Tag Archives: Blind Photography

☀️ #18 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “St Johns, Antigua”🇦🇬

Click logo to return to Day 1

After another early start(and you’ve guessed it) a bacon roll, we headed off the ship. The shore excursion lady was at the bottom of the gangway steps, and she showed us where to join the queue. Well i say queue, there were only about 8 of us in total. I thought “I think we may have over reached on this one. Maybe it’s going to be too difficult, and really not suited for the blind”. 

We were then led towards the minibus. We were told they’d saved us the 2 seats in the front next to the driver, i said “Sweet”, and climbed aboard. I really didn’t expect what happened next…the driver turned on his CD player which started playing Ed Sheeran “Thinking out loud” and he started singing as i tapped away on my legs to the beat. His voice was incredible, it was like we were having our own concert in the front of the minibus, whilst driving around paradise.  Quite a surreal moment. After more fantastic singing to Tarrus Riley’s  “She’s Royal”, he pulled up at Fort James Beach where we were to start our horse ride.

Welcome to Paradise…

We left the minibus and were instantly greeted with a stunning view of porcelain palm fringed sands, and stilted turquoise waters of Fort James beach, also we received a further warm welcome by the “Horseman(sorry, i forgot his name)”. 🙂 

St John beach with a palm tree on the left and a life guard seat on the right

St John beach 2

Photo of the horse instructor walking across the beautiful beach

 ⇧ The horseman strolling along the beautiful beach ⇧  

A couple of horses on the left walking across the amazing beach

⇧ Horses being led to the sea to cool off ⇧  

The Horse Ride…

Once everyone was fitted with a protective hat, it was time to line up and meet the horses. He asked for experienced riders first, then one at a time they mounted the horses. It was about this time i started to get a little nervous. I was saying to Sarah “How do we get up there? Are there steps? Which foot do i put forward first? Are the horses big enough to carry me?”

The horseman was out of earshot, but i think he could see my face, he said “Don’t worry, i have a couple of special horses for you two”. This put my mind a little more at ease. Sarah mounted first on the horse named “Sunshine”, what a perfect horse for her! 🙂 Then i mounted easily with the excellent help from horseman onto the horse named “Little Man”, 

After a short tutorial on how to hold(and use) the reins, it was time to move on out! We had only walked along next to a road for about a minute, and i’d just got used to the weird motion of rocking side to side whilst not being able to see the ground or the horse in front. When…a huge commotion…Lots of shouting from horseman, and the horses. I thought(at first) it sounded like a car had hit one of the horses. I pulled back on the reins as i saw Sarah(who was in front of me) appear at my side, Yay my horse stopped! 🙂 We found out at the end, that a car got too close and spooked a few of the horses, so no one(or horses) were hurt.

My plan was to take my Samsung WB550 compact camera with me to take photos & video whilst on the horse, but that was soon foiled when i got onto the horse, and my shorts were pulled tight around my pocket, so it had seal it shut. I didn’t want to try and move, as i thought the horse might mistaken my movements and start galloping off!. I did eventually get an opportunity when my foot suddenly got smacked out of the stirrup by an aloe vera plant(it got a few of us), and as my leg was free i quickly grabbed my camera! 🙂 Note to self, next time take my other camera with a neck strap! 🙂 

The horseman who was overseeing us said “Welcome to Sandhaven Beach”…

A photo of the back of my horses head with a beautiful seacape all around

⇧ “Little Man” taking me on a beautiful journey 🙂 ⇧ 

Photo of Sarah on her horse riding across stunning beach landscape with my orange shirt at the bottom as i took the photo over my shoulder

⇧ Sarah on “Sunshine” & in sunshine, along Sandhaven beach ⇧ 

Sarah on her horse looking inland as she rides across the stunning beach

Sarah looking out to sea as she rides along the stunning Sandhaven beach

⇧ Sarah ensconced in Sunshine! 🙂 ⇧ 

Words completely fail me when i try and describe the feeling of riding in paradise. The sound of the waves, the feel of the hot sun with the cool breeze, the movement(and sound) of the horse, topped off with the amazing panorama. We really didn’t want to leave our new fave place on earth!! 🙂 

We left Sandhaven beach and headed back to Fort James beach. We’d been riding for around 1½ hours, and just before we finished, the man asked for my cameras so he could take a photo of us on our horses.

My horse “little Man” was busy eating grass, i think he had my appetite! 🙂 

Photo of me9left and Sarah(right) sat on top of our horses. My horse is eating grass

 ⇧ “Little Man & “Sunshine” ⇧ 

Once off the horses, we were given a bottle of water each as they prepared for stage 2. Stage 2 gave the chance for the experienced riders to ride faster(or gallop as i’m told), and the chance to ride bareback into the water. Sarah and another lady paired up together to do this. 

Sarah bareback riding

Sarah said “I was sat trying to balance without a saddle, when suddenly i was thrown back as one of my legs was pulled up. I looked down to see that the horse had taken a liking to one of my bright yellow laces, and was pulling on it as though it was spaghetti! 🙂 

Once stage 2 was over, we had about 45 minutes before the singing taxi arrived. “No way, does this mean you get to swim in paradise again?!” i said as Sarah was already half way down the beach!! 🙂 

The Swim…

Sarah running towards the empty sea

⇧ Sarah excited to be the only one in the beautiful sea ⇧  

Sarah submerged in the turquoise sea. The whole sea is empty apart from Sarah

⇧ What a way to relax! 🙂 ⇧  

Sarah walking towards me from out of the sea after her swim

Sarah portrait St John

 ⇧ I think Sarah enjoyed her swim! 🙂 ⇧ 

The taxi ride was just as fun. The drivers stunning voice carried us all the way back to the ship.

 Back on the ship…

We now had to say goodbye to the Caribbean. 😦 We took our usual sofa’s in the coffee port, and with coffee’s in hand, we watched the island slowly disappear. We both agreed that this was our fave place of the trip, and the horse ride was our best experience so far!!

Our new friend…

On returning to our cabin, the steward had created a folded towel turtle, and used my hat as the shell, fantastic!!  🙂 

Folded turtle from towels with my hat as the shell

Our Route 4 2day…

This afternoon Thomson Dream sails to Horta, Portugal, we’ll arrive on Sunday late morning, after 5 leisurely days at sea. having travelled 2,173 nautical miles, at an average speed of 16 knots.

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 25 – “Rest Again”

DSC06213

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

 

Wow yet another week in lockdown has passed already…Time flies when your boxercised!

 

It’s time to rest yet again, and we can spend this time pampering, sleeping, eating, playing and most of all posing for a good portrait…Very important and it keeps the treats rolling in from the humans who now have some nice photos of their stupendous furry angel! 😀 

Also let’s think once again about rest and sleep. It’s vitally important to take a day of rest to give your body a chance to heal, it helps to de-stress, and also helps our minds focus…On FOOD, lol! 🍔 

 

Fun Quote…“A well trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.”

 

🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.” 

 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 

 

 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

☀️ #17 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Basseterre, St Kitts”🇰🇳

St Kitts logo

 

Our excursion today “St Kitts Scenic Railway” didn’t start until 11am, so we had a more relaxed breakfast at Lido’s on Deck 9. Then another lovely coffee at the Coffee Port on Deck 8. Now we had sustenance, it was down to Deck 4 and off the ship to enjoy what today had in store for us?! 🙂    

Welcome to St Kitts… 

Once an illustrious sugar colony, it now focusses its efforts on being a tropical paradise. A seductive blend of blonde sandss, and duck egg blue seas. 

Once we slowly navigated down the gangway steps, we looked up to see a view of the beautiful bay. 

The Caribbean never failed to surprise us, even when we thought we had seen the most beautiful places, the next place would leave us awe-struck with it’s breathtaking landscapes! 

A panorama taken from the dock pier overlooking the amazing span of volcano hills with the vivid blu sea in front

⇧ Sarah’s Panorama of St Kitts ⇧ 

 

As i was taking a photo of Sarah, a nice lady came over and asked if we would like her to take one of us both together? “Oh yes please, that would be so kind of you”. The photo she took is probably my fave photo of the trip! 🙂 

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

⇧ Sarah & i at St Kitts ⇧

Showing my excitement, and love for the Caribbean. Sarah chose(and bought) me an amazingly bright and colourful Caribbean shirt, 🙂

Excursion Details – St Kitts Scenic Railway…

First up, board a tour bus for a drive along the south coast. Important landmarks lie around every corner here.

Second, hop on a train at the “Needs-Must” station, and St Kitts light railway takes you on a 3 hour tour of the islands best bits. You’ll chug over ravines over 300 feet deep, circle mount Liamuga volcano, take a sneak peak at the islands black sand beaches, and soak up the jaw dropping views over lush sugar cain fields,

The Bus…

Another soothing air conditioned bus ride. Our tour guide was fantastic, and told us all about the Economy, history(some grusome battles), and the monkeys! She said “Around 100,000 monkeys live in the tree covered hills, and they steal our fruit etc. So if you want to take one with you, it will help us greatly!”.

View from the bus at St Kitts

⇧ A view from the bus window ⇧ 

The Train…

We got off the bus at the “Needs-Must” station. The hot sun felt lovely as we waited for the train. We had no idea what to expect, and looking at the small narrow train tracks, we expected a little open top fun train, or something like. 

Then…this large double decker monster pulled up. “Wow, i didn’t expect that! It’s really tall, and doesn’t look wide enough to take the height”. I said as we climbed the stairs to the upper deck of the 1st carriage. “Yes! We get to sit at the front too! Unbelievable”.

