Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

DOWNSIDE UP


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Blogger in a Strange Land.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/blogger-in-a-strange-land/”>Blogger in a Strange Land</a>

DOWNSIDE UP

I was tweeting at the time this happened. I can’t remember to whom. I was looking out the first floor sunset window, the room that looks straight into the setting sun and is furnished exactly as I want it both to relax and work. Well I heard the cat definitely miaowing outside the window. But it couldn’t be there, there was no ledge. I hurried over to see what was happening.

As I pushed open the double glass windows and strained to look down I lost my balance and was literally left hanging by my feet some thirty feet from the ground.  I looked down and luckily it was a flower bed, but even so I thought I’d rather be rescued, and luckily I still had my tablet in my hand.

Upside down the tablet looked all wrong. The keyboard for a start was downside up and when I texted my sister to help me, I knew she was in, I tapped all the wrong keys. I could not wait much longer as my left leg, which was taking most of the strain, was going numb.

So I threw the flaming tablet away in the hope of being able to find a more conventional way of clambering back in the window. From down below I heard a loud miaow and the cat shot our of the flowers as my tablet hit it.  My indignant sister came out of the garden door to see who was torturing  her pet, spotted me the wrong way up some thirty feet above her and shouted,

“Serves you right for throwing things at Kiwi – what else do you call an all black cat? – you can stay there all night, and serve you right.”

At this point a felt two hands grabbing my ankles. It was my ten year old daughter. “Help. Daddy’s about to fall to his death. Help!”

“Well he is if you push instead of pull,” I answered and politely requested a piece of rope first tied to the window frame. I got one, but only after a major exercise in girl guide knot tying which consistently failed until my wife appeared on the scene and hauled me back in.

As I retrieved my tablet I remembered that famous question, how long would it take one million monkeys typing at random to produce the works of Shakespeare? It made me wonder what I had written. A load of rubbish no doubt. You can imagine my amazement when I saw that I had typed, quite unwittingly, ‘The other way up, you idiot!’

I couldn’t believed it and ran indoors at once to show my wife. “Jane, look you won’t believe this!” She didn’t, because she and my sister were bent double with mirth on the floor as my sister managed to say, “And the raving fool even fell for it!”

AWE

THE SUN, THE CLOUD AND THE SILVER LINING.


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/but-no-cigar/”>But No Cigar</a>

a rewrite and corrected version of yesterday’s post, ‘run that past me again’.

THE SUN, THE CLOUD AND THE SILVER LINING.

 

Nguyen Oanh Anh had been warned by her family not to mix with Americans, especially the military, as they were rich, boastful, amoral and selfish. They really had it in for the US because they could think of nothing pleasant to say about the race that had taken over their capital city and were seducing every Vietnamese girl in Saigon. Anh was told they were off limits and no exceptions. But to be fair to her parents, they had a reason. Her elder sister, Tuyet, had become pregnant and in her shame had run away. A month later one of her friends told the family she had killed herself. So nine years later in May 1968, on her eighteenth birthday, Anh went to work in an orphanage for blind, abandonned children.

In early 1968 the Chinese new year was also the signal for a new Viet Cong Communist offensive against the American military in South Vietnam which rocked the anti-communist government. This turn of affairs involved many news organisations increasing their staff in South Vietnam and it was the worst thing I could ever imagine happening to me. I had worked for The largest British news agency for just over a year and was doing well for my age. I had been sent to the Middle East during the six day war in 1967 and then returned to London at the end of August. I was promised a permanent overseas posting in the new year and my fiancee, whose family I had known since she was a little girl, was hoping we would get married when she got her university degree in June 1968. I would be twenty six in May that year and she would be twenty three the November after we married. Everything looked great and we were both very much in love with each other.

The following January I got an awful shock. I was offered an overseas posting, as promised, at the end of January. I was to join the staff in Singapore, the office from which we ran all our news operations for Asia. This was great as it would double my salary. But there was a horrible caveat attached. As I was unmarried I would probably be sent to Vietnam fairly soon and might spend as long as a year there. The full posting to Singapore was for three years. But the condition was that I would not get married while in Vietnam. This was company policy. I had not told them that I was engaged but now I had to. They were very understanding and said they would send me to Saigon immediately and after a year would pay all my fiancee’s expenses to come out and join me to get married. I was distraught.

We had a long family discussion during which my fiancee, Lucy, told me in no uncertain terms that she could not stand a year without me. Not from the point of living together, but because she would not even see me in all probability. So we hatched a plot unknown to either of our families or my employers. We agreed that Lucy would join me in Saigon in June at the end of her exams and we need not tell my company. This was the best solution , but as we said goodbye at London airport she insisted on one thing, “Sebastian. I cannot go a year without marrying you and as we are both Catholics could you arrange for us to get  married in Vietnam as soon as possible after I arrive. I’ll have all the documents I need on me and get yours from your family.” That one promise made the rest of my parting possible.

