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.

An admired friend was revealing some of the nightmares of life since her husband developed dementia. Dementia, they call it? From what I was hearing the spelling needed adjusting.

Demon-tia, more aptly.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Dementia ... The distressing condition of dementia from a drawing by Alexander Johnston. A lithograph, 1892, after a drawing by Alexander Johnston, 1836/1841, for Sir Alexander Morison. Iconographic Collections Keywords: 1836; johnston, alexander. Many thanks to Wikipedia

‘I would never write a book about it,’ my friend said. ‘I try to forget the worst of it.

'We have both come a long way since diagnosis nearly two years ago.

‘But what works in one instance does not work forever.’

Living nightmare

What is dementia, other than a living nightmare for all concerned?

Google reports, ‘Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.

'Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia.’

Outlining the horror story I was hearing, the condition itself trains sufferers – though their loved ones seem to suffer the most – about how to misbehave in a biblical Hell.

It’s a state you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, though if you did, it would be more effective to wish it on the spouse.

It turns perfectly sane mortals into monsters. They shout, scream, defecate in the lounge, urinate anywhere, spit all over, and become precise opposites of their former natural selves,

When I just stare out into space, I am thinking about what I miss, about things that I used to do, about how things were before this disease came into our lives. I have said over and over, we patients do not need to be entertained...
How do you deal with someone you love and live with who suddenly, and seemingly without warning, turns into someone else, someone utterly self-centred, and well, crazy?

Turned into Hell

You can’t lead them to the RSPCA, the local pet pound, the cop shop, outpatients or anywhere.

You are stuck with them at home which, from what I was hearing, is turned rapidly into Hell.

Surprisingly there is another side to this horror show. This ‘other side’ is revealed by a sufferer himself, which might be the horror in ‘resting mode’.

These words from a dementia subject himself will have appeared during a dementia rest period, I expect.

Apparently, he’s one Rick Phelps who offered these edited words - edited because of the demands of space here - four years ago. He writes:

‘From a friend: I miss me. I wonder if some really know what this means? I tell everyone if you see your loved one just sitting there, sometimes for hours on end, don't panic.

‘They don't need to be disturbed.

‘When I just stare out into space, I am thinking about what I miss, about things that I used to do, about how things were before this disease came into our lives.

‘I have said over and over, we patients do not need to be entertained.

‘Nursing homes and facilities make millions out of making sure your loved one is entertained.

'Problem is they encourage activities for people who have lost the ability to be active.

'This disease takes much more than just your memories. I am in what I consider its mid-stages.

An effort to do anything

'For whatever reason, everything I do I have to make myself do. It's an effort to do anything. It is mentally straining to do anything.

'We don't just do things from memory any more. What we used to do without thinking about it, now takes us forever to do.

'Even the smallest things require us to use our brains.

'This is one of the stigmas that follow dementia patients around forever. Your loved one has to stay active. Not only physically but mentally.

'Here's one most important thing you will ever learn from a patient. We don't need to be active. Period.

'Some patients don't mind playing games or being entertained. But most - by far the most - do not.

'If we sit and stare, nothing is wrong - other than that we have dementia.

They are thinking

'The next time your loved one is just sitting there, doing nothing, know that they are indeed doing something. They are thinking. As well as they can, they are trying to remember who they are, who they were.

'What dementia has been taken from our brains, no amount of brain games is going to help.

'And that is the truth. Most of my best times include me just sitting there. Thinking I miss me

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure writing. The blogs (as they call regular articles) are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory,

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