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.

An insomniac fox from the neighbourhood stopped by in broad daylight today to, perhaps, offer thanks for his nightly feasting.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Y a w n ... A fox can't sleep so why not visit the dining table extra early, just in case.
Or perhaps he wandered through the garden, just in case some crumbs might remain from the nightly picnic I serve.

However, come dawn, a pair of magpies, collar doves, and nesting sparrows and finches, make short work of any leftovers.

Or, very sadly, it might be that he wanted to show off the ghastly attack of mange that is eating way his fur coat.

Very smart fur coats

About three years ago, animal specialist Sue Pell gave me some medication that cured the mange.

It enabled several members of the local fox group to wear their own very smart fur coats again, and hopefully gained an extension of life, too.

When I asked Bristol University's mammal group The Fox Website how long urban foxes live, I learned that only a quarter of them make even their second year. Very few last beyond their sixth birthday.

It seems likely then that the present generation has arrived since the earlier mange treatment.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Waiter! ... A fox diner turns up for an early snack, or perhaps the mange on his back is making him a very unhappy insomniac. The appearance was so brief, there was no time to grab my excellent Pentax camera.

I like to think that the varied diet I offer each night - mostly good food for domestic cats and dogs - gives them the chance to outlive most of their unpampered neighbours.

Ignoring the healthy food

However, when a neighbour throws out bread rolls, as happens regularly, the critters ignore the healthy food and dash instead for the sugary carbs.

The suffering that mange causes my day visitor makes for really grim reading. 'Heavily infected individuals suffer from fur-loss and develop a thick crust of parasite wastage on the skin surface.

'Animals have been known to chew their own tails off trying to relieve the itching.

'At advanced stages of the disease, infected individuals are often seen wandering around during the daytime, especially in cold weather; the infected animals try to maintain their body temperature seeking warm places, such as buildings.

'Death may arise from a wide variety of causes, including starvation and hypothermia,' The Fox Website states.

Thanks very much for visiting the Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

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