Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Category: humour


Blogger With a Cause

always lead from the front


I have never been behind a cause in my life. Well what on earth is the point? You need to be out there at the front leading the people who are fighting for something if you really want to make your presence felt. Let me give you an example.

Way back in the wonderful years of my degenerate youth, he was an awfully nice chap despite his degeneracy, well the two of us decided to put all our united eighteen year old muscle into the fight for the myriads of stateless and homeless civilian victims still left over from the second world war. It was a great cause in 1960.

Anyway Dave and I decided to spend the Easter holidays, well three weeks all told, in East Germany helping the destitute families who were penniless and jobless. It was an interesting excursion. To start with German was by no means my best language and Dave did not speak it at all. So, as you can imagine, we spent a lot of our time talking a weird sort of Allgemine and Allgeyours that nobody quite understood. Least of all the destitue whom we had come to help.

Basically we had tickets for six people to fly them to Geneva from Berlin and then they would be handed over to the UN to be housed, hosed, shod and fed. The trouble was we were allocated a family of six. Two senile grandparents who looked like they did not even know a war had taken place, a nice couple in their late forties and their twin daughters Traudl and Erica, who at seventeen and extremely attractive were immediately forbidden to talk to Dave and me for all sorts of reasons which of course none of us, especially their very apprehensive parents, seemed to understand. I think the parents thought their daughters were the price of their freedom and that Dave and I were two white slave traders bent on all sorts of evil deeds. As two slightly shy, male, Catholic virgins I don’t think Traudl and Erica could have been in safer hands.

So we finally managed to get through about fifty different check points before dragging the poor sextet onto a British military transport plane which the pilot assured us was taking stateless people to Switzerland. We thanked him and settled down with our flock of refugees but soon realised something was wrong. The father was talking to some other Germans on the flight and seemed very worried. It was Traudl, who spoke the most comprehensible variation of our invented patois, who told me “ Sir, young hero man, Ich habe ein idea zat dis luftplane is not going to Swiss. A man has told a daddy we are going to Russia.” Dave spoke first,

“Oh no, how on earth did we manage a cock up like this? It can’t be Russia, I’ll have a word with the pilot.” He came back smiling ten minutes later. “ No the navigator just joked to him that it was just like the ‘rush hour’, and several Prussians of course thought that sounded like we were Moscow bound, but it is being straightened out now. However, we aren’t going to Switzerland after all. The RAF crew have been given five days leave so they are taking us all to Nice on the French Mediterranean coast for a little holiday. What the hell do we do with our family.?” I said I’d have a word with Traudl.

“Meine liepling frauline,” her eyes lit up, “ How would you like eine genacht in der Cote d’Azur?” She immediately Cuddled up to me while her parents were not looking and said, “O ja, mit zu das is good, neine?” Strewth, it may well have been, but when she added that Erica had already said she was returning to England mit Dave, dis vill be good for two of us both, ja?” I had to ask her what her parents would think of this and she looked puzzled.

“Deiner fater und muter” I added. But she could not believe that bit because all her family had been killed in a bombing raid when they were babies. “Well who are die swei fater and muter you are with?” It transpired they were no relations at all and the girls had just tagged along when we said we had six tickets. I told her to wait a minute. I had a word with the pilot who said his orders had been changed and any refugees wanting to get off at Nice would be taken in by the UN. Then he added, “But if you two lucky so and sos want to keep your kraut popsicles that’s fine by us. We’ll fly you all back to England in about four days. We land at Northolt, which is next to Heathrow, where you would have gone anyway.

We told the girls who were delighted. Four days in the sun on the Med and then back to our palacial mansions near London, wow had their boat come in! Well, as it turned out it hadn’t. When we landed at the RAF base at Northolt the German embassy had already been told of the situation by the air crew and a diplomat met the girls when we landed.

Dave and I might not have got several nights of libidinous hijinks with some German crumpet, but our incredible success in bringing six Germans back to the West was rewarded by the German ambassador a week later when he sent us each a cheque for £500, a very useful sum in those days. Dave turned to me and sighed as we went back to school and were treated like heroes by the staff and our friends. He chuckled , “Just as well we got the money, I’m not sure I’d have known what to do with Erica.”

“Oh I know,” I replied. “I’v’e just never put it to the test and I must admit I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the ordeal!”

But think if we’d been behind the cause. We’d have probably been last in the queue, saddled with six octogenarians and really would have gone to Russia!

Anton Wills-Eve



<a href=””>Mentor Me</a>

ever had a mentor?


What on earth is a mentor?  Oh dear I’ll have to Google it. It’s a what!? Strewth no. What would I want with one of those? You can’t teach an idiot to perfect the art of going mad, what use would I have had of one? I perfected my role in life by the age of , let’s just say much younger than usual.

But seriously. If you specialise in being an anomaly then you are in a sense unique. Now if there is one thing a mentor, if I’ve understood it correctly, could never do is duplicate unity. Apart from being a tautology wrapped in a contradiction, it would also mean the mentor would be unique as well. Think about it. That too is, an impossibility, isn’t it?