As the train pulled away, the tour guide told us that the train will sway(strongly) side to side, so it’s best to stay seated, but if you want to stand then keep hold of the rail above the seats. She wasn’t joking!! It was the craziest train i’d ever been on, and i thought there is no way i can take photos whilst being violently thrown around! 

But…as usual, i didn’t let that stop me! My Nikkor lens has VR(Vibration Reduction) on it, so i’ll test it out. I really didn’t expect to have any photos from this amazing, unforgettable train ride, but was surprised when a few turned out not too blurry!  

We started off travelling through vivid green fields flanked by volcanos.

St Kitts 1

St Kitts 2

Then just as a lady asked us if we wanted a “Pina Colada”, we saw the first of many beautiful curved bays, with the sea crashing into the shore.

St Kitts 3

Sarah & i just kept saying “Wow, this is Amazing! How did we get here, it’s like a dream”. The beautiful hot sun shining down, a lovely cool breeze flowing through the train, and a Pina Colada in hand. Some of my fave things are Coconut, Banana and Pineapple, and this drink had them all! Mmmmm. 🙂  

St Kitts Train

Then as the train curled its way through the lush landscape, a 3 part harmony choir started singing. The ladies would come up to our deck and sing some beautiful songs as part of the trip. The voices were fantastic, and brought even more sunshine to this incredible journey. 🙂 

As the singers finished, we heard a horn next to us, so we all started waving at the people on the fun bus! 🙂 

St Kitts Bus

We were then treated to another stunning bay!

St Kitts 7

St Kitts 6

St Kitts 5

St Kitts 4

After passing through more sugarcane fields, the lady brought us a piece of sugarcane with spices. Wow, it was the nicest sweet thing i’d ever tasted! I always talk about this sugarcane everywhere i go.

Sarah St Kitts Train

⇧ Sarah sat at the front of the train! ⇧  

St Kitts Volcano

The tour guide then said “On your left you will make out the bridge we will be travelling over shortly”. I heard Sarah say “No way, the train isn’t going to make it over that, it looks too small and rickety. Steve, if you could see it, you’d be saying the same!!”. 

Train Bridge 1

Train bridge 2

Yes i would! After seeing this photo, i could tell exactly why Sarah was getting worried! 🙂

After the bridge, we travelled back towards the end of the journey. But not before we were blessed, by what is now my favourite church building.

St Kitts Church

This fantastic train ride came to an end back at “Needs-Must” station, where the bus was ready to take us back to the ship. But before we boarded, we still had a short time to look around the shops at the dock.

I bought another Caribbean shirt(blue one) so i could keep up with the vibrant colours surrounding us from all angles! Sarah even plaited my hair too! 🙂     

My Platt  Blue Caribbean Shirt

⇧ My quiet blue shirt ⇧ 

 Tomorrow will be our last Caribbean island, before we are at sea for 5 days crossing the atlantic for the Azores. 

We’ve booked a horse ride across the beach etc, so i’m a little nervous. But at least the horse isn’t blind(i hope) and will lead the way! Either way, i’m sure it’ll be another unforgettable experience! This holiday has been full of them! 🙂 

 Our Route 4 2day…

This evening Thomson Dream travels to St Johns, Antigua. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 61 nautical miles, at an average speed of 4 knots.

Wow, Did you enjoy this trip as much as we did? Did you have a fave part?  

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day ➡

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

☀️ #16 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Philipsburg, St Maarten”🇸🇽

Philipsburg St Maarten Logo

After a quick bacon roll from Lido’s on Deck 9, Sarah & i found our way off the ship, and to the shore excursion point. 

St Maarten Island Tour…(excursion details)

Flying under two flags, St Maarten has got something of a split personality. But despite being one half Dutch and the other French, its whole is as Caribbean as it gets. And on this trip you’ll get to see both sides of this two-faced island, with your guide giving you snippets of history as you go

You’ll travel from Philipsburg(Dutch capital) to Marigot(French capital) passing through dinky villages hardly touched by time. Once you reach Marigot, you have some free time to explore this four street-wide city. All patisseries, pavement cafés and designer boutiques, it’s easy to see why it’s known as the French Riviera of the Caribbean.

The Dutch Side…

Our tour started with a drive around the beautiful Dutch side of the island, the air conditioned bus was perfect on this hot day. The guide pretty much told us that this was the place for the profligates. Casinos, night clubs, fast food outlets etc.  I instantly thought of  Mathew 23 “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”. Not quite in context, but you get the idea! 🙂

I know i keep going on about the vivid colours, i still can’t put into words how stunning they are, i couldn’t get my camera to do them justice! The Colours will be the main thing i remember about the caribbean! 🙂  

Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon…

The driver/tour guide said he’d stop the bus for about 5 minutes so we could take some photos of the bay. “Excellent”, i thought as Sarah & i followed a man with a DSLR who was leaving in a hurry off the bus. I thought “if he is so keen to get off, then it must be a beautiful bay”. But as soon as he had moved to the edge of the cliff, he started saying “Why did he stop here? This is horrible, and a building site! There were much nicer places where he should’ve stopped”.

I ignored his complaining and started taking photos of the scenery i couldn’t see anyway, as i wanted to see what he was talking about when i zoomed in at home after the holiday. I still can’t make out the detail, but what i can see looks beautiful!, and well worth stopping for! 🙂

Photo taken of Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon.jpeg

Lookout Point, Simpson Bay Lagoon.jpeg

St Maarten Bay 4

St Maarten Bay

⇧ Lookout Point – Simpson Bay Lagoon ⇧

The French Side…

Moving seamlessly from the Dutch side of the island to the French side, Sarah started to feel a little more at home as the guide said “You won’t find any Burger King, KFC, casino’s etc. You’ll find cafe’s, restaurants, small independent market stores etc”.

After more fascinating history of the island, we pulled into Marigot(French capital), and now had 45 minutes to have a look around! 

Marigot…

 After leaving the bus, we headed straight for the open space where we found another lovely bay 

St Maarten Bay 5

⇧ Marigot bay ⇧ 

After standing a moment to absorb the beauty, it was over to the market to see what we could find.

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

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

⇧ Sarah’s St Maartens Coral Necklace ⇧  

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

Back On The Ship…

After finishing the island tour, we went back to the ship to get some lunch. We had a few hours before the ship sails away, so we decided to see if we could find a beach!

Sarah always says “The holiday hasn’t properly started until our feet are standing on the sand!!” 🙂 

After a frustrating hour walking from one end of the dock to the other, trying to find transport to take us to a beach. We started heading back to the ship defeated. When.. suddenly a “Water Taxi” sign appeared! Fantastic, lets go! Eventually we got on-board a very busy(yet cool) boat that took us a short distance across the bay. 

After just stepping out of the boat, i heard “Hi Steve and Sarah”. It was Martin, a kind man i sat next too on the plane over to Jamaica. We’d got chatting on the plane about sight loss and coping etc, and he has a Nephew who is suffering at the moment, so i was giving him some resources that may help etc. We Sadi “Hi Martin, are we anywhere near a beach?” He chuckled a little and said “Yeah it’s right here, just walk down this short pier and you won’t miss it” “Fantastic!” “Don’t be long though, you don’t want to miss the ship” Martin said, as he boarded the water taxi. 

Great Bay Beach…

Photo of the beach, with a palm tree on the left, and 2 cruise ships on the right

⇧ View of the cruise ships from Great Bay Beach ⇧ 

The afternoon sun was getting hot now, which must have been why most of the people were inside the bars. But we had been in air conditioning all morning so didn’t mind a bit of sun. 

It also meant that, not only did we get to walk on the powder white sands, but Sarah got to swim in the turquoise waters with hardly anyone around! An amazing experience! 🙂  

Sarah couldn’t believe she was swimming in paradise, and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day! 🙂 

A full photo of just sea, with Sarah head poking out in the bottom right corner

⇧ Sarah relaxing in paradise ⇧   

close up of Sarah walking out of the see,with the water up to her hips. Sarah is wearing her fave spotted puple swimsuit

landscape shot of Sarah walking out of the turquoise sea, onto yellow sands, with sailing ships in the far distance

⇧ Beautiful! ⇧ 

It really was getting hot now, so we nipped into a small bar for a cold soothing drink. I thought i’d try a Rum & Coke(though i didn’t taste much coke), and Sarah had her fave Mojito. 

We had a last walk up and down the beach before boarding the water taxi back to the ship. What an amazing day! This whole holiday has been simply breathtaking for us, and Sarah still can’t believe she got to swim in the beautiful, warm Caribbean sea! 🙂

Towel Folding & Beyond…

You’ve already seen the fantastic towel folded Elephant on Day 1, and each night the cabin steward folded our bed in amazingly straight lines, but he went one step further. We found Sarah’s nightie folded in this fantastic pattern.

a close up shot of the fantastic pattern folded by the cabin steward on Sarah nightie

a photo of the folded bed covers and Sarahs Folded Nightie 2

⇧ Folded nightie and bed, with chocolate mints on pillows ⇧   

Our Route 4 2day…

This evening Thomson Dream sails to Basseterre, St Kitts. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 59 nautical miles at an average of 4 knots.

Wow, Did you enjoy this trip as much as we did? Did you have a fave part?  

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day ➡

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

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 24 – “Long Jumps”

Bruce leeping away from the camera towards tohe sea with his front legs out stretched

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Long Jumps”

Let’s paws for a moment (before you start your long jumps) to have an informed discussion about safety. When we  prepare to explode into take off, we shift weight back into the large muscles of our back legs and onto the back-leg joints.

This activates our muscles and propels us up and forward like a coiled cobra, the action requires a full range of motion in the back leg joints including the stifle and the hip and tarsal (hock), and of course, activation in all the supporting muscles. When we come to land, our front legs are mobilised, flexing and extending to brake and steady us.

