Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: July, 2015

ANGELA JANE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/shoulda-woulda-coulda/”&gt;Shoulda Woulda Coulda</a>

and still might!

 

ANGELA JANE

 

Oh Angela Jane, Oh Angela Jane

Repeating her name, again and again,

In the bus, the car and even the train.

Though sweetest when strolling alone in the lane

In all kinds of weather, sun, hail, snow or rain.

 

Her long flaxen locks and smiling blue eyes

Are a constant delight to my heart as it sighs

Imagining she’s beside me from night to sunrise.

But greater by far will be the heavenly surprise

On that day I awake and  there next to me she lies.

 

Anton Wills-Eve

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LA CI DAREM LA MANO


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/always-something-there-to-remind-me/”>Always Something There to Remind Me</a>

music that reminds me

 

 

LA CI DAREM LA MANO

 

Of all the really great tunes that I have heard in my life, pop, classical, country and western, operatic arias, ballads et al it has always been the catchy  –  ‘want to sing or whistle it again’  –  quality that has made me put it in my favourites. There are many songs and tunes that set me going, foot tapping or rushing for the nearest piano if there is one, to join in and enjoy myself. But there I have mentioned the luckiest, lovliest thing in my physical life. My mother’s half of the family were all well known singers, actors and entertainers so of course I was brought up with a piano in the house and loved sitting trying to make the keys play a tune from as early in my life as I can remember.

My father, who was a journalist and nothing to do with  the theatrical side of the family was a modest pianist himself and it was he who first spotted in me the natural ability to pick up a tune and reproduce it. I must have been about three and few months because it was just before we moved from Buckinghamshire to East Sheen near Richmond in London, that mum was playing arias from the Marriage of Figaro on a 78 record player. Records in those days, July(?) 1945 were not of the acoustic quality of today, but never the less the wonderful soulful yet bouncing melody of Cherubino’s Aria ‘voi que sapete’ really turned me on. I listened to it about five times through and then went to the piano and tried to find the right notes to play the tune. It was as I was on about the fifteenth attempt and getting to the  stage where I wanted to smash the piano to bits that my father came in. He just looked at me and said.

“Do that again. No seriously, it sounded just like one of the Arias from Figaro. But you couldn’t have taught yourself!” I couldn’t, and didn’t believe him. I thought he was joking. so I played the same notes through again to the end of the sixteenth bar. Then I looked at him inquisitively. All he said was brief and to the point.

“You were playing ‘voi que sapete’, in the wrong key, the wrong tempo and with one or two notes of your own, and an inability to finish it. Also your feet don’t reach the pedals. But if you taught yourself to do even that by imitation then as soon as we’ve settled into the new house we’re getting you a piano teacher. Also were taking the grand piano with us and the family can fight over who owns it later.”Both before and after we moved  I continued to enjoy trying to imitate tunes with my parents showing me where I was going wrong and teaching me the basics of music. The very basics I assure you. But then one day I was introduced to  an Italian gentleman who was very polite and called mummy ‘Madamina’. She seemed to like it. I was told that though I was only three and eight months I was going to have a well known concert pianist to teach me. The words and signifcance of the remark meant nothing. But he was very polite and called me ‘little Sir’. I thought this odd but nice. Then on that very first lesson he asked me an extraordinary question.

“Is it true that you like Mozart?” I was three and a half for heaven’s sake! So I nodded and when he asked me if there were any tunes I could play I knew the family had been talking. So I just went straight at it and played the basic melody of an aria, mummy said that was what you called songs in operas, and knew I had only done the begining and the wonderful speeded up end. It was dreadful musically and pianistically and yet I managed to rescue and include the main tune and at the  -almost – right tempo. The teacher just looked at me.

“What is that called and what is it from?”

I was glad I had remembered. “It was meant to be ‘larchy daremla marno But I don’t know the opera”. I did but was too embarrassed to grossly mispronounce Don Giovanni. I had no command of Italian at all in those days. But the teacher never said a word. He put his fingers to his lips, pointed to his fingers and my eyes and proceeded  to play a beautiful piano version of La Ci Darem La Mano. I meant to say how good he was, how much I liked it and all the right things but that was not what came out. All I said was,

“Please teach me to play like that, Sir, please. I’ll practise every day of my life if you do. And as he got up from the piano stool a bit later at the end of that lesson I looked at the lovely grand piano and the reflection on the lid of a laughing, smiling face that stopped me getting off the stool. Then it vanished. That evening I asked dad the names of the characters in the aria  because I had only heard it as a gramaphone recording and thus also as a duet. He couldn’t remember. It was my aunt who told me it was the evil Don Giovanni who was trying to kiss a peasant girl called Zerlina. I didn’t blame him if she was the face I had seen on the piano.

I was eight before I could honestly say I could play the piano properly, fluently and because I had worked my insides out at it. As Mozart had never written a piano version of the duet I had to be satisfied with just improving my own versions. I think in many ways this was the best thing I could do. But I had to play the established piano solo pieces of those days and my teacher  became more and more pleased with me.  I was eight and a half when he heard that our music master at school was a former leading pianist but who now concentrated on making every boy in the school sing most of the standard Masses and was also Abbey choir master. But he was also an opera freak. We had 40 minutes of music twice a week and he used half the lessons to teach us to sing all the leading operatic arias for tenor, baritone and bass, but this was my second piece of luck. I had a voice like a rusty wheel and so in the music classes was placed at the end of the front row. I was not encouraged to sing very loudly, if at all, but joy of joys, my eyes were exactly in line with the keyboard and I could follow his fingers. It was half way through my second year at the school before circumstances arose that gave me the courage to take my piano teacher’s advice and tell him I could play the piano.

“Please sir, you know you said there was a school concert  at Easter at the end of term, well can anyone audition to play? I have been told to ask you by my piano teacher.” When I named him the music master just stared at me.

“How long has he been teaching you? I mean what level are you at? ” I was extremely honest.

“Five years, since I was three and eight months, and he says I am his best pupil for my age. But I am too shy to take exams  in playing and don’t know what the correct grade is that I have reached. But this is the last lesson before morning break, so could I play you something for a few minutes to let you see what you think.?” He asked me what I wanted to play. Considering the time I decided to play the piece I was currently studying, Valses Poeticos by the Spanish composer Granados. When I told him he almost laughed. But just gestured to me to see what I could do. Well I loved the variations in the eleven minute piece and played it as well as I could. I had no idea just how good I was. He moved from his usual position at his desk and sat where I would usually sit so he could see my fingering and control of the pedals. I began with the intricate introductory melody in waltz time which always used to make me think of two people in evening dress, dancing  under a spot light and then using the whole eleven and a half minutes to express every emotion I presumed two people in love would experience. As the variations changed so did my touch on the keys which I actually felt depicted the change in the dancers’ feelings. This did not go unnoticed.