So if such a person should happen to be passing my door and on a whim knock on the bell and ask if I needed a mentor I would immediately invite her in. I certainly would not encourage a man to indulge in my madness. No, when it comes to the hard jobs in life I am definitely a feminist. – No! I said feminist! Tasks would have to be devised for me to master and I should like to start with a mildly esoteric form of insanity. I would like my mentrix to teach me exactly those.

If she had a good sense of humour as well we could think up some super situations. I could be asked to stop people in the street with a microphone and interview them for our local radio station. I doubt I would run out of questions pertinent to our locality, you know like  “how far from here was the last open golf championship played? Nice try, but the answer is 987 yards not 216 miles”. You know the sort of thing. And the public love being on the radio. They always ask, “When is this going out, which station did you say you were?” It’s a perfect person trap. Have I ever done it for real as part of my work? Yes actually I have, often, but it was too tempting to last more than two or three minutes a person.

But all the time I was playing the fool with the mike, or taking the Mike with some fool, my mentrix would be scribbling notes about me on her clip board. Imagine people strolling up to her and asking, ‘what are you doing?’ To which her reply of 

“Being a mentrix” would elicit the remark aimed at me,

“Lucky you, mister!”

Yes I am begining to see the sense in this insanity and starting to approach this prompt with more passion than jocosity. I might even advertise in the local paper, “Mentor looking for desperate subjects. I only charge a small sum and you’ll come out a new man!” But if the person advertising were a mentrix, this might not be the case. Oh, I don’t know though, if you think about it you still might.



<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=””>From the Collection of the Artist</a>

what they’ll think of us 100 years on

                                 OMG IMHO

We can’t blame them. They only had basic communications technology so could not convey what they wanted others to know, think, see, hear, sense or smell except by using their rudimentary machines and even their own hands. Some people were even reduced to using their brains, but luckily medical research made great strides in curing that.

Poor sods, what a life. But at least they hoped to reach Heaven when they died. We did so, of course, by using that red button thing the archeologists found in Moscow in 2091. So perhaps they were on to something a century ago after all.



<a href=””>The Interview</a>

choose someone fictitious to interview


It was the last straw. The interest rates at all banks and financial institutions were so low that Dr. John Watson had no idea how he was going to carry on if he did not dip into his capital. He had some £40,000 in his current account at the Royal Bank of Spain and Northern Morocco, but as his good friend, the great detective, became ever cleverer at devising ways of saving his patients’ lives the good physician found he was making less and less money out of curing the rich. His friend was too clever at assuring they were never ill. 

“I say, you couldn’t help a chap out of a scrape, could you old man?”

“And what sort of scrape would that be, Watson. I see you have no mud on your shoes so it is not a bootscraper, and as you know nothing about the culinary arts it cannot be scraping butter onto bread. Enlighten me Watson.”

The good doctor sighed and said, ” I fear I shall have to sell my home if I am to maintain my current standard of living. I am down to my last £40,000.”  The gaunt sleuth eyed his friend with quiet concern but suddenly rose to his feet, lit his pipe, shot some dope into his arm and reached for his violin.

“ my dear chap, how can you help me in that condition? I need money, not the sad necessity of attending your funeral!” Came the worried crie de coeur.

“Elementary my dear Watson. If I pop round to the television studios dressed like this they will sign me up for a mini series at once and shower me with enough money for both of us to live happily for years.” Watson was stunned. Could he let his friend risk being shunned by casting teams who had not even heard of him? Alas he had no choice, he had to let his friend do as he pleased.

It was four months after the mini series had taken the world by storm and made both men very rich indeed that I, a young cub reporter, was asked by my editor to interview the great man and ask him how he had managed to get  the part and assure the series’ success.

“Tell me Sir,”I asked in an awed whisper when he granted me an audience, “How did you do it?” I noticed the faithful Watson curing a rich man in the background.

“I’m afraid I don’t know how I did it, but all my inspirational devices and ruses, together with my scientific logic, must have worked at once. How do you think I pulled it off, Watson? ” he asked turning to his trusted colleague.

The doctor smiled whimsically at him and replied, “By calling the series Sheerluck Holmes.”

Which is also, of course,  how I became editor of my newspaper.



<a href=””>Three Letter Words</a>

just for fun

The Beauty Queen’s Lament

When young, Oh my, could I wow,
The boys as they gazed
At my beauty, amazed,
But please don’t look at me now.

All my mirrors are draped in shrouds.
That outmoded mess,
My beauty queen’s dress,
Would look good with a harp and some clouds.

The make up I wore at the ball,
When I was crowned,
As my world twirled round,
Today looks like damp leaves in Fall.

It is probably mostly the gin.
Jealous friends said,
– But they are all dead –
Make my dimples crease up when I grin.

But I hope I’ve outlived one bitch
Whose malevolent tongue
Was like pure cattle dung.
I hope that she’s dead in a ditch!