These actions are perfectly natural and it takes more out of our joints than walking or running around on level ground. So the lesson is…Be careful with all of the increased load on your bodies! 🐾

💬 “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D Eisenhower

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 
 
🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

☀️ #15 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Road Town, Tortola BVI”🇻🇬

Road town logo

Absorbing  The Landscapes…

As we were at anchor during our visit to Road Town, with local ship’s tender boats transferring us to, and from the shore. We had a little time to take some photos before we left the ship. It was so calm and peaceful as we stood in front of this beautiful landscape.

A view of the front tip of the boat in front of a beautiful landscape

Me on the left taking a photo of the coastline, whilst a boat enters the image from the right. Also the image has a overkill blue filter

⇧ Sorry…i couldn’t resist the overkill blue filter effect! 🙂 ⇧  

A beautiful image of the small islands of Road Town

⇧ The beautiful coastline of Road Town ⇧  

A boat leaving its stream from left to right with the coastline behind it

 ⇧ I listened patiently until the boat that i couldn’t see was hopefully on the right of my shot! 🙂 ⇧ 

Road Town hillside

⇧ The rolling green hills of Road Town ⇧  

After having a fun(bobbing up and down) tender boat ride, we were driven along the coastal road covered in vivid green trees which stroked the tops of brightly coloured bungalows.

The Dolphin Encounter…

We had now arrived at the Prospect Reef Resort where Sarah got into the water to splash around with dolphins that call this place home.

As Sarah’s eye had been closed to keep out infections, we thought it was best to choose the “Dolphin Encounter” instead of the fully immersed  “Swim with Dolphins”. We just couldn’t risk it! 

I booked the “Dolphin Observer” which didn’t turn out well. Sarah & i were separated and i had no way of knowing which pool she was entering, so i waited on the nearest seats i could find, quietly listening for her name to be called out. Then as i’d hear it, i’d whip out my camera and get some shots. I didn’t hear her name as i was sat at completely the wrong pool. 😦

But all is not lost…i bought the fantastic photos taken by their photographer. Yay! 🙂 

Sarah wearing swim suit and life jscket, stood in front of a large surf board promoting the dolphins

 ⇧ Sarah stood in front of the surf board logo sign ⇧ 

  Sarah had never done anything like this before, she was excited and apprehensive at the same time. But as soon as she got into the water and met her new friend, she was blown away! 🙂

Step 1: Meeting the dolphin… 

Sarah on the right touching the dolphins nose

Sarah now looking at the camera with a huge smile on her face, whist still touching the dolphins nose

 ⇧ Sarah’s first touch of the dolphin ⇧ 

Step 2: Dancing with the dolphin… 

Sarah said as she took hold of both flippers, the dolphin started a funky wiggle dance! 🙂 

Sarah stood on the right holding both flippers whilst having a dance with the dolphin

 ⇧ Sarah dancing with her new friend ⇧  

Step 3: The Kiss… 

Sarah getting a kiss from the dolphin

 ⇧ Sarah receiving a kiss on the cheek from the dolphin ⇧ 

Dolphin totally out of the water half way through a jump

⇧ Dolphin showing its excitement after meeting Sarah! 🙂  ⇧  

Once Sarah was dried off and changed, and we collected the photo CD, it was time to catch the bus back and head for Road Towns pretty main street and market. 

We had one place in mind(if we could find it) “Sunny Caribbee”. Everybody was talking about this place and the incredible local spices, sauces, coffee, artwork…everything! 🙂 

We got off the bus and walked into town. We walked for a while longer, then we did(what we always did) when we got lost on our trip…listen for a broad northern accent! It was only seconds until we found some people from our ship who pointed us in the right direction! 🙂 

Sunny Caribbee…

Sunny Caribbee

⇧ Photo of the shop front of Sunny Caribbee ⇧   

Sunny Caribbee Hot Spices

⇧ Bottled sauces with fantastic hats! 🙂 ⇧

Once inside the shop we were amazed by the variety and beauty of the products, and how lovely and helpful the ladies were, We just wanted to take everything! Once we saw the sauce bottles with the hats, we just had to get them as presents! 🙂  

We were sad to leave Sunny Caribbee, but it was time to head off to the main street market as Sarah had seen some beautifully coloured dresses!

Sarah bought a lovely bright dress, but no photos yet. 😦  

After getting lost again in the town, we managed to find directions (yes another northern couple) back to the tender boats. It was another bobbing boat ride back to the ship.

We then took our usual seats in the Coffee Port, while drinking our favourite double espresso macchiato’s, we watched the islands disappear as the ship sailed away.

Our Route 4 2day…

This afternoon Thomson Dream sails to Philipsburg, St Maarten. We’ll arrive tomorrow morning having travelled 92 nautical miles at an average speed of 8 knots.

Wow, Did you enjoy this trip as much as we did? Did you have a fave part?  

⬅ Previous Day 🌴 Next Day ➡

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

☀️ #14 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: La Romana, “Dominican Republic”🇩🇴

La Romana

Sarah & i were excited to arrive at La Romana, Dominican Republic, and we were really looking forwards to our shore excursion. After applying strong suntan lotion, deet bands to our wrists and ankles and finishing off with our hats, we went to see if we could find where the excursion actually starts! 

Using my knees as suspention, i slowly navigated down the treacherous gangway steps until i reached land. yay! The hot sun was shining, I could hear a local band playing, and then i heard Jo’s voice, she is part of the excursion team. We homed in on her voice and she said that she was coming on the same excursion so we could wait for her and she’ll take us to the coach. Fantastic, we can now relax! 🙂

Sarah s Caribbean Outfit

⇧ My lovely wife Sarah’s beautiful Caribbean outfit! 🙂 ⇧ 

After a short coach trip, and hearing about the history of the island by the tour guide, we arrived at Casa de Campo,

Roman-styled 5,000-seat amphitheater…

a photo of the circular seating of the Amphitheater left view

Amphitheater centre view

Photo of the circular seating of the Amphitheater right view

Sarah and the steps

⇧ Sarah relaxing in the sun, sat on the amazing steps. ⇧ 

Me at the amphitheater

⇧ My new hat kept my head nice and cool, thanks Suzanne ⇧

 After briefly taking in this fantastic amphitheater, it was a short walk to the lovely fountain.

Sarah fountain

Sarah fountain 2

I had no idea that Sarah had stopped sitting down and was now walking towards me, but it’s made a lovely photo! lol. 🙂 

 Another short walk around this beautiful place until we reached the church and river.

St. Stanislaus Church… 

Church Dominican Republic

Me walking in front of the   Church

⇧ Me walking around wondering what to shoot next! ⇧  

Whilst looking at the stunning church, at my 6 o’ clock was the stunning Chavón River. What a beautiful place, and such a blessing to be able to be here.

 The Chavón River… 

Sarah at the Chavón River

Chavón River Chavón River 2

Just as i finished taking this photo, Sarah said “quick, take a photo of those ladies wearing the beautiful red dresses”. I span round and said “Where are they?” They were about 10 feet directly in front of me(i told you i was blind! lol). But just then they stood either side of Sarah and posed for the photo…

Sarah and the red dresses

Sarah and the red dresses close u

Some of you more experienced travellers will probably know what i’m about to say?!!

After the photo the ladies said “Tip…tip”, i was about to say “No, it’s ok you don’t need to tip me for the photo, i’m not that good!”. But then as we realised it was they who wanted a tip for posing for the shot, Jo(our Thomson excursion leader) quickly gave them a tip as we had no change at all. That was a lesson learned for Sarah & i, and we will be a little more discerning next time! I still think it was worth the mix up as the photos are lovely. 🙂 

Chavón River 3

At the bottom left of the photo above…you can just make out the paddle boat. That’s where we are heading next! 🙂 

 Paddle Boats & Palm Trees…

Paddle boats and palm trees

Rambo river

Me on paddle boat

 ⇧ Me reflecting on God’s beautiful creation ⇧ 

Sarah paddle boat

 ⇧ Sarah feeling relaxed in the sun ⇧ 

Rambo river 2

Sarah on paddle boat

The whole excursion was amazing. I’ve never seen such vibrant colours, breathtaking scenery and a chance to travel along the “Rambo River”. 

IMG 3249

Back on-board the ship…

We went straight to the ice cold water machine, and then out on deck to get some last shots before we sailed away. 

Dominican Republic 2

Dominican Republic 1

Sarah Portrait on board

 Wow,what a day! The south east corner of the Dominican Republic. was labelled “The fairest land under heaven” by Columbus. I don’t disasociate myself from his opinion!! 🙂 

Our Route 4 2day…

This afternoon the Thomson Dream sails to Road Town, Tortola. We’ll arrive tomorrow afternoon having travelled 277 nautical miles, at an average speed of 14 knots. 

Wow, Did you enjoy this trip as much as we did? Did you have a fave part?  

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 23 – “Guess The Face”

Portrait of Bruce pulling the most crazy face

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Guess The Face”

This is a great teachable moment…Being the best of the best and the complete stupendous Dog that you are, takes time and effort. However one of the most important aspects(the glue that holds it all together) is…Laughter! One of our main tasks is to make the humans cry with laughter and this can be done by pulling a silly face! 😀 

If you are a human reading this…Please look again at the photo of me pulling a silly face and then comment below with what you think i’m thinking? Or what makes you laugh about my face? 

I’ll be chewing on a “Jumbone” and waiting for the “ bbrrrriinnggg” of the humans WordPress iPhone apps notification alert sound to read your comments! 😀 

💬 “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D Eisenhower

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 22 – “Noses”

Bruce moving in from the left of the picture with a football in his mouth but his nose is nice and clear

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Noses”

I forgot to mention in post “Seek & Destroy” that whilst you are running with a large ball in your mouth…Always make sure your nose is clear so you can still breathe and not pass out! 

