Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: August, 2015

COOL


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/no-thank-you/”>No, Thank You</a>

which word would I ban and why?

 

COOL

 

If I had to ban any word currently in vogue it would have to be ‘cool’, not least because it isn’t.

General taken to mean Ace! or Great! it creates the feeling of neither. Being cool is something I physically dislike, I hate shivering, and if it means seeking shade I prefer the sun and to be seen. But perhaps the worst thing about it is that when kids use it it makes them sound as if they are trying to be clever, and when grown ups use it it makes them sound as if they wish they were younger.

But let’s be honest. The real reason for banning it is that it’s the worst one word title for a blog or post I’ve ever used!

 

AWE

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US AND THEM


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/west-end-girls/”>West End Girls</a>

on the prejudices of my childhood world : hyperbole in places, but only in the telling.

US AND THEM

I never found the silver spoon that so many  of my friends thought I had  in my mouth when I was born, but for several years something akin to it was definitely spoon-feeding my life. My family had access to considerable wealth and many of them very famous, from May 1942 to April 1956, my sister and I first lived in a mixture of fairyland and Heaven. I am just thankful that Heaven is still a possible final dwelling place. But Oh, were we the anomalies of our age. Let me give you a flavour.

I spent the years aged three to fourteen in the most beautiful suburb of London, in a thirty seven room Georgian mansion which we finally had to sell to pay the bills we ran up over ten years. The bank knew we were good for them. We got £2.5 million for it in early 1957 so you can imagine how beautiful it was. And the location! Richmond Park and Sheen Common, bordering our house with Kew Gardens, Hampton Court, etc all a five minute drive along the beautiul banks of the Thames where Surrey made it so attractive. Also only fourteen minutes on the train to the very heart of the city.

Our house was totally secluded from prying neighbours with an enormous ten foot high wall and holly hedge round three quarters of the estate which also included an orchard of six different types of fruit trees, four summer houses, a pond and huge elm tree in the 3 acres of garden plus a separate walled rose garden. You get the idyllic picture. My sister and I went to an expensive, private school from the ages of three to eight (she’s a year older). BUT we weren’t allowed to play with any children except our vetted school friends. You would only believe this if you had known my mother and her side of the family! Not snobs, no, far worse. Content to be different, recognised and obeyed.

So, given the setting, what in life could not possibly be very pleasant when all the rooms in the house were huge, superbly decorated and especially the living room with a bay window and door onto the rose garden and a grand piano where I spent eleven years learning and playing at least three hours a day. Dad even had to have it sound proofed without spoiling the decoration or the superb Adam fireplace which burned whole tree trunks. At one end was the sliding glass door to the huge conservatory with real grape vines and a marble fountain which was turned off at Christmas to accommodate the twelve foot Christmas tree? So where was the prejudice?

I never saw a coloured person, any colour other than white, in the area I lived in until I went back thirty years later. In the late nineteen forties there just were none. At the local pub some fifty regulars from our incredibly select road, the most sought after in South West London, met each Sunday lunch time for drinks and they agreed never to talk religion or politics at the bar. Unfortunately mum’s notoriety as a famous entertainer let her get away with murder and insult whomsoever she chose. Dad was accepted as her pleasant, Australian, other half who had one of the top jobs in British journalism. As bars closed at 2.00pm on Sundays in those days we usually had about 20 people back to our house for drinks and finally had lunch around 4.00pm. That house swam in booze every day I spent there.

So who were the baddies, ie those not accepted by our ‘clique’? WelI everybody who did not know any of us. If they came in expecting to buy a drink, as they would in any pub, they were simply ignored totally by staff and customers unless they were guests of the set. Most gave up and walked out dejected after recognising most of the people in the pub. But even within the accepted drinkers there was a hidden class of stereotyped prejudice that would make you sick. They all smiled and laughed together but detested, in order of priority, first and foremost socialists, then Catholics or any non-conformists, then Jews but worst by far the thought of an American tourist ever being let near the place. Not famous Americans like three of my family members among the regulars whom they had got to know, but the conviction that US citizens only came to London to gloat over how they had won the war for us after raping all our virgins. (Both of them). Quite seriously, in that environment that was a prejudice which lasted until the Conservative government was returned to power again in 1951. The American presence in Britain towards the end of the war left a horrible anti-US feeling of pure jealousy because they were, to use the famous quote of ‘Mr. Average Brit’, “over sexed, over fed, over paid and over here!” My uncle in the US air force reserve had a PX card, though we never told anyone.

But my sister and I just led a strangely unique and unreal life until I went to the most exspensive Catholic boys school in London and again mixed only with my school friends. Fortunately we had all colours and races in the school, mostly sons of foreign Catholic diplomats, rich businessmen and 33% of the upper school from the age of 11 were on totally free scholarships gained through the state scholarship system. Thank heavens for this because  the only way I ever have met ‘ordinary’ people was through my school.

Yet even within this strange mix of a world when we were ten and eleven the Catholic/Anglican/Jewish divide was huge. Many of my family’s clique were Jews, we were Catholics and in every case it was humour that saved the day and calmed things down. Naturally being Irish was not acceptable either, but Irish, Jewish and Catholic jokes were the backbone of the pub conversations. Imagine this scene. A Jewish fellow who owned a company the equivalent of Hertz in the States, with a lovely French titled wife, once teased my mother; she was excused the politics and religion rule on account of her wit, “Vel, yor Jesus voz a Jew? Vozn’t ‘e?”