Anton Wills-Eve


I Walk the Line


My somewhat unusual family do not so much live by ‘codes of conduct’ as immediate reaction to the customs of the people among whom they find themselves. My adorable wife, Francesca, I couldn’t live without her, seems to keep them in some sort of order but freely admits she cannot always follow their dialogue. This is odd too because she is a university lecturer in English, French and Italian and has an MA at one of the foremost universities in Europe. It was where we met some fifteen years ago.

The children were messing about so badly as we got off the plane that I was starting to get very cross with them. I had been called to a meeting at the UN in New York and  so we had to cut short our stay in London before returning to Geneva where all of them went to school. Our youngest, Edgardo, or Eddie as most of us called him, was looking forward to the middle of September because at last he would be starting at the same school where his brothers and sisters were studying. It was an elite and expensive Catholic school which took children from the age of five, if their fifth birthday was before September the first in the year they started. They could stay there through to University age, that is they would usually have their eighteenth birthday in their last academic year.

Well for the eldest, Maria, it was just a normal back to school as she had had her twelfth birthday the previous April. Giovanni, John or Jean, depending on how he wanted you to address him that day,was eleven, born exactly one year after Maria, and the twins, Lucia and Violetta had celebrated their ninth birthdays in June this year. Of the others Dido, was seven the previous December, Aeneas was a year younger than her exactly and the last, Eddie, a year before Aeneas on the previous  thirtieth of November. I stress these years and dates because they have a lot to do with what happened that day in New York. They were not exactly behaving themselves as we disembarked at Kennedy airport. I think it was Giovanni who started it. We were just about to go through customs, nationality visas and security checks, even though all nine of us has had diplomatic passports. My Italian wife Francesca was eyeing a last chance duty free bottle of her favourite perfume  before catching up with us. But as I say I think Giovanni went up to the customs gate first.

The official smiled at him and, catching a glimpse of the diplomatic passport, politely asked him “And what is your name please young Sir.” My eldest son wanted to enjoy himself.

“Eh , ba, vous savez j’ai tant de nommes que je ne peux pas les souvenir. Attendez un instant.”

The stunned customs official had not realised we were French. Well we weren’t, but as the children were all born in diferent countries, save the twins, problems often arose. Giovanni seemed dumb and puzzled but the official saw a god given opportunity to show off his French. “Je m’excuse, Monsieur, mais je pensais que vous etiez Anglais. Pardonnez moi.” To which he reeled from the reply,

“I really cannot see why I should pardon you when I am not French, nor English for that matter. My name is John, if we must speak in this pompous language. Personally I prefer to talk in Spanish!” The official was starting to get a little annoyed, but as he did not yet know what status I had and therefore my children too he held himself in check.

“Okay then young man, why don’t we speak in Spanish?”

My son looked bored.”We don’t speak in Spanish, my good man, because I don’t understand a word of the language. It just sounds nice and I would prefer to speak it. That is all I said.” The officer was starting to lose his control.

“Alright then sonny, I think…..”

“WHAT did you call me? Do you know who I am? ..” he got no further because Maria saw what was happening and rushed up to the official and in a tone of genuine apology said ,

“Oh is my poor brother having one of his turns again? You know it is a strain, but we do try. If you wish to know he is Italian by birth and on his mother’s side, but Australian on his father’s. He suffers from mental hyper egotism and breaks out in the strangest sentences from time to time. His name is Jean Thomas.”

“Oh, poor kid I am sorry. I had better talk to your parents about him, Miss Thomas. Now what is your name please?” My oldest child must have started it all because in many ways she had the best sense of humour in the family. She decided to carry on the exercise in driving the customs official insane.

“Do you mean my full names?” The uniformed man nodded. “Well they are Maria, Cecilia, Gemma, Margarita, Jane.” He wrote all the names, spelling Gemma with a J only to be told that she did not intend to force open any safes while visiting America. The officer didn’t realise what she meant so she had to explain the spelling of her name and saying she thought her linguistic joke had been rather good. He nodded again. Then he asked, as a formality he claimed, my daughter’s nationality. A simple request for most people but he soon wished he hadn’t.

“Well there you have me, my good man. It is a rather complex subject. You see I was born in Paris, that’s Paris France not Texas, and so I can claim French nationality when I am sixteen. But I have not yet decided whether I shall. You see dear Papa is Australian so I have that option and with Mama being Italian I can also claim that nationality as well. But a new and glorious possibility is currently being dscussed at The United nations, though it is not the reasons why Papa has been summoned there on a matter of such global importance.

“You see it is trying to be made possible for any child to choose the nationality of their brothers or sisters and in my case that adds up to quite a few. I have written personally to the secretary General, a good friend of the family, suggesting that I should be allowed to choose the nationality of any country visited by Mama while she was pregnant with me, but as that comes to thirty four he has not yet replied!” The official was at the hair tearing out stage and merely showed Maria the form and asked her to sign it to say it was correct. He had taken other details, like age etc, from her passport.

“Yes that seems in order, but you have got my surname wrong. It is not Thomas, you must have misunderstood. That’s my brother’s second name, the family surname depends on which passport Papa is travelling on on any given day and he hasn’t told us who he is today. You had better ask him.”

