Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas


<a href=””>Passionate</a&gt;

based on the philosophy of the ‘the passion of accepting purgatory as an act of love to attain life with God in heaven’ as described by Saint Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) and accepted as part of the Church’s theological doctrine after its publication in 1556.


In the Italian port of Genoa in fourteen ninety one

A friar, selling indulgences, stopped a passing holy nun.

Blessed sister”, he called to her, “I know your love of God

Surpasses all your other wants, in his shoes you would be shod

So that, if death suddenly struck you down, and as to him you ran

You’d feel all your sins had been forgiven, ever since your life began.



But holy though your life now is, surely must you not still pay

For those forbidden deeds you did before your first conventual day?

How long in purgatory must you spend to totally cleanse your soul

And so make you worthy to meet your God? How long? You cannot say.

But I have a week’s plenary indulgence to delete your spiritual shame

If daily you recite these hundred prayers honouring your Lord’s name.



For 10 pieces of silver donated to my charitable works and cause

I’ll tell you the prayers to say” – she gave twenty without a pause.

A week later to the day in the hospital chapel where she nursed

The ill, the old, the terrified and dying, both blessed and accursed,

She fell upon her knees and intoned the psalms the friar had sold to her.

She’d said the hundredth on the seventh day, her soul by then so fair.



But behind her stood Caterenetta, the matron of that healing house

Who said “Sister, Did a Friar sell you prayers to meet your holy spouse?

And are you shriven, soul quite clean? My dear, have you ever thought?

What it was he sold you and what exactly it was that you bought?

To go directly to your God your body must die now, yes this very day.

Indulgences aren’t for future sins, to forgive them you still have to pray



“Each morn and night, confessing everything you do that’s wrong.

Purgatory must be served for each sin committed your whole life long.

But don’t look so afraid and sad, you can yet see your God soon.

Living a life of human trials working hard, and kindly until you swoon,

Wearing out the human body,ignoring hunger and spurning a comfy bed

So at death your forgiven soul goes straight to God, on whose love it fed.



You see this earthly life can be your purgatory if you devote yourself

Entirely to hardship for others’ sakes and leave on the tempting shelf

Everything you covet through purely human and corporal desires

And live, instead, a life of charity for those God loves, created and aspires

To love for ever, and like you, see them love him also in return.

Do this until you die, my dear, and his holy vision at once you’ll earn.”



<a href=””>Radical</a&gt;

Radical: from the Latin radex meaning the root of a plant, or any subject or emotion, which can and does grow into something larger.



I remember one summer’s day more than any other day in my life. We all have one picture of our world and someone in it which we regularly recall to mind. It may be in a relaxing reverie in the garden, when wracked with pain and needing something wonderful to distract us, or simply in a dream where it intrudes unbidden and makes us never want to wake up. I have one such memory which is so clear I even know the exact time, date and place where it happened on June the tenth 1968 at 11.27 am.

The news that one of the secretaries in the British embassy in Saigon, where I was working as a journalist, had visited a very unusual orphanage gave me the idea that it might provide an interesting feature article into an often ignored aspect of the Vietnam war. The secretary, Mary, gave me all the details and indeed they surprised me. I asked where it was and if I had to make an appointment to visit etc, but she soon made it clear that was the last thing I had to do. So that sunny summer’s morning on June the tenth I set off to the address I had been given.

Like many places in the outer suburbs of that war torn city the place I sought had nothing to indicate it was anything more than a large, ramshackle collection of buildings all under the same street number. The main door was not so much open as non existent. It was more like a large tent flap pulled back and leading into an ill lit collection of corridors and rooms, sweltering in the tropical heat. I hesitantly walked in, looking for someone in charge as I had been told some of the people who worked there spoke passable rudimentary French. This was my second fluent language as I had studied and worked in Paris for nearly seven years. My first shock was being approached by two children who looked about ten years old. They were girls and held hands but neither looked at me or even seemed to notice me. I walked on until the corridor gave out onto a large, sunlit concourse which almost blinded me as I came out into the light.

