Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Category: general blog


<a href=””>Phobia, Shmobia</a>

on reading  of Richard Dawkins’ dislike of the term ‘Islamaphobia’.



     The constant mistake of adding ‘phobia’ to so many words nowadays is ludicrous. Homophobia, for instance, is a non-word because for anything to be a phobia it has to be something of which one is unusually strongly afraid or irrationally petrified. If one has a good reason for strongly disliking something that is not a ‘phobia’.

     Homophobia is the most commonly used non-word in English. If one does not like the practice of people of the same sex loving and having sexual relations with each other that is not an irrational fear of their preferences, it is a dislike of them. I have many close homosexual friends but I never condemn the sinner when they act in ways I think they shouldn’t. I only condemn the sin. God knows I commit sins enough myself, but just not that one because it turns me off! I actually consider adultery a worse sin because it usually also involves breaking a solemn oath, taken at one’s marriage, not to do it. There are no laws in our country of which I am aware which tell us what we may legally like or dislike. It is what we do about our dislikes – violent actions or insulting and defamatory verbal remarks to peoples’ faces are common examples – that break the law, not the way we feel about them.

     Also there is a great disparity between marginalising people because of their natures and because of their actions when the predilections with which they are born are neither their own fault nor within their ability to alter. Medical science may allow us to make all sorts of changes to our physical sexual anatomy, but it cannot change how we started out when we were born. That is in the past. So it is quite unnecessary to single out anybody for censure or applause because of their natures.

     One exception here to the use of ‘phobia’  is when words like ‘Islamaphobia’ are coined to describe people who fear a religious or idealistic grouping. While I would never use such a spurious generality myself, I can see that some people might equate being Muslim with being a terrorist who could start world war three. It is very important to recognise that you can be afraid of both the physical threat of fanatics, or of a religious sect which might threaten members of your own religious group if you are a member of one. However, as a devout Catholic I can only say that I believe I should love all men, obviously not everything they might do, but they themselves as God’s children. After all the vast majority of Muslims are perfectly ordinary, harmless, nice people anyway. It is very hard when somebody of another faith deliberately blasphemes in front of me to get my back up. Yet much as I may dislike this the last thing I should do is trash their beliefs. That just alienates us more when I should be trying to befriend them. However, atheists like Richard Dawkins try to rise above this level of fidelity and infidelity by saying we both believe a lot of rubbish anyway. Poor man, I can think of nothing more sad than not being afraid that one might be mistaken. What dreadfully meaningless, hopeless lives atheists must live.

     But this leads to the whole question of why we fear some things or groups of people for good reasons just as much as for totally stupid ones. It is usually the conflation of knowledge and belief. Take the arch atheist-scientist Dawkins. A truly brilliant man in his field but a quite pitiable one in his passion for blindfolding himself to the obvious. He says that he knows God does not exist and belittles people who claim to believe that God does. How unscientific can you get? There is a very simple example of why nobody can ever prove that science answers everything or that God exists. Take a piece of string, any length you like, and cut it in half. Throw one half away and do the same to the half you have kept. There is no limit to the size to which you can reduce the piece you retain if you continue this process long enough. But something always remains for nothing can be made out of nothing.

     Do you see what this proves? It’s so simple. It proves that anything solid, any form of matter, can never be made to disappear. It can only be split up into ever smaller atomic and ultimately sub atomic particles. Then, in theoretical thought, there is no limit to how large any concept can be. It is self evident in maths, for instance, that there is no number to which you cannot add one. This is the proof of rational infinity and goes way out beyond our cosmos. It must, by definition. So if a scientist thinks that everything can ultimately be empirically investigated so completely that all existence is known and explained, all you have to do is add one to it and you will find there is an infinite, and ergo unknowable, scope to the field of  scientific discovery. Yes we can find out and empirically prove how everything originates, works, lives etc physically. But there will always be a limit to that knowledge.

     So if I was to say I know God made me, loves me and wants me to live for ever in heaven, that is only ‘knowledge’ as far as I myself am concerned. I really do physically love God, which helps a lot, but basically what I am doing is believing in God even though I cannot empirically prove His existence. But my belief is just as strong and likely as Richard Dawkins’ empirically provable knowledge, because while we are alive and on earth neither of us can know the limits of what we believe, nor how something must at some time  have been made out of nothing.

