Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Month: December, 2015


<a href=””>A Brand New You, Effective Tomorrow</a>

Tomorrow you get to become anyone in the world that you wish. Who are you? You can choose to be anyone alive today, or someone gone long ago.


                               NO CHANGE IN MY PURSE  


At last, a prompt after my own heart! It might win it too. What a choice. My first inclination was to go for someone from ages past, Cleopatra.

Do I see raised eyebrows around the yuletide fire? I have a reason. Think of all the money it would save me not having to go to Brasil for an extremely expensive sex change operation. Yes, but then I would have to want to become a woman, and I don’t. I have not long mastered the art of being totally male, masculine as well, so I think being queen of the Nile would not attract me that much. And all that fiddling with the asp. God what a way to go. No I’ll stay gendered as I am.

But the question still arises shall I be someone whose life I know in full or someone still with us? A tricky question that. You see if I knew when I was born, how I lived and when I died I would have no more surprises left. But I would have the advantage of knowing all the mysteries of the next life. Yet then I would have to choose to be someone who was deemed almost a saint while on earth. Hmm…. I’m not sure I could quite manage to resist as much temptation as that. But I would like to be certain that Heaven lay in wait for me because I really would miss my friends in paradise.

But on looking around at the people alive today the choice is awful. Age is very important. Would I want to be a young, shy, lovelorn youth tongue tied whenever he met a girl who tickled his fancy? No, I couldn’t go through all that again. It’s fun to look back on but was hell to go through.

Well would I like to be a dashing hero in his early twenties, king of pop, God of sport or Hollywood actor who had every female in the world panting after him? Well good looking enough, yes, but fighting them off? Oh no. That would put me off passion fruit for life, and true love might pass me by completely.

Well, how about a successful 40 something with loads of cash and able to shower everything he wished on his adored wife and kids? Yes, but it could become boring. And much as I loved her she might be enamoured of ‘another’ and where would that leave me? With enough money to get drunk in my misery every night and die of alcoholic poisoning at an early age.

This is actually getting quite tricky. The problem with aiming to be someone aged 60 plus would mean keeping up a variety of interests to stop me reflecting on nearing my end while entering the last quarter of my allotted span. Well if I could be a head of  state or government that might serve, but look at the crowd we’ve got around today. I cannot think of any government leader with whom I would swap places. But there would be many, I am sure, who might be happy to live as obscurely as I do.

So I think that in the end I might just settle for being me. Okay I am seriously ill – 2016 might never change its last digit – but at least I can look back with pleasure on those I have loved in my life, on the happy as well as the sad moments and, above all, reflect that all in all I haven’t had such a bad time. Okay I’ve been caught up in seven wars, but I have also covered four olympic games, many top sporting events including a lot of major golf and tennis tournaments. Also I have made friends both with heads of state and workers in the poorest quarters of the world helping the ill, the old, the destitute and the bereaved. And most importantly of all I know I have not lived the life of a hero or a saint, but those moments when my courage has failed me, or temptation has been too great for me to resist, have never depressed me so much that I have lost my love of God or the people he created.

No, I’ll brave it out and see how much longer I have to go. But the one regret I will always have is that I will not be around to see how all the grand designs for the future, as set out by today’s ideologists, actually pan out. But maybe a friend or two in Heaven might let me have a peek at earth in 3000 AD if I’m a very good boy!




<a href=””>Childhood Revisited</a>

My earliest memory (7 months) is not detailed enough  so here is a latest look into the future instead.


It’ll be new year in a couple of days and the new year will be a presidential election year. Now I wonder how many of us can name all the people running for their parties’ nominations. In the US maybe a lot of you, but over the pond here in the UK and Europe probably only Trump and Clinton. That really is worrying because usually by this time most informed Brits and Europeans can name at least three possible front runners from each party at the start of a year when a president has to stand down. I may be the exception because I follow US politics, but beware of world opinion at the moment. Most people neither know nor care who becomes president because Obama has shown that the job, hard though he tried, is one which carries very little meaningful influence and absolutely no personal power – unless you are a mentally unabalanced multi billionaire like Trump.

Current polls over here place Hilary on 70% and Donald on 30% in a head to head vote and can’t name anyone else. For those of us who can comment on the subject I personally expect the GOP to shoot itself in the foot and eventually choose Trump, only to watch a late surge by Kerry, the Secretary of State, become the next president. He would be a good choice. Wouldn’t it be great if he re-wrote the first and second clauses of the constitution! Imagine what he could do. By straightening out the first one people would be free to express their ideas and feelings again, not just follow politically correct legislation which accentuates  putative offensive stances rather than making them disappear. Acts of discrimination of any type, religious, sexual, ethnic etc are already criminal offences under other sections of the law.

And if the second one was scrapped altogether nobody could carry a gun except in time of war, and then only in a federal army. The police might not like having to enforce the law without killing people, but it would actually be rather pleasant. They would also have to earn their salaries too. But I have no vote in the US, even though I hold the rank of lieutenant colonel in the US army, but I have a lot of close blood relations in four states and certainly care what sort of a world they will have to live in after next November’s ballot.  It would be nice to think that no guns and no fear of arrest whenever you opened your mouth could both disappear from my families’ lives. More tomorrow on 2016.






<a href=””>Fearless Fantasies</a>

How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear?


                                                  AN EXAMPLE OF AN INSANE PROMPT.


1 Were a human being incapable of feeling fear that would mean they could never be afraid.

2 Fear is a necessary natural feeling for everyone to have in order to be unhappy. But without being able to feel unhappy one cannot know what it is to feel happy either, there being nothing with which to compare it or by which to measure it.

3 Therefore no fear = no happiness.

4 Ergo no fear also = no human feelings at all.

5 Without feelings no human could exist.

6 Ergo, the person postulated in the prompt simply could not exist, well not as a human.






<a href=””>Un/Faithful</a&gt;

<a href=””>Young At Heart</a>

two for the price of one, my seasonal prompt post to yesterday and today!




I have included a lot of references in my 250 odd bloggs in the past couple of years to the spiritual side of my life and how I regard  both faith (yesterday’s prompt) and existence (today’s). So I thought a short but precise definition of how I regard both topics, which I consider to be one and the same, would be both seasonal and serve the prompter’s demands.

Well my Faith  is one of three cardinal virtues which exist and are available for all of us to put to good use in our lives as we have both a human (terrestrial) and spiritual (heavenly) nature. That is we each have a body and a soul. It is what we do throughout our lives in our human time that usually determines how we want to spend the whole of our existence  in the second. So what do I believe? And do note I say ‘believe’ because I cannot prove my beliefs any more than those of us who deny the existence of their spiritual soul and its function  can empirically prove that denial. If we could prove either then faith would not come into it. We would not need it would we? So given that I have a soul which does not cease to exist when my mortal body packs up, what do I actually think happens to me when I die?

