bears an enigmatic epitaph, which has puzzled people for over 230 years. You’ll also see nearby Fort James, built by the Latvians in the 1600s to guard Great Courland Bay. Next comes a drive along Mount Irvine Road, following the scenic northwest coast to the famous Mount Irvine Bay Hotel and Golf Club. Its undulating fairways are carved from an old sugar plantation and serve up wonderful panoramas over the Caribbean Sea. From here, it’s on to Store Bay, one of Tobago’s most beautiful beaches, where white sands mingle with glossy palms, crab-n-dumpling stalls and light blue seas. We’ll also call in at Fort King George. Built by the British in the 1770s, its old buildings and cannons sit in manicured lawns high above Scarborough, giving you breathtaking views over the coastline and capital.

 On the coach…

“Ooohhh it’s nice on here” I said whilst tilting my head up towards the air conditioned vent above my head. I’d forgotten about this oasis away from the burning laser beaming sun. The coach stopped at fort King George and the guide said “Leave any bags or belongings on the coach so you don’t have to carry them around. I said to Sarah “I think i’ll stay here” Sarah quickly responded “Get up and get off the coach it’s freezing on here, lol!” 😀  

Fort King George… 

Me in Tobago with my thumb up

Me in Tobago

I loved walking around and touching the old cannons, it reminded me of a touch tour back stage at the theatre before a play would start (another blind perk, lol).

Sarah at Tobago

Sarah at Tobago

 My lovely wife Sarah enjoying the view, she said you could see all around and was a perfect spot for a fort!  

Sarah underneath the special tree

 Sarah stood underneath the great Saman tree.  

Portrait of me wearing my sunglassesPortrait of me wearing my sunglasses

The mystery tomb of Betty Stiven…

After hearing the story of Betty Stiven we walked down to see more of the coast line. It was such a shame it had a fence in the way but it was there for good reason…I’ve forgotten why it’s there though, lol! 🤣  

Landscape shot of the island shore line with a steel fence arond

me capturing Sarah taking a panorama

 Wait a minute…That’s not Sarah taking a panorama is it??

Panorama of the coast line through the fence

 Scarborough and the necklace…

We had some free time to explore the market and town. We headed straight for the market stalls  as Sarah loves all of the crafts and necklaces hand made and sold by the locals on the market stalls. Walking around the tables Sarah found a few necklaces that she liked…But one she loved! She asked how much it was and they said “$70” “Thank you” Sarah said whilst smiling as we walked away. Sarah continued “Wow it’s expensive here and all i wanted was another pendant on a thong to remember this place” We walked up to a shop selling scarves and they were about $100! “Woooaah” I said “That’s really expensive” Sarah started to walk back to the market stall with the necklace and looked at the necklace again. “No…It’s not worth $70” I knew she loved this necklace and i said “Well…Maybe you could get it as i know you love it and we won’t be here again?!” As we hummed and hawed over what we were going to do i said “Ok let’s get it but that’s taken our budget for this island but i know you love it”. 

When the store owner came and put the necklace in a bag and said “$70 please” we handed him the money. There was a slight pause and i felt something going on he continued “Wow…I meant 70 Trinidadian dollars” We only had US dollars for the trip as the exchange people said the island all take US dollars so you’ll be fine. I think i had heat stroke or something but the man continued “We generally get a bad name from tourists for ripping you people off and it’s simply not true. There are 7 TD to the US dollar so the necklace is $10 US”. Sarah started beaming and i was so thankful to the man and thanked him profusely! 😀 Another teachable moment that we’ve never forgotten…But what a lovely Haematite necklace! 😀   

Haematite  Necklace with a star

  Back at the dock…

After a refresh on the ship that now includes an iced coffee. It’s not a coffee port like the ‘Dream’ ship as that is the best place ever we headed off the ship and into the town. Oh did i mention it was hot (for me). ☀️  

iPhone app showing Tobago at 29˚C

There were only a few stalls in a small market where we stumbled into a fruit and vegetable store. After Sarah had walked around the stall looking at crazy vegetables she’d never seen in England before she said “Would you like a banana from Tobago?” “Yes please i’d love to see if they taste any different?!” i said as Sarah bought 1 each and we walked down the street towards the ship.

The bananas were smaller than a normal sized banana and…

“Wow” we both said as we’d just put the banana in first place on the ‘Blind Sightseers Gastronomic BananaLleaderboard’ “Now that is the best banana i’ve ever tasted” we both said together! 🍌 😀 

Back on the ship…

Sarah & i enjoyed a coffee as the ship pulled away from the shore (we’ve done this on every cruise) and we have a relaxing time thinking about the day and the excursions we’ve booked that are cruising towards us quickly. 

Oh did i mention that we’ve booked to go zip lining high above the rain forest canopy? Have the ‘Blind Sightseers’ stretched a little too far? We are also going kayaking through mangroves and across the Caribbean sea?! I’m a little unsure about some of the excursions we’ve booked but it wouldn’t be an adventure if it was easy, lol! 🤣  

Thank you so much for joining us in Tobago it’s great to see you’re still with us! You might have to put on your detective hats to figure out where we are going tomorrow? 

To be continued…

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His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

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His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

(Don Fortner)

As a wise, skilled pharmacist mixes medicine–so our heavenly Father wisely mixes exactly the right measure of bitter things and sweet, to do us good. 

Too much joy would intoxicate us. 
Too much misery would drive us to despair. 

Too much sorrow would crush us. 
Too much suffering would break our spirits. 

Too much pleasure would ruin us. 
Too much defeat would discourage us. 

Too much success would puff us up.
Too much failure would keep us from doing anything. 

Too much criticism would harden us. 
Too much praise would exalt us. 

Our great God knows exactly what we need. 

His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!

Let God send and do whatever He wills–by His grace, if we are His, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it. God’s Providence is always executed in the ‘wisest manner’ possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 

☀️ #46 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Minorca” 🇪🇸 (2017)

Minorca logo

 Buenos días (Good Morning) 😀  

The ‘Blind Sightseers’ have arrived in Minorca! I love the way we’ve had 3 different languages in 3 days..Italian, French and now Spanish! 😀  

Today was a beach break on one of the south coast beaches. Let’s hope it’s a relaxing one but you never know, lol! 

On the dock…

After another lovely breakfast 🥓 we headed out onto the dock to get the coach. 

row of coaches in front of the ship

Beautiful town of Minorca

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Me in Minorca

The beach…

This beach was much easier to find (unlike the one in Corfu) and Sarah instantly walked across the sand and into the sea, yay! 😀   

Sarah walking in the sea ath Minorca

Sarah walking in the sea ath Minorca

 Sarah then came back and found a place to put our towels, sit and put our bags…Then walked straight back into the sea! 😀  

Sarah walking in the sea ath Minorca

Sarah's head just visable in the sea in Minorca

Me on the beach in Minorca

Sarah in the sea in Minorca

Photo of me burning on the beach

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Map on the iphone of a GPS location in Minorca

 Although it wasn’t really a hot sunny day and it was very windy and cloudy, i still was boiling and had to go for a cooling off. 😀  

Me walking up from the sea after cooling my feet holding my sandals

Me walking closer with my new Amalfi vest on

 We had a lovely time although sand blasted and totally covered in sand. it was a lovely place and it was good for me and Sarah to chill out for a while. 😀   

view of rolling hiss joining the sea with the beach in the front

 Back at the dock…

After a quick refresh on the ship we were sand free and ready to explore. The main street ran parallel to the ship so we couldn’t get lost. We found a few shops and in one of them Sarah found a lovely necklace, yay! We continued walking up the street until we reached the end. “Ooooohhh palm trees” i said.  

me stood on th main street of Minorca dock

row of palm trees along the street in Minorca

Long row of palm trees along the road

Sarah just crossed the road beofre getting run over

House on top of a cliff

 The cafe and the storm…

 The black clouds were moving in quickly so when we found a lovely cafe i said “As these tables are 3 deep and completely covered, if we sit in the middle the rain will never get us here”. We sat down and waited for the waitress.

