80 turkey to a local bakers to cook it for us!”

He also went to Israel for a few months and lived in a Jewish commune. “Because I had experience with horses they put me in charge of teaching people how to ride and called me ‘master of the horse’. I won’t lie - I loved it!” He left the commune, having made some money picking bananas and avocados and spent a few weeks travelling. “It wasn’t luxury - I got about on ropey old buses that looked like something from an Indiana Jones movie! One resort was trying to charge so much that I walked away and slept outside on the banks of the Sea of Galilee.” He also explored the deserts, sleeping where and when he could, one morning waking up surrounded by camel dung, saying simply ‘it’s what travellers did back then!’ “I’ll never forget the day I climbed what I thought was Mount Sinai. I met a couple of other travellers and we started the climb at 2am because it gets far too hot during the day. At about 6am we got to the top and we’re all beaming until we turned round and realised we’d climbed the wrong mountain! We weren’t going to be beaten so we got down and immediately started ascending the right one. But we were young and foolish, it was now far too hot to attempt such a challenge and we had run out of water. It got quite serious actually and I did wonder if that was it for me. I remember saying what we need is a miracle, and at that moment a couple of Americans walked around the corner on their way back down carrying a huge container of water which they gave to us. I really did wonder if someone had heard my prayer.” He did reach the top and returned to Britain safe and well.

Stephen spent more happy years back in Dartmouth

where he started kayaking, got involved in amateur dramatics, became a waiter and a barman and helped Mrs Roberts serve tea at her league of friends group! Then in 1981 being the royalist that he is, Stephen went to London to attend the wedding of Charles and Diana... well at the roadside! “I got up there at about 11am the day before and bagged a prime position by the Victoria Memorial Fountain, in which I put my wine to keep it cool! I had red, white and blue braces and Union Jack flags on my head! I think my outfit went down well as I made it into one of the souvenir books! The day was brilliant, the atmosphere was electric, at one point we all started chanting ‘We Want The Queen’ and ‘We Want The Corgis’!”

Not long after that Stephen met a lady called Diane with whom he immediately fell in love and took her back to New Zealand to marry. Then daughter Alexan- dra came along and they all settled on the other side of the world with Stephen getting a job as an estate agent, “my brother was an estate agent and my father was an auctioneer so I guess it was going to come my way at some point or another!” They returned to the

UK 10 years later and Stephen soon found his way into the town’s property trade. He now works at Winkworth estate agents. He says he loves the challenge of the job and really enjoys helping people find just what they need. “You have to be honest in this business or no one will trust you. You’re handling the biggest purchase of people’s lives and you need to be be mindful of that the whole time.”

When he isn’t in the office, looking around a house

or at a royal event, you can find Stephen in the kitchen practicing the skills he learnt on Channel Four’s Come Dine With Me in 2013. “I got a phone call out of the blue and it was all a bit hush hush. Someone had put my name forward and I thought ‘I’ve been spotted at last’!” He went for a New Zealand themed evening serv- ing his fellow contestants a prawn dish to start and fin- ishing with two puddings called Welligton Mess meets Waterloo. “There were more rules than I was expecting - you couldn’t have music or certain art work on the walls. I wasn’t allowed a candelabra on the table, I was even told what conversation topics to bring up! However his efforts earned him second place, which he was happy with. Stephen and Diane have bought a house in Stoke Fleming and have no plans to return to New Zealand anytime soon. He says he’s enjoyed all his crazy adventures over the years and hopes for many more. He tries to live by the motto he writes on all his emails, forever ‘onwards and upwards’.

Garden Care you can trust

With over 30 years experience, the SDL gardening team is without doubt the number one provider of reliable

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