Tough times, but still smiling

Derek Allan. Picture by David Gerrard.
Derek Allan. Picture by David Gerrard.

Northumberland musician Derek Allan, of We Steal Flyers, continues his weekly diary.

June 23

The gig was cancelled so we dropped off a book for Shaun, James Cracknell and Ben Fogle Racing Over Ice, bought a curry and watched TV.

June 24

There was another cricket session in the morning for Ellie and Rebecca. During their training I read in the car and we did a few hours of work.

It was a great WSFlyers gig in Hartlepool. Seems my guitar pick-up is broken and over £100 is needed to fix it. Back to sleep for 3am after Melanie dropped off Shaggy at home.

June 25

I missed the morning game of cricket for Ellie, but her Grandad Derrick stepped in and saved the day.

I was performing at Ashington Fair. We Steal Flyers traditionally start off the day and Mike Slaughter joins us for a set. He organises the day. It is good every year and just gets better.

Then it was off to Alnwick for three games of soft ball cricket. Morpeth played well and I love how hard these kids try and their faces show how much they love playing. Ellie was outstanding and decided that after watching Flintoff, Botham and Stokes it is possible to win games and do more.

She loves the team and encourages them. She hit three sixes and played a great day of all-round cricket. She got a trophy for Player of the Festival. Morpeth won and have a trophy and memories for life. Well done all involved.

June 26

A lot of cricket is on and I’m doing my best to keep up. Women’s cricket is on Sky TV so it’s good for Ellie and Rebecca to see some inspirational female cricketers. I have Marty Emerson on BBC radio for every Durham game that I can. It’s nice to work from home.

It was off to athletics again in Blyth. Ellie is loving throwing and Rebecca is loving everything as usual.

I read as I watch from the side and am almost finished The Power Of One.

June 27

This was supposed to be a night at cricket for the championship floodlit game at Durham, starting at 2pm, but the rain was not helping any play along.

A lot of good gigs are being set up for next year and Acoustic Magic is getting around a little more.

June 28

Another day at Durham was rained off so it was a little sad.

It was a week ago when I walked 24 hours with Shaun. I loved that mission and I am looking forward to more.

June 29

I’m catching up on the Diamond League Athletics. We all like to watch, the athletes are fantastic. Rebecca loves it the most and misses nothing.

The gig with We Steal Flyers was a good one. There was an all-you-can-eat Spanish feast and we played songs afterwards. Being friends with Phil, the owner, and his family means we get to talk cricket after. His parents have season tickets.

June 30

School sports day was rained off sadly, and there was no gig tonight. Shaggy has a gig with his band.

I did a short walk with Ellie, then read poetry by Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde and David Essex. I watched movies with Melanie.

I don’t find it easy having a Friday off, I feel restless and worse off financially.

I have a friend playing three gigs a week as his full-time job and five in the next few weeks cancelled. It is a tough business and getting tougher. I’m waiting to hear if new owners of a bar in Berwick want to keep the bookings we have there or if they are going to cancel.