Here are a few factoids…

  1. Dogs’ olfactory abilities are anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than humans’. In fact, we have roughly 50 smell receptors compared to the humans measly one.
  2. Our nose can breathe air in and out at the same time.
  3. We have a special scent-detecting organ, called the vomeronasal organ that humans don’t have. This organ helps us detect pheromones secreted by other animals.
  4. Each of our nose prints are unique, like each human’s fingerprint.Flat-faced, short-nosed dogs, such as the Boxer, Pekingese, and Pug, have fewer scent-detecting cells than dogs with longer snouts, like Bloodhounds and German Shepherds. But what we lack in scent-detectors, we gain jaw power and can grip for hours without our big nose getting in the way, lol.

💬 “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D Eisenhower

 

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 21 – “Long Runs”

Bruce running towards us with the sea on the right, cliffs on the left and a big sandy beach which is empty in the centre

⇧ Bruce demonstrating a long run ⇧   

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Long Runs”

Since we’ve already got “Short Sprints” in our arsenal, it’s time to stretch out that drill into a “Long Run.”

This can be really difficult during lockdown and it’s vital to keep social distancing as you’ll be running for a long time…So be vigilant, and most of all safe! 

I hope you find a place where you can practise this drill because…

A long run burns calories, strengthens/hardens muscles, and tones the body, but more importantly  a long run really pushes you to discover your full athletic potential!

 🎶 “Don’t let nobody drag your spirit down” – Eric Bibb

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☀️ #8 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “The Photographic Exhibition”🇮🇹

Well this is it, the actual reason we came, lol! I know i mentioned i only had my iPhone 5s & Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus to take photos, the main reason (apart from weight, lenses & tiny viewfinders) was the GPS map pins, i love them! 🙂

A satalite map of florence with red map pins scattered around showing where i'd taken photos

It was now Wednesday and it was time for the sun to make way for the rain. The hotel room even had it’s own umbrella with “Brunelleschi” as the logo, i like this hotel! The exhibition didn’t start until 4pm, so we decided to explore (now we knew where we were going after our fantastic walking tour) for a couple of hours with our new umbrella! 🙂

Me with umbrella in narrow streets

It turned out that the streets were much quieter which is great for us, so we could relax a little more too after a couple of hectic days. OOoooo another coffee shop! 🙂

Me and Coffee

 The Exhibition…..

We left the hotel with posh clothes on and fancy umbrella in hand and headed to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi hoping there actually was an exhibition even though we had still seen no signs at all, not even a hint that there’d be one.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi 1

Then we turned into the main entrance…..

Sarah said “Wow, now this is a lot of people, the posters are up all around us and look great, and it’s in the beautiful, main part of the palace”. I started to feel a little out of my depth all of a sudden.

Art Senses Entrance with the posters in the background behind people gathering

Crowds gathering with me in the background Art Senses Entrance 2

Sarah then found Ann, who has also travelled from England, UK (thats ⅔ of the UK representatives, lol) so i had a chat with her as i’d never met her before, she’s an enormously talented artist and has a few paintings in the exhibition. 

Me  Ann at Art Senses

We hadn’t noticed, but the crowd had started making their way to the large area in the centre where the president of the blind union was talking (in Italian) through a PA system. By the time we had arrived we were at the back wondering what was going on, and none of us were able to see anything (even the sighted ones) as we were just too far away. 

Then…..

Costanza, who organised the whole thing (with her husband) cut through the crowd, took my had and led me right to the front next to the president and a few of the other artists.

Me  Costanza at Art Senses

Then after about 5 minutes, she put the microphone into my hand and said “Speak one word”. 

Me on the mic at Art Senses

The place went silent, i could feel there were lots of people around, i had no idea if any of them spoke english. So i  said “ciao a tutti (Hello everyone), i’m Steve Rebus from London”. It seemed to go across well, but i was so terrified i didn’t have a clue what to say next. Constanza gently took the mic and passed it along, aaaghhh i could now relax a little. 🙂

After a few more people spoke we were given a glass of Prosecco and Costanza took me to see what they’d done with my photos. I had only sent the prints and they had mounted, framed and hung them beautifully, i can’t thank them enough, they looked great and very professional!

Me  Costanza with my Photos at Art Senses

It wasn’t long before people started crowding round as they viewed each of our works.

Crowd around my Photos at Art Senses

Everyone kept telling me how fantastic the photos were and that i was a “Provider of  inspiration” (now that’s a title, lol. , all i could say is thanks. I was completely overwhelmed by the whole evening. I never knew it was going to be this big, professionally done and not held in a dark attic somewhere! I’m not good at playing the artist game and kept thinking that i better start taking some better photos, lol. 🙂

After a couple of hours walking round the exhibition, i was amazed at the level of talent. I enjoyed the paintings (a lot were tactile too), sculptures and other photography, simply brilliant!

I’ll post more photos tomorrow when we returned to see if we were just dreaming! 

Me and the poster at Art Senses

Sarah got me to stand next to one of the Art Senses posters while holding the amazingly professional catalogue/book of all the works and artists bio etc. Costanza really worked hard to put everything together, and i thank God that she found Sarah to ask for blind artists from the UK.

I heard Art Senses are holding a similar exhibition next year in Rome!! I better get taking some photos, if i want to be invited as an artist again. Wow to do all this in Rome, unbelievable! 😀 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 20 – “Pawly”

Bruce Poorley

⇧ Bruce feeling sad after his ear operation ✞  

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Pawly”

I wanted to paws and take a little time to talk about accidents, or if you are pushing too hard on your drills…

If you have been to the vets(no idea why they are called this, they haven’t spent anytime in combat) and they have forced you into the “Helmet Of Shame”…DO NOT be cast down, but keep your chops held high!

There are other drills and exercises we can do e.g…

Dancing, Yay! Like yesterdays drill “Bust A Move” don’t be afraid to dance through the storms of life!! 😀 

Bruce dancing

⇧ Bruce dancing in the storm! 😀 ⇧

🎶 “Don’t let nobody drag your spirit down – Eric Bibb

 

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☀️ #7 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Firenze Walking Tour”🇮🇹

During another sublime breakfast, Sarah & i wondered if there was a walking tour around Firenze?! We now have a love of walking tours after our hugely successful one yesterday. It’s much easier for us to just follow a group instead of getting lost and wondering around aimlessly, and it’s a great way to learn the history and culture of the area.

They did do a tour and it started just after lunch. We booked on it and then decided to go for a walk to see if we could find the starting point by ourselves. It was in an area we hadn’t covered yet so we knew it was going to be a challenge…..We failed, but we found a lovely cafe! We sat outside with the sun blazing down, it was fantastic! 🙂

The image below shows me staring at the sun. Since being registered blind and having no central vision at all, i can now stare at the sun without squinting or blinking. Didn’t know it made me look this weird though, lol. 🙂

Me sat drinking coffee outside staring at the sun

We then spent a couple of hours enjoying finding new and wonderful shops, before heading back to the hotel. The reception had arranged for someone to walk us to the walking tour meeting point, fantastic! 🙂

Firenze Walking Tour…

The group met up in a different square than the one we found earlier, and gave us another one of those radio thingy’s, Yay! As the guide was talking about the square, i captured some shots!

Beautiful blue sky behind an impressive church wide impressive building with staues across the roof

One of the roof statues

Moving from the square and through some little side streets, we stopped at the “Basilica of Santa Croce” founded by Saint Francis. Sarah said “Wow, it looks like someone has iced it like a cake! It doesn’t look real”. 

Dark skies hover over the amazing Santa Croce black

Walking through the streets we were told of a local artist who’s adding figures to road signs. 

A figure looking like he's carrying the horizontal block of a no entry sign

 Continuing with more fantastic Medici family history we found ourselves in a familiar square (Piazza della Signoria).

Palazzo Vecchio

Bronze statue of Cosimo Medici

As we didn’t have lots of time to walk around and take photos, Sarah & i revisited on Day 7 to get some more interesting shots. Now it’s onwards to the river. 🙂

The River arches

When we accidentally found the river Arno during the Firenze marathon, Sarah had said that the river looks dirty, like brown sludge. But today with the sun shining bright, it glowed gold like nothing i’d seen before! 🙂

The River Arno Me  Sarah at the river Arno

Me  Sarah at Firenze river Bridge over river Arno

We continued our tour by walking through the “Piazza della Repubblica” ahh, the place with the sparkling building (see Day 1).

Firenze archway

Then finishing our tour at the Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)Yay another amazing bell tower! 🙂

Florence Cathedral Bell Twoer

 I’ve heard of “Knocking’ on Heaven’s door” but now i was stood at “The Gates of Paradise”.

Me stood in front of the gates of Paradise

 Sarah then said “Go and stand in front of the doors of the Cathedral, we need more photos with you in them so people will know you were here”. I really don’t like this side of the lens, but this is for you guys! 🙂

Wow! Were these doors made for the Nephilim?!! 🙂

Me in front of the Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral 1

After this amazing tour, we felt that we could now spend a few days exploring with a little more confidence, starting with a trip to our fave coffee (and cake) place which is right next to our hotel. The cherry on top of the cake below really sums up our day. It’s been another unbelievable day that always leaves me saying “How am i here? This is like a dream! I still can’t believe i’m here?!” 

Cake

 You’ll be very pleased to know that my next post is the opening day of the exhibition! 

I’m so blessed that you’ve stuck with me on this incredible journey. God bless you. 😀 

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☀️ #6 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “San Gimig nano”🇮🇹

The dark cloak of night consumed us, light had escaped the dungeon of darkness but had vanished..…Sorry, just trying to set the mood for the final destination on our amazing Tuscany in a day tour.