I had been playing studiously and really enjoying what I was doing  for about five or six minutes when I glanced at my school master to see how I was doing. His face was a study in total amazement. He was lost in what he was hearing. When I reached the last frenetic two and a half minutes I glanced at him again, and even though he wore glasses I noticed he had tears in his eyes. It just inspired me to put every ounce of feeling I could into the final four, ever  so slow bars, as I imagined the dancers falling into each others’ arms. I even held the last soft bass note for some fifteen seconds longer than I had done on previous practice sessions. Then I slumped forward over the keys and let out a long sigh of completely exhausted and total delight.

My music master slowly got up and walked back to his desk, removing his spectacles and composing himself. Then he turned to me and said,

“Wills-Eve, I know your family includes many noted entertainers but do any of them play the piano like that?” I shook my head,waiting for his opinion. It took a couple of minutes coming, and after one question. “Why do you never sit grade exams? If you are to get anywhere in music you really must you know! Oh I expect you want to know what I think. Well many people are born with natural genius that can never be taught. Your piano playing  is in that category. I have heard that piece played many times and by the greatest pianists of the thirties and forties, but never have I heard that degree of perfection emanate from human hands. When at the piano you transfer your heart through your fingers to the keyboard and that is what I heard. It was one of the highlights of my life. You will play it at the school concert and, despite your age, you will top the bill as the main soloist and play the last piece before the choir sings us out with something which I have not yet chosen. Oh, and thank you for making an ill, elderly man very happy. “

“Sir, I did not know you were ill and I shall certainly not mention it to a soul. But in return would you please not tell anyone at all that I am the last soloist in the concert. I could just about manage to play in front of an audience if they did not know it was me until they sat down and read the programme. Do you understand now why I have never sat grade exams?” And I smiled at him and left the room with a skip in my step as the next class of twelve year olds came into the music room and wondered what I was doing.

But to return to La ci darem la mano.  I often loosened up my fingers before starting a set practice piece at home by playing one of my own straightforward, but by now much more comlex, versions of the lovely aria.  However, I don’t think Signor Pirelli ever heard me. He may never have heard my enjoyment of the song since that very first lesson for all he ever remarked on the piece. I used it when warming up for the school concert, which I was dreading, and it helped calm me down. Nothing more so than the lovely face that smiled at me as I sat at the piano stool before a large audience of parents, teachers and pupils, all of whom seemed staggered at the obvious age of the soloist. I took a gulp and played the lovely waltz variations.  So long was the ovation when I finished and so strong the cries for an encore that I finally signaled to the audience to hush, and in my forthright if unbroken voice said,

“Thank you all so much for enjoying that gorgeous music and as you seem to want a short encore I would like to play the opus K96 by Domenico Scarlatti, which while only some four to five minutes nearly takes the arms off you. You will see why it is also called ‘the chase'” When I finished one of the most difficult and striking pieces of baroque music, which not even Signor Pirelli knew I could play, the applause went on so long we ended the concert there without the chorale finale. I was seen as a prodigy at that concert had I wanted to become one. But my family did not. All approaches over the next few days were turned down and both the school and the various impressarios and agents who wanted to sign me were turned away. Fortunately I knew nothing of this as it was handled way above my head.

In amongst all the changes in our family and my personal life during the next seven years, approximately, one of the most important in the long run was a change of neighbours next door. The house was not as large as ours but still had some twenty five rooms and nearly an acre of garden. Its grounds carried on up the side of the common where ours stopped. We soon met the owners who also turned out to be Catholics and would be going to the same parish church as us. He was a banker and she the mother of seven children. More than that we didn’t know for a week or two.

At that time I suppose it must have been 10 solid years of piano practice that made it possible for me to make some sort of attempt at playing Beethoven’s first piano concerto. I was so pleased with myself for managing it that I just collapsed over the keys and almost passed out with exhaustion. Signor Pirelli had given me a 45 minute lesson that day as I told him that at last I could do it, although it had to be without an orchestra. He clapped loudly when I finished but told me that just getting ALL the right notes in the right order was not enough if I was to have any chance in the national under fifteen competition in three months time. I had a lot of work to do, not least on conquering my nervous anxiety at the thought of playing before such an audience. It was only my teacher’s influence that had let me get through all the preliminary rounds to reach the finals. He often told me later that he never realised just how ill I was.

Then it happened. I was fourteen and a half years old and almost totally absorbed with piano, cricket, mediaeval history, hagiography and languages and only just beginning to notice my own reactions to one or two attractive girls of around or just under my own age. As I sat up after playing the Beethoven concerto I turned round, and in truth I nearly fainted.

All I saw was a face, but what a face. I thought it was aged about eight and I later turned out to be almost spot on. She just stared at me open mouthed. I think I was blushing and laughing at the same time when she said, “How on earth did you do that? I only heard the last ten minutes, the rondo isn’t it? but it was incredible. Who are you?” I didn’t answer at first because just looking at that lovely laughing , slightly embarrased face, I realised I was looking at Zerlina. Somehow I always knew she would enter my life. But now that it had happened I knew that I was doubly lost. But I had to answer and heard myself saying “Zerlina.

My name’s Anton Wills-Eve and I am fourteen and three quarters. I was starting to master my entry for the national piano competition. Are you here for a lesson?”

She looked straight at me.”But you live next door to us. We only recently moved in. Much as I love Don Giovanni I’m afraid I’m called Lucy. I don’t mind Lucia if you prefer!” I laughed out loud and said ,

“Sorry, I must explain why I called you Zerlina,” and I played the first half of my easiest to follow version of La ci darem. “It was your laughing smile, it is how I always picture the girl in my favourite aria.” To my surprise, and my teacher’s, she sat down beside me and in a basic verson of the melody went straight into the finale, but also sang Zerlina’s part in Italian. I joined in as soon as I could and as we finished on that lovely chord Signor Pirelli laughed. “Ah children I shall enjoy teaching you both so much now.”

But you can see how carefully I would have to deal with my favourite song from now on.

 

AWE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIVE


DEAREST MOTHER


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dear-mom/”>Dear Mom</a>

Dear Mama

DEAREST MOTHER

As this is my two hundredth blog in the past 20 months I decided to follow the prompt as closely as I could with a true story if possible.  And what prompt did I see to my amazement? ‘A letter to my mother’.  Awwww, so sweet. What a choice. You bet your sweet bippy it was. I have decided to reproduce some family letters dated mid August 1968, from Singapore and Saigon where I worked as a journalist.

———————————————————————-

“Dear Mum. I was so sorry to hear that dad had been so ill in Spain and that you had returned early to England without carrying on running your hotel. I know how much he would have been enjoying it, but a heart attack is a heart attack. So I do understand your plea for as much money as I can afford. At least we can save here so I hope it helps.

By the way, how are you. You have been dying on us for ten years and I do hope your empahsyma is under control now. Michele (my sister) and I will do all we can to help keep you going, but it is a shame that I have had to put off Lucy’s trip out here. I hope the delay won’t be for too long. She was so excited, and we were going to get married. I desparately need her, mum, my nerves are shot to pieces and I don’t think I can last much longer without her. But considering how much you and dad spent and sacrificed on Michele and me as we grew up I had to do all I could for you first. But I have asked Lucy to visit you and make sure everything is okay and whether you want anything. Do please tell her.