     I believe in eternity, and infinity beyond  human comprehension. A super mystery which one day I genuinely believe I will understand. But not while I’m alive. Dear Richard seems not to want this kind of really lovely hope, and is content to just dig deeper and deeper into discovering all the practical things in our cosmos knowing he will never reach the end of that search. I do hope he realises this before he dies, or at least thinks about it enough to like the idea of being in Heaven some day. Surely he is far too intelligent not to want to save his soul if he cannot, just by using empirical logic, prove that it does not exist. He is literally taking a helluva risk. 



<a href=””>Happily Ever After</a>

the prompt asks am I happy ever after.



Are you happy ever after? What a strange question. Ever is still going on.

I lounged back in the deck chair in my tree filled garden and thought about this question. Am I living happily ever after? I’d have to ask my wife as well, obviously. She seems to be very happy and has certainly hasn’t lost her sense of humour. But the question still worried me. ‘Ever after’ but which of my evers?

Before I met my current wife some forty six years ago I was greatly enamoured of a girl in Vietnam who really was the mixture between an angel, a saint and a deliciously seductive  twenty year old beauty queen. It was what she spent her life doing that attracted me to her so much. She was so sorry for the orphans in the war in Vietnam, especially those who had been blinded or maybe born blind, that she spent all her time helping to run an orphanage for them. Anh and I met when I was tipped off by a secretary at the British embassy that there might be a good human interest story in the orphanage. I’ll say there was. Four young woman with occasional visits from a nurse and a doctor were looking after 54 youngsters aged between three years and fourteen years. Thirty one were girls and twenty seven boys. And all were blind. Anh was an orphan herself and had no idea who her parents were. But she did not just give me a great story on a little known aspect of the war, she also inveigled me into helping her and getting free food and medical supplies for them from the American military. No I am not going to tell you how I got them.

In between writing all the copy my job required of me I found myself spending a lot of time at the orpahange and Anh and I were definitely getting fond of each other. Eventually I summoned up the courage to ask her out to dinner with me in a nice restaurant near the cathedral in central Saigon. She was amazed. She was obviously just wondering what I wanted. But I hope my smile reassured her. It was nothing immoral or anything she would not like. I wanted to give her an engagement ring, and she burst into tears. She clung onto me so hard I could not move. Then, in her half French half English, she told me she had loved me since the day I did my first story on the orphanage and she could not believe that I loved her so much as well. Well after we had known each other approximately six months the Catholic chaplin to the Saigon based troops, who was by then a good friend, married us and my colleagues were really glad. Now this is where the first ‘ever after’ came in. We were terribbly happy for the first year of our marriage  and even had twin daughters, Tuyet Marie and Oanh Madaleine. They were gorgeous and We were all looking forward to going home to London in a couple of months when my wife was killed in a mortar attack on the orphanage. But I still had my children. They were used to death and sadness but this was too much for them. All they could do was hang on to me and cry.

So did my first ‘ever after’ end happily or not?  Well every time I thought of Anh throughout the rest of my life, I was greatly saddened. But when I looked, and still look, at Oanh and Tuyet I am just overcome with love. So I have no idea.

I did not want to marry again as Anh could never be replaced, but my family pointed out to me that I ought to have a wife to bring up my daughters. It was hard but although I swore I never would, I met my second wife, a girl with whom I fell deeply in love and have lived happily ever since marrying her. We have two sons and the girls took to her at once and she to them,  so in many ways my life has been happy for ‘ever’ since I took my last major decision.

But I haven’t answered the question, have I? And I honestly don’t think I can.





<a href=””>New Internet Order</a>

prime minister of the net.





I stood for the job of governing the net,

I won the one job I thought I’d never get.

I mean, the world is such a diverse place,

How could it be run by just one race?

For if one race ran it how would we

Show how globally welcome our ideas could be.

2015-04-27 005 2015-04-27 026good night moonhill 25-11-2013 005


Well we’d follow the philosophy of all beliefs

Ensuring there’d be no oppressed, or any chiefs

Hijacking the only world wide way to tell

Which policies would make us ill or well.

No we’d quote all wisdom spoken since time began

To ensure everyone was a happy woman or man.





I assume that by ‘idyllic’ the prompter means ‘ideal’. I am writing on that assumption.


I have two main problems with living in any sort of community. The first is that I love exercising my free will and so would almost certainly get on the wrong side of a lot of my neighbours and acquaintances. This would in turn make life a strain and probably very often an absolute pain in the backside. The second reason is that I love living amongst people with whom I agree about all the important things in my life and with whom I can share my appreciation of the types of music, literature, religion and sport that give me most pleasure. There is no pleasure in living amongst people who don’t agree with you or are not happy when you are and do not rejoice when you do. No I would not like to live amongst people I could not get on with. I would not go so far as Sartre and define Hell as ‘other people’, which is almost but not quite what he is famous for saying, but I do agree that I could not suffer dissonance of love with any degree of gladness.

