Established 2003. Now incorporating The Sudbury Hill Harrow and Wherever End Times

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Short Story of the Month, January 2024

Our first Story of the Year 2024 is about a quest, a journey in a narrowboat over days and months, meeting a cat and people known and unknown along the way and asking them a question. Not the cat, the people. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

January 2024: Cranes by Alex Barr

Fidler took early retirement and spent a year restoring a narrowboat, but when the year ended was filled with emptiness and horror.
  His daughter came to stay and was shocked.
  ‘You look terrible, Father. You’re not yourself.’
  ‘Who am I then?’
  ‘Why aren’t you out on the boat on the canal? Why restore a boat if not to use it?’

Alex Barr
Alex Barr’s
recent short fiction is in Tears in the Fence, The Lampeter Review, The Interpreter’s House, New Welsh Reader, The Last Line Journal, Otherwise Engaged Journal, Sixfold Fiction, Mechanics Institute Review, Litro Magazine, Feed Literary Magazine, Reflex Press, Samyukta Fiction, and Streetlight Magazine. His short story collection ‘My Life With Eva’ is published by Parthian in Wales, where he lives.

You might be interested to know that Alex Barr is a previous contributor to Willesden Herald publications, having provided the story “Homecoming” chosen by Maggie Gee as a prizewinner for New Short Stories 5. His poem “Southernmost Point Guest House” also became the eponymous title for that anthology of poetry. (Ed.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

New cake shop, Sudbury Hill

CakeCo "Honestly Delicious Cakes"
The ever-changing local shopfronts clustered around Sudbury Hill tube station. CakeCo replaces The Flower Nest, which replaced Doreen's florist. In the same couple of blocks there are three Polish supermarkets and an upstairs Polish restaurant, another cake shop, an Iceland, three fried chicken shops, two kebab shops, a fish-and-chips shop, four barber shops plus one "nails and beauty parlour", about ten Asian grocers, newsagents and greengrocers, another florist, dry cleaners who will also cut keys and mend shoes, a launderette, a betting shop, an undertakers, two estate agents and a glazier, a cards and photocopying shop, a pharmacy, a Chinese herbalist, a vape shop and a pub. There's a tiny coffee shop with chairs outside and a small newsagents kiosk on the sides of the station entrance. 

Up until a year or two ago there were two hardware shops, a bank, and a Chinese takeaway, another pharmacy and a Wenzel's sandwich shop, all now gone. Barclays Bank, which occupied a large frontage was replaced in the last year by a Budgens supermarket, which lasted no time and has now rebranded as another Mieszko supermarket, of which there now seem to be three with the same name. A member of staff in the former Budgens, now rebranded Mleszko, said that Tesco owns both Budgens and Mleszko. Tesco Mleszko/Budgens Shmudgens! (If anyone knows otherwise, please enlighten us. Ed.)

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Burnt-out car update

"Abandoned car notice" stuck on burnt-out car

This was reported to Harrow Council on 3 December. They've now stuck a notice on the burnt-out car. "To the owner of the car with registration number PE18*: This car appears to have been abandoned." No kidding!?

* I've been trying to tell them it's "PE18 UXS" but I can't get through to them. Update: I did eventually. (Ed.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Burnt-out car update

Burnt-out car, a black Toyota CH-R reg PE18 UXS, Cavendish Avenue, HA1 
Still there Monday 18 Dec. Harrow Borough Council abandoned car report ref. 723333, reported 3 Dec, acknowledgement received 7 Dec. (More photos and details)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Willesden Herald Stories of the Year 2023

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Street art, Kai Ohlsen?

Fulham Palace Road, Tuesday

Street art signed KOHLSEN, possibly Kai Ohlsen (signs the same way anyway see ), paper poster on metal utility connection box today. Also written on by someone else "SY was here". But whether it's genuine/original/a print is open to question. Saatchi Art online lists some paintings by Kai Ohlsen.

Fallen tree overhanging footpath, North Greenford

Fallen tree resting on a fence and overhanging a footpath and the road. It's been like that for more than a year. Whitton Avenue West, North Greenford, London Borough of Ealing. Update: The tree has since been dealt with, cut up and sections left behind the fence to decay naturally.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Burned out car, Cavendish Avenue, Harrow today

Badly burned out car viewed from the front, parked in an un-overlooked part of the street

Interior snapped through open side window

From another angle it's seen that the engine and front are burned but the rear is not.