Well, to start with I am a practising Christian, a Catholic one, whose soul was created by God. “Dear me”, do I hear some of you ask? Who on earth, or anywhere else for that matter, is this God of which you write? Indeed what is He, or She if such things as human gender even apply in  Heaven and hell and all that sort of spiritual world? I have a simple answer to that. I haven’t a clue! But that is where my Faith comes in. My belief in God and the whole question of creation is for me, and indeed everyone, a complete mystery. It is the ultimate mystery the explanation of which I cannot know while in human form.

But it’s not as daft as I make it sound. Let me explain. I was born into the world, universe, cosmos call it what you will, that people inhabit in human form by the biological process which God created in order to make us able to procreate limitless people like ourselves. Over billions of human years we have developed until we have become the humans which science explains us as today. But that is all science can explain. This is just the medical history of our human physiological development and, therefore, also how we anatomically work and keep alive while in human form. Where science cannot tell us anything  more is how we, or any cosmological atomic matter, was created out of nothing. That is the empirical and logical  limitation of scientific knowledge. We can always carry on our human and cosmological research ad infinitum because our brains are clever enough, but we will never be able to know everything because there is no limit to knowledge. Does anyone know of a number to which we cannot add one? No, ergo there is no limit to abstract mathematical thought. Is there any limit to the number of times we can halve an atom or atomic particle? No. And why, because we are capable of rationally accepting that all matter can be divided into two parts however small. So in short we can never know the physical limitations of our world.

But there is a part of us which can think about these things. There is a part of us that can wonder about  imponderable matters, without that being contradictory or tautologous. So we can pose the questions, which we cannot answer in the negative or affirmative, how did we become human and how did the world in which we live start? The big bang is no answer for all it does is hypothesise that something existed which could explode or implode in whatever way it did. Where did that come from? I don’t know. And nor does anyone. Atheists are people who choose to live within that part of existence which they can explore through physics, chemistry and mathematics, but always ignoring the spiritual side of their own selves. I know I have a spiritual nature because I use it to help me live. I am going to explain what I mean by that, but first I would like to mention the third type of human, the agnostic. That is someone who experiences the spiritual side of their natures but just cannot bring themselves to believe in a God or the idea even of a creator who made them. Fair enough. For many of us that is a very difficult thing to do if nothing sparks it off. But we all still have to decide whether we prefer the idea of atheistic infinity – nothing any more forever, or the hope that there is spiritual life for our souls after death. And the reason why we have to decide which of these eternal states exist for us is because they are the only possible ones there can be. So why am I a Christian who does believe, I would rather say knows, that there is a possible happy eternity for me? Let me tell you.

Above, I mentioned three cardinal, or most important, virtues that are available to all of us. These are faith, hope and charity, at least those are the Christian words for the three spiritual elements that exist in all people of all religions or none. But how do they make me believe in the Christian idea of a creator God, and most importantly a God who created me out of His love for me? From what I have said so far it is obvious that either a person is content to live without trying to explore the possibility of God creating them or they are not. That statement cannot be disputed by any form of human proof. Therefore everyone either decides, and it is a conscious decision, that life ends when they die or they try to find a way of keeping their souls alive and with a God who loves them for ever. Surely only a really hopeless person would choose the former. Everyone can and does practise the virtue of charity, which is simply showing their love for others by loving them, helping them and caring for them. That is the loveliest part of our human and spiritual natures that God created.

For those who do feel the spiritual attraction of a loving God with whom they can live for ever, if they believe God is theirs to be found, they will be happy on earth as well as for eternity. That is the virtue of faith. It is best defined by belief in what we want but the existence of which we cannot empirically prove.

But my Christianity is founded in its entirety on the fact that I spiritually and physically fell in love with God at a very young age, three and a half years, and He has never ceased loving me back. There are rules of conduct by which we should live, and  thus know when we have hurt someone we love and so we know when we have sinned. But the one thing without which I certainly could not live is Hope. Hope that when this world is over I will love God as much as I have always done, and he and his  Saints  will reciprocate that love, as they have always done, and I shall spend eternity in peace and love. And They will explain to me why so much suffering has to be endured on earth first, for although I accept this I still do not understand it.  

Finally, why on earth would any sane person not want the prospect of a happy eternity if they knew they could ask God to grant it to them? Okay, it’s not easy always being good, and I certainly have my fair share of sins piled high on my my shoulders. However I have an overwhelming feeling of so much love for my God that I cannot bring mself not to do all I can to help and pray for all my fellow men and women who do not know Him. Because He made them, He loves them and so, therefore, do I. All humans live dreadful lives at times, but that hope of everlasting light at the end of the tunnel can keep us going through the worst horrors of this world, and does if we ask for it. That really is all anyone has to do if, like me, they know God loves them.



<a href=””>Ebb and Flow</a>

the prompt asks me to imagine I am blogging in three years time.

It’s Christmas Eve again so, as every year, my post comes in the form of a Christmas poem for you all.


                                          CHISTMAS NIGHT


It’s Christmas ! It’s Christmas with snow on the ground

We’ve a fire and a tree and streamers all round.

Our house looks so lovely by candlelight

We’re all very excited – it’s Christmas night.


There’ll be presents, surprises and all sorts of treats,

Mince pies, Christmas pudding, our favourite sweets.

But we must write to Santa and send him our list;

If we don’t do it quickly our house may be missed.


We’ve asked for a doll and soft toys galore,

And a big wooden horse that rocks on the floor.

Some soldiers, a football and all kinds of games;

A tiger, an elephant – we’ll have fun with their names.


Some story books, paints, real golden rings,

Puzzles, a Teddy – Oh so many nice things.

They say Santa has got such a wonderful store

There’s nothing at all that you can’t ask him for.


We’re tucked up in bed rubbing sleep from our eyes

Hoping Santa will bring us a REAL surprise:

Something to show just what Christmas can be,

A present for everyone – not just you and me.


We’ve hung up our stockings, the family’s asleep,

But hush! Someone’s coming – we’d better not peep.

Let’s dive down in bed for a few moments more

So we won’t see a thing as he comes through the door.


When we open our eyes again – oh! what a sight!

The room is all filled with a wondrous bright light.

On our tree, near the crib,  there’s a shining white dove

And like the first Christmas star, it’s bringing us love.


