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.

What’s knife crime concern in downmarket areas of London compared to the social alarm stirring in the council estate where I'm lucky enough to live?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Smoking up the stairwells ... Clouds of smoke, it seems, come from the stairwells when the smokers get partying. Photo by Stas Svechnikov on Unsplash
Anxiety and nerves in my corner of the metropolis has been sparked by a printed warning sent to each household on the estate, whether they can manage our language or not.

The news must be sufficient to have devious drugs laws originator Tricky Dicky - er, former President Nixon - spinning in his grave.

Keep your windows closed

Under the heading, Drugs on the Estate, the warning to each flat reads, ’Many residents are becoming concerned as they can’t open their windows due to the fumes from cannabis being smoked in the stairwells or outside properties.’

The document reveals that smoke entering ‘neighbouring homes’ from pot parties affects children. Quite how it affects them is not disclosed.

The grim news might bring parents of teenagers a moment of relief and a chance to get their breath back - with the windows shut, of course - from the current community anxiety of children slaughtered in London’s knife epidemic.

Puzzlingly, the usual qualification for living in a council estate is a marked shortage of wherewithal.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Up in smoke ... Partying in the stairwells has a price - a fortune. Photo by Jeremy Paige on Unsplash
Yet the pleasure seemingly erupting in stairwells and empty spots really costs. The price does vary, though, and considerably, according to the website Priceofweed dot com.

How much for a joint

The upmarket product reportedly costs $32, or $130, or $184, and even $324 for a gram. Presumably, the higher prices, expressed in dollars for an unexplained reason, depends on where the seller has his stall.

Where there’s less likelihood of the buyer getting nabbed, higher prices are is likely, I presume.

If that's the price tag for here for the stuff, how much do you need in a smoke, er joint?

The New York Times tells us that the amount needed varies.

The newspaper states, ‘Roughly one in four people responding to an informal poll last year by High Times, the cannabis magazine, said a typical joint contained one gram of marijuana.’

That has me wondering about the seeming fog of smoke swirling about this very large estate. Who would possibly have that sort fortune to sponsor staircases full of partying smokers?

Or might it be that estate gardening competitions in years gone by have encouraged a modern group of cultivators who have found a more lucrative product to produce than radishes, spring onions, and beans?

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


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