Week 48: Tweet Twoo The Owls Going To Get You

Friday, 30 November 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 39 seconds 

Harry Potter and the half pint who winced – The Editor

I’ve always liked the name Harry.

One of my best friends is called Harry as is my Dad. I particularly like the way Harry’s are called “H” by people that know them. They do a similar thing for job titles in James Bond films.

I’m also a fan of the Harry Potter series. The books and films are great fun and I’ve developed a crush on JK Rowling. However, I don’t really care for the main character Harry Potter. It’s true that he didn’t have the greatest start in life, but he became a troublemaker and brought misery onto himself.

I recently argued this case with a 10-year-old who is a huge Potter fan. She argued back with the confidence of a well briefed Barrister, and at one point she even stopped to take a sip of water, whilst I rambled on incoherently. 

Potter also owned an Owl and I don’t like Owls.

My Dad once claimed he owned an Owl. Thinking about it maybe my old man was the prototype, Cockney version, of ‘Arry Bleedin Potter. He got into some scrapes and he owned an Owl. Now it all makes sense.

One day, in the Wills house, where I seemed to recall I lived under the stairs, an Owl arrived (minus a letter). This owl appeared in our apple tree at the end of the garden just perched there and didn’t move. 

This made my Dad very happy as he had never owned an Owl before, so Harry decided to keep the Owl and feed it. This was in the days before the internet, so he had to hazard a guess at what Owls might eat and he fed it raw sausages. No-one knew anything before Google, did they? It’s a wonder how humanity has made it this far!

My sister and I named him Mr. Owl and just stared at him. I’m unsure how long Mr Owl lived in our garden as half a day can be an eternity to a 9-year-old whereas six weeks can vanish in the blink of an eye. Then one day we made eye contact. You must win a staring contest with animals to show dominance, but the Owl was also well versed in this rule and when I wimped out and broke contact things got messy.

Mr Owl was the dominant one and he knew it. To ensure I understood this he delivered his first message and attacked me. 

At 9 years old my promised growth spurt hadn’t arrived, and at just under 3 feet tall he could have picked me up soared above the clouds and dropped me from a great height then watched as I plummeted to my death. No one would have suspected Mr. Owl. 

Mr. Owl flew at me. I fell onto my back and it clawed away at my thigh with its talons. Due to my size he probably thought my legs were more Walls’ bangers, but with less meat. My Dad came running out and Mr. Owl flew back to the apple tree.

My legs were bleeding and scarred for life. Dad looked at me and with a wealth of medical experience behind him he announced it was just a scratch. He then asked what I did to provoke it. He was, and is, a caring father and as I started to cry my Dad wondered why he didn’t have a son. He had blatantly taken Mr. Owls side.

A few days passed and he eventually phoned the RSPCA to have Mr Owl removed but I think this was more to do with the fact that Savacentre was running out of Pork than his first born child’s safety. 

I retold this tale to the 10-year-old Potter fan and in her lawyer like tones she said “I put it to you that you did provoke the owl Mr. Wills.” Here was the child my dad wanted.

Picture: I once tried to grow a beard and wear sunglasses. I shan’t be doing either of those again.

Week 47: End Of My Football Club

Friday, 23 November 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 47 seconds  

The future’s not set. There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves – Sarah Connor.

I’m a happier person these days but the one constant stream of sadness, coupled with anger, has always been my football team. I console myself that I’m not an Arsenal fan.

With the lovely football season in full swing I’d like to present an article I had published in 2010 for a football fanzine. The article was set in the future, which eight years on is almost upon us, and its premise was to paint a bleak picture of impending doom for the club I support. 

Some of the things I predicted at the time came true, some are still in flux. It’s title was;

‘West Ham United Football club the shape of things to come?’ 

The year is 2020 and London is truly an unremarkable place. Having had the Olympic games in 2012 and the populace uprising riots of 2014 it is a shadow of its former self. It’s hard to imagine London was once the hub of the world’s biggest empire. 

Focusing on a small part of that terrible London decay I’d like to mention the downfall of West Ham United football club. I was a supporter and like generations before me I was born into it like a child is born to poverty. My Dad, Granddad and even his dad all supported West Ham. I grew up locally to the ground and when I finally could afford too I became a season ticket holder until the club folded in 2019. 