I have another five days here before returning to Saigon. I have been shot twice, mortared and blown up five times and am frankly at my wits’ end. Also my agoraphobia, you know how awful it was at school, has come back worse than ever and I would have sent you more money but, as during my seven years in Paris, I have to take taxis everywhere. It eats up my salary dreadfully. That’s why I need Lucy so much. She really calms me down and it was only during the months I had in England before coming out here, you know beteen visits to Isreal for the six day war, that I really felt happy and well. Don’t tell her though, I have never upset her with tales of my awful anxiety. That story is for me alone when  I feel I can tell her without upsetting her too much. They put me on very strong transqulisers a couple of months ago, but only my prayers really work.

Well I don’t want to get too depressing, so take care and look after dad and Gran as well as yourself.

Lots of love and God Bless.x x x

Anton

—————————————————————

August 27 1968. (from my sister)

“Dearest Ant,

I don’t want to upset you, Ant, as you are back in hell, but it was really terrible. Lucy came down the other day but only John (Michele’s husband) and I were at home when she arrived. I explained mum and dad were back in hospital and she wouldn’t be able to see them. You know her, she was terribly sorry but never dreamed for a minute I was lying.  They had gone back to Richmond for the day on purpose to miss her as mum said she was not encouraging anyone to steal her son. Really, those were her words. I often wondered why she had been so lukewarm toward little Luce as we’d known her eleven years, but I saw it now. It was pure selfishness.

When I got home I rang Sandy because a thought struck me. You know how much you two got on like a house on fire. I couldn’t believe she’d turned you down two years ago before you met Lucy again. She hadn’t. After your proposal she was over the moon and told Mum the same afternoon. Even showed her the ring. Mum tore into her and made up stories of your chasing after every girl you saw and that you’d only proposed to her because you thought you’d made her pregnant and couldn’t face her father. Sandy was so shaken she could not even ask you if it was true. Are you getting the picture now? I don’t want to speak ill of Mum as she’s dying anyway, but when I told John of what she’d said about Lucy he lost the plot. He went round to their house and really tore into her. You know how it was only the pleading of you and Luce that made it finally possble for our parents to accept John as a son in law, well he didn’t let her forget it. I’m sorry if you didn’t want this, but I stole the letter you wrote mum and showed it to Lucy. I think she’s saving up to get the next plane to Asia that she can afford. I’m sorry, but it’s all been so terrible. Anyway, let me  cheer you up by telling you Surrey won by seven wickets yesterday.

Love

Miche x x

—————————————————-

message to willseve,saigon: return singapore at once, family illness: august 30

—————————————————-

The only thought in my mind during the brief flight to Singapore was ‘which one’? I was met by the Singapore boss at the airport and was told my father had had another heart attack. For 14 hours I was half asleep half in tears and was met at the airport by Lucy. She didn’t drive when I left England but had a lovely sports car, John had lent it to her. I just clung to her for quarter of an hour in the car park and didn’t know what to say. We said nothing. But I calmed down a lot and knew my Lucy was all I needed. On the drive home from the airport she went via the hospital where I saw John and Michele by Dad’s bed. He looked so ill, but pleased to see me.  After an indescribable half hour we carried on driving home.

Mum was a pale colour, having awful trouble breathing. When she saw it was Lucy who had brought me she  literally had a siezure and we called an ambulance. It took us to the local cottage hospital and Lucy offered to drive back to the main hospital to get Michele and John.

They fitted mum up in an oxygen tent and a asked if I could hold her hand. They let me. I was numbed as her gasps of breath became worse by the second. It took only ten minutes for her to die and she never spoke or opened her eyes. When the nurses removed the tent I knelt by her bed and prayed for the repose of her soul. It was thus that the other three found me. Thank God Lucy was with me for the funeral as dad’s  condition got much worse. The office told me to remain as long as I liked but that same night dad died. If Lucy had not been with me I don’t know what I would have done.

I returned to Singapore on September the fourteenth where everyone was very sympathetic. I still had six months to do in Vietnam and the office would not allow wives and husbands to be together in a war zone. But we had worked out a really good ruse. Our parish priest, he who had just buried my parents, smiled on Lucy and me  and married us in the church with Michele and John as witnesses. We were not legally married, but the church thought we were and was happy. So we were. But Lucy had to fly out later than I did. So it was on the fourtheenth of September that a good friend, who held all my mail for me, handed me a letter received some weeks ago. I knew the writing. It was dated September the first,

———————————————————

“Dear Son

You’ll be upset to hear that that girl Lucy who was chasing after you disgracefully for the year before you went to Asia was killed in a car crash yesterday. She borrowed John’s sports car and could not control it. I believe it took them an hour to cut her out  and she was crying for you as she died while on the way to hospital…..” I vomited as I tore it up. I couldn’t understand it. Which one of us did she hate the most?  When I met Lucy in Saigon Airport a week later I never mentioned it to her. I never have.

Anton Wills-Eve

NEVER ASK WHY


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/well-i-never-2/”>Well, I Never…</a>

never ask why!

NEVER  ASK  WHY

The sun shines on the fields and sighs

It misses the rain, and is so hot it cries.

The ice, freezing on winter’s rooftops white

Slides off, to melt on kitchen kettles bright.

 

 

In the desert, sands die in the heat of sands,

And woolen mits cannot protect little icy hands.

Never does the dying nightingale sing so sweet

As next the dying pauper on the midnight seat.

 

 

Oh, why must morning have to stave off night?

And why are lovers left to love as parents fight?

Why does this, our world,  its contrary mysteries keep

’til we only understand  them as we fall forever alseep?

Anton Wills-Eve

THE MAESTRO


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/practice-makes-perfect/”>Practice Makes Perfect?</a>

I wish I could conduct as well as I play the piano.

 

THE MAESTRO

 

I stand to attention, bow, and hitch my cummerbund into position before slowly descending the steps to the hall floor, and then up again onto the conductor’s rostrum.

“Tap, tap, tap.” I look round the orchestra and raise an eyebrow at the third violins. They are sitting askew. Creates such a bad and disconnected impression. But they know this and I am left inwardly fuming but helpless.

“Tap,tap,tap, tap. We’re off. Da Da Da Dum!” The leading cellist quietly whispers,

“Oh God. Beethoven’s fifth! We could all play this with our eyes shut and certainly don’t need any help from that idiot with the stick. He wouldn’t know his Mozart from his Mendelsohn. Just look at the pompous show off. What the hell he thinks that last twirl was meant to tell us to do I don’t know. Heaven only knows!” The pretty little Chinese viola player cannot hide her smile or contain her reply.

