WRITING – #WeeTales

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Creative miscellanea. Stuff that amuses me, catches my eye.


#WeeTales are short stories that I have been writing for fun. They are rough diamonds – written (for the moment) in 15 minutes, with a few minutes for tidying up.

My inspiration for writing them is Brian Astbury, an unstoppable creative force who I have been very fortunate to learn from and to work with. I highly recommend his books, especially Everyone Can Write and Trusting the Actor.

Please note: All stories and written material by Kate Willoughby featured on this website and social media accounts are subject to copyright and not to be reproduced without prior permission of the author. © Kate Willoughby, Member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain.


#WeeTales – Neon Sprouts

FGS! This canal used to be flooded with fish and now all I get is a lousy piece of neon graffiti. That said, maybe I could sell it. Maybe it’s a banksy. 

If only I could get unstuck from this wall I’d head straight into town to get a new pair of shoes and a slap up meal of fish and chips – no, stuff that – something different.. 

How are about lime green jelly on mashed potato or cabbage and bacon cooked on a griddle served up with lashings of Dandelion and Burdock? 

Mm, mmm. Dandelion and Burdock, my favourite. The taste of it, the smell of it. You’d know it blindfolded, bubbles prickling up your nostrils. Oh yes I’ll get me a bottle of pop, ginger, soda or whatever it’s called these days. 

Stuff the shoes they’d only get soaked anyway. At least I get dried by the breeze here and boy is it windy!

My aunty Eunice must have been on the Christmas sprouts again. Whoo-weee! There’s a green cloud of gas over there in the corner, open a window quick! Poor aunt Eunee, she only had one failing and that was sprouts. Well this here is what I’ve caught today (and everyday): a bunch of neon sprouts just for you! 

Don’t cry Eunee. We all love you really. You have a big heart as pure as gold and a heaving bosom to match; a great big pillow of security. 

I can still imagine you flying high, crossing the waters – you’d retired by the time I came along, but I love that photo of you in your Airline pomp. You cut a dash, so you did. All those tall stories you told us, as chestnuts crackled on the fire. We were mesmorised, imagining faraway adventures in those dancing flames. Those red hot chestnuts fit to burn our mouths never matched the sweetness of your tales. 

Doubt we’ll meet again – at least not in this life – but if you’re listening Aunt Eunice, sitting on a big fluffy white cloud, up in the heights, here’s a gift for you. Just don’t eat them in company, if you know what I’m saying. Love ya Auntie Eunee, give us a wave! 


#WeeTales – I Draw Dogs for Money  

I draw dogs for money.

Well, someone’s got to.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr Nicklas.

No good at art?

It’s all in the eye of the beholder and dogs love me.

Slathering, panting, scratching their way into my world.


In truth, I’ll have a go at anything:

Dogs, cats, piranhas, you name it.

I’ll draw them.

Fast or slow I capture them.

The details, blurred, bright and beautiful.

“Hey baby, it’s a new sensation,

Let me draw you.”

Doesn’t always work,

But at least it gets their attention.



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The owners sometimes don’t want to pay, which is an issue.
But the dogs love me. They really do.
I don’t think it’s the treats I have to hand.
No, we get on.
We just know.


Mutual understanding.

Sloppy chops and Dingo Kings.

We’re in this together.

The trendy, the trash (Heinz 57 and co).

My favourites are Dachshunds.

Funny little creatures.

Legs all in a spin!

Canine millipedes that

Weave through your legs,

Keep you on your toes

Or flat on your back.


Their long snouts, damp noses and moist eyes

Just waiting to be captured on paper.

So here I sit, at the Arts table.

‘Being creative.’

Who am I kidding, no really?

It’s good for the soul.

Yeah, right.

Actually it is.

And the Doctor agrees.

Stop being so pent up.

Let it flow, flow, flow…

Oh how we shall fly, you and me little


On a cloud looking down on all those

We usually have to look up to.

No more Chum for you. Only the best vegan fare will do!

London Dachshunds, we are coming for you!

Our posse of well mannered

And impeccably dressed

Vertically challenged friends.

Dachshunds of the world unite!

Gentlemen and women of the thoroughfare.

Hurry! Let’s scurry over Surrey.

In a flurry

Of delight.

I dream.

Reality bites.

And Heaven knows I‘m miserable now.

Ugh – why give valuable time to those who don’t see me?

Small as I am.

I have a mind.

A heart.

And a collar

That’s too tight.

Keeping me in tow when all I want is to run

And bound about like a wild beastie.

Getting mucky, muddy,


Oh to be free!

On that cloud with you.


Looking down on the rest of them.

Noses to the floor.

Lowered expectations.

We see the bigger picture, you and I.

We’re flies on the wall, not bugs on the rug.

The pattern shows herself to us.

They don’t even see her.

We do.

Oh, my dear friend,

Paw to paw and heart to heart.

Life’s one big dog walk.

Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.

Often unexpected.

Always new.

Even on familiar paths.

