Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader






Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.


















Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.














Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.


















Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.



















Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.


















Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.















Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.


















Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.
















Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.


















Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.


















Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

















Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.
















Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

Waste not want not must have been one of the first lessons life had for me. I arrived into a world of destruction and rationing. When parents weren’t trying to shoot strangers out of the sky, they were trying to feed a very young family on very little, because very little is what people were paid in the war years.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Get smart ... After some neat work installing the equipment, Geoff shows me just how smart is this very smart meter.
What we learn in toddlerhood seldom leaves us - look at religion, of course - so it’s probably only natural that when I leave a room, I turn off the light, and always have.

Perhaps it’s not so important these days because life is very different now. Most Britons don’t have to count the pennies, as another curious expression from those days went.

As readers of Sailing Purgatory know, a crooked justice system stole my property and life-savings.

A good fellow

So if it’s not to be survival on the streets, parsimonious behaviour is vital.

When electricity suppliers began offering smart meters, gadgets that tell you what you’re being charged for power, you can be sure I said, ‘Yes, please.’

A good fellow arrived at the abode today and within an hour a smart meter let me in on exactly what the price is for any and every minute of the day. There’s no charge for the service, and no change to the rate I pay.

The advantage is that future bills won’t be any surprise, and that I have the choice to keep them low.

The highly skilled engineer who made a really professional job of installing the equipment is Southern-Electric’s Geoff Watson.

Under-guessing the price

The meter soon showed that I constantly under-guess the price. Turn on the kitchen lights, and that’s 5p an hour, which is at least five times higher than I thought. Boil the kettle – the meter has risen to 15p.

Start work on the PC, with a bright light overhead, and I’m paying 16p an hour. Turn the radio on, and after a little while the meter has changed its mind. The price is 18p a minute. An hour later, it says 19p. My guesswork would have said 2p, if that.

Geoff told me, ‘You can use it anywhere in the home, as long as you keep it within 10 metres of the smart meter gadgetry.’ In this small flat, that’s no problem.

‘It’s good to get into the habit of checking it regularly,’ Geoff said. ‘You want to put it somewhere where you can keep an eye on it, say, in the kitchen or your living room.’

I suspect this little gem is on its way to becoming the most watched meter in London.

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

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