Tuesday, 6 May 2014

I could never have remembered that...

I have spent the last few weeks putting a show together, something I never thought I would be doing. Having met Matthew Jones some years ago on my programme on BBC Hereford & Worcester he contacted me last year to narrate Christmas Choral Events he was producing in London & Walsall. They were extremely successful I really enjoyed taking part with such a fantastic choir.
He recently suggested I should do An Audience With 
I was amazed but as a producer he has a way of instilling confidence. So I have been going through hundreds of photos and mountains of paperwork and videos to remind me what I have been doing after all these years. There was so much I had forgotten.
I contacted my very dear friend Nick Owen and he has agreed to take part.
I have laughed and cried at some things I have done and been astounded at others. I have been very lucky to have lived such a life. My motto has always been “Say yes, and then sort it out”.
I am really looking forward to meeting many of the people who are coming to my show on Thursday 22nd May at The Court Yard Theatre in Edgar Street Hereford
If you want to join us you can purchase your ticket by calling the Box Office on 01432 340555

Wincey Willis X 
May 2014

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Why I Love Life So Much

I am about to tell you why I never thought in my wildest imaginings that I would be alive now to write this blog. I had been pretty fit for most of my life apart from a couple of childhood accidents - one where I nearly lost an eye and a snapped Achilles tendon from riding a bike with poor brakes. In my teens I fractured a couple of ribs on a funfair ride - big misnomer there! They were painful but relatively soon overcome.

About 15 years ago I was in the depth of despair; I was severely disabled. In fact I was only walking a few steps with a stick.  Most of my time I was in agony. I described the pain as it felt like someone was scraping the inside of my kneecaps out with a rusty bread knife. I did a lot of screaming.

 As the months went by I underwent so many tests I felt like a pin cushion. Injected with a radio active substance, x-rayed till I thought I would glow, I was given support bandages and exercises, which I tried once and screamed louder than seemed humanly possible.  I tried so many different prescribed drugs none of which seemed to have any effect. I even tried a private consultant.  All that achieved was a massive weight loss to my bank account.

All the things I was passionate about were impossible to do: scrambling about on hills going in search of wildlife, dancing to James Brown records, taking long walks on the beach, driving any distances, scuba diving, even going on holiday. Also the intimate side of my life was nonexistent. Maybe I should have started the list with that one first!!

To be absolutely honest I was seriously contemplating suicide. The life I had now was a miserable existence not worth living as far as I was concerned. The pain was unbearable. My GP was a lovely lady who did everything she could to get me the treatment I needed but we had run out of options.

I went back to see her on my regular appointment, which I was sure would be my last. She said there was one thing more she wanted me to try, for pain relief. There was a young Australian acupuncturist in town; she was here for the summer and my GP gave me a prescription to see her. The thought of yet more needles did not fill me with deep joy.

As it turned out the acupuncture was not what saved my life, it was the conversation we had. While she was inserting needles into various bits of my anatomy she asked if I had tried giving up caffeine. I said I didn’t have much as I didn’t drink tea or fizzy drinks with it in. I explained I only drank 3 or 4 cups of instant coffee a day and had the odd bar of chocolate now and then. She said that there had been research in Australia and lots of people who had given it up discovered that what they thought was severe arthritis was no such thing.

I was willing to try anything. From that moment I did not touch caffeine. I knew it was working because I had horrendous withdrawal symptoms. If you have seen a documentary or a movie about heroin addicts going cold turkey, then you get the picture. My head throbbed, I couldn’t sleep. I sweated and shook - it was terrifying! It was because I was suffering so much I felt sure it must be having some effect. For ten days and nights I battled with my body. Mind over matter, I kept telling myself it would be worth it.

On the morning of the eleventh day I awoke from the first full night’s sleep I had had in a very long time. I was pain free!! It was hard to comprehend at first. I tentatively put my feet on the floor and dared myself to stand up. That was the moment that I decided to live. I built up strength quite quickly and the next few weeks were a blur.

I didn’t dare try decaf coffee just in case. Every label was scrutinised and if there was the slightest doubt I did not eat or drink it. I took my dog for a walk, I did a little gardening, I popped down the lane to see my neighbour, I was living again.

All that time I had suffered; all the treatment and tests I had undergone when all I had to do was stop consuming caffeine. Try it if you have terrible joint pain, it won’t do any harm and if you are like me it will bring you back to life. I do drink decaf now.

Whoever you are, thank you for giving me my life back. 

Wincey Willis 2013

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How Time Flies

The 17th of August 2012 was my 2nd Anniversary on twitter. What a year it has been, over 69700 tweets gives you an idea of my involvement. My ‘gang’ has grown so much 8350 at last register call J. You are lovely followers, keeping me informed and so entertained. I do a lot of LOLs. It is not all laughs, I find myself crying over some sad tweet. Injustice makes me sad and angry. I try to be kind.

Have to admit that I am somewhat of an addict and do miss it if I am unable to access it. As in ordinary life, certain things do drive me potty in the Twitterverse but as in this world we learn to ignore them. I have made such good friends here. We meet regularly and always keep in touch. I often have them as my house guests and have experienced great hospitality from them.