Now we always have stars and a dove on our tree

So we and our friends and relations can see,

How each year our festivities remind us again

That Christmas brings peace and goodwill to all men!





<a href=””>Fandom</a&gt;

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.


                                       MY “FAN”TASY WORLD

Yes I am a sports fan, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, because I follow most sports with a deep and admiring passion. Also I am a sports fan in  the specific sense that I support particular teams and sportsmen and women above others in many different sports. I have also enjoyed playing a lot of sports very competitively, some very well, myself.

But I am afraid that I cannot discuss the subject of ‘fandom’, as the prompt setter requests, for the word does not exist. Shame really because the true lover of sport actually lives in a FANtasy world. Think about it. As a supporter of any team or person the true fan gets far more fun out of making up their own version  of what will happen before a contest in which they see their heroes winning, than having to live in the real world where no side or contestant ever wins every single time they play!

But being a fan only reflects what one would like to happen. The real sports follower is the person who actually supports their team or player by going to watch them, paying out money to be there and savour the moment be it glory or despair. But I am too ill now to go to live sports events and have to watch my heroes and heroines on television. But I still get worked up. My doctor says dangerously so and has banned me watching some sports teams in case they make me ill. If Scotland win a rugby international, Jenson Button wins a formula one motor race or Neil Robertson a snooker tournament I get quite animated and have to take tranqilisers. This applies to specific tournaments as well. The golf and tennis majors get me very uptight just because of their importance, and as for the Olympic Games, winter or summer, it’s the quest for British or Australian gold that turns me to jelly.

Now I live in a family where we are all as bad as each other. My late parents were cricket, soccer and rugby mad, my sons are keen followers of everything sporting and my daughter-in-law  cannot get enough track and field, gymnastics or tennis. I support Surrey at cricket and my wife Lancashire. Believe me when they play four-day long games against each other twice every summer not only do we have the daily eight hour, ball by ball, commentary on our separate tablets, but we hardly exchnge a civil word! You really can get that involved. Luckily we both support the same sides in everything else or our beautiful marriage would not be anything like as idyllic as it is.

But I have to admit that I really do place a large percentage of the greatest moments in my life  on sports fields or in arenas and at circuits  where great deeds  have been performed. And of all the sporting moments I have seen and gone over the moon about in 67 years the greatest is still back in October 1960. It was when Bill Maseroski hit that home run off the last pitch in the last inning of the last game to give the Pirates a 4-3 world series win over the Yankees in the greatest contest in any sport in my lifetime. Odd, isn’t it, because I have never been to a baseball match or played the game, but the fire my Pennsylvanian uncle put in my belly when talking about his team lit up like a beacon as I followed those seven games on the radio when I was at university in Paris.

I wish I understood what motivates sports FANatics. I mean just imagine my calm, sedate wife leaping six feet in the air off the lounge sofa and pumping the air with both fists when Button came from last to overtake the entire field in the last few laps and passed, the then unstoppable, Sebastien Vettel on the last corner to win that year’s Canadian Grand Prix motor race. That’s not love, it’s not charity – heavens only knows what it is. But if you suffer from bouts of human reaction at sports events like we all do then you know what I’m talking about. I just wish I did.




<a href=””>Safety First</a>

The closest I have ever come to death.



The only way to discover whether or not the main force of the rebel troops was on the Vietnamese side of the river when dawn broke was to risk taking helicopter reconnaisance flights along the edge of the river. This way we hoped to spot them before they took cover in the dense forest a few miles north of the temporary press corps H.Q.

It was a question of who would travel in the main helicopter, which held some 20 people, and who would fly in the little observation craft which only had room for the pilot and a gunner or journalist. The 23 members of the press who were assembled agreed to draw lots so 20 would go in the large Chinook and three would be alone in a small aircraft with just the pilot. Lucy had come out of the tent to watch. She was obviously very nervous and implored me not to go.

Darling do you have to? You could ask the others what’s happening when they return.” No way. I shook my head as I kissed and hugged her. She broke down and said she could not whatch them drawing lots for the unlucky three, so returned to a safer point. I drew a short straw.

The small helicopter I was in had an an excellent view of a wide strip of the River and I could see there were no troops anywhere near our position. I ordered the craft to return to base, but at that moment several shots rang out. The pilot, Charlie, shouted over the noise of the engine and rotor blades, “Don’t worry Sir, I can land her”. I was not so sure. In fact I was petrified and felt an awful panic attack starting.

The aircraft started to drift towards the treetops on the river bank getting further and further away from the press tents, until eventually they could not be seen at all. It was only then that Charlie admitted he thought the had lost a rotor blade and might not get the chopper down. I started to sweat and choke as we descended fast into the edge of the forest. About 25 feet from the ground I could risk no more ,

I’m going to jump Charlie, you will never land this thing”, were the last words I shouted. In desperation I pushed the gun mounting across my lap to one side, unfastened my straps and jumped. A branch almost hit me in the face but I somehow managed to hang onto it for a second or two slowing down my fall. Then I watched in horror as the whole aircraft exploded in a fireball above me. The branch snapped and I fell a long way before hitting the ground in agony and sank into merciful unconsciousness. I did not know it but I was trapped between a tree and the river bed half in the water and half wedged between two tree roots. Before entering the water, I learned later, my back had cracked against the tree trunk as I slid towards the Mekong.

I have decided to write the next part of this episode in my life in the third person, as my friends later described to me everything that happened on that last day that I worked with Lucy in Indo China. She had insisted on coming to Cambodia on my third posting there, saying that waiting for news of me in Singapore or Saigon was far worse.


The Chinook had not taken off when a helicopter was seen descending fast into the trees to the north of the journalists’ camp. Military personnel rushed towards the direction in which it was coming down when an almighty explosion totally destroyed the aircraft and its remains showered down into the trees. Nobody knew who was in it but radio contact with all three observation craft was made immediately. The pressmen on the large craft streamed off to see what was happening and the senior officer told them what had happened. He was still talking when Lucy raced up. Mike saw her and stopped her, putting his arms round her shoulder.

Luce, we don’t know which chopper it is yet, but they are checking the other two by radio now. I think we’d better wait here till we know who’s been lost. I’m afraid Anton, Joe and the Belgian radio man were the three in the small craft.” She almost fainted on Mike’s chest. Then she fell to her knees,

Oh dear God, not Anton. Please, not my ‘Ton.” She had seen so much horror in her time in Indo China that Mike knew she could not take this if it was her husband. They listened as the colonel updated everyone.