So what do I make of this prompt. I have been completely negative so far but if I had to devise a Utopia – which I think is what is meant here – I would have to impose certain duties on members of that community. They would have to be charitable even when bored rigid, good Samaritans when it would make them late for the start of the match and above all sympathetic to deeply upset people even when the cause of this distress was lack of something which the palliative helper personally thought was a load of rubbish and they should be glad they had lost. You see the idea. Those are the sorts of people I would want.

How would I want it run? Well if it was large enough to be a town, say, then I would want the officers who organised daily life to be democratic yet tolerant, oh how many of us assume that these qualities always embrace each other – THEY DON’T!  And by being ready to listen to others in depth are also equally careful to think before they talk. Also communities of every sort should be governed by honesty not following party directives. But basically I think the least interference possible in people’s lives by those in power is the best way to form a harmonious spirit of cheerful unity which I am sure we all basically prefer. We never get it of course but we can see that it’s very desirable.

I turn next to the silly question ‘what does your ideal community look like?’ Well that depends where it is. For me it would be in Tuscany in Italy, but most people would choose their favourite place so that question relly is impossible to answer.

Now finally the question is raised, what values do the ideal community share? God knows. No, seriously, He does. But to get any other two people to agree on a 100 per cent list of values – if this means ethics, morals, beliefs etc – then we would be lost. But that does not mean that we need not agree in broad principle on how communities should treat their members and show them respect and politeness. Also in matters of religion for example we should accept that this is something that means a lot to various groups different to ourselves and we should treat them as we would want them to treat us when considering us as members of particular sects, denominations etc.

So I have to return just for a quickie to my opening paragraph. I really don’t like having to do what I am told by anybody. God’s commandments I accept but I don’t like having to obey some of them. Well there is no point in not being honest. If I find someone very attractive all sorts of ideas come into my head. What I do about them is between me and God but I do find myself asking him why He made up so many ‘thou shalt nots’. But I try, I try. But it does show why communities and I do not often get on. Communities are such awfully inquisitive groups of people who seem to think they have the right to know everything I do, comment on  it and judge me accordingly. Well they don’t!!!



The Satisfaction of a List

the prompt just said ‘write a list’


A list.



<a href=””>Polite Company</a>

why polite ?


You should never talk politics or religion with people you know, because that infers that you already know their views on these dicey topics. Much better if you don’t know.  That way you can be honest and the other person knows  you are. Also you won’t sound condescending which gets your friend’s back up. But worst of all if he/she thinks they know the way to Heaven (religion) and you know the way to hell (politics), you’ll have a very short chat and never speak to each other again.



<a href=””>Four Stars</a>


two days ludicrous prompts in a row



I can’t write an account of my life because it’s still going on. Like a detective story, I won’t know who did it until the end, and then I won’t be here to oblige you. Sorry.




<a href=””>Take That, Rosetta!</a>

a language I don’t know yet.


                    HOW ROSE ATE HER OWN WORDS.


Without any doubt I would want to be fluent in American. I already understand a lot of it and can write and read and talk it, well 23 of its dialects, but completely fluently? No, Mr Webster saw to that. I am not actually 100% fluent in any language but probably I could claim 99.8761% in English. Where I fall down is the limit of my vocabulary. There are still quite a lot of words I don’t know, probably never will, so although I’m nearly there what I have will have to suffice.

But why would I choose American? Well it would involve the smallest amount of learning, writing, reading and speaking. It is the one language I could actually see myself getting over 99% fluent in and that would be a wonderful feeling of achievement. At present I am about 98.14% fluent in most American versions of itself but perhaps I exaggerate. I may have a bit of trouble in inland North Eastern Alaska when it comes to coloquialisms and I know that the I have not yet mastered Hispanic Arizonian verbs. My youngest son’s American sister-in-law comes from New Mexico and I can talk back to her perfectly, but she assures me there is a difference over the state border. I must get over there and see if I can detect it.

In literature the greatest challenge for me with American is the spelling of words with which I am familiar in English. I remember tearing Henry James to pieces in my last year’s exams at school because he used the ‘Oxford’ Z, for those of you who know what that is, and I thought it a tragedy that a man who had mastered our language as well as he had should fall at the last fence – alphabetically literally – and pretend he thought Oxford spelling meant spelling as people did in Oxford, England. It doesn’t. It means in the style of academics at the University of Oxford. Not the same thing at all.