And then…

I’ve never witnessed rain like this ever. It gave no warning and came down (sideways) very hard, very heavy and very fast! Even though we were sat a long way from the end of the shelter we were getting soaked. The waitress ran out collected something off the tables and ran in. I thought “She’s done this before, lol! Sarah grabbed me and we flew inside. 

The whole point of coming to a cafe in a Spanish country…Was we wanted to ask for ‘Patatas Fritas’. Sarah’s dad and brothers spent a lot of time in Spain and can speak fluent Spanish, so when the waitress came over to ask us what we wanted…Both Sarah and i said ‘Patatas Fritas’. The waitress looked at us and said “So you want chips!” ☹️ Although we didn’t get the Spanish language…The chips didn’t disappoint. 

We could still hear the thunderous rain storm outside and we had to get back to the ship soon…I think we were going to get soaked….We did! 😀  

On the ship… 

Wow what a beautiful sunset…  

Beautiful sunset over Minorca

 Yay we finally have a photo of my lovely wife Sarah in the evening restaurant and she’s wearing her new necklace!

Lovely wife Sarah whilst having our last evening meal on the ship

 Now we know why this ship is called the Thomson Majesty..Such a beautiful piano set in a lovely part of the ship with my lovely wife Sarah (meaning Princess).

Lovely wife Sarah and the piano

 The Blind Sightseers have had another lovely day exploring yet another island…And although it’s the end of this ‘Treasures of the Mediterranean’ Cruise it’s not they end of our monumental tour during this lockdown. 

So let’s jump from this Thomson Majesty ship onto the Marella Discovery. Thomson were also bought out by Tui and now the ships are called Marella instead of Thomson.

I wonder where this ship is heading??

To be continued… 

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O, give thanks to the Lord!

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O, give thanks to the Lord! 

(James Smith, “Sunny Subjects for All Seasons” 1858)

“O, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34 

O, give thanks to the Lord, Christian, for He has not dealt with you after your sins, nor rewarded you according to your iniquities! He has . . .
  pardoned your sins,
  justified your soul,
  renewed your nature, and
  given you a title to everlasting life!

He has thus . . .
  prevented your eternal ruin,
  borne with your faults and follies,
  supplied all your needs,
  guided your steps, and
  promised to conduct you to glory!
His mercy has been ever great toward you!

“O, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!” Psalm 107:1

☀️ #45 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Corsica” 🇫🇷 (2017)

Corsica logo

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! 🤣  

What is the ‘Tour de course’ for the blind sightseers today…

A visit to Corsica’s most southern tip is on the cards on this tour. On the drive over, you’ll stop at Roccapina, where you can see the lion-shaped granite rock that looks over the Genoese tower – it’s an opportunity for some great photos. Once you arrive in Bonifacio, the mini train will take you past the ruins of three mills, and the Church of St Dominique. You’ll also be treated to panoramic views over the neighbouring island of Sardinia. You’ll continue on foot to the citadel – your guide will tell you all about the chapel of St John the Baptist, and the 14th-century Church of Saint Marie Majuere. The walking tour finishes up in the marketplace. From there, you can brave the 100 steps down to the marina. Or, hop back on the mini train and it will get you there.

Next, you’ll be boarding a boat for a tour of the Bonifacio caves. From the sea, you’ll have views over the town, perched on top of 230-feet-high limestone cliffs. You’ll see Sdragonatto cave, meaning the little dragon – it’s shaped like Corsica. The tour wraps up with some free time – you can sit in a café, or do some shopping.

On the coach… 

After another lovely breakfast we started our exciting tour. The weather was hot but very windy so a little unpredictable today. After a while the coach stopped at the side of the road and we got off to take some photos.

Rolling green hills of Corsica

 Wow what a view! Hang on…Fasten your 5 point safety harness as Sarah is drifting towards another stupendous panorama! 😀    

Sarah panorama of the whole field and hills of Corsica

Sarah on a sunny day with the Corsican coast behind her

 Then…The wind started to blow really fast (or was it an old Group B rally car screening past)  and Sarah took this funny photo of me. 

A funny picture of me on the right of the poto with y hair bowing all over the place behind me

 Whilst watching us taking photos of each other a kind person from our coach took a photo of me and my lovely wife Sarah! Yay one more i can cherish!  ❤️ 

me and Sahar in front of the beautiful Corsican hills

 The crazy boat…

Arriving at Bonifacio we were meant to go on a boat ride alongside the legendary cliffs and even steer through a small cave/rock but the weather was too windy and the sea too rough and choppy. 

But this is a ‘Blind Sightseers’ tour so we climbed on board. Some of the group opted out and stayed behind to make their way for the town. We were initially disappointed when we sat down in the middle of the boat…But we soon appreciated being sat here! Suddenly a choir of voices shrieking, shouting and laughing as the waves came over the side and drenched everyone except me and Sarah! 🤣    

Selfie of me (bottom right) on the boat with the mountains behind

large hills and beginning of caves

 The boat was bobbing up and down lots which was great for me as i can’t see what’s around us but i like the tactile fun bobbing and splashing…Thankfully i don’t get sea sick! 😀  Then we entered this really dark narrow rock. 

Dark photo inside the caves in Corsica whilst still in the boat

Inside the caves in Corsica with darkness all around and the light in the centre

Inside the caves in Corsica with darkness all around and the light in the centre

Inside the caves in Corsica with darkness all around and the light in the centre

Back on the waves with a island sticking out of the water.jpg

 The stunning cliffs of Bonifacio…. 

The fantastic cliffs of Corsica

The fantastic cliffs of Corsica

The fantastic cliffs of Corsica

 The fun train…

After the memorable bumpy boat ride it was time to be escorted to the top of the cliffs by…”No way it’s not a Lancia Delta S4 is it?” I said “No but it’s a fun train similar to the one in Hunstanton that we like” Sarah said whilst pushing (i mean guiding) me into a seat. 😀   

Yay the fantastic fun train to take us to the top

Me stood in the centre of the photo in the town

Me stood in the centre of the twon in Corsica

Me stood in the centre of the twon in Corsica

 Then…

Whilst heel toe shifting, maintaining perfect balance and keeping up turbo boost pressure Sarah manages another monumental panorama

Super Sarah panorama of the Corsica coast ond hills

Photo of the shadows of me and Sarah

Me stood under a huge palm tree

Photo of Sarah under a tree with the Corsica hills in the background

The steps going down from the top of the cliffs

Beautiful view of Corsica from under a tree

Sarah sat against a wall with the hills of Corsica behind her

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View of Corsica

me stood far right with a eautiful Corsica behind

Me stood with Corsica behind me

view of Corsica town

 We had such a lovely time exploring the upper city in this special place. First we found a cafe and quickly ordered coffees and a coissont (no it didn’t beat the Amalfi coissont but it came close) then found a souvenir shop. We bought a fantastic bath towel with beautiful photo prints of Bonifacio! After exploring further it was time to catch the fun train back down and meet the group ready to head back to the ship. 

Back on the ship…

After another lovely evening meal we stumbled upon these creations made out of fruit an vegetables! 😀   

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

Fantastic food creations by the chefs

 We hope you’ve enjoyed Corsica? We’ve had a fantastic time and made so many memories. 

We are not out of fuel yet…I wonder where we’re going to end up tomorrow?

To be continued… 

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📜 Psalm 16

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Psalm 16

Song of Trust and Security in God

A Miktam of David. 
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
   I have no good apart from you.’