To which mum snapped back in miliseconds,”Yes, Bernie, but we were taught that out of humility He chose to come to earth in the guise of the lowest form of humanity known to man!” What response would that have got anywhere in the western world today? The whole pub, Bernie most of all, just creased with laughter. But that was 1950. There was no malice, just relief that you could laugh in peace and honestly no offence was taken by anybody.

Are you all wondering what my sister and I were doing in a pub barred to kids when we were that age? Well at least nine other children our age of members of the set were also there most weekends because the pub owner wanted his customers money and could not give a fig for the licensing laws. Catholic priest and Jewish Rabbi jokes were also all the rage because the Anglicans laughed at every opportunity to see the absurd side of Catholicism and Judaism. One such joke that went down very well was told by a Catholic Irish crooner who lived four houses away from us and was never off the radio. (Is the awful hypocracy coming through?). I heard this one when I was ten and took a few minutes wondering the meaning of a word when the loud mouthed, blousey wife (?) of a member of parliament whispered the meaning in my ear. You’ll spot it.

“Der was dis priest on a bus and who should sit next to him but de local Rabbi? They smiled and de priest said,’Ah god bless ye’ Rabbi, now isn’t it a lovely day for me to be covertin’ Jews?” They laughed.

“Not me, fadder,” the rabbi replied. At the next turning the bus skidded into a ditch and turned on its side. Nobody was badly hurt as they scrambled off, but the priest stared in disbelief as he watched the Rabbi place his right hand on his forehead, then his lower stomach, then his right breast and then his heart. A miracle! He was blessing himself. But the rabbi smiled and, shaking his head, said,

“Sorry, Fadder, bud I alvays do dat after an accident just to check. Spectacles, testacles, wallet and watch.” Again total collapse of all present and the story teller was bought several large libations. But these were not snobbish people, just totally self satisfied. There were two occasions only before I went to my final school when I felt the heart stabbing horror of the only prejudice that directly affected me. The first was at the age of seven when the son of my parents’ best friends was getting married in the local Anglican Church just two roads away from us. Our own parish priest would not let us attend the church service because we were Catholic. In those days (1949) catholics still prayed for the conversion of England to Rome. The reformation was still alive and kicking. I prayed for weeks to try to understand, but eventually got my own back by first marrying a Buddhist in a Catholic church in Saigon, and after she was killed, my present wife who is a Liverpool Anglican. But we go to each other’s churches, so the world is a lot better than it was.

My second horrible experience of religious prejudice was aged eight and one month, when, on the day I had made my first Communion that Sunday morning I did not go to the pub, but one of those ‘regulars’ mentioned above, said to me back at our house after the usual exodus from the boozer,

“Here, Anton. Have a coke and get that awful taste out of your mouth!” He was rich, influential, forty seven and I hit him so hard he lost two teeth. I was ushered from the room and was obviously never going to apologise. He made no fuss, but never spoke to me again. I also broke a finger.

Well, My last example of early 1950’s prejudice was also my first brush with racial prejudice. In the summer of 1952 my mum’s sister and her American husband, were starring in a very popular revue at the Piccadilly Theatre . The vaudeville show had been packed out for eighteen months and one of the hit turns was a young American half coloured half Hispanic singer. She was 22, a real poppet and my sister and I loved her. As mum was in hospital after major surgery, (my sister asked the surgeon if mum was having her gin and tonic removed), and dad was on an assignment in New York we asked our aunt and uncle if we could ask our friend back to spend the weekend at our house. They agreed and so we all went home after the Saturday night performance. My American uncle was by far my favourite relation. He taught me baseball and I taught him cricket when he was starring in the West End production of Damn Yankees. He supported the Pittsburg Pirates and I still do. Anyway, to the terrible bit. Perhaps my life’s main introduction to just how awful some people and groups of people can be.

As my uncle was well known at the pub he suggested we all go down for a drink at lunchtime as usual. My Aunt pleaded a headache. We had just started the first round of drinks when the pub owner came up to my uncle and took him aside. He said he did not want to upset him but no way was he allowing a coloured girl, however much a friend of ours, to drink in his bar. He would lose all his customers. I won’t say what he said to her but the singer just smiled and told my uncle it happened all the time in London. She understood and told the three of us we’d better go home.

My Uncle, God bless him, never entered that pub again. My drunken, cowardly aunt did not even warn us but did at least tell us she had telephoned the pub owner during our five minute walk round there to say who was about to arrive.

So, like a pleasant encore at a piano recital I shall finish with an encore on the subject. But a nice one. My grandmother made two little woollen dolls for my sister and me when we were five and six. They were black with big smiles, fuzzy hair, and E.P.Christie minstrel outfits. We loved them. They were called Golly and Sambo and we took them to bed with us every night. As we grew up we never lost them and both of us still have them and love them. But we can’t call them by their names in front of other people. So, out of love and respect, we don’t.

AWE

TWIN PEEKS


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/nothin-but-a-good-time/”>Nothin’ But A Good Time</a>

Clint Eastwood has  told us how to “Make my Day”,here’s a story of how my friend’s day recently wasn’t made. 

TWIN PEEKS

I will always remember the joy that rang out round Roy and Patricia’s house in mid-October 2002 when ‘Trish’, as everyone called her, brought her lovely twin daughters, Sarah and Janet, home from the maternity hospital, just five days old. The couple were some years younger than my wife and I but Roy, then 21, played cricket for the same club as our youngest son who was in the juniors, so we all knew each other as neighbours do.

Well None of us are millionaires but we were well enough off to have our children educated at good, reasonably expensive schools. It soon became obvious as the twins grew up that they were very bright as well as pretty and popular with adults and other children as well. Mind you, identical twin attractive girls would always have started life with an advantage.