Ladies and gentlemen the two helicopters that are still airborne and safe contain Mr Joseph Williams of the United Press and Monsieur Guy Bichaud of the Belgian radio. We have no news of the condition or whereabouts of th… this point Lucy collapsed completely round Mike’s ankles and he knelt down and put his arms round her. He could not see her face but other friends and colleagues who approached them saw the tears streaming down his face. Of the people in that jungle clearing he was not the only one who could not control his feelings.

As the inferno that many of the military had seen explode in the trees by the waters’ edge was still crackling in the jungle, it was accepted that Anton and the pilot had both perished. The question of what to do with and for Lucy seemed to be the biggest problem. It was arranged that a small convoy would return to Saigon when she was recovered enough. However, this took several hours and it was well after noon before everyone was ready to set off. But just as they were about to leave one of the native scouts came running into the clearing waving his arms and then making for the US officers’ headquarters. He was met by one of the Americans, who spoke Vietnamese, and he in turn signalled to the convoy to wait. Then he ran across to the jeep that Mike and Lucy were in.

Mrs.Wills-Eve, hang on we may have some news. But please don’t hold out too much hope.” Lucy had been given some tranquilisers and did not seem too clear what was going on. Just as well. “Some native villagers on the riverbank have reported seeing a man jump from that helicopter before it exploded. He swung on a branch for a minute or two and then fell. But although they have searched the area they have found nothing. But I have told the colonel and he says we must have a proper search before it gets too dark. Some men have set off already.” The effect of this news on a confused Lucy was odd. She seemed to assume her husband had been found, but could not understand why he wasn’t with her. Mike took her back to the tent to calm her down.

The search went on until the very quick sunset began over the Mekong, and they were just giving up when an unmistakable whimper rather than a cry was heard coming from the bank. Two troopers reached Anton first and then stood back in horror.

He’s alive sir,” they said to their officer, “but he seems hurt real bad. Do we have a medic with this team?” They did, and men with a makeshift stretcher were also on hand. In the fading light the doctor could not see how badly hurt the patient was, but from the angle of his back, the length of time he must have been half in the water and the pitiful soft groans that were now constant, they all knew he had to be got to a hospital as quickly as possible. They carried him gently but speedily to the HQ where has was transferred to a proper ambulance to be driven to Saigon.

Lucy gradually returned to normal and could not contain her hope that they had reached her husband in time. She was present when he was carried towards the ambulance and dashed over to him. She looked down at him and realised how badly hurt he was. But as she got into the ambulance she thanked God that at least he was alive.


I have no recollection of anything before waking up in a sunny ward in a military hospital with an awful pain in my back and unable to move my legs. I was on my own and only the US flag on the wall of the ward told me where I was. But within minutes a male nurse came in and seeing I was awake imediately rushed to tell doctors, nurses and best of all Lucy. Without even knowing how badly hurt I was she put her arms round my neck and kissed me, the tears streaming down her face. I tried to raise my hands to touch her face but the pain was too much. I could barely speak, either and yet I had to ask her to let go of me as she was hurting me so much. She shot back in horror and then collapsed on a chair by the bed, her head in her hands.

The next few days, I had no idea it was more than a week at the time , were taken up with getting me sufficiently fit enough to be told I was being flown to hospital in America and my wife was coming with me. The day before we left Mike put his head round the door and was allowed to chat to me for a few minutes. Lucy told me how much he had helped her, but all he said was,

“You know how much I owe you, fellah, it was the least I could do.” The journey from the hospital to the plane was dreadfully painful but Lucy’s hand was better than any pain killers. She told me she had given the medical authorities a full run down on my health and soon I could feel the aircraft taking off as we set out on a new chapter in our life. How I would cope with my partial paralysis or occasional memory loss I had no idea. But I had my Lucy and what we did next is another story which you must remind me to tell you some time.




<a href=””>The Artist’s Eye</a>

let he who as eyes to see, behold……



I refuse to believe that anybody alive who has seen a painting, sculpture or any similar type of work of art has not reacted either positively or negatively to it in some way. I do not mean that everyone is an art lover, heavens no, but that art does not draw some level of response from the beholder I find very difficult to accept.

In my own case I am very lucky that I have travelled widely around the globe and seen many of the most beautiful paintings of all time. But which do I admire most in the sense that they have had the longest lasting, or made the strongest impression on me? Well given that I used to take visiting friends round the main galleries in Paris, London and Florence when I was at University you would probably expect me to be primarily a lover of Western Art. And then again a trip to the USA and their museums followed by my almost four years in the Far East could have touched a chord in me that reacted melifluously with Eastern art, but you would be wrong. Ever since I was about ten years old I was always fascinated by Byzantine inspired iconography and this reached its apotheosis when, in 1971, I spent a few days in Moscow and fell hopelessly under the spell of Andrei Rublev (c 1362 to 1429). Most art historians’ consider him to have been the greatest Russian Mediaeval painter. There are many, I included, who place him the greatest of all time.

But why should such basically not fully developed artistic works move me so much compared to the many later masters of other genres? A simple, single word answer. Love. He portrayed it as few others have ever managed, and more consistently peacefully and spiritually than anyone else at all. This is an example of his famous painting of the Holy Trinity, (see below) kept today in Moscow and through all Russia’s turbulent ages since it was painted around 1410, was always revered and guarded as a national treasure. It is the quiet, happy quality of the expressions of the mystery of God, his son and the Holy Spirit, happy and tranquil in their Trinity, that are literally a century earlier than any other school of art depicted anywhere.


Now my univrsity studies, mediaeval history, iconography, hagiography and philosophy never had any bearing on my future career as a journalist. But as I said it did give me the opportunity to take friends and relatives round famous galleries where most of them drooled over Leonardo, or the impressionists or cubists, – though how you could drool while squinting I cannot imagine – . Yet I always found myself going back to my early roots and to Byzantium and its following centuries of influence over Eastern European art for nearly a thousand years. I found myself lost in the universal good sense of the artist in realising, and managing to portray at the same time, the quality that is most important in spiritual love. His portraits show that anyone can love and forgive anyone else if they keep their feelings and emotions of revenge, anger and violence under total control when separating the person, the sinner if you like, from the the evil deeds they may have committed. Look at Rublev’s portrait of saint Paul, (below), that hangs in a Moscow gallery. Who else has ever depicted the writer of so many important letters on how men should live and behave to please others, and ultimately God, without a suggestion of censure in the face? And even more clever, note the way the majority of the head is bald, suggesting a wisdom beyond the ordinary. Few, if any, painters have captured those dual aspects of the author of so many early epistles.