“Oh Gregor! Look his cummerbund has cummadrift, at the side. Some of the audience can just see and are tittering.”  The first movement, which is largely a series of variations on the same four notes, was  the first major work produced by Ludwig when he was going deaf as he composed it. It gives the conductor great scope to diversify.

Well, this is what I told the orchestra at rehearsals and a lot of them, I assumed, murmered agreement. I was told later that what actually happened was a hilarious conversation between the bassoonists which went like this, lst bassoon:

“It’s the twit with the baton who’s going deaf! My score includes five bars here which he seems to have overlooked completely.”

“Never mind”, says the second bassoon,” the rest of us know this so well we have just carried on and inserted it. The old idiot hasn’t even noticed.”

I fear that the mutterings among the players continued throughout the work but nobody minded. We were famous for our interpretation of the symphony and the audience didn’t notice at all. Mind you, this was probably also because half of them were asleep and the rest bored stiff. The concert was in Helsinki and they assumed my reading of the score was brilliant, modern and way beyond their comprehension. It was certainly way beyond mind!

The wild applause at the end gave me the chance to ask the players to take a standing ovation and bowed often enough to show that I thought they were applauding me. Indeed the crescendo of sound reached such a pitch it woke me up and I made my way over to the piano, a musical instrument I had mastered. But as I began practising Liszt’s sixth Hungarian rahpsody I started to wonder why it was so much more difficult to produce beautiful music with just one piece of wood in one hand, instead of a using a whole range of black and white keys, two pedals and all ten fingers?!

AWE

RESERVED FOR ALL OF US


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/honorific/”>Honorific</a&gt;

the person we  all have to choose

RESERVED FOR ALL OF US

my world has closed its door

and thrown away the key.

Jacqueline was my everything,

as slowly I watched her die.

she took all meaning, love, and

happiness away from me,

in agony for both of us, I watched her

leave this life. God, why?

she did no wrong, unless to share

her love was too great a sin.

but in it I shared. And I was the seducer,

so why punish her?

the cancer, as it ate away her beauty

and wrinkled her silken skin,

was evil. It must have been,

to destroy beauty so radiant and rare.

I need my Jacqueline so much

I would gladly my own life cease

if doing so would reunite us.

but that’s a question I cannot even ask.

I pray, depressed and tortured as I am,

for her soul’s eternal peace.

but suicide could part us for

eternity; a truly pointless task.

it was her pleading eyes as she

fought the pain, trying to raise a smile,

that hurt me most. Please tell me why.

just nineteen. What did she do?

some say I shall in time forget.

what sort of mind, for even a little while,

could lose sight of her beseeching plea,

to end her life, asking me too

to give a fatal dose, saying sorry,

knowing I could not carry the Cross

of taking another human life.

she raised her face to say goodbye

one last time. I kissed her as her

humanity ebbed away. I felt the loss

so painfully, I could barely kiss

her happy face, while leaving her to die.

in my grief I do not know

if I eased her pain and killed her too.

I can’t blame myself if I did.

my love was stronger than my will.

my heart will never mend. Or,

if it does, I know I will not be

the same grief-stricken, broken

man, who today, on a nearby hill,

buried his heart and soul and every

part of him. All he could see

was a girl he loved. No other

mourners impinged upon his sight.

God, you cannot take my loss

away, or return my Jacqueline to me.

But thank you for leaving me to weep

alone, each day and night.

Anton Wills-Eve

LOVING SWEET HAZEL


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/born-to-be-with-you/”>Born to Be With You</a>

she desbribes herself, does she not?

LOVING SWEET HAZEL

A couple of weeks ago I felt obliged to miss a holiday and stay behind with a chap who had broken his leg and had to pull out of our University college students’ trip to Rome. Peter was a catholic and had never been to Rome. He had saved like mad that year to enjoy the trip. Then a week before we were due to leave for the Easter two week visit to the eternal city he came off his bike on the  the ‘High’ and broke his leg in two places.

Several of us felt really sorry for Peter but we gathered round his bed on the week before we were due to leave and promised to send him daily email videos and hoped he could make the holiday the following summer vacation. This was the point at which I wondered whether I should stay behind and cheer him up, but he would not hear of it. “John, you can’t miss the trip. Anyway I’ll be poor company stuck in this bed for the whole time, so I insist. Off you go.”

What happened next was quite unexpected. The holiday club that our college languages students had set up always managed to get good reductions on travel fares and accomodation on our various visits to cities around Europe. We were limited to twenty travellers on each holiday we arranged which meant a mad rush for any last minute reduced tickets and hotels if anyone pulled out. Several people called on the the door of the travel club, that year I was secretary, to see if there were any spare places. I was inundated and both tickets, the only two I had, were gone by 9.00am. As I commiserated with an Australian fellow and was about to shut my door to my rooms, a panting girl rounded the corner and managed to ask, “Am I too late?” I was nodding my head when I realised the poor soul was trying desparately to hold back her tears. I had to ask,

“I say, are you okay? I don’t think we’ve met but I’ve seen you at lectures. What are you studying?” She was amazed that I seemed to care about her at all. She blushed furiously and said very sadly,

“Oh I’m in my second year of Italian and I so wanted to visit the country. But never mind. I probably never will now.”I was just not prepared to put up with this and asked her why ever not. She turned away and I could see she was really badly upset. It was no ordinary disappointment it was something bordering on a fit of depression at the thought she would never do the one thing she had always wanted. I could not let her go back towards the college quad in such an obvious state of sad disappointment. She looked up at me as I asked her.

“Look I’m just locking up here, you wouldn’t like to come out for a coffee with me would you? I’ve nothing to do for a couple of  hours. Then if there are any more last minute cancellations you’ll be with me and I can see that you’ll get a place.” She was overjoyed and then became rather hesitant. I could tell that she was not being completely honest when she said,

“Oh, but I’ve got this work to hand in, but if you could keep any place that came along open for me I’d be very grateful.” There was something more nervous than devious in her voice and I was unable to work out what was getting at her. Then an idea struck me. I had not yet asked her her name and this of course was necessary if I was going to reserve anything for her, so I took a step towards her and half laughing said,

“But hang on a tick. I don’t know your name . Who are you and where do I contact you if  I find a place for you?” She went pale and I could have sworn a shiver went up her spine. She didn’t seem to want to tell me about herself at all, and yet at the same time realised she must. Now, as I was going to play along with her I let her take her time and then she told me,  “It’s Hazel French, even though I am reading Italian, and I’m in room 12 on the second staircase. Look I’ll give you my mobile phone number as well. I’m sorry if I seem uncertain of what I’m doing but I have got behind with my work.” I accepted this as I was starting to work out a plan of my own. Also her expression, ‘if I seem uncertain of what I’m doing,’ was exactly how she came across to me. I closed the conversation by taking a visiting card out of my pocket and handing it to her so she could get hold of me at any place and at any time. What struck me most forcibly, however, was the very definite sob I heard as I saw her disappear round the corner of the quad. The Ivy wall muffled the sound but not enough to convince me that she was not going through a very rough patch in her life.