Most people would have resigned by this time but not customs officer Smith. He thought he might continue with these kids and their mother. “And who are you two young ladies?” he asked the angels now staring up at him. He might have known something unusual would happen when Violetta handed him her passport and said, “Guess!” Smiling she added, “I am an identical twin. But am I the person in that photo or am I the little girl in this one?” And she whipped Lucia’s passport out of her identical twin’s hand. Officer smith looked at them both and said,

“You do look mighty alike, but surely your name is on yours, isn’t it?”

“Of course it is,” replied Violetta. “So is Lucia’s. Look, there, see in that lovely digitally reproduced font. It says L U C I A that proves it’s her. Of course it doesn’t prove it’s her passport, nor this one mine, but then you only have our words for it that we are who we say we are. But look, ask our mother, there she is, that tall lady just over there.” Officer Smith followed her finger’s pointing and went up to the lady and asked,

“Excuse me, M’am, but which of these two young ladies is which?” The aristocratic lady with an aquiline nose looked at him in amazement.

“Are you drunk young man? I have never seen them in my life before. What made you think I had?” He was starting to explain but when he pointed at the twins he found they had been replaced by two even younger children a girl of about seven and a boy some twelve months younger. He took a deep breath and asked “Are you members of this important diplomtic family?” Dido spoke first.

“From the way they tossed me on that funeral pyre you wouldn’t think so would you? Not even my beloved teeny weeny Aenee-us here did not try to stop them, did you teeny?” Smith was starting to get a headache. He let her continue. “I saw you interrogating my siblings. Such an interesting job. Do you use thumbscrews?” here she was interrupted by Teeny who hated being called by this name,

“No the civilised United States immigration authorities do not go in for that sort of thing, Dido, you should be ashamed of yourself. I apologise for my sister, Sir, she has no sense of decorum.” Aeneus had only recently learned this word and hadn’t a clue what it meant, but officer Smith cetainly seemed to like him using it. “I must tell you as well that she was born in Geneva so is from a country  that has avoided getting involved in any major conflicts in modern times. I am still trying to work out whether this is or is not a good thing. Now I am a Spaniard, well born in Spain, so I can boast a long history of gallant bravery in the face of many mortal enemies. Do you have this problem in America?” By this time the poor official suddenly remembered he had to look at their passports and gave them only a perfunctory glance. As he was waving them through Aeneus turned and shouted to a small straggler behind him “Hurry up Edgardo, this chap here wants to torture you to make you tell him all about our secret mission to the land of the free.”

Poor Eddie looked tired and a bit bedraggled by the time he was interviewed at the customs desk and the officer felt sorry for any child who was the youngest in a band of seven such terrible children. “Hey don’t worry sonny, it only takes a minute”

“I believe that’s what Al Capone used to say before shooting people,” Eddie answered and as the customs officer posed his final question he was ready for anything. He asked Edgardo where he was born. “South Bend Indiana,” came the reply. Smith could not believe that such a small child could come out with an answer like that. But there was a good reason. For once it was true!

So finally Francesca and I presented ourselves before the flagging customs’ man and said we hoped our children had been helpful. He just looked at me, seeing from my passport that I was my country’s roving ambassador to any places of diplomatic emergency in the world and placed me about as high on the diplomatic ladder as one could be in his eyes. But then he’d never seen what my job actually entailed. “No trouble at all Sir, but it must be hard bringing up such an interesting family with the work you have to do.” I replied as honestly as I could.

“Well yes it is, but I could not do it without my wonderful wife here. She is responsible for the children’s basic manners and behaviour. I don’t know how I’d manage without her.”  I think officer Smith knew and finally had to check Francesca’s passport. Now her English may have been fluent but she had never lost her Tuscan accent, so it was with a very definite hint of the mafia in her voice that she leant over towards the  poor man and said,

“Thanks a lot for letting the kids through. I try to make them follow my example in all they do. By the way do I have to declare this bottle of perfume, or can we toss it into the diplomatic bag with all the other family loot?”

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=””>Ghostwriter</a&gt;


I am in no doubt that  I would choose William Shakespeare to write my biography. But I would insist that he wrote it as a play. It would go something like this.

SCENE: A nursing home at High Wycombe, a town in Buckinghamshire where a mother has been rushed in from her mansion on the Thames at nearby Bourne End: She is a very well known theatrical celebrity and the staff at the hospital are disputing who should have the honour of delivering her second child. She already has a daughter: It is almost midnight on May the ninth, 1942 with German bombers in the sky overhead, but the fearless unborn baby has not yet been told of this. This is why he is fearless. The curtain rises on the ward where his mother lies still waiting for him to appear, and two nurses, Mabel and Jane are watching over the scene:

Mabel: Ho, varlet, who goes there?

Jane: I’m not Violet, she’s doing the bed pans with Clarrie. Look there they are approaching each other from yonder doors at each end of the ward.