But, as I have said our son was some 12 years older than them and so never really played or socialised with them except at family friends’ parties at Christmas and occasional birthdays. But he did know the older brothers of boys whose little sisters were at Sarah and Janet’s school. By all accounts Roy and Trish had given life to a pair of geniuses. Between the ages of four and eleven they came top in everything and were also really good tennis and hockey players.

Under the UK education system you often change school at the start of the school year beginning in the September after your eleventh birthday, for obvious reasons. But even if you go to an expensive, private school where you are educated from four to eighteen, at eleven the school buildings are kept apart with separate playing fields etc between them. This was the case in the top girls school where Sarah and Janet had been sent.

Often the classes that taught the eleven to thirteen year-olds were called middle schools to distinguish them from the junior or preparatory schools and the senior school where they could stay to eighteen or nineteen. Well this summer Trish and Roy were on edge waiting for the girls’ school reports for the end of their first full year in the middle school. There they would have started all the subjects they would carry on doing as they chose for seven years. They wanted to see how clever the twins really were as the half yearly exams had seen them really shine.

The one non-academic subject that all girls started that year, the school had to get parents’ permission, was called Personal Hygene (PH) lessons, which covered all aspects of female pubescent development. In fact all the parents were quite happy with the five sessions in the year. But, as with all subjects they of course had ‘PH’ exams in it.

Well Trish was at home on her own the day that the twins rushed in after their lessons with the envelopes which had their exam results and teachers’ reports in them. The parent or guardian had to see them first.

“Mummy, mummy which of us did best? Please mummy.” Trish opened the exam envelope first and just stared. She could not believe it. Comparing both sets of marks and grades Janet had come first in six subjects and Sarah in the other six. And they were both second in all the rest. Except one, in which they had each been given 100%. Trish hugged them and was over the moon until she looked at the equal first, maximum marks exam. It was PH. A little disturbed, she asked her daughters,

“Do you two discuss this subject a lot between you?” The girls blushed.

“Mummy”, piped up Sarah, “you see Priscilla and Karen had this great idea. You know the day games were washed out by that storm? Well nine of us went round to their empty house and watched two hours of hard porn on the internet. It was great. But our teacher, Miss Frobisher, said she didn’t understand most of our exam answers, asked the headmistress what they meant, fainted, and has resigned. The head marked the papers and she said she’s written to you personally in another envelope.”

AWE

THANK YOU


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/community-service/”>Community Service</a>

for all my local friends.

 

THANK YOU

 

Just a short note to the 230 people I know who live within five miles of me. Thanks for never reading my blogs or  contacting me about them if you do, with one exception. I really am pleased, because they were not written for those to whom I can talk.

AWE

PINS AND NEEDLES


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/the-golden-hour/”>The Golden Hour</a>

To all my close friends in the Big Apple this is only about a very small number of you in all jobs and walks of life.

 

PINS AND NEEDLES

There were seven of them huddled together on a moth eaten mattress just a few metres out of the light of the lampost. The dawn was trying to break but had not quite begun when Jake and Herbie silently approached the sleeping street dwellers. Then they saw the injection marks right up fifteen year old Barry’s arm and just smiled, leaving him alone.

The seven, three boys and four girls all aged in their teens, never had a chance. Herbie crept up on the oldest boys, Pete and Fritzy both seventeen and coloured, and just eased a small packet into the pockets of each of their jeans. Then Jake took an old pistol, unloaded, and very carefully tucked it under fifteen year old Carrie’s pillow. None of the kids knew each other but thirteen year old Kathy was one-eye awake enough to spot what was happening. Luckily for her she was on the corner of the pavement and an alleyway and very carefully managed to roll out of sight of the two men concentrating on the other girls whom she had never seen before. She quietly stood up behind a drain pipe and watched a ritual she had seen many times.

Herbie took out his cell phone and whispered into it while standing at the opposite end of the sleepers to his buddy Jake. They waited, certain of what was going to happen and what they had to do. Sure enough a couple of minutes later a police car sped round the corner and came to a halt as Herbie and Jake started kicking the sleepers and shouting at them to wake up. Two more cops leaped out the car and in minutes they had handcuffed all six kids who were barely awake. The chief cop from the car barked,

“Okay Herbie, Jake, what have they done. Read them their rights, show them the evidence and get them down the cells. Right?” It didn’t take long, but Fritzy piped up as Herbie pulled a packet out of the boy’s jeans.

“Wow, fellahs, look what Santa’s give me. Tell me, dude, you put it there wot is it? Coke, smack, something really deeeelicious? Well, honkey you can stuff it up yo ass coz it ain’t mine.” This earned him a backhanded really hard smack round the face that knocked him over. Resisting arrest and starting a fight were added to his charges. He spat in Jake’s face as Herbie backed away.

But the whole interruption gave one of the last two girls, Charlene, the chance to fish in her pocket and take out a few dollar bills from her trouser belt which she expertly stuck down the back of Barry’s collar. She whispered,

“That’ll buy you another jab, brother, I can see you need it.” Then she and the final girl, 14 year old Winnie, were charged with prostitution. They never turned a hair, but Carrie lost her rag and let out a stream of foul mouthed invective at the senior policeman. That was when the cops found the gun under her pillow.

“How much ammo you want in this chief?” Jake asked. I planted it empty.” He was told three. The girls and the two boys were bundled into a van and Herbie shouted he’d bring the junkie in his own car. Suddenly only two of them were left as the mattresses, kids, everything were driven off and it looked as though nothing at all had happened. Just Herbie and Barry and the hiding Kathy were left. The dawn was breaking. A strange melodius breeze was blowing, like a film score from a Sergio Leone film, and Barry was getting freezing cold. Kathy still looked on in resigned, depressed, hopelessness wondering what would happen. She wasn’t surprised.

