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 had hardly fallen asleep when a woman's scream filled the bedroom. Perhaps inspired by some knight of old, I leaped from under the duvet ready to come to the aid of the fair maiden.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Singing for the succour ... Perfect pitch for the songsters in my garden might not exactly coincide with our musical notions. Photo by on Unsplash
In spite of the volume of the full cry, the seemingly desperate lady was not there beside the bed.

The bedroom window stood wide. Through it came the cry from the garden right below.


The long, agonised shriek sounded remarkably human.

However, the view revealed that it rose from a seemingly love-sick quadruped. That's not supposed to happen in February, but online experts suggest that the furry lady might well have her calendar mixed up.

Very likely, London's really weird winter has not really offered proof of the season - not even one snowflake.

One of the strange aspects is, as I reported last month, some furry females were really vocal in January.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Fox bias, it seems ... When it comes to snuggling a fox, we seem, well, rather chicken. Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash.
For a fox, January is normally the one time of the year, the only time of the calendar, in fact, when Mrs Fox knows no headache and nor has a novel alongside that she would prefer to read, thank you very much.

Frosty mornings?

However, here rain by the lake-ful swamped the garden over and over. But snow, none. Frosty mornings? No more than two.

It seems then that the foxes are as baffled by the weird weather as are we fox feeders

The love calendar for the critters seems surprisingly different from most mammals. Sarah McPherson, on Discover widlife, reveals that fox pregnancies are quick.

Usually, in February, she says, 'most females are pregnant.

'The vixens become increasingly secretive: they start clearing out potential den sites under sheds, and re-open old holes in banks and on areas of waste ground before selecting one in which to give birth.'

Deaf and blind

Most cubs are born by mid-March. The cubs are born deaf, blind and unable to thermoregulate, so the dedicated mother rarely leaves them for the first fortnight.

'She is provisioned by other adults in the group,' Sarah reveals.

The first we humans will see of the cubs is not until late April, when they start eating solid food. So maybe this year, in London anyway, our strange winter means that the fox calendar will debut a month late, too.

My nightly fox feeding continues, even though there's quite a change in their tastes. Dog rolls and cat pellets vanish quickly, but no longer the pound shop's dog biscuit selection.

Treated with foxy disdain currently, too, are bread slices to round off the offering.

However, come dawn, Eurasian collar doves, wood pigeons, magpies, ravens, and crows, seem grateful for the choosiness of the night visitors.

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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