But my favourite painting (below) of Rublev’s, which Mocow at the hight of the cold war also blessed me with, was Rublev’s beautiful picture of the Angel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary reassuringly, “Don’t worry my dear. There’s nothing wrong. God has done something wonderful for you, you are to have his son.” And as Gabriel smiles, so we can just see the light of an uncertain joy starting to form on the face of our Lady. You may not believe the Christmas story, but if, like me, you do, then that work of art sums up the most beautiful moment in our history more perfectly than anything else I have ever seen. I may be a Catholic but I am so glad the Orthodox church canonised Rublev in 1988.


So all I have left to say to all of you, whatever you believe or like looking at, is have a very Happy Christmas, for that is what Andrei Rublev would have wanted you to have.



<a href=””>Because the Night</a>

the most productive time of day, or is it night?

                OUR PRODUCTIVE HOURS

Isn’t it lucky I’m not a woman? No, listen; not that way! I mean in the context of the prompt. If I was a woman then I would know what  my most productive time was, all my kids would be born at times the doctors noted as they delivered the babies. It’s easy for the the fair sex to know such things beyond doubt.

But it’s very unfair on the unfair sex. How are we supposed to remember? I mean my late first wife and current second wife were gorgeous and eminently loveable at any time of the day. I am no prude but you surely don’t want me to go into details do you?

You do!? Okay, well firstly I have to count up the children I have and see if I can work it out. No, you’re right it’s hopeless. Gemma, my little girl who was killed, could have been begotten  at any one of four times between midnight and eight am. Then The twins were almost certainly sometime in the late afternoon. My eldest boy was the victim of gestation on a Malayan Beach at around 3.00am, I think, and my youngest son was definitely around eleven at night, in a hotel by the seaside in England. Then…..

What are you looking at me like that for? How the hell should I know how many more I’ve got? Some women never tell you anything!






<a href=””>Third Rate Romance</a>

the gift of tongues




What was I supposed to do? It was not just my first term or first week at university but my very first day. And to make it worse I had only been living in the country for just over a month and was eighteen years and four months old. But the academic authorities at the Sorbonne in Paris were very understanding and, for all first year non-French students, they laid on two hours of French language lessons twice a week for the whole of the first year.

It was late September and that was supposed to be enough to get our written scholarly French up to the standard of any clever French so and so by the end of the following May. Well I just looked round the classroom of twenty nine students and wondered if I could even talk vaguely sensibly to any of them. Okay, my French, Spanish and Italian were usable as I had studied them to university level at school in England, but I had never spent any lengthy spell of time chatting or writing to natives of those countries.

And worse, much worse, half that class seemed to be German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, and at least six varieties of Asians with whom I knew I hadn’t a chance. Oh well, I shrugged my shoulders and supposed we were all in the same boat. But we weren’t.

The chap in charge of his polyglot flock seemed very pleasant but spoke only in slow, correct and basic French. He told us that if anyone had serious problems he did have some English, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian so could try to help students from those countries but only when absolutely necessary. I almost gave up my scholasitic ambitions there and then because the prospect was daunting. But I had always had a roving eye and, as we could sit where we liked, I saw a really cute little Asian girl and bowed slightly before sitting next to her. My intentions were not totally linguistic. She smiled broadly and made a valiant effort to start a conversation.

“Qui escque que tu crois que est votre pays et nomme, Monsieur?” Boy! I could be in here, her French was much worse than mine. I spoke politely and slowly and said,

“Je suis Anglais, Mademoiselle, et je m’appelles Anton.” Her eyes lit up, as she floored me with her reply.

“Ohh! You GI Joe, no?” I shook my head as I repeated her no. Then an idea struck me. I had a historical atlas with me in my briefcase which I had been given that morning in the lecture theatre, so I opened it at a map of Europe and pointed firmly to England.

“Anglais!” I almost shouted pointing at my own chest. She frowned and then comprehension spread over her enlightened face.

“Blitish man?” she suggested a little tentatively. “You Blitish man, no GI. You fight for my countly 1953. You in Middersec legiment? So my father also, too. Hey, we beat clap outta dem commies, yeah?” This, I could tell might not turn out to be one of my best choices of amorous partner. I thought the only way to help this delightful South Korean girl, she must have been, surely, was to remind her we had to talk and work in French.

“Tell me your name, and reply in French.” The perfect reposte I thought. I was wrong. She was so pleased to find someone on whom she could practise her pidgin English that she at once shook her head.

“No, my pop tell me learn language good and plopper. So you and me we go out all time for you teach to me number one Blitish. Okay?” Well she was very pretty so why not? I smiled back,

“After this lesson we will go out together and I will teach you to speak English very well.”

“Fine,” she said. “but no funny business, okay? I got brack belt in kalate, see. No monkey business.” In truth it had never been my primary intention to play primates with her so I agreed, and after that lesson I never spoke to her again. Anyway, by then, I was eyeing a really dishy blonde on the other side of the room hoping to heavens she didn’t turn out to be as Francophobic as my first acquaintance.



<a href=””>Unexpected Guests</a>

the odd couple


I know you aren’t all as rich as I am and don’t own million dollar mansions near Las Vegas, but even those of you who could would have been amazed at what I found when I returned to my playboy’s castle in Nevada yesterday afternoon. I mean, who let them in? I asked my butler, Dashwood.

“I say, Dashers, old thing, who on earth are those people sitting cozily sipping tea and huge wedges of Dundee cake on the sofa in my lounge? I’ve never seen them before in my life. Did you admit them without even asking me?”

He drew himself up to his elegantly dressed five foot ten inches and deigned to enlighten me. “Indeed, it was with some reluctance, My Lord, but I felt I had no option. The rather self important middle aged gentleman with the well disguised hair piece slipped an identity badge into my hand, and the lady just puckered up and said ‘fruitcake, I’m with him.’ I mean, Sir, what could I do? The identity badge was an envelope with $10,000  in it and so obviously I had to be polite to his, how shall I put it, Moll.”

I sighed, it was so hard to get decent servants these days. It was my own fault as I had insisted that the successful applicant had to be openly devious but secretively cunning. I certainly got what I deserved when I hired him. “Well, did they give their names, or just order tea? ”

He coughed behind his hand. “I never admit strangers, My Lord. The gentleman said his name was Donald Trump – hardly likely to be a real name is it, I thought – and the lady said she had once been first, but was now just plain Mrs. Hilary Clinton. Obviously a fraud, Sir, I mean does she look plain?” But the names rang a vague bell in my Oxford educated ear, and I thought it might be amusing to join them. I wandered nonchalantly into my own beautifully furnished room and introduced myself.