Herbie suddenly became the cheery, helpful cop who strolled up to Barry and helped him to his feet. But what he said was far from cheerful. “Look son, we arranged so my buddy gave each of dem girls $50 so to make dem look whores. But I saw one slip her payroll down your collar. But I’m a good guy. I’m a policeman, I help people. So how about you lighten your weight by forty bucks, gotta leave you enough to buy another needle, and I’ll slip you two full syringes? Deal?”

“Barry nodded. Where do I get de stuff, Mister? They arrested my guy last night?” Herbie smiled.

“Lefty Malone works de corner of Maine and 42nd and we ain’t lifting him before tomorrow. He’ll see you okay,” and he jumped into his car and was gone. Barry shambled away in the vague direction of 42nd street. But didn’t really know where he was going.

At last, in daylight, Kathy left her hiding place and had to find some way of getting something to eat. She only knew one way. The First City Credit bank two blocks away was the easiest to spy on. She took up her usual place by the news stand close to the cash dispensing machines. Soon a prime target walked up. A well dressed, rich looking middle aged lady who fiddled in her hand bag before finding her wallet.Eventually she found her credit card, dropped it, picked it up dusted it and finally put it in the wall. It was kid’s play for Kathy to see and memorise the pin numbers. The lady withdrw $250 and just stuffed it in her wallet and made a show of where she put the credit card. This was going to be sooo easy!

Kathy followed her two blocks and then tripped in the kerb as they went to cross the road, knocking the bag out of the woman’s hand. Removing the wallet was so simple she almost laughed. Two blocks further on and to the left she picked another machine and easily removed $400 thinking that might be as much as it would pay. Well, limit or not it paid it. She made straight for the nearest diner and ordered a really big breakfast. Half way through it a rich, middle aged lady tapped her on the shoulder and said,

“Don’t worry honey. Eat your nice breakfast, you need it. Oh and keep whatever you took, it pays $500 but I don’t suppose you took that much. It’s not mine anyways so who cares.” Kathy was petrified. What did the lady want, what did she mean? She soon found out.”Look you’re very young and pretty and if you work for me, you know what I mean, we can make a packet. Otherwise it’s the cops again. Your choice babe!”

Kathy had had enough.She still had the card, although probably now worthless, and a lot of money. She decided to save herself. “Okay, I’ll come with you.” The lady had a coffee as the girl finished her meal. But when they got to the exit Kathy slammed the glass-plated doors hard into the woman’s face and just ran. She didn’t even slow for fifteen minutes, but nobody was following. She smiled and said to herself,

“Well at least I can afford to sleep indoors tonight. Maybe even tomorrow too.” And she smiled up at the statue in the distance with its torch and it’s message of hope for all. What Kathy didn’t see were the tears running down the statue’s face.

AWE

NOT LONG NOW


1st of three poetry prompts based on famous quotes, this inspired by my wife. In September 1914 at the start of WW1 10,000,000  Britons said ” It will be over by Christmas”. Here goes.

 

 

NOT LONG NOW

The journey had been long and hot

Both their animals could barely trot,

He smiled, saying to his pretty wife,

Who was also carrying another life

For she was pregnant too, poor lass, 

“Mary! It will be over by Christmas”

 

Anton Wills-Eve

 

 

 

FOR JUDY


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

in fond reply to the exquistely short four words that Judy Dykstra-Brown dedicated to me. The first two lines are hers, on the subject of a 23 year old porn star’s lament at the death of her 91 year old Husband. My addition sees it from the hubby’s point of view.

 

                                       FOR JUDY

Her grief

Was brief

His smacker

Much slacker.

 

AWE

 

THE NEWS THAT TRAVELLED SLOWLY


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/break-the-silence/”>Break the Silence</a>

nothing to do with the prompt!

 

Well, as I seem to be number 2 in Jennifer’s new site and as she’s given me the words LUCKY LOSS I thought I’d tell you a true story.

—- ———————–

THE NEWS THAT TRAVELLED SLOWLY

Many years ago, far too many, I was a war correspondent for a major news agency in Vietnam and Cambodia. Yes, yes, war’s hell and all that, but sometimes it isn’t, it’s simply unbelievable.

When the war spilled over into Cambodia in the spring of 1970 I was sent from Saigon to the Cambodian side of the Mekong to find out what was happening. I’d spent a month in Phnom Penh in 1968 as a guest of Prince Sihanouk as his son and I were students together in Paris four years earlier. Journalists were barred from Cambodia then, but I got in as a friend of the family. But when I returned in March 1970 the family had fled and civil war had broken out. It was considered only a matter of weeks before American troops would join in.

Well I dealt almost exclusively with breaking political and diplomatic news in those days, even if it was military, but nobody on any side had a clue what was going on. Then by luck I met Bertrand, a French friend from my 1968 visit who said he had unearthed a very good story and he had a car, gold dust in the jungle roads. He drove me for hours to a remote village where he said he had heard of an extraordinary commune.

I’ll say he had. I was confronted by a community of about forty people making up some six families who were either French colonials left over from before the second world war, or their first or second generation children. All ages from about seven months to seventy years. They were petrified of us.

My friend introduced himself and then me by name only. One fellow in his sixties thought I was Japanese and went to get a gun, before I reassured him in fluent coloquial French that I was a Scottish Australian. Soon the whole commune were surrounding us rejoicing in the news that world war two had ended. As you can imagine, this posed a problem for Bertrand and me because we knew we had to somehow arrange their return to safety and preferably in France. Then we got a shock. They didn’t want to go!