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
   in whom is all my delight. 

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
   their drink-offerings of blood I will not pour out
   or take their names upon my lips. 

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
   you hold my lot. 
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
   I have a goodly heritage. 

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
   in the night also my heart instructs me. 
I keep the Lord always before me;
   because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
   my body also rests secure. 
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
   or let your faithful one see the Pit. 

You show me the path of life.
   In your presence there is fullness of joy;
   in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus!

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Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“When the Comforter comes . . . He will testify about Me.” John 15:26 

He shall testify to My person as self-existent Jehovah.

He shall bear witness to My work as the perfect sin-atoner. 

He shall testify of My grace, how free it is, how full it is. 

He shall enable the sinner, any poor wretch, however vile in his own eyes–to trust his soul into the hands of Jesus. And having enabled the sinner to do this, then He will testify of Jesus, that He has received him, that he is safe in the arms and may be happy in the enjoyment of Jesus’ love. 

Thus He will make the soul enamored with Jesus! There will appear such consummate beauty, such infinite loveliness in His precious person, as will eclipse the glory of all other lovers. There will appear such true happiness in fellowship with Him, as will quite dethrone all former idols.

And when the foolish heart would depart, the Comforter will not let it. Then will He testify of Jesus, “To whom would you go? Who has eternal life to give, but Him? Turn, turn again to your rest, oh my soul.” 

If the soul is mourning; He will testify of the joy that is in Jesus. 

If the soul is burdened; “Cast the burden,” He says, “on your Lord Jesus.” 

If the soul has lost any creature comfort; “Let it go,” He says, “Jesus is still your salvation and your great reward.” 

If the soul is grieved with indwelling sin; “It is pardoned,” He says, “you are free from the curse of sin.” 

Whatever the needs of the believer are, the Spirit’s office is to testify of Jesus: “Jesus is what you need–and you have Him freely.” 

The Comforter will keep you by His almighty power, until He brings you to the Heaven of heavens–the sight and enjoyment of dear Jesus, eternally dear and lovely Jesus! 

☀️ #44 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Rome, Italy” 🇮🇹 (2017)

Rome logo

   Buongiorno amici (Good morning friends)  

Yesterday we visited Sorrento, Amalfi and Pompeii all in 1 day (we don’t mess about, lol) it’s time for 11 hours of a gladiatorian excursion…I hope you don’t think you’ve come on holiday to relax! 🤣  

Where are the blind sightseers going today… 

Rome & The Colosseum shore excursion…

From the toga-wearing days of Julius Caesar to the artistic boom of the Baroque, Rome is a city that catapults you through time. It’s as if history seeps from every cobblestone, and traversing it all is no mean feat. And that’s where this tour comes in. It showcases the very best the Eternal City has to offer – plus it gives you an inside view of two if its biggest attractions.

The trip follows a classic itinerary through the heart of the Italian capital. You’ll get to see global landmarks that need no introduction – places like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. But one of the biggest highlights has to be the Colosseum. Head inside and relive the days of the gladiators as you wander round this ancient landmark.

This is going to be a clash of the Titans, i wonder if the Gladiators have met my ‘Warrior Wife’ yet? Sarah (dressed in her new camo skirt) is ready! Ok i’ll start being serious now. 🤣  

The walking tour…

First our guide gave us the radio ear thingy so we could hear him over the noise of the crowds as Rome is a busy city. Then it was time to get walking! Once again i’ll shut up for a while as you enjoy this beautiful and majestic place. 

Sarah walking towards the camera down the centre of a busy street in Rome with tall building s on either side

Sarah walking towards the camera down the centre of a busy street in Rome with tall building s on either side

Beautiful old building in Rome

Old buildings in Rome

Sarah drinking a coffee at a cafe/restaurant outside

A really tall ponty tower with a large building at the bottom

Me at centre front of the photo wearing sunglasses stood in the large main square in Rome

Walking along the left hand side of a street behind our group

Old church building

Crowded square with buildings all around

The Spanish Steps… 

Me stood on the many steps

Really busy lane with lots of tall buildings all around

Inside a huge building

Beautiful old building 

my face in the bottom right corner and a colourful sign with the old building on

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Wow we’ve been walking for hours but then a kind member of our group asked dif we’d like a photo together.  😀   

Me and Sarah

Then a street artist type dude…  

A random colourful street artist

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The Pantheon… 

The panthyon

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The front of the panthyon

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Old buildings

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Selfie of me and Sarah

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main square in Rome looking cloudy

Free time…

Just as the guide had told us we had 40 minutes free time…The clouds moved in and darkened the whole place. It started raining and instantly umbrellas sprang up from nowhere, stall workers flipped over their items and were selling umbrellas all of a sudden and we ran into a shop! I’d never seen anything like it, it was like somebody had hit the secret bookshelf and it’d flipped around without anyone noticing. 🤣  

“Ooohhhhh” Sarah said as she picked up and tried to show me a massive hand made intricately designed Christmas tree bauble. “This would look wonderful on our tree this year”. 😀   

main square in Rome looking cloudy and raining

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looking upwards at a fantastic building stood at the entrance

Ancient building

The river in rome taken from the coach

portrait of me on the coach

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The Colosseum…

Wow what a piece of history and to think what went on in this arena was sobering….Especially after just finishing the audiobook ‘Foxe’s book of Martyrs’ by John Foxe. 

The Architecture is simply stunning.

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

Sarah taking a photo over looking the iside of the Colosseum

more ruins of the Colosseum

more ruins of the Colosseum the main ring with the large walls around

Colosseum arch

Colosseum ruins

Colosseum ruins

Colosseum arches

Colosseum arches and ruins

More Colosseum ruins

More Colosseum ruins

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

The outside of the Colosseum with all of the arches

More ruins of the Colosseum

 I thought for a moment that Sarah had found a gladiator to fight…But she was lining up one of her mighty panoramas…Lucky for the gladiator!  

Sarah panorama of the whoe inside of the Colosseum

Sarah panorama of the whoe inside of the Colosseum

Ruins of the Colosseum

Back on the ship…

Wow what a day and what an incredible place. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as us? Have you been to Rome before? 

After the ship set sail and we were thinking about all of the places we’d seen today,..There was just enough time to… 

Sarah in a black and white dress stood in front of lots of hand bags in the ship shop

I wonder where we’re going tomorrow? 🤔 We’ve already seen some fantastic ‘Treasures of the Mediterranean’ and there are still more gems to see.

To be continued… 

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📜 Psalm 100

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All Lands Summoned to Praise God

A Psalm of thanksgiving.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 
   Worship the Lord with gladness;
   come into his presence with singing. 

Know that the Lord is God.
   It is he that made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise.
   Give thanks to him, bless his name. 

For the Lord is good;
   his steadfast love endures for ever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

He puts a finger upon the scar!

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He puts a finger upon the scar!

(Thomas Watson)

“Our Father in Heaven.” Matthew 6:9

Since God is our Father–He will take notice of the least good He sees in His children. 

If there is but a sigh for sin–He hears it. 
“My groaning is not hidden from You.” Psalm 38:9 

If there is but a penitential tear which comes out of the eye–He sees it. 
“I have seen your tears.” Isaiah 38:5 

If there is but a good intention–He takes notice of it. 
“Since it was your desire to build a temple for My name, you have done well to have this desire.” 1 Kings 8:18

God takes notice of the least spark of grace in His children. “Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” 1 Peter 3:6. The Holy Spirit does not mention Sara’s unbelief, or laughing at the promise. He puts a finger upon the scar–and only takes notice of the good that was in her.

More, that good which the saints scarcely take notice of in themselves, God in a special manner observes. “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink. Then the righteous will answer Him–Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?” They as it were, overlooked and disclaimed their own works of charity! But Christ takes notice of them, “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat.” Matthew 25

What comfort is this! God spies the least good in His children! 
He can see a grain of corn, hidden under much chaff. 
He can see a little grace, hidden under much corruption!

