THIS is not the English spring I yearned for while working in high humidity and heat overseas.
That notion of an idyllic seasonal setting later inspired a short story I wrote for a Daily Mail competition. The entry didn’t win but a judge praised its title - ‘Advantage Love’.
The story revolved around a village tennis club, where passions rise and friends clash after the arrival of a handsome newcomer with a glamorous, expatriate lifestyle.
I based my fictional village upon a real one on the Fylde, Wrea Green. Mine, too, had a central green with duck pond and cricket pitch; beautiful, period homes; ancient church and cosy, country-style pub.
I tell you this because that story, now extended into a novel with stronger characters and more drama, has just been published. It is now entitled ‘A Brush With Murder’, available on Kindle or in paperback; online or in stores.
Its action opens, now, with the approach of spring – except that in my fictional Willow Green a playful breeze and warming sun herald British Summer Time.
You can read a sample chapter and details on my website, but what I wanted to share with you today – as Easter approaches – are the admirable traits of its leading characters.
Two of these were inspired by real people, as I acknowledge in the book.
The main hero is a humble painter and decorator who is also a gifted amateur artist. He looks for beauty everywhere and has a simple faith in goodness.
This character was inspired by a local tradesman, now retired, best known in Blackpool as ‘Bob the Brush’. What impressed me about him were good, ‘old-fashioned’ principles.
Bob was careful to respect his customers’ privacy and comfort; set fees that people could afford, and did a masterly job.
While charming to talk to, Bob was always the most unassuming of men. That is why I don’t fully name him now, nor the other person I wish to tell you about.
My second fictional character is a young tennis coach, easy going and likeable but proud of what he does.
His inspiration in real life was a pal, Howard, who died tragically young.
A good looking and talented man, Howard was easily contented in life, good-hearted and with an eager interest in other people and places.
All these characters, you see, share humility but do the best they can – while appreciating the value of others.
They all, as well, loved life and, what’s more, enjoyed living here on the Fylde.
In similar spirit, let us be thankful and rejoice this special weekend – whatever the weather – for hope and summertime are nigh.
n Visit royedmonds-blackpool.com.