I explained how the world had changed, the looming danger of another war that would certainly kill them if it found them, as it would. But still they preferred to stay. I had to know why so asked some of the apparent acknowledged leaders of the group. And this was what I was told.

“Monsieur. We came out to Asia because we thought life in the colonies would be so much better than the amoral and immoral mess that Europe had become. We chose Phnom Penh because of its reputation for peace and tranquility and of course most people spoke French. But some thirty years ago the Japanese invaded and we fled into the jungle with only our easily portable belongings. We walked for weeks until we had to rest. We stopped here.Mon ami, we were so exhausted we just slept. There were seven of us then, three girls and four men, and we did not wake up for two days. We had no idea where we were and so decided to stay here until someone found us, praying they would not be Japanese.

“Well, here you are. The first people we have seen since we arrived and built a new life for ourselves. And it is lovely. Peaceful, plenty of edible vegetation and the occasional buffalo to eat. It is paradise. You are very kind, but we are staying. Oh, and all of us have agreed we are not giving you our names. We do not want to be found.”

Bertrand and I wished them god speed and were totally unable to decide what to do about them as we drove back over the rough jungle tracks to the Cambodian capital. Half way back a sudden mortar attack, about six shells, landed very close to the car and we were lucky to escape as it was first blown on its side and we scrambled out minutes before it blew up. Immediately several Cambodian irregular army guerrilas surrounded us but could see by our ordinary clothes that we were not soldiers. Luckily Bertrand spoke quite reasonable Cambodian. He told them what had happened and they escorted us to a nearby village where we got transport back to civilisation, of a sort.

What do you suppose happened then? Before we had a chance to talk to anyone who mattered Bertrand had a total blackout from the delayed shock of the escape from the car. He spent days in hospital, but even when I wrote to him last he could not remember a thing about our jungle discovery. And worse still, nobody would believe a word of my story. The company wouldn’t even publish it. So eventually I returned to Europe and just hoped that little commune was safe and happy. If it was then Bertrand’s amnesia really was a Lucky loss.

AWE

 

 

A PLANE RELATIONSHIP


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/delayed-contact/”>Delayed Contact</a>

my wife really does do all this!

 

A PLANE RELATIONSHIP

 

I adore my wife and she still adores me

She’s fifty seven and I’m sixty three.

So, with Jane’s next birthday coming up soon

I wanted to buy a present really in tune

With everything she likes doing best of all

I hope I’ve passed. I’m awaiting  her call.

 

Now Jane isn’t  the same as most other gals,

She loves our kids and gets on with the our pals,

No, it’s her work and hobby that’s rather odd

She’s obsessed with getting ever closer to God.

Not a religious nut or anything strange or queer,

My wife’s an aeronatuical designer and engineer.

 

Her working life’s spent designing helicopters,

And flying old planes and even gyrocopters.

The first female in England to gain a Ph.D

In frightening the  living daylights out of me.

I’d enjoyed four hundred odd flights before we met

But since that day I’ve not enjoyed a single one yet.

 

She told me in detail all that could go wrong

When taking off, landing or the whole flight long.

She knew all the ways an aeroplane could crash

And the chances of surviving even if you splash

Down in the sea and somehow get out of the ‘kite’

There is often the fear of a killer shark bite.

 

She loves all planes, but not like she loves me

So today my son’s driving her, she thinks, to see

An air display. But guess my secret present for Jane

Yes! an hour flying herself in an ancient bi-plane.

She’ll be flying all alone in the great blue yonder

While I’m left alone at home to wonder and ponder

 

All she’s told me could cause her plane to stall

With only her parachute left to break her fall.

But I know she’ll be in heaven while she’s up there,

Or go straight back to heaven if she doesn’t take care.

No, I shouldn’t worry at her unusual enjoyment

There is far more boring feminine employment.

 

So when she gets home and thanks me proper,

And probably asks me to buy her her own ‘chopper’,

Hang on, my phone, it’s my son…. “Mum’s what?!

Crashed on landing, not hurt, but you think a lot

Of damage to the plane as she made three passes.

You’re joking! She was flying without her glasses?”

 

That night, remorseful, but overjoyed and thrilled

Jane apologised for nearly getting herself killed.

“But darling, she added, as she snuggled up to me,

I had an awful lot of fun and suffered no  injury.

The insurance covered it all, and I suffered no pain.

They return the £ 300 flight fee, so could I do it again?”

 

AWE

HASTA LA VISITOR


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/history-of-language/”>History of Language</a>

“third time’s the charm.” 100% true to the prompt but PLEASE forgive the title.

HASTA LA VISITOR

Poor  Maria. All the children in the village were going to the festivities to celebrate the great feast day, but la  pobrecita had to stay at home. Her mother was very ill and there was nobody else to look after her. She was especially upset because she had met a great young chap at her nineteenth birthday party the week before and had hoped to go to the fun and games with him. But she did shed a tear as she saw him laughing with the others and holding  Consuela’s hand. She turned on the television and was horrified.She hated Westerns and quickly turned it off. The widow, Isabella de Catana y Alcantara, in the next street would also be on her own so she’d go and cheer her up while her mother nodded off for a nap. As she entered the widow’s room she heard the cd player blaring out some lovely waltz music so Maria sat and listened.