West Ham United were a football club founded in the East End of London in 1895. They built up loyal support and as London changed during the 20th century so did the club. West Ham were famed for having some of the most loyal supporters in English Football. The team also had a number of players in the English world cup winning side of 1966 although the fans rarely mention this. 

In 2011, West Ham united won the opportunity to develop the Olympic Stadium in East London as its new 60,000 seat ground after its use in the British 2012 Olympic games. This was to be the death blow for West Ham which only some of the fans could see at the time. 

The stadium was an athletics stadium and not a football one. The men of power who were running West Ham at the time were brilliant business men. They excelled in making money for themselves, initially from the pornography industry then moving into a business with more sex and scandal, namely English Premiership Football. 

Despite the numerous campaigns by fans and local businesses the owners were moving to the new Athletic stadium, the now famous White Elephant of the London 2012 Olympic legacy. 

The owners professed to being fans and saw this as a way to “save the club and build for the future”. As we now know it was based around them making more money and bolstering their already large financial coffers. 

The West Ham team at the time showed everything that was great about the English game and the fighting spirit of those courageous players will live with me and all West Ham fans forever. 

The move to the new stadium in 2013 was the beginning of the end for West Ham United. West Ham beat Tottenham Hotspur in bidding for the ground as they promised to keep Athletics at the grounds heart. The atmosphere in the new stadium was incomparable to the fantastic atmosphere of the ground at Upton Park. The running track around the outside kept fans away from the action. There were only 40,000 supporters every week which had only changed by a few thousand in West Hams worse years. 40,000 passionate people in a stadium built for 80,000 and reduced to 60,000 does not a good atmosphere make. 

West Ham had a bleak season. They had two managers, neither of whom made it to the end of the season. They finished bottom of the table and were relegated. 

In the following season the fans stopped attending and numbers halved. A Facebook poll asking why fans were staying away was cited as being largely down to the atmosphere and the view. 

The promises made in 2007 for the 2012 Olympic village and surrounding area never materialised once the games had finished. The East end of London returned to be the boil the on the back side of London as it had always been. 

There were no pubs or local businesses near the stadium. To get there you had to walk through Europe’s largest shopping centre which ironically would not allow football fans through it every other week meaning you had to walk an extra 20 minutes through a horrible barren Olympic waste ground. 

During this time Green Street where West Ham United had been located went into steep decline. By not having 30,000 people every other week spending money the area regrettably did not survive. Westfield shopping centre opened in Stratford this was also another blow for this once vibrant community. The old once famous and respected Boleyn ground was developed into flats and made the owners even more money.

With West Ham relegated season after season, fan numbers dwindled by their thousands every year until eventually only a few old hard core fans would go to games. If you thought 40,000 people in a stadium built for 80,000 then “converted” to 60,000 seats was bad it was disastrous with only a few thousand. West Ham could not financially support itself and eventually went into administration 

The stadium was never used again for football 

The premiership continues to survive and West Ham is now only a distant memory in the fast moving world of football. 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if fans had a vote on moving to that stadium maybe we would have said say no and maybe the owners would have listened. As normal in business the real stakeholders were not communicated to. All other London clubs survived and only the once Mighty West Ham failed for the age old reason of Greed. I know me and the other 39,999 other fans in the stadium of those great and painful days would agree with me if asked back then should we move.

Rest in Peace West Ham United you are sorely missed 

M.D Wills Shortbloke@gmail.com February 12th 2020 

Photo: Bear with me

Week 46: The Beds Too Big Without You

Friday, 16 November 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 57 seconds 

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source – Anaïs Nin

I have four very happy, but sadly failed, relationships under my belt and I suspect I have one pending because I’ve recently discovered that there is something I love more than my Missus. It feels like a dirty secret, but I know I’m not alone in thinking it and I suspect that most of you reading this will agree with me.

It’s sleep. I love sleep. Phew it feels a relief to say it out loud. 

When I was a teenager I could nap for hours, sometimes days, but now that feels as though it wasn’t even possible. Maybe I dreamt it? I have friends who have children and, bar one, they say they’ve never regretted having them, but they do miss their sleep. Those people who have more than one child must be masochistic as they knew what they were getting into. 

Sleep is literally keeping me awake at night.

