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.

Ask for a couple of hours off work and it seems you’re asking the boss for a miracle, a more than usually impossible miracle.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Laptop learning ... Never a dull moment, and plenty to broaden horizons no matter where you are, if you have your computer and the net. Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash
Suddenly, we’re told to take not just a couple of hours off ...

... but to make it a couple of weeks if not months, which might even be a couple of years for those of us who live long enough.

Time off

How odd that unions never thought of something as simple as a plague to score a bit of extra time off for workers.

Nature herself is doing just that for us, with a little added surprise about the length of the break.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Catching up ... Any holiday is great for catchin gup with reading and learning ... and probably none more than our present interruption to life. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Our glorious leaders were initially talking of a month off. How quickly that slid into the plural with – at least so we are told – no-one able to say exactly how long this unexpected holiday might last.

What are we to do?

We’re so used to doing at least eight hours a day, what on earth are we to do with 24 hours a day, every day?

The dictate is do whatever you want to.

Society isn’t good at that. For most of our working lives we do what we’re told to.

We don’t have the experience to cope with the indulgence currently on offer. Well, not on offer exactly because, almost unbelievably, it is mandatory.

What about learning something you always wanted to know about or to be involved with?

Train for a new career?

Perhaps to train for a new career, rather as teachers across the Pond are recommending for their, er, glorious leader.

Andy Borowitz, writing in the New Yorker today, said US teachers want Trump to study for his first grade.

But what on earth, or in the US, is first grade? Google says it’s, ‘The first school year after kindergarten. Students are usually six to seven years old.’

Educator Carol Foyler said, ‘This seems the perfect time for him to learn the basics of reading, writing, and maths. By June, he could be reading ‘Hop on Pop’ and ‘Go, Dog, Go!’

That might be rather challenging there, but what about for us? Some quite amazing courses are on offer for free.

Here are some I found online …

Coursera, with nearly 4,000 courses, will enable us to learn a language, perhaps study particle physics, if you want a real challenge.

And there’s a 10-hour class on dog emotion and cognition and a 20-hour course in the Science of Well-Being.

Ethical eating

Another is edX Offers classes from major universities across all subjects for free.

There’s an eight-week contract law course, a quantum mechanics class, or one on the ethics of eating.

Kadenze has creative fields with around 250 courses, on art, design and technology.

If webwork is the desire, DataCamp looks good, offering beginner-friendly coding classes and challenges in R, Python and SQL.

Of course, don’t forget YouTube, as if we could. Learning to play guitar or a recorder, build a robot, or learn about bee keeping, YouTube videos are just a click away.

If your dream might be getting away from it all at sea, which as a singlehanded circumnavigator I can certainly recommend, here's a really good sailing magazine, Caribbean Compass, a great read and amazingly for free, and hot off the press tonight.

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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