Chiara had been telling us of the year 1348 when the black death had wiped out over ⅔ of the walled medieval town of San Gimignano, the majority of the people who survived the terror had left. Continuing on this theme, and the fact that it was totally dark outside (due to this time of year) set the scene for what we were about to experience!

Welcome to San Gimignano…

San Gimignano

After a short walk uphill, the group arrived at the main entrance of the walled town. We then had about 45 minutes free time to explore, then meet back here. Afterr the group dispersed, Sarah & i entered… 

No amount of photos could ever get across the feeling of this place! The black windows towering over you from each side, the silence and the shadows following you everywhere, generated a smothering atmosphere that had flavours of Fear, Death, Sorrow for the people of old, Awe and a weird taste of Joy and amazement. You really can only experience San Gimignano by physically being here! 

San Gimignano 4

San Gimignano 1

San Gimignano 5

San Gimignano 2

As Sarah was checking out the few little shops on the main walkway, i’d stay outside and just stand, soaking up the atmosphere that my words can’t describe. Sarah says “They only sell pottery or Knives”.

San Gimignano Shop

San Gimignano 3

As i was stood (see above) it was completely silent. Then all of a sudden i heard heavy footsteps from behind sounding like they were headed straight for me. I expected to see a blade sticking out of the front of my chest as an assassin wearing a monks tunic (from the video game (assassins creed) shot out of the shadows sending me to paradise.

As i turned though it was just a person leaving the church behind me, although i’m still not sure how they managed the booming footstep thing. My imagination really doesn’t help my heart at times like these! 🙂

San Gimignano 7

As we met back up with the group having felt we’d been to probably the most special place of the trip. We were so grateful we hadn’t decided to stay in the coach as it was just too dark to risk having accidents. 

I really hope you’ve enjoyed joining us on the “Tuscany in a day” tour?! 😀

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 19 – “Bust A Move”

Bruce looking straight at the camera whilst stood up and looks like he is dancing

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Bust A Move” 

All of us dogs have a very individualistic personality, just like the humans do. While this varies from breed to breed, a lot of us respond to music based on the genre. You all know what i mean, when that songs starts playing and you just have to “Bust A Move!”

Depending on your groove, and how funky your routine…This will leave your human in stitches, they will laugh their heads off! 😀 

At this point, i should tell you some benefits of busting a move…

Dancing is a great way to stay combat ready for dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:

  • Improves condition of your heart and lungs
  • Increases muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • Increases aerobic fitness
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Helps weight management
  • Stronger bones(that’s our bones and not the bones you normally chew.)
  • Better coordination, agility and flexibility
  • Improved balance and spatial awareness
  • Greater self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Better social skills.

💬 “Hit the floor with those groovy paws!” 🎶

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☀️ #5 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Sienna”🇮🇹

Photo while sat on the coach taken looking through the windscreen overlooking the mountains with Siena written on the road

While approaching Sienna, we were given a fantastic little radio thingy that you put around your neck. It has a single earphone so you can still hear the tour guide within a large radius,or if it gets noisy. We then met the new Siena tour guide who would guide the group and share interesting stories and history of this stunning place.

Welcome to Siena…

Me stood in front of the Siena Christmas Tree

We were very happy to meet in a little square around a huge Christmas tree (see above). I am now only wearing a thin shirt as it is like a summers day and it’s December!!  🙂

Siena Building

close up of windows on a Siena Building 2

Siena Arches

Walking through the narrow streets and hearing more about how the Medici family slaughtered and captured Siena, we arrived at the famous medieval square (Piazza del Campo). Yay another tower! 🙂 

Siena Campo

Campo Tower 

Siena campo windows

After a walk around the banked curves of the square (feeling like an Indy 500 car), the group then left the square and headed towards (what has now become my favourite bell tower of all time) Siena Cathedral!

Siena Cathedral…

Walking under a narrow archway, the group made a collective sound, it went something like (wooaaahhhhooww), Sarah said “Wow! A humbug tower!” I said understatedly “Oh right” as i could only look at the ground to try and navigate, and i can’t see the tower or any of it’s detail anyway. But when i got back, and was able to zoom into my photos to see what i was pointing my camera at…..”Wow, Wow Wow”. 

Siena Cathedrals humbug tower

Siena Cathedral Bell Tower

Siena Cathedral

a view of the stunning Siena Cathedral 3

 Sarah was very happy when we went inside and found more humbugs! 🙂

Inside Siena Cathedral 2

Inside Siena Cathedral

 The group then sat down to hear the final part of the tour guides history. Just after i said to Sarah “Wow, isn’t it amazing to think that all of this unbelievable place was done for Jesus?! It all points to Him!”. The tour guide said “And this was all done for Mary!”. I was not amused at all! 

We then had some free time and was told to meet back at the medieval square, now which way was that?? 

Siena Campo 5

We did eventually find it, and we met back up with the group. to then return back to the coach, but on the way we passed the Christmas tree where we had first started and it looked beautiful! It finished Siena off nicely! 🙂

Siena Christmas Tree at night

After quite a scare of nearly getting lost and left behind as the group disappeared into the darkness, Sarah and i boarded what we hoped was our coach (it was).  Now it’s off towards our final destination of the day! 😀 

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☀️ #4 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Vinci & Chianti”🇮🇹

 As we left the amazing Pisa, Chiara (our tour guide) gave us some more interesting yet gruesome Tuscany history about the Medici family killing everyone again and taking over more villages and cities. She also mentioned a man called Leonardo Da Vinci, “no way” i said to Sarah “I thought he was a ninja turtle, not a real man!” She gave me a swift elbow in the ribs, and Chiara continued.

Welcome to Vinci…

The image below is of the landscape that greeted us from the coach.  

Sarah looking over the Vinci Hills

After taking in the amazing scenery, we headed off on foot to the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci.

A view overlooking the town of Vinci with a bell tower on the left

A beautiful bell tower with purple blue sunrise over vince

A close up black and white of the Vinci Bell Tower

I really like bell towers!! 🙂

Sarah & i found inside the museum much too dark, so we struggled to see any of the fantastic creations on display. Sarah was using her iPhone 6 Plus with it’s wide aperture of f2.2 to view each design as it showed much brighter on her screen, rather than the dark blob in front of her (she’s a genius).

We did find a cool bike though!!

Vinci Bike

Now it was back outside to have a wonder around and see what we can find. It wasn’t long before we found a familiar object! 

Vitruvian Man

Sarah wasn’t happy with the “Vitruvian Man” and thought Leonardo had missed something out. So we added something extra……The Vitruvian Man & Woman! 🙂

Sarah stood in front of the Vitruvian Man  doing the same pose

Now for Chianti…

After another trip on the coach through amazing rolling hills, olive grows and vinyards, the coach parked right up at the top in Chianti where we were to do a little wine & local Tuscan food tasting.

I didn’t have time to take any photos as we were guided straight to our table and greeted with a lovely plate of local baked bread, olive oil, cheese and spicy meat.

The lady first pour a little Chianti Simple (table wine) into the huge glass and as she was going into great detail of how to hold the glass etc, i continued on the food (i couldn’t see anything she was doing, so her over complicated directions were wasted on me, lol). As i don’t really drink alcohol except a very full bodied glass of red wine on special occasions (normally 1 bottle a year and that’s usually Châteauneuf-du-Pape i receive as a Christmas gift). My thought is that if i’m only going to have one glass on rare occasions, then i would like one that i enjoy! 🙂

I really know nothing about wines, only that some are red and some are white, and some are watery and some are thick (like coffee, lol) and i only like the thick ones, which now i know are called full bodied! 🙂

Then she poured a little of the Chianti Classico (full bodied..Yay!) and that was much better! 

But probably my favourite taste of the day was the 30 year old Balsamic Vinegar we got to taste! Wow, now that’s amazing, but expensive so didn’t get any to bring home! 😦

As we finished there was a mad rush to the little shop area. I stayed at the table as Sarah went to have a look and take a few photos for us!

Chianti Bottles on a shelf

Chianti barrells

look inside the Chianti shop

I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip so far?! Next stop Siena!! 😀 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 18 – “Parrot Rest”

Bruce and his fluffy toy Parrot

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

Wow yet another week in lockdown has passed already…Time flies when your boxercised!

Please meet my good friend “Parrot” 

It’s time to rest yet again, so go and grab your favourite toy of the moment and take a day of well earned rest..With plenty of sleeping! 😀 

Also let’s think once again about rest and sleep. It’s vitally important to take a day of rest to give your body a chance to heal, it helps to de-stress, and also helps our minds focus…On FOOD, lol! 🍔 

Fun Quote…“A well trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.”

🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.” 

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☀️ #3 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Pisa”🇮🇹

I forgot to mention in my older 2 posts in this Tuscany Tour series, that i didn’t take any of my DSLR’s with me to Italy (you’ve probably already noticed, lol). All of the photos taken were using my iPhone 5s or Sarah’s iPhone 6 Plus. 

I’d like to split Day 3 into 4 separate posts, as i don’t want them to get too long, and dare i say boring! 

Christmas Tree in the lobby of the Hotel Brunelleschi

Sarah & i were up bright and early, excited yet anxious for today’s big adventure. As we were in the reception area admiring the beautiful Christmas tree (see image above), the entrance doors opened as our taxi driver entered and escorted us to his taxi. It was still very dark (especially down the narrow side street) and already raining, and when i noticed the black minivan with blacked out windows (which only appear on episodes of 24) and the voice of the driver say “Get in”, i had a funny feeling that this could be anyone and we were in some kind of movie (this didn’t do my slight anxiety any good at all, lol). 

