Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas


<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.