Let’s run for the hills!

© Kate Willoughby, 2019. All rights reserved. 

Notes: Written in my favourite London art store (Great Art, Kingsland Road, E2) on a cold, bright day.


#WeeTales – RIP Harry Hood

A pigeon of love carries you home.
Wings beating.
Eyes sharp.
Saint or Sinner?
You were somebody’s son.

RIP Harry Hood.

I never knew you, though I feel I should.
Name daubed in green.
A tribute by Royal appointment:

For thine is the kingdom,
The power,
And the glory.

RIP Harry Hood.

Lay your head to rest.
Sleep now.
Your time floats on a cloud
Far above this rubbish pile.


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“Cut me out of this shitty scene.”

Face of an angel,
Heavenly body.
A beautiful, tortured soul
No mortal could touch.

He drove too fast and died too young.
Road to Pasadena.
Spyder in flow.
Foot down to the metal.
Time couldn’t keep up.

Turnipseed’s on slow.
Unaware of your joyous soaring.
In control.

Is that moment still etched in your mind?
A slow dance of crumpled metal –
Twisting silver into black.

An ejector seat just for one.
A rasping, flaming coffin.
Cloying speed
Jealous of your immortality.

Too fast, too young.
Beautiful corpse.

A Friend’s stillness now embraces,
Swaddles your fragile soul.
Little noodle.
Returned to Mother,
Your first and only love.

Snatched from your adoring child’s arms –
Hot tears and aching heart.
Too young.
You knew, you saw.
Shut down.

A knife to your throat, pressed close,
Drawing down, glinting in the cold moonlight.
It cut through your heart.

Oh gentle angel, will you ever know
How you were loved, are loved by this
Kindred spirit?

Out of kilter.
Out of time.
Rural pastures to big city lights
And back again.

Rest now.
Peace shall last
For my blue eyed boy.
Lost and found.

© Kate Willoughby, 2019. All rights reserved. 

#WeeTales – Go Your Own Way 


You can go your own way or you can stick to the path and wait.

Wait until someone finds you. Gives you a home.

Wait as the dust gathers and your bright colours fade.

Greying, yellowing in the neon lights so bright.

Breathe. Now is your chance.

It’s your time.

A new year.

A new you.

Isn’t that how it goes?

I think so. Or at least I did.

Except this year it’s different

Something’s in the air, tonight.

Daft as it sounds, I think it’s going to be more than alright.

Let’s jump into the unknown, you and me.

Hold tight, it’ll be a wild night – or maybe just a little unpredictable

And fun!

Yes, that’s it. Your smile.

Your beaming smile and giggle.


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That twinkling in your eyes tells me you are ready for this. 
The leap, the jump, the step forward. 
Blimey, why did it take so long? 
Was I blind? 
Just dazzled by your brilliance. 
But I won’t wait – if I have to, I’ll go it alone. 
Orange delight, there’s no one quite like you. 
Reflected back in the mirror. 
You’re not like the rest. 
Not manufactured. Not perfect. You’re an orange diamond. Rumpled. Crumpled. Rumbled. 


Yes, that’s you. 

I see it. Can you? 

It’s ok to be different. 

To be uniquely you. 

Everyone else is taken, 

So step into you. 

The year is young, just make a start. 

No more looking back. 

Best foot forward! 

And arms open to embrace the new. 

Oh you.

Big old scaredy cat, you. 

Anyone would think you breathed fire to look at you. 

But you only fill with love. 

Cuddly. Kind. And curiously you. 

It’s exciting – reframe it. 

The curtains are ready to open. 

Stage is set. 

Your 5 minute call…

How time flies!  



Drink it all in. 

The lights are dimming and the audience hushes. 

You love this moment. 

Electricity flows. 

This is life. 

This is you. 



Drink it all in 

And step forward. 

Step into the light. 

You’ve waiting this long. 

It’s there, for you. 

Do something different. 

Be you. 

That ripple is ready. 

Jump right in and make a splash. 

Everyone’s here. 

Everyone matters, 

Including you. 

You’re on! 

You love it and it shows. 

It’s time. 

That warm glow. 


That empty space. 

Take it all in your stride. 

We’re waiting and you’re on fire. 

Burning through the crap, the familiar rusty chains 

And fears long past their sell by date. 

You’re a beacon of hope in a cold, dark world. 

It was all worth it. 

This is why you’re here. 

In this moment. 

Enjoy it. 

We’re with you. 

Welcome to the world, 

It’s what you were born to do! 

© Kate Willoughby, 2019. All rights reserved. 

Notes: Written next to an empty cup of Emperor’s Cloud Green tea, looking across Cowcross Street as commuters wend their way home. Photo taken in Waterstones, Doncaster whilst waiting for a connection.

#WeeTales – Dear Little Elf* 

*or No one puts EU on the shelf


Dear Little Elf, 

Take courage, because no one puts you on the shelf. 

You matter dear little one. 