But many people flatter me and say how incredibly well I speak those languages which I have made a lot of headway in during my life. This is due largely to two things which on reflection I am sure are good tips on how to master a foreign tongue. I lived more than 28 years altogether outside the English speaking world so learned to speak like the people I was with. And I was blessed with a natural ability to mimic both vocally and in my gestures. But the other main help was greatly due to my passion for sports and classical music. You learn the words of arias in foreign tongues because you love them and they soon come naturally. And with sports you listen to the commentator and, as you can see what he is saying, you also can learn what his sounds, and thus his words, mean. Well I have strayed a little from the prompt if not the topic but I wish I had been asked which of my six fluent languages I found most difficult to overcome. You see the answer is I couldn’t possibly know. If I had known then, of course, the natural side of picking up the language would have made me worry about whether I was doing it right and that would almost certainly have made me do it wrong!




<a href=””>Mad as a Hatter</a>

the last time you flew into a rage.


Personally I have never flown into a rage in my life. I fell into one once when ski-ing in the Alps and missed a slalom gate. Boy was I flaming as I shot off the piste into the spectators. I really was piste off.

But rages and flying and I have yet to form a triumvirate. I drove into a rage when I was nineteen and had had a few drinks too many on the cobbled streets of Brussels. They found the front of my sports car, complete with unharmed driver, wrapped round a lamp post and the rear seat and wheels some one hundred metres further up the road. I loved that car, it was my first genuine racer. But the rage came when I was told my ‘accident’, what unwitnessed highway stupidities are called in Europe, meant I was withdrawn from that weekend’s formula two motor race at Francorchamps. Imagine missing a key race in a series you were leading and in your first season in the sport. Now that really was being driven to distraction. Rage time with a vengeance.

I have encountered rage in other ways too. Have you ever stormed into a rage? Not easy to do usually, but this was in a thunderstorm on the cliff road between Barcelona and the Pyrenees and in persuit of a felon who I had watched knock down a small child. It was twlight and the summer sheets of lightning were throwing walls of fire across the Western end of the Mediterranean sea. Incredibly spectacular but I was more concerned with catching my crook. The boy was not very badly hurt but I did not know that as set off after the villain. It really was straight out of Edgar Wallace, without the cups of tea. My father’s German saloon car was no match for the baddy’s Spanish tortoise and I finally pinned him on a corner overtaking him on the coast side of the cliff where he least expected me. The Spanish police hailed me as a hero and the French police as an idiot who could have killed himself driving like that in such an ‘orage’. I had never forgiven the officer who called me that until today when it allowed me to make the most awful bi-lingual pun!

Another brush with rage came when my wife dropped one of a pair of crystal champagne flutes which had been given to us as a wedding present. Hand crafted for us, too, by a leading glass blower in Florence, and a true work of art. How I kept my temper I do not know to this day. But she wept so contritely as she brushed up the shards of glass that the scene ended in rag time, not rage time; the pair of us just cuddling each other until our love outlived our chagrin.

So, you can see that though I have a temper of sorts,  it is simply something into which I have never flown. But I have a friend who flies into rages all the time. He is in the Royal Air Force and his wife’s name really is Rafaella. Apparently they fly into rages regularly, but always out of them again afterwards, deo gratias! But you’ll never believe the tag line to this story. His name really is Roger Wilco.



a href=””>Three Letter Words</a>


This is the nicest type of blogg,or post or whatever you call it. I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy, holy and enjoyable Eastertide. You deserve it for reading my rubbish so regularly. 🙂



<a href=””>Three Letter Words</a>

a post with no three letter words

                          IN A COMA

I lost consciousness with a vague, very vague memory of driving; no more than that. A girl sitting next to me laughing, lurched towards me as a lorry smashed into us. I lost control of everything, brakes, steering wheel even my ability to think.

That really is when my coma must have started. Nothing I have tried to recall comes back into my head. I remember a dreadful pain in my back, otherwise just blank frames of nothing fleeting across my brain. I felt scared without even knowing what frightened me.

Many days later I learned about what happened, details that sort of thing. However, while suffering, afraid in my nightmare awareness because anything that remotely made sense remained well beyond my cerebral powers. My first intimation of recovery came with being certain I could pick out a light. A doctor or nurse’s torch, perhaps, though very faint at first.