Those duties which we ourselves censure–He will crown. When a child of God looks over his best duties, he sees so much sin cleaving to them that he is confounded. “Lord,” he says, “there is more sulphur than incense, in my prayers.” 

But for your comfort, if God is your Father, He will crown those duties which you yourselves censure. He sees there is sincerity in the hearts of His children. Though there may be many defects in the services of His children, He will not cast away their offering.

An earthly father kindly receives a letter from his young child–though there are blots and bad spelling in it. What blottings are there in our holy things! Yet our Father in Heaven accepts them. “It is my child!” God says, “I will look upon him, through Christ–with a merciful eye!”

☀️ #43 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Sorrento, Amalfi & Pompeii Italy” 🇮🇹 (2017)

Sorrento logo

  Buongiorno amici (Good morning friends)  

We are really looking forwards to todays excursion. It’s going to be a long one but Sarah’s dad always talks about how beautiful Sorento and the Amalfi coast is, and if we ever get the chance to visit…You’ll love it. 😀  
 
Well the blind sightseers have arrived in Sorrento and after a lovely breakfast we’re ready for the excursion.

Amalfi & Pompeii…

You’ll tick off 2 of the Neapolitan Riviera’s heavyweights on this tour. We’ll start with a camera-worthy journey along the Amalfi Coast, one of the most scenic drives in the world. We’ll snake along dramatic cliffs, passing castles that cling to the hillsides and pastel-painted villages that tumble down to the Tyrrhenian Sea below. When we arrive in Amalfi, we’ll tour the town’s historical heart and you’ll have some free time to explore and grab a bite to eat.

UNESCO-listed Pompeii will be our next port of call. Sitting in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the town was buried for centuries by ash and pumice after the volcano blew its top in 79AD. You’ll have almost 2 hours to explore the ruins, starting with the Forum and meandering past mansions, temples and amphitheatres.

On the coach…

You’ll be pleased to know i don’t need to write much as  you’ll just see how beautiful this place really  is.

The Amalfi coast…  

Beautiful rolling hills and mountains of the Amalfi coast

Beautiful rolling hills and mountains of the Amalfi coast

Beautiful rolling hills and mountains of the Amalfi coast

Sarah looking out across the beautiful bay of Amalfi

The beautiful Amalfi coast and te town buldings and rolling hills and mountains

Amalfi town… 

After a lovely drive along the wonderful Amalfi coast, time seemed to just fly by as we arrived in the town. We had quite a long period of free time to enjoy this incredible place. We headed straight for the sea, and after a while we managed to find this tiny dock thingy.

The beautiful Amalfi coast and te town buldings and rolling hills and mountains

Sarah sat on the very small dock with her feet off the end taking a photo of a ship that is fust in shot

 It was a little oasis away from the crowds and we could either look out to sea or look back and see the town…Wow. 😀   

Sarah stood on the edge of the small dock with sea all around her and mountains in the background

 Wait for it… 

Sarah stood on the edge of the small dock with sea all around her and mountains in the background.jpg whilst showing her guns again in the bicepts pose

Yay…Now we’ve arrived! 💪🏼 

Before exploring the busy part of town (the centre) we thought we’d try walking up the hill to see how far the town goes, Wow it’s beautiful up here!

Sarah looking out over the beautiful Amalfi bay

 The Cafe, Coffee and THE Ccissont…

Yay we found a little coffee shop and Sarah said “we have to try the croissants with a black coffee”. We sat outside and i said “Wooaaaahhh have you tried your croissant yet? It’s the best one i’ve ever tasted” “Mmmmmmm” Sarah said and that’s all i needed to hear. 😀  

Every croissant we’ve had since eating this one 3 years ago has had to be compared with this one. It’s still the remaining champion as no other croissant anywhere has even come close!  

Me sat in the sun outside the cafe eating a coissant and drinking an espresso ith the road right in front of me

Me sat in the sun outside the cafe eating a coissant and drinking an espresso ith the road right in front of me

The centre of town….

This town was good for us as it wasn’t very big and we thought it’d be hard for us to get lost. Walking into the town we found a lovely gift shop, both me and Sarah got a souvenir. Sarah bought another t-shirt with Amalfi across the front and i bought a great Amalfi vest. 😀  

We left the shop and found the natural spring fountain the tour guide was talking about and Sarah went over for a drink. 

Sarah drinking from the natural water fountain in the Amalfi square

Sarah walking away with wet hands after Sarah drinking from the natural water fountain in the Amalfi square

Sarah was soaking and was walking towards me…Yes she spun around like a helicopter and soaked me through. 🤣  She said she wanted to cool me down as i was too hot again…But she also enjoyed soaking me too, a win-win situation. ! 🤣 

Now time to explore the backstreets… 

Me walking down some stairs in a built up town

Me walking down some stairs in a built up town

Me walking down some stairs in a built up town

Me looking out to sea aurrounded by the Amalfi town

Time for another attempt at a selfie with my lovely wife Sarah… 

Me and Sarah in a selfie with our sunglasses on and the mountains in the background

Then Sarah stretches and lines herself up to take some stunning panoramas… 😀  

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background and me in the centre of the photo

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background

What a beautiful place. 

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background and me in the centre of the photo

Sarah panorama of the Amalfi sea, road and mountains in the background

Back on the coach…

Wow what a lovely town., it’s now time to head towards Pompeii.

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Ancient building

rolling hills from the coach

rolling hills from the coach

Pompeii…

We followed the group towards a square near the main gate entrance. The guide said “Now it’s time for you to try the amazing local Margharita pizza. Wow…This was the best Margharita pizza i’ve ever tasted and also sets the bar at the top of the ‘Blind Sightseers Pizza Leaderboard’. 😀  

Moving swiftly on we walked through the main gate on onto the excellently preserved ruins. I’ll shut up for a moment whilst you sit back and enjoy the photos, lol! 😀 

Long line of ancient pillars

Long line of ancient pillars

The guide was really knowledgable and gave us a lot of history on this place. 

The ancient town

The ancient town

The ancient town and a line of pillars

the amphitheatre

Why struggle and take lots of shots when you can fit everything into…A stupendous Sarah panorama! 😀  

Sarah panorama of the whole row of ancient buildings

The walking…

Yay the blind sightseers have found the worst walking conditions to date, it was horrendous! As many of you know i can’t see much and i certainly can’t see my feet never mind the path. I have no idea how Sarah guided me around this place…But she managed it. I owe all of my holidays to her as i couldn’t do anything without her…Never-mind get to see some of the most beautiful places in the world! ❤️ 😀

My new walking sandals were great and protected my toes from being stubbed at least a few times. They allowed my ankles to roll over without snapping and had great grip when i needed it. 

The main road which is crumpled and cracked but nicely maintained

The main road which is crumpled and cracked but nicely maintained

another row of ancient buildings

another row of ancient buildings

A row of clumns on the left and a narrow path leading straight forward

We finally managed to go inside the beautiful buildings and hide from the burning sun. ☀️   

insdie one of the buildings

insdie one of the buildings

We were coming to the end of our walking tour of Pompeii and after a few more statues we ended up at the Centaur statue.  