There were several seats and tables dotted around. All styles, many makeshift, and some had children sitting at them, others were empty as we were approaching the hottest time of the day. I was unable to take in where I was until a loud bell clanged in my ear and I heard a female voice shout in Vietnamese, I had picked up just enough of the language by then to understand, ”Come on everyone. Wash hands, it is only forty five minutes to lunch so you must be quick.” I think I said shout, but if that voice was raised it was not in command or admonition. It was the first time in my life I had heard somebody speak in ‘love’, even though I barely understood it. Then the girl behind the voice appeared from an adjacent doorway. Wearing a white traditional Ao-Dai, the local national dress, she saw me and stopped. I could barely take my eyes off her. She had long jet black hair down to her shoulders but the smile she gave was so soft and so won my heart so instantly, I could barely introduce myself. I did so in slow, basic French.

That was the first time I ever set eyes on Nguyen Ouanh Anh and that welcoming smile will stay with me for the rest of my life.

It transpired she was in charge of the refuge for fifty three children, all orphaned, all blind and she had only three other girls to help her run the home. A doctor and a nurse from a nearby hospital looked in once a week but had too much to do for other war victims to spend much time there. Well to cut a long story short, not least because I have written about it in other blogs, that first smile that Anh gave me led to nearly two of the happiest years of my life. It is still the most soft, loving face I have ever seen and it was so beautiful I really was the envy of my colleagues when we married. That it was also to be the root cause of her ultimate horrific death, and that of our daughter, is a sadness upon which I have learned not to dwell. As with everything we love in life I try only to concentrate on her.



<a href=””>Recharge</a&gt;

for those of you who think this is about me, yes it is, but I’m nothing like as far gone as the poem might suggest, just deteriorated a bit  :)



When I was young I reached for the sky

In my heart, my soul, and my mind’s eye

 Never wondering would I make it when I die.

Well I am dying now and still have no idea

If that sky will hold eternal happiness or fear

 In my eternal life despite all my hopes so dear.

 In all my days I tried to reach the holy star up there

My body and soul believing reaching it to be where

 I would find God’s love for me and anyone in despair.

But I reached and stretched too far and much too fast

Ignoring God’s will, doing so little for Him as I passed

From child, to adult on to late years where now at last

I realise I have to reach for Him once more and then

With what little strength’s left to ill, acheing, ageing men

I can only pray, ‘My God, please love me always’. Amen

And to the rest of you, my friends, I have one last tale to tell

Each day I prayed for all of you that you may be spared hell!

  Remember one who once said “Hail, thank you and farewell”.



<a href=””>Vice</a&gt;

I couldn’t resist the title!


I have just encountered a seductive young maid

Who makes it so plain that she wants to get laid

But being a man of strong morals and true piety

I have refused her advances with upright dubiety

But in no way put off, the fair siren sings sweeter

Even suggests I might prefer to email or tweet’er



My willpower, how it weakens, with each cheeky grin

Ah I fear she will soon make me commit a grave sin

May heaven protect me from such temptresses as she

And put no lead in my pencil, add a bromide to my tea,

Keep my mind always clean, pure thoughts in my head

Oh and God, please remove this sweet girl from my bed



<a href=””>Mistake</a&gt;

a mistake, is so easy make, but so difficult to rectify


Once I actually had three girlfriends at the same time whose birthdays all fell on the same day. They were not all passionate flames, ablaze at the same time, far from it. But nevertheless I had a fondness for each and they were good fun to be with. Come to think of it I ended up marrying one of them.

The date was March 14th and it usually fell during Lent. One I had known on and off for about ten years since we were at school. It was her 20th birthday on the day of this tale. Felicity lived in West London and was studying at London university that year in 1963, I was at University in Paris at the time. My diary merely had an obscure memo by it – ‘Flick has five likes’.

On the same day I also saw a latin inscription – amor vincit omnia. That was easy and the one I later married. But the third one was really sweet. I had written. ‘Wow, Sheena will love this. She can tell us all where to go today’! Of course it was the day a friend in the States came of age. Well they hadn’t invented emails, or even shemails, in those days so I had to send token cards and presents in a big hurry. Yes, I messed it up completely.

To start with Flick’s five likes had me stumped. I really didn’t know why I’d made that memo. So I bought five different boxes of lovely chocolates and sent them with a really mushy card. But we had that sort of joint humour.