There were three days to go to the ‘off’ for the Rome trip and a lot of us, seven girls and twelve boys, were getting excited at the prospect. But you may have noticed that we were only nineteen instead of the twenty originally booked. Only a few minutes before lunch on that Wednesday a chap had had to call off as his father was ill and so I had a place for Hazel. I was really glad to be able to ring her with the news, but both texts and phone calls went unanswered. I decided to go round to her room and see if I could find her. She was just coming out as I ran up the gothic hallway to her door.

Hazel, Hazel. Hang on a minute I’ve managed to get you a ticket.” My voice was full of obvious delight but not the tone of her reply.

John? John, have you really? Oh I hope it isn’t too late to make all the necessary arrangements.” She sounded almost relieved that she had found an excuse for not having to go. I could sense beyond doubt that I had to play this very carefully. My first thought was that she was ill in some way and did not think she could manage the journey. I was closer to the truth than I could have imagined. But I was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and, given the time of day, I suggested we go for a drink and a sandwich and iron out any problems that she thought were insurmountable. The reaction was sudden and frankly frightening.

John, John look please just leave me alone. Stop pestering me and let me lead my own life. I can’t make the Rome trip and that’s all there is to it. Okay?” Then she burst into tears and raced away from me, out of the building and looking awful. I let her go. I was sure that this called for a much more subtle and medically well informed approach than I could possible manage in barely three days. But One of my closest friends from school who was at a different college was studying psychiatry. I hoped he could help.

What wonderful things mobile phones are. Within seven minutes Stephen and I were sitting next to each other over a pint of beer and he was fascinated by my mystery tourist.

John, the key to all this, if I’m right, lies in the first morning you saw her. How upset was she at not getting a ticket on the trip or was it all play acting?”

Definitely not acting, Steve. More as though she had screwed her courage to the sticking place and could not believe she’d been thwarted at the last minute. I think it was the obvious change in her attitude that intrigued me after that.” My somewhat pompous and self opinionated friend rubbed his hands together and said,

Case solved, John. But it will take very careful handling if you are going to get her on that plane by Saturday evening. John she has has a fairly common but seldon correctly diagnosed phobia. It is half agoraphobia and half claustrophobia. Now here’s what you have to do.” I’m so glad I never doubt my friends, maybe that is why they are my friends.

I calculated it would be around five pm that Hazel would return to her room. For a start Stephen’s diagnosis had explained how Hazel had managed to get such a coveted billet. Obviously the senior college tutor had been told what was wrong with her and had done all he could to help. I felt sure her fellow second year students just thought her family were very rich and had bribed the college. Poor thing, that was the last thing she needed. Anyway, I was leaning up against her door post as she rounded the corner to her room at ten past five. She was startled to see me and just froze on the spot. Thank heavens Steve had primed me really well.

Hullo, mystery girl, “I smiled at her. “Please just don’t hyperventilate until you have invited me in for a drink, which, naturally, I have provided. I hope you drink Champagne, most people with acute anxiety neuroses do. I have a chilled bottle and a couple of fluted glasses in my attache case here so why don’t we dive in before they get too hot?”

This was the moment I was not expecting. She burst into floods of tears. Then taking a quick step towards me she flung her arms round my neck and said, “Thank you John. Oh, thank you so much. How on earth did you know? Only my family do and they did not want me to come up at all as they thought the strain would be far too great. But, look I’m soaking you. Oh, I am sorry John. But did you mean it about the Champagne? I can’t stand it hot. And her lovely smile completely transformed her features. I wasn’t sure but I think that was the moment I fell very deeply in love with her.

The bubbly was consumed at a rather Formula one pace and Hazel was delighted to discover that I had a second bottle in my electric cold box. We both seemed to know instinctively that we didn’t want to be separated for even a few minutes and so I quickly got the problem out of the way by saying, “Oh, I’ve changed the hotel rooms and plane seats round, so you won’t have any trouble managing the tricky parts of the holiday. I shall be at your side at all times. Finally, on a practical note, my love, do you have serious trouble managing crowded or deserted places on your own, only, or are you ok as long as someone who understands your illness Is with you?”

She giggled deliciously. Actually John, I don’t know. When the really awful attacks hit me there is nothing I can do but hang on to someone like you. But I never get any warning.” That would be an eye opener for Steve, he assured me that could never happen. But it solved one problem for me. All I had to do was make sure her passport was as it should be and I could have her on that plane whenever I wanted.

Hazel, don’t take this the wrong way, but I really do love you so I would hate to spoil this holiday for you by doing anything that might morally or otherwise upset you if you were treating it as a sort of pilgrimage to help you get better. Are you?” Now it was my turn not to know what to do. She replied,

Yes, I am a Catholic and I was hoping this might show God how much I was prepared to put up with to deserve his help in curing me.”

I didn’t know what to say, so didn’t. I just gave her an affectionate hug and promised her I would never come between her and her God. She said she had never thought I would.

Throughout the visit to Rome several of my friends noticed how close Hazel and I had become, and we were the pair who usually made sure that some emails were sent to Peter every night. But more than that we were really happy together and on the Sunday morning of the Papal audience in saint Peter’s square I felt the first stirings of religious or spiritual love moving me and in an odd way drawing me much closer to Hazel. On the last night I asked her,

My darling, where do we go from here? I want to marry you as soon as possible, it’s been very hard not making love to you, but I did promise. Can you teach me what I have to do to be able to marry you soon?

She gave me a lovely answer. “I am starting to feel a lot better already, John. Just carry on staying close to me and we’ll both get what we want very soon”.

And to show you just how true her words were we are incorporating pushing Peter round the eternal city after our exams in May, when he gets his wish, and we get our honeymoon.

Anton Wills-Eve

THE SPEEDY CUTTER


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/futures-past/”>Futures Past</a>

what do I see before my eyes?

THE SPEEDY CUTTER

The other day I was trying to find a copy of the great 1957 recording of Rachmaninov’s fourth piano concerto with Miachelangeli playing and Gracis conducting, recorded at Abbey Road. I found it eventually but in the meantime I was interrupted by a You Tube advertisement for a video featuring someone called Taylor Swift who was news to me. But Wow, she was sexually very stimulating and a great 20 second interruption.

Unfortunately I didn’t know what she was trying to do. She had no voice so wasn’t singing, she pouted a lot so I had an idea what her favourite dessert was, but apart from a skimpily clad frame I really couldn’t work out what was happening. Was she turning me on? Oh yes, she was doing that, but that was all. And she gets paid for this. Well I suppose it’s a form of legal prostitution but I still much preferred the piano concerto. I am happily married with a lot of kids and a great family life, so my wife would not begrudge me the 20 seconds of keeping up with the current generation’s excuse for entertainment, not least because it did entertain me. I told her to watch it and got a bit worried when I saw the way she reacted to it, but all this is beside my main point which is, ‘why make a fuss about whether or not untalented nobodies should be paid for doing nothing, and doing it badly’?