A minute later a middle aged man knocked on the door and the lady called, “Ah, come in Alfonso. They are playing our tune.” Both of them laughed and the widow actually stood up to attempt a dance with him but her legs were not up to it. “Dance with Maria, then, she is very good.” Maria had to agree but, Oh, la pobre nina. The man stank of garlic and was a pretty awful dancer as well. When the music ended she politely excused herself. Just before she reached her door, however, a horse came charging round the corner with a rough looking man in the saddle looking scared stiff. As he drew level with her he fell from his mount which carried on into the dusty distance. He clutched his leg.

Maria knelt down to see how badly hurt he was, and got a nasty shock. The man could not stand up. “What are you afraid of?” asked Maria as she could see a dark dread in his eyes. He looked up at her and decided she could be trusted,

“I am Diego and I am running away from my Ranch manager. He caught me trying to steal money from his house and he is much bigger than I am. Can you shelter me? Por el amor de dios” He looked both hurt and desparate, so Maria helped him into her house and offered him some soup. But as she approached him with the bowl he tried to grab her and force unwelcome kisses all over her face. She screamed, waking her mother, but also attracting a man pacing up and down outside. It was the ranch manager and he guessed Diego was inside. Drawing a gun he dashed into the room where the screams rang out. Diego spun round,

“Luis! Have mercy on me. Do not shoot. I will return the money and do whatever you say! “But Luis was not looking at him. He had eyes only for Maria and they were not wasted. Maria had never seen such a handsome, charming man and her heart went out to him in her distress at being found in such a situation. But he understood and took her in his arms crying. “Cual es su nombre, cosa joven y bella?” All she replied was ‘Maria’.

At this a new American voice from the doorway shouted, “Okay, everyone, cut. That’ll do for today. Three scenes, not bad. You were great Dolores, but Henrique, not so much Spanish, eh? This ain’t going to be shown in Spain or Mexico. It’s for the European market.

Anton Wills-Eve

NOTA BENE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/three-coins-in-the-fountain/”>Three Coins in the Fountain</a>

I have

 

 NOTA BENE

 

What a nice prompt. Right up my via. I am currently on a three coins in the fountain wait to return to Rome.  Or am I?

Before leaving the last time I was in the eternal city I threw my three coins  in the Fontana di Trevi like I always did before leaving town. I worked and lived there a lot in the 1960’s. However my last actual contact with the city was somewhat strange. I was working as a journalist in Asia in 1970 when my father had his second heart attack and the company flew me back to see him as he wasn’t expected to live. Well the flight back made three stop overs between Singapore and London, to wit Karachi, Cairo and Rome.

Now, does visiting an aiport outside a city’s limits count as a visit to that city? I don’t know. So are my last three coins alive and waiting for me or not? I could drop Pope Francis a line and ask him, but being Argentinian he possibly wouldn’t know. Pity, because the one  trip I want to make again before I die is to fly to southern central France to see someone I love, and then on to Rome to try to manage the train journey from there to Umbria to visit Cascia, the burial place of somebody who has helped me more than any other in my life.

But I suppose, if I think of it, the superstition of the coins and my deep  spiritual love of St.Rita, patroness of hopeless causes and advocate of the impossible, are not things that should be conflated. The first is just a nice, charitable custom. The second is part of everything I hold most sacred and dear to me. So let’s just hope that my health improves enough, and then holds out long enough, for me to do my pilgrimage and if I come back through Rome I shall toss three notes into the fountain instead of coins.

After all, when they empty the fountain that evening to gather up the coins to give to the poor the ‘poveri’ will be a little bit better off than they would have been. I also think my spiritual friend would prefer it too!

 

Anton Wills-Eve

DON’T MAKE OBSTACLES


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/obstacle-course/”>Obstacle Course</a>

mea culpa

DON’T MAKE OBSTACLES

I had a day off work and some very unusual obstacles in my way yesterday, I’ve had one before but not to this degree. Time! By the time I got around to settling at the computer I reckoned I had some twelve hours straight  free for writing, allowing for natural functions such as not eating etc. So I picked up my novel and started where I had left off the night before, at page one. I thought another 15,000 words yesterday would be a doddle. Oh, if you are wondering, I aimed to work 8.00am to 8.pm.

Now this is a fascinating novel all about life, religion, angst, romance and filled with belly laughs and tears. It would lead to a certain Pullitzer- no I’m in the wrong country for that – have to be a Nobel Literature Prize. You know the sort of masterwork. Like Hermann Hesse’s classic “Die Glas Perle Speile”, which we can all nod knowledgably at when mentioned, but don’t understand it in German or English, can’t spell it in either, and assume it must be brilliant because the Scandinavians say so. You know the type of book, like Sigrid Unsted’s Norwegian classic rip roaring yarn “Katerina Laverenstader”, which takes five hundered pages for a mediaeval nun to die of the black death. Real can’t put down – when going to bed – stuff. Works better than valium too.

Anyway my contribution to the world’s fifty greatest ever books had really inspired my muse. I wish I knew which one I’m controlled by, I often need a word with her, who had told me the only truly great story never told – truthfully – was my own autobiography. But where to start? Do you crack in at the high point in your late twenties when everything is coming to the boil at once and you know your readers will never put the book down? Or do you take pity on them and begin with your birth and gradually introduce your fascinating, larger than life characters, so that by the time you are twenty eight in the book your readers know who everyone is? I had to consider this carefully as I didn’t actually remember my birth very well and my mother’s two sisters, who were not present at the event, had both given me incredibly viviid and totally different accounts of the event? My mother’s only contribution that I can recall is telling me that after her seven hours labour was over and I was born the wrong way round, she shouted “Well that bastard’s not going back in there!” The explanation for my odd positioning on entering this earth was best explained by her golf pro who told her that, earlier that day, she had hooked her drive to the fourth so badly it was probably the cause of my five weeks prematurity and had also turned me round inside her. She was rich enough to fire him.

