Sunday, 4 December 2011

My Conversation With Flynn

What spurred me on to write this blog now was finding a photograph that I could include in it. (Isn’t it embarrassing when you see your old hairstyle?)

At TV-am I did many things as well as presenting the weather. I was encouraged to follow my passion for animals, doing my regular Animal Watch and going out and about with a crew to record items for the programme.

In 1986 I took a crew to Twycross Zoo, Miss Badham the owner (I was privileged to call her Molly) was hand rearing some primates, who for various reasons had to be taken from their mothers. There was an orang-utan, a gorilla and a chimpanzee. I recall the orang baby making the most fuss the gorilla was quite sanguine and the chimpanzee was so adorable. It was love at first sight. He was inquisitive and affectionate and he stole my heart. He became the star.

Over the next couple years I returned periodically to see Flynn on private visits. I vividly remember the time when we were playing on the grass and he managed to get into a photographers bag when he wasn’t looking and the poor chap nearly had a heart attack seeing his precious long lens being focussed by Flynn.

Many years have gone by and sometime ago I was asked if I would open the Pet Week at the zoo. They were encouraging children to come to the zoo to find out how to properly take care of their own pets. I said I would be delighted to as long as afterwards I could get into my scruffy clothes and do the behind scenes things with the keepers.
I had particularly asked to go to the chimpanzee area. At that point I was unaware that Flynn was now the alpha male. The young female keepers were unaware of my previous encounters with him.

The keeper’s area does not have double barriers between them and the animals. As we entered the back door to the enclosure Flynn being the boss was immediately aware that a ‘stranger’ was on his territory. He charged through the door and put on a magnificent display of aggression and superiority.

I sat on the floor quite near the bars in a submissive pose and he approached. He squatted on the other side of the bars. I looked straight at him and said “Hello Flynn”. He stared straight back our eyes met. I went onto say I was sorry it had been so long since I had been to see him. How it was so good to see him again and how incredible it was to see him in charge. I just kept talking and we never lost eye contact for a moment. I was so overwhelmed.

Animals in captivity need stimulation to keep them occupied. They provide a lot of this at Twycross. The primates are encouraged to search for their food. While I was talking to him he was holding the stick which he used to poke into a log which had holes drilled in it. These were filled with various tasty treats which he must get at by using the stick.

He started to poke about in the log and then one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me, took place. He pushed the stick through the bars and gave it to me. I went through the motions of eating, I think it was honey, off the stick and returned to him.

By this time I was fighting back the tears, I was certain that he remembered me. Our eye contact remained and I felt sure he knew everything I was saying. I believe that many people who work with primates would say that it is so. They understand but have not got the means to speak so their actions say it for them.

I did tell this to a dear friend on twitter @TheLawns and when he took his family to Twycross he said hello to Flynn by name, who immediately came to the window to check him out. The world is a precarious place for so many of our closest relatives. You can help by donating to organizations who are concerned with conservation of habitat and captive breeding of endangered species.

Thank you to Twycross for the photo of Flynn, as you can see he is the Boss :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

There Is Nothing Like A Dame

My very dear friend Gary (@gazabell) has been my guardian angel since I joined the Twitterverse. (Nearest he will ever get to being an angel) He hosted my earlier blogs which he is moving to my BlogSpot which he created. He is very funny , kind and naughty and that is why I love him. I am now delighted to share with you the blog he wrote about me, some time ago. See I am no angel either. 

Wincey Willis XXX


Take yourself back to the Eighties – not literally, unless you are The Doctor or Dr Sam Beckett you may find this impossible – I mean in your mind (Yep – sorry youngsters this blog might be a bit before your time – don’t worry I will get around to doing a Power Rangers one at some point that you can enjoy :D). Have you done it? Cast yourself back. Look around you and what do you see? Perms & Mullets abound, Shoulder Pads are huge, there is a woman(ish) in charge of the country, and a rat is the biggest ratings winner on TV.