Flickering, quite certainly a light, followed by returning sight allowing me to pick up shadows of human forms. Nurses in their uniforms became clear at last. However, when trying to shout or speak I realised I was incapable of making a sound. I tried three languages, every one to no avail.

“Aiuto!, Au secours! Help!” Nobody moved or looked at me. I spent three days like this, apparently, in unconscious hell before I found gradual, returning hearing accompanied my sight. After that faces around me smiled as they realised I understood what they were saying to me. That I could communicate again started my mind thinking normally, while being able to move my limbs came next, before eventual full recovery.

Where does a human mind go when in a coma? I have no idea. What I do know, though, is that I never want to go back there again as long as I live.

Anton Wills-Eve



<a href=””>It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World</a>

How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?


If you  naturally write in such a manner as to convey to your readers exactly what you want them to understand then that is all you need to be able to do. Emotion and intent will come with the phraseology that you use. In short, if you automatically write as clearly, concisely and expressively as you need to get across everything you want your readers to pick up, then you have no problems and have done everything this post asks.

But if you are able to do this by just being yourself as you write then two things will result in answering the questions in the prompt. Firstly, you will never know how you have done it because it is not something at which you have had to study anything outside the skills you already possess. And secondly, you will never be able to tell anybody else how to do this because, given that it has entailed no learning on your part, then it follows that you will not be able to teach your skills to others because you have not had to analyse them. Granted you could learn how other people attempt to do what is required, but it will never be your own natural, individual style. En bref, one must ask, can anybody know themselves that well? I doubt it.



<a href=””>Fool Me Once</a>

odd minds some people have


Why on earth is everybody making such a fuss about the religious freedom bill in Arkansas? Seriously what’s the big deal? The bill nowhere states that it has anything to do with a person’s sexual orientation. What it does say is that everyone should be allowed the freedom to practise their religious beliefs according to their conscience. Well of course they should. No, it is the immediate assumption that the bill is aimed at discriminating against people who prefer their sexual practices to be with people of their own sex, or mixtures of all sexes, that baffles me. It has nothing to do with this at all.

Had the State Legislature passed a bill saying the exact opposite to what it said THAT would have been discrimination. Could you imagine the outcry if priests had been banned from reminding Christians that they should keep the Ten Commandments? It would have been dreadful. But how does this bill differ from that religious freedom that all Christians in Arkansas have always had, even if they once did not choose to listen to their priests and ministers? It doesn’t. What it says is that if somebody wants to practise their religion in the way they judge is right they should be allowed to do so.

Are we going to give theives the right to steal because the only reason why they shouldn’t is because it is against God’s laws? No we are not, nor should we. But if I want to criticise another person’s beliefs  I have that right. I should not insult him, or her, because that is extremely unpleasant. But that is all it is. I am never going to say to somebody who behaves in a way which I consider to be sinful, “Oh it’s ok in your case. You can commit any sin you like.” But now we are getting close to the crux of ths whole problem. And it is a serious SOCIAL problem nothing else. What we have to decide is whether preaching what we believe to be right is something we must be allowed to do whether people who disagree with us like it or not. Ultimately, if that right were taken away, it would lead to no expression of personal opinions or beliefs in public at all.

But if we do have to drag sexual preferences into this debate let be in a sensible and understanding way. I have never discriminated against anybdy in my life just because I knew they had a different sexual orientation to me. Why should I? That is how they were born, it is their nature and they cannot help how they feel. But I do have the right to say that some actions are not acceptable to me  even if I understand why so many people indulge in them. And I am not talking about homosexual people, I am talking about adulterers  who don’t think twice about committing sins of lust and depravity. Their gender is totally irrelevant.

But I think what annoys me most about this is that far worse sins were rife and openly encouraged in Arkansas when I was growing up. Remember Little Rock and all those segregated school buses? I do. I am glad the practice was stamped out. I should imagine the President and most Americans are too. It was a far worse sin than two men or two women enjoying sex with each other. But the tragedy is that it only happened for the same reason, to wit, because the majority of people in the region at the time didn’t mind.






<a href=””>Fool Me Once</a>

wordpress and april 1st


I would have loved to prank my readers for all the time they have spent  reading my blogs but alas I cannot. Why? Because the verb ‘to prank’ does not exist.Shame, it sounds delicious.


ps: I shall inflict a poem on you instead.


<a href=””>Third From the Top</a>



                              WHY I WRITE AS I DO

  I have never expected that anyone I knew personally, and who did not know that I had a word press site, would inadvertently pick up my writings. Yesterday I discovered that several people I knew well had discovered my digital secret and were fascinated at what they thought I was revealing about my family and amical circle. As a result I felt it necessary to post this article to clear up any assumed misunderstandings. So ears back everyone, here comes the truth!