Our group crowding around a statue

The statue of Centaur… 

Statue

One last Sarah panorama… 

Sarah panorama of group

Back at the ship…

Wow what a memorable shore excursion! We talk about this trip all of the time…Oh wait, we talk about all of our adventures! 🤣  

After the excursion (but before the evening meal) we enjoy going out on deck to enjoy the fantastic coast line whilst looking back on the day. It’s also a great time to take a few shots of my lovely wife Sarah! ❤️ 

Sarah stood on the ship with the coatline gehind he

Sarah with arms out stretched welcoming you to Sorrento

Then Sarah spotted a boat which looked like it was heading towards our ship. I said “It’s not ‘Gibbs’ again and the NCIS special agents looking for the blind sightseers? They must have followed us from Montenegro, lol!”  “No i think it’s just a tender boat” 🤣   

A little boat zig zagging across the sea with the town in the background

Close up of the little boat now pulled up alongside the ship whilst leaving lots of frothy waves behind

Quiet reflection… 

Sarah (on right) leaning on the ship rail and looking out over the sea to the land ahead

Being blind and guided (expertly) by Sarah throughout each day normally gives me a massive headache as there is just too much external stimuli. My sight is super blurry and walking around quickly whilst listening intently to Sarah (as don’t want to break my ankles, legs or worse) and trying to learn lots of history from the guide is simply too much to process. It’s like trying to use modern day apps when i can only process things as fast as an old Commodore 64. Awww i remember my dad breaking lots of joysticks trying to beat me on ‘The way of the exploding fist’ game…But i digress! Oh yes i was trying to say i really enjoy everything being quiet as i lean on the rail and give thanks. 😀     

Sarah taking a photo of the sunset and landscape from the ship

Just when you think you’ve had another incredible day…You’re blessed with a beautiful sunset. 

Sunse over the coastline

Sunse over the coastline

Sunse over the coastline  with arches in the front

sunset over the coastline

Me and Sarah trying to take a selfie with the sunset behind us from the ship

Beautiful sunset from the ship

Beautiful sunset from the ship

Beautiful sunset from the ship

Wow…What a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for joining us again on our incredible, breathtaking and above all memorable tour. 😀  

I wonder where we’re going tomorrow? 🤔

To be continued… 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 50 – “Remember Me” ❤️

Bruce THE Boxer

july 14th 2000 – Dec 3rd 2011

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Thank you all so much for helping me keep Bruce THE Boxer and his legacy alive by joining his Boxercise classes. It’s been great for me to use the photos of him i’ve taken over the years and share them with friends.

I can’t believe we’ve made it to 50 days!

But with great sadness i have to announce we’ve come to the end of the ‘Boxercise’ classes…Also can’t believe it’s nearly 9 years (Dec) since Bruce died. 🐾 ❤️

But it’s not over quite yet as i’ve also created a video of Bruce, Sarah & our loving home so you can see him in action…😀  

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📜 Psalm 66

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Psalm 66

Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel

To the leader. A Song. A Psalm.
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; 
   sing the glory of his name;
   give to him glorious praise. 
Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!
   Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you. 
All the earth worships you;
   they sing praises to you,
   sing praises to your name.’
          Selah 

Come and see what God has done:
   he is awesome in his deeds among mortals. 
He turned the sea into dry land;
   they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him, 
   who rules by his might for ever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
   let the rebellious not exalt themselves.
          Selah 

Bless our God, O peoples,
   let the sound of his praise be heard, 
who has kept us among the living,
   and has not let our feet slip. 
For you, O God, have tested us;
   you have tried us as silver is tried. 
You brought us into the net;
   you laid burdens on our backs; 
you let people ride over our heads;
   we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place. 

I will come into your house with burnt-offerings;
   I will pay you my vows, 
those that my lips uttered
   and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. 
I will offer to you burnt-offerings of fatlings,
   with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
          Selah 

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
   and I will tell what he has done for me. 
I cried aloud to him,
   and he was extolled with my tongue. 
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
   the Lord would not have listened. 
But truly God has listened;
   he has given heed to the words of my prayer. 

Blessed be God,
   because he has not rejected my prayer
   or removed his steadfast love from me.

God’s Sovereignty Over Nature

Amen! What an Awesome God. There is such peace knowing that He’s in absolute control…And not me or any other! 😀

Abide In God

The following excerpt was taken from an article by John Piper, ‘The Sovereignty of God’ which can be found here.

He is sovereign over what appears the most random acts in the world.Proverbs 16:33says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” In modern language we would say, “The dice are rolled on the table and every play is decided by God.” There are no events so small that he does not rule for his purposes. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” Jesus said, “And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29–30). Every role of the dice in Las Vegas, every tiny bird that falls dead in the thousand forests — all of this is God’s command.

From worms…

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This is mercy!

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This is mercy!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to Heaven, but was beating his chest, saying: God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Luke 18:13

“He redeems your life from destruction; He crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies!” Psalm 103:4 
My dear friend,What thanks ought we to give to our gracious Lord for all of His mercies to us! 
I can look back upon every part of my life, and upon it all I can write, “This is mercy!” 
Oh, it is all, from first to last, to those who are chosen and called and believe and live by faith in the Son of God, MERCY–from everlasting to everlasting! Mercy before time, mercy in time, mercy beyond time!
Where is the fountainhead, the spring of this mercy? What gives rise to it? Nothing but the sovereign grace and free love of the purpose and heart of God Himself. 
But on whom do the streams of this fountain flow with their quickening, comforting, sanctifying, glorifying streams? 
On the miserable sinner, and none else; for none else are the objects of mercy. On such as you and me! Mercy has made a rich provision . . .  to supply all our needs,  to pardon all our sins,  to save us from all punishment,  to entitle us to all glory!
“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever!” Psalm 89:1 
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” Romans 12:1 

☀️ #42 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Trapani, Sicily” 🇮🇹 (2017)

Trapani logo

 Buongiorno amici (Good morning friends)  

No way…We’re in Sicily! One of our favourite places to eat is Sicily Restaurant and we always say when speaking to Grace or Dora “We come to Sicily but we’ve never been to Sicily!” Now that has changed, yay! 😀  

Now we’re here let’s see what we’ll be doing…

To see the best of Sicily, you have to climb to great heights. And on this trip you’ll do exactly that. After a coach drive to the cable station, you’ll take the cable car up to the top of a mountain. Take in the view out over the Trapani salt pans, the turquoise sea and all the way to the Egadi Islands – it’s breathtaking. While you’re up here, you’ll explore the Medieval town that is Erice. Wander the winding cobbled streets. Visit the Mother Church that’s stood here for over 700 years. And admire the Castle of Venus where the son of Athena, goddess of love, built a temple in his mother’s honour. But save some sighs for the gorgeous Balio Gardens in all their rainbow bright glory. Last but not least you’ll have time to enjoy the atmosphere in Erice’s dinky plaza, before you take the cable car back down to the ship.

Yay…I love cable cars, and we’ve already been on 2 during this lockdown memory tour (see Gibraltar and Matlock Bath).

Leaving the ship…

The breakfast on the Thomson Majesty didn’t disappoint and we stepped out into the warm sunshine. It’’s September so it’s not boiling hot (28˚C) but it’s much warmer than England. 😀 Boarding the coach was fine and it wasn’t long before we we’re driving through the beautiful Sicilian streets and hills. 

The cable cars…

The cable car seated about 10 people (all in a circle) and we all instantly started chatting about our experiences on cruise ships, other cruises and if we’d been to Sicily before? As this is now our 4th cruise (unbelievable) we sounded like seasoned professionals, lol! 🤣  

Then it fell silent as we climbed higher and we all caught sight of the view… 

view from the cabe car looking down the rolling hills down to the sea

I’m not sure i’d like cable cars half as much as i do if i was fully sighted. I think it’s because i can’t really tell how high i am as i’m actually a bit scared of heights! 😀   

Sarah said “Steve stop looking out of the window, face me and have your photo taken”. 