But given that I was born I then had to decide how to approach the masterpiece. Should I write in the first or third person? My lovely Italian wife Francesca brought me in a cup of tea at this point, 10.00am and one paragraph contemplated, and on learning the problem said she didn’t really think it mattered. “Darling you speak fluent Italian, French, Spanish and some German. Why not make every fifth sentence a different language. Your publisher would like that.” Oh she of little faith, but an absolute corker of an idea you know. So I flexed my fingers and began THE BOOK.

Nací el domingo 10 de mayo de 1942 como bombarderos alemanes todavía sobrevolaban la zona. Aber das Krankenhaus Krankenschwestern wurden keine Angst und sah nach meiner Mutter und mir sehr gut. I came into the world at one minute into that Sunday morning  so, according to the old rhyme, I was ‘the child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny, and blithe and good and gay’. Anche io sono molto sicuro che ognuno di tali previsioni si è sbagliato, soprattutto l’ultima. Je suis né le jour de la fête de Saint Antonin et ma mère avait toujours dit qu’elle allait me donner mon nom du saint natal, en anglais. Alors, j’ai été appelé Anton. Well, be fair that wasn’t too bad. My world shattering opus had got as far as naming me and it was not quite noon, four hours into my labours.

The trouble was that my muse,was flaming because I hadn’t included Greek and that was her language. That might be why I seldom follow her or understand her. But she did once inspire me to say Hagia Sofia, which is roughly the sound of Holy Sofia in Greek, so maybe that was her name. I pondered this over the ham salad and strawberries and cream that my wife placed beside me for lunch, and after returning from the loo around half past one I thought the target 15,00o words was looking unlikely. But I consoled myself with the fact that I had never set out to use five languages. But I also needed an informed opinion, and as Francesca spoke all five languages as well I decided to ask for her comments so far. After all I didn’t want to waste my time. The response was roughly like this, remember it was August the eighth 2015.

“Antonino caro, I know you want to write a masterpiece but this is not it. You have just created obstacles for yourself all day to be put out of your misery, haven’t you? It’s after two pm, you are an Australian and England have just thrashed you out of sight at cricket and won the current series three matches to one with still a game to spare. Well, darling it’s all over, England won before noon.

“So be a man and drive up to the cricket club to watch your young son playing in the game there today. You’ll take a lot of stick, but it will hurt a lot less than spending your time writing this tripe!” I hugged her, thanked her, and took her advice. The lad scored quite a few runs and everyone was very nice to me. But it was after 8.00pm when we got home, and my target had been missed by a far bigger margin than our defeat by England.

 

AWE

MY BEST BEDTIME BOOK


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/bedtime-stories/”>Bedtime Stories</a>

favourite childhood bedtime  story

MY BEST BEDTIME BOOK

Every night from six or seven years old onwards, and on and off ever since I regularly read “Butler’s Lives of the Saints”.

The effect it had on me? I have a degree at the Sorbonne in hagiography (History of the Saints) and then in the US a Ph.D in the subject. A pretty strong effect I think.

 

AWE

 

YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T, YOU KNOW!


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/daily-prompt-8/”>From You to You</a>

 a letter to myself at 14

YOU REALLY SHOULDN’T, YOU KNOW!

Look, I know it’s an important game at the weekend, and I know how much you want to do well but you’ll make yourself ill if you carry on like this. No, seriously you really will. I’m sure you’re playing a Lizst rhapsody or something equally calming for your whole body. I’m sure it’s beautiful, but can’t you just stick with that? Your music at least doesn’t bring on your agoraphobia, at least not when you’re alone at home.

You know, mate, there are four days to go to that match. In that  time you’ll have had to somehow walk or get a lift to the Abbey and school, there and back, eight times which half kills you. I know once inside the buildings, well only some of the abbey, you calm down, but you often miss breakfast and then lunch because you can’t swallow at a table with a lot of people without choking. Then, like the idiot you are, you throw your homemade sandwiches away so you can play football or cricket and get in some piano practice before afternoon school. You really are stupid.

But it’s the game that worries me. Look you can’t cross a large open space without hyperventilating and sometimes even fainting. You make excuses if people see you, but it’s taxing your mental and physical resources dreadfully. I know you find the phobia dies down if you join in a kick about with other boys, or practice in the cricket nets right next to the pavillion, but your lessons are starting to suffer given the state you’re in by the time you return to learning. Okay when you’re with your mother or sister or a close female relative you know you can hang onto them if you have to, and some understand your problem. But you’re fourteen and a quarter now so you can’t hang on to another boy, can you? Well maybe David, he knows how ill you are and often walks home with you so he can put his arm round your shoulder if he has to, but there’s no one else.

Okay, it’s 1956 and most people would think you’re far too young for a girlfriend, but couldn’t your sister ask Sandy or Theresa or someone your age at her school to help? They’ve known you for a long time now and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind helping you, even if it embarrassed you to tell them what was wrong with you. Yes, Yes, everyone at school would notice and rib you rotten, but isn’t that better than doing what you do? And don’t worry about getting over fond of them, all that sort of thing will worry the pants off you, well probably not literally, in a couple of years, so why not start early and help yourself?