  The most difficult thing about blogging, as daily posting of stories articles and jokes, is usually called, is remembering that there are readers out there who may wonder what is fact and what is fiction. Well in my case it is about 50-50 as far as biographical, spiritual, humerous and personal stories and articles are concerned. But a lot of my writing is obviously not about me, or true, because the characters are completely incompatible with those versions of themselves which have appeared in earlier posts or stories.

  But when it comes to expressons of opinion, morality, my Faith and comments on current affairs it is straight from my inner convictions and I never lie to myself. About myself yes, I am a born ego-hyperbolist, but never in any seriously stupid or unpleasant way. My chronic anxiety neurosis from the age of six is totally true in so far as I have always suffered from it, but the way in which I often recount anecdotes about how I deal with my mental illness, or the situations in which I have found myself, everything from hilariously funny to literally depressed beyond belief, are as likely to have been understated as overstated. What I never do is write about my own family without asking them first and always, with one obvious exception if you have read it, changing the names of people who are still alive. 

  It is true that I am currently being treated for five major illnesses, including cancer, but I leave all that to God, Saint Rita and my doctors to sort out.They are currently doing a very good job.The worst side of this type of suffering is how it upsets my wife and sons, though my wife’s prayers have played a large part in making it possible for me to get by. But again I never mention real names when talking about people who I know and whose suffering I discuss. This is a big ‘no, no’ for any blogger. So how should my readers approach my writing? If I post an obviously fictitious story, no matter how obviously much of it is based on things I have experienced, then the whole thing should be taken with a pinch of salt; especially if it is riddled with bad jokes. Also my poetry and verse is always no more than an exercise in doing something I enjoy. The one exception which I think I have posted is ‘an Ode to my Wife’, a heartfelt and a genuine expression of how I feel.

  The main important point I would like to make is the reason why I write. The nature of my health is such that this is now about the only way I have of talking to the ‘outside world’. Having been a journalist since the age of two and a half, really my pram was just missed by a bomb I shall tell you about that soon, but there was a break of 13 years in the middle, resuming when I was hired as London classical music critic for an American news agency. This augmented my pocket money enormously. Soon sports were added to my freelance writing and included tennis, rugby and motor racing between the ages of sixteen to eighteen, so I had an enviable start to what was to become my career.

  But the most important things that can be seen from everything I write are that I have been an anomaly amongst my peers all my life. Also whenever I have decided to take a particular path in life something has happened unexpectedly to turn all my expectations on their head. Only my love of God has remained with me as I wanted it and that because it is also the source of my most enjoyable love. Also I am convinced that God has a really good sense of humour. Well just look at us all. He must have!

Anton Wills-Eve


<a href=””>Weaving the Threads</a>


There follows a collection of three stories which appear at first to have nothing in common. But they do. What do you think it is?

1)  Have you heard the joke about the Irishman who bought a paper shop? It blew away.

2)  “Knock, knock!”

“Who’s there?”


“Isabel who?”

“Is a bell necessary on a bicyle.”

3)  Jaime was a self admitted failure as a husband and a father. It eventually became too much for his wife, Rebecca. One day she said to him.

“Jaime. Jaime you are the greatest loser I have ever known. There’s nobody to touch you. Nobody. Do you know something, Jaime? Jaime, listen to me when I’m looking at you! Jaime if they ever held a competition to find the biggest loser in the world, you would come second!”

So what do these rivetting tales have in common? They are all dreadful jokes? Well that’s debatable and anyway is not the right answer. They all have a feeling of ethnicity about them? Yes, you could say that although Isabel is not just Scottish. My Czechoslovakian oncologist is called Isabel. But still it is another nationality, but is that an ethnic difference? No. Look you’ve all obviously got no idea so I will tell you.

None of them has anything to do with the title, which is not even in the same language.

Happy now, post setter? Gee that was tough!



<a href=””>Ha Ha Ha</a>

I’ve been told to tell you a joke.


                       YOU ASKED FOR IT


When given a command like the one above I always dive into my seventeen anthologies of appalling  jokes by Bennet Cerf. Unusually for an Englishman I was more familiar with his writing than anyone else by the time I was four years old. I could even tell some of his stories in Irish.  But I have decided to give you all a treat instead and made up an original joke specially for ‘word pressers’ which I promise you is 100% all my own terrible sense of humour. Here goes.