To Sheena in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania I thought a golden key on a necklace would both make the point and meet the purpose. It was a lovely piece of jewellery too. I sent her a pretty card with flowers on it. I was in a hurry.

But for the beautiful little girl from Tuscany, my own Lucia, I had to make it personal, intimate and something she’d like. I lashed out on a large bottle of Chanel no 5 perfume. The card was also over the top, in 3-D and frankly ostentatious. But she knew I meant it nicely. So were they all pleased? Not exactly. The thank you letter from Flick was brief.

“Given the amount those nauseating chocolates, you know I can’t stand, must have cost you couldn’t you have sent me a small bottle of my favourite Chanel no5? But I love you all the same.”

Sheena was puzzled. “It’s beautiful, Anton, and must have cost the earth, but I don’t come of age until next year. I’ll lock it away until then.”

And Lucia. Well we ate out together that night, and she opened her present in front of me. She just stared and said , “Mio Antonino caro, why have you bought me after shave? “ I had been in such a hurry I hadn’t read the ‘pour hommes’ on the bottle. God I’m lucky she loved me so much.


50 GONE, 50 TO GO.

<a href=””>Fifty</a&gt;

                                                                   cheering up the over 50’s.


50 GONE, 50 TO GO.

When I was very young, you know a few centuries ago, male life expectancy was around 72 years on average. When I reached 35 it had risen to about 79 and when I was 50 it was an incredible 85. So imagine how I feel now when 50 is only half, or 50%, of the life probability of any healthy normal man in the developed world. Thinking back, I am already two years past my original deadline – a former girl friend’s awful joke not mine!

But apparently for every terminally life threatening illness, accident or injury in your life after 50 you can knock five years off your maximum forecastable life span. This would mean I am running at minus 30 at the moment and actually died 4 years ago. Well I don’t think I did, at least nobody told me if I did. So I shall stick with my own love of showing how meaningless all statistics really are, and say that whatever my actual age I will probably last at least 50 per cent of the adjusted time left to me.

This is great fun because it makes me immortal. Do you see it? Well, if I’ve reached 74 and should have died at 70, then my age is easily proven to be expectancy +4 . But all 74 year olds of normal health are still only aged forecasted death – 26. But as my forecasted age is now plus 4 then on a 50% average I can hope to reach (70 + 4 ) – (26- 13) all of which equals 61. But As you can see I am 13 years past that so on the 50% probability rule I should last another 6.5 years at least, or 80 odd. And the great thing is that exponentially that figure can never go down, only decrease in relation to my state of health or due to fatal injury or accident.

I’m getting quite animated and beginning to wonder who will be hired to assassinate me when I’m 100 and still categorised as unperishable goods! Boy, being hopeless at maths is great fun. Especially for the over 50’s.



<a href=””>Youth</a&gt;

we’re only young once, thank heavens.


I am often accused of wasting blogging space reflecting so much on my often boring or dreary youth.

Well it’s not my fault if Clive was both boring and dreary. I mean, he just was! What a plonker. From the age of thirteen to seventeen he could have won the world ultra anti-charismatic championships every year. Easily! What do you do to help a bloke who behaves like that?

Carrie was quite a cute girl and she actually felt sorry for the slouching, shambling rather over weight wreck whom she so often saw left to his own devices at school. We would all have let him join the team – if he’d wanted to. We would all have drawn him into fun parties and let him take part in occasional amusing pranks. But he couldn’t have cared less. It was not even as if he smiled when he declined our advances, he just shrugged and shuffled off in his ill-fitting unfashionable clothes. And his hair was a positive mess, front to back and ear to ear. And he wore glasses. Okay lots of us do, but not that shape.

As I say, Carrie was fourteen and a half to Clive’s just fifteen when she made a really kind effort to cheer him up. She really thought he was getting badly depressed, or maybe worse.

“Clive, I’m not doing anything after school today. What say we go for a walk across the common and you can have tea at our place. Mum will love to meet you and it might just get that terribly fed up, sad look out of your eyes?” He just stared at her. He looked as though he thought she was mad, but Carrie wasn’t accepting this. “Come on Clive, for heaven’s sake. Has it never struck you you might be cheering me up?” His expression made it clear it was the last thing that had occurred to him. Carrie started to get cross.