The driver was very friendly and nothing like the man i was imagining, he dropped us off at the exact collection point for the ‘My Tour’ coach stop where we were met by Chiara, the tour guide. She already knew we were blind & partially sighted and said it would be easier for us if we sat on the front 2 seats of the coach. “Yes!” i said as they’re our fave seats too, good start! 🙂

It took about an hour until we arrived at Pisa, Chiara was telling us lots of interesting facts and history of the Tuscany regions we were passing through, this (and my excitement) made the journey seem really quick. The coach parked right near the Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) and after a short walk in the group Chiara said “Now you have one hour free time, then meet back here”. This was just perfect for Sarah & i as we now have a point of reference to go from and to return.

Welcome to Pisa!

First for my tourist pose! 🙂

Me stood in front of the leaning tower of Pisa

And now it’s Sarah’s turn! 🙂

Sarah stood in front of the leaning tower of Pisa

Everyone was rushing straight for the tower, so we hung back and got a few photos of the Baptistry and the Cathedral.

Pisa Baptistry

Pisa Baptistry 2

The Cathedral  the tower

Lookin up at the Pisa Cathedral

Me looking at the tower

Sarah sneakily snapped me tower gazing and trying to soak up the atmosphere, and the fact that i was actually in Pisa, looking at probably the most famous bell tower in the world! 🙂

Pisa Tower

A zoomed in photo of the top 3 layers of the tower

There was only one small cafe opposite the tower, so Sarah & i went to check it out. We ordered 2 Cappachino’s and to my delight, a slice of pizza. I know you might laugh, but i just had to try the Pizza at Pisa! 🙂

Tower from the cafe

The image above is the view from the open windows at our table, it was just amazing being sat with the leaning tower of Pisa as the backdrop. 🙂

A panaramic shot of the baptistry, Cathedral & the tower in one shot

After this final panoramic photo, we met up with the group and headed back to the coach. 

This visit already made my day and i’d of been happy if that was the end, but this was only the beginning!!

Oh by the way…..The pizza was fantastic!! 🙂

Hope you’ve enjoyed the first stop of this “Tuscany in a day tour”. Please remain in your “ tranquility Lounger” and see what’s coming on day 4! 😀 

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☀️ #2 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Florence, Italy”🇮🇹

The Blind Sightseers logo

As Sarah & i were about to leave the room to try our first breakfast, we suddenly heard a faint sound of bells. We quickly rushed to the window and opened the inner windows and the outer shutters, and the sound was immense! I wanted to record the sound but the video below doesn’t do it justice.

The Breakfast…

The breakfast, i can only describe as an amazing taste sensation. The chef must have only had one knife though, as everything was sliced about an inch thick! What seemed like a block of cheese to us, was a slice to them. lol, but i didn’t want to seem rude and waste any! 🙂

The search for the Palace…

After filling up with breakfast, we started out on our primary objective for the day…to find the Palazzo Medici Riccardi where my photos will be exhibited in a few days time. 

Once out on the main street, i stood facing north (towards the Cathedral) and opened the Blindsquare app on my iPhone. I had save 2 locations to the favourites – the hotel and the palace, so they would b read out instantly and hopefully tell me (if the cellular network is good) where the locations are using a clock face description. It said “Palazzo Medici Riccardi is at 11’o clock at 350 yards”. Right let’s go! After passing the Florence Cathedral it was just a straight road until the Palace was on our left. Now to find the entrance which was another mammoth task for us …

A black and white photo of the amazing brick work of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi 1

We started walking around the outside of the whole building finding everything including a cash machine (very useful, clothes store & even a McDonalds (the poshest one we’ve ever seen). Finally we found it but we couldn’t see any sign of the Art Senses posters anywhere. We went inside anyway to have a look around where we’d maybe stumble across a tiny room being set up for the exhibition.

Inside the Palace…

Black and white photo taken from the inner courtyard looking up to the roof of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi arches 2

Black and white close up of the arches in the inner courtyard

Palazzo Medici Riccardi 3

As we were walking around, we both kept saying “I think we’re in the wrong building, there is no way the exhibition will be in here somewhere. But this place is amazing so we’ll keep looking”.

A photo of me looking upwards towards some amazingly designed door frames!

⇧ We totally need to get door frames like these!! 🙂 ⇧ 

Then a few minutes later i found a ceiling design for our home too!! lol.

an increible fresco ciellin g

As we entered the next couple of rooms, Sarah was oooing quite a lot, and now as i’m looking back over the photos to see what i was actually looking at, i should’ve known there were shoes!

Sarah shoes gallery

After being amazed for a while longer, we decided to double check outside to see if this really was the Palazzo Medici Riccardi….It was! 

I said “There is no way my photos are being exhibited in there, just no way”. 

Then as we turned to find our way back to the hotel, we suddenly realised there was a marathon going on!!

Yes a marathon, actually the 31st annual “Florence Marathon (Maratona di Firenze)”. Now the streets were not only packed, but worse still for us, blocked off so we couldn’t get back the way we came.

Photo of theFirenze Marathon

After a few hours of getting lost, trying different coffee shops and of course the clothes and shoe shops, we found ourselves by the river. Sarah said “oh, this is the river!!” I said “But isn’t the river south, way past the hotel in the other direction?”

Firenze River

We both realised we had no idea which way to go and we were both really tired from dodging people and with all of the noise, so we just decided to pick a street and walk up it. Then to our complete surprise as we were getting really fed up, Sarah said “That’s the sign to our hotel”, “No way, i had no idea we were here, now let’s get a takeaway coffee from our new local and rest for a while”.

A blue light shaped as a bell hanging over the street

After an eventful and tiring day, we decided to try heading east but only down one street as it’s dark now and we really don’t want to get lost again. The hanging street lights were beautiful and we found lots of clothes shops and a nice little sandwich/coffee bar to relax in for a while. 

As we returned to the hotel we booked a “Tuscany in a day” tour for the morning. We knew it was a lot in one day but it will be ideal for us. Now we were getting even more excited. I could be stood next to the leaning tower of Pisa!! No way!! 😀 

To be continued…

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 17 – “Posture”

Bruce sitting up nice and straight and looks like he's observing someone. He is sat on a wooden porch with the door behind him

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Posture” 

It’s normal for us to instinctively guard the resources that are important to us. This may include our food, our toys, our beds, our humans and our territory!

‘Territorial aggression’ is important  

First exhibit warning, then perform defensive and offensive behaviors…Your “War Face” is essential at this point!

 If the enemy proceeds…Continue barking, Growling, doing your “Short Sprints” up and down the perimeter…

If they move even closer…Charge, bite, gnaw, rip, twist whoever or whatever is invading your territory, until the threat is neutralised!!  

 This is why the correct posture is vital…Look harmless…Spring with power!

Here are some benefits of good Posture:

  • It keeps bones and joints correctly aligned so our muscles are being used properly.
  • Stops excessive wearing of joints.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevents the spine fixing in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing us to use less energy.
  • Prevents backache and muscular pain. 
  • Contributes to a good appearance.

Awareness of your own posture is key, you can even practise in front of the mirror if you like…Practise makes better! 

💬 “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D Eisenhower

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

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☀️ #1 The Blind Sightseers “Escape The Lockdown” With Distant Memories: “Tuscany Tour” 🇮🇹

Tuscany logo Italy

Wow, wow, wow!! What a fantastic and surreal experience!! 

Here goes…This New Endeavour is going to bring back some amazing memories for me and Sarah, and i hope it brings lots of smiles, laughter and interest during your lockdown, as we look back on the places we have been so blessed to visit. 

After spending 1 week in Italy pretending to be a photographer, and being blown away by the beauty and simply magnificent sculptures, architecture & History of this amazing part of the world. I’ll try and bore you to death with my day to day experiences. 🙂

First i’d like to give a big thanks to our brother Ben who kindly managed to wake up at 4:15am and drive us to the airport, guide us into the airport, check in our case and take us to the assistance desk, thanks Ben, we’d still be wondering round the airport now! if it wasn’t for you! 🙂

A screenshot of my iphone showing the Voiceover cursor surrounding the enabled airplane mode button on the control centre.

The airport assistance was fantastic and couldn’t of made it any easier for us. We even got to ride on the buggy that takes us all the way to the gate! I was the first to board the plane, and i couldn’t wait to finally enable “Airplane Mode” on my iPhone whilst sat on the plane! This may seem like a small thing, but remember this is my first time out of the country! 🙂

A photo looking out of the window onf the plane overlooking the wing and engine, with a beautiful coloured sunrise panarama!

I think my wide eyes and silly grin throughout the whole plane journey was getting tiresome for Sarah (she has been on planes lots of times). But it was fantastic! The best part is when the pilot “Gives it the beans” and accelerates down the runway when taking off, i’ve felt acceleration simular to this in different cars that i’ve driven(before i went blind lol), but when you think just how big and heavy this plane is, it’s just amazing! 🙂 

Once we landed at Pisa airport, the assistance were already there and waiting to escort us from the plane. They also sorted out our passports and picked up our suitcase. Now it was time to get our first Italian coffee while we wait for the bus to Florence.  

A photo of the beautiful hills taken from our seat on the bus from pisa to florence. Also Siena is written on the road.
Sarah described the beautiful panoramic landscapes from the bus (i couldn’t see them until i got back home to zoom in on my large screen) as it took about an hour to get to Firenze. We then got a taxi to our hotel, as i read on trip advisor that although it’s only about half a mile, it’s tucked away in a small courtyard. 
 