I know the doctors can’t give any stronger tranquilisers to somebody your age, but they don’t work anyway, so why even take them? Well allright they help a bit but not that much. But what I’m really afraid of is what you’re going to do when you’re picked for the team on Saturday, and you’ve been doing it too long now. Four years isn’t it, at an average of once or twice in the same week for twenty odd weeks in the year? You know what I mean. In order to control your nerves enough to stay on that cricket field for as much as you have to, especially fielding miles from anyone, you drink about two thirds of a bottle of neat spirits – gin, whisky, brandy whatever you can find or even mix! –  about fifteen minutes before the game.

Fine, it works, even if your almost alcoholic parents are starting to notice, but how long can you keep it up? Maybe until your twenty if you’re lucky and then you’ll be both addicted to drink and suffering from an incurable anxiety neurosis which is driving you round the bend as it is! So look mate, cut out the booze and if it means no more golf or cricket well so be it. There are people far more physically handicapped than you who have to do without lots of things they want. Anyway, just take my advice and behave sensibly. You never know you might fall in love and that would teach you a lesson. Seriously, though, do stop the booze. I mean, imagine what will happen when you have to pay for it yourself!

AWE

THEY ARE NOT ALL LIKE THAT!


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/isnt-your-face-red/”>Isn’t Your Face Red</a>

showing off!

THEY ARE NOT ALL LIKE THAT!

It was my last term at school and I had just had my eigtheenth birthday (May 10) and only had two important exams left before I could do what I liked for the final 6 weeks. But oddly, I was feeling a bit nostalgic as I thought back over the eleven years I had spent at a place which had provided me with so much enjoyment in sport and learning and where I had made so many great friendships, not least with God. But within the limitations of our earthly life the greatest thing school had given me was an undying love of classical music, 40 minute lessons twice a week for 31 terms, especially playing the piano. So during lunch break I wandered over to the music room and asked the music master,

“If you’re not doing anything  important that involves using the piano,Sir, would you mind me enjoying myself for about twenty minutes?” He smiled,

“Oh no, it’s Rachmaninov! Yes of course you can, but something you know I’ll like.” We had nineteen ordained monks on the school staff and about 40 more lay teachers, male and female. But of all the lay teachers he had become far and away my best friend. I knew he loved Opera,especially Mozart, so I decided to play a ten minute impromptu variation on one of the the best known arias. But I couldn’t resist the Rachmaninov jibe and started with a bravura rendering of the g minor prelude from opus 25. He almost laughed.But For the whole 10 minutes of the Mozart he was silent. When I finished he was sitting there looking very puzzled.

“Anton, what on earth was that supposed to be? You were obviously messing about with some Mozart, and some of it was brilliant and some lovely, but what was it variations on?” I told him ‘Soave sia il vento’ an aria from Cosi Fan Tutte, but thought that maybe I had messed about with it too much.

“Too much?” he laughed, “You have just played me a complete piano adaptation from start to finish of the opera’s overture. I love ‘Soave sia il vento’ so go home tonight and compose me a ten minute set of variations on that alone. It can be your leaving present to me.” It was a lovely idea and I did it in about three evenings, but boy did I feel a fool when I realised what I had done at first by playing the overture and not the variations. It taught me not to show off!.

Anton Wills-Eve

SOFT PAW CORN


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dictionary-shmictionary/”>Dictionary, Shmictionary</a>

my second prompt today.

 

SOFT PAW CORN

 

We’ve got a really lovely dog,

We’ve had Fred all his life

But now he’s at that awkward age

He’s looking for a wife.

 

Two doors down there lives a lady,

Who’s got a sexy female Poodle.

So Fred went up to this little cutie

Barking, “can you and I canoodle?”

 

Well Poodles only speak in French

But liked Fred all the same.”

“Je m’apelle Fifi, Monsieur” she woofed

Barked Fred, “ Well, Fred’s my name.”

 

Now, dogs have two legs at each end

Not quite like you and I.

So when they fancy loving 

The gal stands before the guy.

 

Late one afternoon our little daughter

Came upon such a scene

And rushed to tell me, “Daddy you’ll

Never guess what I’ve just seen.

 

I think Fifi’s had an accident

She must have hurt a leg or paw

Cos Fred’s pushing her to the vet,

And I think he shuts at four.”

 

My little Jenny was expecting me to help.

I calmed her and told her Fifi was okay.

I said, “They’re only making little puppy dogs”.

Well, tell me, what else could I say?

 

Said Jenny, “Dogs mated to make puppies,

At school that’s what they told us all in class.

And I don’t think they seem too matey,

Look! Fifi’s even fallen over on the grass.

 

“Oh dad, the’re kissing, they really are in love.”

She said, as the dogs went behind a tree.

Boy was I glad, because what Fifi was kissing,

Was the one thing my Jenny didn’t see.

 

Back home, Mum said “She is what we call a bitch.

Was she on a lead or did her owner call?”

To which Jenny, with a deep frown, replied

“Oh no Mum. That bitch wasn’t there at all!”

 

Anton Wills-Eve

 

THE WINDOW CLEANER’S LAMENT


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dictionary-shmictionary/”>Dictionary, Shmictionary</a>

prompt? 

 

THE WINDOW CLEANER’S LAMENT

 

I have downloaded windows 10

My laptop’s been updated.

So in all matters technogen

My curiosity’s fully sated.

 

My Wife adores the coloured screen,

But I never told the kids or cat

The rules of using my machine

“Don’t dare touch the keys, or that!!”

 

It took hours to fix with tool and screw,

No time to blog, play golf or eat

I worked all night, the moon was blue,

But today my family gave me a treat.

 

They made me shut my eyes “surprise!”

Gave me breakfast and when it was done

A beautiful new laptop sat before my eyes

“Oh thanks. And it’s Windows 8.1!”

 

Anton Wills-Eve