“Well, okay then, loser, be a sulking oaf if you like but at least be nice enough to tell me why. I hate to see people give up on life, and boy Clive have you given up!” She had struck a chord at last. Clive had taken his self-imposed unattractive personality just one step too far. He had to speak to someone. It was making him ill and Carrie seemed as likely to know what he was talking about as anyone. After all he had no brothers or sisters so his natural loneliness was not totally inexplicable. Carrie jumped back in surprise when at last he mumbled

“Sorry. I know I’m a pain to everyone, but Carrie I don’t understand something and all the other boys seem to. They just never talk about it.” Her eyes widened.

”Talk about what, Clive? What’s getting at you?” He blushed furiously, stood on one leg and then the other and finally said,

“I think it’s called puberty. I think that’s what dad said. Something sounding like that. What is it Carrie?” I can’t think of any other boy I’ve ever known at that age who would have made a remark like that to a girl. And a pleasant, attractive one too. She was literally lost for words. How the hell would she know how it was screwing him up. In what way, for crying out loud? Her brother had never mentioned any problems concerning it and he was sixteen. She hadn’t a clue what to say. So she picked up the only thing he’d said that she could sensibly ask him about.

“What do you mean, ‘you think that’s what your dad said?’ What were you talking about, and why didn’t you ask him to explain what he was saying to you?”

“Oh, Carrie it’s so hard. It was three and a half years ago and dad came into my room one afternoon and said he’d like a chat with me. Quite an important one , he said. And he’d just got to what seemed a difficult bit, I hadn’t a clue what he was on about, when he clasped his chest, passed out and died of a heart attack right there in front of me. Mum had left us when I was four, so I only had one aunt left alive of any close relations. But she was petrified of me and barely spoke to me. She fed me and gave me money for clothes occasionally, but otherwise nobody cared about me at all.

“You see, I know lots of you all here think me odd, I do myself, but I don’t know what to do. This shy silent world I’ve built round me is killing me. Carrie. I’m only telling you this much because I really do feel like killing myself. But I wouldn’t do that to you all, you’re all too nice to me.”

As you’ve guessed Carrie and I were good friends and she almost dragged Clive over to me in the school playground. “You’re good at this sort of thing”, she said to me, “please help him all you can and let me join in if you think I’m needed. I may be.”

It took the pair of us a month to straighten out Clive’s total misunderstanding of his physical development and mental confusion. But Carrie was the real heroine, making him feel just like all the rest of us fairly quickly. But on his insistence we promised not to mention his troubles to any other people at all. We knew that trust and confidence were now the most important things he needed in his life. And we gave them to him.

I saw Carrie yesterday and she happened to mention that day, nine years ago. “God knows how we said the right things,” she laughed, “but Clive’s so normal and happy now we must have done something right. And Sarah is really very good for him. But I know one thing. I’ll never take up counselling as a career. One lucky shot in the dark was enough to last me a lifetime.” I grinned back as we walked arm in arm towards the house we were going to have a look at, we desperately wanted to buy it.



<a href=””>Eyes</a>&gt;

                                                                  Look only at me , I wish no more


As I grew up I always knew

that everything I wanted in the girl I loved would have to be

exactly what I imagined I would see

in the eyes

of my wife. From early, wondering years of innocence,

yes even then

when I was only ten,

for my life-long lover to mean to me

and I to she

everything I desired, I knew I could only love a girl

who had at least one following quality.

For a start I was certain I could not live

with someone whose eyes never laughed

and, being vain, especially laughed at me

I mean of course in the sense that she

should share my sense of humour and fun

so that everything we enjoyed

we might enjoy as one;

I had only a tiny space for shared virtues,

in my world there could never be more than two

at once. Well not for a second lover anyway

because of my ideal lover’s second requisite quality.

She had to be somebody, and this I think I knew

beyond doubt when only fifteen,

to whom I would want to be

always faithful

and she always true to me;

I wanted someone I could place upon a pedestal

and to whom my wedding vows of love

would be the sincerest feelings I had ever felt,

promises that, were I to break them,

I might as well have taken a cleaver to my heart

almost smote it in twain with all the strength I had.