(cue to audience for loud laughter at upcoming really awful joke)

Mabel:  Yea, verily I see them as they meet adjoining each to t’other and then separating as off our stage they truly do take their exit. An I mistake me not they were but two shits that passed  in the night.

(look I warned you. It gets worse, and I’m not even born yet).

Jane: Indeed, great Mabel, to either end of this new babe we must attend. I the famous surgeon shall announce that he might with his stout scalpel outward force the heir to this long liege line of laughter makers and forthwith make this merrie England merrier still. Whatever the hell all that means.

Mabel: It doth forebode the victory of this sceptered Isle over the Jerry and the Hun who do this very night drop death upon us from the skies. But look, the cock doth crow twelve and being now the tenth day of the month as Churchill hath believed the babe may now be born. Let pomp and splendour rain upon us as we watch the imminent nativity.

All: (a lot of people who come on the stage from God knows where). “A boy, a boy let all our firkins of ale and vats of wine be drunk full well this most auspicious night. But hush, the babe doth speak !”

Male babe:  I am come our realm to free of all her enemies and with the last drop of my family’s blood I shall smite down the nasty Nazi who to his bunker flees. There proud Eva Brick doth him await to ‘eave a brick at him. Oh mother, thou has endowed me with a wicked wit of the west, that I may send them rolling in the aisles with the best.”

Scene ends with babe giving a strong hint of his true purpose in life by downing a whole bottle in one swig.

Land of hope and glory can be heard from far off Windsor Castle where the news has reached the palace. Our author turns to his wife as he lays down his quill and says. “I’ll make a fortune out of this one, I know I will. What sayest thou, Anne?”

Scene two starts tomorrow when the Babe is named. Don’t miss it, or the following 500 acts. Will has drafted them already.



<a href=””>Ha Ha Ha</a>




His mother said, “George, you’ll go blind!”




<a href=””>Fly on the Wall</a>

a fly on the wall at a historically important event.


The fly on the wall.


It was a bright summer’s day in  the garden by the side of the little wooden house. There on its wall a fly settled to watch what was going on. He had to admit that he greatly admired the effort the really handsome young man had put into building the little house  and he began to wonder what it was for.

Just at that moment  the man put the finishing touches to the building and opened the windows to let the smell of paint waft away outside on the breeze. The window swung wide and just touched the branch of a tree nearby.

The good looking chap then sat back in a garden lounger to take some well earned rest after his labours, when the most gorgeous girl the fly had ever seen wandered in. The insect, now rather puzzled, turned to a friend, who was crawling along the branch, and said,

“Well, bugger me Snake!” To which the asp retorted,

“No, I think that young chap’s got a better idea.”


Anton Wills-Eve.


<a href=””>I Have Confidence in Me</a>

March 7th’s prompt.


I once told my readers, at least I hope they are plural, about the inability of my five year old  son, Edgardo, to master four languages at such a tender age. It really was a shame because his four sisters and two brothers were all promising linguists and I am sure Eddie was merely attention seeking egged on by his nine year old sister Lucia. Let me tell you of his latest prank.

My wife, Francesca, and I were going out for the evening to see an opera that she particularly enjoyed, Don Giovanni one of Mozart’s greatest works. At lunch that day, we were in England for the summer holidays, he asked his mother.”Now you have got your libretto, haven’t you, Mama? Lucia tells me you need to thumb through one when you go to operas, whatever that involves, but I expect you know”. My adorable Francesca had long since given up trying to understand anything her seven children said to her. Within seven years she had given birth to Maria, eleven months later Giovanni, sometimes known as John or even Jean depending on which member of the family was talking to him. Two years after that came the twins Lucia and Violetta, a year later Dido and six years after Maria came Aeneas.  Finally a year later the seventh addition to our beautiful collection, little Edgardo was born in late 2009.

You will notice their names all had strong Operatic connections. Also they were born in different countries, France, Italy, England (the twins), Switzerland, Spain and America, this last appropriately for Eddie who was a typical Chicago gansgter. But after his arrival the doctors told us that no more children could be conceived by Francesca following surgery that was necessary at the time of Eddie’s very difficult birth. Tears were shed at first but soon my lovely wife realised she had more than she could cope with already. How she ever got a masters degree as well in two languages I will never know. But she was now lecturing at an on line  distance learning university which suited my peripatetic work and our over populated family perfectly.  I  took her on holiday to Salzburg shortly after Eddie’s birth,  a much needed holiday for both of us and a very necessary period of clinging onto each other for a while as our first love returned to us in all it’s wonderful tenderness. If anything, by the time of this story I loved Francesca more than when we met at university in Pisa in 2000 at a second milenium celebration student dance. We married in April 2001 and Maria was born in May 2002. Eddie came along in the early winter of 2009.  But to return to our opera night out.