Well Vietnam turned out to be a strange mixture. Being bombed and having mortar shells fall on us most days was far from fun. Flying around a war torn country in helicopters that were often overloaded was terrible. And finally, after four months of near hell it was all capped with two of my closest colleagues being killed in an ambush. If Lucy did not arrive soon I would be a total nervous wreck. I could feel it starting already. Early that May in the major worsening of the war in which my friends were killed, I was caught up in a street fight in the riveside area of Saigon and had to take shelter as best I could in a bombed out building. As a non-American correspondent I never wore military clothing of any type, just ordinary summer shirts and slacks. Several of us did as we thought it safer if we ever got captured. Well as I crouched down in what was left of  that building I saw a girl who looked about ten or eleven wandering around, shell shocked I presumed and seemingly unaware of where she was. I raced over to her and in my extremely basic Vietnamese asked her was she alright. I understood enough to know she had asked me if I was American and then I wondered if she understood French. Many Vietnamese did as their parents were brought up speaking it as the country had been a French colony. So I replied in French that I was British and asked her if she understood, She was unable to let go of me.

She grabbed hold of my arm and  told me in halting French, it was no problem for me as I had been to university in Paris, that she was lost and worse still was blind. She had no idea where she was. I have never been so grateful for aything as I now knew what to do for her. One of the secretaries at the British Embassy helped out at an orphanage for the blind and she had shown me where it was. I wrote an article on it. The girl told me her name was Marie because her mother  wanted her to be a French lady. I smiled and bet she could not say Sebastian. She pronounced it perfectly. “Oui je parle assez bien.Tu vois, Monsieur, she suis gatee d’etre aveugle!” What a beautiful thing to say. “You see how lucky I am to be blind,Sir. it makes me speak better.”

Naturally I made my way across town with her and after more than an hour I made the orphanage where a couple of the staff remembered me. Marie told them how we had met and what  I had done. The stiflingly hot, dusty building where they were housed was little better than a shelter, but one of the helpers, she introduced herself as Anh, said how kind and thoughtful I had been. Marie did not want to leave me but I explained what I did and why I had to go back to work. But I promised to see them all from time to time and asked Anh if there were any provisions or medical requirements that I could get them. She was delighted but did not hold back, giving me a very long list. We both smiled as we shook hands and I couldn’t helping noticing how very pretty she was in her flowing, white Ao Dai, the Vietnamese national costume.

Well I visited them all a couple more times by the end of the month and then came the minute I had been waiting for. Lucy had got a visa from the South Vietnamese embassy in London and was able to travel straight to the Vietnamese capital. I had got to know one of the US army chaplains, a Catholic like Lucy and I, and he was sure he could arrange an acceptable marriage. I will never forget the scene at Tan Son Nhut airport where Lucy just seemed to appear out of a haze of dust, cigarette smoke and armed soldiers everwhere. As she saw me she staggered towards me with two large cases, dropped them at my feet and threw her arms round my neck unable to let go for what  seemed like a lifetime.

“Oh darling, I don’t know how I’ve got though the last five months. I wouldn’t have credited that one man could miss one woman so much.” She didn’t reply. She couldn’t through the tears that would not stop flooding down her cheeks. She was fascinated by the street scene of speeding mopeds with whole families on them as I drove our office car back to town narrowly missing half a dozen poeple. “You’ll get used to it, Luce, you will. But I must warn you. You haven’t come for a luxury holiday, more a little glimpse of hell.”

Father Timothy and several of my fellow journalists took to Lucy right away and everyone told me how lucky I was. I had a bedroom above the office but of course I had never slept with Lucy and was at a loss what to do. I needn’t have worried. “Darling, before leaving London I did something I didn’t think you’d mind. I changed my surname to yours by deed poll so that from now on our passports would look as though we were married. Your friend, that nice chaplain, will marry us in the Church as soon as he can, won’t he?” I nodded on realising what was happening. That was the first night I slept with her and I loved her so much more that I knew beyond any doubt that we could not have done anything wrong. At least that was how I felt. I am sure we both did.

The two things facing us now were how quickly we could be married and secondly what Lucy was going to do while she was in Saigon. Well Father Timothy and about twenty journalist friends, as well as few of the British embassy staff, made it a lovely wedding. But sadly it was only in the eyes of the Church. As we already had the same surname the civil authorities said they could not legally marry us. We did’t care a bit. But it was Anh who solved our second problem. On discovering that Lucy’s degree had been in French and Spanish she suggested she should work with them at the refuge for the blind. It was the perfect solution.

Our set up lasted really well for a couple of months. I even got a letter from my company saying they thought it was very clever of us only getting married in Church as that meant, for insurance purposes, they did not have to consider me married. I hadn’t thought of this before. But life is never what you hope. Well not in my experience. It was in mid August that a mortar shell hit the refuge and literally flattened it while also setting fire to to the building. Chaos!

Many journalists who knew my connections at first tried to keep me away from the scene which I found odd, but when they did not join me in looking for Lucy I knew something was very wrong. They found her body, hunched over  two terrified children. Half her head was blown in, but nobody would let me see this. All I was told was that she had died saving the lives of two blind nine year olds. I was lost. No, I mean totally lost, my world in tatters and my heart just the shattered remains of my former self.

“Hey, come on Seb. I know it’s tough mate, but we’ll help you through.” An Australian chap who had become a good friend had his arm round my shoulder and he was crying as much as I was. But, if possible, worse was to come. As the ambulance took Lucy to the military morgue chapel and Father Timothy was everywhere at once trying to help and console people, I flopped down on the remains of a stone wall and could not get my mind straight. That is until a little brother and sister, or so they looked, slowly approached me and tapped my arm. There was somethng wrong about them and I soon realised what it was. They could see. Who were they? I soon found that out too. In our broken, slow Vietnamese, they had no other language, they managed to ask me.