But who is interested in Roland Rat on telly when you look at the same programme he is on and she her….Blonde Mulleted, wearing some of the snazziest jumper combos seen in the eighties, and giggling like a loon. It can only be one person….Wincey Willis! So famous she goes to An Audience With… recordings, and has been name checked by Victoria Wood, and she bestrides our screen like a juggernaut of lovlieness.

Fast forward more years than you could imagine and now she bestrides a different arena – the online sexiverse that is Twitter, and that’s what I am going to blog about. You might think about her for different reasons – for being a journalist, author, editor, conservationist, radio presenter, or even for helping buffoons guide Aneka Rice around a town in a helicopter, but for me Wincey Willis is now always going to be about Twitter.

As you may have read in some of her previous blogs Dame Wincey joined Twitter purely because somebody was pretending to be her, but in my opinion, that person has done us all a massive favour. I, like some people, was a bit sceptical when I saw her tweeting, and thought it was another one of these sad acts who pretends to be someone they aren’t because they are too scared that people won’t find them funny in their real life persona. Then that awkward moment came when she tweeted me after one of my piss take comments no doubt. Being that I am a bloody lovely person (hell yeah you know it! Lol) I replied and thought nothing of it, then I got another tweet – telling me off for spelling Wincey wrong – then more tweets followed, a bit of banter and then oh no she followed me. I don’t normally follow “fake” celebs unless they are funny, but I was unsure whether @WinceyWillis1 was real or not, so I had a closer look at her profile and tweets. If she was fake then her tweets were pretty convincing so I gave her the benefit of doubt. I don’t know why I was so worried. We tweeted each other more over the next couple of days and it soon became apparent that she was the real deal. What’s more it soon became apparent that I found her engaging, funny, sweet and just the little bit smutty – just what I want in a follower!

I soon became the unofficial official Twitter guide for Dame Wincey – after bamboozling her with the terms we use on Twitter. A few times I would get a tweet saying “what is ROFL?” Knowing me I probably made up some bullishit like “Rolf Orgasms For Llamas”. On another occasion I had to explain what #Twitterjail was – after I think she thought I was really a prisoner somewhere.

This probably made me like Dame Wincey even more – how many celebrities do you know that would try to organise a Jail Break gang for you, complete with dynamite, tunnels, seduction and smuggling?

More banter has followed over the past year or so we have followed each other – from the formation of our double act WinceyBell (due to play the 02 arena in 2012), to Star Wars Tennis, to blog wars, to the near elimination of my use of the c-word on Twitter and now we have agreed to have a tweet up over the summer. How lucky is she getting to meet me!

Anyway, if you follow @WinceyWillis1 (oooo I’ve plugged you now Dame Wincey – was it good for you?) then you will see that she is the best celebrity on Twitter. She is down to earth, tweets funny things, replies when she can, promotes Merlot so much that I am sure she is getting freebies, and never ever tries to do a weather report. Saying that she tries to stop me from swearing sometimes (to some but not a lot of effect) and she has a tendency to blame cows for all the poo in her garden (there are no cows nearby – say no more!) so she has her bad points too!

So why is she Dame Wincey? Well for her services to Tweeting of course and because she is a great person to follow. I am allowed to bestow Damehoods, because I am the King Of Twitter according to her (I don’t like to correct her but I am actually the Emperor Of Twitter!) and I think it is a well deserved one.

So basically this blog is a bit of a salute to the living legend that is Dame Wincey Willis – I’m proud to call her a follower, tweep, Dame and friend. If you aren’t following you are missing out and if you are following her (she has long overtook me now!) then you already knew all of this I have written about and you have wasted 5 minutes of your life you fool!