From the rear it is seen to be a Toyota CH-R Hybrid. The Reg plate has partly torn off. "PE18 ----".

I reported this to Harrow Council today through their online abandoned car reports form. (Ed.)

Update 7/12/2023

The car is still there today. Noticed in the following photos that the missing part of the registration number plate is in the interior. It's possible to deduce from the photos that the reg is PE18 UXS and a check on the DVLA website shows that this car matches, i.e. a black Toyota hybrid etc. Harrow abandoned car reference: 723333.

Interior (rear). Note the part of the registration plate in the bottom left corner.

Another view of the interior today (front)

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Short Story of the Month, December 2023

Having personally had a sad experience among the delirious people who speak in tongues that sound a lot like jazz scatting and are big into the laying on of hands, I can relate to this gripping tale of sex, mass hysteria, hallucination and snake oil. Oh, and love. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month 

December 2023: Shimmer by Alan McCormick

… I’d just dropped out of university – thankfully no question of ever going back home after that – when shag-a-rent landlord Nick spoke to me in my bed and hooked me in: ‘You ought to come and hear him speak. He’ll make you feel good about who you are, and help you do things you never thought possible.’ …

Alan McCormick
Alan McCormick lives in Wicklow. He’s trustee of InterAct Stroke Support who read fiction and poetry to stroke patients. He was recently awarded an Irish Arts Council Literature Bursary to work on a collection of memoir essays. His writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Southword, Banshee, Best British Short Stories, Confingo, Sonder, Popshot, Exacting Clam; and online at 3:AM Magazine, Fictive Dream, Dead Drunk Dublin, Words for the Wild and Époque Press. His story ‘Fire Starter’ came second in 2022’s RTÉ Short Story Competition, and ‘Boys on Film’ was runner-up in this year’s Plaza Sudden Fiction Prize.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Submissions for Short Story of the Month

Just a reminder that we're always in need of new Short Story of the Month stories. There's no set deadline and when each month's story is selected, others in the inbox are released. Some may be carried over as possibles for a future month but generally turnaround is pretty quick, especially when compared to other publishers online. 

There's no reading fee but we give a copy of one of our New Short Stories anthologies as sort of payment in kind. So although that's not cash, it's also not nothing - which is what many online publishers offer. At present we are out of copies of #12 but have a few #11 and some other back numbers. 

Steve with mock-up WH in Gigi's. Photo by Vanessa Gebbie
If your short story is selected, you will be in good company. It would be lovely to pay contributors real money but Willesden Herald publishing has what is generally termed "no visible means of support." What we do have is boxes with brand new unsold books.

Please send your best wild or semi-tamed or even nice polite stories your parents would be pleased for you to marry to Willesden Herald Submittable and make my day. (Ed.)

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Autumn comes to South Vale

Tuesday afternoon: A few moments with hardly any traffic on a wet overcast street lined with trees, including magnificent old oaks with the leaves turned their autumn colour and a few other sorts still green. On the left side of the street, which has no footpath, are the trees and fence that form the southern boundary of Sir John Lyon School's playing fields known as Sudbury Fields. To the right on a little slope down from the road are some 1930s Metroland semi-detached houses. The verge in front of the houses is planted with newish Italian alders, some much older tall ash trees and further along some winter cherry. (South Vale, Harrow, HA1)

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Green Cabin - Sudbury Hill

The Green Cabin - café Greenford Road, HA1

Sign outside The Green Cabin



TIME - 3 PM - 6PM



The Green Cabin is on the same block as Sudbury Hill underground station, Greenford Road.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Doreen's Florist, 149 Greenford Road

Shopfront in the process of transformation from The Flower Nest to CakeCo*
Before the "CakeCo" there was "The Flower Nest" and before that there was "Doreen's" florist, 149 Greenford Road, as you can see from the old shop sign newly exposed today and soon to disappear again. It's hard not to think that those old shop signs were so much nicer than the new. 

* The photo has been artificially straightened.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Justice for Grenfell sign, Ladbroke Grove

Ladbroke Grove, Canal Way roundabout, North Kensington

The photo shows a London black taxi, a painted sign JUSTICE FOR GRENFELL painted in stylised white block capitals edged with red, along the height and length of a black hoarding that spans under two huge billboards, the most prominent one being an outsize one for Barbie the movie, Canal Way roundabout, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington today.