One might almost say her taylor had clothed her swiftly and she had disrobed even faster. Isn’t 2015 getting interesting? You know with Greece bringing down Europe, ISIS terrifying the world, 20.6 million people working for the federal government having their computers hacked, the confederate flag – a historical artefact of great significance – being picked out for public attention in case people still think the civil war resulted in any sort of conferring of human rights on coloured people, and all sorts of policemen toting their gats at will to accentuate my last point. I wonder what will happen next? I mean before Taylor falls off whatever that thing is she is trying to climb! I suppose it could be a U Tube.

Anton Wills-Eve

NEVER HEARD OF HIM


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dont-you-forget-about-me/”>Don’t You Forget About Me</a>

who?

NEVER HEARD OF HIM

Jim walked slowly into the garden, shading his eyes from the bright sunlight as he came out of  the shadows of the huge mansion. His glum expression told it all as he said to Jane and Richard, “It’s all over. The morphine dose was finally too strong. Will is dead.”

His two friends looked sad and Jane was badly upset as she’d known Will all the 69 years of their lives and been married to him for 42 of them. “I should have been with him, Richard, but I just couldn’t.” He understood. Jane and Will had been born in the same street. If it was a shock to Will’s friends, his death, Rick thought, would cause much greater speculation in the financial world. Jim, Jane and Richard realised that almost nobody had a clue who the real Will, you know the person they all loved and would miss dreadfully, actually was. After all, practically noboody did. It was possible the Times might carry a very short biography of him, but only in his rather obscure capacity as one of the richest men in the country. The Financial Times might also carry the fact that he had died, but as hardly anyone knew exactly how he had made his billions, and they really were billions, some sixteen £billion GBP, approx $ twenty five billion US,  according to the Times, then there were a lot of people who would have loved to know how he had done it. But except for a very select band of friends the secrets of Will’s financial manoeuvrings went with him to his grave. But what could those who did know him well tell you of the quiet magnate save that he was amusing, generous and greatly beloved of a very few friends?

Well three of those friends we have already met and in truth there were probably only two more who were very close to Will. But most interestingly all six were very good friends amongst themselves who had known each other since schooldays. Sandy had for many years been expected to become Will’s wife, but for reasons none of them knew or discussed this never happened. In fact by the time Jane and Will were twenty seven they suddenly announced their engagement and were married a couple of weeks later. They had always been so close it was not totally surprising, but as they had never given any signs of amourous leanings towards each other at any stage in their lives up to then this caused a real shock. Jane had been expected to marry Richard when they spent a lot of time with each other in their late teens and early twenties, yet Richard was unmoved by the marriage. After they left university and he slowly cooled towards Jane, he could still often be caught looking at her with a wistful gleam in his eyes. That Richard and Sandy should marry soon after Jane and Will was hardly surprising. Obviously they had always seemed very good friends rather than hopelessly in love. But their marriage seemed happy enough.

Jim was usually attributed with introducing the last person to the the little clique. Lucy was a bubbley, vivavcious girl who Jim had met at a dance at Sandy and Jane’s School when they were both seventeen. They hit it off immediately and were seldom seen apart again. They married at university, both went to Oxford, and holidayed and also seemed to go everywhere with Jane and Will from their mid thirties for the rest of their lives. It will be gathererd from this that the group were all children of reasonably wealthy parents. This was quite true for all of them except Will who had won a scholarship to the school the boys went to and whose own parents had died in a holiday plane crash when he was thirteen. This should have upset him greatly, especially being an only child, but instead it turned him into something of a dreamer. One example of this side of his growing personality was the wish to possess things, cars, houses, expensive clothes and jewelry etc. It was Jane who always laughed at his wish to dissipate his fortune. This was a lump sum whose provenance was the amount the airline had agreed in an out of court settlement. It included all his education expenses and living expenses until he was 21 and on top of that a lump sum settlement of  £400,000  sterling, an enormous sum in 1958. But therein lay the possibility of making his dreams come true.

Back in those days most boys at the sort of school the three went to were encouraged to aim for some profession which would eventually bring them in a good salary. Jim’s legal firm, in which Lucy also worked, flourished, and very quickly made a lot of money. Richard was a very successful surgeon and Will…. well that was just the point. What did Will do when and while studying Italian and French at Cambridge University?  Herein the mystery really did begin to take on very strange proportions. You see he was known to have talked Jane into studying herself inside out to get a place at Cambridge too, and she just scraped in to spend three years getting a BA in economics while Will just breezed his way through a not terribly taxing degree in languages. Both of them got moderately good grades but neither seemed to care about this at all and were certainly never looked on as budding geniuses. Sandy got a good degree in Art history and with a loan from Will had opened a small gallery in the West End of London. It was to expand into a very lucrative concern. So how did this affect the close relationship between Jane and Richard at this time? Well it was in the summer of 1968 that several things came to a head that both cemented the friendship of the six young people and at the same time set tongues wagging throughout Europe as a British linguist wrote a book on the history of economics and, instead of publishing it normally, floated it as a company on the stock exchange.

A lot of people thought it amusing and almost a prank but the joke caught on and it sold several hundred thousand copies to see how such a weird financial move would change the value of the book. Well to everyone’s amazement as the book sales gradually netted nearly a million copies sold and some two millions pounds income to the trading company, “Will sell Ltd” the venture was seen to be a brainwave. Instead of just being a financial experiment it quickly made the company’s name and “Will Sell Ltd” was worth more than £30 million sterling, in those days some $US 75 millions dollars. Then all the players in the extraordinary game just disappeared from the world financial stage. Will put his huge profits into an account in Zurich and there for several months our story stands still

The day after Will’s coup, he was not quite twenty four at the time, the six friends met for a celebration dinner at the Savoy Hotel in London. They were in high spirits and, true to her personality, it was little Lucy, tightly gripping Jim’s hand, who blurted out half way through the Champagne toast, “How long do we wait for phase two?” The quiet, unassuming genius, Will, put his finger to his lips,

“Shshsh Luce, that all depends on how much you want to make? Jane and I have not quite put the finishing touches to our next little ruse. Let’s just enjoy this party and then I’ll call another general meeting in a couple of months, around Easter, and we’ll see how much we can turn our thirty millions into.” It was from about this time that Richard and Jane, some thought understandably, started to become a little lukewarm towards each other.

After this the company that Will, with Jane’s help, had formed remained very low profile for about another seven months, a lot longer than Will expected. But when the financial world suddenly awoke out of the blue to a Malaysian rubber market dealer called “Will Sell Ltd”, a lot of speculators felt they knew when they were on to a good thing. The company was floated immediately at £3 per share, without any indication how much rubber stock it held. After all why should it? But a couple of people on holiday in Zurich, Jim and Lucy yawned that morning as the markets opened and bought £ 150 million worth of shares in “Will Sell Ltd”, debt payable direct to the newly floated company in Kuala Lumpur. Payable in US$dollars of course. That one purchase  by Jim and Lucy sparked off a rush on “Will Sell Ltd”, but why when no one had seen proof of the amount of rubber the company held?

