Thursday, June 27, 2019

No dramatics from our death-defying hero

Read Jeanne Socrates' blog from her circumnavigating yacht and you might feel there's more danger for us crossing the high street than for that courageous lady mariner – aged 76 – so far from home in the South Pacific.
We shouldn't be misled about the risks she doesn't highlight, nor even mention.
She let's us share her notes in the ship's log. 'Went rushing up on deck on hearing the horrid noise of the boom crashing around and the sails slatting... The wind had totally died … '
She makes the necessary adjustment and all is ship-shape. But at any time - and all the time - the greatest threat to Jeanne's health and her life is just inches away.
The good Brit writes about nagging problems with some equipment that actually is not much more than a modern extra for sailing. The need for a snooze is often mentioned.
'More than ready for some food now - just needs heating up - some chilli con carne plus some extra sweetcorn with a mug of soup before and a small chocolate brownie afterwards.'
She has only to trip on deck, take a step in the wrong direction, even faint, and Ms Socrates will be no more ...
Jeanne makes it all sound a bit of a doddle. However, this lady left a British Columbia port on 3rd October. That's just about nine months on her own. And for all the chat about this task and that minor repair, and napping and feasting, we don't read of her relief that she's alive still.
But please don't be fooled. She has only to trip on deck, take a step in the wrong direction, even faint, of course, and Ms Socrates will be no more, not that the end is likely to be peaceful nor quick.  Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Who needs scenery, asks the selfie brigade

The most extraordinary change I've seen on many visits over four decades to this most beautiful part of Africa, Cape Town, stared me in the face tonight.
I was enjoying an energetic walk right beside the magnificent South Atlantic and taking in the warmth of the winter sun and the utterly stupendous views.
On one side stands astonishingly high mountains topplingly close to the sea - Table Mountain, and the eccentric jutting Lion's Head, and the lesser peaks that add enormously to the fabulous beauty of the region.
And to your opposite side, the mighty ocean, unbelievably blue, with gorgeous lines of washday white surf.
With such stunning scenery - perhaps the most beautiful and most extraordinary in the world - you'd imagine eyes peering into the phones-come-cameras sweeping from left to right, and back, and dizzily right round.

Click-mad tourists

Click-mad tourists were certainly clicking away quite madly in their droves, seemingly from almost everywhere in the world, even though it is winter here, and Cape Town very far from anywhere.
But the phone-cameras were not swinging from side to side, taking in the extravagant scenery.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sailor Jeanne: still two months to go

How is that amazing lady of 76 doing out there on her own, sailing the loneliest seas on earth, and right around our planet?
Jeanne Socrates seems to be going really well even though she has been without company - not even a chat over the fence to a neighbour - since sailing off into the Pacific from America's British Columbia.
She's not experienced a walk on terra firma, to the bus stop or a corner shop, since 3rd October. Now it's the northern Summer - at least occasionally.
It takes some accepting that the last time she shared the company of other humans is that very long stretch before Christmas.

Few women have braved the adventure

Solo circumnavigations by men have not been so uncommon over the years, but few women have braved the adventure, and certainly none anywhere near Jeanne's age.
Yes, 76, which is quite amazing when you compare Jeanne's adventure with the life of most 76-year-olds.
How many times since 3rd October has the average 76-year-old gone shopping, visited the grandchildren, been taken for a drive with the family, chatted with how many dozen friends and acquaintances, watched television, gone to the films?...
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A tragic side to being a woman

If you've left your wordly side and an angel offers you the chance to return to life, whatever you do, don't come back female.
If ever there were a hard done by section of our species, it's the female gender,
which only an hour or so ago, I had confirmed at about 40,000 hysterical decibels.
For women, girls, we should have an annual international females' day where every female of whatever age is awarded a handsome present, say five thousand smackeroos or so, not that even that would be sufficient compensation.
My concern here is over menopause, though the gender suffers much else besides. However, a woman in the grip of the change of life is what I have just witnessed – almost an hour of it.
I was invited to visit a friend for a social afternoon tea.
I knew the host some years ago. What a pleasant, calm, generous, hospitable, and very attractive soul she was.
Our host's in her late forties now. We were chatting and sipping tea when she suddenly presented the worst example of menopause suffering I have ever seen.

Tearing off her clothes

She leaped up from the sofa and began tearing off her clothes.
She cried out that she was 'on fire'. Moments later, she was physically shivering from 'the cold'. The clothes were hastily returned.
She launched into a speech filled with criticism, almost hate …
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

I'm being blackmailed ... very quirkily

Amazing news for friends, relatives and associates! You're about to receive a seemingly very naughty video or two showing your host here at it. Well, sorry to inspire blushes, both admiring girls at it and him at it in the singular.
Very odd to report but I am being blackmailed, and if I don't cough up, my dear blackmailer will send on the incriminating films that apparently I would rather not see, and probably prefer friends, relatives and associates not to see, either.
 The blackmailing comes out of the blue, out of the internet where, apparently, a clever snoop has 'seen' me ogling energetically a porn film.
Imaginative observer, he says he's videoed me drooling over porn site girls busy doing what mothers tend to discourage.
 Even worse – or even more ghastly, I imagine – he watched my reaction to the naughty girls as, apparently, I performed what mothers warn risks blindness.
 Blackmailers of old covered their tracks so that the fuzz and the victim could never find them. However, this blackmail demand comes in an email. I presume the demand's address isn't real.

There will be clues

However, as Dr Watson would have heard often enough, there will be clues. And an outstanding one, in this case, is the price I am to pay. In its own way, it is highly unlikely and extraordinary.
The price for destroying the 'evidence' is $1,739. Yes, a dollar under 1,740 US smackeroos. Where on earth would the blackmailer have dreamed up that figure?
Yes, if he lived in UK, it might well be his broadband bill for a month or his water rates.
But if he might be a Brit … Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at