Soon-to-be Bald Cypress


Whitton Avenue West
Bald Cypress getting ready to live up to its name, all foliage turned to rust, Wednesday, North Greenford

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The Phone Book (final edition)

Cover of the last ever phone book
The Phone Book

We've been delivering it to you from 1880 to 2024.
Harrow, our last book has landed at your door.
Final edition. Hold on to it forever.

(From Royal Mail/BT this morning)

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Back of the shops, Greenford Road, Sudbury, Harrow

Street drinkers' litter
Street drinkers' tidy

Back of Greenford Road, near Sudbury Hill station, Harrow, HA1. [Couldn't we have made them green bottles? I have a joke in mind. Never mind, there's eleven anyway. Ed.]

Monday, October 30, 2023

Short Story of the Month, November 2023

We didn't set out to unveil a ghost story for Halloween, one simply - now what is the word? - materialised. Or did it? You can decide for yourself and see what happens when a bow wave of that bittersweet feeling of "good friend doing very well for herself while I languish" coincides with an invitation to Venice. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

November 2023: The House on the Rio de San Polo by Georgia Hilton

"...And he set off through the airport concourse with long strides, while Sylvie and I scurried behind him, like two country mice on our first excursion to the big city. 

At the dock, we could see the long queues of tourists waiting for a vaporetto. The water was inky black, and nothing was visible out in the lagoon except for bobbing lights in the distance. A mineral smell rose up out of the dark water. Engine noises were some way off. ..."

Georgia Hilton
Georgia Hilton is a poet and fiction writer originally from Limerick, Ireland, now living in Hampshire. Her short fiction has been published by Lunate Fiction, Fictive Dream, Acid Bath Publishing, and for National Flash Fiction Day. Georgia has two books of poetry both published by Dempsey and Windle (2018, 2020), and is also co-author of a poetry anthology published by Nine Pens Press (2022). She lives with her husband and three children and can be found on X/Twitter @GGeorgiahilton.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Unidentified wildflower - can you?

Spotted near Sudbury Hill, Harrow (18/10/2023)

The single flower is small but not tiny with four petals and inner layer of petals emerging. The petals are magenta with darker stripes a bit like Common Mallow and the leaves are oblong densely veined and with finely jagged edges. So far the Plantnet app and RHS online have failed to match this plant with any other. [It must be rare, no? Ed.]


The same plant two days later (20/10/2023)

The flower has opened out and looks a bit different. Thanks to Anonymous for the comment below, which seems to have solved the mystery. Quote: "It looks like an Annual Clary (also known as Red Topped Sage) to me. Usually found around the Mediterranean and not Willesden Green." Of all our millions of readers, Anonymous was the first to come up with a sage answer to the query. [Ed.]

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Strawberries ripening in October

Strawberries amid tangled weeds
Ripe strawberry seen growing in Harrow, October 10th, 2023

This is the ripe strawberry from the previous photo, now in hand.
The temperatures in London this week are 10 degrees above average, more in keeping with July than October. They are up to the mid-twenties Celsius. (Ref. BBC Weather)

The Rising Sun (Greenford Road) destroyed by fire

The scene today after yesterday's fire that destroyed the Rising Sun inn

Usually very busy Greenford Road has been closed in both directions at the junction with South Vale outside the old Rising Sun, since a fire at the inn yesterday. The roof has been completely destroyed. As well as police manning the road closures, gas and electricity workers are working around the site. There was still no direct vehicular access from Harrow Road to Greenford Road or vice-versa as of 2pm, Tuesday, October 10.

The Rising Sun consisted of a hotel, bar and Sri Lankan restaurant. Careful renovations were made in recent months to the oriel window, which can be seen in the picture (above) in the middle above the entrance. 

The Rising Sun inn has been there in one form or another since 1874 according to Pub History, which lists previous owners and dates. Not to be confused with our journal's former Willesden haunt, The Rising Sun on Harlesden Road NW10, a former coaching inn, which dates from 1871.