“Mrs. Clinton I presume, you are most welcome to take tea with me,” and shook hands with all the grace I could muster in the circumstances. Then turning to her toy boy I again offered my hand and said, “And you must be Mr. Trump? Well you must be, I mean there is no one else here, what?”. But don’t let me interrupt your conversation. They stared at me as if I was mad. Which of course I am.

“Say, My Lord, we heard you had this little place where we could meet up in secret to have a heart to heart chat. We knew, or our goons did, that you wouldn’t mind. Donald even said he’d been told in Scotland that you could solve our little problem. Can you?”

“Well, madame, if I knew what it was I am sure I could. I own an estate in Scotland like Mr.Trump, if you are genuinely he, “I added, looking questioningly at the fellow opposite me. “But unlike me, you do not have a title attached to your real estate, do you? But natter on my children, I am all ears.”

Wow, did they natter. Donald had an interesting proposition to put to Hilary and, as I have said, their chat was heart to heart. He asked her,

“Look Hill,  “I detected an American accent, “About this election for the presidency. I’ve wrapped up the GOP nomination, ” – the what?! – “and you’ve gotten the Democrats to put you up against me, so how say we do a deal? I’ll promise to tell everyone you’re a Muslim if you agree you are. That way I’ll get elected and you’ll find a nice little cheque for a billion green ones in your off shore bank account? I mean Bill need never know.” She smiled. Well, smirked actually, but in Britain we don’t say that about foreign ladies. Here was her reply.

“You don’t understand  how it works, honey, you really don’t. Look when was the last time your party ever took a risk and elected a ‘first’ in American history? We’ve done two and I’m going to be the third. Then when I’m lounging in my oval office I can have you arrested  for treason, the one crime I don’t have to prove, and that way we get all your money anyway. Every way you lose, Donald. It’s the one thing left that you’ve never done in life and I’m going to make sure you do it.”

Far from worried Mr. Trump was looking puzzled. “I don’t get you lady. What have the democrats done first twice, and you’ll make it a third first? I don’t understand what you mean.” She said she was already aware of the level of his IQ and so explained.

“In 1960, Donald, we were facing a tough fight with tricky Dicky, so we chose JFK  and he was the first catholic to become president. Then in 2008 we had the election won as soon as we chose a coloured candidate. Mr.Obama certainly made history in that election. And you know what, Donald? I’m going to be the first woman to be president. It’s a cert, I can’t lose.” But Donald was not as thick as so many of us thought. He suddenly had a briliant idea.

“Look, baby, if you bust up with Bill between the election and your inauguration and then marry me, I could become ‘First Man’. That would make me the greatest man in US history. Will you do it for me?”

She was still shaking her head as Dashwood showed them out, and the last thing I heard her say to him was, “Nice try, Don, but Bill’s already done eight years at the top and he’s really looking forward to being ‘First Man’, in every sense, for the first time in his life!”

I felt a heavy hand shaking my shoulder and waking me up on the sofa. “Dreaming again, Sir, are we?” asked Dashwood as he brought me my afternoon pills.



<a href=””>If I Ruled the World</a>

the rule of nature I would change if I could.




I have to start with a very big assumption, to wit, that what I would change actually is a rule of nature. I presume it is a natural rule that all living things only continue to live because they want to. If this is the sort of rule that the prompt setter means then I would change mankind’s natural inclination to live the sort of life any particular person really wants. I’ll give you a for instance.

All the people I have ever met have always known what they wanted to obtain or achieve in their lifetime, even if they realise they may never be able to manage this. Well wouldn’t it be so much better if people did not know what they wanted and lived in a constant state of suspense never aiming for anything , just waiting for surprise after surprise to happen? Imagine the fun we’d all have never being disappointed, never suffering unrequited love, never being poor, hungry or deserted. And above all, oh the joy of never being let down by anyone because you never want anything from them! 

You think I’m being funny, or trying to be? Well in a sense I am. But just stop and think about this impossibility seriously. God we’re lucky we are not like that.



<a href=””>Life Line</a>

You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you?


<a href=””>Pour Some Sugar on Me</a>

I love sweet things but boy do they hate me.




When I was young 

I abused my tongue

With chocolates and candy.


Now age dictates I change my food,

And must eschew what once I chewed

For my cholesterol ain’t so dandy.




<a href=””>Sorry, I’m Busy</a>

I should have written this years ago!


We have a very interesting debate going on in the media in Britain at the moment centred round probably the most emotive and disturbing subject that has done a complete U turn in my life time. But before continuing let me make it clear that I am not writing anything other than an account of how acceptable behaviour has changed in the past sixty years. I am telling my own version of what I have observed and why I am very worried at how easy it is to change different classes of society’s perception of right and wrong, and hatred and acceptance, without actually changing much conduct at all. Just making the sins of the rich available to everyone.

When I was growing up as a young boy, let us say at the age of ten in 1952, three aspects of sexual pratice among people of all ages was seen as being very definitely the worst things anyone could do. One was being a practising homosexual, the second a practising prostitute and the third being a practising paedophile. One of these has since been legalised, one made illegal and the third abominated as the worst crime of all. Incredibly, members of the public have been told it is a criminal offence to oppose the first change. A new and inaccurately stupid word, ‘homophobia’, has even been coined to allow people to be charged with so called ‘hate crimes’. I know why things were as they were in 1950 and why they changed, but I have no idea why the emotive hate aspect had to be brought in to justify changes in the law.

Take a typical central London street in 1950, say in the West End; eg. Soho. Prostitutes were allowed to solicit openly because they provided a ‘service’ that was not something against which legisation had ever been introduced. Homosexuality was condemned because many upper class people held hypocritical views about Victorian morality and, although practising homosexual acts a lot of the time from their schooldays onwards, – both sexes, – were socially ashamed to admit this. So they either never spoke of it or ranted against it. But where did that leave youngsters of my age who were told that some things were wrong and dreadful while experiencing the horror of watching ordinary people either committing such acts themselves? Or worse, being abused by the very people who preached to them that such behaviour was disgusting? Well here is my experience.

My mother’s side of the family were all on the stage or in some branch of the entertainment business and with my sister, a year older, we often spent a lot of time in top theatre dressing rooms with members of the family. But we had been well instructed in the dangers of allowing homosexuals anywhere near us because they might influence the way we perceived sexual practices both then and later in life. The important thing was that we were never made afraid that any so called ‘pervert’ was going to sexually abuse us as children in any way at all. Actually it was mostly exhibitionist lesbians and male dancers who flaunted their homosexuality, but we found it amusing and actually got to know and like quite a few of them. So I asked one of the monks at my school, I was a catholic at a school run by a religious order, why I should not make friends with people my mother thought could have a bad influence on me or set a lasting bad example. The answer was superb.