Contrary to popular belief I do not spend much of the day with a glass of Merlot in my hand. One tweeter posted “I can’t open a bottle of wine without thinking of you”! I suppose that‘s flattering. Another said “I have been in love with this woman since I was a teenager. I nearly turned out straight because of her!” I would never complain about being loved, I am grateful.

I am extremely lucky to have so many followers of all ages and persuasions. I was honoured to do the ‘Alternative Queen’s Speech’ at Christmas on Gaydar Radio. We had such fun. I do get shocked sometimes at how explicit some tweets are. Not just sex related ones. One post said “Almost wiped my bum with my scarf”. I did laugh but do we really need to know that? “I found a grey pube this morning, hope it isn’t mine”, was a @colindobson gem. @JaseJordan made me roar with laughter when he posted “Bought a packet of Tesco finest sausages today. On the packet was a photo of Anthony Worral Thomson and underneath it said prick with a fork”.  @MooseAllain a brilliant prolific tweeter has the right idea, “Of course the majority of our tweets go to landfill”.

I met @harry_moseley on twitter. I could not have predicted what an influence an 11yr old boy could have on me. He was the bravest, funniest, cheekiest most inspirational person I have ever met. When Harry was in a coma in intensive care in hospital I joked with him to try and get a response. I told him I would give him loads of lipstick kisses to make the nurses jealous. He did squeeze my hand but we couldn’t be sure it was related. I watched in awe the love and dedication from his family and the hospital staff. He had raised £500,000 before he died. Imagine what he would have achieved had he lived. His Mum Georgie labours tirelessly to keep his dream alive. I am honoured to be part of it.

You may have noticed how much I love wildlife. It is my pleasure to answer your questions concerning some of the photos I post. I have recently been part of a fascinating project to raise money for teenage cancer via @3hundredand65 .They have people adding one tweet each day across the year to a fantasy story which they illustrate. It will be a very extraordinary book. Twitter can be such a force for good.

I am a very lucky person I do not have any relatives but I do have a lot of amazing friends. It would be nice to have one special person in my life. If it is meant to be it will happen. In the mean time I enjoy every day. I try to keep fit I want to be around for many more years.

Wincey Willis

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

One Hundred & Forty Characters

I wrote this blog well over a year ago, when I was just feeling my feet in the Twitterverse. It was hosted by my much loved friend Gary (@Gazabell) as I never imagined I would have my own blogspot. Now I have we have moved it here. Hope you enjoy it and the other blogs if you haven’t had a chance to read them so far. Thank you for even considering them. X 

Sounds like the cast list of an am dram panto where everyone has to have a part. The stage for this particular show is enormous; the audience don’t buy tickets they drop in and out as they please. They aren’t expected to be silent and what they get up to during the performance sometimes beggars belief.

Yes we are talking of the round the clock show that is Twitter. It is eleven months since I joined the cast and what an eye opener that has been. The fun is in the fact that we are both audience and player, observing and interacting as we choose. There are many things that I have learned during my apprenticeship, some of which I will share with you now.

It didn’t take too long to figure that for quite a lot, sexual gratification came high on their reasons for participation. Whether it was with someone else or on their own if you get my drift. When it was posted if the world was going to end in 8 minutes what would you do? The women mostly declared they would hug their children or ‘phone people who they loved to tell them so, a very high percentage of the men were single handily busy!!!

I love the random tweets that make me laugh. I remember one saying there were over 4million work related injuries, so play it safe and call in sick. More or less the next one asked if anyone had any thoughts on silicone bake ware. I pondered if that was a euphemism but I don’t think so. I did once have cause, and I can’t remember why, to tell @Gazabell to lay back, head on cushion and your hands where I can see them. To which he replied, “I’ll keep them down my pants for safe keeping”.

One of my favourite tweeps told me his partner always checks his tweets before he sends them, he worries if they will offend me. I thought that was utterly charming. However I have not lived a sheltered life so I would say 95% of the tweets make me either laugh, learn something, or be concerned for the tweeter.
When someone turned a bit nasty towards me the outpouring of sympathy and kindness was overwhelming. People wanted to send their thoughts directly to the person but I didn’t think they deserved the oxygen of publicity. I loved one particular tweet from @Assimilathis that said “Set your gays on him”. I am so very lucky to have 2300+ followers and what a diverse group you are.

Merlot still plays a significant part in my twitter life, even if I don’t drink it every waking hour most tweeps seem to think I do. I loved the posts from @Ianpearce which said “She is a bit like Mary Poppins but with a carpet bag full of empty wine bottles” and @apophthegmist who said “Twitter has infected my brain. Spotted a bottle of Merlot earlier and my first thought was Wincey Willis”.

August 17th will be my first Twitter Anniversary, buy shares in Merlot now. Not that I need an excuse, cheers my dears. :-))))

Wincey Willis

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 http://www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk/



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 www.helpharryhelpothers.com Thank you.