The view from South Vale

Friday, September 29, 2023

Short Story of the Month, October 2023

"I often think of Larkin’s poem, Afternoons, and the young mothers and how ‘something is pushing them/to the side of their own lives’. This feeling informs Living a Little. That and my memories of growing up on a Birmingham Council Estate and the sense of having escaped a ‘life less lived’ when I left home." (Jackie Morris)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

October 2023: Living a Little by Jackie Morris

Seems like only yesterday me and your Daddy were coming over on the ferry. Love’s young dream. You should have seen your Daddy then,’ Mam exhaled her cigarette. Smoke drifted over the children’s heads. ‘Your Nana had him down to be a priest, but I couldn’t have him going to waste like that.’

Jackie Morris
Jackie Morris’s stories are online at Brilliant Flash Fiction, Free Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction Monday, Retreat West the National Flash Fiction Day 2022 anthology and the National Flash Fiction Flashflood 23. She came third in the Willesden Herald Short Story Prize, 2022. She can be found on Twitter @JackieMMorris and on Bluesky

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Review: Magpie's Nest by Clare Starling

Clare Starling

The first thing to say is that this is no eclectic bundle of poems about this, that or the other. The 27 poems in this hefty pamphlet could almost be presented as one epic poem in 27 numbered parts. They are all poetic emanations from the maelstrom of events and emotions surrounding family life in the light of the wonders, adventures and sometime challenges of living with an autistic child. 

You may find yourself returning to this chapbook many times, and depending on your mood, you might laugh at Pokémon in the Cemetery or sympathise with the passerby carrying a bunch of flowers.

At the Soyer Tomb
Grade II Listed by English Heritage
You evolved your Woobat
into a Swoobat

There are many humorous touches but it's never just one thing and it's never prosaic, every poem is heightened with sensual evocation, metaphor and other tricks of the poetic trade, but never losing a pleasing lightness of touch. This is poetry with a purpose but it's in no way perfunctory. Each poem seems to have blossomed up completely out of the blue. At another time, you might dip into a Hampstead pond, as in Effortful Swimming.

You dropped into the cold
eager as a dog

There are poems with a complex structure, such as the side-by-side feelings of "In the Dark" or the dense imagery and oddness of "Escape Room". There's frustration in "Waiting for CAMHS" and relief of a sort in "On the Threshold". There is strangeness in plenty throughout.

But the last of the feelings I would like to mention, from the myriad I could choose from if time allowed, is one I'm not sure how to describe. It comes in the poem that has its name in the second line of the last stanza.

you were so proud of me
you called me The Bee Saver
I think it was the honour of my life

"Magpie's Nest" (Wildfire Words, 2023) by Clare Starling is available for pre-order post-free within the U.K. and with reduced postage to addresses overseas.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Short Story of the Month, September 2023

"Frisch weht der Wind / Der Heimat zu, / Mein Irisch Kind". Is this what billows my sails? Is it anything to do with Prigozhin? No, it's the joy of reading a marvellous story about people and places and the lives lived today, in all their complex history and entanglements. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

September 2023: Fresh Blows the Wind Homeward by Jaki McCarrick

Emily stood at the window and looked down at the illuminated town. It was Saturday night and she could hear sirens.
“What is it?” Jo said.
“Police, I think. In the distance. Something must have happened.”
“Exactly,” Jo said, “in the distance. Come to bed.”

She looked eastwards, away from the passing police cars, and to where she could make out a cargo ship, inching its way across the Irish Sea. …

Jaki McCarrick is an award-winning writer of plays, poetry and fiction. Winner of the Papatango Prize for New Writing for her play Leopoldville, Jaki’s play Belfast Girls was developed at the National Theatre Studio, London and has been staged many times internationally. Shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the BBC Tony Doyle Award, Belfast Girls made its New York premiere at the Irish Repertory Theatre in 2022, and opens in Buffalo, NY, in 2023. Her play The Naturalists premiered in New York in 2018.

Jaki McCarrick. Photo © Bobbie Hanvey

Jaki’s plays have been published by Samuel French, Routledge and Aurora Metro and have been translated into Swedish and French.

Her debut fiction collection The Scattering was shortlisted for the 2014 Edge Hill Prize and includes the Wasafiri Prize-winning story, “The Visit”. In 2020 Jaki was shortlisted for the An Post Book Awards Short Story of the Year Award (Ireland) for her short story ”The Emperor of Russia”. Jaki was Writer in Residence at the Centre Cultural Irlandais in Paris in 2013 and at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2022. She has written critical pieces for the Times Literary Supplement, The Irish Examiner, Poetry Ireland Review and other publications.

