May already. Wow. Time for another brief reflection.
April was packed with goodness and a few attacks by hailstones. I guess one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much is that half of it was covered by school holidays.
I went to see my dad over the middle weekend of the break. It's always a treat to be back there and it's even more of a pleasure when I take the children.
This time, the highlight was a trip to Deepdale to watch my old faves Preston North End play in a crunch game against top of the table Bristol City. It was Donald's first visit to a match and so we bought a blue and white striped scarf to set the tone. What I had forgotten about going to see the Lilywhites is how much passion they can fill me with. The atmosphere was tremendous. Sixteen thousand people turned up for what is, old money, a third division match. The singing and chanting was powerful medicine and I was hypnotised by it immediately, joining in wherever I could. There are no longer versions of Molly Malone, but the words of the new songs weren't difficult to pick up. The only thing I wasn't sure about how to deal with as a parent of a seven-year-old was the swearing. I just said that there'd be a bit of bad language and that we just weren't going to use the words. So far, no major violations have escaped Donald's mouth as far as I'm aware, though I've uttered more than a few.
On Sunday it's the big day. A win sees us (for now I feel I can say us once more) up. Anything but and it's likely to be the play-offs. Fingers are tightly crossed.
In my new dawn, I picked up a programme on ebay of my first ever game, a testimonial for Allan Kelly against Stoke. Among the names, Geoff Hurst and Bobby Charlton. There's also a John Bird - spooky, I'd say.
We also had some time in Grange-Over-Sands and Arnside. To accompany me, a great Lake District thriller by Martin Edwards called The Serpent Pool. Edwards has put together quite a series here and if you're haven't read them and you're looking for new police material, I'd recommend them.
Other reading included Declan Burke's The Lost And The Blind, Tony Parsons' The Murder Bag, Richard Godwins' Confessions Of A Hit Man and Let It Ride by John McFetridge. My thoughts on each are over at Sea Minor if you'd like them. They're all well worth checking out if you like crime fiction. If I had to pass on my favourite read of the month, however, I'd point you in the direction of Prodigal Sons by Mike Miner and published by All Due Respect. This one's a really great look at the world of an alcoholic and I found it utterly engaging and hugely moving. I loved it, what more can I say?
I also have the honour of being in the new anthology LOCKED AND LOADED from One Eye Press, courtesy of Shotgun Honey. The story is called Yellow Car Punch and it's a tangent running from my Southsiders series. There are some great writers in the collection and I think it's great value at just £1.99.
More things Preston, there was a new video posted on the record shop Action Records and you'll find it here. It's full of nostalgia for me as there are a couple of old friends appearing in it. There's also a clip of my brother's band, The Dandelion Adventure whose albums and singles were put out by Action. I appear on one of their records, recorded in Leeds many years ago, blowing a few notes on a sax and beating out time on some scaffolding poles (those were the days). Lovers of music and vinyl should definitely take a look.
There may be more, but I don't want to go on.
Have a good May y'all. Enjoy the long weekend if you get one.