Two parrots were walking through Central Park one sunny summer’s day when the first parrot turned to the second and said ,

“Nice day.”So of course the other  parrot replied. ” Nice day”. Two hours later the first parrot died of exhaustion, at which the second parrot thought to himself, ‘Lucky I didn’t speak first’.


Anton Wills-Eve


<a href=””>A House Divided</a>




“Have you heard, Dad, Lewis Hamilton has just won the Australian formula one Grand Prix. What a way to start the new motor racing season, eh? The best driver in the best car getting off to the best start. And he’s British! What more could you ask?” My father looked at me and replied,

“You may have forgotten, but I am an Australian and that was my home Grand Prix. No Australian has ever won it and I really thought that Daniel Ricciardo was going to do it for us. But his Red Bull car is not up to it this year. In fact the whole sport could really take a turn for the worse unless somebody designs an engine to challenge the Mercedes. Otherwise it will be a procession like it was last year.”

Actually, I agreed with him. The Ferrari and Williams teams were looking very good but were a full second a lap slower than the Mercedes and the great hopes everyone had for the British MaClaren team were lost as their new Japanese Honda engine was hopeless. Also their top driver, Alonso was injured and did not race in Australia and their other former world champion, England’s Jenson Button, could only drag his MaClaren home eleventh which also happened to be last.

Now you would expect father and son being very keen on a sport was enough for one family but at this point my mother broke in on the conversation and said ” It’s all money, money, money! Four of the best drivers in the world can’t get a race because they don’t have rich personal sponsors prepared to buy them a place on the grid. It’s all that eighty five year old ‘cash mad’ Bernie Ecclestone’s fault for selling our beloved motor sport down the drain.” Then, turning to my father she added wistfully,”Oh Fred do you remember our teenage days when we scraped up all we could save to watch your hero Sir Jack Brabham, winning his third world championship in 1966? One of the greatest Australian sportsmen of all time.” Dad nodded and added,

“Yes my love and I remember cheering on your native Scottish heroes Jackie Stewart and Jim Clarke at their greatest. Oh no, they raced for fun and to get the adrenalin moving, not like the modern computer simulated robots they stick in cars nowadays.” But our family being what it is my sister was not having this. She was quick to point out, “Okay, when Jenson won the world title in 2009 he had by far the best car, so that supports your argument, but I remember sitting on this very sofa watching the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011 and watching him come from last, after three pit stops, to carve through the field in the last ten laps and take  Vettel on the very last bend of the last lap to win the greatest GP I’ve ever seen. And don’t say your ’60s and ’70s heroes could have bettered that, I don’t believe it.” Dad smiled,

“My main memory of that race was you leaping five foot in the air as your heart throb Jenson took the lead and punching the the air and exchanging high fives with your brother as he crossed the line and won the race. But you can’t delete sports fanatics’ memories, and I’m prepared to concede that you will recount every minute of that race to your great grandchildren when you’re eighty five.”

This lively chat went on for another quarter of an hour or so before we gradually broke up to do those important things that members of families do. You know, like washing up and going to the pub. But the whole episode did do something to me which I hope I will never forget, especially with kids of my own. Family bonding is not just about being lovey-dovey and being nice to each other. No, above all it is sharing those things we are really passionate about, and invariably they are matters which evoke discussions which in turn lead to exchanging dissenting and agreement in equal measure. I’m so glad our family has several things about which they feel so strongly.


Anton Wills-Eve




<a href=””>I’d Like to Thank My Cats</a>



I was standing on the balustrade of the gardens of the villa Borghese overlooking the dome of Saint Peter’s in the distance  in Rome when I was given the news that the Nobel Peace prize for that year, 1961, had been awarded to Dag Hammerskjoeld the recently deceased secretary general of the  United Nations.

I immediately thought back to the plane crash in the Congo in which he died while on a peace mission earlier that year. That was one price I would never pay for being given one of the highest awards in the world. The price was far too high.  But over the years since then I have wondered which Nobel prize I would like to receive and how high a price I would be prepared to pay to get it. In all honesty when thinking about being given really important recognition for something I have done in my life I have always bordered on fantasy, not least because I can think of no field in  which I might ever merit a really high honour. I suppose the first thing most people do is review the Nobel options.