Me smiling at the camera sat in the cable car view from the cabe car looking down the rolling hills down to the sea

Beautiful land and secape looking down the rolling hills and into the sea

 Surely it’s not that time already?? It’s much to early to be stunned by another blisteringly stupendous Sarah panorama…

Stupendous panorama Beautiful land and secape looking down the rolling hills and into the sea

Hang on…Here’s another…

Stupendous panorama Beautiful land and secape looking down the rolling hills and into the sea

Eris…

Wow this place was incredible. It was quite surreal to have climbed so high in the cable car to get to this beautiful town. The colours were so vivid as the bright buildings contrasted the deep blue sky.  

stunning buildings at the top of the cable cars in Trapini, Sicily

Narrow road with building either side really tall

Following the guide was hard work as the narrow lanes/walkways had large stones (about 4 inches) and were fantastic at tripping you up or stubbing your toe on, if you were lucky you’d do both. But the blind sightseers  don’t let little details like that stop us, lol! 😀  

Once we’d walked (and walked) to the very top of the town a Sicilian man came with a horse (maybe donkey i can’t see it or remember, lol) and carriage and played some traditional Sicilian music on his Harmonium.

The plaza…

We had about half an hour free time and Sarah & i quickly went to find a souvenir shop. The main item of sale was the Sicilian nougat which we didn’t really want as Sarah is diabetic. The plaza was beautiful and we spent some time wondering around until we got to sit down.

Sarah sat down with the stunning buildings behind her

Eris was a stunning place and we’re so blessed to be able to visit…But now back to the cable cars. 

Sarah in shadow on the left looking out of the cable car to the sea below and the coastline of the right

 Back at the dock…

After a quick refresh on the ship we were ready to explore! The dock was nice and flat and had lots of multi coloured boats in long rows so we looked around here first. Wait a minute…Did Sarah buy one of these little boats in the souvenir shop at Eris, lol! 🤣   

Sarah bent down and looking into one of the boats in a long row at the dock

Sarah stood in front of lots of colourful boats in the dock at SicilySarah stood in front of lots of colourful boats in the dock at Sicily

Of course we can’t leave Sicily without Sarah’s Sicilian victory pose… 

Sarah showing her guns in a victory pose stood in front of lots of colourful boats in the dock at Sicily

Trapani town…

We left the dock and started walking along the first street we came to. We noticed that the streets were in a big square and if we walked all the way round we’d end up back here without getting lost…Here goes.

“Oh it looks like all of the shops and cafe’s are closed” Sarah said sounding a little disappointed. We continued along the second street and still nothing was open. “We might as well return to the dock” Sarah said “I only wanted to try some Arancini in Sicily” We always order these in ‘Sicily Restaurant’ back home so i thought whilst we were here i’d try one too. 

Turning right again onto the 3rd street of the square i was increasingly despondent and crestfallen.

But suddenly…

Sarah says with plenty of excitement “Steve look, i think…Yes i’m sure it is…Let me go and see if i’m right” Sarah walks quickly ahead and upon her return says “Steve you’re going to love this” taking my hand (as i was heartbroken) she led me into a little shop (which is the only one open around here) which only cooked Arancini!! I simply couldn’t believe it! We ordered a couple of different flavours and an espresso too! 😲 

me sat outside the Arancinu place with the arancini on a plate with a coffee

Wow…Now all that is left is the taste test…  

Me sat outside eating a Arancini wearing my sunglasses

Awww unbelievable now that tastes great! Yet another moment i won’t stop talking about. 🤣  

After a lovely time relaxing, eating Arancini and drinking espresso in the sun it was time to head back to the ship. walking around the last corner of the square we noticed a tiny market stall selling hats. I said “I wonder if they sell a hat with Sicily on for Vini (Nephew) who loves collecting baseball caps?” They did (i holding it in the image below). 

me stood on the dock carrying the blue sicily baseball cap i'd just bought with the seascape of boats behind me

Yay the ship is here… 

Sarah in a ruined wall with the ship in the background

Oh no i don’t think i have enough energy left to be able to  take another stupendous, Magnificent and sublime Sarah panorama… She keeps top trumping my photography, lol! 🤣  

Sarah paorama of the whole dock from behind a wall

Back at the ship…

Me stood underneath the front of the ship with Thomson MAJESTY WRITTEN ON THE SIDE ABOVE MY HEAD

ME STOOD UNDERNEATH THE FRONT OF THE SHIP THAT LOOKS HUGE AND IS TOWERING OVER ME

Sorry guys but no towel folding creatures on this ship!

The blind sightseers had a lovely time in Sicily and we’d definitely return (if we get the chance after lockdown) as there are many more shore excursions for us to try all over Sicily.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Sicily and this new ship? It’s such a blessing to see you here.😀  

To be continued…  

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day  ➡

☀️ Start From #1 🏝 Or join the adventure at:

📜 Psalm 111

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Psalm 111

Praise for God’s Wonderful Works

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
   in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 
Great are the works of the Lord,
   studied by all who delight in them. 
Full of honour and majesty is his work,
   and his righteousness endures for ever. 
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
   the Lord is gracious and merciful. 
He provides food for those who fear him;
   he is ever mindful of his covenant. 
He has shown his people the power of his works,
   in giving them the heritage of the nations. 
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy. 
They are established for ever and ever,
   to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 
He sent redemption to his people;
   he has commanded his covenant for ever.
   Holy and awesome is his name. 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   all those who practise it have a good understanding.
   His praise endures for ever.

There are more lies told at funerals!

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There are more lies told at funerals!

(Curtis Knapp, 2012)

Have you ever noticed that no matter how wicked a person was in his life, he becomes a saint at his funeral?

In reality, he was a bad father, but at his funeral he becomes a great father in the eulogy given by his estranged children. In reality, he was a bad husband, but suddenly, he is a great husband. In reality he was a very bad person, but suddenly everyone talks about what a good person he was.

He was never in church, but suddenly he is a great Christian man. The minister strains awkwardly to speak glowingly about the man he didn’t know and hardly ever saw. In life, he was primarily noted for his wicked works, but suddenly upon his death he is known as a man of many good works.

In short, they lie! There are more lies told at funerals than perhaps at any other occasion, and that’s the way people want it. If the minister did anything other than lie, the family and friends would be outraged!

God is the only one worthy of a eulogy at a funeral, but no one offers a eulogy to God. Instead, they offer lying eulogies for the sinner who is most likely in Hell at that moment. Think about that. The sinner has already arrived at his permanent dwelling place in Hell. He is weeping and gnashing his teeth and writhing in agony in the flames. He is begging for just one drop of cool water for his tongue, but receives no mercy.

God is not impressed with this wicked man. God sees no good in him.

The inhabitants of Hell are not impressed with him. They don’t care about the time he helped an old lady across the street, and the time he gave money to a charitable organization. They don’t think he is or ever was a good person. They don’t like him and want nothing to do with him.

And yet at this very moment, on earth, in a church or funeral home somewhere–the man’s family and the minister are talking about what a wonderful person he was and how he has gone to a better place!

Have you ever noticed how no one goes to Hell–at least no one you know? When have you been at a funeral at which the minister and family did not conspire together to convince themselves and everyone else that the departed sinner was in Heaven?

Jesus taught us that the road to Heaven was narrow, and said that few find it. Conversely, He taught that the road to destruction was broad, and that many were on it. Yet, according to our funerals, Jesus was wrong. No one is in Hell–everyone is in Heaven! Have you ever noticed that all you have to do to get to Heaven is to die? Instead of believing in justification by faith alone, most people believe in justification by death alone. Death is all that is necessary to be transformed miraculously from a depraved wretch into a shining angel.

Why do we do this? Why do we lie? Ministers often do it because they are afraid not to. Many lie because they are false prophets who deceive people, and a funeral is the perfect opportunity to say “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Some family members lie because they are grasping for some piece of comfort in their loss. But consider: Is grasping at a lie truly comforting?

