by Anton Wills-Eve

<a href=””>Study Abroad</a>


                           SANE AND CONTENT


Seriously, was this prompt written especially for me or did my wicked fairy godmother have a word in word press’s  ear before it was chosen? Let me tell you you the history of my learning locations and see what you can make of it.

From my birth in 1942 in England, on the Thames in Buckinghamshire, I was press ganged into learning everything there was to know about the world in fluent Scottish, Australian, American and English as viewed by the world’s journalists. I came from a long line of journalists on my father’s side, four generations, and they had all considered  their vocations were to instruct the ignorant by means of the media. So by the age of three years and two months I had a party piece that I  was often forced to recite to show my relatives and their friends that my father’s ancestry of writers, and my mother’s four generations of actors and singers, could easily be reflected in their offspring  and to a genuinely useful purpose.

My sister and I did not agree. She was fifteen months older than I and was blessed with a naturally beautiful voice but hated public performing. So when she was asked she always clammed up and in my mercy I would spring to her rescue and do my showing off piece before anyone had time to castigate her for letting the family down. Do you know what I had been taught? I could recite all the Presidents of the United States from Washington to Truman, then the incumbent, and for an encore name all the states, their state capitals and, to really leave my audience gob-smacked, tell them I could name every US ambassador to Britain. They never made me do this last task, just assumed I had been really thoroughly brain washed. Lucky for them, too, because Walter Page became the first Ambassador with full diplomatic ambassadorial rank in 1916 to justify hauling the cousins into WW1! Actually Thomas Jefferson was in charge of diplomatic relations with Britain back in Washington’s time, but only as consul to Napoleon in Paris. Hardly a good start! 

But I digress. My education went roughly like this. English Catholic public school (that’s very posh not lowest level as over the pond) from seven to eighteen. Then Sorbonne university in Paris aged 18 to 21 and eight months.(History) Geneva University 21-22 (Italian history, Middle Ages), then BA at the OU in Britain, specialising in philosophy and logic, finally a doctorate at Pisa University in 1966 for a year (Papal history). All this was in five languages and by the time I retired from journalism, following  being lucky to survive a helicopter crash in 1970 and its gradual breaking up of my spine over the next eight years, I had reached masters level in four more subjects: world sports in Tokyo, a full knowledge of anxiety neurosis and phobias which I studied in Asia and The States , and finally another doctorate recently conferred by an Australian University for my life’s contribution to teaching people in most of the world the salient points of world history during my lifetime. 

But which location would I choose to retire to out of all the cities and countries where I have picked up the mass of trivia which I specialise in showering on the unsuspecting  readers of my idle bloggings and twitterings, as they are called today? Without any question Italy. It is the only country, especially around Tuscany, roughly Florence to Pisa, where I can still dream up essays and humerous stories to keep the uninstructed happy in their peaceful  and quiet towns. And, as the greatest music in the world is still sung on every Italian street corner, where else on earth would anyone wish to live and remain sane and content?


Anton Wills-Eve