I could just about reach a high enough level of medical research to qualify for the physiology laureate because the amount of original work I have done on mental  illness, and the various ideas I have put forward for treating any form of anxiety neurosis, could certainly reach the top level when viewed from the question of ‘do I have a broad enough and original enough knowledge of the subject?’ while obviously being mentally unbalanced, where I might fall down is on convincing people that I could cure  many of the illnesses covered by this field. You see the price I would have to pay would be suffering from the anxiety levels myself and thus being able to empathise fully when treating them. Well in this case I do, but I doubt if I could  bring myself to think them through again while writing up a thesis and still remaining sane.

The physics prize is one I have always believed I could put in my pocket any day of the week, but only because I can prove that atomic physics can never be subjected to an auto-logical series of tests that would leave no question that quantum physics is a load of rubbish. I know that it is, as put forward by most leading physicists, but I would have to learn how to speak the language of physics in which scientists couch the lunacy of their ideas. Pity, because that one would have been a cert, but the price would have been learning something I thought was valueless. No, I could never do that.

Now chemistry is really up my street when considered from the point of view of the invention or discovery of new elements which can be unearthed through phenomenological tinkering with archaeological sites which may yet reveal new aspects of  the chemical make up of our world. However the price I would have to pay for that would be personal exposure to the natural climate of our planet,  which in snow or high winds I would not enjoy at all.

This brings me to the literature prize. This is the one prize that the laureate can never manufacture for themselves on purpose. This prize has to be the whim of others so all I can say is that I would put in as much research as I needed to write a definitive history of thirteenth century Western Europe. The price, the work load, would be enormous but I would embrace it whole heartedly.  However, there is no way I could ever guarantee ultimate success.

Now when it comes to economics I would have a very good chance if I were to win the prize jointly with my wife. Together we have an unequaled knowledge of the machinations of world financiers and financial procedures but to prove just how clever we are at manipulating global fortunes we would need to be given at least one billion US dollars cash up front to start with. There are many ways this can be acquired, but when I started to contemplate the options I realised that neither my wife nor I would stoop so low, or jump so high,  in the realms of chicanery to kick start our financial dealings.

So we are left with the peace prize. Well I would like to win it for setting up a world wide charity devoted to feeding the starving, sheltering the homeless and comforting all the bereaved people who make up some forty percent of the population of the world. There would be no price involved, all I would need to do would be to raise my level of oratory in each of the five languages I speak and, with golden tongued eloquence, convince the rich of this world that they should shower me and my charity with their geldt. Now that is fantasy, but you must admit it is also really nice, isn’t it?

So my acceptance speech would begin as follows,

“Unaccustomed as I am to doing, saying or writing anything worthwhile………..”





<a href=””>We Can Be Taught!</a>




I really feel like writing something  I feel strongly about today so this prompt has given me the chance. The question is, what makes a teacher great? Well a teacher needs two  qualities and one piece of luck to be really great. He or she needs to know their subject backwards because a great love of what you teach, and the enjoyment it gives you personally, is essential if you are to communicate this to others.

Secondly a teacher has to accept that many pupils  have genuine problems understanding the basic concepts of some  topics, maths is the obvious one, and they have to be patient and persevere just as much as the student. If a child is too shy to admit ignorance in front of his peers, when the class seems to be finding something easy but the child doesn’t, a really good teacher spots this right away and takes the kid aside after a class or lecture or whatever and asks what the problems are. This is vital to solving pupil-teacher relationships that risk breaking down for no apparent reason, but ruins the chances of the child ever getting a grasp of the subject.

However the piece of luck the teacher needs much more than any other quality, is to have a class of students they like. Any teacher who allows prejudice or pre-formed opinions of what a particular set of students is going to be like, is doomed from the start. But if that luck is not there, and the teacher really does find a particular group of students an absolute pain in the backside, they have to practise the old English trick of keeping a stiff upper lip. This can be terribly difficult with a set of uninterested youngsters,  who as often as not have been written off  by family and previous teachers as slow witted, unhelpful and a whole string of adjectives that have no bearing on their true personalities at all. As often as not they are too scared to do anything but follow the pack.

A good teacher must risk life and limb, and sadly in this day and age this can often literally be the case, to combat this mass-bullying attitude of so many youngsters or they will struggle at everything all their lives. I have many friends who teach at all levels and ages and the job they do can be truly terrifying. Women  haven’t a chance in poor areas of inner cities and the lengths to which television soap operas go to encourage appalingly anti-social behaviour among the young is disgraceful. But the great teacher does rise above these problems on occasions, though sadly not nearly as often as they, their charges or their charges’ parents would like. But it is a triangular tragedy which will only be solved by multi-lateral co-operation which is sadly lacking in far too many schools today.