The third adjunct to her humanity

would have had to be

the depth of her love for me;

how selfish can a man become

when all he can see

throughout his life

is being worshipped and adored by his wife?

but I also had a safety valve for this emotion,

this common fault in the object of my devotion,

it was this; if ever I let her see me trip or fall

and for a few moments gaze upon another girl.

Then should the wife that I had chosen

out of despair, sadness or for whatever reason,

take her revenge by similarly deceiving me

I would totally and unconditionally forgive her,

providing she never asked me

to confront the object of her brief and physical desire;

I would absolve her

never query question ask or threaten her

Just forgive

I could live

with such a normal human thing.

I could forgive

but only if I realised I too had been capable

of setting her aside for the same reason,

the same very short season,

and one that I knew would never last

indeed that I would have to know had already passed;

her fourth quality? I am surprised you have not wondered

well you have not have you?

why I have not included the beauty

of her looks, her personality, or her physical attributes;

you know they would mean nothing to me.

I firmly believed this from my late teen years

as so many girls of beauty,

normality, shyness or vivacity

had all seemed so alike to me;

the other thing I would have to see in her

would be

a deep and gentle love for her fellow men;

she would have to come to me

unburdened with any type of prejudice

arising out of unreasonable hatred

or dislike of others.

I would place that quality

above any fair features

in her face or figure;

I could only hold her really close

and really love her

if I knew

that she too

loved all humanity

as much as I also do;

so did I ever find her,

this paragon?

Or was she just a fairy dream?

oh I found her once, then twice, then thrice

and am settled now with my fourth wife;

but every time the severance I had to undergo

was due to the ending of her human life,

and each widowing hurt me unbearably;

but did they all have those qualities

I so innocently was certain

I could not live without?

yes of course

they each predominantly had one.

My first, brief, Italian love

loved me so much

she would have given me up

rather than fail in her duty

to help her suffering family;

indeed of the four Lucia

was the closest to a saint in her love of others;

my second, my deepest love, was in Vietnam

Anh gave her life to nursing the destitute

and, in her way,

gave me the strongest reason, daily, to pray.

She and my baby daughter

were killed, before my eyes,

in a war,

that tore

the very heart out of me;

of all my loves it was she

who selflessly

devoted every second of her life to me;

she left me the softest smile I ever knew;

my third wife died suddenly of a cardiac disease,

ours was the briefest, oddest joining of two people.

She was the cause of total forgiveness between

two normal, morally fragile human beings;

her parting present in atonement,

one for one,

was my eldest son;

Lucia ‘s gift was twin daughters and they are still,

and will always be

a part of me,

though living many lands away;

Anh offers herself to me every day

 as I see her and Gemma, our lovely little baby girl.

And finally my fourth,

my longest,

my most enduring love

is still the one

that daily cheers

me, shares our laughter

and loves

how much she loves loving me;

her lasting present is my youngest son,

the greatest gift

of any happy union with anyone.



<a href=””>Carry&lt;

Some burdens are a joy to carry


I am often at a loss when faced with choices of moral rectitude which concern not merely my own behaviour but especially how my actions might impact upon others who perhaps may not share my ethical standards or opinions for reasons of culture or nationality. In short I do not always know how to carry myself appropriately. Let me illustrate such a dilemma which once confronted me when observing some extra mural Mongolian tribesmen on the other side of the bricks to China. This was some twenty odd years after Mao had just collapsed from exhaustion after his rather long walk.

For a start I was not supposed to be in China at all at the time as one of my journalist colleagues was under house arrest in Peking. I was on a flight between Seoul in South Korea and Ulan Batur in Mongolia. We had had to make an emergency stop while the local secret police carried out some local politically secret mission. It was honestly as easy as that. The plane stopped in the apparent middle of nowhere and a few of us, Western and Eastern passengers, just got off and stretched our legs. I simply left the DC6 and went for a stroll in the sunshine. No customs, no soldiers, no nothing. Barely a landing strip and this odd looking wall right next to us. Noticing the wall, and having no idea whether it was the Great Wall of China or just a boundary marker between two countries – absolutely crammed full of miles and miles of sod all – I asked a cute little Asian girl who alighted with me if she knew where we were.