Recently, since my partner’s “accident”, I’ve been sleeping alone, and I find I’m loving it. It’s created a dilemma as I now want us to split up, but only our beds, and I’m too afraid to address it as I know it would hurt her feelings. We could switch sides but if you’ve been sleeping next to someone you’ll know that is an exercise in futility as we’ve been sleeping this way for 7 years. We’re not arguing either but right now there is a broken arm in the mix and I don’t want to roll over and hurt her.

I’ve discovered that I get a better night’s kip alone and I’m anxious how I should broach the idea of separate beds. We need a bedroom big enough for three beds. One for intimacy and then two single beds for a good night’s rest. I’m pretty sure this is how Bert and Ernie addressed it.

Sometimes my own snoring wakes me up in the night and I miss her. If she’s in the other room I wonder who is stealing the duvet from me? Farting in bed seems almost a waste of time when you’re sleeping alone and I’ve now all that space and I still sleep on the tiniest bit of the bed, so I’ve concluded that I’m addicted to living on the edge.

I’m also washing double bedding which is bad for the environment

I have nightmares most nights and recently discovered, with the help of a professional, that if I take a magnesium supplement they cease. I’ve stopped now that I’m sleeping alone as I want the company of my dreams in bed even if they are terrifying. Our cat is confused and believes we maybe splitting up. At night the three of us are used to watching cartoons in bed then she meows [our cat not my partner] and leaves when we go to sleep but now I depart with her to the spare room. She gives me looks of confusion [my cat not my partner].

I’ve no one to tell me to go to sleep so I end up reading for too long. It’s as if I need an adult to tell me to sleep and say lights out. I bet there’s an App for that.

We’ve been together for 10 years, so sex is not our biggest priority although it is still important, just not as important. It reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry said “Sometimes when people get involved with that (sex), they feel pressure to sleep over. When that (sex) is not really sleep. Sleep is separate from that. And I don’t see why sleep got all tied up and connected with that.” Jerry is my go to guy for these kinds of problems.

If I have the conversation there are no happy endings, in every sense. 

Normally we’d kiss one another on waking, ignoring each other’s morning breath but because our daily encounters are getting later so does our morning kiss to the point that it will eventually become the kiss good night. 

I’m now at a point where I feel it would be easier to negotiate a Brexit trade deal. This problem is keeping me up at night and I need to fix it soon just to stop the cat being anxious.

Picture: Dude

Week 45: New Balls Please

Friday, 9 November 2018

Reading time 02 minutes 29 seconds 

I’ll Roshambo you for it, Ready? – Robert Smith – The Cure.

I used to have rubbish legs and drink a lot. Consequently, I fell over many a time and looked stupid but falling over onto my testicle was as stupid as it got and to make matters worse I was sober.

I was messing about in the loft, slipped and landed onto my left gonad. It hurt a bit, but as I had a list of jobs to do and I don’t like to complain so I just got on with it. The next morning, I noticed some swelling and on further inspection it resembled a tennis ball next to a golf ball. (I have poetic license)

By the time I arrived at my local doctors I was like a bow-legged Frankie Dettori and cried until I got an appointment. 

The Doctor had cold hands and examined me. She gave a little squeeze and asked, “Does this hurt?”


“OK, you’ve caused some damage here” she said without any hint of irony in her voice. She then asked what number I was at on the pain scale with 1 being bearable and 10 being agony. I ranked at a comfortable 167.

The Doctor suggested a referral and explained that my Jacobs may already be dead. What? These things can die? I always knew they had a life of their own. 

Because I am an occasional, when it suits me, socialist I had always been against private health care. But my left-wing beliefs disappeared as soon as the excruciating pain of my damaged family jewels kicked in and fortunately my company had private health insurance. 

Two hours later I was seeing a specialist. You could tell this was their area of expertise, as they had warmer hands, but like the last Doctor they asked;

“Does this hurt?” 


My privates required an ultra-scan. Then, for the third time that day, a stranger was fondling me. The technician had REALLY cold hands, a Geordie accent and beard which made him resemble a young hairy biker albeit one who was rubbing ultrasound jelly into my balls.

Until then I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to that area before, I sort of took it for granted, but now I was seeing things few men are lucky enough not to witness. The inside of my groin.

The Geordie Biker had this view on the big screen which was good for my ego. Initially I was concerned that a combo of the jelly and the rubbing may get me a little excited but that went out the window when he said, “This is going to hurt” and he proceeded to rub me with the ultrasound equipment. 


