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.

With Brexit political talk about to come to a happy conclusion – at least, so I thought! – I felt an urge to splash out on a dinner party.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Vegetarian what? ... A happy prospective guest is, well, almost, intrigued by the notion of nosh to celebrate the posible end of Brexit deliberations. Keep Photo by Scott Walsh on Unsplash
But who to invite in such short notice? I decided to host it for the fox family that has visited the garden for almost as long as I've been a resident.

It could be a treat for them to celebrate the end of this momentous treat in, well, sameness.

It's possible that we'll never forget the ennui of the endless sameness of political argument over whether we stay in, or leave.

An overall sameness

Then we'll be able to relive the excitement of yesteryear's wonderful surliness of Europe's customs men.

I confess I don’t really know how many of the fox family I support daily at the main meal time.

It's night when they come to the table – a garden bench – and after all, there is an overall sameness, rather like seems to be the case with many of our politicians. However, they are mostly a happy if vocal bunch and a magical reminder of the English countryside.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Wet weather guests ... If the night is wet, slugs enjoy cleaning up the fox family plates.
At precisely 2100 hours every day, I serve a variety of dried fox food – fortunately, they don’t see the cat and dog illustrations on the packets.

To spare any confusion over who it's for, the food is always served on the same plates.

The foxes often show their appreciation - after they have stolen out of the shadows - by carrying off and often burying the treats, followed by a healthy urinating on the plates.

Happily, this isn’t the custom at human dinner parties. Beeb experts consider it as a sort-of foxy thank you card.

Special Brexit feast

On rainy nights, another set of visitors make their mark on the plates. The largest slugs I have ever seen come out of wet stormy nights to feed on the crumbs from the fox feasting. It is very odd to see the grossly fat visitors lined up like piglets - albeit legless piglets - at these occasional feeding times.

For the very special Brexit feast on that dry night, I offered them a real-life dinner party stew, something our species seems to find special.

What could be a better way to celebrate the end of the enormously expensive and decidedly anoier we leave / if we leave / how we leave / or how we don’t leave debating that has dominated so much of the thinking of our social betters.

The proud chef took out the feast – steaming carrots, potatoes, a parsnip or two, all done to a treat in vegetarian cube stock.

A little later the chef, in his role now as plongeur, went out to clear away the dishes from the obviously thrilled and replete quadruped diners.

The stew a la Brexit went down in the fox world as the Brexit deliberations have gone with most humans. The guests might have sniffed the subject, but little more than that.

I don’t know for certain, but it seemed the foxy guests didn’t feel either that my well-intentioned efforts qualified for one identifying squirt of natural fox appreciation.

True, too, that the almost-end (or what was to have been) of the much-overdone Brexit Commons arguing didn’t deserve much more.

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

Urban foxes

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