“Where is out Aunt Anh? We can’t find Auntie Anh.” I was so overcome with the fear that she too had been killed that I could not even reply. Eventually I said I didn’t know and would start looking. As all three of us were scrambling through the rubble I saw Marie sitting by herself, blood stained and weary. The two children ran up to her. “Marie, Marie where is Auntie Anh?” Marie knew their voices at once and opened her arms for them. Of course she had not seen me. But I knew just enough local language to realise she was telling them their Aunt was dead. I was almost too afraid to approach them. But thank God I did.

“Marie? C’est Sebastian. Comment va tu? T’es pas blesse?” I had asked her was she hurt. But her reply was the biggest shock of all.

“No, Mr Sebastian, but Anh is dead. I have been told. These two twins are her nephew and niece. They will soon be looking for their mother.”

“They know who their mother is? But they aren’t blind, does she live near the  refuge?”Then I almost wished I had not asked. She told me they were the children of Anh’s elder sister who also worked with Anh. She thought I must know her. Her name was Tuyet.”

I knew her all right and had in my mind the picture of a pretty, hard working, lovely girl who looked almost exactly my own age. I exclaimed to Marie,

“But I was told she was dead, that she had killed herself!”

Marie shook her head. No, Anh’s family were fooled by some foul tongued gossips  and when she heard the truth she searched for her sister and brought her here. The twins  were her life, and she provided for all three of them. I think a lot of the things you gave her she passed on to them.

“Mr.Sebastian, could you take these two back to their mother and break the news of Anh to her as gently as you can.”

All that was five years ago. The twins, now aged thirteen, are a happy, smiling pair of rogues beloved by all at the good school I got them into in London. It’s not very far from the large house where Tuyet and I live and where we also look after Marie who is making great strides despite her terrible handicap. But she loves helping us look after our two youngsters, a boy and a girl aged three and one.

God, the cloud of  war’s a bastard. But it has its silver lining too!

WHY HELEN?


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Buffalo Nickel.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/buffalo-nickel/”>Buffalo Nickel</a>

 

WHY HELEN?

 

William, who hated being called Bill but could just about put up with Will, was in a state of serious apprehension. Although he was considered one of the better ‘catches’ amongst the first year students at his university he could have murdered his twin sister for lining up a blind date for him. All he knew was that she was called Helen.

“Look tell me something about her, please. You’ve given me two good seats for the concert and you know I like classical music, but does she? Come on Sally tell me something about her. I mean why did you pick her, did she ask you to or do you feel sorry for her? She hasn’t got anything wrong with her has she?”

Sally laughed, “Will, you know where I met her. The only reason you haven’t met her is because this is our first term at university and she and I are doing biochemistry and you are doing modern languages. Our campuses are nowhere near each other! But she did tell me she loved classical music and you know I don’t. I merely said I’d been given tickets for this do and had given them to you, adding that you would like to take her as you didn’t know your fellow linguists’ musical tastes yet.

“We were lucky getting places at the same university weren’t we? I’ve put her phone number on the envelope with the tickets. She said to text her.”

With the concert only four days away Will sent a very brief text to the mysterious Helen. It read, ‘I haven’t asked Agamemnon’s permission yet but I do hope you can make it over the Hellespont on Friday to take in the concert and a bite later. OK? Paris.’

Her reply told him two things that roused his curiosity enormously. She was well educated and had a sense of humour.

‘I know a short cut, via Thebes and Thermopilye  – You see it keeps my togas dry :).  Shame it’s the first date though, Paris never gets a bite until vetted. No, I don’t mean that sort! A painless vetting 🙂 But a fig or two later would be lovely.  H.’

Will could not resist his reply. ‘ Meet @ amphitheatre front arch’ I’ll be wearing a smart, casual laurel wreath’ expect you to be carrying smart casual Grecian urn.’ At this point anything could happen. Go for broke and laugh along in the manner begun, or dress normally and carry a laurel leaf for identification. It was too tempting. Will borrowed a full Greek tragedy outfit from the drama department. But on arriving at the concert hall on Friday night he nearly dropped. Helen did not so much arrive as burst upon the scene.

A figure clad in a sweeping white gown with her dark brown hair wound round her head like Medusan snakes, descended from a chariot, spear in hand and each toe nail painted a different colour as it peeped twixt the thongs of her sandals. Will was in heaven and took up his part immediately. He swept up to Helen, bowed and handed her a ticket’ The vastly entertained onlookers just thought it all a student prank and clapped when they took their seats in the hall.

As they looked at the programme and the first item, an, overture, began Will suddenly realised that neither of them had spoken a word. He wondered what joke Helen was leading up to next. She certainly kept it up well, really well. The overture finished and over the noise of the applause Will heard his mobile phone go off. Embarrassed, he opened it in seconds and saw it was a text. It said ‘We Greeks have all the inventions of the world, mine just vibrates so we will converse thus’. Helen smiled seductively at him and Will felt the missile from Cupid’s bow which she had aimed at him strike home exactly as she had prayed it might. All he replied was the texted image of a shattered heart.