When we took our seats in Covent Garden Francesca smiled at me and sighed with contentment as she relaxed to enjoy her favourite music. She knew the score and the main arias backwards but always liked to follow them when at an opera. If it gave her more pleasure so much the better, as long as she did not try to sing along with the performers. I got her out of this habit at a performance of Tosca at Verona where she was blushing puce with remorse as people sitting near us tut-tutted. But this night she was on her best behaviour.  I hoped everything was fine, but then I did not know what Lucia had planned for Eddie. Famous aria after famous aria had little notes scribbled in the margin.

Take two examples. “La ci da rem la mano”, ‘Put your pretty hand in mine’, a seduction scene, had the annotation , “Mama, what a naughty man! Don’t let daddy see you reading this!” Then the famous aria where don Giovanni’s romantic conquests all over Europe are recited to discourage Donna Elvira, had the notes, ‘ he had 1,003 lovers in Spain? How did he keep it up?’ That was the first time Francesca had ever stuffed a hankey in her mouth in public much to my horror. I thought she was ill. In the interval she showed me the libretto and score.

“Lucia! But Francesca, it is funny. But she couldn’t know all that by herself and none of the older children would have told her!” My wife nodded and started to look worried. she asked me,

“David, isn’t it more worrying to try to work out what Edgardo was thinking as Lucia wrote this for him? He must have been curious”. We both left the opera house very concerned.

The next day we summoned Lucia and Eddie and asked why they had written all over mummy’s lovely libretto. Lucia tried to look innocently puzzled and not understanding what we were talking about, but not Eddie. “Oh, it is easy. Don Giovanni was a dirty old man, you know he never had a wash, or so our Giovanni told me, and Violetta said he held Elvira’s hand up in the air as they walked off at the end of that scene, but so many encores were called for on the first night that everyone wondered why her arm muscles did not give way she held it up so long.”

It was Maria who solved the whole mystery for us. It was just the three of us now. “Well, Mama and Papa, you see we did not think this was a suitable opera for a good Catholic family to be allowing their mother to see, so we decided to distract Mama by making her laugh and in such a way that the very youngest members of the family would not be corrupted.” I couldn’t believe her at first, but I did when she added,

“It was our embassy chaplain who told us what to write as he thought all of us were too young to understand the story, but was very pleased at how pious we were in wanting to preserve our parents’ moral standards.” Francesca wanted to talk to Father Richard but I stopped her. Darling, they are all seven of them in this far too deeply already. We are the ones who would be making our children lie even more by taking the matter any further. Let it drop. ” She nodded but sighed as she concluded,

“I’m still worried about Eddie, though. If he made up that explanation he could become a really accomplished liar, but if he undertstood the joke, who told him?”

I kissed her as we left the sitting room and said, isn’t it fun having seven children to worry about all at once! Are you sure you once wanted another pair of twins?”


Anton Wills-Eve


<a href=””>Study Abroad</a>


                           SANE AND CONTENT


Seriously, was this prompt written especially for me or did my wicked fairy godmother have a word in word press’s  ear before it was chosen? Let me tell you you the history of my learning locations and see what you can make of it.

From my birth in 1942 in England, on the Thames in Buckinghamshire, I was press ganged into learning everything there was to know about the world in fluent Scottish, Australian, American and English as viewed by the world’s journalists. I came from a long line of journalists on my father’s side, four generations, and they had all considered  their vocations were to instruct the ignorant by means of the media. So by the age of three years and two months I had a party piece that I  was often forced to recite to show my relatives and their friends that my father’s ancestry of writers, and my mother’s four generations of actors and singers, could easily be reflected in their offspring  and to a genuinely useful purpose.

My sister and I did not agree. She was fifteen months older than I and was blessed with a naturally beautiful voice but hated public performing. So when she was asked she always clammed up and in my mercy I would spring to her rescue and do my showing off piece before anyone had time to castigate her for letting the family down. Do you know what I had been taught? I could recite all the Presidents of the United States from Washington to Truman, then the incumbent, and for an encore name all the states, their state capitals and, to really leave my audience gob-smacked, tell them I could name every US ambassador to Britain. They never made me do this last task, just assumed I had been really thoroughly brain washed. Lucky for them, too, because Walter Page became the first Ambassador with full diplomatic ambassadorial rank in 1916 to justify hauling the cousins into WW1! Actually Thomas Jefferson was in charge of diplomatic relations with Britain back in Washington’s time, but only as consul to Napoleon in Paris. Hardly a good start! 

But I digress. My education went roughly like this. English Catholic public school (that’s very posh not lowest level as over the pond) from seven to eighteen. Then Sorbonne university in Paris aged 18 to 21 and eight months.(History) Geneva University 21-22 (Italian history, Middle Ages), then BA at the OU in Britain, specialising in philosophy and logic, finally a doctorate at Pisa University in 1966 for a year (Papal history). All this was in five languages and by the time I retired from journalism, following  being lucky to survive a helicopter crash in 1970 and its gradual breaking up of my spine over the next eight years, I had reached masters level in four more subjects: world sports in Tokyo, a full knowledge of anxiety neurosis and phobias which I studied in Asia and The States , and finally another doctorate recently conferred by an Australian University for my life’s contribution to teaching people in most of the world the salient points of world history during my lifetime. 