“Anton, any sexual act outside marriage, no matter what combination of genders, is against the ten commandments, therefore a sin and therefore you shouldn’t do it.” You have to admit that was pretty straightforward, down the line and spot on; but it was how he dealt with my reply that I did not understand until I was nineteen!

“Father, why are sexual acts between people who enjoy them any worse than breaking any other commandment? I shouldn’t tell lies, but we both know that and do it all the time. Why is one worse than the other?” Listen to this reply.

“Because by the age you are now (I was then 11) you understand why lying is a sin and why you shouldn’t do it. You won’t understand sexual misdeeds until you are old enough to have experienced them. So you have to be told in advance what to look out for and then avoid it.” What a confusing load of rubbish to tell someone my age who did know and did understand anyway. From then on I formed my own philosophy about ‘sins of the flesh’ as they called them. Yes, they were sins but there were good reasons why people committed them, as with all sins. But what changed?

Well first we had a law passed in the late fiftys making soliciting in public illegal for reasons which I never understood. A lot of my female acquaintances round the theatres were on the game. I knew they were, they never threatened me and as often as not they had a good sense of humour and my sister and I were too young to see any harm they were doing. Even so they were soon classified as criminals if they sought to sell themselves in public.

A long time later the outcry against homosexuality began to die down because, as my generation grew up, we could not accept that those who did not like having sex with people of the opposite gender should be criminally marginalised just because of the biological natures and predelections with which they were born. A man can love a man just as much as he can a woman, and so too with women. It was this realisation that led to the changing of the law to make it okay for anyone to have sex with anyone else no matter who they were. The logic is simply that one person’s sexual preferences, though sinful, are not something which they can help and is not a fit subject for legal interference. But there is a point where it is.

If people start telling other people that having sexual relations with anyone at all just because you enjoy it is not wrong, then the moral dimension comes in and that is where so many people get inordinately over heated and concerned both ethically and emotionally. Well as I’ve said I know what constitutes a sin and what does not so I have no problem in this way. But I certainly would if I found anybody trying to make another person commit a sin when that person did not know why it could be wrong. And, as the law stands, if I interfered in such a case where homosexuality was concerned  I would be liable to be jailed, but not if I told someone they should not be adulterous!

Insane? Yes, of course and nothing to do with free speech. Just the failure of the politically correct to see my point of view, which is that if I love someone I would not want them to be encouraged to do wrong. Done with compassion that is an act of love not hate. And it goes as much for people trying to seduce others into acts of heterosexual adultery or any other type of sin. What I should never do, and never have, is insult or berate a homosexual just because I know that is the nature with which they were born. But then you shouldn’t do that to anybody simply because their natures are different to yours.

Just because the idea of having any type of sexual relationship with another man makes me feel like vomiting is my bad luck. It is, if you like, the natural reaction to matters sexual with which I was born. It certainly does not make me holier than thou when comparing myself to a homosexually orientated person. I would never encourage anyone to deliberately commit a sin if I knew they understood and believed that that was what their actions might be. And I would always make it a priority in everything I did to ensure that I was not hurting, harming, mentally upsetting or just being plain insulting to somebody else for any reason at all. A good or clever joke, which might not be appreciated by someone because they had no sense of humour, would only be insulting if I told it in a deliberately insulting way. Believe me Catholics and Jews tell the best jokes on themselves of any people I know.

But I haven’t mentioned how and why paedophilia has become so much more widely perceived as a really dreadful act. Firstly, if it involves adults abusing young children, up to the age of twelve, there really is no excuse for putting a youngster through an enforced experience that can physically and mentally scar them for life. This is not just a sexual crime it is an act of torture for which there is no excuse at all. And yet there is a reason why people do it. Some people, far more than most of us would like to imagine, actually get physical pleasure out of having sexual relations with very small children because it turns them on. This is the really hidden ‘crime’ whose name nobody mentioned for centuries and is only now being universally criticised. Its full viciousness has been realised only since being brought out into the open by the large number of admissions from its victims that they suffered in the way they did.

But I wish the media would stop reporting celebrity, educational and religious cases of child abuse in a way that suggests that no journalist or news photographer ever lusted after a child in their lives. They are amongst the worst of the lot and should be named and shamed as much if not more than those they publicise. To my own knowledge more than half the newsmen I knew when working in different parts of the world used to make for the nearest child brothel as soon as they hit town. In asia and South America it was especially disgusting, and the way they boasted about their discoveries and methods of enjoyment, which they could only satisfy when a very long way from home, was ghastly. It is the only aspect of journalism which I can honestly say revolted me and made me ashamed of my profession. Consequently it is the only profession in which you never hear of anyone being guilty of this offence. Many, many reporters are too afraid to finger someone who might be able to point the finger back. The world of entertainment is just as bad and my mother would not let me enter the film business when I had the chance aged fourteen, and thank heavens. Child molestation was rife in that industry and still is.

But There is one side of sexual consent and the law which is still absurd. In our country if two fifteen year olds make love neither is guilty of anything. If a sixteen years and one day old kid makes love to a fifteen years and 362 days old child then one is deemed to have been raped and the other to is put on a sex register and could even be jailed. I admit one has to draw the line somewhere, but I think common sense should be the arbiter here not an absolute rule for every case. I believe in some states in the US it is illegal to even write about someone having sex under the age of eighteen. Why, when hard core porn is available on tap for all ages on all computers throughout the world? I am not advocating filming and then uploading licencious behaviour between any couples at any age, just wondering why the anti porn laws are not enforced. I suppose there is too much money and greed involved for thousands of cases to be brought to court.

But to finish, I think what I have seen in my lifetime is a world in which one lot of double standards, where everyone was either good or bad according to their station in life, has been swapped for one in which nobody is considered wrong for following any sexual preferences. Yet if you think of it, everybody is still behaving exactly as they always did only it just happens to be the turn of a different section of society to get away with being as awful as others have always been. Plus ca change….!



<a href=””>Strike a Chord</a>

why I love the piano


I have loved the piano all my life. I first tried to play it at three and half years of age and when no tune came out of it just by hitting the keys at random with my fingers I just got flaming mad with the thing and tried to imitate the tune I had just heard on the gramophone. It took six goes at listening to an arieta from Figaro, and some fifteen to twenty goes myself trying to pick out some similarity to the melody on the instrument before I finally played something which sounded vaguely like Mozart’s tune. I had lessons for 16 years after that and have played for enjoyment ever since. However, I have never described in prose how the music I play inspires my thoughts especially on topics that really matter.