They kept up the joke thoughout the concert and a really nice dinner afterwards which Helen allowed Will to pay for. As he took the bill she sent a message and a grin. ‘Just checking your bank balance.’ It was only a short walk across a lawn to Helen’s rooms and they sauntered, ever more slowly, to her door. Nobody was in sight when Will could contain himself no longer and finally broke their evening’s silence.

“Helen, thank you for the greatest date of my life. I have slowly fallen completely in love with you, and you never even said a word. No bites, promise, but may Paris kiss Helen goodnight?” The embrace lasted twenty minutes but she had the last word, texting,  ‘see you at Sally’s for lunch tomorrow’.

Will arrived early at his sister’s next day and she asked him how the evening went.  While he described it he was surprised to see tears starting to roll down her cheeks. It was then she explained. “Will, Helen has been keen to meet you for weeks but had to find out how you felt about her first. We concocted last night’s charade because, Will, your lovely Helen has an awful impediment. The poor girl is stone deaf.  She can talk perfectly well, granted, but last night she never heard a note of that music!”

 

Anton Wills-Eve

WHATEVER NEXT?


                                 WHATEVER NEXT?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sliced Bread.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sliced-bread/”>Sliced Bread</a>

 WHATEVER NEXT?

 “Put that bread knife down, Nicky! How many times do I have to tell you?  And don’t argue back. Seven year old little girls don’t use dangerous kitchen utensils.” Her nine year old brother was not so sure. He was a pompous little boy whom many people fantasised about strangling.

“I say mother, no really that is a bit much. Why only yesterday I caught you showing young Nicola  –  he never called his sister ‘little’, he thought it insulting  –  how to use the electric mixer to make cakes. Seriously, now, which is the most likely to harm her? An electric machine that could short circuit and kill her in seconds, or a blunt, outdated knife that might just scratch her if she’s unlucky?” 

Nicola said nothing. She was just beginning to realise the advantages of having a pompous older brother. She simply stared vacantly at her mother awaiting the court’s decision on whether or not she should continue hacking the loaf to pieces. She did a superb imitation of an angel.

“Christopher! How many times has your father told you not to start stupid debates with your elders?…..”

“Up to this morning at eight o’clock, seventy three times, that I can remember. He may of course have done so before I was two years and eight months old, but were that the case I fear my small brain would have been unable to recall such a censure. A shame, for I am certain I would have made a hilariously amusing reply, would I not?” His mother knew when she was losing and was letting the matter drop when little angel faced Nicola joined the conversation.

“Oh, Christopher. I can’t believe your brain was ever small. You are far too clever and must have said something if Daddy had told you off at that age. But he would not have done, surely?” Their mother was not the only family member becoming worried that her daughter was starting to imitate her brother’s way of talking.

Finally the parent took matriarchal control of the situation. “Christopher, your sister does not use a bread knife because her mother says so. That is the only authority either of you need in order to do what you are told in this house. Understand?” Christopher did not look as if he understood.

“Isn’t that a bit thick on poor papa?”He queried. “I mean to say if he can tell me how to behave seventy three times, and that on one subject only, he surely must have some standing in the judicial hierarchy of our little quartet?” Nicola liked ‘hierarchy’ and ‘judicial’, they were new words to her and she stored them up. Fortunately for all three of them the tone of the conversation changed as their father came in from doing an hour’s gardening. He looked none too happy.

“That bloody mower needs sharpening, I’ll have to take it to pieces again. The electric lead’s too short as well!”

Christopher looked at the head of the household with great disapproval.”Father, I may at times use words a little too esoteric for my audience in this house, but on your orders I never swear. Not very good at practising what you preach are you? Bad language, fiddling with a machine that will electrocute you and giving poor, innocent Nicola here the idea that she can play with really sharp things whenever she pleases. I don’t know what we are all coming to, I really don’t!”

At this point father and mother united to lay down the house rules once and for all. No arguing with elders, no swearing under the age of twenty one and no playing with or trying to use potentially dangerous tools and implements. The children meekly agreed, fully aware they had won the day. Their mother rounded off the talk with the following remark.

“That charter of behaviour  –  Christopher liked charter and looked at his mother with fleeting admiration  –  is the best thing to enter this house since sliced bread.”

Nicola looked at her stunned. “Mummy do you mean you can buy bread already sliced?”

“Yes, answered Christopher, and it is even rumoured they are soon bringing out self-sharpening lawn mowers that run on batteries and don’t swear!”

Anton Wills-Eve

DAYBREAK


 

 DAYBREAK                               

The starless, sunless start of daybreak

Was not the sole sunless overture that day.

The place beside me, as I awoke early,

Was deserted. My lover had gone away.

The night before, as she seduced me,

I ignored my heart and placed my trust

In her passionate words of true devotion,

Believing they betokened love not lust.

Tears flooded down my sunken cheeks

As the sun appeared in the Eastern sky.

Yet even then I could not bring my mind

To picture her face and to say goodbye.

Now, I wonder, will my soul ever know

So cancerous an emotion or heart so sore?

If she never returns how can I forgive her?

For I would, she has only to open my door.

No note, no sign that all she wanted

Was carnal pleasure at my expense.

She was lovely, as only those we love are;

Against her smile I had no defence.

The dawn, to morning, fast is changing,

The heat of the day will soon burn all.

And yet my heart will stay cold as ice

And my hopes as empty as trees in Fall.

