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.

This patient waited patiently in the packed waiting room the mandatory few hours for the specialist and looked studiously through the NHS summons form, wondering if - just maybe - I had the date wrong and could go home.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The eyes have it ... And some more than others. Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash
I thought, too, that it could look like an impatient patient, which might stir a professional conscience or two.

Perhaps it might encourage this or that nurse to prompt an expert sharing an nth coffee with nursing lovelies that perhaps it might be good form to inspect me, closer to or even near the given time.

I read the document much more slowly than these communications seem to receive when they are first taken out of the envelope.

Curious for its label

At home, perhaps like most people, I note the date and the place, and get that into the diary. But here in the hospital, I was curious to discover the actual name for my condition.

It had to be rather grand, surely, for me to be summoned for examination by a real live specialist, paid God knows how handsomely by our generous taxpayers - and doubtlessly worth it.

The condition's label leapt from the page. It wore a decidedly ominous look, I thought, as I sat among a group of decidedly unhealthy and certainly unfit citizens.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Another coffee break ... Selfishly, I hoped they would abadon yet another coffee break with the nurses and check out my glau-comatose-vulnerability? Photo by Hao Shaw on Unsplash
It was in Latin, of course, which medics thoughtfully use to spare our nerves.

Dread, perhaps

Curiosity – dread, perhaps – had me drawing my vintage iPad #1 from the backpack and clicking on my revered Chambers.

The damning word in that summons read glaucoma. I looked up and now saw that beside the room number stood the ominous sign, 'Glaucoma Clinic'.

Obviously, I must be a glaucoma sufferer, whatever that might be, even if I hadn’t realised it before. Somewhere within this humble body lurked a glau, poised, ready at any time to throw me into a coma. I’ve seen people in a coma. It's not desirable.

Chambers didn’t mince matters either. ‘An insidious disease of the eye, marked by increased pressure within the eyeball and growing dimness of vision.’ Yikes!

Insidious. A scarier word could hardly have appeared.

A distinct squeeze

Ye gods. I was stricken with an insidious disease. As I stared at the little screen's heresy, I felt a distinct squeeze within the eye sockets.

I needed a faultless definition of that variation of Black Death. Nervous fingers typed those mutinous letters - i n s i d u o u s.

Good old Chambers! It realises it's gone too far, been much too cruel. It offers ...

    ‘1. Developing or advancing gradually and imperceptibly.’

That's better. Perhaps the tablet remembered we've been together for many years and so gentled the definition ...

    ‘2. Deceptively attractive.’
    ‘3. Cunning and treacherous.’

Well, 1 and 2 makes it seem better. And number 3 shows the condition isn't my fault, any more than being cornered by a hungry tiger.

But what a surprise, what encouragement, to read that accolade ‘deceptively attractive’. Well, well ... these ancient peepers are rated by experts as deceptively attractive!

The very next nurse to breeze passed was blessed with a big deceptively attractive wink. Sadly, the person's face seemed more male than expected and rather more interested in going home than being overwhelmed by a deceptively attractive signal.

Sadly, the specialist didn’t seem exactly overwhelmed by deceptively attractive peepers. ‘We’ll be in touch.’ At least it meant that I will survive, even if just long enough to open another envelope from the hospital, but this time go immediately to the title of the torment.

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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