I suspect that most people play this game of falsehood for selfish reasons. If they eulogize the deceased, then they will also feel better about the state of their own souls. If the departed sinner went to Heaven–then they will surely go to Heaven when they die as well. If everyone is a good person and going to Heaven–then we don’t have to worry about our own spiritual condition.

We hate death. We hate to be reminded of our weakness and our fleeting time here. We don’t like to think about what happens after death. We don’t want to consider that there might be a Hell, and we certainly don’t want to hear that most people go there. We don’t want to ponder those realities, but funerals force us to do so. So we fight back against death and reality by laboring hard to convince ourselves that everyone who dies goes to Heaven.

What does it accomplish? Nothing!
Is God deceived? No!
Will our lies change God’s mind? No!
Will our lies get us to Heaven? No!

I am not saying that I think ministers should stand up at funerals and declare with certainty that the departed person is in Hell. But, when the person’s life gives us little confidence that he or she is in Heaven, it would be far better to remain silent about the eternal destiny of the lost one than to boldly declare that the person is in Heaven. Oh for some honesty in our days!

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

☀️ #41 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Kotor, Montenegro”🇲🇪(2017)

Montenegro logo

Good Morning friends! (dobro jutro) 😀  

Are you ready for a scorcher today? It’s going to hit 41˚C as the heat wave moves in! ☀️ Also i had no idea (until looking) that it’s our 41st day of our lockdown memory tour, fantastic! 😀   

We booked the “Blue Cave Speed Boat Tour” for today but this tour was cancelled (last minute) yesterday evening. The excursion team told us the Montenegro officials read that your were blind and said “A blind person cannot board a speed boat” so they cancelled it! We said “We’ve done much more challenging things than stepping onto a speed boat” but we acquiesced and asked if there were any other tours left.

They only had “Highlights of Montenegro” a 10-12 hour tour with lots of walking. I said “Wow this is going to be magnificently burning hot”…I wasn’t wrong! 😰 

Well let’s see what we’ll be doing… 

The port of Kotor finds a home on the world’s southernmost fjord – or the ‘Bride of the Adriatic’, as it’s also known. As places go, it’s beautiful. Think blue seas. A stony shore. Green mountains. All drenched in the heavenly scent of lemons, oranges, mimosas and camellias. And here’s your chance to explore this gorgeous part of the world.

First you’ll stop at the mountain village of Njegusi to taste the region’s delicious smoked ham and cheese. Stomach full, you’re ready for…

Cetinje. Known as the ‘Valley of Gods’, it was once the smallest European capital and it’s filled to bursting with beautiful buildings. Here you’ll visit the King Nikola’s palace before having some free time to stroll around. Next you’re off to…

Budva – the most popular tourist destination on Montenegro’s map. And quite rightly so. Beautiful architecture meets seductive sandy beaches in this spot. Perhaps that’s why lots of millionaires decide to live here.

Leaving the ship…

After another lovely breakfast we stepped off the ship. “Woah” i said whilst leaving the lovely cool ship and walking into a hot oven. “How can it be this hot already?” Sarah quickly replied “Oohhh that’s better the ship was freezing”. 🤣  

On the coach…

A photo of the narrow road taken from our front seats on the coach

Yay, the Thomson excursion team has made sure the tour guide saved us the front seats on the coach. The first challenge (for the excellent driver) was to climb the famous Kotor serpentine road. The road was simply amazing, and witnessing the driver expertly navigate the hairpin turns and narrow road was incredible. The guide passed a picture (see below) around the coach and Sarah took a photo of it so i could zoom in on my iMac at home…Thanks Sarah 😲 

The Kotor serpentine road winding up the side of the mountain.

Arriving at Njegusi…

 The serpentine was pretty quiet and didn’t have much traffic as it was still early morning. I’m not sure how he guided this massive coach up and around those bends without flying off the cliff, but i’m glad he did, lol! 😀  

We reached the top and the view was simply breathtaking! Sarah was stunned on it’s beauty and said “Wow you can just make out our ship all the way down there”. 😀 

Photo of Sarah stood in front of and incredible landscape of mountains and a valley looking right down to our ship in the sea a t the bottom

incredible shot of the surrounding mountains and then looking down to the ship at the bottom of the valley

Me in my tactical sun hat stood in front of the mountains and valley

Yay…I’m here too! I thought i’d add a photo of me just to make sure you knew i was here, and didn’t collapse into a pool of molten flesh after leaving the ship, lol! 🤣  

Sarah stood in front of the mountain top bar/restaurant

 The group headed into the mountain top restaurant and sat down at tables overlooking the stunning view. I don’t think anyone was hungry as the waiters place a humongous baguette filled with the legendary local ham and cheese in front of all of us. Everyone kept saying “We’ve only just had breakfast about an hour ago on the ship”, even i was struggling and i’m never full! 😀 The ham and cheese was super tasty and it would’ve been nice to take some home with us…But it was time to go!

 We had a few more minutes to take some photos of this stunning place as people were filtering onto the coach.

Me stood with the landscape of hills and the valley behind me

Beautiful landscape of the hills, mountains and down to the ship in the sea at the bottom of the valley

A view throught the mountains

Sarah waving stood in front of the ship right down in th bottom of the valley

 Ok just one more shot of Sarah waving and saying hello to you guys, then we really do have to get back on the coach. 😀  

On to the next stop…

It was late morning now and the serpentine started to get a little busier.

And then…

Photo to taken from our front seats in the coach of the very narrow road with a coach facing us and having to reverse

The coach hit the brakes, our group said “Wooaahhh” and the drivers sorted out a way to carry on. Our coach had to reverse (no idea how he did it) up the hill and around some corners until he found a little pull in. It had taken our driver over half an hour to pull off this manoeuvre, and after a round of applause he drove on.  

We arrived in Cetinje… 

Leaving the air conditioned coach and stepping out into the centre of a bubbling volcano (that’s what it felt like to me)we followed our guide towards the museum, but on the way he quickly stopped to talk to us about a church building.

Vlah church…

Old churh building amongost some trees

Walking along a track the guide pointed out this lovely old church building and started talking about it’s history.

From Wikipedia

The church was initially made of “plot” (Serbian: плот), i.e. of sticks, switches and mud. It was rebuilt three times. First as “suvomeđa” (Serbian: сувомеђа), which means of stones without mortar; then of “klačena” (Serbian: клачена), which is stones with lime mortar; and finally, in 1864 the church received its current form. A guard rail around the church was built in 1897 using barrels of Ottoman rifles captured in 1858 during the Battle of Grahovac. 

The part about the guard rail using barrels of Ottoman rifles captured in 1858 really stuck out to me. I hope my two quickly taken photos showed the guard rail? We didn’t get any closer as the guide was moving fast! 😢

a closer shot of Old churh building amongost some trees

Walking towards the Museum of King Nikola…

Wow it was hot, i’ve never experienced heat like this  before! The Caribbean heat is much different and there is always a cool breeze, but here there was no breeze and it just felt like my bones were being steamed in a cauldron of boiling water, whilst my skin was being attacked by a million angry wasps with mini switchblades  cutting into me! 🔥🔥🔥

Then out of nowhere…

Photo taken behind a secret black police car with the door open and in front is the president of Montenegro

I heard cars whiz past and stop close to us, car doors flew open and there was lots of commotion. 
 