Keep tweeting Dame Wincey

July 2011

Monday, 31 October 2011

I Never Knew My Mother

This is National Adoption Week, as an adopted person it means something to me. I was adopted as a baby by what would be considered today as an old couple. I have never tried to find my birth parents for several reasons. I had quite a strict upbringing and those of you who know me well may find some of the following revelations amusing. There was no alcohol allowed in the house and it was Bible class on Saturday mornings and then Sunday School and evening service at the Baptist Chapel. Yes I have made up for lost time!!

My adopted Father was a gentle quiet man who had survived the first world war. He hardly ever spoke about it. My adopted Mother was very much in control of the house. Very strict about many things. Made me into a liar sometimes when I wanted to stay with friends. I was never allowed to have anyone to stay. They did the best they could in the only way they knew how.

There was a time when I considered finding my birth parents, but because of my job I decided against it. Did not want my life story dragged through the press. I have been on the register of adopted children for a very long time and no one has tried to find me.

I used to do a lot of performance poetry and the one I wrote about adoption was requested on Poetry Please on Radio 4. They asked me to record it and it was ultimately used on the CD that the BBC released to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Poetry Please.

I will leave you with the poem. Know that I have no regrets, my back ground made me strong and I live a very happy life. I have no relatives at all but am richly blessed with wonderful loving friends. Not to mention you lovely people on Twitter who make me laugh so much and cry with joy when you do those kind amazing things you do. I may not have relatives but as that wonderful boy  Harry Moseley used to say I love my Twitfam. XXX

If you want to know more about how you can give a home and a wonderful love filled life to a child please go to



I discovered your name
I found it written in real ink
on a paper as old as me
permanently creased by time
and the need for secrecy.
My birthright.
I knew of you from nursery stories
but only in the abstract
with Cinderella and Red Riding Hood.
What they thought I needed to know
just enough for my own good.
Occasionally I would weave a
fantasy of imagined beginnings
in rebellion to my actual situation.
But if the truth be told
I had no real need of you.
We have one day in common
do you think of me then?
As a burning loss or a skeleton
which history promised would
remain securely locked in a past life.
Should I search for you
while there is still time?
Perhaps you are no longer alive
should I have felt your passing?
Have I you to thank for my grey hair
or was it him whose name wasn't written there?
Is there any history of breast cancer?
The medical questionnaire laid the truth bare.
I do not know.
Did you ever hold me to your breast.
or did THEY think it best
you should have no sight of me?
Barbaric days, thank God they're gone
when neighbour's condemnations
and unreal expectations
were considered more important
than the lives they tore apart.
I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I don't think you had a choice
a single pregnant women had no voice
in those hypocritical times
when men were free
and free women were sluts,
second hand goods
with a baby badge of shape.
I don't know if we'll ever meet
for now it is enough I know your name.

Wincey Willis


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

On Loving Harry Moseley

Tomorrow we gather to celebrate the life of the most remarkable boy I have ever met. I am proud to have been his friend and will always be in awe of him and his amazing family.

The best thing that has happened to me on Twitter was meeting Harry, he invited me to go to London and be part of his official linking ceremony with Cancer Research UK, a privilege I will never forget. His humour was always in the forefront and that day was no exception. Ben Shepherd was master of ceremonies for the event and remarked to Harry how lovely Georgie looked. Harry immediately whipped off his glasses and handed them to Ben saying “You need to go to Spec Savers”.

Over many months I met Harry in different places where he was selling his bracelets always with his Mum and Gran there for support. Constantly cheerful and inspirational to all who were lucky enough to meet him. To hear him deliver a speech was listening to a master class. He enthralled and informed his audience with humour but also poignant tales and hard facts. Whether it was an audience of city gents or young people whoever they were they never failed to respond.

With your magnificent support, especially that of Tanya who told me about the competition and agreed that if I won she’d donate her share, the £10000 for Harry’s charity was won. A tangible example of your love and respect for him.

Tomorrow Twitter will honour him as only you can, with tweets and balloons and cyber love. I know Harry would be so chuffed and if he could, would find a way to use it to raise funds. This is the one other thing you can do today or tomorrow. Visit Thank you.