Darling, I beg you, return again to hold me

Please let us enjoy one more night of desire.

For then, if again you should try to leave me,

I will feel no chill while rekindling our fire.

AWE

THE BRIDGE


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”

THE BRIDGE

“Stop! Stop!” But it didn’t hear me. At the age of only just five I didn’t know that big, red, double decker London buses couldn’t hear, but they could abduct your mother and sister and drive off with them leaving you on your own without another soul in sight. It was so terrifying I was too scared even to cry.

Think what it must have been like. The bus stop was on the Surrey side of the Thames at the start of Hammersmith bridge with its never ending open air tunnel of iron arches. I knew I couldn’t swim, so I couldn’t step onto the bridge in case I fell off and was drowned. I turned round to put the bridge behind me but that was worse. A mile long, so it seemed, dead straight road of private houses on both sides. We weren’t allowed to go into strangers’ houses.

I was trapped! I wanted to wait for the next bus, but I had no money. If you tried to dodge paying the fare you went to jail. They locked you up and left you alone to starve. I was begining to shake and then felt I needed to go to the toilet. But if you took your willey out in public horrible perverted men would jump out of the bushes and do dreadful things to you  At least there were no bushes by the bridge, but no toilets either!

I was really worried now and finally had to edge back to the bridge and pee up against the iron stanchion. As I went on looking at the huge bridge I could not understand how people could cross it on foot. I must have been on the point of full blown panic when a bus pulled up on the other side of the road and my mother and sister rushed over to make sure I was okay. On seeing I was alright they treated the whole episode as a very good joke.

A few days later my mother had one of her posh friends round to tea. I heard her say, “Dorothy, we’ve always made a point of making sure the children understand why they should behave correctly, especially in public. The last thing either of them would do is appear rude, afraid or upset in front of other people.”

That was sixty seven years ago and on really bad days I can still barely cross the road outside my house. As for bridges I have still never walked across one anywhere in my life. Just the sight of one brings on a panic attack. But I could never tell anybody like a neighbour or doctor this at that age. They might think me very odd and try to do something about it.

Anton Wills-Eve

THE INFERNAL MACHINE


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Proud.”

I have always had a tendancy to dislike being confined or in a small space, but not full blown claustrophobia. So when the specialist said I needed an MRI scan I must admit I was scared.

My wife and I attended a long explanatory session with the radiologist who showed me the long, narrow tube in which I would be confined, motionless for about an hour. At least there was no ban on alcohol and they promised me some tranquilisers. But come the day I was shaking like mad.

They wanted to examine my chest and my lower stomach so I was totally trapped in the ghastly magnetic resonance imaging machine. As it started the whole thing made a terrible noise and I was petrified not knowing how I was going to last an hour in it.

When it was all over and I was restored to the real world, my darling wife hugged me and said,

“How on earth did you manage it, I’m so proud of you!” How was I going to tell her the machine broke down and we had to go back the following week!

Anton Wills-Eve

WHAT IS A SONG?


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Playlist of the Week.”     <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/playlist-of-the-week/”>Playlist of the Week</a>                                                                          What is a song?

According to i-tunes it’s anything that make a noise and you can download. At the other end of the scale, it’s a story put to music and performed by the human voice.

If this is correct, well roughly correct, in my last seven days, that is what is meant by a week isn’t it? I cannot  think of anything that occurred to me, for me, by me or with me that could be summed up by or related to any songs I have ever heard.

Ergo I can only say that as I have six critical illnesses, no ambitions of furthering my influence on mankind, womankind maybe but not mankind, and am totally uninterested in any current news stories, I really have nothing of interest to blogulate on this topic. Sorry:)

OVER OUR RUBICON?


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Free Association.”

                           Over Our  Rubicon

It was the coldest, whitest day of the year. Okay, we had been warned about blizzards and heavy snowfalls but not on this scale. Penny gripped my hand really tightly as we half slid, half skated our way to school, half a mile across the field and another mile down the country lane into the village and a few more yards to the school. She looked up at me shyly and asked,

“Are you afraid the blizzard will get worse, Jim, and maybe leave us stuck here all day?” I honestly was not at all certain but could see the tight lipped, determined little girl did not want to appear frightened of the weather even though she obviously was. I suppose at the age of nine, holding onto a fourteen year old boy who had been both a neighbour and a hero all her life, made her more determined than ever not to seem scared. I felt I had to cheer her up so said, half jokingly,

“The snow won’t beat us, Penn. We’ll make the road easily before it gets much deeper. See the willow trees by the stream where we join the lane? Well once we cross the narrow water we’ll have no more difficulties from there to the village. Believe me, I’ve often done this walk in the winter. Anyway, when I drop you off at school, I’ll get the college bus for the rest of my journey so we’ll both be fine.” She smiled confidently up at me and tightened her grip as her foot slid sideways slightly. I grinned back encouragingly as the snow clouds thickened ominously overhead and the sky darkened noticeably. But somehow we reached the willow trees without mishap. Then, to my dismay, I realised the stream had not frozen solid as I expected and I could see we were going to have to try to jump across.