She didn’t even know what I was saying. By 1969 I thought anyone who boarded a jet in Seoul would have a few words of English. They all spoke pidgin American when I had visited the country aged 13 some sixteen years earlier. But no such luck. Her French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese were worse, although the last tongue did elicit a raised eyebrow and the one word “Macao?”. I just slipped my arm in hers, she seemed to like this, or it may just have been the Savile Row hand made sleeve of my three piece, dark blue London suit, but she smiled brightly up at me and dragged me towards the edge of the weird wall. Then she pointed at a group of people who took my breath away. Smiling she jumped up in a little skip and exclaimed,

보기. 그들은 몽골이다. 무료 사람들. 중국어 공산주의하지 않습니다”.

– Now be fair, I never said I didn’t speak Korean, it was just that she had no English. In fact she nearly passed out when I replied

그들은 유목민 부족민해야합니다. 그들은 우리에게 뭔가를 판매 할 것.”

Okay this is showing off. What she said was, roughly, ‘they are Mongolians . They are free , not communists like the Chinese this side of the wall’. And I said something like, ‘yes and they seem to be trying to sell us something too’. She found this very funny and we both delved into pocket and purse to find the odd dollar bill to offer them as she looked as sorry for them as I felt. But boy did we get a shock. The soi-disant chief of the tribe came right up to the parapet, bowed and held out a beautiful ream of silk cloth in green and purple. And clearly it was for her. Indeed his gestures and deportment said more, they said, “And this is for the very beautiful lady who has visited out glorious country!”

Sadly, at this point, the secret policemen stopped playing James Bond and instead rather obviously rounded up their posse of passengers and herded them back onto the plane. But in fairness there were only fourteen of us so the Asian girl, whom I now took to be South Korean, came and sat next to me. She was clutching her huge roll of Mongolian silk and, in very deliberate Korean, – I must have slipped up somewhere in mine – said

나는이 무엇을 할 것인가? 너무 크고 아름답습니다. 하지만 내가 할 수있는, 나와 함께 세계 일주를받을 수 없어? 당신은 그것을 선생님을 하시겠습니까? “

She was offering it to me as she had a long way to travel and could not carry it with her. I felt so touched and honoured that I hardly knew what to do. I could not insult her by refusing, but would I insult her more by offering to buy it or pay for it in some way? Then an idea struck me. I fished in my waistcoat pocket and took out a small pair of nail scissors – English suits are so useful! – and cut out two perfectly shaped hearts, each about the size of a blazer pocket badge. Then I carefully pinned one on the lapel of her flower patterned jacket and the other to my own jacket lapel. She burst into tears.

The secret policemen did not know what to make of us for the last eighty minutes of the flight. But the cabin crew did. A hostess and the chief steward came up to us ten minutes later, as we sat with arms round each others’ necks, and offered us an ice cold bottle of champagne and two glasses. The head steward bowed and added, in Korean of course,

당신이 함께 행복한 결혼 생활을 가질 수있다!”

We couldn’t stop giggling in adorable confusion as we carried on for the rest of that hopelessly happy and wonderful flight which was to carry us so much further than we ever dreamed.



<a href=””>Complicated</a&gt;

nothing is as complicated as the easiest, most obvious truth.


This is a classic example of the bleeding obvious being so complicated  that no sane child can ever master algebra, geometry or trigonometry. Even if they think they have.

Watch . As we all know that in a quadratic equation ;

x = −b ± √(b2 − 4ac) 2a. When the Discriminant (b2−4ac) is: positive, there are 2 real solutions for the value of x.

Well everyone says so, all our teachers did, even my wife who has a double first in pure maths at London University says so, so I’m not arguing. But don’t you see something?

All this means is that there is always a value for x that can be equal to two different things. Ergo if x equals 1, then 1 can equal 1, – wow!! – or it can equal something both different and negative!

Now if that isn’t gibberish and wrong, and very, very complicated, I don’t know what is. And I have doctorates in pure logic and hagiography!! I’m also hopeless at maths taken to this level of lunacy.

Ciao, ciao, enjoy the olympics.

Bon soir.