As hoped by the owners of the company, before this struck the major players, “Will sell Ltd” had pocketed the non existent $150 million from Jim and Lucy and some £1.5 billion  sterling from major players who actually parted with this much money before anybody examined the books of “Will Sell Ltd.”By then, five hours after starting trading, it had folded up, declared itself banrupt and all assets moved to an unknown destination in South America. Legally it was indicted for criminal fraud in Malaysia, but as nobody knew anything about it the Asian police could not trace the huge sums moved from Kuala Lumpur to…..? Exactly to where. You see the original “Will Sell Ltd” had been closed down in Britain and the former owner said to have retired to Ireland. Several people thought, many years later, that the destination was Venezuela as Richard and Sandy were on holiday there. Under the false name of Mr and Mrs Price, Will’s sense of humour could really be dreadful at times.

So here we are in 1973 when our close friends were all living established, if unexpected lives. Jane and Will were married,  Richard and Sandy were starting to see more of each other, while Richard was a budding surgeon of repute, and Sandy’s art venture was taking off very successfully. Finally Jim and Lucy had a thriving law firm in which they were both partners. But where were Will and Jane? Well, we have already touched on his  love of glamorous and expensive things and none more so than the house he bought himself in Surrey. It was bought in the name of a company in Peru, where more than a £1.3 billion of the lost money still lay hidden in various vaults. Will’s house had 41 rooms and three acres of grounds. It was lavishly furnished and many people thought that Jane had only married him because if he would not heed her notes of caution about gaspiating his wealth she would share it and make sure he was nothing like as extravagant as he wished to be. And it was at their house that the six friends met for a second Christmas weekend at the end of 1973. But to what purpose? Well by this time all six of them were coming up with ideas of how to make  ever greater fortunes out of the  fortunes they already had.

That Christmas Will told each of the five of them that from then on he would be giving £100,000  to each of them per anum if they helped come up with  ideas for increasing the capital. Will had seen a Venezuelan Oil company about to go bust, and snapped it up for a relatively small sum. He never told the others, but by May 1974 he was able to sell his oil shares for £ 9 billion and this was when the world took notice. Suddenly financial papers and journals were asking who was this magnate sitting on near ten billion sterling? Nobody knew his name and as he and his friends moved the money around so fast and so cleverly, no journalist or financial expert could ever put a surname to Will. He did not mind people knowing that much but his five friends hid him behind such a blanket of total obscurity that as the value of his capital steadied out at around £17 billion and stayed there it ceased to be a news story. Thus from the end of 1979 to the middle of 2014 the six friends were very comfortably off and their annual honorarium paid into overseas accounts where they could never be traced made them all very rich indeed.

Given the way their lives had develoed one other important aspect of their friendship should be mentioned. The three families has all bought houses very close to each other. Also the children of the marriages grew up to know each other really well, but this was only to be expected. Oddly each couple had only two children and in each case a boy and a girl. Jim and Lucy had twins, Gregory and Anna, Richard and Sandy had Sally who was two years older than Peter and finally Jane and Will were very happy with Mary, a year younger than Hugh. Also there were only four years between all six children. They were all grown up and married when early in 2014 it was known than Will was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer. The families, and especially the five original friends were devastated. But the news spread to the financial world that the fabulously wealthy William …? was about to die. His lawer, Mr Jim….? was besieged by papparazzi all of whom wanted details of his will. Jim promised to give them this as soon as the testator had died. And most importantly the revenue authorities began to take an interest in his estate.

A meeting of the the six friends, would it be the last? was called in May 2014. “Listen, everyone, said Will, I have one last coup up my sleeve. As my surgeon, don’t look so sad, you will have to sign the death warrant Richard. Make it in beautiful copperplate handwriting. You Jim will read the will immediately after announcing my death, and the rest of you, plus those children who can make it, should crowd round the house in inconsolable grief. Okay? The vicar will bury me of course and my estate will be passed on to the following people exactly as I dictate it here.

Firstly to the inland revenue I leave all taxes and duties due, which I have been assured is £5.6 billion sterling.

To my wife Jane I leave my house and all it’s contents and the capital sum of £1.4 billion sterling. To Jim, Richard, Lucy and Sandy I leave £2 billion each and to each of my children and nephews and neices, I leave £ 300 million pounds each. The balance of my estate, some £ 200 million to various charities as written out here. And that, my friends, is that. Oh and of course we will have our usual Christmas week together, but just our generation not the kids.”

When Jim ran into the garden to break the news several people were galvanised into life. Sandy had done a wonderful job on Will and he looked nothing like himself as he was hustled onto a plane to Florence three hours later. She travelled with him.

Jim handled the press brilliantly and the mony side of things seemed sensible and fair to all parties and nobody questioned anything. The funeral was to be held five days later and Richard produced a beautiful death certificate which the lawyers, Lucy alone in this case, accepted without question.

The tax officials agreed with Will’s figures and were very happy with the death duties as his accountants had calculated them. In short everything had gone like a dream, when the £17 billion sterling was removed from the Swiss bank where it lay, and now multiplied by four as Will sold off all his South American oil shares in the gulf of Maracaibo. This left him with more than £50 billion sterling in his Geneva account, where such a sum in a business account was by no means unusual.

And so to the Christmas get together at the close of 2014. Seated at the wonderful oak table, circular as Arthur decreed, were three very happily married couples. Richard held his wife Jane’s hand tight under the tablecloth and their smiles were of pure delight at the thought of no more deceit.

Jim and Lucy were indeed doubly married, chuch and state, and seemed almost in another world as all their conniving of the past nearly fifty years had worked out perfectly. And last, but by no means least Will and Sandy just clung to each other as they raised their glasses in their beautiful sixteenth century villa at Lucca in Tuscany.

How and what had they done? Well it was easy really. As marriage in church was all that mattered to them, Sandy and Will and Richard and Jane had been thus married in 1974. What legal entanglemets they then entered into did not interest them a jot. They had tricked the revenue and lived as man and wife just as they wished.

Their children were great and willing partners in the various plans they worked out over the years and even helped at times. In fact by the time that Sandy and Will retired to Italy he really was the richest English commoner. And so when Will’s obituaries appeared in the papers it was quite true that nobody quite knew who he had been. Well, think of it. This was because he was still alive, and the six friends were begining a final retirement together with more money than anyone in the world would have believed.

Anton Wills-Eve

TI AMO


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/she-said/”>S/he Said</a>

neighbour’s thoughts

TI AMO

I am so tired.

the very pressure

of my fingers

on these keys

drains me

of all energy.

Only the act of thinking

seems to leave me

fit to carry on

telling the world

the story

of my life.

But why?

Who cares?

Why bother blogging.?

It is only bragging

spelled two letters

differently.

Is this the sum

of my existence?

Two letters changed

for two more

of equal insignificance?