“Penn, I can do this but it may be a bit wide for you. If I go first could you throw me your school bag and then hold on to the overhanging willow branch and try swinging over the water. I’ll catch you easily half way, but your snow boots might get soaked. It’s our best chance as the stream is not deep at all.” She slung her bag much too far, which made us both laugh, but it was the last time we did because, as the branch hardly propelled her at all, I had to lunge forward to stop her landing in the icy water. A loud crack followed by an excruciating pain, told me I had twisted or broken my ankle and I hit the water first.

“Jim, Jim.” Penny shouted as she landed on top of me, my legs and waist in the water and the rest of me on the snow covered bank. I could not speak because of the pain in my ankle but Penny could. As she scrambled up the bank, retrieving her woollen beret on the way, she looked down on me almost in tears and asked, “How am I going to get you out? You’re much bigger than I am and you’ve hurt your foot badly, haven’t you?”

“Yes, I think I have, Penn, could you reach the lane and shout for help?” This was all I could think of, but I had reckoned without my little companion. No way was she leaving me half in and half out of the freezing stream. She told me she had an idea. Despite my protests, and as I could only move from the knees up, she took off the green belt that kept her overcoat fully shut round her, and tied it to my ankles. To this day I have no idea how I remained concious it hurt so much, but her grim little face was enough to make me let her help me.

It took Penny twenty minutes to roll my legs up the bank as I helped by clawing my upper body well clear of the water. We both just collapsed with total exhaustion. “Oh thank you Penn.Thank you. I’d have died of cold if I’d stayed there. Could you get to the lane and try to get help or you’ll die of cold too?” But she insisted on one more thing first.

“I’ll find my bag and get my lunch box. We can’t have you starving to death after saving you from drowning.” It took another three hours of to-ing and fro-ing from me to the lane, as the snow got heavier and we admitted to each other just how worried we were. But Penny did her best to remain cheerful for my sake until rescue arrived in the shape of a passing farmer who knew us well.

It was as we were being driven to hospital in the ambulance that had been called for us that I thanked Penny and said I didn’t know how she managed to do so much for me. All she did was blush crimson, kiss me on the cheek and whisper, “Well, Jim, you see, I’m going to marry you!”

My problem is that that was only two weeks ago!

Anton Wills-Eve

OUR VICTORY


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”

               OUR VICTORY

I left my dying fiancee’s bed

I wandered lost down lanes that led

To moments of unimaginable dread

That all I loved would soon be dead.

God use my loss as to You she sped,

Please hold her soul in hands that bled

So every tear she had ever shed

And every prayer she had ever said

Would lead her finally to be wed

To our holy victory in Your Godhead!

Anton Wills-Eve

“Oh, Honestly! Sally!”


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Agree to Disagree.” <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/agree-to-disagree/”>Agree to Disagree</a>                                 “Oh, Honestly! Sally!”

“You what? You think pop music is better than Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Brahms? Are you off your head, or what?” Sally was adamant. She shook her mop of chestnut curls and scowled at me.

” And just how many singles has Brahms had at number one in the charts? Eh? And how many millions did Beethoven make when he released his fifth symphony?  Two dimes and a bit probably! It’s you who don’t know what you’re talking about.” I was getting very heated at this point because we were discussing which concert we should go to next weekend and she had  chosen ‘Glastonbury’ and I had chosen the Festival Hall. But I quickly thought I had stuck a dagger right into her argument when I said,

” And who is the greatest soloist on show this weekend? Seriously Sal. Do you really think Mick Jagger, poncing around the stage, lips a quiver, is a musician in the same league as Stephen Hough, the greatest living concert pianist, giving us the sublime sounds of one of the world’s greatest pieces of music when he plays Brahms’ first piano concerto?  For a start one’s music and the other’s a great entertainer who has a place on Olympus, granted, but in a slightly different category!”

We loved each other, believe it or not, but music was the great dividing point in  our lives. For a start I did not think that Sally’s sounds of enjoyment were even music, and she in turn thought that mine were just a pose put on to impress people who assumed that as I was steeped in the history and knowledge of classical music and musicians then I must be some sort of upper class superman. Then she aimed her dart. Good aim too!

“When Hough played Brahms’ opus 15 at the Proms, he added four bars at the end because he thought it sounded better! Better than Brahms? Who did he think he was? The critics were up in arms.” I fell back, staggered.

“How the hell did you know about that? And don’t say you listened to it because I wouldn’t believe you! It wasn’t that nerd Gregory, was it? ” My blood, like my challenged  passion, was up. I tried to continue with “All he knows about classical music is …”

“…Is completely irrelevant. I heard that prom, well saw a recording of it and the way he slammed his fist into the last bar was certainly not in the score. No, you have to accept the top performers in all branches of entertainment are those who make the audience sit up  and take notice. Rubinstein, Horowizt, Gould, Arrau how many more do you want me to concede? I know all about the really great performers, but were they the greatest musicians? No they weren’t and that’s why I prefer pop and rock to your favourites. Mine never pretended to be better than they were, but yours only cared about what over educated music critics in upper class  newspaper reviews thought of them!” It suddenly struck me that we were both talking unadulterated rubbish. So I tried to calm things down.

“Okay, Sal. We’ll toss for where we go this weekend. Heads it’s my music tails it’s your cacophony. Okay?” She nodded. I flipped a two pound coin high in the air, it landed heads up, and we were off to the Festival Hall. But as we made our way to the concert that weekend she did ask me one interesting question.