But which location would I choose to retire to out of all the cities and countries where I have picked up the mass of trivia which I specialise in showering on the unsuspecting  readers of my idle bloggings and twitterings, as they are called today? Without any question Italy. It is the only country, especially around Tuscany, roughly Florence to Pisa, where I can still dream up essays and humerous stories to keep the uninstructed happy in their peaceful  and quiet towns. And, as the greatest music in the world is still sung on every Italian street corner, where else on earth would anyone wish to live and remain sane and content?


Anton Wills-Eve


<a href=””>Set It To Rights</a>


The last time I  did something which, at the time, I really wish I had done differently was when I was at university in Geneva in 1965. It was late January and I was working as a journalist at the United Nations while also trying to get my masters in Italian Mediaeval history. It was an eighteen month follow up to the LesL in French history which I had just spent four years studying in Paris. What I should not have done was try to work in one language (English), write academically in a second (French), while sharpening up my third (Italian) as I studied to a pretty complicated level. Let me tell you why.

I had been invited to cover the first ever international conference on doping in sport which was being held just up the road in Grenoble in the French Alps. Apart from writing about it I was also one of the delegates as I had written a lot on European sports while studying in Paris and I was selected to be one of  the three public relations members of the newly formed commission. Well as cruel kismet would have it I had to be in three places on the same day, each one in a different language and showing my in-depth ignorance in three tongues. I had to tell the world what the conference was doing in English, my two counter parts were  deputed to carry out the same task in French and Spanish. This after I had an Italian lecture on thirteenth century  Tuscan politics in the afternoon. It was being given by a very distinguished Italian Professor, but unfortunately in very distinguished Italian. Then to top it all I was spending the morning covering a world cup ski-ing slalom race just over the border in Italy and had only a hour to get from the ski-ing to the lecture and then drive from Geneva to Grenoble in  an hour and a half in  snow and ice for the conference which started at 6.30 pm. Well the pre-serious bit, drinks for us all to say hello to each other, came first.  So what do you think I did?

I got to the ski-ing at 8.00am with a hangover for reasons I cannot even remember, only to find I had left all my sports notes in Switzerland and had to trust to my memory and knowledge of the sport to get the results and times filed and the wrap up story sent without too many howlers. It was too much to hope for. I had Machiavelli  coming third in the men’s race and was really lucky that the telecommunications manager at the ski-ing spotted this and thought I was being funny. This hardly set me up for the day. I managed to write an in depth piece on why doping was not yet an issue in ski-ing, even though it was, and just got away with it because nobody else knew whether I was right or wrong.

The lovely lecture theatre was about to close its doors as I squeezed in, out of breath, to hear a talk about the life of Castruccio Castracani, my favourite condottieri. Oh no! Yes, I had squeezed into the wrong amphitheatrical lecture hall and sat, bored and none the wiser, through an hour and a half’s talk on quantum physics in a very difficult Sicilian dialect and only just kept awake.

You can imagine the state I was in when I got to Grenoble. The English language press, many of whom I knew, made straight for me as the only person they understood. I was expected to know every topic that was going to be raised, what was going to be said, and how furious half the sports world was going to be before the meeting even started! I sought solace in the pre-conference drinks, lots of them, and made up reams of rubbish when everything was finished and the world’s press retired for the night bored and uninformed about anything that had been discussed. Not my greatest hour. So what do you think I could do to correct my errors? Seriously, go on, guess”

I did absolutely nothing. For the rest of the weekend I read my favourite Italian poets and gave my colleagues more garbage for their papers and finally made my way back to Geneva to sleep off Monday, unconcerned at anything my sports editor or conference colleagues may think of my weekend. I got it spot on! The editor thought my ski-ing piece was really original, I’ll say it was, the conference organisers gave me a full time job for two years (one day a month) but my Italian tutor could not make out how I had proved that astro physics played an integral part in the overthrow of the leading political party in Pisa in 1299. It was a connection he had long spotted, he told me, and thought me a genius for picking it up!




<a href=””>Too Big To Fail</a


                THE PROMPT SAYS IT ALL

I have been asked, and I quote, to ” Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).”

Answer: I would try to be elected prime minister. But I haven’t tried it yet because it isn’t guaranteed!! 




<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=””>Time Capsule</a>


en reponse du blog ‘essence typique de cette annee’


                                    ESSENCE TYPIQUE

Si, par hazzard, je me trouverais dans une capsule lunaire, la premiere pensee d’entrer dans ma tete aurait du etre “quel essence puis-je vendre plus facilement aux little green men?”.

Je suis convaincu que “Shell” soit le mieux connu aux habitants de mon nouveau monde, car c’est une espece de gas Texan que les petits hommes verts auraient du avoir vu souvent sur les avertissements televisuels de “chaine de l’espace de notre universe”. Les Americains  sont les meilleurs gasoliniatiques entre nous et le soleil, c’est indiscutable. Mais a mon avis l’essence “Total” contient un parfum si redolent de la France ques les automobilistes, petits, masculins et verts seront  ‘k.o’ par les memoirs de Kalvin et Coco. Mais ca c’est pour vous, mes blogs-mangeurs, de decider si on puisse voter sur ce sujet.