Longlisted in 2014 for the inaugural Irish Fiction Laureate, Jaki is currently working on a novel, a second collection of short stories and the screenplay of Belfast Girls.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Short Story of the Month, August 2023

A fascinating insight into the process behind producing calm, unbiased, understated, yet admirably generous text online concerning topics that make your blood boil and steam come out of your ears. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

August 2023: Notes on a ‘Masterpiece’ by Ian Critchley

“… despite the fact that I’ve long dabbled in song-writing, it’s rare I discuss music. Today, though, I’m going to make an exception for Whistling in the Dark, the new album by indie flavour of the month Christ’s Cavalcade.”

[I could say more about my song-writing, I suppose, though probably nobody’s interested]

Ian Critchley
Ian Critchley is a freelance editor and journalist. His fiction has been published in several journals and anthologies, including Neonlit: Time Out Book of New Writing, Volume 2, The Mechanics Institute Review #15, Structo, Lighthouse, Litro and Storgy. He has won both the Hammond House International Literary Prize and the HISSAC Short Story Prize, and been shortlisted for the Exeter, H.G. Wells, and Plaza short story competitions. His journalism has appeared in the Sunday Times, Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review. He can be found on Twitter @iancritchley4, and his website is

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Submissions open for Willesden Herald Story of the Month

Photo: Anton Chekhov reading The Seagull to the Moscow Art Theatre company c.1898

Occasional feature. Want to get your name into the list of contributors? You have come to the right place. Still no reading fee. Still the same reward, a copy of one of our past anthologies. Guidelines

Friday, August 04, 2023

Jack Sheppard in Willesden (18th century)

Many of the deeds and adventures of notorious highwayman and amazing escapologist, Jack Sheppard, were set in Willesden as this copiously illustrated account by The Gentle Author recounts.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Poor Paddy Works on the Software - lyric video

Apparently Moran has been moonlighting again. A recording of this monstrosity, the words of which are somewhere in our back pages. They are also under the YouTube video for convenience. If you like this video, tell your friends. If you don't like it, don't tell a soul, they'll never know. (Ed)

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Harrow fly-tip marked "Closed" still there - Asbestos?

It's still there now, though marked "Closed" on the @Harrow_Council website (image below). The handwritten asbestos warning sign is dissolving in the rain. Still no safe way to walk around the corner from South Vale to Wood End Road. Incident number: 17753144. 

I reported the fly-tipping incident on advice from @Harrow_Council on Twitter. The fly-tipped rubbish is still there and cordoned-off on the path, despite the incident being marked "closed" on the Harrow Council website. There is presently no safe way to walk around the blind corner of South Vale and Wood End Road, as the footpath is only on one side of the road. (Ed.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Asbestos(?) dumped on footpath in Harrow

I saw this pile of fly-tipped rubbish on Friday where it is on Wood End Road, HA1, 7/7/23 (Ed.)
As of today (8/7/23) someone has put added a warning label: "ASBESTOS do not touch"

Today the footpath at the junction of South Vale and Wood End Road has also been cordoned off.

Earlier picture of the sign seen in the background in the photo above.
It has been there for months. It says "Why are you dumping rubbish? ... Don't be a tosser." 

Monday, June 05, 2023

The Leaving of Ballymun

This is a lyric video of a humorous parody and the words are included in the description on YouTube. You can see them in a recent post on this blog as well.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Short Story of the Month, May 2023

Intriguing. You might find yourself wondering what exactly happened in this short story. Don't look at me. (Ed.)

The Willesden Herald Story of the Month

May 2023: Against the Grain by Anita Goveas

“She expects to get caught and almost confesses every Friday. But if there’s anything her father talks about, it’s tradition and family and maybe the way he sustains that is by only looking at what he wants to see.”

Anita Goveas is British-Asian, London-based, and fuelled by strong coffee and paneer jalfrezi. She was first published in the 2016 London Short Story Prize anthology, most recently by the Cincinnati Review. She’s on the editorial team at Flashback Fiction, and is a submissions reader for The Selkie. She tweets erratically @coffeeandpaneer. Her debut flash collection, ‘Families and other natural disasters’, is available from Reflex Press, and links to her stories are at