“What is your favourite piece of chamber music? Mine is Brahms’ opus eight, his first piano trio. Have you heard the Louvre recording by Istomin, Sterne and Rose? It must be on it’s own in that category surely?” I was stunned because I agreed. How on earth could I get my own back. Then I knew the only weapon I had.

“Yes, but looking at your type of noise, even I would have to agree that  ELP were the greatest progressive rock band of all time. I mean Keith Emerson on keyboard alone  was …..” she looked puzzled as she asked,

“Keith who?”

Anton Wills-Eve

My Week Link.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Brain Power.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/brain-power/”>Brain Power</a>

wordpress has asked what I would do if I had 90% more brain.

My Week Link

Basically this prompt is asking me what would I do if I had 90% more brain. Well, let’s see. For a start I would immediately take out a life insurance policy for several million dollars or pounds or whatever currency I could get it in, because if I exerted myself that much more I’d be dead in a week. So What would I do with  90% more brain power in my last week?

For starters I would say an extra 90 % of the prayers I say every day, which take about 25 minutes a day on average. That would account for four hours approximately. Then I would do all I usually do in 20 hours nine times faster leaving me with 16 hours to do something extra. Now what would that be? I suppose sport would have to come into it so I’d watch another nine hours cricket,rugby,baseball, gridiron, golf, motor racing  and snooker. That would take care of my eyesight for a start, and would leave me with just seven hours .

Three hours would go on eating and enjoying drinking to keep up with the extra energy I’d need. So Now I have just four hours. I have a sneaking suspicion this would be spent sleeping as I’d be tired out. I’d make sure my dreams were 90% better than usual though, and boy is that saying something! And then at the end of the week I’d have to face God on Judgement day. What would He make of me I wonder? I think I know what He’d say though.

“That was a helluva waste of a week wasn’t it? But don’t worry. I still love you baby so I’ll tell St.Peter to let you in. But next time don’t take any notice of those awful prompts. You may not be so lucky!”

Anton Wills-Eve

Dear Jane


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Audience of One.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/audience-of-one/”>Audience of One</a>

Dear Jane,

Why did you walk away when I called out to you that last day at school? All I wanted to do was say goodbye. Was that too much to let me do, or did you not want to hear me say it? Did you really love me after all but just could not bring yourself to admit it? I mean what did I do apart from kiss Linda a little too passionately without realising you were watching? That and you finding me in flagrante delicto with Jennifer under our favourite tree in the orchard? 

Teenage moments of loss of will power, that’s all they were. Honestly. I know you wanted to have me all to yourself, well I understand that. But what I don’t understand is why you thought such occasional moments of carnal enjoyment meant any more to me than your affair with Tommy nine months ago. Now that was a really passionate  and prolonged surrender to your  craving for physical satisfaction. But I told you I understood, I forgave you. I promised I’d never bring the subject up again. But Jane, you’ve left me no choice. I was really hurt when you wouldn’t even look at me as you walked away. Have you any idea what the difference is between loving someone and just wanting to MAKE love ? Have you? It’s all the difference in the world. 

And what am I supposed to do now if I want to find you again and try to convince you of my undying romantic affection? We often shared a joke, both enjoyed the same music and films and even went to the same church. What stopped you wanting us to become a happy couple for the rest of our lives? Was it perhaps the child I had through Pat, who would not even allow me to see my own son believing I  had only ‘had it off for fun’, and  saying  I thought ‘having a baby might be a lark’? Do you remember that terrible court scene when I lost the right to even see my own flesh and blood? You were very sorry for me then and helped me. Why not now?

And what about that night I caught you hugging  Wendy behind the gym and you pretended it was just because you wanted to find out what it would be like! Eh? Really Jane, I’ve always given you the benefit of the doubt why couldn’t you give me a break? I know you don’t even read my blogs, Celia told me after she saw you last month. What other medium have I got to contact you through when you never answer the phone, reply to emails or allow me to visit your house? Please give me one more chance. It could work, really it could. Or have you found another Tommy or Frank and forgotten all about me?  Jane, at least put me out of my misery and tell me. Please. Just acknowledge this letter with a yes or a no and I’ll try to start a new life if I have to. I do love you. Carole.      

Anton Wills-Eve

Veni Creator Spiritus


I<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/bone-of-contention/”>Bone of Contention</a>n response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bone of Contention.”

for the first time I have entered two posts in response to a prompt. One humerous and one serious. I enjoyed doing both. This is the serious one.

                 Veni Creator Spiritus.

Leaving aside spiritual love, faith, charity, being a nice person or an absolute sod, there exists for all of us the question did God create us and the world we inhabit or is the whole idea of a creator God just nonsense?

Well there is a straightforward, logical answer to this and everybody, whether they like it or not, has to accept it. The answer is that ‘pro’ or  ‘con’ neither idea can be proved  empirically either way.

If God created us and wants us for eternity, or if the whole spiritual ‘thing’ leaves us cold, the fact still remains that one of those two  possibilities MUST be true and one MUST be false. Given that this is so, how on earth, or heaven for that matter, can anybody take the chance of putting two fingers up to God and risk going to hell for ever and ever and ever?  Make the second choice and you’re a conceited nutter. But the other choice involves doing what God told us to do while on earth, a task usually beyond anyone to achieve. Even so, surely it is better to TRY to make something everlasting out of your life than throw the whole idea of eternity out of the window and risk everlasting unpleasantness?  I know which I’ve chosen, appalling example of everything I ought to be that I am.