Alors, pour tous ces raisons j’ai choisi  le petrol Anglais, ‘North Sea Oil Derivatif’ de donner comme mon cadeau typique de notre epoque  pour tous les habitants de l’univers qui n’ont pas encore gouter cette boisson. C’est degoutant mes delicieux!

Et, pour terminer mon ‘post word press promptiste’,  je serai obliger de m’excuser pour l’absence de tous les accents grammatiques Francais qui sont hors de mont  ordinateur cyberesque. Bon soir mes petits et dormez bien en revant de votre Oncle Nous-Nours qui a peut-etre trop bu, meme si ce n’etait par essentialement de l’essence!






<a href=””>Imitation/Flattery</a&gt;


                                    IF WILL SHAKESPEARE HAD BEEN A BLOGGER

it is rumoured that the following sonnet appeared on page eight of the Stratford Daily Bugle on the 4th of October, 1597. It was signed ‘anon’ and filled ‘poets corner’ for that day. But the author was not so averse to public acclaim that he did not mind prefixing the work with the words, “This is my 73rd go at writing these bloody things, will I never get one right?”


T’is that time again when I am wracked by ‘flu and cold

And yellow drops, hourly, from my red nose do hang

Next which my ‘kerchiefs have countered sneezes bold’,

Bare ruined nostrils next which no sweet notes ever sang.

In me thou see’st, therefore, at the closing of each day,

Like dim, grey twilight as the sun sinks in the west:

The sniffling posture of a poet, prisoner of his unwrit lay,

Left on life’s shelf, his coughing never allowing him to rest.

In me, all thou can see, are the carnal ashes of my years.

There, where my gorgeous youth often did lovingly lie,

Is now my death-bed as my passion is reduced to tears

For Anne mistook herself as nourisher of my evening sigh.

      This I know full well, who does himself despise. Oh shit,

      To be loved by she on whom I ‘oft, so shamelessly, did spit!


Anton Wills-Eve



<a href=””>Circle of Five</a>

Reply to prompt about being the average out of five people.



Being a natural anomaly I can think of nothing I would like to be less than the average of any ‘thing’, or group of people, I have ever known. What an awful tag to carry through life. ‘Oh here come’s old meany!’. Can you imagine it? Seriously. ‘He’s a pretty average bloke,’ runs it a very close second. But the prompt asks me to select five people out of whom I would like to come third, starting from either end, so here goes.

Firstly there’s John Harrington, a chap I knew at school. You wouldn’t  have heard of him and I haven’t seen him since the flood, but that does not detract from his very pleasant personality, permanent smile and all round ‘good egg’ passage through life. Yes, John was a fellow you’d always be able to welcome into any circle you had to make up.

Then there’s Lucia Castricani, a beautiful little bit of crumpet from Tuscany with the most inviting eye’s I have ever seen. She would have to be around if only to bring out the true nature of everyone else around her. But how to fit her into this circle, where I have to be the average? I have no minority sexual predilections so I could never want to think people ever equated me with her, except in personal popularity. You’d have loved her though, so I suppose we have to leave her in. 

The third member of the pentumvirate – okay, okay, I know that word doesn’t exist (does it?), but it serves it’s purpose really well here so stop moaning! This will surprise you. I would immediately toss in Adolphe Hitler because then we would have a very definite and undisputed most unliked member of the gang. Nobody would talk to him, he’d be shunned, wonder what on earth was going on and keep saluting himself because none of the rest of us would. Come to think of it he’s starting to look quite attractive! But think of all the other things he was responsible for. No he’d be number five alright.

I spent a lot of time over number four and finally came up with Bill  Mazeroski because being a sports fanatic I had to have a games player in my circle and what he did in 1960 is still the greatest single sporting moment I have sat through in my life. Okay I was listening to the World Series on the radio in Paris, and it was some god awful time in the night, but when he connected with that hit and won my team, The Pirates, the greatest baseball match ever played I was on a high for weeks. Being at university in Paris meant nothing to me as I imagined what I had heard for eons afterwards. And now, in my autumn years, thanks to modern communications, I have actually seen a film of that moment  and it’s even better than it was when it happened. He was a bloody good fielder too, as we say in cricket, and by all accounts is a really nice guy.

So who gets the fifth place? Well this is where word press so often messes up these prompts dreadfully. It has to be me of course, because if I’m not in it I can’t win it! Well in this case come third. But as John Donne put it so well, no man is an island and that goes for Mr.Average just the same as Mr.First and Mr Last. In short we’re all equal when it comes to existence so, on average, we must all come third. But a bronze medal is no mean thing and if I have to settle for that in life I really don’t mind.


Anton Wills-Eve






Answer to prompt ‘plead the 5th’

<a href=””>Plead the Fifth</a>



How old am I ?

Don’t ask! Why?

Well I know that I

Will always lie!