I said “What’s happening? It sounds like the NCIS team has just pulled up and Gibbs and his special agents have just rushed out of their cars?!” I wasn’t too far wrong as it was the President of Montenegro and his bodyguards.
 
a little further away from the rear black car and looking round to the right at the president
 
The guide told us to stop and take shade under a tree for a while and he’ll go and sort out what to do next. He was away for quite a while and whilst he was gone Sarah said “Hey Steve there’s a statue over there let’s go and take a photo” i replied “it’s boiling out there i’m staying under this tree”, of course this reply didn’t work and Sarah stood me in front of the statue, lol! 😓   

Me stood under a statue in montenegro

The guide returned and told us that the President will be inside the museum we were about to be guided around. So we’ll have our break now of about an hour as another group was before us and will be first to go inside the museum. We won’t be able to go back to the lovely air conditioned coach but there is the main square just over there, and there are some shops and a cafe. As the group separated we walked towards the square.

Sarah said “There is not much here but this looks like a souvenir type shop. Let’s get you out of the heat before you explode”. It was a souvenir shop and we bought a lovely painted plate with Montenegro written on and it hangs above the doorway to our kitchen. 😀  

Montenegro plate

Heading out of the shop we walked around the corner and Sarah said “OOooohhhh look at that dress!!” I knew exactly what the noise meant (as i can’t see what i’m looking at, lol) and we walked towards the shop. The dress was hanging up outside the shop and Sarah was completely taken with it. she said “look at the design…it’s all handmade stitching, the colours are beautiful and it’s simply exquisite…I love it! 😍 

Inside the shop…

Minding the step into the shop Sarah had a little look around to see if she could see the dress (the one outside) anywhere inside the shop. The local woman behind the counter said “You like the dress?” as she held up a black dress that Sarah didn’t want or like. “No i wanted to ask about the dress outside” Sarah said whilst pointing out of the window. “This dress would look really nice on you!” the woman insisted, “no i don’t like that dress it’s too dark for me, do you have the orange and red flower dress that’s hanging up outside in my size?” 

The woman continued in her heavy accent “You don’t like? Why do you not like? It look lovely on you!” Just as I was thinking that we’d never get out of here without even looking at the dress the woman said “There is only 1 of the dress outside but this dress (the one she was holding) we have many. Sarah said whilst looking a little disappointed as there was only 1 of those amazing dresses “Could i have a look at it please and try it on?”

The woman finally put down the other dress and got the one from outside and passed it to Sarah. “Wow this is amazing but it’ll never fit” Sarah said whilst trying not to get too excited anymore, but she went over to the changing rooms and tried it on anyway.

“Wow, you look stunning” i said knowing she’s about to tell me i can’t see it very well anyway, lol! “It fits perfectly, i thought there would be no way it fits…I’ve just got to have it” Sarah said with a beaming smile on her face. 

Leaving the shop with Sarah (she’s super excited) still stunned that she’d got the only dress of that kind available and it fitted perfectly, we headed back towards the cafe.

The cafe…

It was really busy and it was the only cafe open around this square and everyone seemed to be here. There was a man selling cold bottles of water under a sheltered bit so we went and bought a couple. Sarah found the only 2 chairs left which were in the sun. As we sat down with a bottle of water each…

Sarah shouted “AArrggghhhh” and flew up out of her seat like i’d just pushed the ejector seat button! At the same time half of the contents of her water bottle hit me in the face and covered mostt of my shirt (i was glad of the cooling down). But i said “What’s just happened?” “Awww the burning hot arms of the chair scorched my forearms as i sat down!” Ouch…I can still feel it as i’m typing this! 🤕 

Leaving the cafe it was time to meet up with the group to have our guided tour around the museum. On the way Sarah found some art and a fantastic building.

Sarah stood in the bottom left of the shot of the old house fills the rest of the shot with a tree on the right

Museum of King Nikola…

This fascinating Museum used to be the royal palace of the Montenegrin King for more than 50 years. So once the president had left we had our chance to see it. 😀  

The museum guide took us around the house and explained the significance and rarity of many of the items on display. She brought it all to life with a passion and pride that left a lasting impression.

The museum has many rooms which were presented as they would have looked when used as a royal palace, including the king’s and queen’s bedrooms, reception rooms, official meeting rooms, etc, and the various displays included clothing, weapons, furniture, medals and flags and other regalia from this historical royal house.

The temperature outside was 41˚C but inside it felt even hotter. We were told not to lean on any hanging wall paintings but the heat coming off any one of our group could’ve melted the painting (and the frame) from 10 feet away! The museum was incredible but everyone was so hot they all just wanted to leave. 

Just enought time to take one more photo of my beautiful and lovely wife Sarah! ❤️  

Lovely Sarah walking towards us inf front of a lovely old building

Back on the coach…

“Aww feel that air conditioning” i said whilst trying not to melt Sarah with the heat emanating from me! ☀️

Wait a minute…Yes it’s that time again! 

The coach stopped just long enough for Sarah to take a couple of wonderful panoramas. 

Sarah panorama of the rolling mountainous hills

Another Sarah panorama of the sea surround by mountainous hills

Arriving in Budva…

The guide flew off the coach and continued walking at breakneck speed for about 10 minutes. Sarah and i were tripping up little curbs, dropping down slopes and even started falling away from the group at one stage…But then he stopped to  show us this beautiful place…

The church with the bell tower on the left

the sea with the coast line on left

The guide said we had an hour free time and to meet him back in the main square ( i think i know where that is, lol).  

Sarah instantly found a coffee shop and wondered if they did iced coffees like the ones we’d had in Greece? They did even better than that! Sarah got me a massive one and said “If you stand here in the shade of the coffee shop, i’m going to go and see if i can get onto the beach. “Ok i’ll not move”. I didn’t need to move as this iced coffee was incredible…It even had 2 scoops of vanilla ice-cream with a double espresso poured over the top. I talk about this coffee as many times as i can. Wow…The ice cold coffee contrasting that scorching sun, mmmmmm. ☀️ 

Yay, Sarah managed to get onto the beach and put her feet on the sand so we were both very happy! 😀  

Not sure why i took this photo of the path?

A squared stone pavement in the town

We met up with the group and followed the guide back to the coach, the air conditioning wasn’t even cooling me anymore i was just too hot. I’d been boiled for about 10 hours and i think it’s going to take about a week to cool down. 😓 

Back on the ship…

Wow what a day! 41˚C is the hottest Sarah & i have felt so far on our travels, and we always talk about this day. But first it’s time to meet Brian & Ann for the final time on this cruise .

You’ll never guess…??

During our lovely 4 course evening meal Brian & Ann gave us this lovely Montenegrian design wooden box as a gift. Ann said “We didn’t go on any trips today so we looked around the town. We found a craft store and found this lovely box, i knew you’d love it and we just had to buy it for you! We were blown away with their kindness and friendship and we keep this box on our sideboard in our living room. Oh we also still have the 2 chocolates inside which Ann was handing out on her birthday! 😀  

Montenegro box.jpg made from wood with an amazing colourful picture all ove the top

Back in the cabin…

We were disappointed not to find a folded towel creature on the bed on our last day of this wonderful cruise. But this was the first of 2 cruises Sarah managed to book at the same price as the Barbados cruise and stay we had to cancel. Sarah managed to book them a couple of months apart…But we’re going to jump ship (Thomson Spirit) and climb a board the Thomson Majesty and sail away to our next destination! 😀 ☀️ ☕ ⛴

We hope you’ve enjoyed being on this ‘Classical Greece’ cruise with us? Did you have a favourite place?

To be continued… 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 48 – “Smile Again”

Sarah laughing behind Bruc who doesn't look amused

Welcome back to your daily lockdown drill brought to you by Bruce…Your fave Boxercise instructor!   

“What do you mean smile again…He’s been taking photos of us for 3 hours now…I’m sure he’s got a photo of me smiling ”

“This better get me a huge Jumbone! 🐾

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡  

📜 Psalm 34

Psalms Logo

Psalm 34

Praise that God answers prayer
Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for those who fear him have no want.
The young lions suffer want and hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
and covets many days to enjoy good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
not one of them will be broken.
Evil brings death to the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

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