You make our world that little bit brighter, 

All festive colours and bells on your toes. 

Without you, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas. 

So, I am writing to apologise. 

For some of us have forgotten what you bring to the party, 

Pining for days long gone, where men were men 

And women were chained to the kitchen sink. 

‘World’s gone mad! 

Thems were the days, my friend.’ 

Said no woman then, 

Or anyone who feels they don’t quite fit in. 

Fragile voices, beholden to others, 

Cuckcoos taking up too much space.

You bring smiles little Elf and memories of yesteryear 
That celebrate and bring us together. 
Fill us up with good cheer. 
We stand, kneel, sit. 
All shapes and sizes, ages and creeds. 
The crackling fireplace, with flames of dancers. 
We many, we few. 
We happy few, 
As one.  
Shuffling along life’s highway – sometimes super, sometimes rocky.
If you look closely, it’s a little craggy in the corners where dust collects. So little Elf, as the season draws to a close, You can look back on another vintage year. Where many came together and some were left out in the cold. In the stable, in the manger where the true meaning lies. Banished. An embarrassing footnote, shabby and wild. 


As tables groan with food and drink, you can hear the cries Little Elf. 

The cries of those not at the table, not even in the house. 

You watch us, little Elf, as we pile in, tuck in. 

You smile and your eyes stare in wonder at the feast. 

Questioning our sincerity and good cheer. 

That’s why we need you little Elf. 

For all who sit alone inside, outside, in doorways – rain, shine or snow. 

We need you to sit with us – the lonely, the abandoned, the many, the few. 

The lucky ones raise a glass to you little Elf as we think of packing you away for another year. Looking into the darkened halls that echo, cold hearted and bare. 

Til next year little Elf! We’ll plough on, hoping for more, hoping for love and peace. Running full speed like rats on a wheel, going nowhere.  

You are waiting little Elf. You are waiting for us to wake up, smell the coffee and actually do something – big or small – to make this big ole world a better place. 

It’s a wonderful life. 

Please wait little Elf.  

Don’t turn your back to us 

Or give up on us, not just yet. 

The best is yet to come. 

You’ll see. 

The hour draws near. 

The clock ticks  

And courage calls. 

May be next year?  

With love,  

Your eternal friend. 

© Kate Willoughby, 2018. All rights reserved. 

Notes: Written in response to an Elf sitting on a City of London office shelf (image) and the UK Home Office 2018 festive tweet that read: 

“EU citizens and their families will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020. Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families #Brexit” 

Tweet:  https://mobile.twitter.com/ukhomeoffice/status/1078206349148708865 

#WeeTales – Last Christmas… 

“Enough! I’ve had it with Christmas!” Susan thought as she ploughed through London’s chilly streets on her way back to her flat.
“It’s sort of died now. It’s sort of died down.” piped a man into his mobile.
“Just to be clear.. the Sphinx stuff, is that?.. Ok, cool. All right. Good.”
He cleared off down a snicket to the left.


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“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.” caressed Susan’s ears as a fine drizzle dampened her coat and hair. She shivered at the sudden flicker of a lost love.
“Step into Christmas!” piped out from a Starbucks. Susan kept on.
The chips are down, she thought.
The final straw.
She was going to do it.
So off she steamed.
Yet even now, she skipped, a child again.
It’s Christmas!
Our last. Her inner critic prodded, sharply.
Thanks for the reminder, Susan snapped back.
You’re welcome!
“Well, let’s make it a good one then!” She thought to herself.
Susan sashayed into the German deli – all golden lights, stollen and festive scents, encircling. Mmmm….
Onwards to the European bookstore. Quick, quick!
A beautiful calendrier in her bag and on she went with “Joyeux Noel!” ringing in her ears.
Ah, the Italian coffee house… Steam, hisses and clinking cups serenaded her nimble steps. A warm welcome awaited inside.
The cappuccino hit the spot.
This is living!
Ciao Bella! Said the sexy barrister. And Susan smiled. Glowing with delight.
This doesn’t have to be the last one, she reflected.
‘Life’s too good together’ as she turned the key.
A little face looked up expectantly.
Big brown eyes, all curly hair and lashes.
She’s a beauty thought Susan, sweeping Lily her pet shorkie into her arms.
Let’s listen to Kings Carols and drink some Glühwein for good cheer.
As Susan settled down into her comfy chair, with Lily nestled into her arm, she closed her eyes and smiled. Such happy memories didn’t have to be forgotten and new ones could yet be made, together.
All I want for Christmas is EU!
© Kate Willoughby, 2018. All rights reserved. 


Glühwein is particularly enjoyed at atmospheric Christmas Markets during the Advent season. Visit Innsbruck in Tirol, for instance, for some of the most beautiful and romantic Christmas Markets in the Alpine region. The secret to getting a great Glühwein is the right mixture of red wine, cinnamon sticks, sugar, oranges and cloves. Glühwein recipe: https://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/food-and-drink/favourite-austrian-recipes/gluehwein