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.

Whingeing pommy bastards they used to call all imports into kiwiland, at least they did back when my family migrated there not long after the war.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Making waves ... 'One of the three balloonists jumps from the capsule as it crashed into the Pacific ocean during a failed attempt to circle the globe. The adventurers were stalled by the weather north of Oahu on Christmas Eve. They landed the balloon the next morning 12,500 miles into their 25,000-mile journey. The three were British billionaire Richard Branson, American millionaire Steve Fossett and Per Lindstrand of Sweden.' Source U.S. Coast Guard Visual Information Gallery; U.S. Coast Guard Visual Information Gallery Home; Author United States Coast Guard, AMT2 Marc Alarcon. Many thanks to Mark Alarcon and the US Coast Guard, and Wikipedia for the pic.
As an eager young new kiwi, I tried very hard never to sound like a whingeing pom.

The phrase that encouraged the accusation came when new English residents referred to the very different (and much better) way that things were done at home.


In spite of my family’s sacrifices to pay for migration back then, I returned as a young adult to the home of whingeing poms and personally found very little cause to whinge.

In fact, as I stepped from the train in London, I felt an overwhelming feeling of returning home.

:) A coincidence, naturally, but the day after this piece appeared, Virgin emailed to say that the broadband limit is removed. No mention of returning to the earlier price.
Luckily, I was snatched up by journalism here and soon began working my way towards Fleet Street.

Worst of Brit capitalism

However, I am swept back into that alleged state of mind of whingeing - depression, perhaps, or mood certainly - when I see the worst of Brit capitalism in action.

And particularly when it’s aimed at me.

As a solo circumnavigator, it was not so surprising that I followed the news of our Virgin Media balloonist. I admired his courage and skill and determination.

When various Virgin projects began, I felt sure he would set a tone that would be enormously beneficial for us all.

This from the internet:
Virgin Media Inc: global revenue 2008-2018
Virgin Media Inc increased total revenue generated in 2018, bringing in 5.15 billon British pounds. That marks the first time the company has exceeded 5 billion British pounds, after coming close with 4.96 billion British pounds in 2017. Published by S. O'Dea, Nov 29, 2019 .
- The profit report.
I thought - please no guffawing - he would show the ripoff merchants that you don’t have to be greedy to do well out of providing services for the public.

I have used his broadband for years for computing. Not for TV - not enough hours in the day for it - just for the internet.

It’s not a lot that I use, but I was being charged around £20 a month. That’s higher than some offers, especially as it allows me only a limited amount.

Spent ages on the phone

Once or twice I have been obliged to pay a heavy price comparatively for going over.

I thought it unfair and spent ages upon ages trying to get through to the company’s phone connection.

When I did ‘get through’, I often found that the workers didn't wait for a voice but hung up quickly, which means you have to start the phoning monotony all over again.

Then a miracle happened. After about just 20 minutes of hanging on, a woman answered.

She listened fairly patiently. Then said that she would have to send me a letter, and please, don’t do anything till it arrives – in about 10 days.

Nothing arrived. I didn’t pay the next month, believing that nothing would inspire a faster contact.

Instead, the ‘service’ was cut off. I paid the monthly amount and before long, broadband was reconnected.

A notice arrived saying I now owed £80. I looked online to see how the company had totted it up, and was encouraged to read in a sizeable font, 'Your monthly service charge £20.'

Oh, the £80 must have been work of a clerk learning to type.

However, squinting somewhat more closely, there in small print came the announcement of a considerable upping of price, described astonishingly as 'a promotional price' - £29 from Sunday 16th February.

Some promotion. An increase of almost a third. However, underneath also in a small font, I read, ‘then £30 from Thursday 20th February 2020.’

Well, well, how odd to find a business that feels it can just increase the price by a third and offer no reason for it, apart from 'promotion'.

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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