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.

The tears children spill over a snowless early spring are drowned by the howls of joy of foxes in my communal garden and in the neighbourhood, probably in most British neighbourhoods.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
What me, foxy? ... Never! But January's their magic month ... Photo by Scott Walsh on Unsplash and many thanks to Scott and Unsplash
To a fox, this is the one time of the year, the only time of the calendar, when Mrs Fox won't have a headache, and doesn't reach for the bedlamp switch, and is, well, receptive, happily so.

January for the fox population is the month of bliss. Let it snow, let it rain, bring on the winter frosts, but January is the foxy Love Month.

Sadly for the lovelorn male fox, it certainly doesn't cover the month's 31 days. For him and for her, the annual love-in lasts no more than three days.

A guessing game

The days are not marked in some foxy diary. She makes it a guessing game, which in all probability sheknows little about until it happens.

Of course, she - and Mr Fox, too - could look at the excellent National Fox Welfare Society's website and understand the magic better. 'Since it’s the breeding season, the dog fox will shadow the every move of the vixen.'

When it's time to dismount, he may not be able to ... and there they stand, back to back, for the duration of the tie, possible for hours.
The challenge for their pursuit of Cupid's magic, is that the lusty young maiden is only 'available', willing, pregantable, for about three days.

A three day honeymoon

Unlike humans perhaps, the vixen will only oblige when the ovules are in position and ready. The honeymoon won't last longer than those three days.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Bliss ... It happens once a year and that's right now. Photo by Peter Lloyd on Unsplash. Many thanks to Peter and Unsplash
Come January, the gentleman fox doesn't let impatient or a huff or two dog his waiting time. And he certainly keeps her constant company.

As the organisation puts it, 'From the dog fox's point of view, he must ensure he is there when she is ready.'

The gentleman fox will make many attempts to hurry the arrival of the brief honeymoon. However, when the lady says no, she means it.

The society admits, 'Several attempts to mount the vixen will be rebuffed, sometimes quite aggressively. However, when she is ready ...'

Rather like what one hears of friends, when the female fox is in the mood, as it were, she certainly is.

'When she is ready, she flirts around the dog fox.'

And how! This how the fox society paints the love-in ...

'When the vixen is ready the dog fox will grasp her from behind with his front two legs and start to mate.

'... the dog fox’s penis is not totally erect until he has actually entered ... and the base of it begins to swell.

Locked together

'The vixen's will constrict. This swelling and constriction cause the pair to lock together, commonly called the tie. '

When it's time to dismount, he may not be able to. The society explains, 'He brings one of his back legs over the vixen’s back and there they stand, back to back, for the duration of the tie, possible for hours.'

As January doesn't fall often in a year, the male fox maintains his gentlemanly manners and apparently never moans about the precariousness of their goodnight embrace.

A very Happy New Year, readers! And thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory and on Blogger,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.

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