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.

I listened to the host's version of Julian Assage's forced eviction from about seven years self-imprisonment with considerable interest this week.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
More than bed and breakfast ... but Mr Assange's stay in UK prisons is likely to a big improvement on his accommodation for the previous seven years.Photo by Yoav Aziz on Unsplash
What a refreshing break from the non-news of the constant not-getting-anywhere brexit non-negotiations, I thought.

And how extraordinary to actually survive locked in one room for seven years.

I spent eight years and fourteen days in prison after a totally corrupt prosecution and I seem to remember every one of those 2,934 days and nights.

Ill-luck and outrage

However, that was far from self-imposed. In fact, even a minute or two before it began, in an ambush at a friend's home, I had not the least idea that such astonishing ill-luck and outrage was about to happen, or could happen.

However, in Mr Assage's case, the news is that he entered the Ecuador embassy in London voluntarily seeking asylum. That was seven years ago, and it seems he lived/survived in one office room for all of that time.

At least the law ensured that I was allowed out into fresh air for an hour a day, and had access to a gym, and often to a library, and to university study, and even work (£5 a week, to begin with).

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Upmarket accommodation ... Mr Assange's change of address is definitely a step up in the huge Belmarsh prison estate. I saw in the new millennium from a window here. It may not have four stars, but at least the basics are reliable. He won't be alone this time. More than 900 live here.
For some mysterious reason, the recluse was welcome no longer.

That excrement charge

It seems a change of presidents in Ecuador brought the change, a change from one who wanted to help Mr Assange, to the new man who didn't, at least according to the news.

However, the journalist in me doubts the account of the new Ecuador politician when he claimed this week that the office walls were being smeared with excrement.

It may well be a protest action popular in Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno's land, but you won't find many instances of it in UK, as I found when I searched Google.

It doesn't make sense that a prisoner would because, after all, who is going to be affected by it most? The prisoner himself, of course.

Were I sitting in an editorial news conference back in newspaper days, we would have asked who had the most to gain from removing Mr Assange from the embassy?

We'd have had to be saints not to see a connection with the continual bad political news of brexit non-negotiations.

Who knows if it is so - and we are not very likely to be told - but as a plot for a novel on this subject, a pretty realistic scenario is UK calling on the friend across the Pond to lean on Ecuador to invite police in to shift the fellow.

Perhaps persuasion came in the reminder of the friend's new skill at erecting gigantic walls far from Washington.

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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