No deeds

worth recounting,

no words

worth quoting,

noticed by few

missed by fewer.

Yet I had a dream,

she kept me awake

my heart beating,

my hope that love

would not

pass me by

every day

until I died.

I begged her,

‘smile on me’

and on all

my whole world;

you’ll raise the sun

and stem the tide

of that depression

which crushes me

night and day.

And this

you did.

What can I say?

Do you think

the world

will hear my heart,

with you

beating upon it,

and would this

justify those words,

of this

our love,

I did not

dare to say

to any others;

Lest by blogs

and brags

I might our secret

passion give away.

Anton Wills-Eve

ANNE CESTOR


a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/familial-feasts/”>Familial Feasts</a>

to a relative 

                        ANNE CESTOR

The prettiest, cutest gal I’ve seen

 ‘Come here boy’ eyes, n’ Pouting lips’,

You must know the little lady I mean.

 

 

She swings with her  arms around my neck,

Running her hands through my hair while saying,

‘Are you coming  Mister? Well then, what the heck?’

 

 

Let’s get to it lover boy before the sun goes down,

That melting, loving look as she kisses me, ‘wow,

The sort of girl I’d decorate if I had a crown.

 

 

Now the sun’s gone to bed, and the moon’s so bright

And all that’s left for me to do is what a man’s gotta do.

On a  bed of soft straw with  the moon my only light.

 

 

For this little cutie,  my own darling Anne

I’d arrange such a feast as you’ve never seen

So everyone would, go, every woman and man

 

 

Thus leaving our corner of the world to just us two

And even better than that, know what we’d do?

We’d swing though the branches of our ancestral tree

The only place you’ll find any reference to my Anne and me.

About fifty thousand years have gone by since  we first met

And still we haven’t stopped loving each other yet.

 

Anton Wills-Eve

A DAY OR TWO AGO


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/advantage-of-foresight/”>Advantage of Foresight</a>

a foresight prompt

A DAY OR TWO AGO                                

“Gemma Mary Skolanski. You sure that’s right?” the nurse looked at the consultant and smiled. “Why not? I’m black. Fifteen years ago I wouldn’t have been in this job. And nobody with a name like that could have afforded a hospital and a doctor like you.” He smiled back. “True cuddles, it’s a changed world. Let’s get on with this ward round.”

In the room they were about to enter was a bed and beautifully decorated walls and curtains. Flowers were not allowed or they would have been there too you can be sure. Lying in the prim, hygenic bed lay sixteen year old, well you’ve heard it, “Gemma Mary Skolanski. She was combing out her golden curls hoping to look her best for Wesley Ford, the most desirable boy fifteen months above her and she couldn’t believe he’d picked her. Not for her money, he was very rich too. His dad was a senator and his mom an attorney. Gemma’s considerable wealth came from the court’s award of five million dollars  against a delivery company whose van had killed her sister and parents two years ago. The money meant nothing. She just thought of Wesley and suddenly her dreams meant everything. Why couldn’t these medics get on with it?” she said petulantly to herself. “Get this medical report over and then Wesley can come visit with me. I wonder what he’ll bring me today?”

While waiting she picked up that day’s newspaper by her bed and saw a silly little story about someone who was offered a chance to know something really important that was going to happen  the next day, but to know it the person given the gift or foresight had to live one day less than God had planned.

‘What rubbish,’ she laughed to herself. ‘Do they really pay people to think up stuff  like this?” then the medical team came in. Five of them altogether, and they looked rather serious.

“Hi young lady”, greeted the doctor. “Feeling any better than yesterday?”

She shook her head. My stomache pains are still annoying, but maybe I ate too much at my sixteenth birthday party yesterday!” And she smiled really cutely. It was her smile that changed her face. She was really pretty when she was looking happy as well. “It ‘s not so much a knife like pain as I described a few days ago, but has changed to a more regular feeling of sickness most of the day.” The doctor looked really worried at this. Then he took a deep breath and as the senior nurse stared rather pityingly at Gemma he said,

“You know those tests you had a few days ago, well they ain’t so good Gemma. I don’t want to worry or frighten you, but it looks like you could have bowel cancer. But it’s incredible what they can do nowadays. Have you any friends or relations you’d like us to ask to come visit with you?” She just shook her head and said her boyfriend, Wesley, was coming in soon and he was all she wanted. The doctor smiled and said he hoped everything would soon improve for her.

While waiting for her boyfriend she picked up the paper again and just to pass the time tried to imagine what future event she would really like to be able to see before it happened. There were so many. The first and obvious was her wedding to Wesley. Who woul  give her away? Probably Uncle Cass. Nice, but a bit too loud mouthed. And the best man. No way would Wesley pick anyone but Peter and he could never make a speech. But Wesley had known him since they were very small kids and Gemma could not see anyone else. But apart from the wedding she started to think of other world developments. 

Would the terrorists start a proper war and would Wesley be called up?. That was an awful thought. Then on home ground would the Pirates win the world series? That really mattered to her and she could well see herself sacrificing a day of her life to know the answer to that question. But then she thought that maybe she wouldn’t want to know the result in advance, well if the Pirates won she’d want to live the event and join in the real celebrations, not just watch the video of a game knowing how it ended. It was all getting both difficult and frankly boring. Suddenly she thought that Wes was a bit late and the doctor came in again to tll her that the later medical test results had shown that she did not have cancer and should be able to be discharged in a day or two.

This only cheered her up a bit and then came the real shock. A visitor arrived, but it wasn’t Wesley. “Peter. Where’s Wes. I have such good news for him.” Peter screwed up a scarfe in his hands.

“Oh, Gem we didn’t know how to tell you. Two days ago he collapsed whiled playing tennis and although the hospital did all it could , he died. I’m so sorrow for you. It was so unexpected it was on the front page of the paper. But you wouldn’t have seen that yet, they deliver the local papers a day later here at the hospital.

AWE 

  

EXTINCT TECHNOLOGIES


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/going-obsolete/”>Going Obsolete</a>

obsolete technologies

 

EXTINCT TECHNOLOGIES

 

Oh dear, word press has done it again. I cannot think of a technology that has become extinct in the history of mankind and his ability to invent. Fallen into disuetude, yes thousands, but once something has been invented it exists and whether or not it is used is immaterial. It is still there and can still be used. So I shall approach this prompt from a slightly different angle. Which piece of technology have you used, at any age, which you find that today you no longer either use or need? I think this is what the prompter meant.

Well taken on these lines I think almost certainly the lead pencil. It was the only thing with which I wrote, and later used occasionally for drawing, or helping drawing, but that is all. Now, of course, the computer can do all the pencil’s tasks and so it is no longer needed at all. So the piece of technology I used from the age of one year and a month or so, is completely eradicated from my list of things I need.

What more can I say on this except to add that it is true of every age and the average useful age of any invented implement is probably the span of a man’s life, three score years and ten. Now wasn’t that blatantly obvious and frankly boring?

AWE