A sepia effect of hotel Brunelleschi at night with the old tower glowing out in the dark

Wow, the hotel was fantastic, and the staff were unbelievably helpful.  Once we were settled in to our amazing room, and logged onto their WiFi. We decided to venture out a little and try and figure out where we were in relation to the duomo and the palace where my photos were being exhibited. We knew we were close but as Sarah & i can’t see enough to read a map, we could easily get lost and never find anything! 🙂

A black and white photo of the top of cathedral of Florence

Shortly after leaving the hotel and finding the main street, we heard the thunderous sound of the bells from the north (i think) coming from the Cathedral of Florence (Il Duomo di Firenze), The bells would make our navigation much easier for the rest of our holiday as the Cathedral was only about 300 yards away from our hotel, thank you bells! 🙂 We then headed back to our starting point and headed west, where we found an ever better point of reference!! (see below)

A whole building completley covered in sparkling blue lights

The twinkling lights on this department store were simply amazing to just stand and look at, but it was dark now and we didn’t want to get lost on our first day! All of the streets were decorated beautifully with illuminated stars, borbals & bells so after one more photo (see below), we headed back to the hotel. What an amazing, exciting and tiring first day. 🙂

A twinckling star street decoration in Florence

I hope you’ve enjoyed being with me and Sarah on my first ever trip abroad? Hope to see you on Day 2 as we explore a little more…!!!

To be continued…

🇮🇹 Next Day

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🇧🇧 Our Barbados Birthdays 😀

View of a barbados beah with palm tree from a terrace looking through arches

Wow, thanks Facebook Memories for this reminder from 1 year ago today!!! I’ve had another lockdown idea…Would you guys like to come on tour with the blind sightseers each day during this lockdown? I could start by posting our day trips and then post some of my best snaps from random places around the world? What do you think? Or have you been bored enough by my multiple posts a day and need this lockdown to be finished quickly so i go back to normal, lol?! 😀 

‘Steve Rebus is feeling blessed with Sarah Rebus at Southern Palms Beach Club and Resort Hotel Barbados’.

17 April 2019 at 14:08 · Saint Lawrence, Barbados ·
“Wow we can really get used to this stunning view from our terrace to celebrate our birthdays!” 🇧🇧😎🎸❤️💪🏻

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 16 – “Aerobies & Frisbees”

Bruce with an areobie in his mouth and showing his teeth. the aerobie is over his head

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Aerobies & Frisbees” 

“When will my humans learn that this is my Aerobie…Go and fetch your own if you want one, stop taking this one and throwing it, lol!” 

If you listen to the humans, they will call this  a “Sport”…But it’s a “Drill”

The reason this drill is important: It gives you a good workout and improves your speed, gives you fantastic muscle tone, increases paw to eye coordination and quickens your reflexes! 🐾

💬 “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D Eisenhower

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 15 – “Eyeballing”

Portraint of Bruce not looking impressed

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Eyeballing” 

“Are you eyeballing me?! Don’t eyeball me! Never eyeball me!! Keep your eyes front and don’t move them until i call them!” 

You may have thought i’ve been going soft on you as the last few posts have been a little squishy…But that ends now…Go hard or be soft! 😖

The burning pain of discipline is nothing to the anguish of disappointment! 

💬 “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D Eisenhower

🤔 “A lean dog shames its master.” Japanese Proverb

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

 

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 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 14 – “Steve’s Birthday”

portrait of me(left) and Bruce looking into the camera

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Steve’s Birthday” 

As it’s Steve’s birthday today i think we should all take a little time to grab one of our fave treats(as he won’t share any cake) and sing out loud on his special day! 🎵

Remember: Humans are fragile…So it’s important for us to give them love that they can only receive from us! ♥️

💬 “I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.” Doris Day

🎶 Birthday singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, even your birthday cake I’ll be watching you.”

 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 13 – “Ears”

D2X 7476

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Ears” 

Let’s paws for a moment to talk about ear placement. Some of you will be aware that whilst running really fast during your drills, your ears flop around like crazy…This will not apply to some breeds, and will definitely not apply to those of you who are too lazy to hit full speed. It is vital to keep your ears disciplined! 

I’m only mentioning this as some of us(like me) have owners that are obsessed about capturing our photo to keep for sentimental purposes or something even more soppy like posting on WordPress etc…If you’re going to spend all of this time training, you might as well give them a nice photo! 😀 

So just be aware…The cameras are out there and they’re pointed at you!!

💬 “If you think us dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving us only two of them.” 

🤔 “A lean dog shames its master.” Japanese Proverb

🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

 

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 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 12 – “Choir Of Cadence”

Bruces head shot of him howling, his muzzle pointed straight up

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Choir Of Cadence” 

Let’s paws for a moment to talk about singing. Many humans are uneducated on this topic and say that we howl…what a vulgar display of ignorance! 

Our choir of cadence can also be used when we train and that is exactly what i want you to do during all of our drills. Please revert to singing your fave songs on Sundays which is your day of rest. 😀 

Here is a short cadence to help with your PT…

1, 2, 3, 4, let me run with every paw….1, 2, 3, 4, let me run with every paw

1, 2, 3, 4, I won’t quit give me some more….1, 2, 3, 4, I wont quit give me some more

I won’t slouch until i’m illI won’t slouch until i’m ill

I just want my favourite drillI just want my favourite drill 

If you can extend this cadence please leave some suggestions in the comments, i’d love to hear your ideas…And it will help extend your PT! 😀 

Here are some physical Benefits of Singing…

  • Singing strengthens the immune system. … 
  • Singing is a workout. … 
  • Singing improves your posture. … 
  • Singing helps with sleep. … 
  • Singing is a natural anti-depressant. … 
  • Singing lowers stress levels. … 
  • Singing improves mental alertness. … 
  • Singing can widen your circle of friends.

🤔 “A lean dog shames its master.” Japanese Proverb

 🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.”

 

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 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 11 – “Paws For Reflection”

A close up side profile portrait of Bruce looking left with his tongue hanging out

 

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

 

Wow another week in lockdown has passed already…Time flies when your boxercised!

Let’s paws once more and think about how much you’ve achieved in just one week.

Also let’s think once again about rest and sleep. It’s vitally important to take a day of rest to give your body a chance to heal, it helps to de-stress, and also helps our minds focus…On FOOD, lol! 🍔 

Fun Quote…“A well trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.”

🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake, every bite you take, chocolate or cake, I’ll be watching you.” 

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🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 10 – “Legacy Of Love”

I love the look of complete adoration in Bruce’s eyes for Sarah! 😍

Bruce looking into Sarah's eyes!

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Legacy Of Love” 

As it’s Sarah’s birthday today i think this photo can better express my feeling for her and what it means to leave a “Legacy Of Love.”

Take time today to work on leaving your own “Legacy Of Love” your owners will be blessed for years and years. ❤️

 🎶 Birthday singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, even your birthday cake I’ll be watching you.” 

 

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 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 9 – “Snow Dives”

Bruce diving in the snow with front paws kicking up lots and lots of snow

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Snow Dives” 

Before you start to complain and make excuses because there is too much snow around, or you live in cold climates…Get out of your warm home and start drilling your laziness!

First things first…Please make sure your owner is appropriately dressed for the cold weather, as a lazy owner is detriment to your health! 😀 

Snow dives are fantastic at burning calories, stretching muscles and above all they are fun.

Don’t forget at the end of this exercise you can combine some of my other drills. The “Wet Dog Shake” is a perfect one to finish and you’ll make it snow for anyone who’s nearby…Fun for the whole family! 😀  

🤔 “A lean dog shames its master.” Japanese Proverb

 🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, I’ll be watching you.” 

 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 

 

 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 8 – Seek & Destroy

A photo of Bruce running towards the camera with a huge burst tennis ball in his mouth

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Seek & Destroy” 

Seeking and destroying oversize tennis balls, footballs, rugby balls etc is a fantastic way to strengthen our already powerful jaws…Ooohh that popping sound, or the slow hiss of death. Nothing feels much better than when we conquer a ball! 😀

Beware…If you like the oversized tennis ball(like me) or tennis balls of any size, they can sometimes bite back.

The ball itself can be a choking risk…But some of us enjoy shredding the yellow-green fuzz that surrounds the tennis ball. Eating this fuzz can lead to increased choking hazards and intestinal blockages that could require surgery. Do not let this happen, just paw your owner until they get you another ball! 🐾

🤔 “A lean dog shames its master.” Japanese Proverb

 🎶 singalong with me…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, I’ll be watching you.” 

 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 

 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 7 – Let Me See Your War Face

Bruce sprinting face

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

Attention!! Today let’s talk about your War Face 

To make sure you get every drill performed each day…is to make war with laziness! There is no better way to do this than to show your war face.

Show me your war face! Now show everyone your war face!

Let’s come together and destroy laziness! 🐾

 🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, I’ll be watching you.” 

 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 

 

 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 6 – Short Sprints


Bruce on the move 1

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

Attention!! Today is my fave…Short sprints! 

The benefits of sprinting are endless. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, it increases your stamina, burns lot of calories in a short time and moreover, it gives a boost to your metabolism so even when your workout is over, it keeps on burning calories…Mmmm so make sure your owner keeps the treats coming! 🐾 

Sprinting releases surges of happy endorphins called dopamine, meaning we too can experience a ‘human runner’s high’. 

If we are under stimulated and under exercised, we can be prone to destructive behaviours such as chewing, digging and rubbish rummaging. We can become hyper, overly excitable and restless at night. It can be the cause of attention-seeking behaviour, like whining, jumping up and barking. Do not let this happen…Drag your lazy owner outside and get them moving! 🐾

🤔 “A lean dog shames its master.” Japanese Proverb! 

 🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, I’ll be watching you.” 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 

 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 5 – “Wet Dog Shake”

Brucie Shake

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

Attention!! Now that you’ve had your day of rest…Let’s get straight back into beating these lockdown blues. 🐾

There is no better way to shake off the lockdown blues than a full “Wet Dog Shake”. This is one you can do at home and it will guarantee that your other family members will stay at least 2 metres away whilst maintaining the social distancing laws! 😀 

🎶 Now for a happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, I’ll be watching you.” 

 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡ 

 🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 4 – Day Of Rest

DSCF4340

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

Now let’s talk about rest and sleep. It’s vitally important to take a day of rest to give your body a chance to heal, it helps to de-stress, and also helps our minds focus…On FOOD, lol! 😀 

🎶 Remember our happy singalong…”Every snack you make, every meal you bake. Every bite you take, I’ll be watching you.”  

 

⬅ Previous Day 🐾 Next Day ➡  

🐾 Begin Boxercise class from Day 1  🐾

🐾 Pawing Away The COVID-19 Lockdown Blues With “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 3 – Tug O’ War

Bruce pulling on his plastic sausages from the left and Sarah's hand pulling from the right

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

Attention!! Today’s Drill…“Tug O’ War”

One of my fave games was playing Tug O’ War with Sarah (or against anyone who was willing), My string of sausages was a great toy to use in this game, but anything you can get in your mouth will do. It’s a great test to see who could keep going the longest! I Can’t remember who won this game…Me or Sarah?! I’m sure I did!! 🐾  

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🐾 Pawing away the COVID-19 lockdown blues with “Bruce THE Boxer” Day 1 – “Meet Bruce”

Bruce with his fluffy toy Eeyore

🐾 Hi, I’m “Bruce THE Boxer”, I’ll be your ‘Boxercise’ instructor and I’ll help you paw away your COVID-19 lockdown blues! 

Don’t be fooled by my cute baby face…I’m here to teach you recruits discipline, security detail, accurate attack methods, basic knowledge of weird humans, grooming and best of all…Boxercise drills.

Now we’ve got the small stuff out of the way, click the next day button at the end of this post for your first drill! 😀 

Description…

I may be more than a little biased as Boxer dogs are my fave, but sharing a fun daily photo of “Bruce THE Boxer” will not only put a smile on my face(and help keep his memory alive) for me…But also put a smile on your face(or even LOL) and this may help a little to help paw away some of the COVID-19 lockdown blues! 😀 

Please be patient with me as i’m not sure which will happen first…The lockdown ends or i run out of Bruce photos, lol.  😀 

🐾 Next Day ➡ 

Smile! 😀

Psalms Logo

Psalm 150:6 (ESV) 

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

 A black and white framed photo of a close up shot of a smiling lizard

Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Description…

This is a photo taken on our day trip to Chessington world of adventures a few years ago. .

Hope this little dude puts another smile on your face,?

Also hope you are staying safe, well and faithful during this challenging time?! 😀 

“I’ve never seen so clearly since going blind” 20 Years Of Sight-loss!

Me playing my Taylor K22ce at church and in front of a cross on the wall

Hi friends. As it is 20 years to the day since i went blind…I thought i’d share one of my older posts(yet updated) from 4 years ago when i was asked to share a little of what i went through when i lost my sight at 24.

I really hope that you’ll have the time to read it, and that it blesses you in some small way?! 

Here Goes…

I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in the parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this, lol).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March – July 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so…As i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, it was out of character but i collapsed on the floor sobbingg my eyes out. And as my crying out got a little too loud they pulled me into a small empty room….And this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car and ability to do anything…i lost everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly, as i was telling my story…

My mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone. But these tears were different!

I already knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me, it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but rarely had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock to stand on no matter how bad things got for her, and i was being dragged deeper into the sinking sand. She always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for. 

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

The sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He has come to seek and save that which is lost. He loves you and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

“I’ve never seen so clearly since going blind” This is one of my fave sayings. 😀 

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again, lol.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without God, and without Hope.

Related Post: My Full Testimony 

The Sound Of My Eyes! – Repost 😀

Wow, i can’t believe it’s been 7 years since i posted this! I thought i’d repost as i think it could be interesting to the many more fantastic people who have followed this blog in the last 7 years. 😀 

A curious blogger asked me a fantastic question “Do you have a support worker or a friend to read these posts & comments to you? Or is there some other way?”

As my sight is too poor to read print, i use the built in synthetic voices on my iMac to read aloud every post, comment, scripture, quote & prayers. I made a short video so you can hear some of the different voices and get a little insight of how technology can be used to help blind people stay connected and share fellowship with you great people!

Please comment below with any thoughts and questions…I’d love to answer them, no matter how random! 😀 

Walk As Children Of Light

Ephesians 5:8  (ESV)

8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  

Sarah Sunflower

This morning i was blessed to stumble upon one of my favourite photos  of my lovely Wife Sarah.  I just had to add the Bible verse to this post as i think this image reflects a little of what it is expressing…Sarah really does bring sunshine, warmth and light to all who know her! ☀️

I hope this post encourages, inspires and brightens up your day…As i know it has mine. 😀 

🇧🇶 Tropical Delights Tour: Day 3 Kralendijk, Bonaire

YAY…HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!!!

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

The 1961 Yellow Unimog…

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

Sarah & i infront of the yellow 1961 Uniog

Arawak Off-road Safari… 

 First, we  climbed into the Subi Rincon hills, where the amazing yellow Unimog stopped at a set of time-worn Indian caves.

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

view overlooking the island of Bonaire

 The Bonaire Donkey’s… 

The Bonaire Donkeys

Panorama of the lakes and saltflats with the wind turbines in the centre on the horison

the beauty spot, Seru Largu. This cross-topped monument sits on a raised platform, setting Sarah up with panoramic views of the capital, Kralendijk.

Panorama of the island of Bonaire
  
Sarah & i overlooking the island of Bonaire
 
 Back at the ship…
 
After the incredible and mind bending ride in the Unimog, we quickly went onboard and had an iced coffee before heading out into the town to see what goodies we could find.
Yay, we managed to buy another bauble for our Christmas tree…Oh and i bought another bright and colourful shirt.
 
The Evening Meal…
 
We had a lovely Italian meal and the highlight for Sarah were the sugar free Profiteroles…Now that was a fantastic ending to an even greater day! Happy Birthday Sarah!!
Profiteroles

🌴Day 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 🌴

 Join the “Blind Sightseers” on more adventures HERE

 

🇦🇼 Tropical Delights Tour: Day 1 Oranjestad, Aruba

Hi all! Thanks for joining Sarah & i on our Birthday celebration holiday, it’s great to have friends along for the ride.

Marella Explorer…

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 ⇧ 

Day at Sea…

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!

 🇦🇼 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. 

My lovely wife Sarah

 ⇧ My lovely Wife Sarah catching some long awaited sunshine ⇧ 

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.

 Sarah & i had a great time wondering around this beautiful little island and we also found our fave place….The gift shop! We love to find some things that help us remember the amazing journeys/adventures we have conquered.  

Back at the dock…

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

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

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

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

We have started collecting Christmas Tree Baubles too 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.

Walking back to the ship we finally found a local Bauble maker…Her daughter makes and paints them herself. We bought it(photo later when Sarah finds where we put them on our return home)

Our wonderful new friends… 

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

 Going back to our day at sea…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 about them throughout this trip!

Tomorrow…Curacao… 

Thanks once again for joining us on our adventure, i hope you’ll join us tomorrow for our trip around Curacao. 

🌴Day 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 🌴

 Join the “Blind Sightseers” on more adventures HERE

 

🇧🇧 Celebrating Our Birthdays On Holiday! 🇧🇧

Sarah with arms in the air on the far left of the photo, running along an empty beach in Barbados

⇧ Whoopppooo….Freeddoooommmmm!  ⇧ 

Hi all!! The Blind Sightseers(Sarah & i) are just back from an amazing holiday for the last 2 weeks. We celebrated our birthdays whilst we were away too. 😎 

I hope you don’t mind?? But for  a week or so i’ll be posting some of the photos from our time away. We really were blown away with the beauty of God’s creation! 

Thanks for all of your patience & friendship….I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed capturing them. 😎

🌴Day 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 🌴

 Join the “Blind Sightseers” on more adventures HERE

Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

For this “Weekly Photo Challenge” i went for the thing that popped into my head first after reading “Liquid”…..It’s got to be coffee! 😎 

Sarah & i love coffee and we love trying the different tastes especially whilst on holiday! 😎 

A portrait of me holding a small glass cup of Coffee

⇧ Me drinking a nice cup of coffee in Florence, Italy ⇧ 

Sarah drinking an iced coffee in Sharkey's Barbados

⇧ Sarah drinking a iced coffee in Sharkey’s, Barbados ⇧ 

The Blind Sightseers

Hi all, I’ve taken ages trying to figure out how i add my new photos to an existing gallery on my Photography blog “Rebus Photography” …..But now i’m ready and have added a few photos to my Caribbean gallery! I’m now in the process of adding lots of photos and finally updating all my galleries with new images. 

I know i’ve only just started updating……But i’m excited to show you all my new photos! 😀 Please click any photo below to go through to the Caribbean gallery. 

Also…..Please let me know what you think?! 😎

A palm tree on the left aurround by perfect Caribbean blue sea and white sands

⇧ The view from our Hotel overlooking Dover Beach, Barbados. ⇧ 

Beautiful Barbados sunset with dark rocks below the sun and trees to the right

⇧ Sunset over Dover Beach, Barbados ⇧ 

Waves crashing against the rocky coastline at North Point, Barbados

⇧ View from the restaurant at North Point, Barbados ⇧ 

View all Galleries HERE

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