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.

It's evening. Shall we watch TV (if we had one), go for a walk, have another coffee, or perhaps go to bed early?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Not just beauty ... When one of the fairer gender comes up with a bright answer for a thorny problem, don't be surprised. She really has more of the vital grey stuff than men. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash
What makes the decision about something so simple is just what lets us win (or not) at crosswords.

And it's what lets us remember happenings from childhood, paint pictures, sew a jumper, know how and when to plant cucumber seeds.

No prizes

No prizes for guessing the brain, which your brain no doubt suggested very promptly.

'A glass of wine, darling?' she asks and it's the brain, too, engaged as it might be in plotting a new story that offers a yes or no.

It's an extraordinary part of us, of each of us, and it makes us good at crossword puzzles, lets us read, recalls happenings from ages ago, and politely says yes or no to an offer of more wine.

... a scientist about to be guillotined in the 1700s told his assistant that he would blink as many times as he could to prove that the head remains conscious about fifteen to twenty seconds after decapitation...
We all have one and yet it's what makes us all so extraordinarily different from one another.

Commands by the brain

We seldom ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing at this very moment, and yet we follow the commands of the brain all the time.

And whatever we're doing, it's because the brain told us to.

The great corporal sits above our shoulders and commands us, the rest of our body, to do its bidding.

At the moment, mine is telling me to write this blog. Only a few moments ago, it commanded that I prepare a meal, eat it, put the dishes there and there, but not to even think of washing up until the subject of the blog is decided upon … and then the thing written, in – the brain adds – as few words as possible.

After that burst of bullying, what deserves more to be in the spotlight than our dictatorial brains?

And fortunately for this article - this blog - the excellent inbox visitor, Delancey Place, throws some fascinating light onto our power of thinking.

We learn that the average brain comprises weighs just two percent of each of us, yet it demands 25 percent of the oxygen we breathe in.

Each day brains generate more electrical impulses than all the phones in the world put together,' reports the book that Delanceyplace is enjoying.

Complex and orderly

"The human three-pound brain is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter known in the universe,' it reports.

The book of the brain carries the dopiest title, The World's Greatest Book of Useless Information by Noel Botham and the Useless Information Society.

However, ignore the title and note these astonishing points and I suspect you'll be keen to read much more of the book.

For instance, 'The human three-pound brain is the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter known in the universe.

'On average, a woman's brain makes up 2.5% of her body weight. A man's brain only contributes 2% of his body weight.'

Very strange

And what about this very strange post-life detail? 'The human brain continues to send out electrical wave signals for up to 36 hours following death.'

In a delve into history, the authors found that a scientist about to be guillotined in the 1700s told his assistant that he would blink as many times as he could to prove that the head remains conscious about fifteen to twenty seconds after decapitation.

The assistant dutifully counted fifteen to twenty blinks. Clever brain.

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

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