I have to be completely alone, and also wear my voice activated recorder round my neck so that I can verbally jot down thoughts as they arise when I am playing. Proof that this works came only yesterday when I read a blog by sachemspeaks: in which a girl called Marwa defends her identity as an ordinary American born, peace loving, charity working Muslim.

Her main complaint is againt the lunacy of people like Donald Trump who believes all Muslims are potential terrorists and should wear some sort of identity badge and also be able to be tracked. She puts him in his place perfectly, so please click on the link above. I was playing a lovely piece of music, Granados’ Valses Poeticos, when her ideas made me think what on earth had made it possible for a man like Donald Trump to have any influence at all on Americans in general and the current terrorist situation in particular.

Imagine a very vain man, he colours his hair to look younger for heaven’s sake!, who has made two criminal speeches – one anti race and one anti religion – so far in his attempt to get the Republican nomination, either of which would normally have landed the speaker in jail. He insults people he doesn’t like because he’s so rich he can get away with it. Now there is nothing wrong with being rich, but if you don’t share your good fortune with others in need, or on causes that the world needs promoting, then you are not much of a human being. In fact you are rather despicable. But he’s worse than that, he’s actually mentally as thick as two short planks. I mean he actually thinks that being president would make him able to run the country as he wants. No president since Jefferson has ever done that.

Look at the present incumbent Mr.Obama. His three main aims when coming to the White house seven years ago were a) to provide more affordable health care for everyone. b) He wanted to stop ordinary people from carrying firearms because his country had the highest level of gun crime and socially related deaths of any country in the developed world, by a mile. And c) he also wanted to ensure that his country was at the forefront of restoring the world to economic stability. Well Mr.Trump should look at what his party ensured. That NONE of these ideals could be implemented as the president wanted because just 9% of the population were in a position to politically stop the head of state from doing what was best for his people. At least the republicans don’t pretend to be democratic, they just rig whatever elections they can – Bush Jnr was never legally president of the US, at least no non-Americans ever thought he was – his family merely had the right judicial support.

But what struck me most about my thoughts as I played was what I believed should be the attitude of all people in all countries towards people of so called different faiths. I am a Catholic but that doesn’t mean I think all Muslims are inhuman terorists or a threat to my own love of God. We love the same God, for heaven;s sake, and for the same reason. There is one thing that all religions have in common. They all believe there is only one God. Well that is the point, there is. We simply worship that deity in different ways. Fanatics have led factions into religious wars, and prelates of all faiths have tried to claim civil authoritarian priority over their flocks, but that is just a human fault. What matters is how we live our lives by being kind and considerate to others and helping those whom we love, and try to love and forgive those who we have problems with or have committed really awful acts. That is my creed, and certainly that of all the faiths I have studied in depth, which is most of them. You should never preach from a position of prejudice or ignorance.

I wonder how Mr.trump would feel if he were taken suddenly seriously ill and the only doctors available to save his life were Muslims who were only too willing to help him. I bet he would not stop them, though he might deny he knew their beliefs. Unless of course he’d tagged them. Think of the state we’d be in in Britain if we lost 30% of our health industry workers. That is the per centage who are Muslim.

And another thing that I find odd about such a man is that he is opposed to illegal immigrants in the US from Hispanics to Syrians. I wonder how he would feel if he had to deport 776 of his personal employees, who are on one third the average wage for their menial jobs, and pay the full rate to the type of Americans (if they exist) whom he wants to see in work in his country.

But the one thing I would never wish on Donald is somebody kidnapping him, blacking up his hands and face and setting him free near a police station in the middle of the night. He wouldn’t be around the next day and it would be his own fault. But I still could not do that to him. No, people like him are there to be shown the error of their ways and turned into decent human beings who might eventually get to Heaven. We have to do our best to make sure everyone has that opportunity however much we dislike what they purport to be.

And as the music and my musings come to their end I just want to add that I have more blood relations in the States than any other country, so I have no feelings of ill will towards the country at all. I just wish those with power would use it like good people and not self centred idiots, or worse in many cases.




<a href=””>This Is Your Life</a>

You must be joking!


At first sight this title looks as though I do not want to read the story of my life from start to end, but that is not totally so. The whole point of the prompt for this blog is that it would include what is yet to happen to me, and whatever someone would invent for that part of the story they could not possibly get right. 

Furthermore I really do not want to know what lies in store for me for the rest of my time on earth. Like a Christmas present, I want a surprise. But then comes my time in the next life. By definition such a book would have to include that, and I could hardly be expected to believe an account of Heaven when the whole point of it is that nobody knows what it is like so could not write about it anyway.

But the main reason why this is the biggest non-prompt I have come across since writing on wordpress is that I believe in eternity. You know, forever! So the book could never be finished anyway.

But for what it is worth my life story up to the present has been written and I must confess I do not like the portrait I paint of myself , warts and all. I think this, more than anything, is why I would not want to read on before the next bit happens. I might be terribly disappointed!




<a href=””>The Guilt that Haunts Me</a>

a war correspondent’s neutral dilemma.



I myself never chose or wanted to  be armed,

My gun was there simply to stop me being harmed.

Should I have shot the sniper as I saw him take aim?

Should I have risked killing him or just let him claim

The life of a man I never knew and know I never will?

Should I still feel so guilty at remaining so totally still?

No firearm of mine was employed there to aid another 

Fighter in that jungle who was neither foe nor brother.

I stood detached and idly watched a man being shot

Without defending him. Well, what right had I got

To interfere in a war that meant almost nought to me,

An independant observer, who even so could see

A human life threatened and which I might yet save

By risking killing another? Was I cowardly or brave?

I have never killed on purpose, but still  feel that guilt

On which all fears of committing such a sin are built.

Whatever I had done I would still have been ashamed

Of letting a man die, rather than be forever named 

An unsung neutral hero who tried to save another life, 

While wondering for ever if the dead man had a wife.

But I might have killed the sniper, oh what sort of choice

Did God really give me, for I never heard His voice?



Happy Advent

Today is the start of the Christian year as we begin the run up to Christmas, preparing ourselves to celebrate the wonderful feast of the birth of Our Lord. I do not want to preach or criticise anyone  at all this year, instead, in the spirit of our new Pope, Francis, I just want to wish everyone a very peaceful and happy time and ask all of you to remember that you are not the most important person in your life, your neighbour is; especially if he or she is sick, suffering, destitute or bereaved. Spend on them not yourself.

Have a holy and enjoyable Christmastide.