A few minutes later I was back with the specialist who put my scans on an even bigger screen. My nuts ached but my ego once again rejoiced.

The prognosis was I’d ruptured my Epididymis. 

From that days Biology lesson I recalled that the teste is the sperm making factory. The sperm is then transported up and along the Epididymis and stored in a holding area near the bladder. This seemed an inefficient design to me as it had to travel back down on its way out.

In summary, my sperm super highway had a multi car pileup which had resulted in gridlock. The Doc was talking to me and said he’d have to operate to see if he could save them, but I had stopped listening after the words ‘incision’ and ‘scrotum’. 

The specialist looked excited and proclaimed it would be a fascinating operation. At least one of us was happy.

After the operation I was woken by the specialist who was looking at me and smiling. He explained that the operation was a success he’d’ fixed my Epididymis and also saved both testicles by stapling my left one to my scrotum, so it didn’t twist.


I then spoke my first word “Morphine”. My second being “Now!”

As the drug was injected I learnt how much your genitalia moves when you vomit.


Thank you for reading. 

Picture: The inspiration for South Parks Mr. Mackay? 

Week 44: I’m Innocent…………

Friday 2nd November 2018

Reading time 02 minutes 57 seconds

Picture review time 8 seconds

The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice – Martin Luther King, Jr.If you have ever played Monopoly you’ll know that the ‘Free Parking’ square is a misnomer.

Parking is incredibly difficult in London. Most homes have space for only one car but many houses have been split into multiple flats therefore there are more cars than most streets can contain. I blame the Victorians for their lack of foresight.

One night heading home from work, and fighting through London traffic, I ended up driving round the block trying to find a parking spot. This took over 25 minutes and in hindsight I’m unsure why I didn’t leave the car at the office as it was only a ten minute walk away. Eventually I found the smallest of spaces and using one of my few life skills I managed to manoeuvre the car into place, albeit with the front fractionally sticking out. I did the decent thing and checked on the car a couple of times during the night and other vehicles were passing OK.

The following morning my car was being hoisted to be towed away. I managed to convince them with the use of tears to put it back but the policeman still issued me a ticket. I thought this unfair and informed my local council that I would see them in court.

I’d grown up watching court room dramas with my step mum and if Jimmy Smits from LA Law had taught me anything it was that you had to fight for justice. 

In my mind I would receive an apology and it would be a landmark case as they would mark out car parking spaces on every London road consequently ending all bad parking forever. I’d be seen as a hero to the people and prove those wrong who said I should just pay the fine and get on with my life.

Except on my court date I was a little scared as I’d never fought for justice before and it was a little intimidating. My case was called and the judge put me in the dock immediately, she obviously knew I was innocent, and wanted to get it done and wrap for lunch.

Her first words were a shock. “Why are you wasting this Policeman’s time by having him here as a witness Mr. Wills?”

OK, this was unexpected, but I knew I had them. I let the tension build and the judge repeated the question this time in more terse tones.

I spoke.

“I ticked the ‘police witness not required’ box your honour”


There was a stunned silence in the court and in that moment I was a modern day Atticus Finch. My step mum and Jimmy Smits would have been so proud.

The judge looked at the paperwork and her wrath turned from me to the bureaucrat who had made a mistake. Yes I was winning! This was in the bag. Get the parade bus, and lunch, ready.

I was then quizzed by the judge on my version of events. She looked at me, smiled and summed up;

“Mr Wills whilst I can see your point of view that you should not have been issued a ticket, because the car was parked overnight and clearly not an obstruction, you clearly knew you were in the wrong as you checked on your vehicle twice to ensure it was not blocking the highway. Therefore this court finds you guilty and issues you a £200 fine plus court costs. Next case please.”

What just happened? 

The judge agreed with me and then found me guilty? Jimmy Smits hadn’t prepared me for this. Victory had been snapped from my grasp and I’m sure I heard Joe Strummer singing somewhere in the background “I fought the law”.

I figured I’d win the appeal, but there was no appeal and I was a criminal. Either I paid the fine there and then or be prosecuted. 

I was now one of those unfortunate souls who would have the weight of a miscarriage of justice against me. Like love, the Law clearly is blind.

Picture: I saw this house in a Harbour and it made me think of Through The Keyhole. Who would live here?