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.

We've become such a coffee-mad society, and madly happy to shell out such an amount for a coffee compared to the price our neighbours in Europe hand across, the moment I saw my poet friend Roberto's latest verse, I knew I should share it here.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Coffee time ... Chatting over a coffee is the popular way to enjoy the company of friends. Photo by Product School on Unsplash
It seems to have become so fashionable these days to invite friends to meet at a Costa, or similar place.

Not so long ago, the first spot for such an invitation might have been the local pub, or perhaps at a restaurant.

Now it seems de rigeur to make a coffee cafe the first choice.

A visit to Italy

Talented Roberto recalls a visit to Italy where, as we know, the coffee is a much more realistic price, and often seems tastier.

The verse recalls a visit to that extraordinary country of what one might think of as the originators of the fashionable drink.

Robert's message reads, 'Arrived at Roma Termini railway station, to a bar off the Via del Colosseo, a gladiator's trident throw from the Coliseum.

'Have you ever had a cup of coffee in Rome? If you have not been, I hope you do one day... in fact, it could be a cup of coffee anywhere in Italy, I think.

Bouncing off Rome

'I was bouncing off Rome at the time, en route to a working holiday (via HelpX), at Jenny's beautiful property, Villa Simonicchi, above the hamlet of Caprese Michelangelo, (where Michelangelo was born), where many people have enjoyed and enjoy staying.

'But it is the people we have met who make it all worthwhile, as well as the coffee, so a sensible and rightly memorable digression, like my train to Arezzo, by way of Rome.

'Thank you, Jenny, for this illustration.'

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.

Roman Choral Symphony: Sing out

As airborne water rises, making fountains above the bright,
   Stainless steel steam engines of Rome,
   Passing the curling holiday postcards of long-vanished waiters,
   And their sepia seraphim babies.
   Above eternal bottles of Cynar and Vecchia Romagna,
   As the newer drivers go about their business.

Determined percussion thuds of used coffee grains,
   Being emptied from their shiny engines,
   As newly ground Arabica fuel is loaded by the ageless aproned engineers,
   With practised tum, to make their morning clouds,
   All over the city.

Cymbals of cups and saucers, landing on the brass section of counter tops and each other,
   A final timpani note of thin spoon on a china saucer side.

And then the quiet, local, small applause of sugar cubes unwrapping,
   And the gritty clockwise stir to sweeten the day,
   Heard only from above.

Then the quiet, private heaven of the morning caffe.

A choral symphony in four movements.
- Robert Graham



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