Anton Wills-Eve

Not Tonight Josephine


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bone of Contention.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/bone-of-contention/”>Bone of Contention</a>

couldn’t resist this chance to write another acrostic poem. It’s not so much about a bone of contention as a ‘Bone- Apart’.  🙂

Not Tonight Josephine

(an acrostic poem)

Napoleon was the ruler of the whole of France,

Oh to his tune how everybody did dance,

Thinking him without any doubt to be

The greatest soldier in the French army.

Only his pretty girlfriend, Josephine,

Now an empress but never a queen,

Invites him regularly for an evening of fun,

Generally after a day of playing with his gun.

Hence his reluctance, so we’ve been told,

To accept her advances, no matter how bold.

«Josephine, pas ce soir, cherie, je t’en prie

Oof, how much your loving takes it out of me!

Soldiering is such a very strenuous thing,

Even so, though, I do love our occasional fling.

Perhaps, Ma Petite, you’re so greatly to be desired,

How about tomorrow evening if I’m not too tired?

Indeed I adore you, Ma Cherie, mon amour.

Nothing turns me on like approaching your door.

Eh bien, Josephine, ce soir let’s try it encore!”.

Anton Wills-Eve

Ginny’s Journey


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In Good Faith.”

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/in-good-faith/”>In Good Faith</a>

Ginny’s Journey

She was one of 14 children, born in the decades between the wars when families of  Catholic Irish origin in Britain were still praying for the conversion of England, and backing their prayers with a big contribution to the number of Catholics per capita. She grew  up holy, pretty and modest. A model little girl who actually loved the stories of God that her family told her every night. She also loved the atmosphere of the Latin-Mass congregation who understood little of what they heard or said but still very obviously loved each other. She really enjoyed going up to receive Communion and then battling the petty sins of puberty and the first temptations of the teenage flesh as she met a boy she really loved. But Ginny would never  commit a sin of impurity. You see, she did not want to go to hell. She did not fear hell fire, no  it was just that her favourite saint would not be there. 

She knew Saint Rita had led a difficult life in Mediaeval Italy but  ended it by fulfilling her religious vocation and becoming a nun against all the odds. Ginny knew her as the patron saint of hopeless causes  and her aim in life was to try to help really hard  done by people herself. But how could she know, well she couldn’t, that the person who was to be most sorely tormented was she herself. She was about to marry her childhood sweetheart when she was twenty but a month before the wedding he was killed in a plane crash. She put her whole heart into Saint Rita’s keeping, weeping and begging to be kept true to her Faith despite her awful loss.

Two years later she met a young man who she did not love romantically so much as want to help. He had not long recovered from a mental breakdown and she wanted to lead him back to a normal life. They married and he recovered very well under her prayers and encouragement. She was so glad for them both. But it was not he who was to suffer. Their first child was still born, their second was seriously mentally retarded and their third both deaf and dumb. But still Ginny hung onto the hem of Saint Rita’s habit and begged her to keep her close to God. Her truly loving and rather sweet devotion was known only to herself, but worse was to come. He husband had a relapse under the strain of his children’s suffering and took his own life when he was forty and Ginny was only thirty seven. In those days many Christians believed that all suicides were unforgiveable and went straight to hell and the thought of this nearly drove Ginny mad herself. But from somewhere deep down, in the depths of her soul she dragged up the last vestiges of Faith and Hope that she could find and begged Saint Rita to help her live through her purgatory on earth because she was really getting close to losing God altogether. The final crisis came a few weeks after her forty fifth birthday in 1979 when both her parents died of very painful  forms of cancer within a couple of weeks of each other. The sacred thread holding Ginny to God snapped and she wandered away, lost and broken as she cursed everything she had ever held dear. Never would she pray for help or love again.

It was some fifteen years after that that she was struck down with cancer herself. Friendless, horribly depressed, unable to face her deformed offspring and abandoned by her family, she wandered into my church and asked me if I would hear what she believed would be her last confession. There was almost nobody in the church that day and she let the full story of the sorrow that was her time on earth just pour out of her.

“Father, I gave up God because he gave up me. But I’ve been told I shall be dead very soon. Just in case, just if perhaps I’m wrong, please forgive me and ask God to as well. That is if He  exists at all.” I attended her funeral very soon after that and as I was walking away from the graveside, where less than a handful of mourners had bothered to remember her, I felt a hand on my shoulder and a beautiful Italian voice whisper to me,

“Grazzie, father. I never let go of anyone who loves me as she did.”

Anton Wills-Eve

My lady at twilight


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

The oasis to which my ageing mind flees when threatened or depressed.

My lady at twilight

My vision’s crepuscular world is now part lit
That grey garden, my mind, thrice-fold twilit.
Leaving me lost in a twilight world of my own,
By my parents’ thrice-lit seeds was it sown.

Those seeds of life blossomed in May
A different bright memory each day.
From all of them their flowers grew taller
As their roots, my brain, shrank ever smaller.

So now with only my past life and my sighs,
Through the dim twilight dream of my eyes,
All my straining vision can see is part shady.
Save the face of my fairest, sweet lady.

Anton Wills-Eve