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 a storm followed the BBC decision to stop TV licences for older viewers, and all criticism written perhaps by TV addicts themselves who saw the gratis viewing as compensation for the greying of their locks.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Look away ... It's far from easy for humans not to monitor a television, it seems, free licence or not. Photo by Ali Pazani on Unsplash
What does that say for their view of life?

And I wonder if the Beeb wasn't, isn't, actually doing humans a favour. I mean, is it really such a bad decision?

Look at the average oldie in the high street as they totter to their cars, and pant and shuffle around a supermarket.

An enormous favour?

Perhaps it's an enormous favour, for without the goggle box to oggle over, most might actually go out beyond their front doors and do a spot of exercising as they experience the real world.

  True, these thoughts come from one   who might certainly like to write for   television but has absolutely no wish   to watch.

Just the notion of sitting in front of a tv screen and staring seems akin to taking up a do-it-yourself course in losing it.

I'm about to type the question, why would anyone want to give up countless hours of their time, their reality, to stare at the box?

Of course, I can guess the answer. Passing the time, and not caring for their view of reality.

Until I asked Uncle Google, I confess I didn't know licences were so expensive - £154.50 a year, apparently.

The price of a TV

That encouraged me to discover the price of a TV. The search engine offered five examples, varying from £1,349 to £375. That was much more than I expected, too.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Not exactly cheap ... Google offered these five prices for a television.
The Beeb's news encouraged me to ask two friends, who are both TV addicts in their eighties.

One who obviously spent a considerable amount on a near Imax replica, admits to watching for about an hour in the morning, perhaps a little time after lunch, and three hours or so in the evening.

But this good lady spends much more time out in her garden, and the neatness of it and the food it provides for the table proves that's no exaggeration.

Another, who gets a free licence, doesn't monitor his quite large screen only when the bathroom or bedroom calls.

His food is 'brought in', so he doesn't need to even totter to the kitchen, and he has long given up an old distraction, newspapers.

Hardly able to walk now

I won't need to tell you that he can hardly walk now. Both of his destinations are less than twenty steps away. Even so, they represent a real struggle these days, even with a walking stick.

Perhaps when paperbacks first appeared, great numbers spent hours reading. But there is one very big difference between reading and goggle-boxing. Reading requires an active brain.

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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